Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Six Girls With Boyfriends, The Boyfriends Stayed Home, And One Single Guy

Now that I'm single again, I don't leave my apartment. I just stay there, all night, writing and eating broccoli. Sometimes I just eat broccoli.

I live in a part of the city with a vibrant street culture. That's why I wear shoes. But a few nights ago I decided to go out. I'd been working on a novel, and I was stuck on a particularly tough sex scene. Those don't usually give me trouble. My tendency is to have the guy bend the girl over a chair, and try his best. But this time I was working with historical romance. Set at the Battle of the Canadian Thames, I had to figure out some reason for Tecumseh to have brought furniture with him.

Roundhead: "Tecumseh, what the hell are you doing with that stool?"

Tecumseh: "Fuck. I'm tired of sitting on the ground. [Sizing up the stool; stretching his back audibly] Goddamn stool. Gonna have trouble gettin' up tomorrow."

It just didn't work. And with an invitation to have a few drinks with PhD friends, I decided to let it cool off for a while why I went and breathed fresh Toronto air.

The bar was a place in the east end of the city--a place with a nice patio and those propane heaters that convince you you're in Malibu. Then a homeless woman walks by and pisses on the curb. "Only in California." Her sleeping bag's rolled up under her arm, she's trailing her shopping cart. "Hey, where do you keep your 'board on that thing?"

I ended up drinking with five women. Each had a boyfriend who was, for whatever reason, not there. That's not a bad thing--they were probably biking up and down large hills, planting trees, or staying late with the choir. They sure as hell weren't pickling briskets. But there are few worse feelings for a single heterosexual man (which I think I am) than listening to a woman talk about her boyfriend. I'm not saying it's right; I'm not saying it's fair. I'm just saying he'd rather find a tall building and flap his arms all the way to Valhalla.

[A single man and a woman with a boyfriend are talking at a bar. Each holds a drink. Frequent blinking and adjusting of hair. Woman does same.]

Man: "I didn't know you painted?"

Woman: "Sure, I'm really good. I've got canvases hanging all over my apartment. You should come over and see them. After we're done--you'll come over."

Man: "...OK."

Woman: "Great...Just let me call my boyfriend and tell him to make the bed."

Man: "Boyfriend? Oh...Make the bed?"

Woman: "For my other boyfriend. He's staying with us. You'll love him."

Man: "Oh. Sure. Yeah, I'll love him."

Woman: "Oh, but it's so late. Well, you can sleep over."

Man: "Sleep over?"

Woman: "The man next door has a pull-out couch."

Man: "Terrific."

Funny that it never works the other way 'round. No man--in a relationship or single--invites a woman to his house to look at his new crystal jug. I had a friend who met a woman at a bar. She was really into Canadian art, so he invited her over to look at his A.J. Casson print. (His grandfather had left him a really nice limited edition lithograph of Mill Houses.) She had a boyfriend, but she went with him anyway. They got to his apartment, he showed her the print, and she stuck her hand down the back of his pants. "What are you doing?" he said.

"Didn't you invite me up?" she asked, confused.

"Sure, but I just wanted to show you my silkscreen. And you have a boyfriend. This isn't right. You should leave. But, first, tell me how happy you two are. Do you have a picture I can see?"

Maybe you get lucky and the rest of the people at the bar think you're gay. I've done that a few times. "See that guy sitting over there with all those girls. I wonder which one he's with?"

"Oh, I heard them talking about him. They all have boyfriends--he's here by himself."

"Really? Oh. Well, maybe he's gay. That wouldn't be so pathetic."

"Yeah. He's gay. Hopefully."

"Maybe his boyfriend's at work."

"Must be."

I used to think I understood people, but no man ever really knows a woman. A guy can't figure out why someone of the opposite sex would sit in his lap, then tell him, "Your thighs are much stronger than my husband's."

Still, I had a good time. Girl #5's boyfriend just got into Yale's MBA programme. Oh, I'm just so happy for him. "Another drink please...Yeah. One more. My boyfriend's at work...Workin' late tonight..."

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All Posts On This Site Are Intended As Juvenalian Satire. If They Veer Into Horatian Satire, That's OK Too. Just, Please, Don't Take Them Too Seriously. PhD Students Can't Afford Libel Suits. CUPE Doesn't Cover Court Costs.
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