On Blue Pill Expectations

I’ve been on two internet dates. One ended with me getting hot tea poured deliberately into my lap, and the other one was a fucking disaster.

Many moons ago, I went through a period of pretty low self esteem. I had just gotten out of the military and had a five year long relationship end on bad terms. I was adrift in life, and women could smell it on me. It was like I had a phantasmal neon sign above my head that read “Mid twenties male. Brash, annoying, desperate, clingy.” There was no love out there for your Faithful Scribe.

I did what every idiot does at that point, which was to convince myself that if I could just get the right girl, everything would look up. The ladies were not so enthusiastic about my cart before the horseness. I turned to eHarmony to remedy this unfortunate situation.

After the month long vetting process, I finally arranged a date. The girl was a Mary Kay salesperson (make up ladies are hot, right?) and seemed to be about where I was in life. I drove over to her apartment to take her to dinner, visions of meeting my future wife playing in my head. I just knew that this would be The One – we were going to become a team and pull each other out of our collective funks, building each other’s self esteem. Together, we were going to conquer the world.

I pulled up outside her building (she didn’t give me her actual apartment number for PERSEC reasons) in the rain and called her. After she said she was coming out, I began watching for her. I am a gentleman and always open the door for a lady, but I wanted to stay in my warm, dry truck as long as possible. After several false alarms, I heard a knock on my passenger side door. My finely tuned jungle sense had somehow missed the future love of my life walking across the parking lot.

I sprung into action, much chagrined. Had I messed up her first impression already? I hopped out, and went around to the passenger side door. The creature I beheld was nothing like the one that had danced in my mind on the trip over. There were no long, lean thighs. There was no feminine jawline, no perfect (but tastefully concealed) busom pushing through a sheer (but tasteful, you see?) blouse. Absent were soulful (but glinting with subtle mischief!) eyes.

I was looking at a human tub of shit. This poor girl had let herself go to the point of repulsiveness. She had two and a half chins, a pannus that hung to her knock-knees, and tiny, beady eyes that were permanently squinting due to the oppressive weight of facial fat. Dear Reader, I believe I actually took several steps back.

“Hi, Dogsquat! I’m so excited to meet you. Where are we going to eat?”

My mind raced. I had reservations at a five star restaurant. I was prepared to invest three or four hundred dollars on dinner with the vision in my head. There is no sense skimping on the woman who was to be my salvation, I had reasoned. But this? Is this what I deserved? Hell no.

“I figured we could head over to The Macaroni Grill. They have pretty good food, I guess.”

Quick thinking, right? Smooth, too. Not smooth or quick enough to back out of this date, though. I was bullied into opening the truck door by social convention, and my inability to be a total asshole to an obese girl.

Have you ever seen films of the paratroopers getting on planes prior to jumping into Normandy? Burdened by a hundred pounds of gear and parachute, those brave men struggled up the ladders into DC-3s, teetering on the threshold until they got a helpful shove from the man behind them. Watching this woman get into my truck was quite similar. She huffed and puffed, quivered and jiggled, and finally slopped herself into the passenger’s seat. My huge Dodge truck with a 3/4 ton suspension groaned. When I got back on my side, I swear my truck had a ten degree list to starboard.

Walking in to the restaurant with her, I was as embarrassed as I have been since a very unfortunate incident in fourth grade. The men cast pitying looks at me, and the women were not much better. The servers looked at her greedily, knowing there was economic opportunity in a woman who obviously ate so much.

Dinner conversation was uncomfortable, until I struck upon an idea. I asked about her past relationships. If I wasn’t going to get to know the future Mrs. Dogsquat, I could at least do anthropological research into the kind of man who sought a woman such as this. She was emboldened by my seeming interest in her.

“Oh, I don’t date a lot. I was seeing this guy for awhile, but he cheated on me and gave me an STD.”

“Oh..An STD?…So…uh…what did you get?” Like she had won a raffle or grab bag or something.

“I have genital warts. Don’t worry, though – I get them frozen off and you won’t catch anything. We can still have sex.”

“….”

“I hope we do have sex later. I’m having a really good time with you. I promise it will be great.” The last part was said with what I assume was a conspiratorial wink, but it looked like some adipose triggered facial tic.

“Okay.” I said.

That was the final blow for me. At that point in my life, I might have sunk so low as to use this poor creature for sex, but the thought of warts on my unit put the kibosh on that. We sped through dinner, her surely thinking I was excited by the promise of wading through folds of Limburger scented chub in search of her diseased lady parts, and me wishing for an ejection seat instead of a booth.

When we pulled up in front of her apartment building after dinner, I made the usual excuses about being tired and having to work early in the morning.

“You’ll call me, right?”

I envisioned her very own phantasmal neon sign spinning over her head. It read “Female, mid-twenties. Fat, boring, desperate, and an STD.”

I went home, deleted her number, and drank half a bottle of Jack.  Something had to change, I thought.  This can’t be all there is for me….

On Deconflicting

Sometimes being a man makes it difficult to defuse potentially violent situations with other men.

When I was a bouncer, we had a bunch of minor league UFC guys come into my bar. They started getting rowdy, and some of them were starting crap with the other patrons. I’m a reasonably tough guy, but I am not in the same league as a professional fighter – let alone six of them.  Normally, jokes, flattery, subdued body language, and obsequious speech is enough in these situations, but this group was beyond such measures.

