Bar Life

If bar life was a television show, it would be “Wild Kingdom”. You know the drill: hunting, feeding, finding a prospective mate. No wonder we call going for a drink “meeting at the water-hole”. And just as there are an infinite number of TV shows showing bambi being breakfast for a bloody great house-cat, so bars will always be the Serengeti of the dating world.
Men love bar life because we have very short memories. Tonight (we reason) will be the night. Across the still water, in day’s last light, there sits our dream girl. She’s taking Cosmopolitans, gently sipping from the glass, aware only of the other females in her pride. Look at the way her ears twitch, alert for any sign of threatening activity. Hmmm, perhaps I’m taking this animal thing too far.

If the man has sufficient gumption, he will approach dream-girl, try to charm her with wit and erudition and risk the one thing we hate the most: rejection. This is where the memory-lapse is important. In order to walk up and talk to the cutey with the cleavage and curves, we must forget all previous rebuffs. And before commencing the hunt, we indulge in a little positive self-talk: we consider ourselves Brad just separated from Jen; we make like the Benz coupe in the car-park is ours; our (mid) five-figure salary becomes (high)-six (if you include the bonus).

Fearless with falsehoods, you approach and start talking. She’s just as cute as you imagined. They’re real, and she’s laughing at your story. But tonight’s not the night, because somewhere, at another watering-hole, is the mate she’s beeing trying to marry for two years. He doesn’t want to commit. Fool.

And so you retreat back to the hide, heartbroken, but spying a little something tasty to your right………hot damn, she’s a fox! Where’s she been all my life?
Proving yet again that the only difference between us and the animals is that they take their drinks neat; we mix with cranberry.

Shhhhhh

Rule Five: Shut Up

You’ve arrived on time, and so has she. Sweeter than you had imagined – or remembered – she’s smiling and actually seems to be into you. It is at precisely this point you should look down, and realize that the palm fronds beneath your feet hide a man-trap. A deep, well crafted man-trap with many sharp, poisoned wooden spikes waiting at the bottom. Just for you. How do we men avoid falling into this dating horror?

First we need to momentarily change the way we think, and actually put yourself in your date’s shoes. (My mind naturally imagines she’s wearing high-heeled Manolos, but not here in Seattle, sadly, where even hetero chicks wear comfortable shoes. One wonders whether Washington State Victoria’s Secret stores stock anti-sexual politically-correct liberal undies as well.) By which I mean, what is it that a woman is looking for, social intercourse-wise, in a date? Men, she’s not looking for answers. She doesn’t want your resume, and she really doesn’t care about your golf handicap.

To explain this, we need to examine the different way in which men and women view the world. In short, women look for support, men look for the perfect home theater. Women like to talk, men look for a lower gas price. Women make their decisions in public, men make them surfing internet porn.

Let’s face it, for the first few dates, we want to make a good impression, and have the babe think the best of us. Make it easy for them, by asking questions and actually listening to the answers. Open-enders are best, and at least make an attempt at tailoring them to the individual. Asking whether she plans to watch the Bush Inaugural is truly a stupid start here in Dem-land, but something about raising money for Tsunami-ed unfortunates will be closer to the mark.

Which leads us to that awful time when you find that despite her cute visage and clinging blouse, all her gas-bagging is boring your tits off. Refer here to Rule Two: Concentrate. Under even the most adverse verbal overspill, keep eye contact, maintain the sympathetic sighs and tsks, and just tough it out. And if you are asked a direct question, be direct back, answer it, attempt humor if possible and gently lead your way back to her. It’s all about her.

If you find that over the course of the next few weeks that she gave you the heave-ho, recall whether you talked more than thirty percent of the time. If so, you fell headlong into that dating man-trap. I’d check for puncture wounds, splinters and get some blood work done. Don’t worry, the poison isn’t fatal.

Manners

Rule Three: Manners Count.

