Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Meth Dental Plan

            In the summer of 2009 I had one of my first internet dates and it also turned out to be one of my more interesting and terrifying.  I learned an important lesson, always make sure you see a picture of the girl where she is smiling.  This is important for several reasons.  First, smiling indicates that she is enjoyable person to be around who has fun experiences.  After all would you really want to spend the rest of your life with someone who never smiled?  Second, when a girl smiles that allows you to see her teeth and teeth can be more important than you think.  My best friend James has is a big teeth guy.  When ever he meets someone new he always pays attention to their teeth and I’ve poor dental hygiene drives him nuts.  I’m not as into teeth as James, but I do like it when a girl has them, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
            I met Meth Dental Plan Girl(MDPG) on  This would be the first and last time I used this website.  She was from a near by town and offered to come to meet me.  I should have known right off the bat this was bad sign.  Smart, cool, attractive women do not need to drive from out of town to meet guys.  Guys come to them.  It is sad fact of our sexist society, but it is the truth.  When a woman is that excited to leave town to go on a date it usually means she is either evading local law enforcement or there is something about her she doesn’t want you to know.  Either, way she has something to hide. 
            I met MDPG at down town bar called Wild Bills.  It has a nice outdoor patio and on the night we met there a gentle cool summer breeze blowing so I elected to snag a seat outside.  It was early evening in the middle of the week and the bar was mostly empty so I figured spotting MDPG would be rather easy.  Of course this assumed that the photos I had seen of her accurately resembled the person I would be meeting.  Let’s just say the FBI had more accurate sketches of the Unabomber to go with looking for Ted Kaczynski.  I don’t know whether the photos of her were years old or if she is a Photoshop virtuoso, but the online images did not match the person I met that night.  The MDPG I knew from online was slender with a full head of lush brown hair and a youthful glow in her eyes.  The woman I met that evening was a good thirty pounds heavier, had reddish limp hair, and a look in her eyes like she had seen way too much of the dark side of life.
            This was one of those dates I was looking to get over with the minute it started.  I saw MDPG walking up there steps to the bar but she looked so unlike her picture that it didn’t even register in my mind that this could be my date.  However, she had no problem recognizing me and immediately sat down next to me on patio.  I tried as best I could to hide my confusion and regroup after she introduced herself.  I’m not sure my poker face was good enough because she immediately tensed up.  I tried to calm the situation by waving the waiter over to the table to get us a few much needed drinks.  It was as she was ordering her drink that I saw them for the first time, her teeth, or rather what was left of them.  Her mouth looked like it could have been a public service announcement for American Dental Association.  Her front teeth were in bad state of decay.  Several looked like they rotting and as she opened her mouth wider I could see brown ones in the back.  This was not someone who had skipped her morning flossing or spent her youth being raised in Great Britain.  Let me put it this way, I’m not saying its for sure that she did meth, I’m just saying that she had a meth heads dental plan and by the looks of it she had let the premiums lapse.
            The surprises just kept coming.  Contrary to her online profile which said she childless she had a three kids.  I can see how one can easily forget a mere three children since three young kids tend to be very quite and probably spend their time silently reading books all day.  Lying about your weight is one thing, lying about multiple children is another thing completely.  As it turned out she revealed to me that she had recently left her baby daddy and moved to a different state to start fresh.  She was unemployed and living with a friend.  If someone lets you move in with them, bring your kids, and not pay rent then I think that she more than a friend.  We need to invent a stronger word to describe a person like this, I’m not even sure saint qualifies as strong enough. 
            Here is where the story goes from funny sad to funny utterly depressing.  I asked what happened to bring her here and she told me, “I could live with it when we he was just hitting me, but when he started to beat the kids I decided I had to go.”  I was simultaneously impressed, disappointed, and depressed.  The fact that she was okay with him hitting her was disappointing to hear, but I was impressed that she did what she needed to do to get her kids out.  The situation taken as a whole was just depressing and once again it left me speechless.  How do I keep getting myself into these situations and will someone please tell what I should do when I get there?  All I could think to was complement her for being a good mom in a meager attempt to communicate to her that she made the right decision, but sadly it came out only as, “Good for you.”  What exactly I was complimenting her own was unclear and was not helped by the vague star and slow nod that accompanied it. 
