Buying a Car: An Unexpected Matrimonial Challenge

Y’all remember, a little over a year ago, when I was super prepared for buying a house with the Duchess of Cambridge? I knew how impossible it was going to be for this suburban librarian and her hardheaded Southern man to agree on a modestly priced abode that fulfilled all of our contradictory must-haves. I had us pre-approved for a mortgage and started looking months before we could even consider purchasing. We had plenty of time to reconcile our needs and wants with what was both available and possible. We had time to discuss whether or not we really needed a garage, how much land was actually feasible, and deliberate potential paint colors and new furniture. There were still some pretty heated… debates (we’ll go with that), but it went surprisingly well and we ultimately ended up in a house we both love. Now… what the fuck happened to that Belle and why didn’t she warn me that buying a car with a stubborn cowboy would rank with buying a house with a stubborn cowboy?

It all started with talk of babies. As I mentioned in my last post, we’re ready to start a family. I’m 31. Jake is 34. We’re just shy of our two year wedding anniversary. We really are best friends, even if that manifests in the occasional bickering, because Jake’s primary inspiration for lifelong romance is his mother and father, who never stop pecking at each other; and I can’t even rightly say my dad and stepmom are any different.

We have stable jobs. We own our home. Rupert is more or less over the puppy phase. Our finances are almost in order. Our cars have been paid off since we got married and Jake insisted on paying off mine, due to the exorbitant 12% interest rate. Except… it was beginning to show its age. I’d never been overly conscious of my 2010 Nissan Sentra. In fact, more than once, I jumped into the wrong one, because it looked like every other car on the lot, just another silver sedan. Sure, I’d have liked something snazzier, but as long as it got me from point A to point B, the air conditioner worked, and I could listen to music, it was fine. Then, winter of 2017, Jake slipped on the ice in the driveway and grabbed my driver’s side mirror to brace himself… which shattered in his big rancher hand. A few months later, the check engine light came on and since buying a house is so expensive, I decided that this could be Future Belle’s problem. Ultimately, we both agreed to ignore it, in lieu of putting more money into a car with 150,000 miles. Finally, just as the engine would stall at stoplights, the blower motor went out, meaning no heat and air, just before a major freeze.

hwoj

At least the radio still worked?

That frozen morning, as I covered my car in deicer, unable to get a grip on the glaze with the scraper, I called Jake and told him I couldn’t turn on the defroster and couldn’t get the ice off. I could hear his eyes roll, as he imagined my girl arms failing at something so simple, not realizing that the ice was too fine and still accumulating. He responded in his most condescending voice…

Jake: “Pour some deicer on it and then scrape it.”
Me: “Thank you. I’m so glad you’re always available to narrate what I’m already doing.”

I was finally able to clear enough ice to make the short drive to work… or so I thought as I drove east out of our neighborhood, only to turn north, into the sleet, and watch my windshield completely freeze over. Driving with the window open, repeatedly stretching my arm out to spray deicer, I stopped twice to spray down the windshield completely, before I was forced to pull over, as cars began honking at my attempt to Bird Box it to work.

tenor

I called Jake crying, shaking from both the cold and fear of having almost gotten into a wreck.

Me: “I need a ride.”
Jake: “Why?”
Me: “Because I can’t see to drive.
Jake: ::beleaguered sigh:: “Alright. I’ll be there in a minute.”

Able to drive south, away from the sleet, I got my car home in time to meet Jake, who clearly still thought I just didn’t know how to scrape a windshield and, without consideration for my well-being, patronizingly and exasperatedly demanded…

Jake: “Give me your scraper.”shrillunderstatedgerbil-small
Me: “I ALREADY SCRAPED IT! Stop being an asshole and just take me to work!”

I cried the whole way, still shaken up from my attempt at driving blind. Not knowing the details of my harrowing trip, Jake sat quietly with his dude pride, making no move to comfort my seemingly irrational tears until he pulled into the parking lot of the library. As he opened his mouth to say something, I jumped out of the still moving truck to avoid saying something.

That night, as we clarified our misunderstandings and apologized, we both agreed that we couldn’t wait much longer for a new car. While we’d initially planned on a Kia Sorento, we agreed that we should scale back and aim for a smaller and less expensive vehicle, until we actually need a family car. After another month and a trip to Texas, sans air conditioning, with two dogs in the back, one of whom gets car sick, we agreed to look at cars the following weekend. On the way home, the bickering began.

Me: “What about a Prius? They get really good gas mileage.”
Jake: “We are not buying a Prius.”
Me: “Why? Because of your Southern-male-Dodge-pickup-driving pride? That is not sufficient reason to veto a car.”
Jake: “Oh, yes it is.”
Me: “It’s my car. You only get veto rights for practical reasons, like size, age, mileage, or a ridiculous color. You know what? I’m going to buy a Prius, whether I like it or not. Then, I’m gonna order a Bernie Sanders ‘Hindsight 2020’ decal for the window.”
Jake: “You hate Bernie Sanders.”
Me: “Not anymore… and not as much as you do. I’m a Bernie Bro, now.”

tenor-1

As we drove home, I’d point out different vehicles, which Jake would insist weren’t big enough. He’d point out larger SUV’s and I would remind him that we were going for something smaller. I thumbed through an app on my phone and showed him ads for newer sedans, but with a dachshund nose at his elbow and a fishing pole in his neck, he had a point when he declared them too small. I found a couple of cars that I wanted to consider looking at the next day and if they weren’t available, we agreed to just wait until the weekend.

The contenders were a 2015 Buick Encore with 31k miles or a 2018 Kia Soul Plus with 37k miles. On Monday, in true Ravenclaw style, I devoted all of my downtime to research. I looked at numerous cars and concluded that these were really the largest we could afford, if we wanted something newer and with low mileage. I compared the two in question… at length. I read dozens of expert and consumer reviews, which all declared that they were essentially the same size, despite Jake’s insistence that the Soul was too small. Wanting to save time, I got off work a couple of hours early, so I could test drive the Soul and see if it was even worth the time to show it to Jake.

I instantly loved this car. It was bigger than it looked and the large doors meant maneuvering a car seat in and out of the back would be easier than with the smaller doors of an Encore. It was fun to drive and, compared to a 2010, had plenty of bells and whistles. Most importantly, it was marked several thousand below comparable models. It was also bright red. I have my whole life to drive a boring mom car. I wanted a bright red one this time. The salesman tried to keep me from going to see the other cars, but I knew Jake really would want to stick to our plan. He offered to let me take it, with a temporary tag, and I told him that I was certain my husband would feel like I was making decisions without him, so we would just have to come back.

When I got home, I told Jake I loved the car, that I thought he’d like the size and that I wanted to go see it first. He insisted on seeing the Buick first, since it was on the way. I calmly explained why I thought the Soul was the better deal, cheaper and newer with similar miles, and coming from a dealership with a better reputation. Finally, after nearly an hour of waiting for Jake to dress and get everything together, and twenty minutes of driving toward the other dealership, Jake agreed to see the Soul first, which landed us in five o’clock traffic.

