A Farewell to Harms (Or, I know what I didn’t do this summer)

August 27th, 2009 was the night I stopped believing in the whole happily ever after thing.

It was a Thursday night and it was raining pretty good when I called her up. She’d left a series of manic texts to which I refused to respond, because I hated feeding into her drama almost as much as I hate arguing in text. Our phone conversation wasn’t so much a lover’s spat as it was a natural disaster. Our two and a half year association had been spiraling into a forgettable ending for months, but somehow you never see the end until you’re busy making it.

Her presence in my life had possessed all the qualities of a dream. There was the hazy glow of a perfect place happening all over me; as if my veins were pumping incandescent light. Still, I always carried a sense of foreboding; the kind of invisible weight that tugs at the back of your brain when you’re cognizant of the fact that you’re swimming through a dream- a finite proposition whose answer is light.

The light of recognition began in flashpoints. A tiff here, a full blown argument there. We never reconciled the matters of little consequence so much as we placated them; as if fearful of the well we were borrowing from, full of old wounds that had never truly healed. We were both damaged and I think we both knew the risks we incurred by living separate lives in separate places when so much wrong was courting our steps into some future semblance of together.

I first came to know her through a story she’d written. She possessed a barbed wire prose that tore at the hem of my deepest, darkest places after which she spilled them into the kind of trouble only a great writer ever gets to claim. And I knew, from the very first thing I ever read of hers, that I was swimming in the deep- both as a writer and as a man.

When we split, I took the phone off the hook, emotionally speaking. It took weeks before I could cry about it, a little longer than that before I completely lost it. I called up a friend and it was somewhere inside a rambling mess of words that I declared my moratorium on the whole happily ever after thing.

His reply was predictable for someone who was working on no sleep and who probably needed a few shots of something friendly just to deal with my shit. He told me it was just the breakup talking. He assured me there would come a day when a different girl from a different place would talk me into a different idea of what tomorrow was going to look like. I knew this was bullshit, so I thanked him for his time and I hung up and I took absolutely nothing from his thoughtful advice.

With a little time came a new thing. Something that made all the sense in the world. For me. She was beautiful, smart, accomplished and most importantly of all she had her own life going on. She wasn’t looking for happily ever after, she was just looking for happy.

For six years, she was my disco lemonade. She rallied me, she made me see the error of my jaded belief that a love thing should come with sedatives and a match. Her style was Marilyn Monroe meets Irish gangster meets hippie chick, and our meetings in the middle of it all were the kind of sexy goodness that convinced my spirit to figure out the peaceful easy feeling and yanno, dispense with the bitching.

And then May came along and before it ended, so had we. It wasn’t contentious, it wasn’t August 27th, 2009. She had effectively exorcised those demons for me.Our six years worth of together had saved me from myself, and I didn’t even know it was happening until we ended things. Which is why I wouldn’t change a thing from that beginning, that middle or that end.

The only moratorium I considered this time around was to forego any female companionship of the horizontal variety. For the entire summer. I thought it a good idea to abstain from perfume and curls in order to reflect on the last six years. And umm, mission accomplished.

With my Labor Day whites packed in mothballs, perfume and curls rang my bell. Jen is a thirty something girl with the spirit of a twenty something, the experiences of a forty something and the body of a stripper. See? I am a hopeless romantic, as long as you keep the two separated.

She texted me last weekend to ask what my week was looking like and I hit her back with the mundane particulars. Then she asked if I wouldn’t mind helping her move the rest of her things up to her new place in Wilmington. As a man, I’m blessed with the innate ability to find the prospects of sex in the most obscure, pointless exchanges. It’s called having a penis, and really . . I don’t recommend it. So I placed a phone call to confirm things.

“What’s up with your car?”

“I’m gonna load it up, but it’s pretty small. Yours can take the rest.”

“Jen, I have a Volvo . . not a moving van.”

“It’s just the small shit, no biggie.”

“So your offer is this. I help you pack up both our cars . .”

“Yours, mine’ll be packed up.”

