Friday, August 29, 2008

Dating Regression

An email from my good friend Bobby popped up the other day around lunchtime with the subject line "hey tell me what you think about this" and a "fwd" header.

Intrigued, I opened it up and found a very brief explanation followed by a forwarded email from a woman (who I didn't know) preceeded by a (somewhat flowery) email from Tommy to the young woman. Below that, the question from Bobby directed at me (in bold) was: "Well, what do you think this means? I think I'm in good shape, don't you?"

I quickly read through the chain of correspondence and determined that he had attempted to "sling some game" in her general direction via email. She responded to a very polite and chivalrous dinner invitation with a terse, delayed, "lets meet for coffee" email and only a passing jab at an apology for the delay.

That. my friends, is the Shaft-O-Matic.

Naurally, I wanted to be the one to let him down easy; so I said (gently): "Bobby, she hates you" and followed with the comments below. I thought you, gentle reader, may appreciate the following show of depth and character:


I recommend the following general, non-specific advice to anyone in your position. Bear in mind some of this does not apply to you, but I went ahead and threw it all in for good measure:

Just meet the girl for coffee. Don't talk about anything serious, how you feel about her, dating, or anything like that. Keep it light and be funny. Don't talk politics, don't mention your shrink, don't share your thoughts on abortion, Obama, Osama, Hillary, Florida football, female softball players, ethnic groups, the NRA, liberals, or public pools. And please, please, PLEASE do NOT mention that buying feed for the cows you keep in your backyard is one of your highest monthly expenses.

Anytime you talk about YOU for more than 30 seconds you're already screwing up. You'll have to share stuff about you, but keep it brief. At the same time - don't pepper her with questions about HER; just follow whatever rabbit trail she lays down and be ready to suggest your own if she falters.

If you get in a jam, remember: everybody loves the Olympics, panda bears, great restaurants, funny stories, and John F. Kennedy. "Hey, did you hear about John F. Kennedy's pet Panda Bear choking to death on water chestnuts during the olympic opening ceremonies" is no good though; its too elaborate. If you must fabricate a news story to keep the ball rolling - mind the two rules of thumb: keep it simple and don't kill off any endangered species.

DO - open the door, pay, and MOST IMPORTANTLY: be the one to suggest you leave shortly after coffee is over.

DON'T loiter and give her the opportunity to say "hey ok....well.....I gotta go....."

If she starts playing with her her keys, fiddling with her phone, or looks around for her purse - shout "Oh MAN!!! I gotta meet so and so for such and such - so we better go!!!" as fast as you can blurt it out, then seek shelter.

DON'T hang by her car, park near her, or walk her to it. Let the door be the bifurcation in your parting.

Afterwards, a great thing to do is: DON'T email her! Then another great thing to do is.....DON'T DO ANYTHING INVOLVING THE INTERNET OR EMAILING HER. Instead: wait and see what happens.

If she later emails to say 'hey I had fun at coffee; we should do it again sometime!' say, "hey that's a great idea - when are you free next week?"

It is important you memorize that line. NEVER suggest a firm day immediately, because if she's NOT free that day you'll have to say "what about Friday" and it looks like you're a complete loser and have nothing to do.

If you blow it like a big dummy and follow with "what about Friday" like I just told you not to, and you get lucky and she says "yeah Friday works" you can recover with "NO, wait! I forgot I'm busy Friday" and then say "ok this is ridiculous!! What works for you other than Friday?"

If she says no to Friday you're in complete loser territory; thats two no's in a row - get out immediately.

If she says "thanks for coffee I had fun", or she says nothing at all; you're done - move on. Don't be the guy who can't take a hint.

In the even of a misfire (click! - no "boom!") - make sure youre always happy and smile alot anytime shes around. Talk to lots of people and be friendly, acknowledge her and be friendly to her, but let her see that you didn't care. You can still turn a "misfire" into a "hang-fire" (click!! POP!!! wait for it...wait for it.......BOOOMMMM!!!) if you're lucky.

If you do as I say - your kindness will be a splinter in her mind. She'll hate it, and despise you so efficiently that she might just come full circle. Remember - women are perverse. They only like you if you're not interested.

But like I said: you should definitely go to coffee.


Jimmy The Love Stallion

aka "LoveMonster"

aka "Lonesome Dove"

aka "Take what I can get"

aka "Please Don't Leave Me"

aka "Homeschool"

A Commitment to Good Health

I believe that paying for a gym membership on a monthly basis is the cornerstone of good health. I haven’t actually BEEN to the gym in several years, but just knowing that I could (if I wanted) go sweat my face off with 20 strangers is enough for me. I may not ever go, but I definitely pay for it once a month – and that’s inexpensive peace of mind if you ask me. I consider it part of my general life-long commitment to good health.

