Rob Taylor: ‘The Way of a Man with a Maiden’
March 31, 2008
Overheard around a water cooler, somewhere east of Berthoud Pass:
“He’s got two women fighting over him, and he hasn’t even met one of them,” a mother said with no pride, shaking her head at the thought of her son.
Her friends chuckled, but were even more amused by her unspoken frustration. The Clint Eastwood glare. The Dirty Harry tone. Hands on her hips, reaching for pistols that weren’t there. It was the pose of a mother stewing over a mental checklist of grievances.
There, in front of the water cooler, her thoughts were laid bare, silently screaming, “I brought him into this world, wiped his little bottom, taught him right and wrong and showed him the perfect woman for 20 years: me. And what do I get in return? Our family’s very own Jerry Springer episode. It better not spill over into the Holidays.”
“He is so stupid when it comes to women,” she added after the laughter subsided.
At this, two men within earshot broke their silence.
“Now, I wouldn’t go that far,” one said.
“No. She’s right. We’re all dorks around women,” the other admitted.
He spoke the truth, simple, painful and vindictive, like a modern-day Confucious. He did not need to elaborate. If men came equipped with a ‘That Was Stupid’ button, they would be hitting it all the time, especially after opening their mouths around a pretty face.
“I got sweaty and could barely form sentences,” one average Joe admitted, after one such encounter. Why? A beauty pageant queen made eye contact and said, “Hello.” The onset of stupidity was immediate and full-blown. She had him at hello.
As always, there are exceptions to the rule, a few Alpha Males who defy the laws of stupidity. I befriended one in high school. Pickiest guy I ever met, but he was focused, keeping constant vigil for the perfect woman.
“Dating anyone?” I once asked him.
“Yeah. Pretty little thing. Sweet girl. Nice hair. Italian. She works for a non-profit organization in D.C.”
“D.C.? But you’re in Tennessee. How did this happen?”
“I was channel surfing and caught her on C-Span. A bunch of reporters shoved microphones in her face and snapped photos. She looked good on camera.
Eventually, they flashed her name and organization on screen. I called Information and got her number.”
This was a new twist, but totally in character for him. While the rest of the world watched C-Span to fight insomnia, he used it to pick up chicks. Who needs eHarmony and online dating services when you have basic cable and a telephone?
I kept close tabs on the relationship, convinced that it was solid material for another Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan flick. Sadly, it didn’t last. Their biggest problem was arguing, he said, especially at the dinner table.
“She’s Italian. I couldn’t eat enough to make her happy,” he said.
“What do you mean?”
“That’s all her family does: Eat. I couldn’t keep up. She said I didn’t really love her because I couldn’t clean my plate.”
Ten years later, after spanning the globe, he found what he was looking for. The perfect woman. A stranger to the Beltway. Native Midwesterner. A nurse. A little bit of this and a little bit of that, but not a drop of Italian.
Lucky guy. Definitely not stupid. But what about the rest of mankind? Confucious shed little light on the subject, unless you count, “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Good advice, but what about real love and righting the ship, overcoming man’s stupidity around women? Confucious was a married man. Was he, too, clueless about such matters?
The issue did not escape King Solomon’s attention. He penned a short list of the incomprehensible, stating – among other things – the obvious: “The way of a man with a maiden.” Though he didn’t use the word “stupid,” I think we can infer. He identified the problem 3,000 years ago.
The cure? Maybe there isn’t one, just the school of hard knocks and the piercing truth coined by Forrest Gump: “Stupid is as stupid does.”
Got a scoop? Become an informant. E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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