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Lee Mercer

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By Lee Mercer
Sunday, June 07, 2009

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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This is another excerpt from my book titled, But I Digress…Is It Only Me or Are We All Crazy? This one contains my take on the many different aspects surrounding the the wonderful world of dating. Of course it's from the male perspective and a crazy one at that. Hold on and open your mind. Enjoy (trust me, you will)

(Copyrighted Material)


Relationship Envy

When it comes to relationship-envy, I could care less about those relationships that due to circumstances, would be difficult to end because of the ill effect it would have on both parties.  What I mean is that as an outsider looking in, relationships I cherish the most are the ones that are easy to get out of. 

Philosophically speaking, anyone can stay married if the only other option is losing half of everything you own plus a long drawn-out custody battle to boot.  The ones I find most intriguing are those that thrive despite an obvious “back door” by which each person can easily exit. These are the relationships I raise my eyebrow at in complete admiration…    “You guys are together because you want to be, not because you have to be.”  

I get dizzy when I think about the sit-and-spin ordeals involved with the search for someone that’s relationship material.  Ladies, how many times have you pulled your hair out trying to figure out what the hell is going on in some guy’s mind that you’re involved with?  The truth is, while you are trying to figure out what his deal is, at the same time somewhere else, some hopeless guy out is trying to figure out the same thing about you...and some other woman out there trying to figure out the same thing about him…and so it goes…

How many times do you have to drive yourself crazy tying to figure out why someone isn’t falling for matter how perfect your last date was together?  It can seem next to impossible to find the right person for yourself.  Round and round we go…where we stop…fuck that, I just jump off before I throw up.  Finding the right person for yourself can be like looking for a parking space, the good ones are hard to find and the rest are all handicap. 

I’m not a complete cynic when it comes to relationships. It’s not like I don’t give it the old college dropout try.  Relationship-101 is a course of academia I consider myself very learn-ed but not yet a master.  However, I do know the key signs of a maturing relationship.  It begins with the toothbrush. 

Personally, I keep tons of extra toothbrushes in the bathroom.  When you’re single, it’s just a matter of being humane.  Not humane to her but to myself…there should be no excuse for her to have stank breath, or more importantly, for me to have to smell it.  It’s like saying, “here’s an extra toothbrush for you so that we may continue our otherwise romantic evening…because your breath smells like you just ate a skunk sandwich”…But I digress...

It’s when she buys her own toothbrush specifically for your house that the evil eye of reality must be pried open.  When she’s not around and you see that attractive pink toothbrush, much fancier than your own, sitting patiently in your bathroom waiting for its owner to return, it may be time for some concern.  That’s when you realize, something is different.  You spot the little hygienic tool out of the corner of your eye when you suddenly realize it has been there for months.  And while brushing your own teeth you wonder, “how the fuck did this happen?” 

The next key indicators of relationship are not so sanitary.  I suggest those squeamish of heart skip ahead to the next chapter, because you will find your own relationship somehow tainted by these otherwise unspoken but still recognizable truths. 

A relationship hits a new level when “germs” and “smells” make a subtle transformation into less obtrusive words, like, “essence” and “aromas.”  

You see, once a certain amount of bodily fluid has been shared between partners, women somehow not only turn a blind eye to the difference in origins, but embrace this new, combined bodily elixir as a symbol of “oneness.”  To them it’s cute, much like the idiotic hyphenating of celebrity names like “Bennifer” and “TomKat.” What a crock. 

My first experience of this was while on vacation I woke up and found my girlfriend using my toothbrush because she forgot her own.  I nearly threw up. 

Love, at least for the first few months, can be more fun than a ride on a water slide on a hot summer day.  You begin to figure out that while at first, a small post-dinner belch can be as upsetting as a death in the family, now it’s just an unspoken way of saying, thanks for dinner babe, now let’s go fuck.  That’s right, real love is when his toenail-cutting session right after dinner isn’t that bad when you think about it.   

This leads me to the single most defining moment of true love.  This is the ability to take a shit in front of your girlfriend.  Yeah that’s right, I said it!  “Love conquers all” extends into these deep depths my friends, and when you find that woman who not only can withstand the smell of your shit for more than a few seconds, but has somehow come to find it cute, you hold onto that woman, tight! You have just entered that oh so lovely, yet brief, stage of Romanticism-101…it’s called DENIAL. 