Becoming more and more tightly wound, I chose not to speak, to avoid a fight. When Jake asked what was wrong, I explained that I was certain the car would be sold by the time we got there, because he took too long and the salesman had texted to tell me someone else was looking at it. When he scoffed about salesmen tactics, I told him that’s exactly why I hadn’t said anything, and went back to silence. We got to the dealership and learned that the Kia Soul, that I only wanted my husband to consider, because it was heavily marked down from comparable models, had already sold because it was heavily marked down from comparable models. I was pretty upset. The eager salesman suggested some alternatives, but I told Jake that I didn’t want to look at anything else and just wanted to go home. I didn’t care if he felt like I was throwing a tantrum, because I knew that any car we bought that evening would always feel like second choice. I needed time to adjust and find something else I actually wanted. Before we left, however, the manager came over and told us that if we really wanted that car, for that price, he could get something very close at an auction at the end of the week. After test driving a comparable model, Jake admitted that he really did like the car. He agreed to let the manager see what he could do and said we could discuss it over the next few days… except I didn’t really feel like talking to him, anymore.

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It took me a couple of days to fully articulate exactly why I was angry with Jake. It clearly wasn’t about the car, as the dealership could apparently cut us a similar deal. In fact, waiting a few days was turning out to be for the best, since it gave me time to actually sell my Nissan, as opposed to trying to trade it in for far less. No, it wasn’t about missing an opportunity. There were other cars. It was about feeling bullied into doing things Jake’s way.

I’ve mentioned before that the hardest part about getting married at 29 and 32 is that we’re both quite set in our ways and we both have strong personalities. The process for buying a new car, in Jake’s mind, is test driving five or six vehicles, from five or six dealerships and then making a decision. That sounds like a circle of Hell to me. I hate the idea of talking to several salesman, taking their time and getting their hopes up of making a sale. I don’t feel that the important information comes from a test drive and schmoozing with a salesman. It comes from research, reading reviews from experts who know how it compares to other cars in its class and every day people who report frustrations and appreciations. Fortunately, I’m a researcher, by trade and I did a damned good job. While I understand that I have to compromise too, in this case, I stand by my declaration that it’s my fucking car and after two days of little to no communication, I finally told Jake as much.

Me: “How would you feel if you thought you’d found the perfect truck… you loved the color and it had low mileage and it was a great deal, but I made you keep looking and you lost it? Not that that would ever happen, because you could pick out a bright yellow Chevy S10 and I wouldn’t say a damn word, as long as it were in our price range.”
Jake: “You asked me to help you buy a car.”

Me: “Yes. I asked you to help me buy a car, not choose a car. Under what scenario would I ask you to help me research? I admit that I got screwed the last time and that’s why I asked for your help with the financing. I don’t need you throwing it in my face as an excuse to bully me into doing things your way.”
Jake: “I wasn’t trying to throw it in your face or bully you. You had only test driven one car.”
Me: “It’s my car. I just wanted the option to buy it, after you saw it, but you wanted to force me to do it your way. You know that if you’d test driven that car and liked it, you would have insisted I test drive more, even though I was certain that was the car I wanted. It was also undeniably the best deal, financially, and we still would’ve lost it.”
Jake: “That’s how you buy a car!”
Me: “That’s how you buy a car! I’m not some silly little woman who wants a car because it’s cute. I researched several cars, exhaustively, and just because I didn’t do it your way doesn’t make it wrong. I’m not a child! You’re not the adult in this marriage! I’m smart, too!”

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It took some time for both of us to cool down and try again.

Me: “I could’ve taken that car home, that night, but I didn’t want you to feel disrespected and steamrolled. The thanks I got was feeling disrespected and steamrolled.”
Jake: “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to bully you into anything. That’s just not how I buy cars. I know you’re smart.”
Me: “You liked the car, didn’t you?”
Jake: “Yes.”
Me: “Then why?”
Jake: “Because I’m a stubborn asshole. I’m sorry.”

tenor-2

I love him. He’s my very best friend… and I am so glad we don’t have to buy a car together for at least another five years, because my new red Kia Soul only has 35k miles on it and will definitely haul two children.

Jake: “You know, the more I look at those Encores, the less I like them. They are really small.”

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If you’re wondering, by the way, I settled for a “Kirk/Spock 2020: The Logical Choice” decal.

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Engineer 104: The Date I’ve Already Forgotten

I’m just numbering the engineers by tens now.

Gail: “Judging by the men you skip over, that’s probably pretty accurate.”

For some time, I’ve been operating under the rule that if a man meets no deal breakers, I’ll give him a shot. I know I haven’t written about a date since the night I was stood up downtown, ultimately ending up crying over a bag of jelly beans, but that’s not because I’ve vowed to recruit my gal pals in some sort of eventual Golden Girls arrangement. There’s just nobody left. Every man I meet in person and online is perpetually 12 years old. I’m dating in The Children of the Fucking Corn and there is not a grown up to be found. Thanks a heap, Generation X, for raising a society of men who can’t put down the XBOX controller long enough to fill out a job application.

I jest, of course… sort of… at least about the choices and laziness of grown men still being the responsibility of their parents. Everyone in the dating world, though, has that one stat that they look at before all others. For some, it’s physical attractiveness. For others, it’s whether or not they have children. For me, it’s career. I’ll respond to a man with an otherwise blank profile if he has a legitimate and promising career. It’s not about money. I make my own money, proudly. It’s about security and knowing that I won’t be the sole bread winner, pretty much ever. What can I say? Young divorce broke me.

 

In 2014, when the Peter Pan Generation reigns supreme, it seems the number one profession for men under 35 is “student.” In the South, second to that is “oil.” Finally, at least in my experience, it’s “engineer.” I won’t, under any circumstances, even respond to the first. The second, rarely, because no further specification usually means blue collar rig worker who likely won’t have a job in 10 years, because the oil field just sort of works that way. So, I date engineers. Apparently exclusively.

Engineer number 104 had messaged me multiple times over several different dating sites. He wasn’t especially pushy, doing so with a significant amount of time between each, but he was persistent in his interest. I… wasn’t.

Gail: “What’s going on in your dating world, by the way?”
Me: “Meh. There’s this one guy who keeps messaging me, but there’s really not much there. He’s also too old for me, built like Uncle Fester, and has scary teeth.”

uncle festerNot one time, have I claimed to be sweet.

Ultimately, I decided I was being shallow, because I totally was, and I should give this guy a shot. He didn’t meet any of my deal breakers and I did say I would actually start trying, so as to lessen my chances of getting a Daddy in a Jar at 32 and raising a child alone. I finally responded to his offer to text, with some lie about why it took so long, and tried to get a conversation going. There still wasn’t anything there, but whatevs, in for a penny…

Engineer 104 told me to choose a place to meet, which obviously lost him some points right away, but I was pretty adamant that I was going to give the guy a chance and not go in with any assumptions that the night would be a disaster. I chose a local sports bar and ate beforehand, because however dedicated I was, I knew I’d felt little connection in our digital communications and didn’t want him to buy me dinner if there was no spark in person.

