Dating. Sex. Love. Marriage. The male brain cut into four parts, more or less equally - give or take an inch or two here or there.
And, while every man secretly may imagine himself to be Bruce Wayne or the Steve McQueen version of Thomas Crown, in truth most of us have spent more than enough time as tongue-tied wannabes, wishing there was some sort of emotional velcro to help us tie our emotional knots.
And so it is that men resort to subterfuge, to fantasy life, in order to make themselves seem a little more sophisticated, a little more heroic, a little more dashing than they are in reality.
Enough time has passed, I think, that I can share these stories with the rest of the world. The names have been changed to protect the ludicrous.
The Car Phone - 1978
A generation of people who are used to seeing folks hunched over, eyes peering at cell phones held in their laps may not get the reference, but those of us who grew up watching the likes of Frank Cannon and other TV private eyes’s talking on their car phones know just how cool the car phone was.
And so it was that my friend Gary, while we were driving around one day, introduced me to his telephone handset, attached to the cord - and nothing else.
“Look at this,” he said. “It’s my new car phone.”
“No,” I said. While perhaps true that my mother may not have raised a rocket scientist, I can at least tell when a telephone is not exactly in working order.
Gary laughed. “Women don’t know that.”
The logic of this escaped me, until he further explained. “When I stop at a traffic light, and a beautiful woman is in the next car, I just pick up my phone and start talking, like I’ve got a business deal, or I’m a private detective. She’ll get turned on.”
The operating theory, then, was that the average woman would be so exited by Gary’s technological prowess that they would literally leap out of their vehicles, and throw themselves into his, I suppose, or at the very least, using Morse code, honk their car horns so that he would get their phone numbers.
It was an entertaining notion, but not terribly productive.
The private detective scenario shows up time and time again in a man’s quest for love.
The Computer Guys
In the 1980s I would have dinner once a month or so with Aaron, a friend who would, if attractive women were seated nearby, announce loudly as we were leaving the restaurant, “Well, we’d better get back to work on those computers.”
Yes, because as we all know, the IT guys have the reputation for being the most suave and debonair fellows in any workplace = bar none.
The working theory in this case seemed to be that the very mention of the word “computer” would be enough to make women bar our way out of the restaurant. I haven’t seen him for a while; I hope it may have worked for him, somewhere down the road.
Aaron would also use the dreaded, “Well, we’d better get back to work on that missing person case,” routine.
The Pheromone Game: I’m too sexy for my shirt
And then there was Brad, with whom I had a passing acquaintance when I worked as a Security Officer for several years. Brad was a lonely young man looking for love.
Of course, he was also dumb as a post.
And he stunk. How bad did he stink, you may ask? Well, even I, with a diminished sense of smell from years of blending the dough for tortillas at Mexican Original, could smell him a mile away.
It wasn’t the manly odor of sweat we are talking about. It was the smell of a man who evidently had strong religious beliefs against using soap and water at he same time, and even having a nodding relationship with toothpaste of any sort.
He was a sort of walking chemical weapon.
Well, one day, while a’lookin’ through the back of a men’s magazine, Brad saw an ad for pheromone aftershave . . . you know, the sort of thing that is guaranteed to drive women wild with uncontrollable desire.
It was a case of you pays your money, and everyone else takes their chances. The idea that Brad might indulge in a little bathing before slathering on his new pheromone sex magnet cologne was something that evidently didn’t occur to him.
Lap dancer don’t give discounts to private eyes
Then there was my friend who went to certain clubs where women would writhe upon his lap - for money, of course, though often he would try to convince folks that it was because they really, really liked him as a person.
Occasionally he would let it slip that he was a private detective, on the lookout for a missing heir.
And, of course they believed him! That will be $20, please.
Love at the Bookstore
I was once persuaded to go to a local bookstore for one of their famous “single’s nights.” Now, if you have seen this sort of thing on TV or in the movies, it always features really sexy people casually looking through books, throwing hot, sultry glances at others.
In reality. what you have are a bunch of book nerds - and I am proud to be among their number, thank you very much - just sort of quietly sitting in easy chairs, gripping books or magazines with all the intensity of the Vulcan Death Grip, their eyes furtively darting back and forth, hoping against hope that somebody - anybody! - will make the first move.
Think David Hedison in The Fly, caught in the spider’s web at the end, crying out, “Help! Help!”
Well, now just imagine a bookstore full of nervous, shy folks sending out telepathic messages, their inner David Hedisons crying out, “Pick me! Pick me!”
This long tale of woe does have a happy ending, however. At least one of the above methods actually did work for somebody.
Brad the Security Officer was wed soon after taking the plunge into Lake Pheromone.
And that’s all I’ll say on that particular subject.
Wove, Twue Wove - 1976
In 1976 I loved a woman very deeply - so deeply that we became engaged to be married. As a Christmas gift she bought me a digital watch. TRUE LOVE, I thought.
When we broke up a short time later my world fell apart - or at least I thought it did. But with the passage of the years, all I can can think of is this:
A DIGITAL WATCH! Oh, my god! What else might she have bought me over the years?
A lucky escape did I have, indeed . . .
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Quote of the Day
At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet. - Plato