If you see me on the BART train and you think I'm looking at your chest, the chances are much higher that I'm trying to figure out what book you're reading.
This is like when you get introduced to someone by a friend who has been talking a lot about how funny you are, and the new person says "Say something funny." Okay, I'm funny. I refuse to take anything seriously (for more information on why, ask me about the day I was riding my bike in the rain). I am smart, but often not as smart as I think I am and sometimes smarter than I know. I am sometimes shy and sometimes an extrovert, but I can never tell which is going to come out on top. I have committed an act of piracy on the high seas. I am the funny uncle. I am not handsome until you get to know me. I am a constantly flowing fountain of brilliant but absolutely unworkable ideas (ask me about Justin's Great Big Whorehouse for Teens or the Sugarglider Cruise). Wait, this isn't summarizing at all; those are just illustrative examples.
Okay, here's a summary: Once I decided I wasn't going to be the funny guy anymore; I wanted to be the sexy guy, the one women notice when they walk into the party. I told a bunch of people, a group of friends I happened to be with, that I wasn't funny anymore, and that they should treat me like I was just the hot guy. Oh, they laughed and laughed. Wait, that's not a summary either, just a telling incident.
Dang. okay, let me think. Ok, here's my summary. I am brave, noble, kind, true, honest, just, loyal, right and...um, noble. Wait, I said noble. What's that other thing? Oh, yeah, good.
Also, and I am very serious about this - to all the women on OKCupid who say they are going to kick my ass at Scrabble: You are not going to kick my ass at Scrabble. You might beat me once: you might beat me a few times; you might beat me regularly, but you are not going to kick my ass. You're not going to perpetrate the kind of runaway shellackings you may be used to. I am the man who played 'squeeze' on a triple word score and then tacked an 's' on it for a second triple word score at a garden party. You may have heard of me. I will play 'fez' and 'zek' on the same Z, and I have my own copy of the OED.
The chances that you are going to kick my ass at pool are much higher.
You know who you are.
UPDATE: Because I am told this is an important consideration and I don't know where else to put it: I don't smoke or drink, but I don't care if you do. It's not some kind of crusade, and I am not in recovery. I do have a party with friends once a year at which I do my best to get just a little drunker than I did last year, but by and large I don't indulge. I do have an elaborate theory about why I don't drink or smoke (which I am told is wrong) which I will happily tell you about, in addition to the real reason, but if you love everything else about me but are worried that I will judge you because you smoke or drink, don't worry about it. I don't mind. In fact, I think there is something a little extra-sexy about making out with a girl who tastes a little of whiskey and cigarettes, although i will not sleep with you until you are sober. We can talk about this later.
A friend once described me to a third party by saying that if we were walking down a street that had a dog or a kid in it, I couldn't not stop to say hello. That is true as far as it goes, but I also stop to talk to cats.
Also: I do not have a car. I have many qualities that make up for this, chief among them that I am not only willing to take but am enthusiastic about taking bicycles, trains, buses and airplanes to places that I need to get to. These places include San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, New York, and virtually anyplace in between if the incentive is right. Think about that.
Since 2005, with a few breaks here and there, I have been working as a writer for a website that sells films depicting things that Men and Ladies do. I am relaxing, considering options, planning travel and enjoying my life. Some careers I have considered recently: Train conductor, male escort, sex surrogate. Unfortunately, there are no high-paying jobs for parallel parker, which is the least marketable of the six things I am really, really good at.
Telling stories. Ask me about the biggest mouse in the world or the time I learned to say "I cannot move my leg" in Russian or why I don't work at a trucking company any more. Pick a subject - pancakes, a blender, swords - I've got a story.
Kissing. Man, I can't even begin to tell you what a good kisser I am. No kidding, I have been practicing for like thirty years, and I have got it down. Remember how good I am at parallel parking? If parallel parking and kissing were the biathlon, I'd be winning gold medals all over the world. The Eastern Europeans couldn't touch me, no matter how many steroids they take (yes, I'm clean).
Constructing elaborate similes to explain things. Got a fairly simple problem? Pass it on to me and I will find a way to couch it in symbols so cleverly that the solution to your dilemma will be immediately apparent. Of course, I will require every detail of the problem so I can make sure your metaphor is perfectly and completely accurate. As you might imagine and not be surprised by, that will almost certainly involve a lot of talking. I told a guy recently he was simultaneously like a baby cobra and an Edsel; if you want to know why, come on and ask.