If you find “Denial” a strange title of the stage I just spoke of, you have never been married or don’t have a married friend willing to share this odd phenomenon with you. 

I christen this stage “Denial” because for women, some strange chemical reaction has cut off the flow oxygen to the brain, thus cutting off her senses to the smell of shit, more specifically your shit. 

This period of bliss, like most highs, will eventually pass and unfortunately be replaced with a heightened sensitivity to that very same shit which was once entirely undetectable.  Over time when things get old and the buzz wears off, that same shit that once could not even be noticed, now smells worse than a skunk.  Not just any skunk, a skunk that just squeezed its way out of the ass of another skunk.   Welcome then, to next stage of Romanticism-101…REALITY.  School’s out.

Time for a Reality Check, “Check Please!”

When does that moment occur when you stop and take a look around and you realize that things are not quite normal?  It happens the same day your best friend tells you to “fuck off” for the last time because you never return their calls or you’ve flaked on them once again.  It’s that moment when you stop and realize that from the outside looking in, you’ve become exactly the person you told everyone that you’d never turn into.

A few months ago my best friend got married.  Having been his best friend for many years, I was the obvious choice to be his “best man.”  Like a tour in Iraq, this should only be experienced once.  I’m no war expert, but my guess is that most soldiers that receive the Congressional Medal of Honor retire from service as quickly as possible.  Only nut-jobs sign up for another tour of duty as “best man.”  

I’ve been Best Man at 4 weddings and believe me, it’s a royal pain in the ass.  Appointing a confirmed bachelor as your Best Man is like forcing a vampire to eat an entire plate of pasta topped with roasted garlic.  His having avoided marriage for as long as he has should serve as a clear indication that he has a singular distaste for responsibility. 

Being the best man at a wedding will make you remember your best friend’s face… forever.  I will never forget the look on my buddy’s face right before his wedding.  He nearly turned blue.  I thought he was choking, and I wasn’t far off.  As we headed to the chapel, I remember his leaning over to me and saying, “man, I feel like I can’t breath, after this there’s no turning back, because after today, it’s gonna’ cost me to leave her ass.” 

Two years later I was with him right before his wife gave birth and strangely, he was the one who fainted.  When I woke him up, he had that same look on his face on his wedding day.  I leaned over him, fearing that he was weary from the stress, and he whispered in my ear like a ghost and said, “man, I just realized I could have left up until now.” 

It makes me laugh out loud when I remember things like that, but hey, what do I know?  I am still just some single guy watching it all unfold like a kid glued to the TV watching Saturday morning cartoons.  I don’t have any real inside knowledge.  I mean, if you’re married, I’m just some homeless guy on the street looking at you eat fried chicken through the window at KFC. 

While my cynicism towards marriage is peppered with bits of envy, especially from ones that appear from the outside to be successful, I believe most married men view marriage with mixed feelings. The reason is that the average married man looks at the freedom of bachelorhood like Oprah looks at a frost covered Cinnabun fresh out of the oven.   He may love is wife with all his heart, but he hates not having what he used to cherish most, his freedom.

Although never married, my theories are primarily based on the drunken conversations of my friends that have taken the matrimonial plunge.  Your position as a single friend has certain advantages, one being you serve as confidant when conversations can’t be had with the other half.   Even the sexual habits of married couples tend to be explained to me in graphic detail.  

Take the Blow Job for example, this particular sexual act between a married couple, and its frequency (or lack thereof), can serve as a key indicator as to the health of many marriages.  I often ponder at the origin of the blow job.  At some point in history, an unsuspecting, but I imagine very horny husband was surprised to find his wife’s lips around his dick, for the first time ever.  I can only imagine the broad range of reactions from the husband, from the initial fear that his wife is trying to eat his penis to later asking himself where she acquired this new skill.  In relationships today, the better a woman is at giving a blow job, the more the origin of this particular talent comes into question.  Especially if she had no idea what she was doing down there before you left for a business trip.  It’s curious how upon your return she has become an expert in the fine art of filacio.  The good news here is that any concern of how she became so good at something she was so bad at a minute ago is completely replaced by gratitude that she’s  acquired a new skill you can both enjoy.   