I got to the bar first and, after my tearful night of jelly beans, I most definitely thought I might be stood up again. Engineer 104 was about 15 minutes late, with no text message, but had told me he was on his way earlier. I mentally calculated the money in my bank account and planned to leave and buy a cat at 30 minutes after. No joke, because that is definitely an impulse buy to make after a bad date. When he finally arrived, I realized that Engineer’s pictures didn’t really do him justice, as is often the case with men. They suck at selfies and he’d only posted a single very unflattering one. He wasn’t a Winchester, but he also wasn’t an Addams, so woot. We chose a high top table in the middle of the bar and he started talking… about himself… and didn’t stop.

In all fairness, 104 wasn’t awful, but he also wasn’t interested in engaging me in the conversation in the least. I make an effort to ask questions on a first date, so as to avoid a a nervous Buffy the Vampire Slayer fangirl rant, and did so this time as well, but it really wasn’t necessary. Engineer was happy to tell me all about his father/sons camping trip, his problems with deceased family estate drama, the dog his ex-girlfriend kept in the breakup. He even did a few racist impressions of the past clients he name dropped. Let me tell you, you don’t know romance until you hear a Southern white man’s imitation of the Sultan of Dubai.

Now, I like to exaggerate, y’all. It’s kind of my thing.

Gail: :: shivering in the cold grocery store ::
Me: “No one has ever been this cold. I feel like I’m in the hedge maze at the end of The Shining.”

I must clarify, however, that I do not exaggerate when I say that this man checked his phone at least 10 times in the hour we spent together. He explained that his dad was sending him score updates for the high school game his brother was coaching, but dude, you are on a date. Either this is important enough that you need to leave, or you can put away the fucking phone for one hour. I thought my generation was supposed to be the iGeneration. Which brings me to his age. Engineer was only 34, but to listen to him, you’d think he was nearing 40. I’m 27 years old. I do not feel old and I’m not going to for some time, so the last thing I want is to be with a man who is constantly talking about burial plots. Okay, that was an exaggeration, but he did keep saying things like “now that I’m older” and talking about how hard it was to get around these days. I’d rather be with a 35-year-old, who realizes he has all the time in the world, than a 28-year-old who talks nonstop about the dreaded 30. The golden ticket with 104, however, was when he got out of his seat to stand next to the table for a moment.

104: “I’ve gotta stand for a minute. My butt’s asleep.”

Engineer 104 just may not have been that interested in me and felt no need to impress or engage. I can’t imagine this was his best behavior. Maybe I was too young and spry. Possibly, I just didn’t do a great Arabian impersonation. I don’t know, but after just an hour, I told him I had to get up early the next morning and he didn’t seem particularly disappointed. I feel no need to leave a date with false hopes and simply told him to have a good night. He moved in for a hug and told me we should do it again sometime. I likely just looked confused, because I didn’t think the date went all that well. He either agreed or I’m not great at hiding my emotions (I am so not great at hiding my emotions), because I never heard from him again and I was not sad.

Engineer 104 was… forgettable. You know what, though? That was kind of nice. It wasn’t a good date, but I also didn’t leave in tears, which is, sadly, an accomplishment after these last few months. He did not insult my religion. He did not drink five beers in one hour. He actually showed up. He was just some guy and I assume I was just some girl. Sometimes, it’s kind of nice to have a forgettable date, as it reassures me that I’m not just overly critical and eager to buy myself some sperm for my 32nd birthday. Had he asked, I might have gone on a second date with 104, just to give him another chance. In hindsight, I realize it would’ve been a disaster, but I’m proud of myself for not letting his incorrect usage of the word “literally” write him off as a person. No, it was definitely the racism.

So, here’s hoping that things might go more smoothly with the new guy I’m texting. He’s an engineer, y’all!

Pretend Poise: The Time I Got Stood Up

Me: “Ugh! I’m so tired of being alone, but all the men are losers!”
Gail: 

That pretty much sums up my dating attitude over the last few months: lots of hyperbole from me and put-upon sighs from Gail. I haven’t actually been trying since the disaster that was Assistant Manager giggling over my breakfast pastry Savior, though. I’ve mostly been enjoying the single life, that is drinking entire pots of coffee by myself, staying up all night to create dance routines with the dog, and having Once Upon a Time marathons for days on end.

Single life.

Once the shock that was another solo birthday had passed, I felt a lot less pressure to fall in love right now, right now, right now. Again, I vowed that, if I reached a point in my life where I felt like my chance for family was slipping away, I’d just have children on my own. After all, why would I pass up one of life’s great joys just because some stupid boy couldn’t follow a schedule? So, I was enjoying my time alone. I was absolutely not in Panic Dating Mode when Corrections Officer came along.

Gramma: “A corrections officer? Oh, that means he’s mean.”

“When my Gran tells me to run, I run.” – Sookie Stackhouse

Sigh. The one time Sookie Stackhouse had something useful to say.

Corrections Officer was an OKCupid user with a blank profile. He’d messaged me once before and I’d ignored him, because he was military and that’s all his profile really said. Then, he messaged again, about a month later, clarifying that he wasn’t in the service any longer and that he worked for the government. Men are usually terrible at choosing photos and his weren’t half bad, so I messaged back and asked him to tell me a little about himself. For the next couple of weeks, he’d text me briefly each day, letting me know he was interested, but not sitting outside my apartment with his hands down his pants. It was a nice balance, because clinginess freaks me out like Chandler Bing.

“Three text messages in two days?!??! Dude, crawl out of my ass! I have a life!” 

While no longer a true military man, Corrections Officer was still in the Reserves, so the first weekend we chatted, he had to go out of town, or we would have met then. Instead, we talked for an additional week, with the intention to meet last Saturday. I texted a day before to tell him that I thought we should probably make some more specific plans, so we decided on 7:00 and he asked what I liked to eat. Not wanting to be pushy, I again waited until about 1:00 on Saturday to ask exactly what he wanted to do. After a touch of “What do you want to do?/I really don’t care” – Dude, just let your testicles drop and make a fucking plan – he said to meet him downtown at the outdoor store and that we’d walk to a popular restaurant from there. The last time I heard from him was around 4:30, when I was still at the library.

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I was excited, y’all… like legitimately reminding myself that we might not hit it off, excited. I even told all of my coworkers that I had a date. Despite the fact that Saturdays at the library are rough, I rushed home, redid my makeup, put on one of my many, many, Zooey Deschanel costumes (pretty much all I own), straightened my hair, and headed out. I arrived at the outdoor store five minutes ahead of time, stowed my purse in the trunk, and found a visible bench to sit on out front and waited…

… and waited…

At 7:10, I sent a text asking if I was in the right place…

… and waited…

At 7:20, I sent…

So, I’m not sure what happened, but without a response, I think I’m gonna head home.