“So I get to pack my car . . .”

“Mmm hmm.”

“With your shit?”

“Mmm hmm”

“And then I follow you to Wilmington. On my day off . . .”

“Yup, and I got dinner.”



Of course, I was in before she offered to buy me dinner. I figured it was going to do me a lot of good to get out and do something with a woman. Never mind that moving is right up there with painting the house and having a vasectomy as far as un-sexy activities go. I’m not discriminating, more like pathetic.

We talked on the phone for most of the hour long trek in our separate rides, and it’s where I detected the slightest, sweetest of changes in her tone. Gone was the stubborn residual of a Minnesota upbringing, replaced with this amazing lilt straight out of every single Carly Simon song I’ve ever heard. Her laughter carried fire and her verbs shimmied and her pauses dripped with honey. That’s what three months without curls and perfume does to your imagination. 

Moving her stuff proved to be less painful than I had anticipated, but that’s only because Jen is a hot chica. It took exactly one back and forth before she attracted the attention of a couple of middle school aged boys.

“Need some help?”

“Oh, you guys are so sweet.” She giggled.

She had them blushing like first graders and working like mules, because that’s how a hot chica gets things done. They helped cut our workload in half and after we thanked them on their way, we toasted with a couple of frosty Coronas before heading out.

We held court at Ulysses American Gastropub, a new age public house that lives inside a strip center. We ordered drinks- she went with a pint of Dogfish Head and I tabbed a Brooklyn Porter. It was somewhere between the drinks and our entrees that we figured out what the rest of the evening was going to look like. This is called Christmas Eve for grownups- that gloriously indefinable moment when two people realize their vertically directed rejoinders are plotting a horizontal culmination.

I began drinking her in as we moved through the rest of our meal. The way her caramel eyes danced whenever she broke into laughter. The way her lips moved in silky waves of heaven and hell. And that dirty blonde wisp that fell across her face with more fury than a lightning strike and fuck . .  did I happen to mention it had been three months?

Seriously, I gave up a lot of shit after my blood pressure started reading like a Golden State Warriors box score back in June. I gave up bourbon, I gave up smokes and snacking. I cut back on my beer consumption to such an extent that I have become the very person I used to make fun of. I’ve become a responsible drinker. And while losing the gut was a nice perk, still . . the no curls and perfume thing was beginning to feel a tad excessive. Or is it moronic? Both.

Before I could argue myself out of another round, she pulled the ultimate hot chica move and teased my mouth open with a bite of her filet. This is a term of endearment to which I have no defense. So as I swigged down the last of my Porter, I began looking for the waitress to fetch me another drink.

I ordered coffee. Jen made it two.

All this time and I never considered the idea that moderation and sex could co-exist. Who knew? I mean, I’ve successfully gone rogue on my rogue. Hemingway would be ashamed of me, if he hadn’t shot himself in the head. So, there’s that.

We ended up back at her place where she fired up some tunes and we got down to the Yada Yada of things. Tomorrow wasn’t a part of the negotiations because she’s got her new life to be getting to and I really do like sleeping alone, if only because I’m a pillow hog. Listen, I get it. I’m a lousy salesman as far as this happily ever after thing goes. Maybe there’s no cure for what’s ailing me, and maybe I don’t care in the blessed least.

Alls I know is that I couldn’t help feeling as if August 28th was finally making the scene.





Things always happen in a way outside of normal

No one hates a know it all more than I do.

Especially when the know it all happens to be moi. And by Guildenstern if I did not set myself up for this one. I mean, if Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason would’ve been pickpocketing the sweet velvety rolls to a Friday night’s ransom, they could not have come up with a meaner, bigger or fatter bit of happenstance with which to shut my yap.

Consternation is the best way of putting it. Cause I was dismayed on a scale to fit Dante’s furnace beyond capacity. That frilly, silly little circle of hell and all its accoutrements wasn’t figuring on parental advice gone awry when they went doing all that poetic anger on the lonesome range of things way back in the day.

