Issue #43 – “Seeing Single” – October 2003

-To me, single women in their twenties are like a preseason football game – it may seem like they’re trying to score, but really they just don’t want to get hurt.  On the other hand, single men are like the Super Bowl – they’re always trying to go all the way like it’s the last chance they’ll ever get.  This seemingly small difference in thinking leads to an extraordinary amount of waste generated by single men and women who have absolutely no clue what the other wants.  Money is wasted, time is wasted, and next thing you know it’s 4am on Saturday night and you’re alone…and wasted.  Go to any bar and you’re bound to see the mating ritual happening in pairs – two guys who’ve had two too many drinks circling the outskirts of the dance floor with two dollars combined left in their wallets staring at the two chicks at the bar clutching two overpriced handbags and ordering two more apple martinis.  But don’t worry, you’re not seeing double, you’re seeing single.

-The first decision that single men, like myself, must make is what to bar to go to in order to pick up women.  This decision is usually made over many drinks while pre-gaming with the boys at someone’s apartment.  Inevitably, you decide on a place where one of your buddies “heard there were gonna be a ton of hot chicks.”  That this has never once been true does not deter us.  The fact is, drunk single guys go to annoying bars for the same reasons weary travelers fly into Newark airport – it’s out of the way, it’s inconvenient, but you weren’t thinking straight and it seemed like a good idea at the time.

-The fact that the bars, clubs, and lounges of New York have become the arena for single mating puts guys at a serious disadvantage.  For one thing, we can’t get in unless we’re with girls.  But if we were with girls, we wouldn’t be going in the first place.  This leads to the desperate measure of getting on your cell phone and calling girls that you know are inside to come out and convince the bouncer to let you in.  And when that embarrassing situation is finally over, you get inside and usually head straight for the bathroom – where you are forced to piss in a trough filled with ice.  So I’ve been out of the house for about twenty minutes, I haven’t even hit on anyone yet, and I’ve already been completely emasculated.  I should have just left my balls at home.

-How to Lose a Guy in Ten Seconds at the Bar: tell me how much you enjoy being an investment banker, take a drag off your lipstick-stained Parliament, ask me if your fake ID looks real, mention your boyfriend who just got drafted by the Bears, discuss your opposition to pre-marital sex, order a mixed drink with Diet Coke, ask about the strange rash on your inner thigh, or tell me how you really have to get home tonight…to New Jersey.

-How come women consistently list the number one trait they are looking for in a guy as “sense of humor” but when I say I’m a comedian they look at me like I’m a janitor?

-Single guys have an intricate system for scouring a bar for prospects.  We usually use a two-man formation.  One guy is the designated “wingman” whose primary responsibility is to find and initiate conversations with hot chicks.  Once the wingman has established a position, he transitions his friend into the conversation and then reports back to the other guys.  When describing the attractiveness of a girl to his friends, guys will sometimes use the “beer rule,” which is the number of beers one would have to drink in order to hook up with a girl.  Anyone less than a six-pack is pretty good.  Anyone over a twelve-pack will just make for a funny story the next day.

-I’d say the biggest drawback to being single in New York is that you never get any sleep.  Since the bars are open virtually all night, you end up leaving with a girl at like 3:30am.  You get in a cab, you get back to your place, you start hooking up, and by the time all is said and done, it’s daybreak – so much for your one-night stand.  In other cities I’ve partied in lately, like LA, Philly and Boston, last call is at 1:30am.  You’re home with a girl by 2:30am and sleeping soundly by four while your buddies in New York are still pissing in troughs.

-I have to admit, now that I’m unemployed, I kind of like doing the walk of shame during the week.  I think because it reminds me of my childhood.  You know, the girl is trying unsuccessfully to get me out of bed while simultaneously getting ready for work.  I’m cranky, my hair is a mess, she’s putting her make-up on, and I’m eating snacks out of the fridge.  It’s just like getting ready for elementary school!

