Mooncalf Communion

An offbeat worldview of an offbeat world

Barry Parham

Barry Parham
Greenville, South Carolina, USA
September 24
Barry Parham is a freelance web developer and the author of humor columns, essays and short stories. He is a music fanatic, a 1981 graduate of the University of Georgia, and a self-described eco-narcissist. Barry is the author of "Why I Hate Straws," a 248-page collection of humor and satire, including the award-winning stories, "Going Green, Seeing Red" & "Driving Miss Conception." In October 2010, Barry published "Sorry, We Can't Use Funny," another award-winning collection of general-topic satire and humor, and the more targeted "Blush: Politics and other unnatural acts." "The Middle-Age of Aquarius" (2011) is Parham's 4th collection of humor, satire and observations, and features more award-winning stories, including 'Comfortably Dumb,' 'Snowblind' and 'The Zodiac Buzz-Killer.' All titles available at and other channels.



Editor’s Pick
MAY 28, 2010 3:17PM


Rate: 22 Flag

(Notes on dating and other self-inflicted wounds) 

"This time, it will be different." 

Count on it, single guy. Count on that shoulder-perching little imp, teasingly muttering. 

No matter how terminally single a single guy is, the day is bound to come. The day when endless pizza and unselfconscious scratching in public are just not enough. Some internal biological timer trips, reason is jettisoned, a history of justifiable futility gets ignored, and it's time to try dating again. 

This time, it will be different. 

True, there's that other nagging little voice shrieking, "NO!" That cautious guardian hovering somewhere near the single guy's wallet (or pineal gland). Doesn't matter. Universal forces prevail ... cosmic forces with a sick, cosmic-sized sense of humor. 

This time, it will be different. 

No, it won't. But this time, I'm here to help. 

Admittedly, I may not be your stellar candidate for Dating Coach of the Year. After all, I'm older than Alaska's statehood, I think Hall & Oates were brilliant, and I still have bangs. But I do include an interesting and fairly unique bullet point in my curriculum vitae. As it turns out, I am America's Penultimate Husband. A surprising number of women that I've dated have married the very next guy they met. Somehow, I became a very useful practice spouse. 

So let's proceed to the tactical. For starters, I've put together the following "man seeks woman" personal ad template, that my many "what's the big deal with the toilet seat?" comrades-in-singlehood can post to the ubiquitous dating services available in print media and online. 

Single hetero male seeking minimally neurotic, baggage-free, non-ferret-owning female for companionship, dating, and ultimately destructive miscommunication. I enjoy music, dining, and writing odd stories about shrimp, civil servants, and other alien life forms. The ideal candidate will have ten (or more) of her original teeth, and zero (or less) pierced face parts. Please send, for review, an audio tape containing an average-decibel sample of your voice during a heated argument. Active, dues-paying Satanists, the heavily-tattooed, and career politicians need not apply. 

Not bad, eh? No? What, too subtle? You see something I've missed? Well, feel free to personalize. Adjust as needed. Maybe you don't write stories about aliens and shrimp. That's entirely up to you, of course, but if you don't, well, good luck getting a date. 

And now for the real goods. As a seasoned single veteran, I've put together this helpful checklist of qualifying / disqualifying characteristics which, any minute now, I'll think up. I may include some additional comments, too, if any occur to me. I don't know yet. That's what puts the "creative" in "creative writing." And remember, it's not like I'm getting paid for this stuff. 

Neither the checklist nor my comments are certain to work for you, although they're practically guaranteed to be utterly useless. (That's what puts the "disclaimer" in "legal disclaimer.") Okay, let's get busy: 

The Perfect Woman... 

