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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Extra Regular Dude

The only thing extraordinary about him is how regular he is! Mediocrity that’s just extraordinary in its” unexceptional-ness”

Extra Regular Dude: Hi. Nice to meet you

Applicant: Good to meet you too

Extra Regular Dude: So let’s get started. Tell me a little about yourself.

Applicant: Well I graduated from Harvard at the top 10% of my class with a degree in biology. I’m currently working on a master’s degree. During my free time I volunteer as a mentor to help underprivileged children. I go to church, believe in biblical principals, family, and hard work. I’m also a fun loving, social person who loves to have a good time.

Extra Regular Dude: Sounds good. Sounds good. So tell me, why are you applying for this position?

Applicant: As I’ve said I’m intelligent, strong, and hardworking. I figured you could use someone like me in your company. (Hesitates a little.) I think my curriculum vitae pretty much speaks for itself.

Extra Regular Dude: (Glances down at the resume. Clears throat.) I see. I see. (Pauses) You know I must be honest with you. I’m very impressed with your resume. The governor writing a letter on your behalf, references from the NIH, Rhodes scholar. It’s superb. But I’m afraid you’re not what we’re looking for at Me, Myself, and I Inc.

Applicant: Oh. What do you mean? I know I’m a very competitive applicant and that I am more that qualified for the position.

Extra Regular Dude: Let me tell you a little about Me, Myself, and I. We only want the best women--the cream of the crop.

Applicant: (interrupts) Yes sir, but if I may be blunt, you barely have an associates degree and your achievements pale in comparison to mine!

Extra Regular Dude: (gets a bit impatient) Look, I am a man and you know how hard it is to find a good man. I’ve not been arrested. I’m relatively well-spoken, don’t have too many addictions, and I only play video games a mere four hours a day. I also go to church on holidays and sometimes give a buck or two to the homeless guy who stands outside the subway. That makes me an exceptional man in this day and age! I’ve not killed anyone, raped any one, and I haven’t been that promiscuous. I’m pretty much the cream of the crop nowadays; I’m the best single guy on the market. So as you can imagine I only want the best of the best woman by my side. And perhaps once I find this super woman, after I’ve used her, abused her, and played tedious mind games with her, I may even put a ring on her finger and marry her. (Chuckles)

Applicant: But I am a driven and ambitious woman. Surely you can’t be the best offer on the table?

Extra Regular Dude: (yarns without covering his mouth and stretches). Yup. Sure am.

Applicant: But you’re not even that nice looking. And it says here that you still live at home with your parents!

Extra Regular Dude: Look it’s either me or a married guy or eternal singleness. So that means that for an average guy like me my value has tripled. I am now a commodity! And by the way, don’t forget that I am the one here calling the shots! I’m the one who invited you on this date! And to think I was even going to pay for the tip on this meal!

Applicant: (Stunned) But-but if I am not what you want what are you looking for?

Extra Regular Dude: Someone who looks a little more like Beyonce, who cooks like a 5 star chef, gives porn star sex, and who doesn’t talk back! I need someone educated, and savvy, successful and, of course, she needs to be able to pop out kids when I’m ready to have them and sacrifice her whole life to take care of them and me. You just don’t seem to fit the bill.

Applicant: (gets out of her seat abruptly) You’re right! I’m certainly not what you’re looking for!!!! (Storms out of the restaurant and back into the land of perpetual singleness.)

Extra Regular Dude: (Shrugs his shoulders, snaps his fingers and ask the waiter to bring in the next victim.)

The above story is my interpretation of the modern-day dating scene. In fact, it mirrors a relationship I had back in college. To put it mildly, this guy was trying to find wifey. He wanted a doormat chick who would have education, but who would sacrifice her opportunities to become a stay-at-home mom to the six children he wanted. (I am not making this up.) He, of course, would run the household and make all of the decisions. When I asked him what the wife would get out of this arrangement he replied ever so cavalierly, “me of course, and a good family.” My follow up question was what if she didn't want to have children, or disagreed on how many they should have. He shrugged his shoulders and said, “then that means she’s not the one for me.”