-At about 4:30am on the streets of Manhattan, you will see dozens of single guys walking solemnly down the sidewalk, their constitutions broken, their shirts ruffled, and their wallets empty.  They have left the bar without hooking up and are now trudging back to their tiny apartments alone.  I call these unfortunate men the “Lost Souls.”  I have been a Lost Soul many a night.  I usually use this time to ponder life’s great mysteries.  Like how come everyone likes Coldplay so much?  What exactly is cilantro?  Why do M&Ms and Budweiser even bother advertising?  What ever happened to Pras from the Fugees?  Did I leave the Foreman grill plugged in?  Man, I think I need a girlfriend.

-In my group of friends, I am the highest-ranking single guy (meaning I have been single the longest).  That means it is my duty to prevent my buddies who have girlfriends from becoming totally whipped.  I feel like I am losing this battle.  You know you’re losing your friends to their girlfriends when they all start hanging out together as couples.  My roommate Brian and his girlfriend had a dinner party a few weeks ago with a bunch of other couples.  I overheard him on the phone talking to one of the guys and he actually said, “But my girlfriend likes red wine and yours likes white, what should we do?  I guess I’ll just bring an appetizer then.”  I swear if he didn’t pay half the rent I would have killed him right then and there.

-Of course, I gave up on my roommate a long time ago.  It started harmlessly enough, with a Post-it note.  When his girlfriend left the apartment one morning, she left him a little Post-it note that said something like “I love you.  Have a great day!”  OK, so that was pretty lame but I let it slide.  Then I found another note the next day that read “I love you.  Have a great day! XOXO.”  The next day, the note didn’t even have any words, it just said “XOXOXOXO.”  Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, they did.  I discovered it on a Tuesday, on his desk under a pile of love notes.  A mix tape.  They’re making mix tapes for each other.  Each one has a different “mood” when it’s supposed to be played.  Hmm, I wonder which one I should play when I’m feeling like my roommate is a pussy.

-Those of my friends who are still single have started to diversify themselves a little bit.  My buddy Claudio has been hooking up with a thirty-five-year-old marketing executive.  I asked him how the sex was.  He said, “Who cares, she’s a vice president!”

-Meanwhile, I’ve been trying to hit on the models in my acting class.  For some reason, though, they all have boyfriends.  And those boyfriends are forty-two.  And millionaires.  And used to play for the Bears.

-Quote of the Month.  As I said at the beginning of this column, I think that single women are way too afraid of getting hurt, when they should just be trying to have a good time, like guys do.  For example, my buddy Shermdog was telling me about this girl that he hooked up with twice.  All of a sudden she said she couldn’t see him anymore.  When he asked her why, she said she was worried he was going to break her heart.  “Break her heart?”  Seth said to me over a couple of beers, “How am I going to break her heart?  I don’t even know what I’m having for lunch.”

-Guys have a few steadfast rules when it comes to the opposite sex.  Our first rule is never go out on a date on a weekend night if you’re not sure you’re going to hook up.  If things go sour, you’ve wasted 50% of primetime for nothing.  Second, never break up with your girlfriend, no matter how much it’s not working, if you have some sort of temporary disability, such as a broken wrist.  You’ll need someone to work the remote while you’re laid up.  Finally, once you hook up with a girl, whatever you did in bed is reasonably expected to be the minimum of what you do the next time.  Listen, I don’t make the rules, I just follow them!

-I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised that single men and women have such a hard time getting along.  We’re just so different.  Girls dream about meeting that one great love.  Guys fantasize about the Olsen twins and the Hilton sisters…at the same time.  Girls have all the pictures they have ever taken in their lives organized by genre on Ofoto.  Guys say they’ll make doubles of that picture of you puking on yourself but never actually do.  Girls spend their free time shopping for shoes, hair products, and non-fat frozen yogurt.  Guys spend their free time deciding who to play at wide receiver on their fantasy football team when the Vikings have a bye week.  Girls spend all of their hard-earned money on shoes, hair products, and non-fat frozen yogurt.  Guys spend of all their hard-earned money trying to have sex with girls.  So I guess there’s really only one thing we can agree on – we all love watching “The OC.”

