Tag Archives: Courting

DrHGuy’s Online Wooing Of The Duchess

Words Of Love

Words of love, so soft and tender,
Won’t win a girl’s heart anymore.
If you love her,then you must send her
Somewhere where she’s never been before.
Worn out phrases and longing gazes
Won’t get you where you want to go. (No!)
Words of love, soft and tender,
Won’t win her…

From Words Of Love by Mamas & Papas

I’ve received a number of emails asking how my fiancee, Duchess of Durham, and I met.1 Far too many of these messages, by the way, include a subtext of incredulity, one correspondent going so far as to ask if the Duchess had been by chance in danger of being deported unless she earned her green card by marrying a putative citizen.

As it turns out, we met the old-fashioned, romantic way – on an online dating site.

The following is the dating profile I composed that, notwithstanding the premise set forth by the Mamas & Papas in the verse atop this post, enticed the demure Duchess into an email correspondence spiced with selected lines from Leonard Cohen songs, some Neruda and AE Housman poems, a few links to pertinent Heck Of A Guy entries, and a salacious suggestion or two that itself led to dates, the occasional indulgence in iniquity, and, finally, our impending nuptials.2 Yep, those research and writing skills I picked up as an English major 40 years ago are already starting to pay off.

I may have been going about this dating business wrong.

Despite near-perfect execution of my strategy, i.e., sustaining vigilant readiness in anticipation of the spontaneous appearance on my doorstep of a smart, good-looking, quite possibly naked woman with an encyclopedic knowledge of the erotic arts and an irrepressible desire to inflict them on me, my recent efforts to find a companion have been unrequited.

I know – I can’t believe it either.

Nonetheless, I must conclude these tactics are, in some subtle, imperceptible way, tragically flawed and a more proactive approach indicated, something along the lines, say, of signing up with an online dating site not unlike this one. So, …

I’m a doctor, widowed ten years ago after an outrageously happy marriage. More about that in a moment.

I’m a quick-witted, funny (in a sardonic, parenthetical-comment sort of way) overachiever, heavy duty reader, sporadic scribbler, & perpetual cynic. I began college as a Bible major (not “theology major,” mind you – I majored in “Bible”), earned a undergrad degree in English at a commuter college, got into a medical school desperate to recruit a token non-science jock, and moved to Chicago for a three  year residency that turned into 35 years there practicing medicine, raising two kids, striving to earn a dollar or two more than we spent, and generally taking care of business.

Now, I’ve arrived – on my own for the first time since medical school – in Durham, NC.

Cue the theme song, and you’ve got yourself a pretty darn adorable TV sitcom.

Along the way, I’ve had two remarkable experiences:

First, my then wife-to-be and I met in college, fell madly, irredeemably, unflinchingly in love, and – 9 years, 3 spouses, and 2 careers later (think “When Harry Met Sally” meets “Waiting For Godot”) – got together for that afore-mentioned outrageously happy 20 years together before her death.

Then, six years ago, I won the lottery a second time, finding myself in an implausibly wonderful relationship, albeit one very different from my marriage, with a woman very different from my wife.

In fact, the only shared features were that both liaisons were marvelous, both love affairs were tragically ended by death, and both women were too good for the likes of me, a blatantly self-evident fact of which they were blissfully oblivious.

From these experiences evolved a simple but powerful two-step methodology that allowed me to hold up my side of those relationships and which should stand me in good stead if I have the good fortune to again cross paths with the right woman at the right time.

  1. Find a woman who meets my primary criterion (also the single trait shared by the two women I’ve adored): she could do a lot better than me, but she doesn’t know it.
  2. Distract her with fancy footwork, song, dance, snappy chatter, snippets of poems, champagne, ribald limericks, gifts, and other expressions of enthusiastic attentiveness so she doesn’t come to realize she could, indeed, do better.

