It always starts with a smile and ends with a giggle.
Somewhere between those innocent expressions is the excursion of my heart into a battlefield of love and hope.
I’ve never understood my luck with women. I think I know all the little things that make them happy. I bring home their favorite movie and flowers for no reason. I do the dishes, ask about their day and listen to their answer. I even snuggle without the expectation of sex. But somehow all my relationships have ended the same, the inevitable breakup.
Posted as part of a weekly exercise I've entitled, The Idea, to write a series of short stories that can act as standalone material, but are ultimately connected.
I'm late for another date and stuck in traffic with nothing but my thoughts to keep me company, and my memories to betray me.
Since I have time and it's been on my mind I'll catch you up to date.
I think I’m experienced for my age, 30. I’ve had four girlfriends post-high school, two of which lasted for more than three years. I loved two of those, but not my first one, whom I stuck with, like gum under an eighth graders desk, for more than a year. But I think I came through those years a better man ... if by better I meant hollowed out with no confidence.
The one constant in my life has been music. It's the best relationship I've ever been in, but even my tastes changed over the years. You can almost tell what frame of mind and my age at the time by what albums I bought at the time.
In high school it was Metallica and heavy metal. In my late teens, after my first sexual experience (experience covers all manner of sins), I got into 90s R&B so much that I believed I was cool enough to woo women. In reality I was a pimple faced teenager who was only getting the ladies their order of cheese fries and asking what size shoes they wore.
Now I’m 30 and single, again. What is it about two people that make them stick together? I’ve met girls that under different circumstances I would marry in a second (because that's always a good idea) only to watch them walk out of my life forever.
I’m a history major of sorts. I figure the best way to find out where I’m going to wind up is to look at the wreckage I've left behind. Love is a strange thing, and I’m nowhere close to figuring it out, but I want to. After all there’s one thing that’s the same in all my failed relationships — me.
Seinfeld is my favorite show and George Costanza, in my opinion, is the greatest character to ever grace the big or small screen. That said, my favorite Costanza line is, "I don't see a situation ever occurring where I will ever have sex again." My life is starting to look a little Constanzian.
And to what do I owe this newfound insight into my future? I have female comrades who I think keep me around because I'm humorous, sexy, witty and ask how high when they say jump, but something occurred to me one evening out with "the gals." I'm the gay friend who's harmless, non-threatening and won't try to take advantage of them. Of course, this is beside the fact that I'm not gay. ... Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Watching my friends interact with guys at the bar led me to several conclusions and have me convinced that I will never again be accepted for employment at Vandelay industries.
First, I lack an accent. Few things melt a woman like a man with an accent. And no I'm not talking, "Darla, git me some of dem tater skinz" kind of accent. I'm talking about Hugh Grant, Jason Statham and George Clooney. Okay, so Clooney doesn't have an accent, but he's speaking a language that most guys would give their left arm to learn. I see only one solution to this dilemma; relocation. If I move to England where everyone has an English accent I would be the guy with the cute American accent. So you see it's not so much that I lack an accent, I'm just living on the wrong continent.
Second, I’m not quote-hot-unqoute. I've heard many adjectives to describe me: cute, kind, unselfish. My all-time personal favorite is obedient. But I've never been hot. Being obedient could have some positives. I could enter myself into the Westminster Dog Show. The last winner got retired to stud! This is a career that I can get into. Where was that job description on career day? Only in this career could Albert Einstein and Arnold Schwarzenegger be in equal demand.
I heard the word hot 27 times in the span of an hour and we weren't even eating spicy foods. I concluded that hotness depends on a couple factors.
You must be at least 6-foot-3. If you fall under this rule it's equal of not being tall enough to ride the "it's a small world" ride at Disney World. Finally, and this is the most difficult. You must look like you stepped off the pages of an Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue. I look like I just stepped off the pages of the George Foreman Grill "before" page.
You must wear your baseball cap backwards and it must read something clever like FBI or 420. Because at a bar you need to be witty and funny in three letters or less as attention spans decrease as alcohol intake increases.
And that brings us to No. 3. I don't have a number three, but since all catastrophes happen in triples (celebrity deaths, baseball strikes), this should too. In reality the first two items are enough to disqualify me from the midnight Olympics.
After all, "My father was a quitter, my grandfather was a quitter, I was raised to give up. It's one of the few things I do well."