My dismay coming from the sound parental advice I always muster up to my brood. Which goes something like “Watch your shit, because if it gets lost you pay for it. I can pay for it, but if I do, you have to listen to my shit and what’s worse, you have to agree with it.”

I call that What to Expect After You’ve Been Born to Parents Who Know Better.

I’m not a Virgil. Hell, as far as I’m concerned? The Romans created Coliseums, Sbarro, and Martin Scorsese’s disturbing allegorical misfits. I’m not about to bother myself with all the rest of it.

Until tonight, that is. When I lost my wallet.

For men, losing a wallet is akin to God’s change up. And lemme tell you, that white bearded old SOB has a good one at the ready . . .

There IS a defense to this story, and it comes with no additional fee. I had just come from an early evening dalliance with my girl at the crib. Which, in Dante parlance means, a quickie. And from there I had to grab a dinner for my son, who was staying after school, and whose mother (my ex wife)  was going to pick him up later and take him to her place.

That’s a lot of math for a guy to figure out by himself. Sorry on the whiny interval.

So I called him up for his dinner choice and he went with Subway. He is so smart, so young and so very dumb on food. But I moved forward on that order. I picked it up. Delivered it up. Turned around and picked up my little girl from my mother’s house. And we were off . . .

Excepting for one little thing. My wallet.

One little thing equals jest. Because truth be told, a man’s wallet . .  ain’t jest. Us men can joke around all day and night on purses, but the truth of the matter is that our wallets matter, in a very apocalyptic way. Sidle up to a man who just lost his wallet and tell me otherwise. Just try . .

A man who loses his wallet is like Grant sleeping over in Richmond. It’s like Hiroshima, on crack. Okay, you want me to go really hardcore on your ass? It’s like the Super Bowl being blacked out to everyone other than Joe Biden. How’s about that for some not pretty stuff?

So, we’re getting back in the car when the girl spots something and yells “Hey Dad, what’s that?” And that, is when lo meets behold. There. Stuck in the side pocket . . of my car door. My wallet.With no thanks to Newman or Gleason. Nah. Just my little girl. Who always seems to catch her Dad on every important thing.

And I was caught. So I did what any responsible father would do in that instance. “Hey baby, let’s go shopping. Anything you want. On me.”And God bless her pretty little soul, she kept it on the cheap. With baking arrangements. You have no blessed idea how much I love this child, but there’s that.

So we’re baking tonight. The boy is away, so it’s just me and her and the cat and some really bad movie picks. Loading up on Chinese takeout and a batch of chocolate croissants. Which sounds and tastes much better than a lost wallet and hours of time on the phone with voices from another continent.


They really do rock.

A top five on my dedication songs

I was a ten year old lad who thought he knew a thing or two about love. So I wrote a letter to a girl, because that’s what us kids did back in the age before Facebook. We wrote letters. And I dedicated this song to her in a letter. I left out the part about her being my second love. Barbara Streisand was actually my first.

When I was 17, I was lucky enough to understand what Sinatra was talking about. She was older, and living a life beyond the mall. She inspired me to read poetry and purchase a fake ID so’s I could take her into Manhattan. I whispered this song into a DJ’s ear just for her and then we danced on top of that island as if we’d just been informed the world had five minutes to live.

A lot of guys have that Engagement ring in the glove compartment time in their lives. I called into a radio station and made this dedication because the song had convinced me to pop the question that very night. Here’s a heads up to any guys with the same bright idea. Tell her to tune in to the station first.

This is the only song I ever dedicated to a girl after the fact. We danced to it in my living room after the handwriting had made its way across the wall. And we promised a different kind of pact. So if it happens that we make it to eighty without a spouse . . well . . .

I made this dedication only a few short years ago. I was truly-madly-unfortunately in love. I have no regrets, at least not as far as the song is concerned. It’s as dorky and beautiful now as it has been every time since I first heard it, just like Toni Tenille and her magical bangs. (And a side note . . at 3:16 you will catch the words “Sedaka is back”. An ode to the songwriter Neil Sedaka.)