Just to be certain, I tried calling Corrections Officer and got voicemail, doing a quick walk through inside, just to make sure he wasn’t browsing boats with his phone on silent. After trying to call a couple more times, I headed to my car, just ready to go home and plot my blog post over this horrendous event. Then my phone rang.

Y’all, I have a predate prayer. It goes a little something like this:

Jesus, please let this go well. Let this be someone worth my time and maybe even someone I could fall in love with… I mean, ‘with whom I could fall in love.’ I’m sorry ’bout that. If that’s not possible, could you please just let it not be awful? I’m so tired of terrible date stories. Finally, if it is awful, could you please give me the strength to conduct myself with grace and poise, no matter how horrifying things are? Thank you.

The above prayer is exactly why I’m proud of the way I responded when I heard Correction Officer’s cartoon redneck voice for the first time. I’m not even being petty. My daddy has spoken the words “That bobcat come flyin’ out from underneath” and I thought this guy’s accent was over the top.

Me: “Hello?”
CO: “Hey. What are you doing?”
Me: “Excuse me?” I was genuinely confused, not being sassy.
CO: “What are you up to?”
Me: “Ummm. I’m waiting outside the store for you.”
CO: “Oh. Yeah… I just got off work.”
Me: ::silence::
CO: “I got called in. It was like, a mandatory thing. There was a riot at the prison.”
Me: “Um. You could’ve told me.”
CO: “Yeah… I uh… didn’t have a phone.”
Me: “Okay. Well, I’m gonna go home now.”
CO: “Um. Okay.”
Me: “Have a good night.”

I get that things happen, folks. I do. But this guy could not have been less apologetic about the fact that I’d been waiting downtown (which is about 20 miles away), all dressed up, for over 30 minutes. I’m not even accusing him of lying. However, he’d texted me at 4:30. I know he isn’t allowed a phone inside the prison, but he absolutely had access to one before he entered. I deserved, at the very least, an “I just got called into work. I don’t know when I’ll be out and I won’t have a phone. Let’s postpone until 8:00.” Instead, he left me to feel more and more dejected by the minute, waiting for some kind of call. When he did call, I didn’t even get an apology… except as an afterthought.

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I am really not a dramatic person, folks. I make wildly exaggerative declarations, as a joke, all the time; but short of insisting that eating the candy on the break room table was the worst thing that’s every happened to me, I’m pretty low-maintenance… until I crack. I’m not gonna lie, either. The poise totally ended with that text.

Me: “I’m gonna die alone!”
Gramma: “What happened?!”
Me: “I just got stood up! Now I’m gonna go home and eat cotton candy jelly beans for dinner and suck my thumb and start the process of dying alone!”
Gramma: “Well, who was it?”
Me: “The corrections officer that you said was mean, because he was a corrections officer, and you were right! It’s never gonna happen! I’m never gonna meet anyone and I can’t even be a cat lady, because the apartments won’t even let me have a cat! I’m never going to be able to have babies!”

Gramma: “Well, if he’s not more considerate than that, Belle, it’s for the best that you didn’t waste your time on him.”
Me: “I’m not crying over one stupid boy I’ve never even met, Gramma! I’m crying because they’re all stupid boys and I’m not gonna be able to have children!”
Gramma: “Oh, stop it. You are, too. When you least expect it…”
Me: “Oh, Gramma, I can promise you that sitting alone in front of an outdoor supply store, slowly realizing that you’ve been stood up, is exactly when you least expect it.”

The conversation didn’t exactly improve from there. It was pretty much just a lot of me exclaiming that there was no one left and my ovaries were rotting, with my Gramma offering to call Corrections Officer up and “give him a piece of [her] mind!” Eventually, I let her go, took off my makeup and set the dress aside for church in the morning. I curled up on the couch and ate my Jelly Belly dinner…

I took out a cheesy romance novel…

… and I cuddled the dog and told him all about how he was the only boy I’d ever need.

Me: “I’m so tired of awful dates.”
Gail: “Yeah… this one was exceptionally bad.”

Five Things to Immediately Remove from Your Dating Profile

Recently, I downloaded Tinder.


That about sums it up.

There have been some promising results… or like two. Regardless, I wasn’t even expecting that much, based on blogs I read, and just figured it would be amusing. Don’t worry. Indeed, it has been.

tinder 1

 Tinder 5

Tinder 4

 OH, THE MAN CHILDREN!!!!!!!

Besides leaving me brokenly muttering the words “I can’t… I just can’t,” Tinder has helped me to refine a list I’ve been forming for quite some time: Five Things to Immediately Remove from Your Dating Profile. I am, of course, referring to men, but ladies, it probably wouldn’t hurt to heed this advice, as well.

Age Inappropriate Photos

One of the things I’ve enjoyed about Tinder is the snide comments that caption each new match, such as “I’m sure they’re better looking in person” and “You’re not getting any younger.” A day into using the app, I was matched with the poster boy for Man Children, at least according to his pictures. While I won’t post a picture of a stranger, this man wore a flat-billed cap, tight black coat with a fur-trimmed hood, wife beater, and bling. He was also white as the driven snow, and lived 12 miles from me (read: suburbia). The photo was captioned “Rockin’ this party 8 days a week!” He was 31 years old. I sent Gail a screenshot with the following:

Yeah… I may not be getting any younger, but he sure is. 

This outfit was the male equivalent to a bedazzled, frayed jean skirt, that was so short as to reveal butt cheeks. In other words, it really wouldn’t even be appropriate on a 19-year-old, but at least it would make more sense. While this was an extreme case, I see instances of this sort of thing all the time. For example, making a duckface (ladies), wearing a flat-billed trucker hat (gentleman), throwing up pretty much any faux gang sign, flipping off the camera, lolling your tongue right out of your head like an overexcited dog…

I have a picture of myself from about a year and a half ago, wearing oversized sunglasses, with my winter coat’s faux fur-trimmed hood pulled forward, making a kissy face, with too much lipgloss. While know that I took it ironically, that guy looking at my profile may very well assume I was going for Diva, over Dork. So if that slutty Halloween costume was a fluke or in jest, it’s a terrible representation of who you are as a person. These people don’t know you and your photo is likely the very first thing they’ll notice and use to form opinions. That means, if you’re a homebody bookworm, don’t use that photo of you pretending to down a bottle of Jack, because a woman you might have been quite interested in cannot be expected to conclude that you were poking fun at your naturally reserved nature. You were going for fun loving, but it’s one picture, so it comes off as juvenile. Don’t misrepresent yourself, either way. While you’re at it, nix…

The Phrase “between jobs”, or Anything Similar

I think everyone goes through times when they’re just plain tired of being single. They want someone to curl up with at the end of a long day, to hold their hand at a family funeral, to help them carry the groceries from the car. I’ve been there. You’ve been there. Sometimes, however, this longing occurs when we just have to admit that it’s a bad time to get into a serious relationship. Maybe you really want to be ready to date after your divorce, but you just aren’t. Maybe you’d love to have time for a relationship, but with school and the second job, it just isn’t possible. Maybe, just maybe, you’re unemployed.

