Word of Mouth
I was wondering if I was going to be alone for the rest of my life. Part of the problem was that, according to several reliable sources, I tend to exhaust people. Another problem has to do with my long list of standards. Potential boyfriends cannot ... wear cowboy boots, drink more than I do, write poetry in notebooks and read it out loud to an audience of strangers, or say they have 'discovered' any shop or restaurant currently listed in the phone book. Age, race, and weight are unimportant. In terms of mutual interests, I figure we can spend the rest of our lives discussing how much we hate the aforementioned characteristics.... I understood that my first goal was to make Hugh my boyfriend, to trick or blackmail him into making some sort of commitment. I know it sounds calculating, but if you're not cute, you might as well be clever. - David Sedaris
I think I touched a nerve with last week's column. (No, not THAT nerve...)
All I know is I've spent most of my week fielding phone calls and email from 1. friends who seem genuinely concerned about me, 2. boyfriend applicants, and 3. a few restraining-orders-waiting-to-happen.
An ex who lives in Detroit (and reads us online) even called and played, "I wanna be your boyfriend" on my voicemail, in honor of Joey Ramone's passing and last week's column. (And when I say "played," I don't mean he flipped in the CD - I mean he got out his guitar and performed the song until the voicemail cut him off.)
I think maybe readers somehow came away from last week's column with the idea that - desperately single - I was on the verge of hooking up with the one-string banjo player who lives in our parking lot under my truck. (Please. He's not EVEN in a band... If he gets a gig, THEN maybe we'll talk.)
When I wrote it, I did think maybe I was a little heartbroken, but 1. the situation wasn't long or deep enough to merit it (a fissure at most), and 2. too much scar tissue.
So, why so glum?
Fortunately, I watched Good Morning America, and realized (thanks to Dr. Nancy Snyderman), that what I was REALLY suffering from was dehydration.
I had all the symptoms: lethargy, irritability, inability to focus, and extreme fatigue.
Turns out? I wasn't devastated. I was just thirsty. I drank some juice and I'm fine now.
I really didn't mean to scare anyone.
In the grand scheme of my love life, the episode with this guy was a capsized dinghy, not the Titanic. We've never been seen together in the daylight. His friends don't know me or what I do, much less that he had a recurring, yet thoroughly anonymous, role in this space, first as "this guy," and then "a guy in the parking lot," and finally, as "the coyote who gnawed his leg off with quiet dignity, unencumbered by my presence." So this town is plenty big enough for the both of us as long as he stays away from the segments of it that I own.
We didn't break up, because we were never together. I wasn't dumped, because he was never my boyfriend. Sure I was blown off. Yes, I was rejected. Of course, I was mortified - but I chose to shoot my mouth off about it. And I know for a fact that he doesn't read, which allows me the luxury of complete candor. I would've proceeded with or without that, of course. Because much like the scorpion in the frog-fable, "it's my nature."
I gave it my best shot. It didn't work out.
This is not a tragedy.
This doesn't even qualify as drama.
DRAMA is negotiating seven-figure contracts with scary guys whose names end in vowels and who enjoy nothing more than 11th hour pissing matches and busting unions in their spare time.
Everything else is really just material.
First, I am perfectly happy alone.
And second, I was (as predicted) back in the saddle (metaphorically speaking) within a matter of days. (Hours if you count musicians... but the abacus I use to keep track would spontaneously explode into flames if I did.)
I'd had someone in the batter's box all along, actually - warming up, so to speak. A pitch hitter if you will.
On our first night out, of course we ran into Hop Sing (supposedly by accident, but frankly, I think he staked out the joint, so he could pass judgment). Fortunately, he's deemed this guy FAR more appropriate than the first.
I asked him what it was? The great job? The extravagant good looks? The throbbing V8 engine?
In the end, it IS size that always matters. And this guy's big. As Hop Sing puts it, "he just looks like evolution hasn't thoroughly made its way over to him yet."
He says I should stand at the head of my bed, passing out pamphlets, like a flight attendant, and gesturing to the emergency exits with both hands. Anyone who doesn't meet the size and strength requirements of those seats would be "excused," following the lighted path to "alternate seating".... in another congressional district.
The first guy was just a little too exquisite. Too beautiful.
And the guilty truth is I just don't have the self-esteem to be with a guy who's prettier than I am.
In all fairness, I was very honest about it.
It's my Inner Ape theory.
I rationalize that it's Darwin's way of allowing us to shallowly reject people on pure physical specifications. We biologically require partners whose strengths complement ours and whose weaknesses we balance. (I don't feel too bad about it either, because this guy told me he gave up on some otherwise appealing girl because he didn't like her nose. For all I know he discarded me because my eyes are too close together... Or perhaps because I lack a penis. But I should say that's Walt's theory, not mine. I should also say, Walt's never met the guy, and that he says that about practically every man I've ever expressed an interest in, and that he bases this theory on my infamous ex-fiance... and his "life partner," Mark.)
Anyway, I suspect the biological imperatives of our Inner Apes is what kept me and Mr. Sensitive Guy apart, because - with both of us being of fine-boned, delicately structured exo-skeletons (with superbly complementary wardrobes) -our freakishly ethereal little hypothetical offspring would have been quickly ripped to shreds in the wild. (Oh sure, Chevy Chase isn't exactly the Serengeti, but I think you see my point.) They would be the sad little pygmy goats and Lilliputian bunnies of the animal kingdom, routinely and predictably ravaged by wolves while the Discovery Channel cameras rolled, oblivious and apathetic.