I’ll finish with this little ditty from a younger and cheekier Paul. He’s the sage of song I should be blaming all of my lovelorn on, if I had the nerve to blame such a thing on anyone at all.

Love is the sweetest four letter word you’ll ever wanna know.

Saying “I do” to an RSVP

Over the last few years, my attendance at weddings has been spottier than a pack of paint-balling dalmatians. Of the friends, family, acquaintances, coworkers and assorted interesting people I happen to meet in line at Starbucks, I’ve done a lousy job of nosing up to their nuptials. Out of all these invites, I’ve attended two measly weddings.

It’s not about being single so much as it’s about not having a wife around to drag me to these affairs. Hmm, I guess that does make it about being single. Never mind.

The last wedding invite I decided to forgo was from a cousin in New York. Hers was a second go round at the too fun age of twenty whatever. Which I kind of took as an insult not only to my intelligence but my memory banks. What? Did she think I’d forgotten about the small fortune I dropped only a few short years ago when she’d promised all that crud about death do us parting?

She’s alive and doing great, as is her ex. They’re still good friends. She living in Manhattan, and he relocated in Los Angeles. I’m guessing their divestiture of that big fat “I do” registry was executed wisely. She probably kept the Williams Sonoma even though she eats out eight nights a week and he’s probably waking up to the Pacific Ocean with a Bose Wave Music System.

The inky ‘regret’ on my RSVP card response wasn’t even dry when I shot it back to her. That side of the family and their response is another post for another time. Preferably when I have wine in the house. And some new Amy Winehouse stuff, come to think of it.

Sorry, it takes my mind several paragraphs to get to the point. Which is, that I will be in attendance at a wedding ceremony next weekend without a gun having been strategically placed to my temple as incentive.

An old girlfriend of mine is getting married. This will be my fifth former girlfriend wedding. If I had a top ten weddings list, all the former girlfriends would be on it because the truth is they have been some of the best times. Their weddings I mean.

Me and this gal have been friends for a very long time. We’ve seen each other through work and family, divorce and reconstruction. Our romantic interlude happened as a result of availability and curiosity, it’s human nature I guess. That part of our story wasn’t bad at all, but it also wasn’t us.

Like my cousin, this will be my friend’s second marriage. But it’s a hard earned and much deserved second time. She’s been single long enough to know the good thing she has is worth making official. And I’ve been single long enough to know that I’ll be spending her day in the right place.

Now if Vera Farmiga would return my phone calls, I’d have a good idea as to who I was bringing to this hoedown. Methinks her husband isn’t giving her the messages.

(I’ve got to acquaint myself with country music in a hurry, because these two lovebirds voted W for President just for the soundtrack. And I thought Kenny Chesney was a fried chicken recipe until five minutes ago.)

Empire Falls

There are a lot of repulsive aspects to us guys.

We scratch ourselves in public, use profane language gratuitously and worst of all . . . we spit. Mercilessly and often. It’s an instinctual bug-a-boo we have little control over- like sex and hoarding the remote control. There are very few times in a man’s life when he will consciously abstain from this vulgar activity. He’ll abstain when he’s walking down the aisle, unless it’s an outdoor ceremony. A guy won’t spit in front of the boss unless the boss is an avid golfer with a brutal handicap. And a guy will never spit in front of his woman if he knows what’s good for him.

That leaves plenty of time for men to exercise their inalienable right to be disgusting, loathsome creatures.

I think it’s helpful to explain why we spit. Hey we don’t like doing it any more than you like watching us do it. But in truth, it’s all we have left. To wit, men have become the victims of the most grievous example of copyright infringement since Steven Spielberg fictionalized Michael Jackson’s life story back when he created E.T..

Men used to own certain activities. Things like attending baseball games, playing poker, drinking beer and whiskey, sleeping with women, shooting intruders, wearing flannel, welding, racing, writing about sports, enlisting in the service, smoking cigars, arm wrestling. I could go on, but I’m depressing myself.

