Thursday, May 24, 2012

men are simple creatures, darling.

before he died, my father never once sat me down to give me "man advice." my dad was SERIOUSLY MANLY. a grizzled korean war vet, this dude didn't do soft shit like "eat fruit" and "wear shorts." he didn't "own pajamas" or "ride a bicycle." samuel "one iron duke" irby slept upright, next to the front door, with an aluminum baseball bat across his knees. i didn't grow up in a house where men "talked about feelings" or "verbally expressed their affection." we played two games: watch daddy drink and listen to daddy cuss a dumb bitch the fuck out. he loved me, for fucking sure, because i was the baby and incredibly precocious, and he showed this love by peeling my grapes and teaching me how to make mash and distill grain alcohol in the bathtub. his way of saying "i love you" was to teach me how to break a dude's nose in one swift motion. in addition, i can also: hotwire an old car, beat the brakes off a dude at spades and dominoes, load a shotgun, cure a cast iron pan, smoke a cigarette down to the filter while having a conversation without ever touching it with my hands, tie a proper bow tie, and make steak tartare.

and i also learned that if you need to get drunk and your mother hid the goddamned keys to the motherfucking liquor cabinet when she left for work that you could use a loaf of bread to strain a bottle of shoe polish and drink what came out. "she's just overreacting," he would say, sipping a highball glass filled with nyquil, "i don't have a drinking problem. i just like to feel good. now go get me the wonder bread out of the pantry." what a handy trick, responsible parent!

when i was in the fourth grade i had a crush on a boy who played clarinet next to me in the band. devastated that he hadn't understood that the unused reed i'd offered him basically symbolized my undying devotion, i walked home near tears to find my father sitting at the dining room table eating a summer sausage while sharpening his knives. i explained my dilemma, giant tears sliding down my cheeks as he listened thoughtfully. i begged him for some insight. "why don't boys like me, daddy?" i sobbed. he took a swig from a bottle of crown royal (at three in the goddamned afternoon) and placed his hand on my shoulder. he looked into my face, a mirror image of his own, and said, gently, "because you can't do fractions." i'd been anticipating the answer to an ages old mystery, i had been bracing myself for a GODDAMNED REVELATION, and this asshole was blaming my heartbreak on fractions?! i slammed my clarinet case on the table. "I HATE YOU!" i shouted.

"what's 1/3 of 9?" he asked, then erupted in laughter as i paused and started counting on my fingers. i stormed into the kitchen, probably to eat 1/2 a cake or 2/3 of a gallon of ice cream, his laugh mocking me the entire way. and that's the last time i ever asked him about how to deal with a goddamned dude.

men and their fucking stupid code. even my own father, who cut my meat for me until i was sixteen years old, wouldn't break that archaic shit to help his forlorn little daughter. i continued to be crushed by that crush until well into high school, when i finally decided my classmates were too immature for me and that my time was better spent talking to grown ass men who pretended they wanted to know what happened on "my so-called life" last week while interrupting every few minutes to ask if i was really a virgin. i have a lot of dudefriends, and even the ones with whom i can carry on an actual conversation that doesn't consist of just grunts and hand signals never give me any insight into the male brain. they're all, "sure, forward me his emails and let me take a look at that text," and as i sit on the edge of my seat drooling in anticipation, eyes widened to the size of dinner plates as i await what i've always dreamed of, a real-life analysis of some foggy double talk from a man BY A MAN, what i usually come away with is the exact opposite: a friend who says he loves me yet pretends he can't translate the subtext of a 160-character message sent by a dude he's never met yet somehow all of a sudden has an allegiance to protect. WHAT THE FUCK, BRO?

either they fake like they don't have the faintest idea whether or not "i'm going through a transitional period in my life" really means "i'm fucking someone else, bitch" (it does, apparently) OR they immediately turn around and blame the shit on the ladyfolk. FOR EXAMPLE: a couple months ago i was talking to my joke-writing partner, ian (have you read our blog, irbyandian? it's amazing, and you totally should, but wait until you finish this) about some stupid-ass goddamned dude, and his response was, "listen, men are like vampires." and my heart soared. finally! finally some insight and understanding into men from someone else with a goddamned y-chromosome! what a lucky girl i am! oh my goodness, please continue! "men are like vampires," he said, "they can't come in your house unless you invite them."

WHAT THE FUCK, BRO? seriously? that is your sage advice?! it's not like dudes show up on my doorstep, female corpse slung over their shoulders, fangs dripping with the still-fresh blood of their most recent victim, and i'm all, "hey vampire guy, wanna be in a relationship? you're not going to do the exact same thing i have visual evidence to corroborate to me, now are you? you aren't?! well, super. let's give it a shot. COME ON IN." they show up in timberlands and baggy jeans talking that good shit, and then later, once i'm comfortable, i discover a big ol' piece of baggage stuffed with the decaying carcass of the last woman who didn't really understand exactly which date is the right one to get naked on. (and if you ask a MAN, it's either the first or the twelfth. but maybe the seventh? or sometimes the fourth, if you don't mind his thinking you're a total whore. six dates? yeah, that's long enough to know if he's really into you. second date might be okay, though, if you feel like you have a connection, but he'll still reserve the right to never call you again because you're such a silly slut. hmm, the ninth might be best if you really want to keep him, though. as a matter of fact, you probably just shouldn't ever have sex ever.) make room for me in that suitcase, sister. I'M DUMB, TOO.

