(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.