Monkey Business

Win or lose, remember that more than half of you will end up divorced and alone.

-Knute Rockne [ wasn't it?]

I almost feel like dating is my part-time job. Like a paper route, only with fewer benefits, no pay, more hazardous duty, and longer hours.

That's no reflection on my dates (I swear), just the act itself.

I kicked off one gala evening in the last week (literally) by falling almost halfway down a flight of stairs.

That delayed our arrival at the designated gathering by at least a half hour, while he tried to talk me into an E.R. visit. I knew nothing was broken, but I did have to change shoes and walk with a limp the rest of the night.

When I relayed this to my coworkers, they all laughed, and tried to reassure me that it all probably happened in that "really cute, klutzy, Jennifer Aniston kinda way."

Uhhhhhhhh, no.

See, I'm genuinely clumsy. Not in a sitcom kinda way More in a bleed-from-the-head kinda way.

On another recent evening out, after approximately 16 to 20 hours without food or sleep, I abandoned my dining companion at the table in a Japanese restaurant and went to sit on the curb, with my head between my knees, waiting for a severe and sudden case of nausea and vertigo to subside.

I stayed out there, next to a redolent dumpster, for an indeterminate amount of time because I knew if I had to look at his octopus (and I don't mean that in a "y'know what I'm sayin'" kinda way), I was afraid I'd throw up.

In point of fact, I had already "seen his octopus" and, if memory serves, it was impressive (to give the devil his due), so that wasn't it.

After such a panoply of "mishaps" (and these are just the ones that are printable), my friend Mick - who's hanging out here as I write this - suggests a "dating sabbatical" or "hiatus."

Along those same lines, the reader who taught us about corndogs last week, emailed today to mention that he teaches anthropology and has been covering ape theories linking "bipedalism, human sexuality, and the development of monogamous family structure."

Yeahhh. I knew where he was headed: male chimps go for the "genetic buckshot" approach (sowing seed far and wide), while female chimps trade sex for a good hunter-gatherer (i.e., homo erectus can haul more stuff home if he walks upright).

See, I hate this theory.

In fact, I think maybe those damn dirty apes are part of the reason that, to this day, I'm uncomfortable letting a guy so much as pick up a check.

It's not because I'm afraid they'll think that entitles them to some sort of (Democratic) presidential sex act. (I throw those in, as the mood strikes me. Besides, assessing a food-to-sex ratio is far too mathematically complex. What if I skip the appetizer, but get dessert? Does that mean I take off my top, but leave on my skirt? If I'm not very hungry and opt for an appetizer only, maybe I could just strip down to bra and panties on my porch and then dismiss him at the door? If I want a cup of soup AND salad with my meal, does that mean a minimum of oral sex is in order? What if I want an entire bowl of soup, not just a cup? I guess that's one "around the world?" Does fast food equal a quickie? Does dollar-cost-averaging apply? If so, how?)

So, let me be clear: that's not it. I've never once felt pressured into giving up anything as some sort of remuneration. (Does anyone still believe that women have to be persuaded - financially or verbally - into having sex? If so, they didn't go to college with me and my girlfriends whom, as I've said before, roamed the campus, leaving no testoster-stone unturned.)

The professor acknowledges that Lovejoy's theory is, "blatantly sexist in that it assumes that from the outset our species is essentially patriarchal and that the natural order of things is for females to rely on males."

Ya think?

But there's more to it than that.

First, I don't much care for the implication that we're required to go through life two-by-two. Second, I don't accept that the only societal value I might have is to procreate. (I'm pretty sure Child Services would back me up there.) And finally, I do know women who do see men as a meal-ticket, and I somehow always feel internally compelled to fiscally and emotionally atone for their sins whenever I'm on a date, or in a relationship.

Contrary to stereotype, I'm not looking for a husband. If I was, I'd be married. It's been my experience that supply has always exceeded demand. It's not rocket science. You just need a license, not a degree. There's not even a test.

Also, I have no biological clock. Or if I do, it's set on "snooze."

And as to why the herd is thinning (as the anthropologist asked), I can only speculate.

First, and most obviously, life with me is no day at the beach.

Also, I have standards.

I was on the phone last night with a guy and we were talking about our mutual lack of interest in people vastly younger than us (despite the well-known "half plus seven" rule that it's societally acceptable to date people half our age, plus seven years). This would put me with 25 year-old men, and him with 22 year-old girls. Dispensing with their obvious physical assets, he and I wondered aloud what we'd talk about with them after.

His friends assure him that this is just what he wants, or as they put it, "dude, at that age, they're psyched to find a guy whose car will start!!"

See. That just doesn't do it for me anymore. (I'm not sure it ever did.)

Maybe our anthropologist friend puts it best when he concludes, "sometimes a corndog is just a corndog."