The Fairer Sex

It’s a cold world for a bachelor.  Nothing makes sense.  Our expectations have been spoiled by cinema and literature.  We’re a bunch of apes living in Babel, none of us texting in the same language.

I’ve been out there in the field for a while now.  I have a few soul-rattling heartbreaks under my belt. Women have beaten me up worse than an extra in Fight Club.  But there are a few things I’ve learned at the price of disillusionment and rejection.

Disclaimer:  This post is focused on relationships, dating, and winning female hearts.  If you are more interested in the sexual side of things, I highly recommend you check out Dave Glenn’s section of the site.  The man is an anomaly.

THINGS THAT DO NOT WORK WITH GIRLS

Poetry. In high school, I had a huge crush on Heather.  One day, I decided to make my move.  I gave her a bouquet of shitty flowers I pulled from the ground.  They may have been weeds.  I tied them with a shoelace from my left Converse (which smelled exactly like a shoelace from an old converse sneaker), and tucked in a crumpled piece of paper.  On the paper, I wrote:

We are careening towards each other

Slowly

Time, geography, circumstance,

Dissolving

The obstacles between us

Melting

Soon there will only be

Us

The next day, Heather had informed the entire girl’s soccer team about “what a weirdo Matt is”.

I’ll never know if she understood the context of the shoelace and its inherent metaphor.   She made no comment on my progressive use of language or meter.  But she was still perfectly within her rights to classify me as a weirdo.  The line between stalker/serial-killer and suave-romantic is extremely fine.  To this day I’m still trying to find the balance.  I blame television.

Logic. I have this medical condition where I am always calling girls the wrong name.  Occasionally, the “wrong name” happens to also be the name of another girl I know.  Girls have no sympathy for my disability.  I’ve gotten myself in the doghouse this way a dozen times at least, and I’ll get there the same way a dozen more.  A few years ago, while staring into my then-girlfriend’s eyes, I said, “I love you Janna”, which, entirely coincidentally, happened to be the name of a previous girlfriend.   My then-girlfriend ran into the bathroom and started crying.  I had a conversation with a voice behind a locked door, and it went something like this:

Me:  Baby, I’m sorry.

Her:  Fuck you!

Me:  I just say the wrong name sometimes.  I’ve called John “Shawn” before.

Her:  That’s bullshit.

Me:  You want to call John?  We can call him together if you want.  Or I can call, and you can listen in.

Her:  You’re not taking this seriously.

Me:  No, I’m not, babe, because this isn’t serious.

Her:  IT IS TOO SERIOUS.

Me:  Okay.  You’re right.  Let me explain.  For 8 horrible months, I mistakenly thought I was in love with Janna.  She was my love symbol.  But then you came along, and showed me how wrong I was for thinking that.  And then I fell in real-love with you.  Now you’re my love symbol.  So I got my labels mixed up, that’s all.

Her:  I AM NOT A SYMBOL.

Me:  Baby, Carl Jung would disagree with you.

Her:  I hate Carl Jung!

Me:  That’s ridiculous!  You’ve never even met the man!

After that, she started pounding her tiny little fists against the door until she finally tuckered herself out, whimpered a few unintelligible noises, and slept on the porcelain.

THINGS THAT KINDA WORK WITH GIRLS

Romance. It was 80 degrees and pouring rain.  I had met Tasha a week prior – she was perfect.  We had all the same likes and dislikes.  She could keep up, or even outpace me, in just about any field.   One afternoon, she called and told me to meet her in the park by the water.  We went to an outdoor concert and watched some big-name bands play for free.  We stole bottles of wine and danced as we got soaked.  When the sun started to set, we ran up to the roof of a tall building and stared at the skyline of the world’s biggest city – tiny lights blinked through mist and skyscrapers stood like giants.  The word surreal didn’t do it justice.  Our eyes locked.  Her damp hair fell in her face (which looked better without makeup) and she smiled at me.

There’s just one thing I want to make absolutely clear I said.

I leaned in and kissed her.

And she didn’t kiss back.

Uh, was that it she asked.

She looked like she wanted to throw up.  Then I kinda wanted to throw up.  There seemed to have been some sort of miscommunication.  So I went back to her apartment, charged my phone, and left.