If you know my history, you’re aware that my ex-husband did not work… like at all… for four fucking years. I realize that this makes me particularly sensitive to any level of unemployment, but in all honesty, for a 28 year old man to tell me he’s “between jobs,” as an opener… I can’t… I just can’t.

I know we make up the boomerang generation, where it’s totally common (I refuse to call it normal), for adults to move back in with their parents, but that doesn’t make doing so any more stable. Everybody has setbacks. Gail, herself, spent two years living with her parents after her daughter died. I mean, really, if you have a better excuse, I’d love to hear it. Sometimes, we have to crawl even after we walk. That’s life. Is it the foundation for a healthy and long lasting relationship, though?

No. Take a break, sort your life out, and then decide if you want to pursue even more responsibility and stress, because you’ll be reading profiles with obvious specifications like…

“No Cheaters”

This actually applies to any given that only succeeds in broadcasting your baggage before the first date. Recently, I’ve also seen a demand for “no liars”, the declaration that they “don’t want to be used”, and brief snippets about their past relationships that “didn’t work out” because “mistakes were made on both sides.” Far and away, the most popular, however, is an insistence for “no games.” Here are the flaws with these statements:

  • Few, if any, men or women would self identify as “liars.” No one wants to date a liar. It’s understood.
  • Few, if any, men or women would consider themselves “users”, even if they do take more than they give. No one wants to date a user. It’s understood.
  • If you’re dating now, your past relationship didn’t work out. It’s understood. “Mistakes were made on both sides” totally sounds like “revenge cheated.”
  • Finally, no one thinks they’re “playing games.” We’re all just making an effort to figure out what we want, without getting trampled and sometimes, it leads to trampling. No one labels themselves this way and no one wants someone to “play games” with them. It’s understood.

Dude, I’m so sorry that your previous wife slept with your best friend and lied about spending all of your money on designer handbags. It’s awful that you felt the need to sleep with her high school nemesis to make her pay and now all women look the same to you. One question, though:

WHY THE FUCK IS THIS ON YOUR PROFILE?!?!

We all have baggage. That’s a safe and reasonable assumption. In fact, lately, I’ve been sleeping less and less, because I keep having nightmares about my marriage. It’s been three and a half years and I’ve slept with the light on twice in the last month. I’m considering getting therapy if and when I get health insurance. You know what, though? That’s a terrible pick up line.

Sure, there are some facts that cannot and should not be withheld. If he’s been married, has a daughter, or cares for his ailing grandmother, I want to know, so that I can make a decision as to whether or not this is something I can handle long-term. The facts are necessary (marital and parent/caregiver status). Almost without fail, the emotions attached to them are better left for another date, because these people are still strangers. Speaking of which, you should also leave out…

Anything Sexual

While sexuality is all over our televisions, magazines, and somehow even radio, I find it is still generally expected that we, as individuals, will not share intimate details of our private lives with strangers. Of course, there are certain facts worth sharing in a dating setting, in regards to sexual health. These could include being HIV positive, saving yourself for marriage, physical incapability of sexual performance, or possibly even a broad description of personal appetite. All of these things could be potential deal breakers for a romantic partner, so full disclosure is probably the best idea. You’re in luck, too, because there’s a private messaging option for that, if you STILL don’t want the whole world to know. Beyond these somewhat reasonable topics, though, OKCupid has asked questions on all of the following…

History of anal sex
Enjoyment of performing oral sex
Willingness to be collared
Opinion of pain during sex
Pornography preference
Masturbation habits
Willingness to kiss after receiving oral sex
Interest in group sex

Regardless of anyone’s answers to these questions, why do these things need to be shared? Even if you’re looking for a hookup, do you really want that guy from high school to be able to read about your history of anal sex? This shit is public, yo. Furthermore, while I haven’t actually had stranger sex, isn’t half the fun in discovery? I mean, aren’t you sort of ruining the mystery of shamelessly sexting about these things? Even if you’re looking for something serious and are just particularly open and honest about these things, the person you’re trying to entice may not be. It is unbelievably awkward to sit at dinner with a nice man and have the following running through your head:

He prefers softcore porn. What exactly is softcore porn? Does he realize the possibility that he’s watching live sex slavery acts for his entertainment? Ew. His entertainment. Do not think about him masturbating. Do not think about him masturbating. 

This is totally one of those Just Me moments, isn’t it? You know what? These things still beat…

Your Tired Anchorman Quote

The most private thing I’m will to admit…

“I wear a special cologne. It’s called Sex Panther, by Odeon. It’s illegal in nine countries. Yup. It’s made with bits of real panther, so you know it’s good. 60% of the time, it works every time.”

The Time I Didn’t Have Coffee with Plant Manager

Me: Remember the guy from eHarmony that I said I might meet? I haven’t heard from him since Friday and now he’s asking if meeting tomorrow still works. Thoughts?
Gail: That’d be fine with me. That’s pretty much just the weekend. People get busy. *Shrug* At the very least, it’s a meal.
Me: It’s a coffee. Today’s Tuesday and I last heard from him Friday at noon. That’s a little more than the weekend.
Gail: It’s a coffee. I’d do that with a guy I didn’t remember meeting at a bar a month ago.
Me: You’d do a lot of things with a guy you didn’t remember meeting at a bar a month ago.

I am going to be completely honest about my motivation to join eHarmony. I follow an über conservative blogger, who has some really great points and sometimes, some really crazy ones. He’s a truly unique guy and just a touch fanatical, but he met his wife on eHarmony and, based on what I read on his blog, they seem genuinely well-suited and happy. Sooooo, if eHarmony could find a match for this just-a-touch-nuts guy, surely my chances would be improved. That’s right. I read a story about a guy who claims to have a good marriage, so I spent $135 on a year of eHarmony.

Plant Manager was my first eHarmony date. He was 30 and transitioning out of the teaching profession. I always prefer for a guy to have a pretty set career, but both options were Big Boy Jobs, so whatever. He also had a roommate, which is always a turnoff for me. In the South, you can get an apartment for less than $700 per month, so it always comes off as a bit juvenile to me when someone doesn’t live alone. Regardless, I understand that different people have different preferences, so whatever. He was particularly religious, which seemed potentially problematic, since he was protestant, but I figured I’d give it a shot, because whatever. Finally, I wasn’t really feeling much common ground or interest, via text message. He hadn’t made much effort to contact me or get to know me at all, prior to meeting; but different people do this online dating thing differently…. so whatever.


I feel like this gif pretty much sums up my dating life.