my friend blaximus called me last week and was like, "you got dumped again, homie? look sam, imma break the shit down for you. i am going to give you the only tool you willl ever need to know how to deal with men." i was waiting for the train in my party clothes, and a homeless dude walked by and complimented my outfit by simulating masturbation with one hand and pinching his nipple through his shirt with the other. "BARF, i'm over dudes, they obviously hate me," i whined at him, moving further down the platform. "stop that right this minute," he scolded. "now listen, girl. all you need to know is this: YOU HAVE THE CONTROL. i'm not kidding, especially since i'm about to lose my man card for telling you this. women are smarter than men, they are more capable than men, and we are suckers for you. you have the control, sweetheart. now act like it."

my first thought was: this dumb ape just wants to bang me. he's just gassing me up with all this smart and capable talk so i'll let him put it in my butt. this is some reverse psychology mind-fuck type of shit and i am NOT GOING TO FALL FOR IT. i am a smart and capable woman, goddamn it, and he's just telling me some bullshit to make me feel good. this is NOT a real fucking thing. then i thought about my dad, who pretty much serves as the blueprint for the kind of man who would fit best in my life: manly, direct, drunk, and a little bit scary but would cut up a tough piece of meat if i couldn't. could i really be in control of someone like that?

"not like that," blaximus snapped, rudely interrupting my reverie, "not like a dog on a leash, you idiot. men are simple creatures, darling. we like what you tell us to like. if a girl who is 5'2" and four hundred pounds with a bad weave walks into the club wearing a miniskirt like she is THE ABSOLUTE SHIT at first we might balk, but give us ten minutes of watching her strut that confidence around and every dude in that place will want to get with her. men don't organically know what the fuck stretch marks are, we know what they are because women tell us what they are and how we shouldn't like them. and now we don't. if you never would've told us we never would've cared."

i glanced down at my veiny green-ish purple boobs. "okay, so if i'm getting sexy with a dude, right, and he's hot and i'm hot and everybody is ready to fuck? and it's awesome? then i slide my bra strap off and say, 'you know what, son? you fucking LOVE these textured grooves my big girl bra has worn in my goddamned shoulders, YOU FUCKING LOVE THESE WEIRD HAIR FOLLICLES AND DISPROPORTIONATELY TINY NIPPLES. that right, those veins make them look like an old bruise when we do it with the lights on, but that's okay because YOU LOVE THESE OLD FLESH WOUND TITS, SON. and then we just will start going off on some unbridled passion type lovemaking?' is that what you mean? is that me exerting my ladypowers and shit?"

there was a long silence on the other end, followed by a sigh. "just be confident, sam. men like confidence. BE CONFIDENT. also, stop texting in the place of actual human conversation, stupid." GOT IT. NO TEXTING. TALK ON THE PHONE. CONFIDENT AS FUCK NOW. i pictured myself sashaying into a nightclub wearing booty shorts and a halter top and high heels that give my feet muffin top while acting like sex on legs with a come get it look on my face, primed to have an interpersonal face-to-face conversation with an actual human being . "can i be confident in full-bottomed underpants with cat hair on them?" i asked meekly.

"you better tell them they love those granny panties!" blaximus shouted like a football coach during playoff season. "now get your ass back out there and tell these dudes that they want to put their dicks in them orthopedic birkenstock sandals, girl!"

i still think this is mostly bullshit, because all the confidence in the world can't make someone keep banging you once he's decided he doesn't want to. i've got a genius-level IQ, man. i'm fucking funny. my problem (and i think most of our problem) is that when i think i've done everything right (neither calling too much or too little, using a variety of sex moves and not on the first date, only talking about shit that is exciting and fun, paying my half even though i suggested a cheap restaurant and only ordered 1/3 of what i wanted), the fucking thing still goes to hell anyway. i'm not worried about being the hottest cupcake in the room, i need whatever it is that makes him want to keep eating even though he licked all the frosting off. riddle me that shit. give me that pep talk. dudes always (falsely) think you want to figure out how to get one to go home with you. we already fucking know, man. 1 have a vagina 2 see number one. aside from chaining him to the radiator, how do you convince him to stick his ass around?!

yet here i remain, putting a brave face on, jogging in place and slapping the sides of an imaginary helmet while squirting gatorade into my mouth (gross) and adjusting my jockstrap (ew), psyching myself up for the big game. since a good sense of humor, ridiculously good taste in jams, and an encyclopedic knowledge of internet memes apparently aren't enough muscle, my rippling biceps are made of confidence and a grudging willingness to do anal every once in a while, and i'm still on the goddamned sidelines, but as soon as that other girl you're talking to gets hit by a bus or you remember that you haven't called me in a while i'm going to charge the goddamned field and let you know that YOU FUCKING LOVE THESE MOM JEANS, BRO.