The Six Hundred Dollar Orange

As a young lass, I was thoroughly under the impression that men had very, very high dating standards when it came to women.  You often hear men describe the kind of woman they’re looking for as “5’ 10”, 105 pounds, model-type, no baggage, no high maintenance”.

Women hear that description and laugh so hard it makes their heads hurt, and then, unfortunately, on a deeper level, they immediately feel inadequate, like there’s something wrong with them for not meeting those requirements, even though they know they’re ridiculous.

For starters, if you see a thin woman who is 5’ 10”?  She probably weighs at least 160 pounds.  Women can’t tell you that, because men hear “160 pounds” and immediately close their eyes and picture the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.  I once heard a guy describe a woman as “pretty freaking chunky”, and when his friend asked how much he thought she weighed, he said, “Oh man, she probably weighed like 120.”

Sorry, I just guffawed so hard that I choked on this Weight Watchers ice cream bar, not to mention a bucket of hopes and dreams.

Also, when I was 13 years old, I was 5’ 1” and weighed 105 pounds, and people accused me of being anorexic or having some kind of terminal disease.  My head looked like a lollipop with my body as the stick.  You could play xylophones on my ribcage, front and back, and I couldn’t lie flat on my back because my spine dug into the mattress so hard that it would leave a bruise on me.  So, no, barring some weird supermodel whose bones are made of paper, nobody is 5’ 10” and weighs 105 pounds.

And “Model-type”?  Really?  Unless you, yourself, are the equivalent of a male model, then no.  Juuuuuuuust no.

“No baggage” means you should have no problems of any kind.  You know, like all those scores of people in the world who have no problems?  I’m sure the person who’s requiring you to have no baggage certainly has no baggage himself!

That sound you just heard, was me rolling my eyes until they fell out of my head and onto the floor.  I know you may live 5,000 miles from here, but I’m sure you still heard it.

Related, anyone who tells you that they are “drama-free” will always, without fail, every time, be the most dramatic motherfucker you’ve ever met in your entire life.  Count on it.

“No high maintenance” means you should wake up in the morning and look flawless.  Fuck you.  I’m not even going to dignify that one with a response.

It’s funny, because you would think that since men’s standards are so very high, that only one out of like every 100,000 women would have a boyfriend or husband and the rest of us would be toiling the nights away alone, crying in a house full of cats and collecting cobwebs in our hoo-hahs.  Look around and, obviously, you’ll see that’s not the case.  Not even close.

As I have become a dusty old hag, I have realized that these men are not highly discerning at all.  They’re just attempting to be shrewd negotiators. These types of men, the ones who state this ridiculous laundry list of standards, are usually the same ones who will turn around and stick it in anything that moves.  They’re just starting off the negotiation from what they think is the highest asking price, which is for some reason, a supermodel with the body of a praying mantis who also has no problems and wakes up looking flawless.  They know that woman’s not showing up.  They figure there’s no harm in throwing that asking price out there.  It’s a first offer.

So what do you do?  You do what you do with any first offer.  Reject it and counter.

If he says, “5′ 10″, 105 pounds”, you counter with “5′ 3″, 220 pounds”.

If he says, “Model-type”, you counter with “I am good at my accounts receivables job.”

If he says, “No baggage”, you counter with, “You first, asshole.”

If he says, “No high maintenance”, you counter with, “I don’t often leave skidmarks.”

Then tell them to take it or leave it.

It reminds me of this episode of Designing Women where MaryJo is complaining about how when she lived in Mexico, there was no such thing as a price tag, and when she would ask a shopkeeper, “How much is this orange?” they would size her up and say, “Six hundred dollars”.  Then she would put the orange down and walk away, and the shopkeeper would chase after her and yell “Thirty cents!”

All this fretting over whether some guy doesn’t want to date you because your eyebrows aren’t perfectly waxed, or because you have cellulite or weigh more than 105 pounds.  And OMG what if he finds out you have problems?!!  All the emotional strife because you’re not the kind of woman who can roll out of bed looking perfect.  I’m here to tell you it’s all for naught.  I’ve never encountered any man whose standards are actually that high.  And if they are?  They can go jump into a dick-shaped volcano.  You don’t want to be with someone like that anyway.  Those are the guys who will never, ever stop looking for the bigger, better deal.