As you can tell, I wasn’t overly enthusiastic about this date. It wasn’t so much my dating attitude, as of late, as it was Plant Manager, himself. I suppose I was hoping that there might be this great face to face connection and we’d have an amazing conversation. Then again, I did send my dad the following text, in regards to visiting my uncle and family at the hospital.

Me: Well, after this date goes badly, I’ll head that way.

The date was sort of just on the way.

When I got to Starbucks, Plant Manager opened the door for me and greeted me. While I tried to put the trivial stuff aside, I immediately noticed that this man could not look like more of a hipster if he had a fedora and knitting needles. Also… 5’8″ DOES NOT FUCKING EXIST! Seriously, if one more man tells me he’s 5’8″, I’m just going to pretend I have a date with Tyrion Lannister.

Are these people just used to the metric system and having difficulties with the conversion? Are they rounding up by two inches? Am I not realizing that they’re barefoot? I am 5’5. My cowboy boots are not three inch heels. We should not be the same height, when he is wearing shoes… even if they were burlap loafers (I shit you not).

Ahem…

After greeting me, Plant Manager just kind of… stood there. He didn’t direct me to a seat, though he’d already been waiting. He didn’t ask me if I’d like anything to drink. In fact, it went something like this:

Plant Manager: “Were you gonna order a drink or anything?”
Me: “Um… I guess not. Did you not want anything?”
Plant Manager: “Well, I thought I might get something if you were gonna get something. If not, I guess not.”
Me: “Um.. okay.”
:: silence… still standing in the doorway ::
Me: “You wanna sit?”

Y’all, I am pretty big on letting the boy be the boy. Not only does that include offering to buy me a coffee after inviting me to Starbucks, but it also includes asking me to sit with him, like a gentleman. I’ve no interest in leading this dance, so I will stand there in the doorway until he gets the point… or someone opens the door (as was the case).

Plant Manager: “I teach at a vocational school.”
Me: “Have you never taught at an actual school?”
Plant Manager: “An actual school?”
Me: “NO! I mean a public high school. I wasn’t insulting career tech.”
Plant Manager: “Okay. Sorry. I’m a little sensitive about that.”
Me: “I actually got my bachelor’s in Family and Consumer Science education, so I understand career tech more than most.”
Plant Manager: “Family and Consumer Science?”
Me: “Home-ec?”
Plant Manager: “Huh. I didn’t know that took a whole degree. Really? Just for home ec?”

Duuuuuude. You just got offended when I accidentally made it sound like I didn’t take your job seriously! Also, remember this.

Me: “So, what was your major in college?”
Plant Manager: “Bible.”

Okay, I don’t know if this is a Catholic versus Protestant communication breakdown or if he’s just wording that incorrectly, but it did bring up religion.

Me: “Ministry is certainly a Calling. I’m Catholic, of course, so that was obviously off the table for me.”
Plant Manager: ::clearly surprised:: “Oh? You’re born and raised Catholic?”

Okay, I am almost certain it’s not just the librarian in me saying this, but an online dating profile is not that long. Read the whole damned thing, so we can both avoid moments like this! Somehow, we got on the subject of homosexuality being considered a sin in most Christian churches, as his was also very traditional.

Plant Manager: “It’s only mentioned in the bible like, four times. I don’t know what it is, but something about that whole issue really doesn’t sit well with me.”
Me: “Well, some theologians have pointed out that Jesus was a devout Jew, so he would’ve been against homosexuality.”
Plant Manager: “I guess that’s the difference between Catholics and Christians. We go off of scripture.”

Um, nice jab at my Church, douche. Also, judging from your burlap shoes, the denim shirt that’s so tight I can see your nipples, and your mannerisms, I think know what it is that doesn’t sit well.

Honestly, y’all, I don’t want to cry homosexual toward every man I date. Air Force was straight as an arrow. I didn’t get any gay vibes at all from the much less manly Engineer No. 94, but I thought this the second I walked through the door and and noted Plant Manager’s khaki colored skinny jeans. In addition to his inability to discuss religious ideas, without being an ass, I’d already realized things would never work, because while I adore my gay friends, I don’t want to date them. I genuinely felt like the man had some things to figure out about himself, so I moved the conversation to some more neutral territory.

Me: “I love my job, though.”
Plant Manager: “Yeah. That’s good. I can’t imagine it being too stressful.” :: chuckles and scoffs ::

Excuse me?!?! I’m sorry, but if there was any doubt of this man’s homosexuality, it was laid to rest upon discovering his ability to be that much of a bitch. What the fucking hell? I did not get my damned master’s degree in shushing people and pushing my glasses up the bridge of my nose. My job is heavily rooted in customer service, research, and information technology. Any given day, I could have a woman on the phone asking me to read her full articles about anal fissures, while I have two people in front of me listening to this conversation, waiting for assistance with reader’s advisory and downloading e-media, and two other people sighing and waving their hands at me to help them reformat that resume and figure out how to print that conversation from Facebook. Furthermore, Plant Manager had already declared that the field couldn’t be that competitive, via text message, when I told him I was half time. I’d already given him the benefit of the doubt. Dude, if you’re basing your knowledge of a profession on a scene from a movie, go suck a dick!!!!

Me: “Well, I think I’m going to go see my uncle in the hospital. It was nice meeting you. Have a good night.”

That’s right. The best part of my date night was a hospital visit.

Peter Pan and the Reason I Moved to 1954

I have dated a lot of men. Just dated, not “dated.” No air quotes are necessary, unlike with some people I know… ::cough:: Gail ::cough::

I’ve dated short chubby men, tall skinny men, unusually surly men, men who were probably gay, Atheists, men who look like Gollum from The Lord of the Rings, men with furry hands… okay, those last two probably shouldn’t have been plural. Even I have not managed to date two men who look like they’re wearing September mittens. My point is, however, that I’ve had an… eclectic dating history. When I first started dating, newly divorced at 24, I was “overly specific” (air quotes totally necessary) with my dating goals.

“I just want an educated, gainfully employed, Catholic man, who’s 6’4″, well hung, can protect me if society breaks down, but still likes to debate Superman vs. Batman! IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK?!?!” Over time, though, I’ve become both more serious in my dating ventures, and more reasonable. Today, he only has to enjoy intellectual conversations (no degree required), love Jesus, and clear 5’7″. I’ve added a couple of things to the list, naturally, as I’ve discovered them to be issues. For example, military is out, because I’m not leaving my Gramma, Gaily, daddy, or career. He must be older than me, because zetus lapetus, I will be telling my great granddaughters of the horror that was my date with Civil Engineer

::wincing:: “Wooooooooow. You’re like a whole year older than me. How do you feel about that?”

… but I’m not being superficial anymore. If there’s even a chance I could develop a physical attraction to the man, over time, s’all good. The one thing I have not relaxed on, and will not relax on, though, is that “gainfully employed” bit.

