Monthly Archives: January 2016

An Officer and a Gentleman

I broke down and watched “Magic Mike XXL.”

Look, it made it onto an unreasonable number of “best movies of 2015” lists and was being widely and weirdly lauded as a feminist triumph. I’m not sorry I indulged, exactly, but it’s hardly anything other than Exactly What You Think: a simple movie full of airbrushed meatheads doing sensitively-manly things while gyrating to Ginuwine. Accompanied by champagne/peach moonshine cocktails, however, it was a fantastic way to spend a girls-night-in. (Also, the cocktails are now called “giggle juice,” and my new inspirational mantra is “Any God worth believing in certainly sends you men in thongs when you’re in need.”)

Man-Friend pointed out that the most notable difference between male strip clubs and regular (lady-stripper) “gentlemen’s” clubs is that women seems to be unreasonably turned on by men dressed up as firemen, carpenters, police officers, etc. – his theory being that women want to make sure that guy has a JOB in addition to being a beefcake (can you imagine how much groceries cost for a paleo-diet-based Chippendale?!). On the other hand, men are happy that strippers have a job… the job of being a stripper and taking their clothes off for money.

I think he’s being overly simplistic. Women aren’t turned on by the mere fact that you have a job, even if that’s an extremely lucrative job. (When was the last time you saw porn featuring network engineers? Rule 34 says it exists, but it’s up there with “Sluts Packing Nuts” in the “porn I’m comfortable with never seeing again” category.) An inordinate number of women are turned on by a man in uniform. Two dedicated couch potato friends just signed up for a fun run featuring beer, chocolate, cupcakes, AND “the finisher’s medal placed around your neck by a fireman” – clearly, the uniform is a significant motivational tool.

I’m not a uniform junkie, myself, although Baby Sister is certainly a devotee. In my favorite Freudian auto-correct ever, I attempted to text her: “Have you been downtown lately? It’s Meet the Fleet week!” (The week when the Navy ships pull into the harbor, disgorging swells of swol little kippers to enhance the syphilis transmission rate and satisfy the yearnings of bored housewives for live-action sailor porn.) My text was corrected, most appropriately, to: “It’s meet the fleet suck!” and she was on her way downtown as fast as she could drag up the anchor.

Partner In Moonshine Consumption theorizes that a uniform conveys respectability, class, or power, but I disagree. It doesn’t seem to make a significant difference what the uniform is, as long as it in some way represents “authority.” A friend related once that a paramour who found success writing smutty erotica memorialized their trysts in a tome featuring him as a riverboat captain – based on his summer as a theme park boat ride operator, complete with jaunty cap. (File this under “why you should bring gallons of hand sanitizer to Cedar Point.”) And homeowners have been misled for decades about how quickly you will, in fact, get a serviceman to respond to your call by porn featuring Henry the All-American Plumber “fixing your pipes.” (I was pretty sure I had accidentally hired the erotic version of handyman when Henry informed me that the reason my disposal was backed up was that the drain valve was installed upside-down and was draining to the roof. Disappointingly, the most action he brought to the evening – despite the attention of two women and a bottle of Beaujolais – was an impressive pratfall on the moss-covered veranda.)

Despite my ambivalence, I find that uniformed personnel are in fact overrepresented in my archives, from boy scouts to firefighters and cops to military and former military. The uniform isn’t what turns me on about them, but somehow, the characteristics that make me drop my thong are apparently learned in scout or boot camp. (Although, in fairness, there’s also a coincidentally larger-than-expected history of gingers, Jews, and engineers, compared to their share of the general population, so maybe the whole thing is just coincidence.)

But that part in Magic Mike where he interrupts his evening of designing and crafting some gorgeous custom furniture to gyrate around the workshop? I’m gonna be much more moist if you get your pelvis off the lathe and finish whittling that masterpiece. As a proponent of usefulness and efficiency, I like a man who is able to do things well (chief among those “things” being “me”). (The current world heavyweight champion won my undying devotion when I realized he was actually cooking me dinner while fucking me in the kitchen – not a euphemism.) Maybe a uniform is just indicative of a man who is able to get a job done. In that case, bring on the firemen!