I have no excuse for avoiding it other than that I HATE working out; plus something inside me rebels against the idea of running in place. It makes me feel like a big sweaty, hairy, hamster on a giant mechanized hamster wheel – and I don’t like that. At no point in my life do I want to feel that I have something in common with a tailless rodent. I also hate running, in general. In fact, if you see me running down the street – shoot whoever is right behind me. I’m running FROM him, not WITH him.

I’m sure you see my dilemma.

It’s not like there are hungry lions lurking in the neighborhood. If I need to get in great shape in case I feel predatory eyes trained on me out by the garbage cans – I believe I’ll learn to love running. The fact is - I don’t need to be in great shape to do what I do. In fact, I could spend 90% of my day tethered to a mule and it wouldn’t seriously cramp my style.

Certain people in my life don’t understand that. These certain people seem to feel that gym membership alone isn’t enough. Apparently, there is a widely-held misconception in the world that suggests gym ATTENDANCE is the heart of the matter.

It’s a tough argument and honestly, I don’t have a great excuse. I JUST DON’T LIKE IT and, consistent with my habit of not doing things I don’t want to do - I don’t work out.

My roommate, Austin K. Lee, has a medical condition wherein his entire body breaks out into angry hives if his heart climbs 10% over its resting rate. The man is, literally, allergic to hard work. I wish I had that problem, but I don’t. “Hey I WOULD work out, but I blow up like a big, puffy, red, hairy balloon if I get sweaty” is a much more compelling argument than “nahhhh, I don’t like it.”

Much to my chagrin, my girlfriend, Jessica, compelled me to actually ATTEND a boot camp-type gym class on Monday morning.

I didn’t break into hives....but now I can’t walk.

I guess I showed her!

I woke up at 3am on Monday morning and I couldn’t get back to sleep. So I did what I normally do when I can’t sleep - I snuck into each of my roommates rooms and tiptoed around their beds once to see how sneaky I can be (very sneaky), then I sat on the edge of my bed and tried to fast forward through all my Tivo’d hunting shows. I can’t delete a show unless I watch a little bit of it, so I’m on a constant campaign to get my Tivo memory down to zero. Then, I lay on my back and watched my ceiling fan for a little while until I got dizzy. After that I got up, dressed in workout attire, and headed out.

I arrived early and stood around in the parking lot for a little while watching cars go by until burly women in weightlifting gloves started pulling up. I picked a particularly mannish patron, followed her in the door for protection from flying medicine balls, and started warming up.

My warm-up routine involves shooting the breeze with the gym owner for a few minutes, getting a cup of water, going to the bathroom and smelling the weird air freshener, then standing in a prominent position in front of the mirror sucking my gut in for a little while. I concentrate on looking tough (which is hard to do with so many freckles) - so I end up with a sort of snarling grimace on my face.

When my warm-up routine is over the “class” starts and we end up basically running around a lot with weights, laying around on the floor a lot with weights, and rolling around on a big rubber ball a lot…also with weights. Ordinarily someone sweats on me, someone else smells really weird and gets too close to me, someone else surpasses me at some feat of strength, and finally weird/smellly accidentally touches me and I'm halfway home before the trainer knows I'm gone: usually in that order.

So, we kick that process off at about 6:40. 9 minutes later I’m 50% of the way through 100 jumping-rope-jumps (I can’t get a streak of more than about 4 in a row so it takes a while) when our trainer walks over, looks at the gigantic woman next to me, then back at me, and says “hey you look like you’re in reasonable shape. I’ve got a challenge for you.”

Well, that already doesn’t sound good to me at all, but the big lady next to me was huffing like a blue whale and she looked so grateful at the chance to catch her breath that I figured I’d draw it out a little. So, I asked him what exactly he meant, and how much challenge did he think was appropriate for 6:42AM on a Monday? I meant it rhetorically as a conversation starter, but he promptly snatched away the 45lb barbell I had forgotten to take it down from over my head, pointed at an 10ft long PVC pipe, and said “give that bad boy a try.”

I immediately think slyly to myself: "This guy ain’t real sharp. Here I am holding 45lbs of steel over my head like a prison camp intern and he wants to 'challenge' me with 4lbs of PVC." Naturally, I’ll take him up on his offer – you know?

First – a little bit about the gym. It's not more than 22 feet across. A 225lb sweaty guy stumbling around in the middle of it with an 10ft 4” diameter PVC pipe over his shoulders is what some insurance companies might call “a hazardous situation”, but I figured if the TRAINER told me to do it – it was fine.

So, I lifted all 4lbs of PVC over my head…….and immediately fell over. He neglected to mention that it was 50% full of water "for balancing". He grins. I feel stupid from down on the floor, which is where I often feel stupid.

At exactly that point; as I'm struggling back to my feet holding 10 feet of white plastic-filled water-torture across my shoulders in a melee of huffing, jogging, early-morning workout-people: weird/smelly brushes against me and I'm out the door before that PVC hit the ground.

I would go back, but going to the gym makes me not able to walk.