Because the draconian word count restriction placed on profiles precludes the kind of knock-your-socks-off big finish you (and you know who you are) deserve, I’m going to have to ask you to imagine the deleted section I originally composed after studying a few profiles of other men on this site promoting themselves as attractive date & mate material. Close your eyes (well, read the rest of this essay first; then, close your eyes) and envision a message epic in scope, a work with both tragic and comic elements that embeds, within an elegant exposition of paradigm-shifting insights into the human condition, the appropriate code words to suggest, in a humorous, self-effacing, non-legally binding manner, that I am one athletic, rich, generous, &, of course, handsome son of a gun who is not only spiritual as all get out but also “embraces life” and “knows how to treat a lady,” which I now understand has nothing to do with prescribing antibiotics.

Then, imagine a second paragraph that similarly describes my  reckless yet chivalrously  respectful romantic quest for a soulmate in dating site lingo that implicitly signals my preference for a bright, gorgeous, sexually adventuresome woman possessed of a great figure and low standards in men.

Picture this cast in clever, ironic phrases replete with subtle but unmistakably provocative sexual connotations and just a dollop of nonaggressive, outrageously manic humor. Consider the pervasive romantic subtext only modestly and begrudgingly attenuated by a mature recognition of reality, Finally, it would be nice but probably not essential if you could visualize a closing that offers a polished fragment of universal wisdom proffered without a trace of pomposity and motivated solely by a compassion for humanity itself.

OK, what kind of woman am I actually looking for? I’m looking for a woman who – heck, the two women I’ve loved most didn’t fit any of my preconceived notions of whom I wanted then, so why pretend I know any more about women now?  Let’s go with this – if you’re old enough to know the score, young enough to go into extra innings, and you’re still reading, you probably qualify.

  1. See DrHGuy & Duchess Of Durham To Wed []
  2. Ongoing blog readers, certain Exs, women  who peruse online personal ads, and email buddies may recognize portions of this composition. What can I say – I recycle. []

The Singles Map – Looking For Love In The Right Places

Location, Location, Location

Maverick: This is what I call a target rich environment.
Goose: You live your life between your legs Mav.
Maverick: Goose, even you could get laid in a place like this.
Goose: Hell, I’d be happy to just find a girl that would talk dirty to me.

–From Top Gun

Those looking for love1 might do well to opt for the Target Rich Environment approach, because, as Maverick astutely notes, there are locations in which women so predominate numerically that the odds of a man finding a desirable partner improve significantly. And vice-versa.

There are limitations to this strategy. Alaskan women, for example, have long lamented that their “odds are good, but the goods are odd.”

Still, the numbers game has a certain appeal and prompts one to action.

Having noted that giant orange circle around the Chicago area, I, for example, will be contacting my Realtor to suggest placing a Heck Of A House “For Sale” ad in Maxim, Playboy, Penthouse, Femme Fatales , Perfect 10, Stuff, etc. Not only might the guys who subscribe to those periodicals find the favorable women to men ratio enticing, but those who believe that (1) somewhere there exists bevies of babes who are 5′ 10″ tall, are endowed with spectacular bosoms, tiny waists, and long, luscious legs, and weigh 102 pounds and (2) the Letters to Penthouse are accurate depictions of a single guy’s life might pay the full asking price.

Credit Due Department

The Creativity Exchange put The Singles Map, developed from National Geographic’s February Issue, online.

  1. More specifically, those looking for single individuals of the opposite sex []

Epiphany Of The Day – Unrealistic Expectations Acquired From TV's Widower-Fathers

Paul's Epiphany on the road to Damascus

Let’s keep expectations in line — I’m more likely to be on Route 14 to Dominick’s than on the Road to Damascus. Of course, the flip side is that I do not (thank you very much) require being struck blind for inspiration; the local newspaper and satellite TV evoke revelations sufficient unto my purposes. Thus disclaimed, we press onward.
Today’s apocalyptic insight is in response to that all-important philosophical inquiry:

Why I’m Not As Happy As I Should Be

with its typically unspoken but omnipresent corollary:

And Why It’s Not My Fault

Ready?