-In the end, being a single guy is both strange and unpredictable.  Like sometimes I’ll go to run on the treadmill at the gym and find that no one is around but that all of the TVs have been mysteriously tuned to “The View,” almost like some girl is trying to brainwash me.  Other times I’ll be pissing in a trough at the bar and feeling kind of down on myself, when I see another single guy using water from the sink to style his hair.  When I realize that this is my competition, I don’t feel so bad anymore.  So I leave the bathroom, tip the attendant a single, and go find my single buddies at the bar.  When the bartender comes my way, I take one look at all the beautiful single women around me and say, “Hey, make that a double.”

-As always, here are some random things I’ve been ruminating about lately…

-When you call someone on their cell phone and they say, “I’m home, let me just call you right back on my regular phone,” why does it always take like 100 seconds for them to call you back?  All they have to do is put down the cell phone and pick up the other phone.  I don’t understand why this takes a minute and half to do.

-Don’t you think that optical illusions are pretty much obsolete?  I mean, think about it, when was the last time you were fooled by an optical illusion?  If someone gives me something and says, “Hey, check out these optical illusions,” I’m pretty sure that both of the lines are the same size even though one looks longer.  Otherwise, what would be the point?

-My cousin Daniel is two years old.  I have absolutely no concept of what his abilities should be at this point.  I was thinking he’d be potty trained and working on multiplication tables by now.  In reality, he watches “Dora the Explorer” all day while shitting himself.

-Have your parents reached that age where they’re not yet retired but they don’t really seem to work anymore?  When they’re not on vacation, they’re taking days off like they run the place.  And they have the nerve to make fun of me for being unemployed.

-What the hell is the point of forty-second shock protection on a Discman?  It really makes no sense.  Have you ever hit a bump that lasted 40 seconds?

-Why do cities have welcome signs that list both population and elevation?  I mean, I understand how population could possibly be relevant, but who cares about elevation?  Am I going to go, hey, Burbank is 485 feet above sea level, I better slip this puppy into third gear!

-On one of my favorite shows on television, “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” they’re always discussing the cut-off time for calling people at night.  It’s generally recognized as 10 or 10:30pm, with special extensions for birth or death.  Twentysomethings’ rules are a little more lax.  We can pretty much call each other until 1am on a weekday, with special extensions if you have a really funny story about hooking up with a girl rated above a twelve-pack.  The more important cut-off time is how early you can call a twentysomething on a weekend morning.  I don’t even turn my phone on until noon.  But for some reason, my parents always try to call me at 9am.  Maybe because they have nothing better to do.

-How come when I buy something that I think I might not want or that is from a less than reliable source, do I put it on my American Express card and feel better about it?  For some reason I feel like American Express is my defense against all evil in the world and that if I buy something I shouldn’t have, Amex will make it all better.

-Why does Snoop Dogg spell out his name in every single song?  We know there’s a “double-g” Snoop, you’ve told us a hundred times.

-Memo to dudes who gel their hair up into a little mohawk: see, that was cool like way back in the day, then it was out for a while, then it came back.  And now that you’re doing it, well, I think it’s pretty safe to say it’s lame again.

-Memo to former contestants on the “Bachelor” and “Bachelorette”: you’re not interesting because you were on a lame reality show…and lost.  Stop trying to use your D-list celebrity status to get laid.  It’s not working.

-Memo to electronics store salespeople: if I ask you a technical question and all you do is read off what it says on the back of the box, you are not adding value.  In fact, you are subtracting it.  Please leave and find someone who is not an ignorant jackass.

-Memo to people who email me asking me to join Friendster: I already have a network of friends.  They’re called my friends.  Clearly you are not one of them.