Toasting marshmallows. I have perfected the art. If you are one of those savages who likes to thrust a marshmallow into the fire all holus-bolus because you don't need no subtlety to let the motherfucker burn, my marshmallows are not for you, but if you like a marshmallow that is unblemished on the outside but creamy and perfect and exactly the right temperature to make you think about why it is good to have warm things in your mouth, well, come on over.
Threesomes. Yes, it is a skill. Yes, I'm really good at it.
The last thing I can't really talk about. It would be indelicate, and I wouldn't want to brag.
Also, people often think I am much taller than I really am.
Let me put it this way: I once had a one-room apartment with ten bookcases in it; when I moved in, I had sixty-three boxes of stuff, fifty-four of which contained books. That ought to give you a picture. I like fiction, non-fiction, science fiction, classic literature, comic books (graphic novels and sequential art if you think that makes it sound sexier), and at least one example of virtually anything you can think of. A friend of mine once told me I had more books than anyone he knew except one guy, and that guy owned a bookstore. A short catalogue of authors I like: Bill Bryson, TR Pearson, Naomi Novik, Alan Moore, Iain Banks, Michael Flynn, Barbara Tuchman, Neal Stephenson, George MacDonald Fraser, Rudyard Kipling, Sarah Vowell, Guy Gavriel Kay, David Halberstam, Mike Mignola, Frank Miller, Mary Roach, PG Wodehouse, CS Forester, Tim Powers, Mark Twain, PJ O'Rourke, Mark Helprin.
Right now, a lot of my books are in storage, but I do have one bookcase in my room dedicated to baseball and one to erotica.
Music: If there were no such things as MP3s and terabyte hard drives, I might have had more boxes of music than books. What do I listen to all the time? Poe, Mark Knopfler, Rachid Taha, Dire Straits, Steve Earle, Warren Zevon, A3, Ben Folds, Parliament/Funkadelic, Billie Holiday, Louis Prima, Shriekback, Garbage, Curve, Waterboys, Johnny Cash, the Dandy Warhols, Tom Petty, Lyle Lovett, the Pogues, Henry Rollins, Eric Clapton, Cake, U2, Mose Allison, Michelle Shocked, Kid Creole...you get the picture. I have an iPod with a 2800-song playlist of my favorite songs in no particular order. I don't mind mixing genres.
Movies: People like movies for different reasons. For instance: I love Bull Durham because it is one of the greatest baseball movies ever made, but you might like it because it is a really good romantic comedy (I like it because it is a romantic comedy too). We might both think it's a great movie for totally different and wholly incompatible reasons, so I think it's a better idea to tell you why I like movies than which ones I like. I like movies with small triumphs that only matter locally, movies in which the prize or the goal is insignificant in the greater world but means everything to the people involved (Babe, The Commitments). I like movies in which people fail but become wiser or better people because of the struggle (Bottle Rocket, Local Hero). I like movies in which sorrow and loss are so closely intertwined with joy and beauty that you can't tell which is making you cry (Finding Neverland, virtually every Pixar movie). I like true stories about sport and literature. I like movies that mean different things to different people (2001, Blade Runner). I like movies that are joyous (Mamma Mia) and movies that are tragic (Das Boot) and movies that are both (Schindler's List). I am, unabashedly, a movie cryer, for any number of reasons.
Television: Giants baseball games, although I prefer to listen to the radio broadcast while the TV sound is turned down. Update: It turns out that I like watching TV, only not on TV. I don't like having to be someplace to watch television when I might be out doing something or spending time with a friend, but I have, apparently, no compunctions at all about staying up till six in the morning watching an entire season of some show that strikes me the right way. Shows I have liked in the past that are over now: Community, Arrested Development, 30 Rock, Hung, My Name Is Earl, Deadwood, Veronica Mars, Boston Legal, or The West Wing, Dexter, Men of A Certain Age.
Shows I like that are still on: Moone Boy, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Modern Family, Cougar Town, New Girl, House of Lies, Archer. Also, I like the audition shows for So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol, but I could absolutely not care even the least little bit less about who wins.