            It was becoming quite obvious that I was out of my depth and needed to extract myself from this situation.  Unfortunately, that was not going to be easy.  Despite my best efforts to seem disinterested and boring I had inadvertently charmed her.  For some reason she was into me.  This is a classic curse I suffer from.  When I try to woo a girl I like it only puts her off and when I resists all efforts on her behalf it only makes her interested in me more.  More than once I had thought I would be better off acting like my idol George Costanza and doing the opposite of what ever my instincts tell.  After all as George says, “if all my instincts are wrong than the opposite of them would be right.”  However, having tried this a few times I found it didn’t work.  I would only attract the girls I didn’t like even more and the whole “I’m not into you routine” must have been very convincing because the girls I was into soon disappeared. 
            In an effort to make my intentions clear I decided it would be a good idea to ask her some questions, wait for her to answer, and then give the opposite response.  I asked if she liked living in the Midwest and she said yes.  I told her that I only wanted to live in big cities and was thinking of moving to the East coast.  I asked what type of relationship she was looking for and responded by telling me that she was hoping to find something serious and settle down.  I informed her with a wistful look in my eyes that I was only looking for something short-term and did not want to get involved.  I thought this was a brilliant strategy because it gave me a reason to terminate the date without causing hard feelings.  No reason for anyone to get up set we were just two people looking for different things.  She wanted a husband and stability I wanted someone who had seen a dentist in the last decade.  
            As we cleared our tab with the waitress I summarized our many differences and concluded that that although she was a nice person we were just a two very different points in out life.  However, as I got up to leave she reached under the table, looking me in the eye and said, “But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun.”  Make no mistake about it, if we did more than talk it was going to be very little fun.  As I starred into her cavities I struggled to recover.  I slowly backed away remember the training I received in Boy Scouts for how to deal with attacking animal.  As I tried to move away she began caressing the inner side of my cargo shorts.  I silently thanked the fine people at Levi’s for their sturdy craftsmanship.  I then gently removed her hand while I informed her that I just wouldn’t feel right about going any further.  Honestly at this point I would taken a vow of poverty and joined the priesthood if it would have allowed me a speedy exit.  Thankfully, this tactic work anded we parted company.  Fearing that she wouldn’t give up so easily I beat a hasty retreat to my car and broke several speed laws the way home.  The first thing I did when I got home was break out my trusty toothbrush and gave my molars a good polishing.
            I was starting to feel bad for rejecting these women.  They had been badly treated by men in the past in ways that created deep emotional scars.  I felt bad for them but I am not a fixer.  I know there are plenty of people in this world who get off on fixing other people and making them well.  I am not one of those people, but that didn’t stop me from feeling guilty for not helping them.  Was I under a moral obligation to help these women even if it means sacrificing my own personal happiness? 

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Girl from Harvard Yard

            I have never been on a date with someone who went to Harvard.  I don’t know what I was expecting but Harvard Yard Girl (HYG) was not what I was expecting.  She didn’t levitate, she couldn’t read my mind, and she refused to show me the secret handshake.  I was very disappointed, to say the least.  She also was a lawyer but despite my repeated solicitations for free legal advice she would not tell me best way to launder money.  HYG went to law school at Notre Dame which means that I should call her HYNDG but that sounds like a terrible acronym of a failed NASDAQ company.  Considering the state of the stock market I think it’s probably good that we stay away from this acronym. 
            HYG and I met on a warm summer day at my classic first date watering whole Wild Bill’s Bar.  As I approached the bar I received a text from HYG saying that she had arrived early and would be seated at the bar.  I was a few minutes ahead of schedule as well and as I approached the bar I noticed a girl standing out in front of the bar staring at her phone.  This is actually something that I have encountered on several of my dates.  Why is that girls would rather stand in front of the bar by the entrance gazing at their cell phones than simply go into the bar?  She could have even sat on the porch in front of the bar but elected to stand awkwardly at the entrance.  What’s worse is that she was starring at her phone and not looking up.  So while I think that this girl is HYG I don’t actually know.  I walk slowly hoping she will look up and make eye contact with me.  She does not.  I begin walking slower, still she does not look up.  At this point I am walking at a pace usually reserved for octogenarians and women in their ninth month of pregnancy.  Still she would not look up.  I considered faking a catastrophic injury in hopes of getting her attention but instead I decide to take chance and call out her name.  Thankfully it was HYG and she looked up and made eye contact with me for the first time.
