There is, perhaps, no better example of my life as a geek than my dating history. Before we take this particular walk down memory lane, let me first give thanks to my darling husband. Not only is he witty and wonderful and handsome and kind and tall and just about every adjective that I once came up with when daydreaming about my perfect man (you remember my imaginary boyfriend, Chess, don’t you? Ah, yes…). He makes me laugh like no one else and he balances me out when I become, as my grandmother Deedles put it, skeewampus. He has great hair and a great smile and he knows how awful I am when I’m sick and he even puts up with me telling the same joke 17 times without remembering that I’ve told it 16 times before. Like the line from The Simpsons when the teacher, Edna Krabappel, gets tired of Ralph Wiggum and tells him to put his head down on the desk and go to sleep and Ralph says, “Sleep! That’s where I’m a Viking!”. He’s heard that one before. (Stop me before I tell it again.) He makes unbelievable chicken pot pie and the way he drives a boat makes me swoon and he’s just the all-around best guy I know.
I’m also thankful for him in another way, which is that he somehow managed to dislodge me from the runaway train that was my love life before him.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Strewn through the romantic adventures of Miss Katie Mauro were some lovely, lovely gentleman. Truly marvelous. In college and even afterward when I lived in Washington, DC, there were men whom I loved and who loved me and there you go. But, along the way…there were…shall we say…obstacles? Bumps in the road on the way to bliss?
Ladies and gentleman of the jury, I offer
Exhibit A: I once met a man at a nightclub in Washington DC, where, for all you econ geeks out there, a band named Standard Deviation was playing. What, you ask, could a band named after a widely used measurement of variability or diversity be playing? Why, early 80’s cover songs, of course! The best of which was a rousing rendition of Squeeze’s “Annie Get Your Gun.” Epic. At any rate, this particular young man was standing next to me in the dark and we made eye contact a few times. He seemed nice. Normal. Had a clean haircut. So we went on a date that ended back at his house so I could see “something in his backyard.” Now, before you pass judgment, I do realize now that this was terrifically creepy and I should have run for the nearest Metro station immediately, but just wait til you hear what that “something” was and you’ll understand that, had I not seen this “something in his backyard” I couldn’t retell this fantastic story right now. Upon arriving at his house, he immediately took me around to the backyard. And there stood…wait for it…a fourteen-foot-tall paper mache Moai. Are you familiar with Moai? No, you say? Remember the large statues on Easter Island? You got it…Moai. And here was one made of newspaper and flour paste and decorated, quite charmingly I might add, with little twinkly Christmas lights. Herein ends Exhibit A.
I offer Exhibit B: I once had dinner with another fine fellow who, upon trading e-mail addresses, informed me that his e-mail moniker was “cheeseman”. Of course, inquiring minds want to know, so I asked where this delightful little name came from. Again, ignorance is bliss, for I then discovered that this gentleman regularly dressed up as a piece of Swiss cheese for Mardi Gras. He even had a web site. Herein ends Exhibit B.
I will also bring forward to the court Exhibit C. He was a barista. It was a match made in non-fat latte heaven. And he was even British. And he wore cute little Benjamin Franklin glasses that were constantly falling down his nose and he’d push them back up with a wink. It was like dating the chimney sweep from Mary Poppins. Until, one evening, I realized he was rather more Poppins than I’d hoped. Let’s just say that, in one of those ill-fated conversations in which you reveal one little secret about yourself to someone you’ve just started dating, he quietly confessed to a preference for female undergarments. And, my dears, no amount of sugar could make that medicine go down.
And then, magically, I met my husband. In the least likely of places – on 80′s night in a crowded dance hall, after unsuccessfully lambada-ing against a wall. Long story. He said “we could either stare at each other all night or I could introduce myself.” And in one moment the clouds parted and here we are.
So, what’s my point in all of this? Well, give me a minute while I try to flesh this out. So, for all these years, I’ve looked back at this menagerie of fellows as strange. Freaky, even. As if I had some sort of freak magnet lodged deep beneath my spleen that would instantly draw a certain sort of individual into my path. That perhaps I let off peculiar vibes…like those whistles that only dogs can hear. But, then, upon reflection, I thought of something else. What if I was strange in their eyes? What if there are a number of gentlemen out there today who are blogging about this same topic and using me as an example? For all I know, I could be the freak to their magnet. Trust me, I have my share of stuff. Shall we present that evidence as well? Here’s goes.
Exhibit A: I once worked at a think tank in Washington DC and there was a handsome young man from Oklahoma whom I thought was just the bee’s knees. But instead of doing what perhaps a normal person would do, I decided to write him a poem, sung to the tune of Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places” and e-mail it to him. Don’t believe me? Let’s revisit the chorus shall we?
“Yeah, I’m not fond of hippy fellas
Or guys named Brock from cheap novellas
Yeah I’ve got my eye in Okie places.”
Exhibit B: About two weeks after I began dating a certain World Bank employee, I thought it would be really adorable to send said economist my resume. Not my normal resume with my education and work experience and words per minute. No, being the clever gal I am, I decided to create a “dating resume” detailing all of my little quirks and cutenesses. Like, “I sing Aretha Franklin at the top of my lungs in the shower” and “I can recite the ‘to be or not to be’ speech from Hamlet.” Impressive, say you? Well, let’s just say, I was promptly let go.
Exhibit C: My freshman year in Branner I had become a little flirty with another guy on my floor. You know the deal. Back massages in the hallways. Sharing a Domino’s pizza at 3am. Having the 45-year old freshman who lived upstairs drive you to Ernie’s on El Camino Real to buy Bartles and James’ peach wine coolers. It was paradise. During one of those deep conversations (much like the aforementioned women’s undergarment episode but with must less elastic) he told me he liked my perfume. Well, what would a girl like me do with that sort of information? A girl like me would steal into his room while he was at class, and proceed to spritz the heck out of his pillow with my Liz Claiborne perfume in the blue triangle bottle. Sadly, the results were not stellar. Romance, on his part, did not continue. Blinding headaches? Yes. Romance? No.
So, although my stuff may not be a foam suit of Swiss Cheese or strips of wet newspaper in the form of monolithic human figures, it’s stuff nonetheless. We’re all freaks in some way. The trick is to find your fellow freak who shares your love for 1970’s Dustin Hoffman movies and who doesn’t try to stop you from doing “the sprinkler” at a cousin’s wedding. Because it’s all just a matter of perspective. I mean, I love cheese, just not as apparel. But somewhere out there I hope, for his sake, there lives a woman who likes to dress up as a Ritz cracker.