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Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Over the weekend, I watched the latest Will Smith movie, Hitch.

Now, I've not got anything against romantic comedies, per se and I will give you that Hitch was an entertaining, fun little movie. (Though I will agree with a lot of the comments I've seen that Kevin James steals the show. Also, I admit I saw it with family and was not "forced" to watch it by a member of the female gender. I wanted to see it as the previews showing Kevin James demonstrating his dancing style to Will Smith were a riot).

But as I watched it, I found myself thinking about the real problem that I--and maybe a lot of other guys out there--have with romantic comedies. It's not the romantic angle or the predictable formula most of them fall into (I mean, look at movies that are targeted for guys...they are pretty formulaic themselves, just instead of the two leads ending up dating, they end up blowing up stuff in a loud way). No, my real "issue" with romantic comedies is that I always walk away thinking, "Yeah, it's so much easier for the guys to apporach the girls in them because the whole encounter is scripted."

When it comes to approaching and talking to a woman I don't know or barely know for the first, second or even fiftieth time, I swear that I sometimes feel like Chris Farley from Tommy Boy. I always seem to want to go "Stupid, stupid, stupid!" within three seconds of having opened my mouth and said something. And why is it that something that sounded witty and funny in my head tends to come out as sounding more like, "Me like stuff...what you like?" or one of the little minions you control in Warcraft who exclaim "Zug, zug!" when you put them to work in the game.

(I swear, I think I could fill an entire season of Seinfeld with stuff that's happened to me. I remember one incident a few year ago, where I'd re-encountered a woman I'd met years before and the group of us had gone out to dinner. Now, I drink a lot of water, esp. after I've been swimming in the evening and/or could be nervous. And so during dinner, we'd chatted and were hitting it off, to the point that after we ate and paid our bills, we stood around the parking lot and it eventually whittled down to just her and I. Being near a bookstore, we went inside for some reason. Now during all of this, I suddenly realized the old adage that you don't own coffee, you just borrow it also applied to water. And I started to feel this desparate urge to go...but trying to be suave and not come out and say, "Gee, I really GOTTA go!" and then run for the restroom, I tried to hint that I'd wander off and be right back....which should have worked were it not for the fact that as I'd try to work this into conversation, she'd say something that I felt I needed to respond to and didn't want the moment to get away from me while I was off in the restroom. Eventually, it got to the point where I just had to go so bad that it was either relive preschool or be blunt. I went with blunt. And then obsessed about it for days on end...again the whole Chris Farley thing of "Stupid, stupid, stupid!". But she did actually call back and we went out a couple of times and thankfully this was not counted against least as far as I can tell.

But back to my point...I could see something like that happening to George...)

Last season on Monk, our hero got the phone number of a woman and before he called her, he sat down and wrote out conversational cards for every opportunity. Which it was great fun to watch him organize the cards and demonstrate how he was prepared for any conversational alley that might arise. And then, we see Monk actually call and, ha-ha, she throws in a rogue questions and throws off the whole system. (And for those of you wondering--no, I haven't done this!)

Now, I'm not saying that I write down or plot out entire conversations before I have them with women. All I'm saying is that as a man, I feel a bit intimidated by these romantic comedies wherein seemingly normal men come up with witty, intelligent banter for talking to women for the first, second or hundred-and-third time. And don't get me started on how Cameron Crowe has ruined it for all of us with his two creations of Jerry McGuire and Lloyd Dobber. It's so easy to come up with these grand gestures that will win her heart and garner her attention in a movie. I'm just saying if I showed up outside someone's window with a radio over my head, she might be as likely to call the cops and have me hauled off for being a stalker as she would be to think, "Wow, that is so sweet."

Of course, I often wonder--what do women think of guys and the ways we approach them? I mean, I can imagine I must have frustrated a woman or two in my time with my complete lack of picking up what should be obvious clues. Heck, I know for a fact that my ex got frustrated with me for the first month after we met as I didn't call enough. But, you know, we traded e-mails and IMs for five hours a day and I wasn't sure if calling after that would appear either cute and endearing or more "dear heavens, this man is a stalker" to her. Eventually it got to a point where she said, "If you get bored later, call me" and I figured even if I wasn't bored, I should at least pick up the phone and, at worst, leave a voice mail.

But ya know, it's all part of the wacky world of fun that is men, women and dating. It's probably been going on since Adam, when he wondered how long after Eve gave him the fruit he should wait before he called. And it doesn't show any signs of getting any easier any time soon. But it sure does make life interesting, doesn't it?

posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/16/2005 11:12:00 AM | |
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