            I know I sound like a broken record.  I know that at this point in the time you are probably thinking that I don’t know how to look at a picture on the internet or that I have a stigmatism that only impacts me when examining online photos, but I swear that she was different than she looked in her photos.  However, HYG was still a cute girl and I was still looking forward to our date.  Only partially because I was hoping she could help me get around having to comply with Megan’s law (just kidding). 
            I was impressed that she went to Harvard for college and I thought that would give us something to talk about.  I went to Harvard for a while. Almost a whole two hours, but at that I was tired from my tour and decided to check out the area bars.  Harvard’s campus is old, it has many leather bound books, and smells of a rich mahogany.  Really its nothing special just some old building, but the knowledge is of course not in books, its in people.  When I graduated high school I didn’t apply to Harvard because from what I hear they don’t accept students with average grades and slightly above average SAT scores.  However, I’ve always fancied myself a smart person and in the proper venue I think I could hang with the kids in Harvard’s yard.  As it turns out I’m glad didn’t go to Harvard because if I did I would spent four years there without washing my hands.  As I walked around the campus on a late afternoon in November nature began to call and I searched to find the nearest bathroom.  By the way, they do not have the cleanest bathrooms in the world.  As I went to leave the restroom I made sure to wash my hands.  I assumed that the fine alumni of Harvard were already uncomfortable with my poor public college educated hands touching their fine private school property without them also being dirty.  I turned on the water and reached for the soap but encountered a problem I couldn’t get the soap in the dispenser to come out.  I could see into the dispenser so I knew there was soap in there.  Most soap dispensers I have encountered in my life operated on the push system.  You pushed in on the dispenser and this moved your hand underneath the spout and filled it with soap.  Of course at Harvard things could not be this simple.  Fearing that Harvard man would soon enter the bathroom to mock me I tried everything I had to make the dispenser work.  This consisted of pushing harder and harder on the dispenser and hitting with my fist.  My tactic with the soap dispenser was the same as Demi Moore’s in a few good men when she “strenuously objected” to the prosecutions tactics.  I imaged Tom Cruise looking me with those condescending Scientologist eyes and saying, “You strenuously object?” 
            I can only assume that this one of the many test one must pass to get into Harvard.  I imagined tours of prospective students stopping at the bathroom to see if the prospects could pass the soap dispenser admission test.  Before I broke the dispenser it finally occurred to me that I should try a different tactic and pull on the lever.  Whala out came the soap, right into the sink.  You see when you pull on the dispenser your hand moves away from the spout so you don’t actually get any soap in your hand.  So it took me using both my hands and all my brain power to make it work.  One hand pulling and one positioned under the spout to get the soap into my hands.  I could not have been more thrilled to figure this out.  Just as I figured it another guy approached the soap dispenser and wanting to share my new found knowledge I demonstrated my now patented “pull with one hand while placing the other hand under the dispenser” system.  I looked over at him seeking an acknowledgement for my cracking of the Da Vinci code of bathroom soap dispensers but instead received a glare that indicated he thought I had all the intelligence of an Arizona State graduate.   I can only image that this is one of the many reasons I didn’t get into Harvard, that and noy actually applying for admission. 
            Given our common experiences at America’s finest institutions of high learning I though this was the perfect time to tell my fascinating soap dispenser story.  She politely chuckled at my story but it wasn’t the type of heart laughtery I had hoped for.  As we’ve previously established I am a vain person, my self-esteem issues require the constant approval of others in the form of laughter.  One of the most important qualities I look for in a woman is for her to think I’m funny.  I make a lot of jokes, witty comments, and enjoy relating my peculiar antidotes.  Spending time with a girl who doesn’t think I’m hysterical is the equivalent of a stand up comedian who is constantly forced to play to dead house.  I need to feed off my audience.