It didn’t feel like a complete failure, though.  I stand by my actions.  Romance and tragedy are close relatives.  And if you want to create a cinematic moment, you have to be willing to play the part of the loser now and again.  Besides, I got to kiss her and overall I still had a good time.  What base is that?

Being Yourself. The only exciting part about dating a woman, besides sex, is that you get to experience another human being.  You get to see her world, the things she likes, the things she does that differentiate her from the herd.  And that goes both ways.  So if you want to be the generic stereotype guy who takes a girl to an Olive Garden dinner and an Adam Sandler movie, then you are going to bag the generic stereotype girl who enjoys shitty food and shitty movies.  If that’s your thing, you don’t need my help.  Go out on the street and just swing a dead cat.  You’ll hit three women who match up with you.

But if you want someone interesting, you have to be interesting.  Take her somewhere she’s never been before.  Show her something you love that others don’t.  It can be as simple as a non-descript looking park where John Frusciante etched his name in a wooden bench when he was young.  Just make it unique.  This will either end magnificently or disastrously.  But it will filter out the chaff.  If you take a girl to a secret rooftop-drive-in Kubrick screening in Downtown LA and she isn’t stoked, then feel free to leave her up there when the movie’s over – don’t feel bad, she has plenty of things she needs to think about/re-evaluate.

Yeah, maybe she’ll be weirded out if you take her to ComicCon.  Forget her, then.  If Comics are your thing, stick by them, man.  You want to trade your childhood integrity for a hot body?  Go to a strip club, you sad, sad, soul.

THINGS THAT DO WORK WITH GIRLS

Flowers. Really?  Really.  It’s 2011.  How do you own a television and not know that girls like flowers?  Don’t be discouraged by Heather’s reaction to my high-school attempts at romance.  Send a girl some damn roses.  It takes slightly more effort than sneezing.  It probably won’t fix anything, and it might not win anyone over, but it’ll at least make her smile – and that’s a huge step in the right direction.  Be happy that it can be accomplished as easily as giving her some weeds she can watch rot on her bedside table.

Honesty. My freshman year of college, there was this gorgeous sorority girl.  She had the body of a sex-worker, the smile of a used car salesman, and the hair of an Herbal Essences commercial.  Everyone wanted her.  For some reason, she introduced herself to me at a party.  We talked, kind of.  She asked me to describe her in a word.  I looked her in the eyes and said, “Vapid.”  She blushed and thanked me for being “sweet”.

We dated for over 2 years after that.

Happy Early Valentine’s Day, in the most ironic way possible.  You’ve got a week.  Make some moves.

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  • SirDanes

    Some great anecdotes in an ever changing and ever more convoluted world. How the hell are we ever supposed to keep up?! The placement of these relationship approaches seem like they aren’t one-size-fits-all, but great observations nonetheless. I’d be interested to hear what the female audience thinks about this.

  • Danielle

    This is adorable. not sure if that is what you were going for, but it is. maybe ill counter act it with a “what works and doesn’t work for guys”…although it may only be two sentences, you shmucks.

  • Doc Holiday

    So you’re saying romance isn’t all about holding a chamelion facade while trying not to get caught being a creepy perv with heyyo stains on the crotch of his pants?

  • http://bananajournal.tumblr.com Matt Zbrog

    Danes: Check out Burner’s old post for a female perspective http://www.ourthursday.com/2010/10/06/who-killed-chivalry/

    Danielle: Your last line is like a riddle and I’ve been trying to MadLibs it.

    Doc: Now THAT’S adorable.

  • Andrew

    Probably gonna get my mom some flowers now. Thanks for reminding me.

  • http://www.daveglenn.com Dave Glenn

    Really enjoyed this one. Good work, Matt.

  • Nikki

    Seriously marvelous. Keep up the candidness in your writing, it looks good on you.

  • Sam Bradford

    Let me first say I’m sorry about the blackandyellowblackandyellow .. I’ve been playing Madden for weeks..

    Also, we need new controllers desperately – you know what I’m talking about

    Nice piece too. Brought back so many memories.. some good but mostly just pathetic it seems

    You turned your sociological reflections onto yourself, respect

  • Sam Bradford