I went on a blind date about six months ago. He was an engineer. He was kind of creepy looking. I mean, good looking but in a creepy way. We’d had a couple of nice phone calls between us, though, so I let him buy me a drink and we talked for a bit.
Everything’s going fine, and creepy looking or not, he’s a nice guy. I’m thinking we can be friends, but then he throws it at me, out of nowhere, “I drive a Porsche.”
I bring this up because I was at the grocery store yesterday picking up an onion and a six pack when I notice this very cute guy checking me out as he’s checking out at the register. He’s wearing softball gear, and his hair’s kinda longer than I usually like. But he’s looking at me, and I’m looking at him. Neither of us makes a move. I’m not about to, because, well, I just don’t. If a guy can’t walk over to me and strike up a conversation, I figure he’s not going to put forth much effort to do much else to see me.
We both hit the parking lot at around the same time. We’re parked next to each other. I get into the Volvo, while he starts to load his groceries in, wait for it, a shiny new blue Porsche Boxster.
Now I’m not a huge Porsche snob. My dad had one when I was a teenager, and it was so cool to get dropped off at the football games in a new black Porsche. My mom even let me take it out right after I’d learned to drive to show off for my friends.
I love cars. I do. But my tastes run along the lines of a 1974 convertible Karmann Ghia and a 1983 Colorado Red Jeep Grand Wagoneer (Yes, the Woody!). My mother still talks about how I was the only 14-year-old she knew of who wanted a Volvo 240 DL wagon. I mean, I dig cars. So that’s not it.
I explained my Porsche issue to Julia on the phone as I was driving to my grandmother’s today.
“Why can’t I just meet some regular Joe who likes to hang out and have fun and doesn’t have to impress everyone with the things his money can buy? And, by the way, it would help if his name were ‘Joe.’ Or even Sam. I could date a Sam. These yahoos I meet are all too into stuff.”
She laughs and asks me, “Don’t you think you’re being kind of superficial? Who cares if a guy drives a Porsche?”
“Because a Porsche means he’s got something to prove.”
“Did Dad have something to prove?”
“Well, no. He always drove sports cars. But then he’d buy a big truck. The Porsche was just fun.”
“There you go.”
“No, Dad was settled before he bought that car. These guys were single. It’s just different. When a single guy drives a car like that, it’s different.”
“How?” she asked.
“I don’t know.”
I know this other guy. He’s a frenemy. One time, during a ceasefire, he asked me, “What kind of cars do women think are cool?”
I didn’t answer him, because it was just the most ridiculous question in the world and because I couldn’t find a way to answer without hurting his feelings. Ceasefire, remember? But here’s what I would have told him:
“Women, real women, aren’t impressed by what kind of car you drive. They don’t care. It’s nice if you have a car that doesn’t look like a total piece of crap and won’t break down. Beyond that, we don’t care. We like the guy, not the car. Get a flashy car, and we don’t think, ‘Wow, this guy’s a catch.’ We think, ‘I wonder what he compensating for.’
“Your problem, Frenemy of Mine, with women specifically, is that you would ask a question like that. Your problem is that you care if a woman likes your car or your kids or that stupid chain you wear around your neck. Like yourself, Moron. Own who you are and that dumb car you drive. Be confident, and other people will like you. Stop being some needy creep who tries too hard, and women will like you.”
See what I mean? How do you say that nicely?
I got to my grandmother’s today, and it was a girl’s day. I got to play with the babies for a bit, and we had lunch. My uncle, who’s in the car business, dropped in to eat some macaroni salad but has to leave almost as soon as he arrived.
I was in one of the back bedrooms talking with my aunt, the psychologist. We’re talking about my plans to quit my job and go to school full time in a year or so. I laid out my plan, and then she asked, “Is there a man anywhere in this plan of yours?”
“I hope so. No one I’m seeing right now really fits the bill, though.” Then I told her about how I’m looking for a regular guy, but I keep attracting these other guys.
Then she told me, “The problem is you’re too smart. Those guys don’t like smart.”
My mother chimed in from the other room, “And those guys like bitches.”
“So what do I do? I can’t help what I’m attracted to.” I said to my aunt.
“I don’t know. Dumb yourself down? Become a bitch? That’s up to you.” But she was laughing when she said it.
“Somehow, somewhere, my life went way off the tracks,” I said into the phone to Carrie as I was driving home a couple of hours later. “Apparently, I’m overqualified to date.”