Saturday, December 13, 2008

Timing is Everything

Are you lonely?

Are you one of the millions who will spend your favorite spiritual and/or commercial holiday watching “paid programming,” or, even worse, visiting parents or relatives?

When you see wholesome family Christmas scenes, like a white suburban family with 2.5 children hanging red stockings by their electric fireplace, does it make you wish their wholesome family golden retriever would leave an accident under their picturesque Norman Rockwell Christmas tree?

If so, I have some encouraging words for you.

A family of your own may be on the way sooner than you think.

Look, even I’ve got one, for crying out loud.

I used to be one of you, a sociopathic misogynist with anti-social tendencies.

I was 23. It was a simpler time, when “Survivor” was the only reality program on TV, and “high speed Internet” meant not getting a busy signal the first ten times you dialed in to AOL.

Soured by a string of hard luck with the ladies dating back to 4th grade, I was primed for a life of irresponsible bachelorhood.

As it turns out, this was the perfect time to meet my future wife.

My parents run a dance studio, and this random woman needed a partner. I sometimes served as their dance gigolo.

Had I known what was at stake, I probably would have handled the situation differently.

I might not have shown up wearing a ratty, torn T-shirt and cut-off jeans, both smeared with tar and various other stains.

Having come straight from a couple of hours broiling on my grandmother’s roof, where I had been sealing a leak, I probably should have stopped to take a shower.

But how can I regret anything, considering how it all turned out?

Who knew that the perfect strategy was to try to sabotage any chance of attracting a woman, or even a moderately selective rodent?

It all proves that first impressions mean zilch. As we got to know each other, she realized my personality was not quite as horrendous as my wardrobe, hygiene habits, and general social awareness.

Several weeks later, we met up at a dance, and ended up sharing a meal afterward at Pat’s Pizza in Orono.

Eventually, the topic turned to relationships, which gave me the opportunity to inform my future wife that I had sworn off women.

“That’s too bad,” she said, “because I was starting to get pretty interested in you.”

This could have been considered coming on a bit strong. It certainly caught me off guard.

I’m not sure what I said, but I think it was something along the lines of, “oh.”

It had been a lot easier to embrace bachelorhood when I was convinced no honest, self-respecting women available would be caught dead in the same zip code as me anyway.

The conversation carried on, from politics, family values, and various other important topics. At midnight, she turned 30. We punched up some Elvis on the juke box and danced the jitterbug for the few stragglers left of the Friday night Pat’s crowd.

That just about sealed my fate.

So my advice to the lonely this holiday season is to get out and participate in something – volunteer at a soup kitchen, go take a dance class, whatever it takes.

And when you encounter a potential mate, be sure to either ignore that person or maybe, if necessary, tell him or her to go straight to hell.

Then send me your family Christmas card in a few years.

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