I Am Not As Happy As I Should Be Because Of

Unrealistic Role Models

A Vast Wasteland Wherein Dwelleth False Father Figures

The culprits are those TV widower-fathers.

andy Curse you, Steven Douglas; a pox on thee, Tom Corbett (AKA Eddie’s Father); and (of course) fie on you, Andy Taylor.

During my cohort’s formative years, the video population endured a pandemic of mysterious, unexplained fatalities of young mothers at the hands of TV screenwriters.

There is, it seems to me, something suspect about the premise that warm and fuzzy, let alone humorous, moments will necessarily and automatically spring from any situation in which a single man assumes the responsibility of raising children following their mother’s demise.

Nonetheless, when I think of single fathers (or surrogate fathers of the Uncle Bill variety), the first images that spring to mind are those from

  • The Courtship Of Eddie’s Father
  • My Three Sons
  • Family Affair
  • The Andy Griffith Show
  • Bachelor Father

There were batches of these characters skulking about on various channels.

For example, Sky King bachfatherwas raising Penny and Clipper on his own when he wasn’t flying those Cessnas, Uncle Jed Clampett was sans spouse bringing up Ellie Mae and Jethro, after his wife died, Vernon Albright cared for [his] Little Margie with only a housekeeper to assist, and The Rifleman was the lone parent for Mark.

Assuming there was nothing kinky going on bestiality-wise, that park ranger on Flipper was a hot-shot solo father as well.

The single-father genre did not, as far as I recall, improve with age, a hypothesis for which I think an example or two will serve as adequate proof.

Remember that very special series from the late ‘80’s, My Two Dads? And the ’80′s show (still viewable in syndication), Full House? Convinced? I thought so.

By the way, the award for the best line from a movie about a TV series featuring a single father has to go to Danny DeVito in Tin Men, who describes Bonanza as a show about “a 50-year-old man with three 49-year-old sons.”

A survey of such TV series reveals at least three areas of incongruities between performances of fathers residing on Nick At Night and those attempting, against overwhelming odds, to be a Heck Of A Single Dad in what passes for the real world:

Nannies:

TV: The majority of these TVLand families have a nanny (sometimes designated by a different title) who falls into one of two categories:

1. Crusty Male/Fussy Female With Heart Of Goldmrsl
Examples: Uncle Charley (My Three Sons) and Aunt Bee1 (The Andy Griffith Show)
Special Characteristic: Homespun philosophers

2. Exotic Foreign Character
Examples: Peter Tong, played by Sammee Tong (Bachelor Father), Mrs. Livingston, a not so inscrutable Oriental with a British-sounding name (The Courtship Of Eddie’s Father), and Mr. French, who was, of course, British (Family Affair).
Special Characteristic: Yoda precursors

US: We had nannies before I was a single Dad; we now have no nanny — not even one of domestic vintage.

Heart-to-Heart Discussions:

TV: These talks were an essential feature of almost every episode in the above referenced shows. In a quiet, secluded setting, Dad looks directly and unblinkingly into Emotionally Precocious Offspring’s eyes and explains the complex lesson of the faffairday, revealing not only an hitherto hidden truth about humanity but also the father’s love, determination, and pluck in raising the kid(s) despite his inadequate number of X chromosomes. In addition, screenwriter bonuses appear to have been tied to the frequency with which these quasi-soliloquies incorporated phrases equivalent to “Since your mother died.”

US: The content of our dinner discussions once featured debates between The Prodigal expounding the virtues of microwave French fires and The Mesomorph declaring the superiority of microwave mashed potatoes. While their tastes and culinary talents have matured significantly since then, the level of discussion has not. We do sometimes, during bonding experiences, turn the volume down on the minimum of three TV’s that are perpetually playing at Heck Of A House to counteract the electromagnetic fluctuations created by the friction between Chi-Town and the Cheeseheads.