The origin of the Blow Job (at least my theory of its origin) has everything to do with a woman’s ever so common monthly visitor, her period.   At some curious point in history, having sex during a woman’s period was somehow deemed uncouth.  My guess is that it was not long after this that a man found himself unhappy having to deal with the 5 day hiatus from sex each month, especially if he was a newlywed.  After expressing this to his loving wife, either verbally or by the familiar groan made upon discovering the presence of the unwanted monthly visitor, she instinctively sought a way for them to make it past this sexually frustrating few days. The Blow Job was born!  This woman, if only she could be identified, should be reveled as a truly groundbreaking figure in history.  The Blow Job has saved many a marriage and I only wish we could somehow historically credit the first known bestower of this most generous gift, God bless this woman.  At any rate, that’s just my theory and until convinced or proven otherwise, I will reject all others.

By the way, a woman’s period has about the same timing as an unscheduled visit from her mother.  This holds true for both married men and men in relationships.  We plan a vacation 6 months in advance, and the day before we leave on a 5-day visit to the Caribbean, she starts her period.  What’s worse, she doesn’t tell you until you get back to your hotel room, fresh from a romantic dinner your first night there.  Why?  My guess is that she knows you’ll think about all of the money you just spent on this vacation, plus the mortgage payment you just dropped on dinner.  By then her period won’t even matter to you. 

I also have theories on the origin of the engagement ring.  It’s well documented that throughout the pages of history, regardless of culture, women have been prohibited by their husbands from working after they got married so they could focus on taking care of the house, home, and family.  Much like the dowry was used by many cultures as a symbol of gratitude from the father for marrying his daughter, the wedding ring represents the prototypical back-door guarantee: In case of emergency, leave husband, sell ring, start a new life, find a new husband.  The man making the proposal is saying “hey, just in case I’m an asshole, you can always cash out and sell the ring and do your own thing.”  But then again, my position as an expert on tightly committed relationships or successful marriages is like pretending like having a PhD when all I’ve got is a G.E.D.  


My preference is to discuss a subject I know at least a little something about; Dating-101.  One of the graduate courses of dating that I was required to take multiple times before actually passing was “Dating in the Office.”  I took that class so many times that my being caught in this dating situation became about as common as a picture of Bob Marley smoking a joint.  Bottom line, you haven’t passed this course until you’ve learned enough to never repeat it, of course I also don’t believe in absolutes.

Despite commonly held beliefs, in rare cases, dating in the office can be a beautiful thing, if you’re a guy.  But, if you are of the fairer sex, I say to thee; stay away from office dating, avoid it like the Bird Flu.   There is a certain truism that applies to both sexes: Dating in the office is like being on a cruise ship.  It’s great the first few days until you both realize, like it or not you’re stuck with each other until the end of the trip.

Dating someone you work closely with can at first seem like you’ve hit the jackpot and the lottery on the same day.  Bells and whistles ring all around you telling you that you’re a winner.  You’re too caught up in the fanfare to realize you’ve just been confusing these sounds with the high pitched whistle from locomotive barreling towards you with no brakes.  You’d get out of the way if you weren’t such a dumbass.  

Party planning while dating someone can be a major peculiarity.  My longtime bachelor once sent me an “Evite” from him and his new girlfriend.  As far as I’m concerned, when a guy sends that particular type of invitation over the internet, it turns from being an “Evite” to a “Bvite” because he may as well have been emailing his BALLS with that party announcement.  Now in his defense, he had confessed to giving considerable thought to deciding to host this event with his girlfriend.  He figured that by agreeing to do this, he could use the act of selflessness as political capital for getting out any future wrongdoing.  In his mind it was a “get out of jail free” card…before he went to jail.  Don’t get me wrong, I commend the forward thinking on his behalf, but the last time I checked, a preemptive strike still required balls, and I just had his emailed to me a few days before.

Breaking Up-101

One other course in dating I seem to have had to take repeatedly is Breaking Up-101.  If you’re a female, breaking up is fairly simple. The easiest way to tell us that we’re done is to simply stop returning our calls.  After a few unreturned phone calls, we tend to get the hint, at least most us of do.  There are a few of us out there that came to school on the short bus, thus requiring a bit more patience on your end.  Conversely, when a male tries to break if off with his girlfriend, she can make it about as pleasant as having bamboo shoots shoved up his toenails.