What I did was instruct a particular cocktail waitress to tell them to calm down. Since it was a woman asking, there wasn’t the subtext of confrontation (do what I say or I’m gonna make you) that’s inherent in many man-to-man interactions.

It worked like a charm. The UFC guys were like puppies trying to please the waitress, and a good time was had by all.  Your Humble Scribe won without fighting at all.  He struck an Heroic Pose before riding his Noble Steed off into the sunset.

That technique is appropriate in many situations. Nobody gets hurt, there is rarely a fight, and security is maintained in the most light-handed manner. In those situations, a smart, savvy woman is worth three meat-head bouncerdudes.

A woman needs a tremendous amount of trust in you before she’ll do something like this.  She believes in you.  She’s trusting that if the situation gets Interesting, you’ll keep her safe.  You need to live up to that – it is weak sauce indeed to let somebody else get hurt doing your job.

You’ve got to pick the right woman, too.  She’s got to be savvy, calm, and quick-witted.  She’s got to be in control of her feminine power.  She needs to understand the situation and the possible consequences for failure.  You must explain these things quickly, calmly, and unobserved by your targets.  Pay close attention to the woman as you explain.  If she exhibits any signs of eager aggression, consider another plan of action.  A woman who thinks,”I’m just as tough as any man!  I’m like that chick on Hunger Games!  Grrrrl POWER!” has an immediate future involving bodily injury.  A woman prone to finger snapping, lateral head movement, and spontaneous verbal ejaculations of,”Oh no you di’int!” is going to get her ass kicked, and yours too.  Come up with Plan C instead.

If done properly, you will not look weak in the estimation of the woman.  Maintain your calm demeanor, outline your intent, and express confidence in her.  If the situation is resolved with minimal face-smashing, acknowledge her contribution with a wink and a,”Nice work.  I knew I could count on you.”

Or, go back to Plan A and fight.  In a bunch of crappy scenarios, getting your ass kicked is the best possible outcome.  It sucks, but sometimes life shakes out like that. Let me know if it happens to you.  I make a mean banana smoothie, and I’ll bring one to the hospital.  The nurses will give you a straw, so don’t worry about your jaw being wired shut.

Patriarchy

My mother set the clothes-iron down, yawned, and stretched.  She had to be up early the next day.  It was late and she was tired.  I’d finished the Sunday dinner dishes and promptly beached myself on the couch, perfecting the art of corpulent lolling before heading off to work.
Some people think that’s that weird – wake up, drive to your parents’ house, and gorge on kielbasa, pierogies, and haluski for morning chow, but I…

Hey!

Listen here, you insensitive bigot – thinking it’s “weird” is shaming language!  Attempting to marginalize a certain ruggedly handsome Night Shift Worker like that is hateful and wrong.  You ignorant daywalkers need your noses rubbed in your Circadian Privilege until I decide you’re tolerant enough.

And stop interrupting me.  It’s emotionally abusive.

As I was saying:

I stood, yawned myself, and patted down my pockets, feeling for all my gear.  Leaving one’s trauma shears or stethoscope under your mother’s couch cushions is considered poor form in emergency medicine.  Satisfied with the state of my pockets, I hugged my mom goodbye, and admonished her to get some sleep.

“I will, as soon as I’ve ironed your father’s clothes.”

“They look fine, mom,” I said.  “You’re tired.  Just go to bed.”

She became stock-still.  I started wondering about pettit-mal siezures or some bizarre new type of paralysis…and then her head rotated slowly toward me, like an old T-55 turret with bad hydraulics…inexorably…she elevated her nose 20 degrees and fired:

“I will not let Your Father go to work without well-pressed clothes!  I know he likes looking sharp.  It makes him feel good!”  The iron burblehissed smug accompaniment.

My dad hasn’t touched an iron in 40 years.  No shit.  A vicious, oppressive Pillar of Patriarchy, that dude.  Gangsta.

You know what that entitled oppressor of all Womyn was doing while me and my mom were having that conversation?  As soon as he saw his wife pull out the iron, he told me goodbye (that’s what “Don’t be late for work, boy,” means in our native language) – and went to put gas in her car.  He was trying to save her some time in the morning.

My dad doesn’t worry about a lot of stuff.  He’s always got clean laundry, neatly ironed or folded.  If he wants to bring a lunch to work, it’s made and waiting in the fridge for him when he leaves.  He only cooks when he wants to.  If he even whiffs of tense, the ol’ guy’s getting a neck massage.

My mom, on the other hand, probably can’t even sketch a recognizable lawnmower.  She mentions that she would like the family room painted a certain color, and within days I’m helping my dad move furniture and mask off windows.  An offhand comment like,”My computer is kinda slow…hmmm…” and her laptop is gone over with a fine-toothed comb by her computer-guy husband.  If she comments about beautiful scenery in a movie they’re watching, or an interesting place she’s read about, he hustles some side jobs. The extra money gets transmogrified into a vacation so she can see it in person.

When we get together, I am inevitably bullied into looking at their vacation photos.  In them, my mom often reminds me of a happy little girl, looking wide-eyed at interesting surroundings.  My dad is always beaming at her.  There are an inordinate amount of pictures with her resting her head on his shoulder.  Maybe her cervical spine is deformed, and she’s never told me or something.

They aren’t perfect, but they’re in love.  They bust their asses for each other.  Their lives are much better for it.  As a young child, I took that devotion to roles for granted.  As a teenager, I thought it creepy.  Today, I find it a thing of amazement and awe.

And terribly rare.