Girlfriends:

edd-fatherTV: The fathers either have a girlfriend (e.g., Andy Taylor’s monogamous and monotonous relationship with Helen Crump) or — hubba-hubba — girlfriends. Eddie’s father and, especially, Uncle Bill (that rascal) seemed to have a plethora of attractive women who were fine and respectable as social escorts but, inevitably and tragically, were somehow ineligible as marriage partners. In some cases, the child was the matchmaker for poor ol’ Dad, who was inevitably and woefully unaware of the obvious overtures made by these women. Certainly by the end of the episode the girlfriend and the kids, who recognized and hoped to repair the father’s loneliness, were allies.

US: Da Boyz demonstrate no inclination to pimp for me.
dad-boyz Continue reading

  1. That is the correct spelling []

Lessons From Grownup Dating


Never date a woman whose personal ad suggests her affection for you will come in second to her preference for Harleys — whether her predilection is for the motorcycle brand or a batch of guys named Harley.
end3
There are no gestures that please all women all the time, but these seem to work with surprising frequency:

  • Fetching her coffee in bed
  • Keeping these items on hand: her preferred brands of liquor, coffee, & other potables — and a chilled bottle of decent champagne
  • Assuring there is always at least one extra roll of toilet paper immediately available

end3
Paul Tillich was right when he declared, The first duty of love is to listen.

Listening makes love possible.

It also makes it easier to buy gifts that don’t get returned.
end3
In contemporary sitcoms and romantic movies, the dialog that takes place when a couple breaks up inevitably includes inane clichés like “I hope we can still be friends,” “I just need some space,” and “It’s not you; it’s me.” In real life, however, … it’s pretty much the same.
end3
While there are lots of ways to find dates, success favors the proactive. I found, for example, that my original strategy — sustaining vigilant readiness in anticipation of the spontaneous arrival at my doorstep of a naked, exceedingly sexy, surpassingly bright woman equally possessed of an outstanding personality and a passion for me — to be minutely, but nonetheless fatally, flawed.
end3
While there are lots of ways to find dates, I submit that the Online Pity Profile strategy may well be the most counterproductive. Ads falling into this category are immediately recognizable by the whining quality of the headlines. For example,

  • “Isn’t there one decent man out there who wants a high-quality, loving woman?”
  • “Just a nice guy looking for a TRUSTWORTHY woman who believes in virtue and loyalty.”
  • “Can’t someone recognize beauty that is more than skin deep?”