            While my story didn’t result in HYG falling off her chair with laughter and wetting herself as I hoped (and as I am sure it did for you dear reader), I did realize that for the first time in my life I had Harvard graduate on hand who I could quiz about the working of the campus’s lavatories.  Unfortunately, HYG informed me that she never noticed anything odd about the soap dispensers in the women’s restrooms.  So either the women’s restrooms at Harvard have an entirely different method for dispensing antibacterial suds or she was holding out on me.  Since all good relationships are founded on trust and honesty I took this as a bad sign. 
            Overall, the date was fine.  On a dating scale of one to ten this was a solid four.  If this date was a movie I would not see it in the theater, I wouldn’t rent it from block buster for $4.99, I and don’t even think I would get is for $1 out the Red Box.  If this date were a movie I would watch the first half on cable while cleaning my house before turning the channel to watch a rerun of Storage Wars.  Worst of all I didn’t find out how to launder any of my money or circumvent any major laws.  

Sunday, January 20, 2013

DJ’s Are Like Terrorists

            If you ever have a wedding I encourage you to not over look an important component of the evening, the DJ.  Many brides and grooms obsess over the flower arrangements, the catering, the bride’s dress and the groom’s tux, but they overlook a key component of the evening, the DJ.  Oh sure, they might submit a list of songs they want to be played for the first dance and the father daughter dance, but that is generally all the thought they put into it.  Really, the music isn’t much to worry about because let’s face it regardless of who is behind the digital turnstiles they are going to play the exact same songs.  Everyone will do the electric slide, that weird cha-cha song that orders you around (you know the one I’m talking about “hands on you knees, hands on your knees, now Charlie Brown, as if I have any idea how a fictional comic character chooses to dance), and when the DJ cranks up We Are Family all the brides maids will run shrieking on to the dance floor.  I am okay with all the wedding clich├ęs, because what really makes of breaks a reception is the quality of the DJ.  If you are lucky the DJ views himself as a facilitator of the evening’s festivities.  Like the flowers on your table he blends into the background and functions to create a pleasant ambiance.  However, if you are unlucky he will view himself as the star of the show.  If this happens to you, remember this fact, “DJ’s are like terrorist and you should never negotiate with them.”  Bruce Willis movies have taught me many valuable lessons, first and foremost of which is that you cannot negotiate with these people, they are not to be trusted.  Hans Gruber will stab you in the back if given the chance.
            Case in point I was at a wedding in the summer of 2011 where the DJ took over the wedding reception and held it hostage.  He began immediately taking charge and declaring that he would decide who would get to go through the buffet line first.  I hate when DJ’s do this thing.  It assumes that everyone in attendance is a small child incapable of negotiating a buffet line or deciding when it would be appropriate for them to grab a plate of food.  This DJ was worse than normal since he demanded that you convince/beg him to dismiss your table to eat.  Other than the fact he possesses a microphone I have no reason to listen to this man.  Why would I allow a twenty year old in a shinny vest and a ten dollar pair of swing choir pants to govern my eating habits?  He was also very slow, dismissing tables at the same rate the polar ice caps are melting.  So when a table near us got dismissed early in the process I seized the moment.  I looked around my table and declared that we too would be entering the buffet line at this time and no one could stop us.  I proclaimed to my fellow tablemate, “I don’t negotiate with terrorist or DJs.”  Truer words have never been spoken or at least I have never said anything truer.  Regardless of the situation negotiating with the members of Al Qeda or the man in the shiny vest holding a comically large sized microphone sets a dangerous precedent.  I boldly stood up and headed for the buffet line.  With some trepidation my fellow tablemates slowly began to rise and take their place behind me in line and do you know what happened?  Nothing!  Nothing happened because the only power a wedding DJ possesses is the power you give him.  One showed my table that the emperor had no close the veneer was off and they were free to once again take charge of their lives.  The tables around us failed to heed my call to action and where sitting for another forty-five minutes.  At which point the barely tepid to begin with chicken or fish options were undoubtedly cold.