We were a match made in hell--I the evolving feminist/womanist type, he the chauvinistic-keep-em-barefoot-and-pregnant type. The thing exploded into a battle of the wills with even the most benign conversations boiling over into raging arguments. Needless to say, he had to go! The Guinness Book of World Records needs to put that down as the shortest dating relationship in history.

People usually point fingers at the woman when she ends up with cocky, sexists, selfish, immature, jerkazoids over and over again, but I am a bit more sympathetic. I understand that most men fit one or all of the above categories and so there’s really not much else to choose from. That frustrating lack of choice inspired the above narrative. Everything about the modern courtship ritual feels like a job interview, from the initial questions to the psychological games to the nit-picking scrutiny. The romance and companionship that most women seek in relationships seems like a Hollywood invention—a beautiful lie, but, nonetheless, still a lie.

More troubling to me is the imbalance of power in the courtship phase. From what I have seen it goes something like the above scenario with a sub-par man asking out brilliant goddess type, then grilling her to see if she is worth his time and respect. Don’t believe me? Well, in her book "Why Men Love Bitches?” Sherry Argov argues that men in general don’t see women as equals. Instead woman have to constantly prove, through their every action, that they are on the same level as the man. Men instinctively pick women apart upon meeting them and then establish a woman hierarchy with the best picks on top and the rest relegated to the “friend” or “friends with benefits” zone. Anything a woman says, does, or wears, can land her in one of those undesirable categories. Men know that they hold the power and therefore can be as picky as they please and also as noncommittal as they want without consequence. After all there is no social stigma for a man to live his whole life as a bachelor. Because he holds the strings, he can dismiss a woman over the most superficial nonsense, (e.g. he doesn't like her nail polish color). Suppose the relationship does not work? He merely shrugs apathetically and finds his next victim. When it comes to relationships, men simply have little to lose. Women, on the other hand, have everything to lose.

Women make the mistake of thinking that men are complicated creatures. Nothing could be further from the truth. They pretty much think the same way universally, with some variation in between. I have dated black, white, and Hispanic and each man pretty much operated on the same system. Does that mean the all men are evil? Not necessarily. That just means that women should not rack their brains trying to “figure” them out. I have stated before that there are some games I do not play. Just as I would not place a large amount of money on a gamble I knew I did not have a chance at, I won’t put a whole lot of stock into the relationship market simply because I think that it is a losing battle for me and most women. Just like our Applicant from my scenario who had perpetual singleness at stake after rejecting the “Extra Regular Dude” so it is with me and a lot of other women.

How can I write so candidly about the depressing topic of eternal singleness? Pure resignation! It is perhaps an unavoidable fate and I (and many women) need to come to grips with the facts. We live in a fallen world and relationships are not what God intended them to be. We have sullied His plan of marital bliss and egalitarian relationships.

On a personal level, at 23 I am wired differently than when I was a teenager. As we get older, we start to want more meaningful, substantial relationships with the male species, simply because of how God designed us. A while ago, I had to make the decision of dating Extra Regular Dude or having a self. I chose me. That’s great and feminist and wonderful, but the downside to having high standards and demanding respect is perpetual singleness. Today’s man just does not have enough integrity, self-control, and spirituality to fit the bill and I will not settle for a man who does not have a double dose of those qualities.

And so it is that women must face this great imbalance of relationship power, job interview-like dates, and monotonous scrutiny…If only our Extra Regular Dude had to face the same haunting fate. If only he had to contend with the reality of everlasting singleness...I have a feeling he would have treated women a whole lot more charitably.

*I will admit that one of the disadvantages of learning too much too soon about men and relationships is that it leaves you irreparably jaded. On the other hand knowledge is power.


Agent Sparks said...

You haven't blogged in awhile. I hope everything's going ok. More importantly, you haven't commented on my blog lately and that makes me very sad. Is it my juvenile political humor? Did I come off as too anti-religion?

Well, I guess since I'm an "extra-regular" male I can understand your hesitance to comment , but seriously Crystal, I need attention!!!!

If we can't be friends can't we at least be frenemies?

classical one said...

Why no Ron Paul on your Super Tuesday poll?