Speaking only for myself (and perhaps, as I fervently hope, I am not the target audience for these folks), the appeal these ads are intended to generate eludes me. I cannot envision responding to such an ad with anything along the lines of “Say, that certainly sounds like an intriguing person and one I would enjoy getting to know on a personal and intimate level” let alone something more traditional such as the classic “Oh Baby, got to get me some of that.”
end3Technique and skill in bed are desirable qualities, but enthusiasm, courage, and a refusal to take oneself too seriously are sexier. (Of course, there’s nothing wrong with bringing it all.)
end3A self-realization forced upon me by dating is that I’m not so hot on the introductory phone call. The typical online dating routine is to do the email Mambo for a bit and then escalate to telephone calls enroute to a first date. Routinely, I am quite the articulate (some would even say “eloquent” and still others would say “Shut up before I pound your face”) individual — until I confront the ominous combination of a dial tone and a desirable semi-stranger, at which point I am instantly transformed into a babbling idiot. And, as does any real man, I know that repeated exposure to the evil cooties that infest telephone systems neutralizes testosterone, evokes the dreaded baby-talk and pet-name references by otherwise sane women, and seduces those of my gender into making silly promises and declarations (e.g., “Yeah, baby, I really really love you” “Heck no, honey-bunny, you aren’t getting fat; your body is, in fact, perfection manifest in flesh and blood.” “Sure, we’ll have a long talk about our relationship — real soon”) in the increasingly desperate hope of ending the conversation.
end3
A second self-realization forced upon me by dating is that a desirable woman can be a heck of a motivator. My awkwardness with the phone notwithstanding, I have managed to suck it up and speed dial with the best of ‘em.
end3
As bad as I am on the phone, I’m even worse on those first dates. I think I try too hard. Or not hard enough. Or something. I suspect this may be a problem for others as well and have been working out the details of a business plan to provide surrogates for the first date (SurroDates, Inc.) who would hammer out details for what will then officially be the clients’ second date, the point at which I seem to blossom.
end3
Even if you end the first date by taking your companion home, saying “Goodbye,” performing the peck on the cheek farewell kiss, and driving away; and then you go around the block, return to her home, repeat the goodbye, kiss, and driveaway; and then you return once more, … she still isn’t going to count that as the third date.
end3
The good news is that every one of my grownup dating relationships has involved threesomes; the bad news is that the threesome has always consisted of my date, me, and a 300 pound gorilla named Logistics. Arranging calls/meetings/dates/insert your own euphemism is a far more frustrating exercise than I had anticipated before signing into this supposedly madcap, wild, and zany world of post-teenage romantic intrigue. I foolishly anticipated that my psychological energy would be directed toward finding someone compatible, dealing with rebukes, languishing from unrequited love, and matters of that ilk, all of which pale when confronted with the logistical terrorism faced by two dating adults because of

  • Their need to produce an income or two
  • The geographical distance between them (and there is always a significant geographical distance – in fact, my charm apparently increases in direct proportion to the distance between my home and my date’s location. I’m considered hot stuff in Wyoming, for example)
  • The fact that at least one of these adults is crazy-glued to a couple of roommates who claim kindred and have the advantage of youthful energy and narcissistic amorality

I attribute this disparity between my expectations and reality to — well, to the fact that sometimes I’m an idiot. Perhaps the inability of otherwise reasonably perceptive individuals (a group that would, ostensibly, include me) to foresee obvious hurdles in the course of constructing a relationship is nature’s means of perpetuating the species. If we all acted exclusively on the basis of rational principles, I suspect there would be approximately 62 dates annually in the continental United States.
end3
When the woman you’re dating says, “I think we should try living together,” Never Ever reply “You’re kidding – right?” This is almost always a suboptimal answer.

  • Supplemental Hint #1: Giggling and other expressions of mirth, no matter how good-natured in origin, can make matters significantly worse (no small accomplishment)
  • Supplemental Hint #2: Don’t count on an explanation on the lines of “I must have been really sucking down those Hot Spiced Tequilas last night; I don’t remember a thing. Did I say anything stupid?” being of any help whatsoever. Similarly, transferring the Evil Twin Brother or the Sudden Onset Of Amnesia plot devices from daytime soap operas to real life is likely to dissipate their verisimilitude and that all-important willing suspension of disbelief.
  • Supplemental Hint #3: Prior to interjecting into this situation reminders that on numerous occasions both the woman in question and the individual she now refers as “Satan’s Spawn” (“that’s Dr. Satan’s Spawn to you, Lady”) agreed that living together was not in either’s best interests — one would be well-advised to take into account a brutally honest self-assessment of ones own capacity to execute immediate evasive maneuvers and mount a substantial defense.

end3
I’ve dated enough to know that Waylon may have been wrong when he sang,

There ain’t no good in an evil-hearted woman
… and there ain’t no good chain gang

Somewhere in a land far away and a time far different from ours, I can imagine the existence of a good chain gang.
end3

The Really Important Dating Data

Full (Or At Least, Skin-Deep) Disclosure

During one of my flings with online personal ads, a woman responded to my profile, leading to an exchange of several emails. Things were looking promising when I received an unexpected note from her asking,

How would you describe your looks? The reason I ask is because the photos that you have in your profile are not particularly revealing. In [the photo with you in] sunglasses you look hidden. That middle picture looks entirely different from the other two, especially your nose. I can tell that you are good shape, however.

