August 14, 2014

The Trouble with Beautiful Women

I often send emails to women who are out of my league. They are beautiful, much younger, full of hope, and they yearn to love the right man. The right man might be a

David admits that sometimes beautiful women can be too beautiful

brave carpenter. Or a successful go-getter who cries at the sight of a just-opened flower. I write these beautiful young women even while knowing they’ll likely never write back. And therein lies my liberation, Grasshopper. I can write them whatever I want. I can write them uninhibited emails that expose my panicked desires. But then last week, one of these beautiful, young women I find on online dating sites answered me. Even among those unobtainables she stood out. Ringleted, brassy hair tumbling down the clearest of skin; almond eyes; heart-shaped lips. Textbook beauty. She even had a flaw: a gap between her front teeth.

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May 1, 2014

She Loved Dogs (part three)

The next morning, as Nancy got ready to leave for work, she put into David’s hand a small tear-shaped device, plastic, possibly a remote.

She loved her dog. As long as he behaved.

“What’s this?” asked David.

Nancy smiled in the bright way that David had come to find repellent. “So, David. If he starts going crazy again, which I don’t he think he will, you just press that button.” She saw his confusion. “The big one.”

“I don’t get it.” The button looked ordinary: gray, oblong, denoting the harmless functionality of opening a garage door or pausing a DVD.

Nancy laughed. “God, what a city boy! It’ll zap him.”

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April 10, 2014

She Loved Dogs (part two)

David waved as Nancy’s car backed out. He worriedly heavy-stepped back to the porch and

She loved her dog. As long as he behaved.

tried not to look at Swat, whimpering and pawing the grate. “Sorry, Swat,” said David, feeling saintly, and now absolved, for taking into account the dog’s feelings. Swat’s cage with Swat stuffed into it did not look like the happy place Nancy had promised, but more like a prison designed to inflict humiliation and obedience.

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February 25, 2014

She Loved Dogs (part one)

She said that she loved animals, she loved dogs. She talked about her dog all the time.

She loved her dog. As long as he behaved.

A big sootish one with a giant mouth and loud, deep barks. He was the kind of dog you walked away from, your gait quick and light-footed, like when you’re facing a bathroom emergency. But all he really wanted was for you to throw, as far as you could, stick after stick after stick. He was a tireless enthusiast of play and people. She — Nancy — also had two cats. Also gray. They didn’t talk much and didn’t ask for much. But then, cats are libertarians. She called the dog Swat.

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December 31, 2013

Marriage Isn’t Always Greener

The bar had a grandiose name. Also, imposing wooden doors, like those you’d imagine in front of a sturdy barn.

When it comes to marriage, the grass isn’t always greener. 

No windows, either, just brick face for a colonial feel. But inside was a different story. Inside, it was just a lame low-rent bar devoted to pitchers of beer and chicken wings. The type where the bartenders barely could muster the energy and attention that proper barkeeping requires: the detail, the gravitas, the knowledge. But they were young and cute. And they were super-friendly and super-flirty, and they said “super” all the time. David asked one of them if she stocked Hendrick’s. She appraised him with unexpected seriousness, and said, “Yes, yes we do.” And then she took up the task of making his $14 martini, straight up. Since this rarely happened here, she asked David what he thought. She asked as though she really wanted to know. Then she ruined everything by mentioning a boyfriend, so David turned away to face a schoolmate from decades earlier.

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