by JS O’Brien
Last night, I had a small disagreement with my wife.Â See, I want to take this potential client and hisÂ spouse out for dinner, and I’d like to have her along because she could charm a buzzard off a bucket of chitlins and I couldn’t sell stain remover to Sweeney Todd.Â Understandably, I suppose, she’s tired of being the only person on our side of the table with a personality and thinks she can find something more amusing to do.Â In desperation, I persisted until, batting her Bambi-with-a-switchblade eyes, she dropped this bombshell:”Why don’t you get Lana to go with you?”
Now, to understand the implications of this, you have to know a bit about me and a bit about Lana.Â I’ll start with me.
I am a charter member of the very exclusive Society of Unattractive Men (SUM) founded by CPA Poindexter Schnitzelfarber in the back room of Deloitte, Haskins, and Sells’ Poughkeepsie office in March of 1970.Â Though far from a “man” at the time, I was heartily embraced because I greatly exceeded SUM’s minimal membership requirements.Â SUM got me through my middle and high school years, helping me build my ugly-man defenses against the assault of female revulsion.Â For instance, SUM has found that statistical analysis of one’s social impact tends to immerse one in the numbers, leaving little time to contemplate the implications.Â Looking back over my notes, for instance, I find that the mean high-school female startle response occurred only on the first five visual impressions, and that the mode female was able to control her trembling with a mere eight more looks at me.
I must thank the brothers Grimm for The Frog Prince and Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve for Beauty and the Beast for, surely, had these not been my wife’s favorite fairy tales growing up, I would still be a virgin.
Now, about Lana.
In 1990, I moved the family to Chicago for a new and better job.Â I moved first, staying in an executive halfway house in Evanston until I could find a suitable home for us.Â Lana had been the VP of Human Resources for an old client of mine in Houston, and had recently moved to the Chicago suburb of Palatine.Â So, since I knew exactly nada about Chicagoland, I gave her a call to see if she would like to help with the house hunt.
She said she would.
I showed up at her house and after the inevitable knee-buckle (she hadn’t seen me in a while) and a couple of valium, we drove all over the Northwest suburbs looking for a house for the family.
Now, we all know at least one Lana.Â She has the typical jet raven hair, wide, tyrian eyes, glowing, translucent skin, flaming red lipstick, and a bone structure Michelangelo couldn’t have reproduced on his best day.Â Â She has to have her clothes specially made because off-the-rack stuff doesn’t fit Barbie proportions.Â If she walked into a Hollywood casting party for desperate young starlets, she would stop the room.
So, Lana and I found a real estate agent who took us around to look at everything available in one of the NW towns and, at one point, the realtor says, “What do you think?” about a brick split-level near a train station.Â To my infinite surprise, Lana wraps her arms around my arm, squeezes, snuggles up against me, and says, “I just don’t know.Â What do you think, dear?”Â Since this was only the second human female that ever touched me (my mother doesn’t count because of her Playtex fetish), I answered something like “Mmm frmmmph umphurm esheeesh.”Â But, it seemed to satisfy the realtor, and we went on to look at more houses with the realtor thinking we were man and wife, mainly because Lana was doing her best June Cleaver (if a bit more clingy and huggy) to my Porky Pig.
Well, I figured it wasn’t a big deal to put the realtor on, since Lana and I weren’t likely to find the right house … but we did.Â And, of course, when I brought the real wife to see the right house, and introduced her to the realtor as “my wife,” the realtor (may she rot in Hell) said, “but I thought …” before she caught herself.Â Naturally, my wife went to DefCon 4, snapped her head around, and barked, “You thought what?,” which led to my explanation, an embarrassed and (God curse her) pitying look on the realtor’s face, and a ruinous florist bill for the next freakin’ year.
But, here’s the thing.Â I didn’t get it then, and I still don’t get it.Â If I had caught Lana on her most depressed and vulnerable day and smeared my body with Godiva’s finest, I’d have gotten about as far as Michael Vick at a PETA convention.Â And it’s not just Lana, OK?Â I mean, where are all these barely nubile succubi wearing tear-away panties each and every day just in the off chance that they might meet a balding, graying, paunching, and utterly irresistible older man who might, with much begging and wheedling, agree to quicken their eggs?Â Where?Â My wife seems to know about them.Â Can you please point them out to me?Â I’d really like a chance to probe this phenomenon.
It’s not that my wife is jealous, exactly.Â On some level, she knows that females compete for prizes, and that no one has ever used my name and “prize” in the same sentence.Â Or paragraph.Â Or chapter.Â Maybe she just likes pretending that she married a man who’s attractive to women.Â Maybe she just likes watching me twist slowly in the wind.
I could really use some advice, here.Â What the hell is really going on?Â How do I get this Lana albatross off my freakin’ neck?
Mostly, what can anyone tell me about women, and the particular situation, that will help me to get it?