Slow your roll, women.  Take a deep breath.  You don’t need to meet somebody’s ludicrous requirements, because their requirements are exactly that:  Ludicrous.  They are as ludicrous as asking someone to pay $600 for an orange.

Vacation All I Never Wanted

Of the approximately one million things I am too old for, agreeing to stay with you at your place when I’m on vacation is pretty near the top of the list.  Near.  I don’t foresee it overtaking “having to endure long conversations with junkies about Jim Morrison” anytime soon.

It’s not just that I’ve become particular in my old age, I have just never enjoyed crashing at someone’s house.  It was different in my 20s when I was so full of hope and optimism, I was willing to give it a chance. Now I’m just too old to hold out any hope that it’s not going to be a living nightmare.  I’ve learned my lesson.

The main problem, as it turns out, is that I am an asshole, or rather, I have asshole expectations.

Expectations that you would mention to me, prior to my agreeing to stay with you, that you don’t actually have any room for me, but that’s okay, because you’re “sure I won’t mind just sleeping on the floor” (although this also falls under a general category of “You forgot to mention that you have no furniture”).

Expectations that include things like having a guest towel.  I don’t mean a towel that is fancy, embroidered, or professionally laundered – far from it.  I’ll take an old beach towel, no problem.  I mean a towel to use on my own body that isn’t the same one that you just used on your own body five minutes ago, and that isn’t covered in mold and poop spores from being stored on the wet bathroom floor curled up against the toilet.

While I am absolutely an animal-lover, I would generally expect that you would have mentioned to me that you had recently taken in a large, vicious, stray dog, and that it will growl and snap and bite at me and try to shred me and my belongings into dead meat the entire time I’m there, oh, and that you will do absolutely nothing to stop it.  You will sit there and pretend it’s not happening. That’s something I would have liked a heads-up on.  What can I say?  I’m an asshole like that.

Aside from expectations, I am also an asshole because I do not enjoy sleeping on someone’s couch only to have them come into the kitchen at 5am and start using an electric coffee grinder five feet away from my head and then when I wake up, look at me quizzically and say, “Wow – you must be a light sleeper!”

I do not enjoy the fact that you never mentioned to me that you were a drug dealer in your spare time, and that you deal out of the living room which is, coincidentally, the same room I am trying to not get shot in.

And even though we’ve known each other for years, I had no idea that you couldn’t sleep unless you had the local classic rock station blasting throughout the entire house all night.

Or that you are some kind of cocaine monster who only exists on two hours of sleep a night, and will never let me actually go to bed.

I also had no idea that your entire family was in town and were also staying with you, but that’s okay because your pervy dad only feels me up when he’s drunk, which is every night.

I realize all of this may sound like “Hey Maggie – take a hint!” and that people just desperately wanted me to NOT stay at their houses and were just trying to blast me out old school style like Noriega, but that’s not the case.  I have never, ever enjoyed staying at people’s places when I’m on vacation, and have only ever done it after the person has literally begged and pleaded with me to stay with them and eventually psychologically wore me down into saying yes.  By the time I very begrudgingly say yes, I have already said no so many times that I should have “No, really, I am much more comfortable in a hotel” tattooed on my forehead just to save my strength.

Yes, my own personal discomfort is the biggest factor in my not staying with you, but besides that, I think I’ve just reached an age where, as friends, I don’t really want to know how fucking weird you are.  The way you conduct yourselves inside your respective homes is weird.  So weird that there’s a reason you never show this side of yourself in public.  I enjoy the mystique of thinking you might not be so fucking weird because, seriously, you are so fucking weird.

Home Is Where Nobody Annoying Is

There’s a stereotype of a woman “of a certain age”.  She’s sitting at home, wearing yoga pants, a breezy tank top that says something like “Me Time = Wine Time”, Ugg-style slipper booties, a face coated in three types of moisturizer, is eating Greek yogurt, and has glazed-over eyes from watching Orange is The New Black for three hours straight.

