Hot Property

I was going through my nonjudgmental phase, where I didn't want to push people away for saying the occasional stupid thing.

-Love and Sex

It's good to be in a Seller's market.

I'm finding this out as all my friends have suddenly and spontaneously decided it's their goal to hook me up with the perfect guy. It's become something of a friendly competition among them, and one I'm in no hurry to discourage.

Normally, I veto all fixups. Generally speaking, I'm perfectly content to hang out on my porch with my friends, confident that if the right guy is out there-and if he can make it past the gauntlet of barbed wire, security, and the dogs-he's welcome.

Recently, I've been cocooned in a happily-dull orgy of domestic bliss that incorporates several huge landscaping projects (among them, a cutting garden, a salsa garden, and two shade gardens-better known by my neighborhood as several big piles of dirt), weekend cooking, and a great deal of childcare (my nieces and nephews are serious 80s-era/type multi-taskers and it doesn't take a village to raise them, it requires a platoon).

Even though I am learning to espalier-and as rewarding as it is (involving, as it does, a lot of twine and some sticks)-still, I had to admit something was missing from my life.

So I recently opened up the field, acknowledging that even I have needs. More specifically: a need.

The primal need for air conditioning.

Bachelor number one had a pool, and it briefly seemed like we might have a future, back in the spring. But eventually, one warm day, I noticed that while his big old house had big trees, high ceilings, lots of fans, and radiators...what it didn't have, was duct-work. His rationale was that he hadn't installed central air because he didn't like or need it. This didn't require a Big Talk or anything. I just left amicably and early. When I still knew I could better-deal him.

The candidate who looks best, Bachelor #2, is an engineer-brought to the sacrificial altar by a married couple who graduated several years ahead of me.

I ran down his qualities for the wingmen, and this quickly devolved into a debate about how old we all were when we discovered that engineers weren't necessarily the guys who drove the trains.

For me, I think it was high school. The other guys figured it out in Middle School.

My first job out of graduate school was IN an engineering firm-I worked in Mechanical and Electrical-and I still couldn't tell you what we did. During my brief tenure there, as I blithely chewed my way through many a mainframe, I dimly know I worked on mechanical specs, which means it's entirely possible that there's a bridge out there somewhere that's about to collapse because I misplaced a comma. (Sorry.)

In college, I dated a few engineering students, but I frankly conceded I had NO idea how they were going to make a living in such an implausible field.

Which prompted one of my fellow liberal arts grads to ridicule me mercilessly, "Oh yeah, who's going to pay somebody for something crazy like that? Did you think you and I would grow up and go to work in The English Store, where we'd answer the phones? Like people would be calling us and saying, 'Hey I'm having problems with this poem,' and we'd say, 'ok, well read me what you have so far."

He had a point. It's the rare day when anybody asks me about, say, scansion.

Still, he's supporting my "summer romance" because he once stayed in a relationship for months, strictly because the girl had central air, freely admitting, "we weren't even getting along." He still spent every night at her house though, drinking her beer and making long distance calls from her phone while she was at work.

Bachelor number 3 has been proposed by my pal Rockford (this is our buddy system)-and is described as both "hysterically funny" and "very cynical."

Yeahhh. That's money baby. But cut to the chase: how many BTUs is he packin'?

Rockford really didn't know, but said that his house always seemed very comfortable.

The guy's also divorced, with kids, which prompted me to ask, "hooowww divorced?"

Rockford was of the mind that being divorced is like being pregnant-you either are, or you're not. (But in my experience, sometimes guys aren't as divorced as they think. Even if the ink on the court documents is in the process of drying, trust me, they are still a little tiny bit married. And no good can come of that. One way or the other, the designated rebound chick will always be made to pay for the sins of her predecessors, no matter how vast and varied or unique her own assets might be.)

There's a big difference between getting divorced, and being divorced. Fortunately, this guy is all the way divorced.

Rockford spent an entire summer evaluating chicks on the following criteria: Diet Mountain Dew, ice cream sandwiches, and cable (they had to have all three).

So I take comfort in the notion that he has no room to call me shallow. And that the list of contenders is mercifully climbing, because I'm blessed with caring friends who are very sympathetic to my intolerance for heat.

Sure, Bachelor number 4 did get disciplined at work for punching somebody, but in his defense, it sounds like the guy had it coming. Besides, what's a possible propensity for violence compared to a cool 68 degrees. As long as he doesn't hit me, we should get along fine. And if he does, well, let's just say I have a shovel and a big cargo hold in my truck. It'd probably be a while before he was missed.

Anyway, I'll know more about my summer social prospects once my electrician checks out these guys, along with their watts, amps, voltage, ohms, and so on.

In the meantime, I lie in bed at night, wishing I could sweat, and remembering the words of wisdom I've learned from both my fathers as hordes of kids slammed in and out of the house: "In or out, in or out!! We can't air condition the whole goddam world!"