Be it either a sadistic need to see a man squirm uncomfortably,

or the need to hear a man tell her what she already knows

or a denial that it’s not over until she first has his nuts dangling in her hand, 

a woman absolutely refuses to let a man back out of a relationship quietly. 

Men instinctively know that initiating a break-up conversation will eventually leave him feeling like less of a man, or worse, that he will somehow be convinced to stay with her and try to work it out.  This last outcome is a carefully laid trap to lure a man back into a relationship, just so she can have the satisfaction of later dumping him.  After weeks of complete congeniality and nightly monkey sex, the same sex that was conveniently absent prior to the initial break-up attempt, the man is gradually convinced that there is a possibility of reconciliation and continued romantic bliss.  That’s when he’s given that same break-up speech that he tried to deliver a few weeks ago.  

In most cases, men will use every means at his disposal to keep from having to initiate the break-up conversation.  The most desperate of us have even faked terminal illness to get out of a bad relationship.  The more we can convince her that the reason for the breakup has nothing to do with her, the easier the break up will be, and the less guilt she will try to unload on you.

I look at breaking up much like the process of giving birth.  Some woman have that long, drawn-out, 22-hour labor, and some will pop that sucker out in 10 minutes and be in her Pilates class an hour later.  In many cases, a man will “cesarean” an emotional break-up by pushing the blame onto some third party or even better, onto some personal issues.  Personal issues are the final alternative and only used when all other options have been exhausted. 

Here are just a few:
Death in the Family.
I’m Moving to Japan
and the ultimate Hail Mary pass, I’m gay…I feel like I need to reemphasize here that using this approach to get out of a relationship is not taken lightly. It’s a man’s last option.  It’s when he realizes that all other paths will most certainly lead to the dreaded blowout.  Blowouts are when she decides to get physical in response to your break-up attempt.  Blowouts can lead to jail time, just for being the male.  After contemplating the possibility of living in a 16 by 6 foot cell with 2 other guys that are both in there for much more heinous crimes, having a woman think you’re gay sounds pretty good.

My wonderment into the female psyche knows no bounds, especially when I am forced to listen to one tell me of how she felt a guy took what she believes was the cowardly route out of a relationship, by not simply confronting her with an in-depth conversation as to why he wanted to end it.  Although I would never take an unsupportive stance towards a friend, inwardly I feel like telling her that this probably should serve as a formal notice that she’s way too emotional to have the formal break-up talk that she desired.  Imagine if actors needed a full explanation each time they were overlooked for a role they auditioned for and really wanted.  Breaking up should be like an audition, no callback means you didn’t get the part of “the girlfriend,” nothing more nothing less.   Breaking up 101:  I wish I could impart some beneficial knowledge here, but as many times as I have taken this course, I still flunk the final exam every single time…. but I digress...

Dating women with kids is great, especially if the kid is too young to kick your ass or shoot you.  It can be fantastic, that is until you slice your foot open on a GI-Joe toy while trying to find your way to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  Not just any GI-Joe toy mind you, but the one with the AK-47 attached to his hands. 

My mom used to cut off the guns off my GI Joes.   For the longest time I used to think it was because she was so strongly against the image of guns in our society and wanted to protect me from them.  It wasn’t until the ripe age of 9 that it dawned on me, that high pitch shriek of a strange man in the house at 2AM can mean one of two things; you’re being robbed by a transvestite or your Mom’s boyfriend just stepped on your G.I.-Joe action figure.

Dating women with small dogs is much more preferable; the toys are soft, fluffy, and most importantly, painless to step on barefoot.   The only drawback is that you could step on one of those small dogs and kill one accidentally.  But still, they’re also painless to step on barefoot.

I still stand by my original statement, dating a woman with a kid can be great, not so much so for the kid himself.  When the kid gets old enough to help mom finally get rid of a deadbeat boyfriend, the fun ends for the kid.  For me that age was six.  I remember my mom calling me out of my bedroom to kick some asshole out of the house in the middle of the night.  What’s a guy to do when a 6 yr old walks out in his one-piece PJ’s (the ones with feet in them) and grabs him by the hand and says, “sorry Mister, you gotta’ go.”