So you can imagine my consternation when I witnessed a well dressed professional woman tilt her head back and heave an identifiable object to the ground this morning. A no holds barred spit! In full view of, like, everybody. And it was a guy’s spit too. No looking around to make sure her disgusting secret remained safe, nope. She owned it like a guy would. Proud and cocky and slightly defensive, as if to ward off protest with the silent threat that she would burn down homes if need be. It was as if Sense and Sensibility never happened. As if the term feminine wiles was a reference to women who wear protective cups. It was as if she was letting me know that spitting shares just went public and she’d bought enough stock to kick my ass out of the building.

I shudder to think of a world where women begin to impinge on the last little piece of dry land us guys have left.

dreaming a little dream of me

Rainy days bring to mind Karen Carpenter, turntables and M&M’s.

The former evokes those haunting lyrics she left us before going away much too soon. As an adolescent, turntables were the only profit of a rainy Saturday morning that caged my restless gallop. I can’t figure how the M&M’s became married to my rainy days. It’s probably about melancholy as well, since the old recipe was far superior in my humble opinion. Except for the minis, which happen to rock of the old days.

Every now and again, a dream behaves this way. It’s familiar, strangely so. It has a definition to it, an answer to its meaning that is always a silver of a close shave quicker than my brain’s forensics lab. Moss grows more thickly than the gloss which is attempting to illustrate the purpose of these moving pictures.

In the dream I am sitting in a makeshift boardroom overlooking a square. The scenery in this dream is fitted as if it were a business trip to some exotic location in which I will never see the light of day before I have to catch a flight back home. And in the dream, my ex. The one who shall never be named. She who inhabits the darkest recesses of my mind where tax audits and dentist appointments reside.

We are negotiating, divvying up our respective emotional markers. It’s business like, completely so. She is approachable and persistent while I tend to the common ground we are foraging with desperate little attempts at small talk. She is having none of it so I finally give in to the idea that this will be our final time in each other’s company. I realize I will not be allowed to retrieve her smile as compensation for the forgettable end she helped to create. And I know she wasn’t alone in torching the thing we had to the ground. The meeting is over soon enough. There are no goodbyes offered or exchanged. Just a fade to blackness.

And the next thing I know I am standing outside my kid’s school. Apparently I have volunteered to switch off the power box which controls the lights once dawn shakes the rust off. Even in the dream the economy is sucking wind to such an extent that manual labor is needed in order to save a few cents on the energy bills.

Unlike my dream about the ex, this one seems random. There I am, standing dolefully outside the gates awaiting the first branches of sunlight so I can do my parental duty. That’s when this couple saunters up to me without introduction. The young man is disheveled. He is wearing a week old beard. The woman is an equal mess, but the moment I see her I wish we were alone. She is dressed in ratty jeans and a black hoodie which is unzipped to reveal her breasts. I am holding a chain in one hand and a bic pen in the other. I begin brushing across her open jacket to agreeable results. And then the man is gone and she is asking me to take her some place safe.

And then I wake up. Dawn is pushing up and the rain is falling and I have a primal craving which needs no explanation. My first thoughts are grasping at cobwebs and my next round of thoughts come up blanks. It’s only after coffee that I find a logical trespass into what it all meant.

I don’t tend to forgive, or forget.

Who Said I Want A Revolution?

I called a female friend of mine the other day in the hopes she might grant me a peek into the better half’s Inner Sanctum. This wasn’t about something as frivolous as the ultimate orgasm, no. For that I can reference Cosmo.

My question involved something much more serious.


When did this movement supersede Burberry as a must have for every member of the female population? Why it is that every woman who does Zumba immediately falls in love and gets married to it?  In a Stepford wedding kinda way?

Her response seemed more a state mandated endorsement than a believable response. “Because you don’t feel as if you’re working out. You’re having fun!”

Working out as fun. Hmm. It seemed an incongruous proclamation.  And that was when I knew I had lost her as well. She had been reprogrammed into some fictionalized monster out of The Hunger Games. Her voice carried the same genuine inflection, but her soul had been hijacked.

