I have elevated social interaction to an art form. Painful Impressionist.
Nowhere is that more apparent than my stilted conversations with macho guys, particularly the fathers of my children’s friends. When I come to pick up my kids at their houses, they blink at me as if I am a piano-sized recluse from the pages of National Enquirer.
Like today. The dad does not invite me in. With my looks, he figures I must be desperate. His eyes shift everywhere, thus avoiding the wrath of Medusa, me, and averting death by stone.
Because. To him -– or to any man occupying one of the Earth’s hemispheres -– eye contact between a strange man and woman signifies interest. He worries I might get the wrong idea.
I try not to roll my eyes. My having an interest in this guy is as likely as me swooning over a shirtless Karl Rove. If I could pick up my children by having them pole-vault over to the next block, I would.
“Left the snake headdress at home,” I finally say. “I find it upsets the family pets.”
His smile is hesitating. His eyes are wildly unfocused now, even fearful. His head jerks toward his front door. “KIDS! Come on already!”
By now, you recognize the pathology. This is the Guy Who Only Wants Supermodels in Bikinis.
He knows all the Sports Illustrated swimsuit models by their first names and cup sizes. The year of Heather Locklear’s first made-for-TV movie. He was there for the historical drafting of the Bo Derek ’10’ rating system.
At restaurants, note the amount of tips he leaves. The pretty young redhead who blisters his lap with scalding coffee? She gets ten Krugerrands. Tillie, the Brillo-haired waitress with the heart of gold, whose varicose veins make her limp? A dime and a fuzz-covered Tums.
Oh, we Jane Eyres lament. If only the world were populated by more Mister Rochesters. But today’s Rochesters give us pause. They either have mother issues, have a fixation with feet or own a suspicious amount of cats. Or, they subscribe to Dangerous Loners Quarterly. You know. The one with the cover of the jilted unemployed guy showing off his homemade explosive collection.
So, we plain Janes have to face reality. Grim reality. This guy isn’t hoping for sparkling repartee a la Hepburn and Tracy. He’s hoping female mud wrestling makes a comeback.
My kids come bounding out, brushing past him. They embrace me. I see his expression. “Mama’s boys.”
I exit with my children, who bound for the van, jerking on the handle of the automatic door. Next time, I won’t pick up the kids. I’ll send in a stunt babe. Someone who can interact with this guy on his level. Pamela Lee. Nope. All the neighborhood women on the block will hate me. In a throe of maniacal rage, they’ll bind my wrists with old Baywatch swimsuits and make me watch a 24-hour marathon of “Barb Wire.”
A light bulb pops. Of course. Uma Thurman. Babe extraordinaire. Except she’ll be wearing her yellow jumpsuit. Want to talk to Bill. Here comes The Bride, fella, and you’d better RSVP.