Monday, September 29, 2008

Banana bread bachelor

Recently I attended a party where I had to bring food. I brought banana bread and this woman ate some and then said to me, “This is amazing! Why aren’t you married?”

Apparently banana bread aptitude makes a man more marriageable.

But seriously: is baking banana bread really something women consider when they are dating somebody? I doubt it.

Girl #1: “How was your date with Wilford?”

Girl #2: “It was awesome! The conversation wasn’t very good, we didn’t have much chemistry and he’s kind of weird looking. But he makes amazing banana bread, so I think he’s the one.”

Not likely.

I’m not fooled. I know girls aren’t into banana bread, nor am I foolish enough to think they care if a man can cook.

I used to think women were only into money because I dated this one pretty girl, and, like most pretty girls, she was dating me and, like, seven other dudes at the same time. She ended up picking one of the other dudes over me, even though I thought he and I were evenly matched in most respects. I finally decided that it all went wrong on the first date when she asked “What’s your major?” and I answered “Social Work” and he answered “Dentistry.” Everyone knows that dentists trump social workers in the dating arena. Dentists easily make in one month quadruple what a social worker will make their entire career. Social workers work for dentists to supplement their social work incomes. A dentist comes home, sits in a reclining chair and shouts “Social worker! Bring me my slippers and the evening paper, and while you’re at it ask that other social worker what’s for dinner and then tell the other social worker to give the accessory chihuahua a bath and clip his toenails!”

But then I met some women who married elementary school teachers, who are also destined to live in squalor. Teaching is the only profession that makes less money and gets less respect than social work besides manure shoveling. Anyway, after that I decided it was because women only cared about looks.

Then I saw some women marry men who looked liked they should be behind the wheel of the Ugly-Mobile. In many cases they were also manure shovelers with no direction in life and just plain mean.

So not only is love blind, it is also poor, stupid and has bad self-esteem too. There is no rhyme or reason to who women end up loving, and I guess the bottom line is that I have no idea what women want, but I take comfort in knowing that they don’t know what they want either.

Oh, and I told the banana bread woman I’m not married because I was severely abused and have trouble forming emotional relationships. Not really, but that shut her right up.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Weirdness is universal

I'm in graduate school so I've been in college for a long time, and most of that time I've had roommates and most of them have been weird. Coincidence? Definitely not.

The fact of the matter is everyone is weird up close. This means that in casual, infrequent interaction most people can come off looking pretty normal, but when you start living with someone, that’s when stuff gets weird.

This is because the real person will only come out once you’ve spent enough time together. Nobody can stay on their best behavior 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Eventually the uncensored version is going to come creeping out, and when it does, be ready. It’s like Animal Planet, you’re observing human animals in their natural habitat.

Living with someone puts you at ground zero when it comes to bad hygiene. Some roomates don't shower. Some roommates I’ve had shower but don’t use soap. Others don’t shower so that they can put the time they saved by not showering into playing World of Warcraft. One guy never showered, he just washed his hair every few days in the bathroom sink with antibacterial soap.

Another thing that will differ wildly is personal boundaries. For instance, when I moved into one place my roommates and I sat down and agreed to share our stuff. I was thinking that meant eating somebody’s Pop Tarts if you were out, or possibly watch their Transformers DVD.

Then I was walking home from school one day and saw one of my roommates driving my car, whereupon I proceeded to lose my mind. Turns out he thought sharing cars was part of the sharing deal so he had helped himself to my keys and run a few errands all over town. I get to borrow his shaving cream, he gets to borrow my car. Totally logical.

Another roommate I had would just open my door and walk into my room without knocking or anything, which is unbelievably alarming. I was like, “Dude, you can’t just walk in here! I could be naked! Or I could have a girl in here! Or both!”

That’s not likely, but still. It’s the principle of the thing.

And dude also did not know how to say "excuse me." He would just push past.

But nothing lets your peer into a person's sheer lack of initiative like living with them. Most of my roommates have never had jobs and spend their days watching TV, DVDs, TV on DVD, playing video games and occasionally going to class. Honestly, I'm way jealous.

And I never would have discovered these things about these guys if I hadn’t lived with them. That’s why couples divorce and separate, because once they start living together they start to realize they married a weirdo.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Onions are the answer

I don’t want to be a social worker anymore. I thought I could help people, but it turns out, I can’t. Even if I could, I don’t want to anymore. So I'm turning to onions for help.

First of all, I think I am the only man majoring in Social Work in the whole world and I feel like the odd man out. In all my classes it’s me and 34 women. Same thing at my internship: women as far as the eye can see and then me. It all sounds good, and someone like me could definitely benefit from odds like that, except they’re all old, married, have a life partner or have more problems than the people they’re trying to help.

One of them told me that most male social workers are gay, inferring that I must be too. Thanks. Actually, I’m not gay, I just wanted to help people. So sue me.

And no social worker I know has a realistic outlook. One part of the social work profession is ridiculously optimistic bordering on delusional and think they can save the world. Bless their little bleeding hearts, but they’re crazy. The other part is ridiculously jaded, cynical and has started to hate people. Can you really blame them? But it would be better if they weren’t social workers at all.