Now, y’all probably know I had a particularly disturbing marriage. I’ve hinted and outlined and, even though the divorce was finalized three years ago, I cuddled my gun and slept with the light on just two nights ago. That kind of behavior is extremely and increasingly rare, but it does still happen… because my marriage was fucked up. One of the many ways in which it was, was my ex-husband’s refusal to work. By refusal, I mean that this man went to bizarre measures to actually fake employment. This is why I refer to men by their job titles. I’m much likelier to remember that he was a teacher, than I am to remember that he was called Matt. Also, I like the reminder that he does have a job, because of one freakish phenomenon I have noticed among the men of my generation: rampant Peter Pan Syndrome.

Why are there so many men out there who don’t work?!?! I’m not just talking about online dating. I’m talking about people I talk to at the library, men I’ve met at bars, and friends of friends. I ask a man, in his late 20s/early 30s, what he does for a living and he says:

“I’m going to school for graphic design.”

Really? Going to school for graphic design pays your bills, now?!?! Silly me, for getting my MLIS. I could have avoided an awful lot of student loans, if I’d just majored in graphic design.

I haven’t actually been on a date since Air Force, in part, because I’ve been working so much, but also because there haven’t been any men of promise. Recently, I thought I found one. He messaged me on OKCupid and told me he thought we might have something in common, since we’d also been matched on Christian Mingle. His profile said he was in finance. When I asked about it, he told me it was “way too complicated” to explain in a message. *Spoiler alert: no… it wasn’t. When we’d traded phone numbers and had the chance to text, I asked again. My phone instantly rang, though he hadn’t asked to call me.

Me: “Hello?”
Peter Pan: “Hey. Is this Belle?”
Me: “Yes.”
Peter Pan: “Hey. Sorry. I just figured I’d call, because what I do is waaaay too complicated to explain in a text message. You see, you know what the stock market is, right?”
Me: “Um. Yeah. I mean, I don’t invest, but I understand that it exists.”
Peter Pan: “Yeah, well, I grow assets for a living.”
Me: 
Peter Pan: “I invest in different enterprises and even spent a few years flipping houses.”
Me: “Okay, but you have an actual title and this is a steady paycheck, right?”
Peter Pan: “Oh, no. It’s not steady at all. I could lose everything tomorrow. I never have, though. I know people who have… but they always make it back. I mean I’ve got degrees, but it’s not like that means anything, today. Nobody cares about college degrees anymore. I’m actually planning on going back for my MBA and maybe my master’s in experimental psych.”

Me: 
Me: “Um… why? What are you planning on doing with them?”
Peter Pan: ::laughing:: “Nothing, really.”
Me: “So, um… what do you do all day, then?”
Peter Pan: ::laughing:: “Pretty much nothing.”
Me: 
Peter Pan: “I mean, I spend my days, pretty much, like… brainstorming ideas, hanging out with my nephews, taking care of my mom.”
Me: 

This man was 32 years old and lived with his mom. He was able-bodied and educated and chooses not to work. At best, he’s a professional gambler. At worst, he already has a wife he’s never met on World of Warcraft.

What the fucking fuck?!?! Why is this a thing?!?! Why are there people who don’t work?!?! Why are there parents who let their adult children live with them and do nothing?!?! 

No really. I cease my screaming at the heavens and express my sincere bafflement that there are so many adults who just choose not to join society. You haven’t read about The Guys in ages, save for Ward, because I don’t understand them. They’ll always be the boys who helped me leave my ex-husband, but it also seems they’ll always be the men who live at home. They’re my age and older. They have full time jobs. They even have degrees. Yet, my old guy friends all live with their parents for no reason and they’re not even all that exceptional in this. 

Sixty years ago, a man joined the adult world at 18, if he was lucky to last that long. Only the elite went to college and most of them were male. One thing was certain, though. Society did not pander to men who didn’t feel like growing up, just because they hadn’t decided what they wanted to do with their lives, or because it was cheaper not to do so. Men were forced to be men and women were forced to be women. I am so disgusted that this is no longer the way of things, that my next date is going to be in 1954 with a mad scientist and a DeLorean. I work two jobs to pay my way. In grad school, I still worked two jobs and once passed out from selling my blood to make ends meet on my own. I don’t need to date a cardiologist, but I am absolutely willing to demand that he makes a steady and livable wage! IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK?!?!

Fictional men I’d date… wait… on second thought….

In the past, I’ve dedicated entire posts to a man everyone loves, but I hate: Christian Grey. But there are others, whom I openly cheered for from the beginning… until I gave them a bit more thought. Producers, I must say, you’ve been doing a pretty shitty job of writing my dream guys for the last 50 or 60 years now. For example…

alcide
No, no. Not him. I’d have back-of-the-knee sex with this one.

Leonard Hofstadter of The Big Bang Theory

leonard

From the beginning, Leonard is the obvious favorite of the BBT gang. Sheldon’s too in love with Sheldon to date; Raj can’t speak to women; Howard’s hand is likely glued to himself in his mother’s kitchen. Leonard is actually a great guy. He’s funny, loyal, independent, cute in a pocket protector sort of way, ambitious, social, successful, smart, and doesn’t mind looking like a nerd when he’s having fun. Even if he is shorter than my preference and probably can’t shoot a gun better than I can, I’d give the guy a chance. On second thought…

I’m 25 and just shy of a Masters degree. Twenty-seven-year-old, PhD-wielding, first season Leonard would be a great match for me. Penny, on the other hand, is an incredibly lost and immature 22-year-old. Yes, at 22, some women are working full-time and planning a wedding. They have an understanding of their life goals and finances. I get that. Some, however, are collecting Hello Kitty panties while they wait for their fontanelles to close, like Penny. This girl has moved from Nebraska to LA with the hopes of becoming an actress. She laments the fact that she cannot accomplish her goal, yet rarely attends any auditions. She works at the Cheesecake Factory and spends well beyond her means, not just shopping, but by living alone in an apartment that two physicists can afford to share. She’s lost and looking for direction in life, a not uncommon occurrence at her age and the entire basis for the Fifty Shades series. She’s often short on her rent, so she needs someone else to pick up the slack, pay for her internet, cover her share of the fast food bill, and just generally finish raising her. Enter Leonard.

Despite his success and security in his career, Leonard is desperately clinging to the idea that the nerd can get the girl. You know what? That’s pretty danged true. Many women his own age have dated enough douche bags to look past the superficial stuff and recognize a decent guy. Leonard, however, is too insecure to approach those girls, so he takes advantage of the hot chick next door, who is desperately seeking someone to take care of her. Penny sees this in steady and reliable Leonard and mistakes it for romantic feelings, so he takes his chance to  prey on some of those daddy issues and get a piece of that Hello Kitty clad ass.

