Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Face value

Pretty Lady never really dated any drug dealers. So vulgar. White Jaguars should not come with gold hubcaps.

She never dated her roommate either, those halcyon days in the ghetto cottage. He was so much Not Her Type that when he opened the door to interview her, she nearly turned right round again. Chiseled profile, indeed. He looked just like all those perpetually drunken fraternity scions, who used to take pot shots at her friends from pickup trucks, for fun.

But the cottage was, indeed, halcyon. Gracious, bright, airy rooms, original mahogany panelling, farmhouse kitchen, wood floors, stained-glass built-ins with fireplace, claw-foot bathtub. Palm trees in the front yard, rose garden and goldfish pond out back. Giant avocado tree by the kitchen window. One might have fallen into a wormhole, for all the desperate ghetto outside the picket fence. Really it was quite surreal, and all for $375 a month.

So, when faced with a decision between passing up paradise and rooming with the patriarchy, Pretty Lady did the only thing possible; she sat him down and made him talk. After two hours she concluded that despite his face, he would do. The next two and a half years passed in perfect amity. Men are quite easy to live with, the simple souls.

At first, Pretty Lady regarded her roommate as a study in sociology. Listening to the murmurs in the next room, she felt she was eavesdropping on Normalcy. His girlfriend was a stick-thin former ballerina, with a husband in Italy; when she returned to her husband, the roommate was both heartbroken and broke, the poor fellow. He took a job bartending at the Mission Rock, and drowned his sorrows in lesser stick-thin women with ticking biological clocks.

Pretty Lady soon realized that her roommate had no idea that he looked like the patriarchy. He regarded himself as simply a nice guy, and didn't see why others shouldn't as well. Unfortunately, living where we did, people had a tendency to knock him randomly over the head with beer bottles, in order to get at his wallet, and generally just because. Whenever this happened, he would wake up on the floor of a phone booth, rub the bump on his head, and wobble on home. He really was a good sport.

He was clueless about women, however. One weekend he took a trip with a stick-thin woman, and came home depressed. "She's not April," he opined, and that was that. Unfortunately this particular woman was not only not April, she was psychotic. She soon began showing up at odd hours of the very early morning, returning videotapes that had been put through the microwave. Pretty Lady came across a letter she'd written; "I should have known nobody would want to marry me," it declared. "I'm such a mess." Pretty Lady has mercifully wiped the rest of the document from her memory. It was painful.

However, she now knows what the patriarchy thinks, when he receives a letter like that: absolutely nothing.

A few weeks later, Pretty Lady answered a knock on the door, round about dusk. On the doorstep stood a scruffy black gentleman whom she did not recognize. "That yo' man's truck out front?" he inquired.

"It's my roommate's truck," she replied. "He's not my man."

"Well, some blonde chick paid me thirty bucks to slash the tires. Now, I ain't gonna do it, but I wanted to let you know. Some folks out here, she got five hundred bucks, they'll kill 'im."

Pretty Lady privately believes that the gentleman was looking for a payoff, but he was disappointed. After all, he wasn't my man. She did, however, warn her roommate.

He took it decently; he called the police and the psychotic blonde chick, she confessed and wept copiously. He declined to press charges. They even remained friends, and he was eventually invited to her wedding. Really he was a remarkably nice guy, if a bit thick.

Because one must always be aware of How One Comes Across. If one is a television actress, one must learn to handle paparazzi. If one is white, chiselled and living in a ghetto, one must learn to beware of beer bottles, tire irons and desperate women. This is not racism or sexism, it is Facts.

Meanwhile, Pretty Lady experimented with veganism, inadvertantly lost twenty pounds, and was mildly alarmed when her roommate caught her round the waist one day and called her "honey." She was quick to put a stop to that. Nice as he was, she requires Intellect.

9 comments:

Morgan said...

"However, she now knows what the patriarchy thinks, when he receives a letter like that: absolutely nothing."

It's funny. We women can pour out our emotions in lyrical, heart-wrenching intimacy and men will only hear white noise. Well, most of them.

We're like, "Watch me bleed!"

They're like, "Please don't. The sight of blood makes me ill."

It's a wonder we even ever get around to procreation. And yet we do.

I really enjoyed this post. You write beautifully.

heidi said...

Nice as he was, she requires Intellect

I think I may make a motto out of that. :)

Morgan said...

Heidi, if every woman did there would be a lot less regrets. *sigh*

heidi said...

Morgan, I think we most certainly agree!

prettylady said...

if every woman did there would be a lot less regrets.

No! No! Stop! Intellect is Not All. Horrors. Horrors on every side. What I Could Tell You. Which I will, someday, when I think you ladies are strong enough to handle it.

heidi said...

I wasn't putting out the Intellect is the sole measure upon which men should be judged, I was merely agreeing with your statement.

When I think of the men I followed after whose sole contribution to the relationship was a pretty face I am mortified. A stark contrast to the men possessing the extraordinary ability to converse upon multitudes of Subjects Categorical but who lacked even the most primary attractiveness (to me)...

I think I may have to write my own post about this. Eventually.

I think we are still on the same page. Or I may be protesting too much!

prettylady said...

Oh, I am sure we are, my dear. I was merely teasing. I have my own experiences with men of genius-level IQ and no emotional sensitivity whatsoever. On the whole, though they are fascinating, I have to say that this kind does more damage.

Morgan said...

My uncle is one of those men who is too smart for his own good. He is - literally - a rocket scientist. But he's all thumbs when it comes to relationships. He has always, however, managed to pair himself with extremely outgoing women who had so many friends they didn't didn't need to rely on their relationship with him for all their interpersonal needs.

Then there's the intelligent man who's so full of himself he doesn't realize that, despite his intelligence, he's a buffoon.

You're right, intelligence is not all. And yet, I'd rather have some drama and have a guy intelligent enough to talk to than a guy simply can't relate to.

Intellectual compatability is like sexual compatability; it's important to both parties. I can't tell you the number of friends I've had - male and female - who dumped gorgeous but dumb partners. One told me he couldn't see mingling his genes with someone so appallingly stupid, and, besides, couldn't imagine trying to have conversations with her day after day.

prettylady said...

Then there's the intelligent man who's so full of himself he doesn't realize that, despite his intelligence, he's a buffoon.

Very good way of putting it, Morgan. I seem to have encountered far more intelligent buffoons among men than women--I believe it is the linear mindset, plus possibly an effect of growing up around people who do not come close to matching one's own intellect. One starts to assume that one is the only smart person in the world.

You are also correct about resonance of compatibilities. Quantification of someone's intelligence or sexual desirability leaves out the most important thing--whether there is resonance or not. I know infinite numbers of smart persons with whom I have trouble sustaining a ten-minute conversation; we are simply not on the same wavelength. Then there are the brilliant, glorious losers with whom I have engaged in esoteric tangos for years, before finally leaping clear of the merry-go-round.