 

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Let It Go

Once, I moved out in the middle of the night, while my partner worked graveyard, leaving a “Dear John” tacked to the front door and my personal belongings crated in a corner. Another time, I ended an almost-five-year relationship by two-character text. And I waited until after spending a sexless, joyless week in New Orleans to end my engagement – on New Year’s Eve. (Did you know that there are enough bloodsoaked battlefields and haunted cemeteries in the Big Easy to absolutely ensure you’re not in a sexy mood for seven full days?) I admit it: I suck at breaking up with people. But I’m not alone – turns out, pretty much everyone else does, too.

My friends have relayed stories of ghosting on multi-year relationships (apparently people really do still go out to get a pack of Newports and never come home); waiting until they’re standing in the ICU with soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend’s imminently expiring father; throwing a champagne flute at to-be-dumped in a hot tub stuffed to the gills with drunkards; and calling the sheriff to report they’d been kidnapped and taken to a swingers’ party 40 miles from the city limits. (Encouragingly, many of my friends relay these stories as the victims, rather than the batshit-crazy instigators, but I suspect some of them may be reversing the truthful roles.)

Because of my Irish roots, however, I excel at getting all my douchery out in one fell swoop, rather than engaging in an extended passive-aggressive social media campaign. While I’ve ruined New Year’s Eve for two dozen witnesses to an inebriated, histrionic, relationship-ending tirade (embarrassingly, not with the gentleman mentioned earlier), when the spectacle is done, I’m done. I heartily endorse this philosophy. Vaguebooking about your ex’s poor areolar grooming habits, lousy hand job skills, Miley-Cyrus-based weightlifting playlist, inability to parallel park a Smartcar, or new too-reet skank will not only ensure that you never restore a friendship with your ex but that you cropdust a swath of other friends along the way. If you can’t handle seeing whom your ex fucks after you while continuing to act like a civilized human being, utilize Facebook’s “block” function to make them effectively drop off the face of the (social media) earth. (Seriously, it’s like they don’t exist – which makes thread comments in a group that you’re both in suuuuuuper confusing.) In fact, just go ahead and “unfollow” or “unfriend” them immediately, and start the “moving the fuck on” process for yourself ASAP. Stop caring about their visits to that Cajun place that was your special après-ski sanctuary with someone else, or their nasty jabs about the profession you spent seven years getting a doctorate to practice and they used to (allegedly) admire.

I’m not trying to excuse my abhorrent dumping behavior, either, but sometimes, a horrible breakup event is absolutely exactly what the dumpee deserved. My midnight move was necessitated by a partner so childish, retaliatory, and violently unpredictable that he unpacked the boxes awaiting the moving truck and burned everything sentimental contained therein, including my diplomas, a response I did not find surprising. My breakup text message was in response to a manipulative, two a.m. text from an emotionally abusive man who had isolated me from virtually every other human being. When I ended our relationship, I not only slept with a hammer under my pillow for the next two months but didn’t feel safe until I relocated 2100 miles away – and blanch when I open the bunny-boiling messages that eight years later still ping periodically into my inbox declaring his undying “affection.”

And my shameful NYE exit was an unfortunately timed way to end a fiction that we both knew was impossible to maintain. Relationships grow apart, and people change, growing up and out in different directions. But sometimes it’s agonizingly hard to figure out how to be the one to snap off the dead limbs, even though you know it’s necessary to keep the plant thriving.

I’ve also learned that not a lot of people are significantly more competent at this than I am, and while I’m not on speaking terms with any of the aforementioned souls, I do remain friends with most of my previous relationship cohorts. The secret to that is letting go, and really, truly moving forward – and if you can still appreciate the things you loved about them in the first place, forging a new relationship, on new terms. It also might involve pouring a beer on them when you’ve reached the limit of how much snark you can handle about your infidelities, or seventy-nine hours of silent puck watching while you figure out how to talk to each other again about anything other than hockey.

Or, you know, you could scorch the remains of your relationship to dust and move to the other side of the continent. I’m actually getting pretty good at that one.