Dating women with cats are a different story.  Fact: Women should not be allowed to own little bitchy creatures.  While having a pet can be a sign of a potential nurturer, a woman with multiple cats has coincidently meant trouble, at least in my own limited experience.  It’s one thing to watch a grown woman have a conversation with a fucking cat, it’s another to witness her leave pictures on the floor of herself next to the water bowl because she doesn’t want her cats to get “lonely without mommy.” 

I’ve never claimed, nor would I ever claim, that I am some kind of expert on any subject, much less relationships.  I do happen to know a little about a lot of things, and what I’ve come to learn is that there are certain commonalities that hold true for every single relationship in America.  Whether you’re a girl or a boy, there should be a required manual of some sort that should be handed down as a rite of passage into adulthood.  The woman’s version would be written by Oprah and the men’s would be written by Hugh Hefner. 

Some potential titles for Men:

1. This is what you said and this is what she heard
2.  Don’t forget…Because she won’t
3. She’ll look great when you go out, but she’ll take forever to get ready
4. What it means when she keeps calling even when you never call her back 

Titles for Women:

1. This is what he said, this is what he meant
2. Remember it now, you can use it later
3. He’ll expect perfection but he won’t want to wait for it 
4. Why he won’t return your calls...get over it because it’s over

I’ll reveal a secret here:  Women have been honorable enough to share with men the inner workings of the female mind, through a show called “Sex & the City.”  Look, I’ll be the first to admit that when this show was originally aired on HBO, I had about as much motivation to watch it as a husband does to have sex with his wife who’s nine months pregnant.  But once the show went into heavy syndication, I almost didn’t have a choice to at least sit through one episode.  It was a real eye opener.  To find out that women talk about the same shit that men do when we’re not around was a little scary.  They’d tear a guy apart about things he had no idea she had noticed about him.  Women notice everything.  EV-ER-RY-THING.  What’s worse, they have in-depth conversations with their friend about the things they notice.

That’s when I began to pay more attention to the sidebar conversations women would have in my presence, even ones from women that I didn’t know but happened to be close enough to overhear.  What I overheard was shocking and encouraging at the same time because I was faced with the realization that women are just as crass and superficial as their male counterparts.  A little advice for my male associates out there; asparagus is the most evil vegetable known to man.  Why?  Because according to women, if a man keeps this in his regular diet, you can bet his girlfriend isn’t exactly thrilled with the thought of giving him regular blow jobs, it’s an even safer bet she doesn’t swallow.  Without going into unnecessary detail, let me just say this: Guys, drink plenty and plenty of Pineapple juice.  And when you think that you’re so fed up with pineapple juice that just of the thought of it could make you sick, pour yourself another glass and drink some more.  You’ll thank me later, trust me.

Ladies, I truly believe I can say, at least to some small degree, that I understand your approach to dating. When it comes to relationships, you break men down into 3 categories. There’s Type A, Type B and Type C.   The “A-Guy” is the one you can bring home to daddy. The “A-Guy,” at least at the beginning, met all the criteria for a potential long-term relationship and possibly marriage.  He had to wait a while to have sex with you for the first time, and you told him you’ve only been with 3 people in your entire life (total bullshit of course). 

Of course if there’s an “A-Guy,” this naturally means there must be a “B-Guy.”  The “B-Guy” is the guy you like to have fun with and have occasional sex with.  He may have been a former “A-Guy” that just didn’t make the cut, but he came close enough to keep in the rotation.  He’s enjoyable to be around, a great kisser, and he’s great to have emotional, sensual sex with, with little or no strings attached.  I mean you know he’s marriage material but the marriage would most likely be a difficult one. 

Then there’s the “C-Guy.”  The “C-Guy” is great to fuck, period.  The “C-Guy” was never an “A” or “B” Guy. He entered as a “C” and will leave as a “C.”  He’s not much of a talker.  He’s not a scholar.  But the sex is freaky as hell and illegal in 38 states. 

The real irony here is that that a relationship with the “C Guy” is infinitely more honest than one with the “A Guy.” You both know, it is what it is.

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