This was not quite the warm and fuzzy missive I had anticipated. I did have enough experience with the online dating email mambo by this time to recognize a no-win situation when it whacked me on the head a couple of times. Regardless of how cleverly I worded my response, any protestations of my fatal attractiveness would inevitably end in the same common final path which, stripped to fundamentals, would resolve to something like this:

I am good-looking.
Am not.
Am so.
Am not.
Am so.
Am not.

Rinse, repeat.

In retrospect, I’m surprised (and a tad disappointed) that I wrote back only with the standard “It ain’t me, babe” note (too much residual nice guy superego I guess), because it did occur to me that her interest in my physical appearance (not to mention her barely masked accusation that I somehow cheated on the pix) did implicitly grant me reciprocal permission to ask her about my areas of interest that weren’t sufficiently elaborated in her profile. I was thinking of something along the lines of

Dear Ms Dater-Rater,

I appreciate your straightforwardness in cutting directly to those issues most important to you. I’m happy to respond to your requests and to take this chance to similarly clarify some points of my own.

A description of my appearance provided by a total stranger and the especially unflattering photo from my Illinois Drivers License are enclosed. I hope you find this satisfactory.

For my part, I notice that you have a sexy enough double entendre as part of your profile, but this is not as revealing as I would prefer since your actual sexual practices, as sublimated into the joke, are ambiguous. Knowing now of your respect for candor, I feel comfortable in asking that you please forward to me a complete description of your basic sexual habits (frequency and duration of intercourse, number of orgasms per episode of intercourse, etc.), as well as any area of expertise, proficiencies with specialized equipment, and your preferences within the advanced practices (AKA kinky) category.

If it’s not too much trouble, could you also send notarized affidavits from all your sexual partners of the past three years attesting to the veracity of your descriptions? Oh, I almost forgot — I’ll need a few photos of you naked and, if you have them handy, photos or videos of you actually having sex. If you don’t have any of the latter readily available, videos of you masturbating will do. I just need a rough idea of your range and capacity.

Thanks loads.

DrHGuy

Ah, an opportunity lost.

Instead, I sent a message pointing out that, although my mother thinks I’m quite handsome, I didn’t see any reason to (1) hope that she (my correspondent) would share that conviction or (2) continue our nascent courtship.

She, in turn, emailed a pseudo-apologetic explanation that

My friends have repeatedly described me as “forthright”  which I trust is a euphemism for “blunt and tactless.”

Of course, my immediate thought was, “Well, OK then; as long as you’re habitually blunt and tactless, I embrace your constructive criticism and am filled with gratitude for our interaction — even if my nose forever keeps us apart.”

Anyway, I don’t believe that I can take her statement at face value. I mean, what are the chances of her actually having friends?

By the time this was over, I found it not only ironic but paradoxically comforting that she actually used the classic dump-the-(DrH)guy line.  Now say it with me:

I hope we can still be friends.

You betcha. With friends like that, …

A Heck Of A [Warm-Up] Guy

Perhaps it’s only statistical serendipity (the reader is advised not to confuse a convenient means of establishing my common sense, open-mindedness, and humility with a proposition that I actually believe) or karma (statistical serendipity packaged with incense, candles, & crystals, here cynically offered as an indication of my spiritual awareness) or maybe, just maybe, I’m special.1

Jimmi Hendrix, John The Baptist, Mr. Toad, & Me

I am, it seems, following in a hallowed tradition that includes opening acts such as Jimi Hendrix for the Monkees (quit after a few shows),

and Prince for The Rolling Stones (booed off the stage),

the anonymous performers who psych up studio audiences for Leno, Will & Grace, The Apprentice, and their ilk; set-up pitchers,2

and, well, John the Baptist (you know, the “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight [yada, yada, yada]” guy).