That was when I understood the good old days to be dead and buried. Back when women stuck to a fitness program out of seething hatred for their waif-like counterparts. Back when women loved  a fitness program only because of their hunky Latin instructor.

I have been using the Shake Weight for several months now and I have to admit this goofy gadget works. I use it because it gives me what I want in a fraction of the time. But I don’t love it. Not even close. Maybe it’s jealousy on my part since I’ve never loved an exercise regimen in my life. Hell, even sex comes with an exit strategy.

But Zumba? . . . “I can do it for hours!”

I eased out of the conversation with my friend, taking great pains not to insult her fitness program. I figured the phone line was probably being tapped in to by the shadowy half of this sunshine and rainbow company. Zumba Headquarters is based in Florida. But I imagine they have a shadowy subterranean organization for non-believers such as myself. Something that goes by the name of Zumba Procurement and Indoctrination Bureau. I imagine they do business in some nondescript, marble columned office building in a densely populated urban area between a McDonald’s and an H&R Block. There’s probably a Zumba Store fronting it so’s the ladies can purchase  Zumba studded yummy zip-up hoodies and their Zumba leggings, their vibe tribe scarfs, their V-bra tops and racerbacks and spaghetti tank tops. They barely notice it when their disbelieving men are disappeared into the re-education wing via a trapdoor where they are force fed the Zumba code by a couple of uniformed apes- Gold’s Gym Repos who issue monosyllabic ultimatums  and are quite adept at tearing off vital body parts if provoked.

Women have been known to spend the better part of a weekend knee deep in Zumba-gear dressing rooms since the company has more accessories than Charlie Sheen has sexual conquests. And for the love of Jack LaLanne, Zumba even peddles baby onesies. I cringe to think there will be a generation of Zumba soldiers who will have no idea as to what phrases like “Feel the Burn” mean. The Dark Ages of working out will seem as unbelievable to them as water fountains, pay phones and Ben Affleck’s acting career.

I realize the Zumba Army has its eyes and ears everywhere, so I’m probably going to have to change my name. Again. Which is fine with me, because the alternative is to join up.

“You should come to one of my classes. You’ll be hooked.”

That’s what I’m afraid of.

Irish Eyes Don’t Smile, They Warn You Pleasantly

“Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.” -Yeats.

Forget the idea that holidays are the hardest on single people. Plenty of committed relationships suffer equally if not greater loneliness. Holidays do not discriminate. They’ll bury you in emotional quicksand just as easily if you’re coupled.

This isn’t to say the holidays aren’t fraught with complications for us single people. Consider the perils of matchmaking, holiday mixers and parents who want you to find a nice someone and settle down. It’s a mean group of days if you buy into the idea that there is someone for everyone.

And it just so happens to be the most unequivocal bunch of nonsense since Hallmark replaced the sincerity of a handwritten gesture with lamely worded and overpriced stock syrup.

St. Patrick’s Day is different.

I’ll admit it. I need the comfort of a woman for this celebration. It’s the only holiday I feel this way about. Whereas Christmas and Valentines Day remind my pocketbook as to the infinite beauty of Oneness, there’s something about St. Paddy’s Day that begs female companionship.

I’ve had the great fortune of an Irish girl for the last four of these holidays. Two different girls who held the same mystical ability to drink me under the table. I’ve experienced all manner of Irish fare, where Guinness is actually considered dinner all by its lonesome. There has been the miracle of life and the permanence of death to consider. I’ve navigated long distances with ease while stumbling inside the short walks.

It has been from this vantage point of poets and kings that I have come to understand that the nature of comedy and tragedy is identical beneath the polar-opposite surface.

And it’s why I’m spoiled to imitations. It’s been a while since I spent St. Paddy’s Night with a girl who couldn’t carry a brogue to save her life.