The new guy isn't pretty, he's handsome. Big. Rugged. Lantern-jawed. In fact, he oozes testosterone from every pore. He's so good-looking (but not pretty) that my favorite (straight) ex-boyfriend emailed me the day after I'd introduced them at a bar to offer his approval, and to add, "Damn honey-bunny [cause that's what he calls me], he's a good-lookin' man!"
(GREAT. Now he'll probably convert to the other team, and I'll have to worry about HIM being my competition... I can't get a break.)
I'm sure that when and if I survived the tough physical rigors of passing the New Guy's hearty big-headed progeny through my abnormally narrow hips, our huge grizzly-like descendants would go forth to trample, conquer, and generally wreak physical havoc on all who encounter them.
I'm not sure how smart or funny they'd be, but I'm not sure it matters. (Look at how little it's done for me.) The important thing is, they'll be able to beat the hell out of anyone who crosses them. Also, they'll be wealthy.
You just can't fight Darwin baby.
(Well, you can. But you need to be a Republican.)
The bottom line is, there's only room for one delicate petite flower in the Reeves house, and I'm sorry, but that has to be me.
Walt says he likes my new "Wild Turkey and Marlboro side."
Another longtime reader wrote to suggest that my column's recently developed a sudden "wildness."
Obviously I wouldn't be in this line of work if I didn't have a pathological need for attention, but I hate to tell him that my life couldn't be more tame.
I just owe most of my worldview this year to Skinemax, which is what I get stuck watching at night while the insomnia persists. It was the Ass Brothers who had to explain to me that, in real life, delivery people rarely show up at your house to drop off material goods and THEN engage in spontaneous, willing, and pleasurable sex.
In fact, I owe what actual limited social life I have these days to a recent (but prolonged) bout with pneumonia.
I couldn't seem to shake it, and my doctor finally told me to either take some time off work, or to spend some time in the hospital.
So for almost a month, I cut back to an abbreviated schedule of about a 40 hour week.
Which left me with a LOT more time on my hands than usual.
Time to talk on the phone. Make plans. Go to movies. Have people over. Go to parties. Hang out in bars. See bands. Sleep. All the things that I'm told normal people do on a regular basis.
Of course, intoxicated by this sudden freedom, I did develop a reckless two-week flirtation with alcohol, cigarettes, and illicit congress with the opposite sex.
It never occurred to me that this was NOT what the doctor had in mind by "rest." I figured if I wasn't in my office (where I usually live), this qualified as relaxation.
When I hadn't recovered after two weeks, I drew a different doctor on my second visit in, who promptly asked me if I smoked. When I said "No," (because I usually don't), she arched an eyebrow and said, "not even Marlboro reds?"
DAMMIT!! She had me on the record.
She put an end to the good times pretty fast.
Specifying no work AND no play either.
It was around this time I ran into an old bass player acquaintance of mine at a show (where I was quietly sipping ginger ale and sucking on a Hall's lozenge). And the first thing out of his mouth was, "so how much of that stuff you write is real?..."
I was about to answer, but fortunately my pal Suzy (radio diva) was standing nearby and exclaimed, "Are you KIDDING? She LEAVES OUT the best stuff!!"
Suzy would know this, because we usually try to fit in a weekly Sunday afternoon chat, where we compare notes on our respective weekends (sometimes accompanied by visual aids, props, video, and a measuring tape).
To me, it's fairly obvious when I'm hyperbolizing and when I'm being strictly accurate, but I guess that's all a matter of where you're sitting.
For example, when I'm involved in some corporate game of chicken and it comes down to a question of whether or not we're going to the courthouse, I instantly revert to my Appalachian roots, answering something like, "Let's take it on out to the woodshed hoss, 'cause if you think I blew half the lawyers in this town for nothin', you got another think comin'."
Now... See... That's hyperbole.
(In reality, the number is much lower.)
This is also the point where someone needs to bring my mother her oxygen tank.
Bring along a spare for my bankers and accountants, while you're at it. (Those poor, sweet, churchgoing, upstanding pillars of the community. At least now they know why there are no legal fees in my budget.)
My Wing Men definitely contribute to my capacity for exaggeration. Sweet T makes a point of making sure that every guy I go out with knows which jewelry store I'm "registered" at, so that when they screw up (as he believes they inevitably will), they know where to shop, and in which vault (directly proportionate to the size of their mistake). I think the "Infidelity Room" has a lovely brass plaque with my name on it.
Frankly, I think these guys are a bad influence on me.
Special K just confessed at dinner the other night that he came "dangerously close to purchasing a [very expensive] dining set" to impress the cute girl he has a crush on who works at a retail outlet near his office. He somehow backed out by nonchalantly confessing that "the Rio Grande style would be difficult to keep clean," seeing no need at all to admit that he doesn't even have a dining room. He escaped with a Chinese Yo-Yo, a welcome mat, and her number.
And yet I guarantee you they have a better shot at a fairy tale ending than I do.
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