I hate going to my internship. On an average day I sit there and make copies. On a really crazy, exhilarating day I get to send a fax.

Some people have told me I am squandering my talents. I’ve worked at Jiffy Lube off and on and this past summer they offered me a management job where I would make more than I will as a social worker with a master’s degree and a clinical license. Fantastic. But I turned them down to go get my master’s degree and clinical license.

How messed up is that? A high school dropout hustling air filters can make more than a college graduate. And speaking of things that are messed up, what kind of system pays the most needed people (teachers, social workers) the least and the least needed people (athletes, actors, rock stars) the most? A messed up system.

I think I’ll get my MBA instead and go to work for some corporation where I can get money and respect, because social workers get neither.

I started out wanting to save the world but I don’t want to anymore. Well, I guess I still want to, but I am too tired and too poor and in too much debt. I am less concerned now with saving the world and more concerned with never having to eat ramen noodles ever again. But it appears that my ramen eating days won’t be coming to an end anytime soon since, as I’ve mentioned, social workers perform crucial services but still get paid peanuts. There is no light at the end of the poverty tunnel.

And what concerns me the most is I am rapidly losing my faith in people.

One of my friends is a horticulture grad student who is studying onions, and I’ve decided that I am going to do the same. Onions might make you cry sometimes, but they can’t be nearly as depressing as people. Onions don't beat their kids or spouses. Onions don't do all kinds of shady things to get money or power. Onions don’t oppress or discriminate against other vegetables.

Onions have only one humble desire and that is to flavor your fajitas, and I can't help but love them for that.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Everyone knows Vikings can’t swim

I love summer but pool parties are depressing. People are always throwing them, but I can never go because I am hairy, chubby and blindingly white. Nobody wants to see that at their pool party.

Maybe I could get away with going if I were just hairy or just chubby or just blindingly white, but since I am all three it is just out of the question.

If they did a survey of “The top 5 things people don’t like to see at the pool” it would probably look like this:

1. Hairy people
2. Chubby people
3. Blindingly white people
4. Sharks
5. Jesse Barben

I don’t know much about genealogy, but I’m pretty sure my family tree has its hairy roots in Scandinavia, or wherever Vikings are from, because I have all their evolutionary adaptations. I mean, everyone knows Vikings had evolved to be wicked hairy and a little chubby to keep out the cold so they could sail around in long boats, wear horned helmets and pillage excessively without catching pneumonia.

The trouble is I don’t really need to pillage and I don’t even know where to buy a long boat or a horned helmet. I probably couldn’t even afford them if I did. Plus, it’s really hot where I live so all this Viking stuff has really outlived its usefulness. I guess there weren’t any pool parties in Scandinavia or Iceland or wherever. Eventually my descendents and I will hopefully evolve away from being hairy, white and chubby, but unfortunately that probably won't be in time for the next pool party.

I have a roommate who is sickly thin and as hairless as a naked mole rat, so maybe if we went to a pool party together we would average out to two normal people and could enjoy the pool party without fear of ridicule.

Or I could try and find someone hairier, whiter and chubbier than me, stand next to them and look pretty good in comparison.

I just never thought I would be showing up to parties seeking out fat hairy people.

Monday, September 1, 2008

I'm getting married!

I hate for people to find out about it from my blog, but I would like to announce that I am getting married. You might ask, “To whom?”

“To whomever,” is my response.

I don’t care anymore because I am burned out on dating. I can’t think of stuff to do anymore. I can’t bring myself to pay for someone else anymore. I can’t “define the relationship” ever again. Above all, I cannot have one single more conversation about school, work, family or the weather. The futility is maddening.

So I am set on settling. A miserable marriage that I rush into can’t possibly be worse than more years of dating. Plus, if you go into marriage knowing it’s going to suck, you won’t be surprised and disappointed like most people when it inevitably does suck.

Sure, I won’t be “in love,” but a few years of marriage seems to cure most people of being “in love” anyway.

I almost settled this summer. I was majoring in a subject I didn’t even like anymore, living in a new town in a house that smelled like cats with only The X-Files on DVD to keep me company. Life was looking pretty bleak. And since there are always a few women with ticking biological clocks who will marry just about anybody, I was inches away from calling one up and promising her a ring.

Luckily my 15-year-old sister intervened. She called and made fun of me until I saw reason.

Lindsey: “You’re stupid. And if you settle, your wife will most likely be just as stupid and then your kids will be doubly stupid and that’s just cruel and genetically irresponsible.”

She had a point, although she’s never had to “define” a relationship or pay for someone else’s dinner.

I guess I also don’t want to become that bitter-fun-sucker person who is always complaining, scoffing at romantic comedies and raining on everyone else’s love parades. Nobody likes that guy/girl/old man/old woman. And I suppose that somewhere out there is someone who can stand me who I can also stand.

So I gave up on my dreams of settling and have reluctantly returned to the dating game and it’s miserable. So far, this one girl made me watch High School Musical. It was terrible, man. It was just as bad as I imagined it. And then the next day she told me that she didn’t think we should go on dates anymore. I just said, “I wish you had told me that before I watched High School Musical.”

Expect an announcement in the mail soon.