“We’re handing over our bodies to people we wouldn’t trust with the keys to our car.” – Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, UFMCC
All you dudes out there in your teens and early 20’s, listen up. I guarantee you, without fail, that you will someday look back on this age and the outfits you donned, the haircuts you brandished, and the pick-up routines you enacted and think to yourself, “WTF was I thinking?” And that’s the way it’s supposed to be. All mammalian males do strange and goofy stuff to get laid. Billy goats ram each other in the head, salmon swim upstream, and as for us, well we go to bars.
Most people have a last straw…a rock bottom…an event that so graphically illustrates why they should discontinue whatever it is they’re doing. They see a sign telling them it’s time to get off this road. Mine came rather unexpectedly. I say that because it wasn’t a burgeoning feeling that came to an obvious crescendo. I didn’t even realize how utterly ridiculous the lifestyle to which I had been clinging had become. I had a friend and roommate at one time named Spence. Spence liked to go to beer-bust either at a bar called Mother Load or another called Gold Coast (or as I referred to it, the Cold Ghost). I never was a beer drinker and big crowded events make me a little claustrophobic, but I decided to go with him on this particular sunny, Summer, Sunday afternoon and be his designated driver. While everyone was packed inside the bar like drunken sardines, groping each other as they shifted positions, I went out back where some guys were smoking just to get away from the noise and get some fresh air. I didn’t smoke cigarettes at the time, but someone had rolled a joint and kept offering me a hit, and since I didn’t want to be rude, I took a few hits. Ok, let’s get this out of the way…yeah, I experimented with pot once or twice (per week), but just like President Clinton, I never exhaled (ha ha). Now, the first time I tried pot, it was with my older sister and my younger brother when I was 22 years old. That stuff was just your average, homegrown variety, which was mild and gave you a tasty little buzz (although, being my first time, I was still stoned off my ass). But the stuff they started growing in recent years (and as far back as the time of this tale) must be from frozen concentrate or something. They must grow it in Chernobyl or on 3-Mile Island. Suffice it to say, 2 or 3 hits later and I was definitely not going to be the designated driver anymore. So, I sat on the short brick wall that bordered the parking lot, trying to get my bearings and not look like I was stoned off my ass, and that’s when I spotted him. Across the street, just behind Circus of Books, there was a house. In a window of the second floor was a guy checking me out. He had to have been. He was staring at me the entire time I was out there. I had seen him before in passing. Usually he was at that window, but I had caught a glimpse of him a couple of times sitting on a swing on his front porch. I made some comment about how hot he was to a couple of my smoking companions. I have a vague memory of one of them laughing while telling me I wouldn’t be into him, or I wasn’t his type. Well, it was either the joint, or the primitive male need for sexual conquest, or my resentment of that guy insinuating I wasn’t good enough for this dude who was clearly hitting on me, but I decided to go in for the kill. I was going to get Mr. Rapunzel and show all of them how hot I am, stoned or not.
I wanted to play it cool and not be real obvious I spotted him checking me out, so I borrowed a couple of cigarettes and tried to look like Marlon Brando from The Wild One with my leather jacket and a cigarette dangling from my bottom lip. I must have really caught his attention by the fact that some pretty hot guys were walking up and down the sidewalk and through the parking lot and he wasn’t looking at any of them; he just kept checking me out. My courage started coming out, but just to keep things cool, I sauntered across the street where there were some conveniently placed newspaper and magazine dispensers on the sidewalk. I casually picked up a Frontiers Magazine and pretended to be engrossed in an article, all the while glancing out of the corner of my eye to make sure I still had his attention. Yep, I sure did. I also had a bit of an audience with the guys I was hanging with watching my every move, a few of them snickering to themselves. I flashed them a dirty look to make them stop being so obvious and screwing this up for me.
I had exhausted the articles in the magazine and it was time to make my move. His window was behind me, to my left a little and – lucky me – it was open, so I could actually say something to him and not look like a sexually desperate mime trying to score. I was still buzzed out of my mind and I have no idea what I intended to say to him.
I lit the borrowed cigarette I had for show, pivoted on one heel, turned around and looked up like Romeo gazing to the balcony above. Just as my mouth was opening to utter some magnificent words of wit and charm, that’s when it hit me. This was my ah-ha moment…my what-the-hell-are-you-doing slap upside the head. I was now aware of how ridiculous I had become and how much my modus operandi needed an overhaul, and why those guys across the street were all laughing at me. What I realized, gazing up at the angelic face in the window, I had just spent the last 25 minutes cruising and trying to score with…a mannequin. Yes, that’s right, I was hitting on a f#%king mannequin. My sex life had just hit an all-time low. I mean, I’ll be the first to admit that pickin’s can be slim, but how desperate do you have to be to try hooking up with an inanimate object?
Whoever lived in that house had a mannequin as a decorative accessory in their home, which they displayed in their second-story window and occasionally on their front porch. In my defense, I will say he (sorry, I’m still in denial – it) was very lifelike…except, of course, for the fact that it didn’t move. I can tell you with absolute authority, there is no way to recover from a complete screw-up like that, made in front of 20 people, and look like anything but a completely intoxicated moron. Most tomatoes aren’t as red as my face got out of sheer embarrassment. To avoid having to do the walk of shame through the crowd of guys who were practically peeing their pants with laughter, I went the long way around the block and re-entered the bar from the front door to find Spence and take a cab home. By the time I made it back into the bar, almost everyone inside knew what I had just done. Did they announce it over the p.a. system or what?
A few lessons can be gleaned from all if this. Don’t try to score after you’ve been throwing back (or lighting up) a few. Don’t use sexual conquest as a form of validation, either publically or privately. Most of all guys, don’t put your self-worth so close to your sexual prowess, that when your prowess fails, your self-worth goes with it. Just a little advice from your Uncle Jeff. Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a hot little number in the display window of JC Penny’s that I’ve had my eye on for a while…