            Sadly, this DJ’s reign of terror did end there.  He felt the need to interject himself at a variety of different moments during the evening offering unneeded and unappreciated commentary.  When introducing the maid of honor he first compared her to Hannah Montana (creepy) and then declared here to be the hottest girl at the party (just what every bride wants to hear on her wedding day).  After all the toast had seemingly been given he decided that he should be have the last word and offered his own toast in which he explained that he knew this bride and groom were in love, unlike the wedding he had DJed the night before.  The evening came to close when he played a series of songs that made grandmothers on both sides of the isle blush.  In case your wondering the Blood Hound Gang’s poetic romp “Bad Touch” is not a great wedding song.  Of course at this point the DJ was freely adlibbing his own lyrics to the song while grinding against anyone with twenty feet of him on dance floor.  Like John McLain with Hans Gruber in the original Die Hard, I wished I could have dropped off of Nakatomi Tower, but unfortunately this wedding was held on the ground floor.  The lesson dear reader is not to tolerate this form of musical and vocal terrorism.  DJ Pauley D may have been the least objectionable cast member of from The Jersey Shore, but he has no right to control your life.

The Coffee Date vs Grabbing a Drink

            I always make the same suggestion for a first date with the women I meet online and it tells me a lot about them and how a date will go.   I ask her if she would like to get together for a drink or a cup of coffee.  This way she makes the decision about what we are going to do for the date.  Of the two I’ll be honest and say that I would much rather grab a drink.  Here is the thing about coffee it is an upper and not a particularly romantic one.  Coffee breath isn’t exactly what you want for a first kiss, but don’t worry you won’t be getting a first kiss on a coffee date.  Coffee dates occur in the afternoon and kiss closing in broad sober daylight is like landing a triple lutz in figure skating, its possible but for us mere mortals we are better off not risking it.  Unless you are the Kristi Yamaguchi of coffee dates its best just shoot for a half hug or a hearty handshake.  Of course this is also the benefit of the coffee date.  You don’t have to worry about the kiss at the end, because the nature of the date has taken it off the table.  That way you don’t have to spend the whole date evaluating how it is going and whether or not to make your move at the end of it.  The coffee date is therefore less pressure but it is also less reward. 
            Truth be told, I actually like the idea of less pressure because in the end.  Like most people  I’m more Karl Malone than Michael Jordan when the pressure is on.  We all have this fantasy that we are Jordan, that under pressure we thrive and we can make the game winning shot.  Hence the Gatorade commercial “Like Mike,” but we would do well to remember whole song lyric.  “If, I could be like Mike.”  The “if” is the key word because you are not in fact in anyway like Mike, unless you have an undisclosed gambling problem.  No, we are much more like Karl Malone.  When the pressure is on, when disappear.  So like the Mailman, I do my best work during the regular season, i.e. the middle of the date, then with the champion or kiss are on the line late.  On a coffee date the pressure is off and like Mr. Malone I am able to put up terrific numbers.  I don’t mean to brag but I believe that I have never had a bad performance on a coffee date.  I can relax and let the conversation roll and that produces my best jokes and witty responses.  A good coffee date and a bad coffee date all end the same way.  Thus, one would expect me to prefer coffee dates, but I don’t.  I’ve have had lots of first coffee dates and very few second dates there after.   
            The benefits of getting drink are obvious, as are the risk.  A little social lubricant helps to smooth the bumpy ride of getting to know someone.  Since most drinking occurs at night, unless you are dating an alcoholic (and I’m not against that), it also sets a better scene for getting a kiss or something more.  A couple of drinks and a starry night sky are all the ingredients in the romantic equation.  Of course we all know this and that creates the tension that makes having a good first date difficult, but this is a good thing.  I say this because dating isn’t supposed to be easy, at least not until you meet someone special.  A little challenge and pressure aren’t bad things because with the right person you should feel like Michael Jordan. 

             However, this isn’t the real reason I would rather meet for a drink than for a cup of coffee.  The real reason I like meeting for a drink is because of what it tells me about her.  I don’t mean to insult the good people of Starbucks, but boring drink coffee and really boring people don’t even drink coffee because they are too concerned with it keeping them up all night (for an example of that see:  What's it Like to go on a Date with an (almost) Octogenerian ).  Think about James Bond whose drink of choice is martini, shaken not stirred, its not a low fat macchiato with cream no sugar.  Given the choice between an afternoon cup of joe and twilight night cap what do you think Frank Sinatra, Audrey Hepburn, or James Dean would have chosen?  Lots of great artist were drunks.  Ernest Hemmingway, John Steinbeck, and Hunter S. Thompson all loved to hit the sauce.  Meanwhile Rachel Ray, Martha Stewart, and Dr. Phil would be happy to grab decaf latte with you.  And yes, even on a date you do have to call him Dr. Phil.  He even makes his mother call him Doctor. 