When you’re 25 and out every night until 5am, you think about this mature woman stereotype and assign a certain amount of derision to it, like that’ll never be you.  Fast asleep before 10pm after finishing your nightly Sleepytime herbal tea?  Nope!  After all, you’re a party monster!

At 25, on any random Monday, you might wake up on a band tour bus in a parking lot in Ft. Lauderdale wearing chaps and a feather boa, and not be able to quite figure out which person in the band you pulled them off from, so you steal a $20 that was stuffed down inside a bong on the kitchenette counter and call a cab home from the IHOP next door before anyone else wakes up and finds out you stole their master recordings for their next album (which means you leave at noon).  On your way home, while dry-heaving up Popov vodka into an Eckerd’s bag, you find a police badge and a container of Sea Monkeys in your purse, have no idea how they got there, and decide to just add them to your existing collection of police badges and Sea Monkeys that you keep on your thrift store nightstand at home, that is also covered in Delia’s catalogues and eye glitter-pots, because there is no such thing as too many lug-soled mary janes, or too much eye glitter.

(The foregoing anecdote is “hypothetical” for “legal reasons”. I’m sure I have no “idea” where your master recordings “are”. I’m “sure” nobody “smashed them with a hammer in their backyard after the shit you pulled”.)

And besides, what else were you gonna do?  Sit at home like a lame-ass?  You are most certainly NOT going to sit at home like a lame-ass.  You’re a wild woman of the world!

I was a wild woman of the world for many years there, and it was mostly a good ride.  Why, out of about 7,000 nights, there were 20 or 30 that were pretty damn amazing.  The rest were mostly, I don’t know, just okay? Waiting around for them to become amazing nights?

That being said, nowadays, as a woman of a certain age, I am not leaving my house on a Monday night for literally anything.  A-n-y-t-h-i-n-g.  Know why?

Because I am sitting at home, wearing yoga pants, a breezy tank top that says something like “Me Time = Wine Time”, Ugg-style slipper booties, a face coated in three types of moisturizer, am eating Greek yogurt, and have glazed-over eyes from watching Orange is The New Black for three hours straight – and I am not ashamed.

I will state my case thusly:

Sitting at home is awesome because I am home, which is a place that has been fully customized for my maximum comfort, and also contains my husband Bobby, who is my favorite person.  Unlike being out at a club, in my home there are no annoying weirdos trying to grope me, no loogies on the floor, nobody shooting up heroin in the corner, there is a working toilet and – as a bonus – nobody there is an asshole, except for me.

Yoga pants are awesome because they are engineered and designed to fit a woman’s body, and never give you muffin-top.  I would even venture to say that they are as comfortable as most men’s clothing.  (It’s really great how what are, essentially, women’s pajamas are almost as comfortable as the shit men get to wear every waking moment of their lives, isn’t it?)  Yoga pants still don’t have any useful pockets, though, so that’s how you know they are still made for women.  Given the discomfort and lack of useful pockets in 99% of women’s clothing, I guess clothing manufacturers assume that women are both (a) masochists, and (b) have a kangaroo pouch in their abdomen that they store stuff in.

Breezy tank tops are awesome because they are like wearing a delicate cloud around your torso, and allow you to hide the food baby that you created when you ate all those tater tots and sweet pickles earlier for lunch while you cried in your car to a Dionne Warwick song for no reason.

Ugg-style slipper booties are awesome because it’s like having your feet jammed inside a fuzzy stuffed animal, and because woman-feet tend to be in the temperature range of -0 and -1 degrees Fahrenheit, because God hates you.

A face coated in three types of moisturizer is not so much awesome as it’s a requirement if you don’t want to look like current day Jack Palance who, by the way, died 12 years ago.

Greek yogurt is awesome because it has a creamy density and tartness that can’t be replicated by anything else on Earth, it goes well with honey or fancy maple syrup, and if you also crush salted peanuts on top of it, it will appease the hormone demons that hold your brain hostage over the “salty-sweet” thing until you feed them and then they’re still like, “Now how about some meat pizza and root beer?”

Orange is The New Black is awesome because it doesn’t have Ben Affleck in it.