  • ...will own at least 2 Frank Zappa albums. This not only assures that you're both in a compatible age bracket; it confirms that, as teenagers, you were both equally dazed and confused. Extra credit if she giggles anytime you say "dromadrosis" or "moving to Montana."
  • ...thinks delivery pizza and day-old pizza are two of the five food groups. (The other three, of course, being coffee, Chinese takeaway, and two-day-old pizza)
  • ...has never been blind-date-pitched by her friends as "she's a real keeper" or "she has a great personality" or "she makes her own clothes."
  • ...will have nothing pasted to her car that advertises "I (heart symbol) something." Another common warning sign is "I'd rather be ..." bumper stickers, like "I'd rather be mud wrestling farm animals while under the influence of psychotropic drugs." Pretty good clue, that.
  • ...would support binding federal legislation to have ferrets classified as foreign enemy combatants. Now, here, some people will take me to task. "Ferrets aren't evil," they'll say. "Ferrets are cute." Ferrets aren't evil? Have you ever SEEN a ferret? Basically, it's a rat with a zoning variance.
  • ...will have a sane amount of beauty products. Check to be sure that her bathroom "body maintenance" cabinet has never been mistaken for a restricted-access laboratory at the Center for Disease Control.
  • ...has never sent an "I'm sorry your relative died" email. Research shows that a woman who fires off "condolences" emails will go all Lorena Bobbitt on you at your first toilet seat infraction.
  • ...will have reflexes sufficient to protectively duck, should a shoe ever be slung from across the room at the television news. (I'm just saying)
  • ...will not have any relatives within a hundred mile radius who have ever shown up at a church wedding wearing a tank top, Bermuda shorts and black stretch socks. Also, be sure to check the relatives for ferret bites.
  • ...has never been in a bar, run into an old friend who is an escaped felon, and greeted him with a secret handshake and the wistful expression, "Hey, Slade. I miss your discipline." 

So there you are, single guys. Armed, and warned. In these weird days, caution must be your byword. I once spent three weeks online, chatting up a gorgeous coed named Amber, before I learned that she was actually my old college roommate, Chris. 

Now, some will say I'm too picky, and that's why I'm still single. I disagree. I prefer "discerning." And besides, if you've read this far and still can't figure out why I'm single, I really don't know what else to say. Maybe, one day, my imp will whisper again. 

Once I get over Amber.

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Oh those co-eds, they get you guys every time.
Okay, I want you and Gwool to compare notes. Meanwhile I'm looking to interview both of you to add balance to my report on the predominance of disastrous dating experiences available online. As I mentioned to Gwool, my female friends find men who lie about their height, income, job status, marital status and willingness to actually become involved in a relationship (ie, sure -- until we have sex). The two men I talked with (and Gwool) seem to find women who are crazy. Oh, and 99.9 percent of the men want to date women who are anywhere from slightly to significantly younger than they are.

(I'm writing about disastrous online dating, but I'm also a survivor)
Thanks, Nikki. I'm glad my stuff is fun to read -- it sure is fun to write!
I added a sixth food group when Jimmy John's started delivering sandwiches.

Rated for awesomeness.
"This time, it will be different." many times did I say that to myself when I was young? I find myself single again after years of being partnered, & wonder if it will be different this time around? If history holds up, I'm about to go 40 rounds with someone I hate once I finally get my tush out there? joy :/ if I were Catholic I'd just go be a nun, dating blows, marriage is great, but dating- ick.
heh-heh. You're such a cynic. Why am I attracted to that? I dated online for a while and found someone great, but I can relate to the disasters. Rated and favorited!
Funny stuff! Here I was thinking the problem has been that some guys seem to expect a sign like a lightning bolt at a first meeting or they're not interested in going out again -- now I realize it may be my pet ferret, and I could try not bringing her next time and see if it helps ;-) .
fun read. though i was surprised there was no mention of body hair (or lack of) requirements. i'm just sayin...
Funny. Should mention anyone who has more than 1 store code card on her keychain or puts a rubber band around his wallet--of course this would be a couple that should get together.
The last bullet point in the list for a perfect woman with the line "Hey, Slade. I miss your discipline" is hilarious.

I'm always thrilled to read new humor and yours is top-notch. Another item for your "perfect mate" list: Does not attend family reunions involving hot tubs.
You must have past experience with a ferret owning woman. Oddly enough, a friend and I were commenting yesterday on the dating chances of a mutual female friend who owns 4 ferrets. We agreed that despite her being attractive, owning (mortgage free) a 5,000 sf home, having a mid 6 figure, tax free income and being relatively intelligent, the chances are slim that she'll find a "quality" man.
Age is good, location a little GU though I've been there, and though I may look like a ferret, I don't own one. What's the saying? 'There's always someone for everyone.' But first comes that dating thing. Ick! But you are kinda cute.
I agreed with you on almost every bullet point until the last. I thought every man's fantasy was a little BDSM...perhaps if she came in with the secret handshake and said " Have you been a good little camper?" to you bar owning felon friend, she might pass muster.
oh boy. how about, a bisexual with lesbian identity issues. or try the one with a hereditary thyroid imbalance. then both the mother & the daughter are freakin nuts. hahaha. just sayin. sometimes women are like those beautiful snakes. bright colors, deadly poison. it aint a mere coincidence that the garden of eden story is about a woman & a snake.
I'm also a lifelong single by choice. Usually the choice of the women I've dated, but that's another story.
You missed the fact that she should have a bass boat and to send a picture of the boat. Other than that. it's a near carbon copy of my own list.
Oh, that and no snuff chewers. That crap really stains the pillow cases.
Oh, oh, wait. One more thing. She should have her own motorcycle so she doesn't keep asking to borrow my Harley. That should cover just about it.
I chuckled and snorted out loud at this!