            Let me ask you a simple question:  who wins in a fight Captain Morgan or coffee’s Juan Valdez.  Go ahead and bet your life savings on the dude with the burro, I’m placing my money on the bad ass pirate, even if he is three sheets to the wind.  What is a better job to have in college:  tending bar or being a barista?  There is a reason I always tip my bartended but don’t feel the same sense of social obligation for a coffee attendant.  I am not saying that you want to date someone with a drinking problem or that you ought to go get hammered on a first date.  All I’m saying is that if I offered you a choice between listening to the Rolling Stones, or an evening with Kenny G, and you choose the master of the alto sax, then don’t be surprised if when you come back from the bathroom that I’m gone. 
            I’m not saying that you can’t marry a person who chooses the coffee date.  I’m just saying that if you do be prepare to spend a lot of nights in, don’t expect to travel past your local camp ground, and accept the fact that bedtime is now 9:30pm.  And oh by the way, have fun having twice a month boring missionary only sex the rest of your life.  Although those vanilla sexual encounters will be exciting since they will come only on your anniversary, birthday, or major non-religious holiday above the level of Labor Day (sorry no one is getting laid on flag day).   And this isn’t a judgment exclusive to women; I include men in this too.  If your man would rather meet for coffee then he is also telling you he would rather eat at Applebees than the new Spanish fusion place down the street and that he would rather go to Branson, Missouri than Las Vegas, Nevada and that instead of going out for a night on the town maybe you could just stay in and help him wax his back hair.  People wonder how they wake up one day and find themselves middle aged with kids living the boring lives of their parents, everyone wants to blame alcohol, but the real culprit is coffee. 
            With that being said my expectations were not high for my coffee date with DJ.  No she is not an actual disco jockey, if memory serves she did some boring office job but I don’t really remember what it is, so I decided to give her a cooler job.  Initially, when she chose coffee I thought about just telling her that she seemed like a nice person. but that we ought to just go our separate ways.  I know that seems harsh and I’m sure dear gentle reading that its moments like this that make you think, this is why I am single, but hear me out.  Allow me to drop some science on you.  In his book Blink, Malcolm Gladwell talks about the power of thin slicing, the ability to make snap judgments with shockingly high accuracy.  Call it gut instinct, call it intuition, call it what you will but our brains process information at extremely high rates that we are not always conscious of.  Plus, I don’t really like coffee and on this particular day I could have really used a drink.  In addition to that it was over a hundred degrees outside at the time.  Who wants to drink coffee when you are already drenched in sweat just from walking from your car to the coffee house?
            Ironically, we did not drink coffee on this date.  As you know by now, I consider myself to be smarter than your average bear, and as proof I chose a coffee shop that doubles as a smoothie place.  Listen, if I could have chosen a coffee shop that was also a Captain Morgan factory I would have.  Shockingly, rum distilleries/house of lattes are not as common in middle America as one might think, or in this case they are exactly as common as you think, they don’t exist.  On the upside I love me a good smoothie.  I even got the smoothie with the booster that makes tedious sober first date conversation more palpable. 
            DJ was a nice girl and even had a certain wifey quality to her.  Actually, it was more of a motherly quality.  Like she was someone’s mom and not in the naughty way they dedicate all those websites too.   Our date was pleasant but it also felt like I was a forced outing with one of my mom’s friend.  She was only two and half years older than me but it felt like we were separated by a decade.  You know how some people act or seem older than their age, she was one of those people. I kept thinking that some ten year old was going to come wondering by and she was going to have to excuse herself to take him to soccer practice.  No to say that I have anything against soccer moms, but if the hippest vibe you can put out on a first date is that you pack a mean sack lunch, that’s not a great thing.  Still I do wish at the end of this date I would have been given a juice and an orange slice.  I really like juice boxes and you can never have too much vitamin C.