Every once in a while you’ll read some study that claims that guys think about sex every six minutes or so. Whenever these studies come out, women always have the same reaction. First, they say, “No kidding!” Then, invariably, they ask, “How do guys get anything done?” First of all, if anything, those studies are too conservative. Thinking about sex is something guys are constantly doing with almost no breaks. Maybe you can go six whole minutes without thinking of sex when you’re ninety, but I still kind of doubt it even if sex at 90 is like shooting pool with a rope.*
But we still manage to accomplish things like putting men on the moon, curing polio, and figuring out more effective ways of making everyone fat. You know how? Multi-tasking. You’ve seen the Terminator movies, right? Remember what things looked like from the Terminator’s point of view? He saw a constant stream of information that was detected, processed, summarized, and prioritized for him so that he could stay on task. That’s how it is for guys, except our heads-up display shows things like, “ATTENTION: C-cup, 3 o’clock”, “ALERT: No bra, highbeams on”, and “CRITICAL NOTICE: Booty shorts on drunk chick”. We’re aware of it, but it doesn’t really get in the way of what we do. We are still working on finding Sarah Connor, only we don’t want to kill her, we just want to fuck her brains out.
Still, it would be untrue to say that guys aren’t occasionally led astray by the end-product of four billion years of evolution. Sometimes we fuck up, and when we do, we tend to fuck up royally. I have a friend named Rick who had been dating the same girl for two or three years. He hadn’t proposed to her yet, but he was close to doing so. One day, fate intervened in the form of an extremely cute girl who seemed to be receptive to Rick’s charms. Doing some quick calculations, he decided that he may as well give it a shot as he would soon be off the market. (His quick calculation, in case you were wondering was “Rick + Pretty Girl = Poundtown”.)
He went on a date with her, but unfortunately for Rick, he wasn’t quite able to seal the deal. So he made plans to see her on the sly once again, and they exchanged numbers. This was very nearly a disaster. I went over to Rick’s apartment to hang out one day, and his long-time (and totally unaware) girlfriend Monica was there. We had a few beers, and Rick went into the bathroom to take a leak. As he did, the phone rang.
Me: Hey, man, you want me to get the phone?
Rick: No, let the machine get it.
Now, for those of you who grew up with cellphones and voice mail, it’s important to remember that people weren’t always that connected. It used to be that if you wanted to get a hold of someone, you called them at home. And if they weren’t home, the answering machine would turn on. If you were in the room, you’d hear the stupid message you recorded, followed by the message the caller was in the process of leaving you. You can see where this is going, can’t you?
Machine: Hi, this is Rick. I can’t answer the phone right now, so leave a message at the beep and I’ll get back to you.
Caller: Hi Rick, this is April…
Me: (120 decibels) OH YEAH, RICK! I TOLD THAT CHICK I WORK WITH, APRIL, THAT YOU WERE CONSIDERING GIVING AWAY THAT (looks around, thinks fast) FISH TANK YOU DON’T USE ANY MORE. I TOTALLY FORGOT TO TELL YOU THAT SHE WANTS IT. YOU WANT ME TO TAKE IT SO I CAN GIVE IT TO HER AT WORK?
Caller: …Oh, and also I wanted to tell you that…
Me: (140 decibels, I’m shattering windows now trying to drown out blabbermouth April) I MEAN, IT’D SAVE HER A TRIP. OR YOU, IF YOU WERE GOING TO BRING IT TO HER. I JUST THOUGHT IT’D BE EASIER THAT WAY, YOU KNOW?
Caller: …ok, thanks. Bye!
Rick: (walking back into the room) Yeah, yeah, perfect. (shoots me quick appreciative look, knows he owes me at least a keg.)
Rick never did get to seal the deal, probably because he is now deaf from me saving his ass at such high volume. He married Monica soon after, and they live in married bliss to this day. And he almost blew it because he couldn’t keep it in his pants. This was something I noticed a lot in my college friends. They’d try hooking up with every hot girl in sight, got tons of phone numbers, couldn’t keep anything straight, and used to freak out for fear that it’d all come tumbling down, which of course it did, often in hilarious fashion.
Me: Hey, Steve. Wasn’t that Liz that just went storming out of here?
Steve: Fuck! How is it that you remember her name and I don’t?
