by Angela Perez
Ah, what ARE women like me (who are obsessed with scuba diving) looking for in a man other than him possessing a working penis, all of his teeth, a job, and a strong stroke?
Well, I’ll tell you.
This conversation happened between me and a co-worker at some half-assed Mexican restaurant (you know the kind, where they feature $5.99 specials called Speedy Gonzalez 1, 2, 3 and so on. And each dish tastes exactly the same but satisfies a craving so you go and eat half a pound of two day-old chips and shell out 8 bucks total plus tip for the waiter who is wearing too much Drakkar Noir and wonder why you put yourself through this mediocrity every 3 or 4 weeks.)
My co-worker, who is in her mid-30s and has been married for 10 years and has 2 children, asked me this, “So Angela, do you think you’ll find the one any time soon?”
“Find the one what?” I asked, reaching for one of the stale chips.
“You know,” she said, “the man you’ll marry.”
“You know that I believe marriage is for the weak,” I said. “You and your husband excluded.” (I just said that to pacify her. I actually count her in that bunch.)
“Oh, Angela, there’s a wonderful man out there who will make you want to run down the aisle.”
“Maybe,” I replied. I tried the guacamole. “Good Lord,” I exclaimed, “I think they put shredded jicama in this. It’s incredible!” I dipped my spoon in for another try. They had indeed put jicama in guacamole. A revelation.
“You’re avoiding the topic,” she said. “So, how about this. Tell me who your ideal man is.”
“I honestly don’t know,” I said. The waiter came back to ask us how everything was even though we hadn’t gotten our food yet. The acrid smell of his cologne was actually clinging to the back of my throat, ruining the joy of jicama. Suddenly I recalled that the first time I ever had sex was with a boy wearing Drakkar and we were listening to a Metallica cassette on his boom box.
“Okay,” she said, not giving up, “let’s do this. Tell me what you absolutely don’t want in a man.”
“Hmmm…okay, that I can come up with,” I said, dipping a chip in the salsa.
“Yayyy!” she squealed, daintily clapping her hands. “Finally. So name five things quick – without even thinking about it. Aaaaand…GO!”
“So. One. I could never date a man who suggested that for a first date we eat at Olive Garden. Or any chain restaurant. I could never date a man who regularly wears golf shirts and khaki pants with pleats in them. Men should never wear pants with pleats in them. Flat front only. Wait – do those two items of clothing count as two reasons? He’s got to love to get in the ocean – swim, snorkel, dive, I don’t care. But he has to want the water as much as I do. Hmmm…also, I could never date a man who wears Y-front white underwear. Gotta wear boxer shorts or even just let your balls and dick swing in the wind. Oh, and I like nice, solid forearms. My favorite part of a man’s body. Oh and one more, I could never date a man who thinks getting a group together to get on one of those Trolley Pubs in downtown Raleigh would be a fun thing to do.”
[Trolley Pubs are found in larger cities across the U.S. They are these rolling pubs (like a giant bicycle) where up to 14 people get on and sit around a bar-in-the-round and each person pedals as they troll through the streets of downtown, drinking beer and going from pub to pub. Their revelry combined with the flashing light decorations make it the most annoying sight and sound imaginable.]
“Oh my God,” she said, frowning. She let out a sigh. “I was thinking more along the lines of you naming certain qualities like if he was a Republican or is obsessed with sports. Which I know neither of those is okay with you.”
“Those are two good ones to add to the list actually,” I said. Wow, I didn’t know she knew me that well.
She shook her head. “You are going to die alone. You can’t be so specific. One guy isn’t going to have everything.”
“I know that,” I said. “Okay, I can maybe let go of most of those except for the ocean part. It’s fundamental to what I think about, how I look at the world. I cannot get around someone not wanting to be in or near the ocean.”
“What if he doesn’t like the ocean but had a lot of money and treated you like a queen?”
“I’d rather die than concede,” I said. “Power never concedes without a demand.
“What does that even mean?” she asked.
“I don’t actually know.” I looked around, weary of the conversation and of, particularly, myself. “Where the hell is my Speedy Gonzalez number 12?”
“Do you really even truly know what you want?”
“Yes,” I answered carefully, “I want a man muscled in flame and who sweats kindness and intellect and who is funny and who will burn me to the ground causing me the exact opposite of harm.”
She rolled her eyes at me and nodded towards the approaching waiter. “Okay. Whatever. Our food is here.”
“Good,” I said. “Great.” And I threw down on that Speedy Gonzales like the good little single Mexican gal I am.