-I’m twenty-four years old and a little bit more than two years out of college.  What is the significance of this time in my life?  It means that all of my shit is breaking.  Everything that I had in college that I took with me to New York because I thought it had a few more years left in it is starting to go.  My TV doesn’t work, I had to buy a new stereo, my computer is outdated, my jeans are falling apart, my t-shirts are so worn-out I don’t even separate colors from whites when doing laundry anymore, my rug has holes, my couch is sagging, my entertainment center leans to the left, and my coffee table has three legs.  It’s like everything from IKEA spontaneously combusts after five years.

-But there is nothing that I’ve spent more money fixing in the past year than my cell phone.  I swear the thing is like a used car, every few months something breaks and it costs a lot more than you expected to get it up and running again.  I should have known it was time to get a new phone last week when the battery died…while it was plugged into the charger.

-When I’m filling up a car with gas, why do I try to round the price to an even number when I’m paying with a credit card anyway?

-Have you noticed that the gels, lotions, and shampoos found in women’s’ bathrooms always come in some sort of scent that doesn’t actually exist in nature?  It’s like vanilla grapefruit, green tea blackberry, and mango teriyaki.  Doesn’t that freak you out a little?

-By the way, I now have a regular advice column in Seventeen magazine.  I’m not kidding, starting this month I’ll be educating impressionable young girls on all the nuances of college life.  Hey, as a recovering frat boy, it’s the least I could do.

-I don’t quite know why, but I just hate people who put bumper stickers on their cars.  It just seems so pointless to me, like seeing your political views while I’m stuck in traffic is going to change my opinion.  Maybe it speaks to the unity of this great country.  Because whether you’re for the war or against it, we’re all still dumb enough to deface our fenders for no reason.

-I’m convinced that hanging a wrinkled shirt in the bathroom while a steaming shower is running does absolutely nothing.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried it and all I’ve gotten was a soaking wet shirt.  Who comes up with this shit?

-Other things I just don’t get: how do stadiums that have been around for fifty years set new attendance records, are they putting new seats in the bathroom or something?  Why do two people who are speaking a foreign language in the subway always sound like they are arguing when they’re probably just discussing the weather?  What are those extra four digits that come after the dash in your zip code and how come 99% of the population never uses them?  What is the point of the culture expert on “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”?  Do motorcycles have radios?  Where do valets actually park your car?  And why do people who read this column feel the need to email me with the answers to my clearly rhetorical questions?

-Sometimes I do things that make no sense.  For instance, even though I had laser eye surgery eight months ago, I refuse to get rid of the boxes and boxes of contact lenses that are clogging my medicine cabinet.  But I’m still amazed at the stupidity of others.  You would not believe how many times over the past eight months I’ve told people that I have 20/15 vision now and the response was, “Oh wow, but how come the surgery can’t make it perfect?”  Um, asshole, 20/15 is BETTER than 20/20!

-I bet that in the last two years you lost a pair of sunglasses.  And you were really pissed because they were pretty expensive and really annoyed at yourself for losing them.

-And, finally, a while back I went to see the third American Pie movie.  It couldn’t have been a more gloomy experience.  First of all, I was home on Long Island to go to the engagement party of my first high school friend to get married, a very sobering event.  Then, I had to go to the movie by myself because all of my friends had already seen it without me.  So now I’m depressed because I’m thinking about getting old and married, plus I obviously have no friends otherwise I wouldn’t be at the movies alone (maybe I should join Friendster).  As the previews began, a couple of junior high kids whose parents were clearly not with them came down the aisle and tapped me on the shoulder.  “Good,” I thought to myself, “I can’t be that old and uncool if these guys still think I’m approachable.”  I thought wrong.  “Excuse me, sir,” the first kid said, “This movie is rated R and we snuck in.  Since you’re alone, if the security guard comes by, will you say you’re our dad?”  Fuck me.

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