Me: Seriously? Hahahaha, you moron.
Steve: Yeah, we were in bed and I asked her to “do that thing” she does.
Me: And she doesn’t do that thing?
Steve: No, and her name’s not Sandy either. Fuck!
Although I have always been a one woman man, it’s not because I’m so fucking noble or anything. I just watched a lot of Three’s Company as a kid. Ever watch Three’s Company? Every episode involves a misunderstanding, and half of those misunderstandings result in Jack Tripper going on a date with two women at once, furiously bouncing back and forth between the two of them until it all falls apart and then I’d just stare at Chrissy’s tits, so I don’t know how any of those episodes ended. But I’d watch that and think to myself, “That looks fucking exhausting!” Plus, I was a thirteen year old and I vowed that any woman naive enough to let me touch her tits was the one for me and I’d never let go of her or her tits.
But that didn’t mean that I couldn’t fall victim to the forgotten name. When I lived in the insane asylum I have discussed before, we had lots of parties. And having these parties made us very popular with the sort of girl who liked to drink and wasn’t necessarily averse to spending the night with someone she just met. In fact, we quickly tumbled to The Code which was a great way of figuring out which girls Were Interested, and which girls Were Not.
Me: Hi, enjoying the party? (I’ve had fourteen beers today, and you’re looking good!)
Her: Yeah, this place is a riot! (You’re not utterly repugnant, and I find your behavior endearing in an Animal House sort of way.)
Me: Haha, yeah, welcome to my humble abode. My name is Greg. (You responded with words, and not mace. I like you.)
Her: Hi, my name is Grace. (I will allow this to continue as long as you don’t make a total ass out of yourself by asking me to take off my top right now.)
The pleasantries would escalate until the End Game was at hand.
Me: I can’t hear a damn thing you’re saying! You want to go upstairs where it’s a bit quieter? (I would like to feel you up, and if you’ll allow me, engage in vigorous coitus with you.)
Her: Ok! (I will allow you to feel me up. Coitus is possible if you manage to act like a human being and not an ape on speed and Spanish Fly.)
Her: I can’t! I’m waiting for a friend! (Either your small talk is asinine or you do not look as good as I thought upon first glance. You shall not pass.)
One of the girls with whom I successfully negotiated the End Game was really cute, really funny, and I assume really drunk because we wound up in my room in no time. The next morning, I remember thinking, “She’s really cool, and really cute. I definitely want to see her again. Oh… Fuck. Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck! What is her name?” Of course, I’m a pretty smooth operator, so I figured out a foolproof way of getting it out of her.
Me: I had a great time last night. I don’t know about you, but I’d very much like to see you again.
???: Yeah, me too! The whole night was awesome.
Me: Cool! (putting pants on) Can you write your number down for me? There’s paper on my desk.
???: Sure… And you’ve got to give me yours too.
Me: (looking at the piece of paper with a number, but no name on it) Hey, how do you spell your name?
???: (pause) A. N. N.
Me: (with just a little too much hesitation) So no “E” on the end?
A.N.N.: You bastard! You don’t know my name!
I won’t bother detailing the remainder of the conversation for you, but suffice it to say that A.N.N. fled my house in a flurry of tears while I pleaded for her to accept twenty beers as an excuse. She didn’t. I spent the better part of the day sitting on the couch, nursing a hangover with my roommates. Sometime around mid-afternoon, there was thunderous pounding at the front door. Wincing from the noise, I got up to see who it was.
I opened the door to find a very, very large man standing on my doorstep with a look of intense hatred in his eyes. “Where the fuck is Greg?” he shouted directly in my face. “He went home for the weekend. Who the fuck are you?” I asked, trying to keep my bladder in check. “That asshole fucked over my sister, and I’m going to cave his fucking skull in!” He sat there glaring at me for a while, as I mentally prepared myself for dismemberment. Finally, he shouted, “You tell him that I’ll be back!” and stomped off. Very weakly, after he was too far away to hear, I called after him, “Yeah, ummm, I’m not sure if he’s even coming back to school this semester!”
My roommate Carl, watching wide-eyed from the couch said, “Do you know who that was?” “Yeah, I’m pretty sure I can figure it out,” I answered. “No, no, he’s starts on the offensive line for the football team.” I had managed to unintentionally besmirch the honor of a girl whose brother was an offensive lineman for a highly ranked Big Ten football team. Fuck. Me.