The issue here is not the general age difference, but the fact that Leonard and Penny are worlds apart in their interests, their aspirations, and their places in life. I don’t doubt that there are some couples who are 22 and 28 and function quite well. I doubt that Leonard and Penny could even possibly be one of them and that someone of Leonard’s intelligence wouldn’t immediately realize this. There’s no way he thinks he and Penny are even going to have common ground for small talk, but he pursues a relationship anyway, because the cheerleader turned him down one too many times. Penny just sees a nice guy who has his shit together, which appeals to her, because she so very much doesn’t. While both are adults and I’m by no means suggesting Leonard be placed on a national registry, I do think that based on his age and education, he’s more capable of recognizing “using someone” versus “dating someone” and therefore blame him for this destructive relationship.

Luke Danes of Gilmore Girls

luke danes

When Lorelei Gilmore leaves her stifling upper-class home life as a teenager (baby in tow) she takes refuge in Stars Hollow, Connecticut: a town with an exorbitant land-tax, based on the number of elaborate festivals held each year. Seriously. That’s what the sign at the city limits should say. Lorelei raises her daughter in Stars Hollow and exchanges adorable daily banter with Luke, the local diner owner for years, before she sees what all her neighbors and the entire audience could already see and they finally get together.

Luke is a successful business owner, just like Lorelei. He’s funny, intelligent, frugal, and doesn’t let anyone push him around. Shockingly, he has very little baggage for a guy in his mid-thirties, except for an ex-fiance and delinquent nephew. He loves Lorelei’s daughter and clearly adores Lorelei in a way I can totally appreciate, because it doesn’t involve any obvious emotion or romance. Ew. This is on cable, people, not Showtime. He’s the perfect small town guy. On second thought…

Lorelei loves Stars Hollow, the home that took her in, because being wealthy is awful or something. She really gets into the ridiculous festivals and town meetings and is friends with everyone. Her daughter has spent her whole life here and it’s the only home she knows. Luke is a true native, but he’s so fucking negative all the time that I can’t help but hope he gets lost in a hay maze or run over by a colonial wagon. It’s not enough to just not participate in something, he has to take the time and effort to make everyone else feel stupid for enjoying their surroundings (and massive amount of tax dollars at work) and having a good time. It doesn’t matter if it’s a local hockey game. a town meeting, or a snowman building contest, Luke isn’t having fun unless he’s taking a shit on Taylor’s podium. Granted, that might be worth a celebration, but come on. He’s the fifteen-year-old who thinks it’s clever to publicly criticize everyone who likes Twilight or my coworker who says “That would lower my IQ” about all genre fiction.

Every.

Single.

Fucking.

Title.

No one is superior for disliking harmless fun. It’s fine to skip the All Night Danceathon. I don’t think I’d want to attend that either. However, attending it just to mock everyone who showed up sounds more exhausting than the event itself. Dating someone who’s constantly making you feel like an idiot for being involved in your community and immersing yourself in the local culture sounds like it would lead to the worst pillow talk ever.

Joey Tribbiani of Friends

joey tribbiani

I don’t care if I was six years old when the first episode of Friends aired. I can still totally relate to the depiction of the random years between college and babies, when you’re trying to figure out who you are and what you want in life. You know, the years that don’t exist in the Midwest. Joey Tribbiani was cute, loyal to his friends, good with birds (totally loses points for that, because birds are terrifying), funny, laid back, supposedly good in bed, and just generally comfortable to be around. He’d have been great for Phoebe, and not only because they were the only two left. On second thought…

I don’t even know how Joey Tribbiani got five friends, because he was a horrible person.  This show started with a 24-25-year-old Joey, who was still trying to be an actor. In time, he makes it on a soap opera, which is indeed impressive. The problem is that this lasted only two or three seasons out of ten. How did he support himself the other seven or eight seasons? Oh, yeah. He didn’t. It’s great to pursue your goals in life, but there’s a time to grow up and realize that you aren’t going to be a rock star. Perhaps you can still find a way to support yourself with your passion, and if so, that’s awesome. But that’s not what happened with Joey. He spent most of this series “borrowing” money from Chandler and stealing food from Monica and Rachel, all the while trying his best to contract some kind of venereal disease.

Not only was this guy a financial leech and a womanizer, but as the show went on, he became progressively stupider. I don’t understand how any of these people related to this guy after the first two years. Chandler and Ross were dedicated workers from the first episode, while Monica and Rachel  (who were two years younger) found their passions and careers in a relatively reasonable amount of time. Phoebe may never have joined the corporate world, but she did pay her own way through a means she enjoyed. In fact, Phoebe was the grown-up version of Joey, dreaming of being a singer while still working a day job she found financially and personally satisfying. It’s not like Joey even paid back his friends’ generosity in any other ways either. Joey half-asses every relationship in his life, from refusing to share food with his date to losing every single item in an apartment where he doesn’t even regularly pay rent. How did the guy even get laid past age 30 while claiming to be an actor with no day job and few auditions? I know I can’t wait to adopt support marry this guy.

George Bailey

george bailey

What the hell kind of list am I working from? Present day, 00s, 90s, and then the fucking 40s? For realz, though. If you haven’t thought of George Bailey’s big ol’ greyscale hands while masturbating, you’re doing it wrong.

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George Bailey is the epitome of American Family Man. He has a sense of family loyalty to rival the Godfather, lost his hearing saving his baby brother, is kind (but not too kind) to the town slut, stands up to Potter, and repeatedly sets aside his own happiness to do what’s right for everyone else. He’s good-natured, charismatic, and the whole town freaking loves him. On second thought…

George Bailey whines more than any single holiday movie character ever and that includes Charlie Brown wanting to kill himself and Ralphie wanting his Red Ryder BB gun. So you gave up going to college to take over the Bailey Building and Loan, George? Well, that’s what happens when you choose to give up going to college to take over the Bailey Building and Loan. You got married instead of traveling the world? Well, that’s what happens when you choose to marry before you’ve traveled the world. No one forced this guy to do anything. George and Mary are about to embark on their honeymoon when they get news of a run on the banks and solve the issue by handing out their own savings. Then the babies come and they keep on coming, so the trip never happens. I didn’t once hear Mary complain about missing her honeymoon and giving birth to George’s litter under the stairs. She didn’t mention how she could’ve been the rich wife of Sam Wainwright instead of listening to George bitch all the time (though according to an alternate reality, no one would’ve wanted her and she’d have become ::duh duh duh:: A LIBRARIAN! Fuck. Off.) The guy wanted credit for making the choices for the greater good, but still wanted pity for all he sacrificed. Life is still about sacrifice and choices and that was far truer in the 1940s. This guy was no trailblazer for his hard times. Instead of standing by his choices, being proud of all the good he’s done, and leading by example, George complains so much that the freaking Heavens intervene. Angels are actually sent down to Earth to shut this guy up. Sure, I want to marry someone good and selfless one day, but not if I have to forever hear about how good and selfless he his.

How about these writers take the best qualities of all these guys – the smarts, the financial awareness, the laid back attitude, the confidence, and the sense of responsibility – and toss out the insecurity, the negativity, the laziness, and all the fucking whining? I’d write fan-fiction over that. Also, make him look like this…

alcide
I am telling you, I would do things that would make my Gramma weep.