I’m always honored when a single female friend of mine asks if I know any single men. I deeply appreciate that my many female friends trust and like me enough to think that I could match them up. But I can’t. Please stop asking. I don’t know if you’re seeking companionship or if you just miss having socks all over the floor and a stack of magazines in the bathroom. It’s not you, it’s me. I haven’t said that in years, but unlike last time when it actually meant “you smell like cat urine, your tattoos look like Rorshach tests, and you mispronounce February” this time it’s actually true.
Well, it’s not me per se. It’s who I am. I’ve been married for ten years, which means most of my male friends are married, too. Single men don’t want to be around me. I’ve been emasculated by having to go to Target to buy nursing pads. That is probably the last activity you will ever see featured in a beer commercial. I would have thought that it was a guy having a physically intimate relationship with a horse, but Budweiser’s Superbowl ad proved me wrong.
What’s left of the single men I know are a little…ehhh. Do you really want that last piece of chicken from the chafing dish? No one wants that piece. It’s been sneezed on by extreme emotional stunting and picked at by crazy tongs. Better to wait until they bring out a new tray when the current wives and girlfriends start popping their clogs in 20 or 30 years. Is that a terrible thing to say? You’re the one who wanted me to set you up.
By my age, men on their own are like aging stars – big balls of gas that are about to go supernova in a bright flash of batshit before collapsing on themselves into black hole of regret. Women admirably seem to organize themselves into book clubs, or workout groups, or whatever you call those things where one woman is selling lingerie or kitchen crap or candles to all her friends and they have to keep having parties to sell more until there’s one huge group of women standing in their underwear in a candle-lit kitchen and then there’s a pillow fight…never mind. The point is, these are social activities. Sexy, sexy, social activities. Men don’t seem to do these things. Our scanty underpants don’t come from parties, they come from being washed 10,000 times since we bought them at Dollar General in 1997.
In one way or another, men left to their own devices are like WALL-E. We just stack and collect garbage all day in the guise of our “hobbies.” Sometimes this garbage is physical. Lionel trains, possibly the worst toy for anyone under 25, come to mind. And, who do you think is buying a $150 “stunningly life-like”Green Arrow statue? What use does this stuff serve? It’s just stuff to collect and organize and obsess over.
Some of the garbage is abstract, but the object of pointless obsession nonetheless. I went out to dinner once with a guy who spent an hour talking about oak casked malbecs and how the joke of the movie Sideways had something to do with pinot noir actually being a subvarietal of some other kind of something something. I have no idea. Because it’s just stacks and stacks of garbage this guy piled up in his mind. I enjoyed Sideways a lot, and I know only two things about wine: (1)it should be 6.99 and (2)it should say Kirkland on it.
I listened to sports talk radio once, for 10 minutes in 2005 on the eve of the White Sox going to the World Series. All I remember is this: some guy called in to compare the pitching lineup of the 1959 Sox to the 2005 team. This poor bastard was all alone on planet White Sox collecting garbage about Billy Pierce and Early Wynn on the chance that someday he could get on the radio to compare them, to, uh, that chubby guy who was a really good closer in 2005.
What happens in WALL-E? The little guy robot is running around in a world only he inhabits stacking garbage until one day a sleek, tough female shows up. She shows a little interest, and then he totally invades her personal space when she falls asleep. He later stalks her all the way back to her home, where he screws everything up and eventually costs her her job. Also, there’s some environmental message. But the point is this: Eva was once a super awesome high powered girl robot, and now she’s stuck on a planet full of garbage with a male robot that pieces keep falling off of. Is this what you want?
There’s a point between the mid-20s and the mid-30s where I think women can stop men from getting too involved in their own interests and thinking about something other than themselves (or Early Wynn). Biologically speaking, it’s probably the point at which the testosterone is still overpowering the OCD. After that, it’s an inverse bell curve in terms of interest in women, picking up again maybe in the mid-60s when my peers’ current obsession with cured pork will inevitably lead to the need for a partner to help change the colostomy bag.
You’re really better off on your own.