Still, I was hopeful that he would calm down after a while, or maybe the zookeeper would notice he was missing. And if he showed up again, I’d keep telling him Greg was gone. Maybe Greg joined the Army, or more likely, took a bunch of mushrooms and ran off to find a mystical wish-granting donkey named Raoul. I had a pretty good head on my shoulders, not counting its inability to remember a three letter name, and this guy got slapped in the head for a living. Actually, he was a college athlete: He got slapped in the head for free.
So when the door announced his return with a shudder in the early evening, I wasn’t too worried about it. “Look, I told you, Greg left for the weekend. In fact, I’m not really even sure he’ll be back on Monday.” Just then, Bob came out of the kitchen and looked straight at me. “Greg, did you take the last beer?”
My roommate Carl was still sitting on the same couch, and although I’d never known him to be athletic, he instantly became an Olympic athlete in action: Fast, graceful, and majestic. He hurdled sideways over the couch, took a running two step leap to the door, slid sideways by me and planted a hand right in the huge, massive chest towering six inches above me. As Mr. Neanderthal was screaming at me and I was backing away saying something along the lines of “It-was-a-misunderstanding-I-respect-your-sister-don’t-pummel-me-please-I-don’t-want-to-die”, Carl said, “You take a fucking step inside this house, and the cops will be here in a heartbeat. You hear me? THE COPS!”
That phrase caught Mt. St. Moron’s attention. “That’s right. And what’s the first thing a University does when a student athlete is arrested? They suspend him from the team. You want that, asshole?” The guy stepped back and decided that discretion being the better part of valor, he’d probably be better off just screaming death threats at me rather than carrying them out. “Bob,” called Carl. “Get the gun.” Bob turned around to go piss himself in the back room because we didn’t have a gun. Roid Boy pointed an ominous finger at me, huge, meaty, and bigger than my forearm, turned and left. I never saw him in person again, although I saw him taking his anger out on opponents on TV for the rest of that season. He would have snapped me like a twig.
Normally, someone would look upon a situation like that and think to themselves, “Maybe I should try to stay away from the type of woman who would accept an advance from a person like me in a shit-hole like this. Maybe I should try to get to know women a little better before I try to get them in bed. Maybe sobriety would help too.” Instead, I thought two things: “That chick was pretty hot, though!” and “I need to change my shorts”.
That story notwithstanding, I wasn’t really all that aggressive in chasing after girls. I preferred to let random chance create opportunities for me. I saw an extreme opposite of that attitude some years later after my wife and I had started dating. I went with her to meet a couple of coworkers and their boyfriends at a bar. They seemed nice, if a bit meat-headed (one of them had spent time as a teenager on the rodeo circuit). But the instant the ladies excused themselves to go to the bathroom to go talk about us, the two of them launched into their Plan. Please note, I am not exaggerating any of this.
They looked at each other and said, “Go!” Then they sprung out of their seats and I watched them work the bar, one circling clockwise, the other counter-clockwise. They hit as many girls as they could, operating extremely fast. In less than five minutes they were back at our table comparing notes. “I did pretty good. Got four numbers, including a real hottie, the one on the end there,” said Meathead A. Meathead B sounded a bit dejected, but optimistic. “I only got two. But they’re both pretty hot, and the second one is a redhead with big tits.” Then they noticed I was looking at them, probably with a look on my face that said, “Are you guys fucking serious?”
“Hey, man, you’re not going to be a dick about this, are you?” This from a person who speed dates half a bar in the time it takes his girlfriend to take a leak.
Although I was never what you would call a ladies man, I learned a lot from watching ladies men in action. Mostly as cautionary examples. And while I still appreciate a pretty face and a curvy body, I appreciate what I have much, much more: A home, a beautiful and loving wife, wonderful children, and a life I feel lucky to have every day that I wake up.
So it is funny to look back on how things were (ATTENTION: Wife walking though room, tits looking great), to remember how I felt as a young man (URGENT: Commercial involving writhing supermodels), and to reflect on how very different I am (CRITICAL NOTICE: Wife heading to the bedroom) as a person, and as a man.