Monday, January 14, 2008

Wanna See My Tattoo, or Something?

The invariable hilarity of dating is really just hype to drive everyone to those gawdawful internet dating sites that promise a neat, clean relationship just a few profile questions and clicks away.

Fat chance.

Boys and girls, there are as many self-absorbed psychopathic dominatrices, princesses, whiners, moaners, ne'erdowells, and just plain chronically miserable people out there on and and so forth as there are an your archetypical neighborhood bar.

The only thing the internet really does is present this encyclopedia of eligibility in catalog form so you can page through whom to and whom will, drive you crazy for the next few months. Were I you, I'd head down to the neighborhood bar. The chances of success are about the same, plus there's alcohol and gossip involved and you don't have to spring for dinner.

But I digress, because the point is that while dating is a hilarity, it pales in comparison with what goes on once you spear an actual relationship, take it home, fillet it, put it in a pan with some butter and white wine and, by golly, the thing is actually edible.

At this point, you're beyond the nervous giggles phase, the first few nights together, she's gotten a pretty good grip on your bathroom idiosyncracies and, this is the important one, someone either by accident or intent has passed wind and nobody left the room screaming.

Its kind of a downhill thing now, but a good downhill in that having scaled the peak, planted the flag, closed your eyes, thought of England you can jolly well slide back to base camp on your ass. Give yourself a break. Nuances of a relationship are being colored in and the thing is actually fun.

That is, until football rears its ugly head.

One of my deepest, darkest secrets was brought out in the harsh, cold, smoky neon-colored light of day yesterday.

I got caught.


Came to Jesus in a bar.


I don't get it.

I just don't get football.

Not that I don't like it. I don't get it. Chaos theory has more mutable rules. The Supreme Court has thrown cases of technical offsides back to lower appeals circuits, not because the case was insufficiently argued but merely because the case law would tie them up so long Roe would probably make up with Wade just because they'd both forget what the original feud was all about.

I just don't get football. But that's ok. I can fake it up to a point. Just don't press the point.

So of course, now that the relationship seems to be working just fine, doesn't that point get pressed. Couple of months ago, we would have retreated to neutral corners. Don't upset the other, we've got something special here and you don't want to ruin it over an inadvertant comment about a touchback.

Or whatever.

But no. Now the hard questions get asked. In public, over lunch, at the bar.

"What does third and six mean?"

I froze. We were at a bar. A sports bar no less and cheek by jowl next to real football fans; men who worked hard and played hard and could cite more football lore in a drunken slur and get every last detail right. Meantime I had some sense that third and six meant somebody had to do something in six somethings or the fourth would come up and that was never good. I guess I could have made it up, I mean I can pretty much con my way into most places and situations just by dropping a few buzzwords and linking them with a syntax snatched from a knowing air but as I said; this was a sports bar.

Someone would catch it right away.

"Well, its the third. They have six to go but if they don't get there then its the fourth and somebody has to make the hard calls 'cause that's where the rubber hits the road, there in the fourth with seventeen seconds to go."

The guy nursing the beer next to me would of course slowly reach into his pocket and pull out a pitchfork while the guy behind the bar would hand out torches to all the patrons with which to chase this monster back into the woods.

Footballfrankenstein. A monstrous faker of understanding.

I cleared my throat to speak. They guy nursing the beer put it down and narrowed his eyes, looking at me directly.

"I don't know."

"What do you mean you don't know?"

"I don't know. I don't understand football. Remember when we watched the end of the Patriots-Giants game? You thanked me for not whooping in your ear? Well, I didn't because I didn't understand that the game had ended. I thought there would be rockets. Or a siren. Or something."

"I see."

I could hear chains rattling behind me. A scaffolding was being hurriedly erected. Outside, the trunk of someone's Cadillac was having room made for a body.

"Ok. You got me. I don't understand football. You've made me confess it. In a bar no less. Listen, you stay here and talk power tools or something. I'm going down the block to be fitted for something frilly at Victoria's Secret."

Beer glasses were picked up again and it was clear that no male in the place was going to talk to me for the rest of the afternoon. As a matter of fact, my poster was going up in the post office before the next game whistle blew signifying I have no idea what. We ate quietly. Burgers and I pointed out that this was real beef cooked almost a little less than medium. To no avail.

It was all I could do to pay for lunch. Without her checking the bill to see if I had tipped enough.

Somewhere a few weeks ago I watched an outpost of my singlehood be over run and captured by the barbaric hordes of encroaching matrimony. Yesterday at the bar those same hordes seem to have taken control of the water supply that feeds the city of Singleguy. Its only a matter of time now, isn't it.

"I understand. Its not something that interests you." says she as we leave the place with men quietly clucking sympathy in their ales, there but for the grace of God and Sundays on the couch with Howard Cosell go they.

Right. Maybe we can watch an hour of HGTV tonight.

Bunny on.


Blogger Kathryn said...

and I don't "get" Desperate Housewives or Grey's Anatomy - is this wrong?

6:04 PM  

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