She was Puerto Rican and we became fast friends in a pub. She was the most antithetical of portraits with her long black hair and olive skinned complexion that was (surprise!) freckle free. But she had two things going for her that night- she was wearing an Ireland soccer shirt and she was talking to me.

In the morning she was talking to someone else. Actually, she was screaming a blur of foreign curse words into the phone. I’d been on the receiving end of such exchanges enough to recognize it was a man she was talking to, a boyfriend more specifically. I don’t remember getting dressed so much as impersonating the 82nd Airborne.

As I walked into the living room where she was seated, she saw me. Cupping the phone momentarily, her scowl was replaced with angelic repose. “I made coffee, go get a cup in the kitchen,” she smiled softly. For an instant I seriously considered the offer. And then I heard the other end of the line come alive again. His voice wasn’t so much angry as it was a semi-automatic promise.

“Don’t leave. Fuck him! He doesn’t want to deal with being a father so he can deal with my life!” The fact that they were no longer involved did nothing to appease me. I decided not to investigate her paranthetical confession of motherhood, which had been disguised quite effectively by our inebriated state the night before. I didn’t want to learn more about her ex and what his real place in her life consisted of for fear he would have a new (and temporary) place in mine if I stuck around.

From then on, I’ve taken to Irish Eyes on the Holy Day. If she hates the Miami Hurricanes and Oliver Cromwell with equal intensity, I’m willing to walk those 500 miles and then 500 more just to show up at her door with a six pack and reservations at the pub in the offing.

Granted, the other 364 days of the year are a challenge. But at least I know an Irish girl would never let me suffer the indignity of being murdered by her crazed ex. She’d do the job herself.

Drink O’ The Day- Guinness. It’s not over yet.

A penny for my thoughts? That’s about right . .

To understand women is to know why floral shops and jewelers will do commerce in perpetuity. The only plaid to their otherwise floral existence comes with the cards they show us from time to time, for sport.

The genius of  woman lies in her ability to be caught only in accordance with her wishes. They are beautifully elaborate puzzles full of idiosyncratic faiths we abide by as if we were puppies- our tails whipping madly and our bobbled heads chasing after them with due diligence.

As far as inquisitive creatures go, it’s no wonder they share the same perch with felines. The only thing we know for absolute certainty is that they’re going to ask questions. Bunches of them.  And when a woman asks you a question, rest assured we’re not talking meteorology or hand grenades. Coming close doesn’t work.

Unless of course, it’s that triedest and truest one of all.

Women own the query “What are you thinking?” in the same way the French own haute cuisine. Others may borrow it from time to time, but make no mistake as to the rightful owners. I possess no statistical verification to back this up, but  that’s okay. I know what I’m doing here (FYI- that last line happens to be a phrase that men own, resoundingly so).

It’s the gold medal question for all time. Its silver medalist sister- Do you have this in a smaller size?- is a Janie Come Lately in comparison.

The reason why they ask us what we’re thinking about is simple. It’s because they already know what we’re thinking about. See, women ask questions they already know the answers to at the same rate in which men don’t ask questions about the things they really should.  It is an innate mechanism which allows women to separate the wheat from the chaff and it’s one of the reasons why they can never hold the highest office in the land. For all we know they might throw the entire system into repair and we would never hear the end of it if that happened.

When women ask you what you’re thinking, they already know what your mind is busy trying to throw into the Burn After Reading file.

It’s the sex stupid!

That was Bill Clinton ‘s ticket punched theme back in ’92. Well, okay . .it’s what he was thinking back in ’92 in between stump speeches about the economy and a place called Hope (sex). He didn’t run for President out of some exalted design, are you kidding? He ran for President thanks to the lifetime of cocktail party jokes that beating Bush would gift him.

Hey, it’s what men think about 24/7. I mean, even Wal-Mart closes the doors sometimes. Unlike our libidinous excursions into every possible copulatory scenario. It’s like this. What women are looking for when they ask us this question has nothing to do with the answer we provide them. They understand the politics long before we push off from the diving board into two feet of water.