This happens to be a pet peeve of mine as well as the Midwest, because women (is this just a Seattle thing?) demonstrate loads of neanderthal behavior too.
First there is the whole compliment complex. I was under the impression that when meeting a date, it’s always a good start to say something extravagant about their clothes, the shoes or even the color of their hair. This is very dangerous territory, as the more specific you are, the more likely the woman is to question you as to the finer points of your observation. Be as general as possible, but do say something nice just the same.
Next, none of the following are acceptable: sitting before the date; ordering before the date; commencing eating before the date; finishing before the date; breathing before the date. Well, you get the drift.
Now, some vital eating etiquette rules:

1. Never, ever lick your fingers.
2. Never, ever chew with an open mouth.
3. Never, ever eat from the knife.

This is pretty basic stuff. From my observation however, taking those college dorm habits that were amusing when you were all nineteen, and strangling them, will gain you mucho kudos with any desirable babe. Here’s an idea men! Practise these skills all the time. Maybe then you’ll get a job that requires a tie. Continuing:

4. Don’t point.
5. Don’t pick your teeth. Oh boy, have I got stories about this.
6. Belching is a sign of delight in Arab countries only. Which explains why Islamo-Hugging Seattle is seeing an renaissance of outgassing at the meal table I guess. How inclusive. Yuck.
7. Don’t smack your chops. Strictly for bovines.
8. Don’t get caught with detritus between the teeth. If you are likely to make cake-hole to cake-hole contact later in the night, do yourself a favor and find a mirror. That would be the shiny thing near the basin in the men’s room wherein scruffy doofus stares back.
9. Washing your hands requires soap, water and time. Try it.
10. Buy some mints.

Too much to remember? Well, I’m just trying to help. Keep up your current indecent personal habits, buck-oh, and watch the quality of your girls keep pace.

Men Think Like This

It’s a settled matter now with Midwest: she doesn’t understand how men think. Time and again she’s surprised when I tell her that:
– the guy has absolutely no opinion about her new jeans.
– he was just as happy with the old hair color.
– he could care less about a couple of pounds you lost from your arse.

And ……….god that Tara Reid’s got a great set.

Whoops, that was me thinking out loud. Being a guy I guess.

But she just can’t figure it out. Let me illustrate.

We’re hanging out on a Saturday, tooling around Crate and Barrel looking at furniture. Walking past another couple, MW thinks she notices we two guys exchange knowing ‘this blows’ looks. She comments, accusing me of conspiracy by smirk. I’m baffled at this, and think ‘what other guy?’

As every man who has been out shopping with a woman knows, I hadn’t spent the morning comparing sectionals with chesterfields. I wasn’t contemplating whether cream’s nicer than taupe. And I’m sure as hell not swapping knowing looks with other guys. What I was doing was checking out the all the wives and girlfriends, head to toe, as discreetly as possible. What Midwest saw was me scoping out the other guy’s girl, and him checking out MW. It’s that simple.
So ladies, next time you’re out shopping with a guy and you ask his opinion, don’t be surprised when he looks absently into the distance and mumbles ‘….is that a thong she’s wearing?’

He’s just telling you what he’s thinking.

Fading

Ah, the Fadeout, the desperation-inspired rarely perfected relationship exit. The truth about the Fadeout is that it represents the triumph of hope over logic. It’s almost exclusively a male invoked phenomenon, because we are hopeless at communicating, that, for us, it’s over.

At its heart, the Fadeout is passive-aggressive. It involves hoping – praying, even – that the woman magically figures out that we don’t want to be with her anymore. Ideally, she somehow picks up these vibrations, says to herself “Oh, that’s too bad the Wombat doesn’t want to be with me any more”, and continues her life as if we’d never met. We want the whole relationship infractructure dismantled while we sleep, like Kaiser Soze…..poof! disappearing before your very eyes.

This is insanity of course, because breakups are a reason for women to endlessly analyze, talk with friends, re-hash, question, re-construct and generally squeeze the life out of something that had ceased to exist anyway. Basically men are just over the girl in question, and want to avoid all of the recrimination and heartache that women attach to being the only one left in a two-person institution.

The Fadeout mostly occurs when one party reaches for the How to Leave a Lover playbook and doesn’t find any gambit to their taste – like facing the person directly and saying “By the way, we’re over”. By the time you’re at Fadeout stage, there’s pretty much no stopping you. All logic has disappeared, you feel trapped with no way out, and you’ll do anything to get out of this straightjacket…….ummm, relationship. Here’s how it works (much as MW describes):

1. Move out.

2. Move somewhere far away.

3. Refuse phone calls.

4. Pretend with all your heart you didn’t spend the last three years with that person.

5. Hope, and hope some more that you never see that person again.

6. Get liquored up.

7. Find loads of new trim.

Naturally I don’t recommend this course of action for anyone, simply because it’s neither adult, nor smart. The aggrieved ex-other is now out for revenge (once the incredulity gives way to rage which gives way to lifelong desires to get even). In short, you make an enemy for life.

Then she marries your broker.