In analogous fashion, I have become, for a select group of soul mate-seeking women,

“The Next To Last Toad I Ever Had To Kiss” (before kissing the one that turned into a Prince) or, in scientific notation, “The Penultimate Obligatory Bufonidae Osculation.”

How I Got My Warm-up Guy Rep

The back story follows:

Recently, an ex-main squeeze wrote that she had not only gotten over me, but had, in fact, also hooked up with Mr. Right (at the zenith of our relationship, I had transiently met criterion for Dr Close Enough For Now) and, consequently, has scheduled a June wedding to be followed by the honeymoon in Maui and the requisite happily-ever-after.

Let me interrupt your shoulder shrugging and “So whatting?” to point out that she was not the first of my exes to use yours truly as a stepping stone en route to bigger and better more compatible men.

Nor was she the second.

She was, in fact, the third woman on the dating train to find romance and happiness one stop beyond the HeckOfAGuy station.

Impressed yet?

Regardless, a full appreciation of the miraculous nature of this trifecta is possible only if one takes into account

  • The relatively small number of women I’ve dated – and the necessarily smaller number of women I’ve dated who keep in touch with me (note: By “keep in touch,” I have in mind something more benign than, say, the vehemently voiced hope that I fall victim to a plague of spectacularly virulent STDs ). Within this select group, a subset with three members represents a substantial percentage.
  • The grown-upedness of each woman. Each is demonstrably competent, rational, employed, and well-liked. None is afflicted by impulsivity, the desire for more children, or other psychoses. In other words, these are not helpless, desperate women who require husbands to take care of them. It’s just that each has found the right man, and is willing to commit herself to a relationship. Kinky, eh?

Being the perpetual precursor is not, however, all guitar riffs at Woodstock, baptisms of saviors, and wet amphibian smooches. There are drawbacks beyond the cumulative expense of three wedding presents. For example, I struggle under the moral burden of responsibility for the life-long sexual frustrations these couples will endure as my exes are inevitably disappointed by their new life-partners’ failures to meet the standards established during our sojourn together. Of course, the exes, brave little troopers that they are, loyally insist that their sex lives are better than ever. It doesn’t require a hot-shot shrink to know that there’s some semi-pathological self-delusion going on somewhere.

John (insert head pun here)Besides, it could be worse. You may recall that one of my role models, John the Baptist, was beheaded at the request of a beautiful woman. Let me be perfectly clear about this:  Not one of my exes has demanded my decapitation, a record of which I am, quite naturally, proud. I’m also a bit relieved, given that each of these three new men now coupled with the exes seems sufficiently infatuated to merrily whip together a guillotine and razor off my head should my ex- and his current sweetie intimate that such a keepsake would be a clever Valentine’s Day alternative to the clichéd red roses and assorted chocolates.

In any case, there are benefits to the role, primary among them being, of course, the personal fulfillment consequent to bringing romance and happiness to these couples (while I could diagram the causal links between my sojourns with these women and their current rapture with someone else, elaborating the obvious would be unattractively pedantic) and thus enriching all humanity. As is true of so many of my qualities, it’s a gift – and a responsibility.

Besides, if I ever find it necessary to run the personal ad- online dating gauntlet again, I can surely fashion a seriously seductive sales pitch by characterizing myself as a breeding ground for true love, a come-on with the inherent advantage of implicitly precluding marriage propositions involving the breeding ground himself.

Plus, the woman I’m dating now is getting pretty excited about her future prospects.

  1. As Sherlock Holmes observed to Dr. John Watson in The Sign Of Four, “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” []
  2. For the baseball-challenged, set-up pitchers are the pitchers brought into the game  in the 8th inning to “set up” the game’s big finish for the closer, the pitcher who handles the 9th inning []