No, what women really want to observe is our presentation- How we plate the reply. Because they consider men on a scale which has nothing to do with merit, and thank God for that. For a woman, it’s all about the man who can think on his feet. They’ll keep you around if you give it a decent shot.

Understand that no two ‘decent’ shots are the same. They’re like horny little snowflakes. Some guys will utilize the rote approach, whereby they have a trusty store of indexed responses at the ready. And there are those of us who prefer the big risk/big reward improvisational approach.

No matter the method, we manage to navigate this minefield like Captain Kirk when the promise of mood lighting, slow music and candles are in the offing. If it was left to us? Dimmers, Barry White and aromatherapy wouldn’t mean a thing and “Hello” would be considered chatty. But there is art and semblance to our actions thanks to the rubric of feminine wiles.

Mind you, not every response we crank up is going to be a home run. In fact, few will clear the fence. Some of them are weak grounders which could be gobbled up by the bat boy. Consider this unfortunate Shakespearean grab bag.

Woman: What are you thinking?
Man: About adopting a puppy with you . . . or . . . That amazing weekend we spent with your folks . . .or How much I love the opera thanks to you.

Laughable responses all but acceptable responses nonetheless. Women understand the powder keg of moral ambiguities they’re dealing with, so they’re going to be satisfied with material that wouldn’t fly in an Econo Lodge stand up act. Unless you live next door to Mark Wahlberg, in which case you better start looking into whether your insurance covers carpal tunnel syndrome.

More than anything else, women want that ass slide into third base attempt, they crave it, since it is usually the only effort we put into the whole What are you thinking? business. It’s rare that we will rock their boat with a question such as this unless prompted into doing so.

The earliest record of a woman asking a man what he was thinking dates back to prehistoric times. The giddiness which had prevailed after the discovery of fire was soon quelled when a cave woman asked her cave beau what he was thinking as they cuddled around a campfire.

This exchange coincides with the earliest recorded cave painting, etched undoubtedly by a caveman. It was a single word, which when translated read Help.

sex, clocks, photographs, t-shirts and sushi

Oh wow. Like, as if wordpress doesn’t have enough piss poor sex soliloquies going around. But okay, here’s one more. Cause the dude who runs this yellow submarine got all shit faced and decided to write a poem (?). It happened last night, all the nudity and filthy sex and irony . . . all that Shakespeare. I know . . .how eighties of me to wait on posting it till today. Rob Lowe would be ashamed. Almost.

Old age means waking up to a curiously hilarious blog post rather than some creepy crawlies invasion of your boxers. So . . . yeah! for the new age of things.

I woke up this morning feeling quite invigorated for a man of semi-advancing age. I checked to make sure my black cat and beta fish were still doing rumba- which in laymen terms means the cat didn’t eat the fish. Then I checked the children, which is still eighties relevant I’m guessing.

Then I checked my blog drafts.

And there was this, a poem. Not very good at all, but interesting. Enough.

So here is the thing I wrote. I’ll italicize it for medicinal purposes.

when you slide underneath it’s to hearken a disease I do not understand as of yet.  fallowed. supple. nice warm belief.

supplicant, you’re understandable and believable and much more than that.

you move easily, i envy that. underneath me I think you’re the most brilliant impostor, as if billboard genius. gilded, sublime, pastry.

you go quiet and I steam into a full blown relief,  my sweat runs wild like hallucinations. black to hollow to trod to despair.

when you scratch at me I understand and when you bite me I smile and when you scream I whisper “I know I know I know.” and then I utter insoluble solutions that tickle as if in rhyme.

having it this way. rolling down into change. Descending, intruding, believing.

shadows call and I ask if you’re good for time. you reply with a voice that’s changing and it hangs me with its mean verse.

“finish already you fuck. we gotta eat.”

Umm. It’s not Keats either come to think about it. Unless he happened to come across Fiona Apple in a dark alley bar. In which case all my lit professors would’ve been much sexier bitches. Damn the luck.

Memorable prose is  a hard thing to come by. But I’m guessing you already knew that.