The ideal candidate will have ten (or more) of her original teeth, and zero (or less) pierced face parts.--

When I first moved to Hot Springs-- my first time at living in the South-- I used to joke with my friends about this--Well atleast he has all his teeth! It's funny how the longer you go without meeting someone, you're criteria drops until you finally wake up and say oh forget, it why bother?
Have we been dating the SAME women? I'd SWEAR......!!!
But then I've been being given the old tear-jerk empowered, recruit my other ex's who did not stick their tongue 'there' (and then expect me to still wanna kiss them on that mouth!), as well as the KKK mother fucker who I got Court Marshaled, and the little turd who they (the KKK) sent to bang me, and then tell everyone that she was retardrd and that I'd raped her once-over - twenty times! - by a certain 'Emily B.'; and she got three people KILLED, by certain KKK Kops, all because she was a sleezy, drunken slitch - and I was less than 25!!!
Nothing like being the object of the most unjustified - and unjustifiable - ex-lover revenge attack; and seeing three people get killed by the KKK all at the same time! Whoopie!
Here's MY advice to young single men; if she smells - and tastes - like three day old beer that's all dried up in the bottom of an ash-tray - RUN! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!!!!!
How about this little requirment: Does not have in her vocabulary: awesome, dude, like, whatever? This is assuming that she will still be able to communicate without these favorite buzzwords.
Funny and oh so disturbing :) There was an article in the paper today with the headline "Most Men Lie Online"Well der! Strangely enough if I was out there searching I would probably respond to that ad because it was honest & I meet criterea.....better check my teeth first!
Wow, I'd say you are picky the only item on your Perfect Woman list I qualify for is the secret handshake...I will proudly say I've never known any escaped least not to my knowledge.
Good luck with the dating!
Add "must know the names of all 4 Beatles" to your list and I'll call you "Bro"!
But seriously ladies, we really are that different.
Hey, Barry: Cute post - Can see why you might be single but I bet you make a fun date - especially at family reunions!
I have the same beauty product thing going in reverse - any guy with more beauty products than I is way too self-involved.
As for the two day pizza food group - I was involved for way too long with a guy who thought that - and I just merrily showed up with my own bag of salad while he ate stale pizza - till the day I saw him eat a slice with mold on it...tolerant yes but lets have some standards (ie if I can't feed it to my dog, you can't feed it to me).
You missed a biggie for men and women - anyone whose idea of a conversation is a monologue about their X of either sex. Boring. The only game they play is I can top your story....
Oh - and Michael - when can I borrow that Harley, honey?
I don't have a ferret... although I rescued and returned a pet ferret, once. I have cats, though. And recordings of my voice in heated discussion, although being a total middle-class WASP, my heated discussion-voice could be mistaken for pleasantly-modulated reasonableness in anyone else. Small collection of beauty products - I work at home, so very little need of them. Alas, I do not have any Frank Zappa albums - but I know who the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band was, if that counts for anything. No tats - but my daughter has three. And I did go to a Halloween party, dressed as a military dominatrix, slapping a riding crop across my palm and snarling, "Anyone ready for a little military discipline!"
By the time you are forty or so - the person that you are at that point, is mostly the person you are going to be for the rest of your life.
"Please send, for review, an audio tape containing an average-decibel sample of your voice during a heated argument. " Now that was funny. I feel your pain. (By the way, I've heard that taking Pilates is not a bad way to meet potential dating victims...)
Romana Kryza
I made it safely through 2o years with the rule, "Don't get involved with any guy who thinks _Women in Love_ is 'the best book ever written'." I don't want to explain why but I support your similar rules.

And I agree about the ferrets. They are cool animals; James Doohan was a ferret activist; but I understand that it's necessary to pet and interact with them practically constantly to prevent them from forgetting they are "pets" and biting you. And I am too selfish to do that...