My New Boyfriend

A little less conversation, a little more action please./ All this aggravation ain't satisfactioning me./A little more bite and a little less bark/ A little less fight and a little more spark./Close your mouth and open up your heart and baby satisfy me.


Usually, I'm pretty good at "compartmentalizing" my life...Which is a trait men get credit (or blame) for-and it's a skill women supposedly lack.

Lately, I confess, I've been succumbing to the myth of getting work and play mixed up myself.

(No, nothing like that.)

For weeks now, for example, I've been interviewing job candidates, for a couple different positions.

Simultaneously, I've also been interviewing new boyfriends (...likewise, for a variety of positions...if all goes well).

And hell, sometimes, it's hard to remember exactly where I've left off.

For example, I don't know how many times I've had to bite my tongue in the conference room to keep myself from saying inappropriate things like, "So...Ted. Tell me more about how you get along with your mother" or maybe, "joint custody, or sole?"

Fortunately, I've restrained myself-because those questions might be fine on dates (not really, they're rude, under any circumstance; I just believe in saving time)-but they'll get your ass sued in the workplace (and quite rightly so).

One thing about this blurring of the lines has come in handy though. I always know what I want at work. To the last detail. No one's ever accused me of being vague. I don't waste energy on candidates who won't work out. It's not fair to them or me. Now, I apply it to dating as well.

I always have, really; now I'm just taking the specifics to extremes.

After experiencing a recent flurry of...vandalism, my priorities have shifted slightly to encompass a security component.

This is the email I sent to all my friends after the most recent episode of criminal activity (and they've come through with flying colors, for obvious reasons, as you'll see at the end): "Here is the criteria for My New Boyfriend: big; strong; and heavily armed (with a smallish arsenal of munitions). He should also look like Sam Shepard in Black Hawk Down (old, rangy/lanky, craggy, weatherbeaten, militaristic)."

In fairness, longtime readers will know, Sam Shepard has always epitomized everything I've ever wanted in a man (c'mon, a sardonic, laconic, cynical, long tall Texan who writes and is a drummer). In fact, I have to stop writing now so the interns can go get the garden hose and spray me down. (Don't worry: we disclosed that in the job description before we hired them.)


I added that the New Boyfriend would also need central air if he had any expectation of dialin' zero on the pink telephone, or else he'd have to be content with the occasional Clintonian gesture until the first frost. And even those would probably be limited to the environs of my truck, which is roomy, air-conditioned, and kevlar-plated-but unfortunately has a center console as mountainous as the Matterhorn, and just as difficult to traverse. (As a former cheerleader, however, I can draw on my age-old reserves of flexibility when sufficiently motivated.) Suffice to say, I'm not gonna be "Dunkin' Donuts" for a guy with a window unit.

I concluded with, "If you don't find him, bear in mind, I'm moving in with you," and that's when the phone started ringing.

Mostly, I'm getting a lot of law enforcement and military types. (I could tell you more, but then I'd have to kill you.) I once dated a Marine who later went on to the FBI, and things were actually surprisingly good between us. As he put it, boot camp and drill sergeants actually served him well in our relationship. (For example, he was well-versed in the value of a well-timed, "THANK YOU MA'AM, MAY I HAVE ANOTHER??")

"Born again hard" is how they describe Marines who've completed their training. And if that's good enough for Uncle Sam, hey, it's good enough for me.

I do know that, right now, a weapon, combined with a license to kill, evens out a lot of other inadequacies. (Though the wingmen point out that MacGyver and Batman never use guns. True. But nobody's introduced me to any superhero/crimefighters lately. I remain open-minded.)

I don't know that this New Guy will possess the reserves of thoughtfulness that I normally prize, but once the threat posed by assorted stalkers has been...dispatched, we can always break up so I can move on to someone more sensitive.

This idea was prompted when my college roommate stopped by this week on her way to the bookstore to exchange some gifts, and asked if I needed anything.

I gestured to a stack of unwanted, thoughtless, "literary" detritus that I had accumulated from my birthday through Valentine's Day. I already knew that not one of these "gifts" exhibited a shred of thought as to my likes/dislikes, and they were in my way...But it gets worse.

Having worked at a bookstore, my roomie took one look at the white labels (which I erroneously presumed obscured the price of a gift) and said, "Ummm. Sweetie..." hesitating, clearly remembering the fate of Cleopatra's messenger. "I hate to tell you this...But you've been remaindered."

So not only were these clowns thoughtless (and, well, kinda spiteful), they were cheap too.

But as I understand it, according to the rumor mill, "cheap" is an adjective that also accurately reflects their current respective dating circles (albeit in a slightly different context...and by context, there I guess I would be talking about girls with bad haircuts, tacky clothes, deadend jobs, no ambition or humor, fake tans, and a complete lack of social or intellectual skills, whose only apparent talent is to make middle-aged crazy guys feel good about THEMSELVES, because, well, hey, who wouldn't look like a genius when their wit and intellect is measured against the IQ of a Pop Tart?).

So, despite my friend's recalcitrance as the bearer of bad news, she only confirmed what I've known for years. I learned it from my grandmother: Water seeks its own level. And now, I'm seeking mine.

She had another old saying these guys might find just as valuable: lie down with dogs, get up with fleas... Hope that's helpful.