Food: Forgive me. I don't really care about food. I like a good steak, I like orange flavored chicken from Panda Express, I like virtually any culture's version of chicken with rice and maybe some broccoli and a tasty third-world sauce, I like cheese, I like to make sandwiches by drinking all the broth out of soup and then putting what's left on some bread, and I like chocolate chip cookies (which, to be fair, are not food but instead a kind of narcotic), but I am not a gourmet in any way, I like the food my girlfriend makes for me, which is simple and delicious. I am tragically unwilling to eat good food to the exclusion of bad (even if it's locally grown sustainable organic food versus frozen pizza) and both onions and tomatoes make me ill. If food were suddenly outlawed and we as humans were required to survive on food pills that gave us all our sustenance, I would be fine. The sole exception to my lamentable failure as an eater is my appreciation for dark chocolate. If you came over to my house right now, I would be able to give you a choice of fifty or sixty kinds of chocolate between 60% and 100%, most of them from single-origin makers who get their cacao beans from within ten degrees of the equator or so. I have no idea how this happened to me, although I can tell you who was responsible and when. It was a porn star, if that makes it any more interesting.
UPDATE: Also, I love honey. I don't know why I don't just eat nothing but honey all the time. I think I heard somewhere that honey is nature's perfect food, unless that was the bacon cheeseburger. I can't really think of a food that wouldn't be improved by honey. Even honey itself is bolstered by more honey.
Oh, man, that makes me think of bacon. Good gracious, I love bacon. I am going to go make some bacon and put honey on it. Or get a bacon double cheeseburger with honey. My mouth is already full.
Six categories of things I could never do without:
Books, music, laughing....hmm. OK, it turns out that there are only two categories of things I could never do without. I was going to say "the internet", but I got along without that for like thirty years, so I know I could if I had to. Then I thought about food, but duh. That's not fair, since it's not a choice. Plus, if I could get along without food, I might. I am trying to think of other categories of things...oh, wait. Friends. I totally need my friends - I am very social and I love to have smart, funny people around me. OK, that's four. Family? Well, I love my family, but I don't live really near any of them, so I have to say I get along without them on a day-to-day basis. All right; I guess it's Books, music, laughing and Friends, with two players to be named later.
Six Specific Items I Can't Do Without:
My Messenger Bag: I'm not a messenger or anything, but I have this bag that I carry stuff around in (some people might, if they were being snide, call it a man-purse, and I could not, in good conscience, argue with that). This bag is not fancy or anything, but it is very handy - room for a laptop, a couple of books, some snacks, iPod and some big-ass earphones, and pretty much whatever else I want to throw in there. If I didn't have it, I would totally be fumbling around all the time with my hands full.
A good sense of humor.
My Shoes: If you saw the street I live on, you would agree. I really only have one pair of day-to-day shoes, a pair of black surplus combat boots that I have just been replacing for the last twenty years when they wear out. I do have other shoes for if I need to wear a suit on a date, or if I need to fight a duel with someone, or if I just want to relax with my pipe and a snifter of brandy in my study*, but really, those black boots are where it's at for me, foot-wise.
*I do not have a pipe or a snifter of brandy, or a study, but I do have a pair of shoes I could wear if I did.
A Gillette Mach-3 Razor: I hate shaving; I mean, I really hate it, and if I had either enough money of my own to get my face lasered up or a sugar-momma who would pay for it, I totally would (and if you are a potential sugar-momma looking for someone to pour some sugar on, let me assure you that I would make this so worth your while that you would probably offer to have the rest of me lasered up just to keep the sugar flowing), but in the absence of laser depilation, I cannot express adequately the value of this handy tool. it has enough blades to take care of my facial hair without having to scrape for hours but not so many blades that you could legitimately make fun of me for being a douchebag or a sucker.
You: I know, trick ending, right? And you would think, okay, he's been getting along without me for like forty-plus years, and he seems to be doing fine, but think about it. I'm still on here looking, so clearly I feel like I still need to find you. I mean, it's not like I'm dying or anything without you, but it would be nice to have you around.
If you're interested, I will be very responsible as a public figure. I have a lot of ideas about how celebrities should behave, and I ache to put them into practice when I am famous, both establishing my own good character and setting a bar to which the glitterati can aspire. I plan to give most of the money to charities, keeping only enough for myself to buy a decent house, a sensible car, and to do a little traveling.
Jokes like the one about the guy with the big orange head, or the two racehorses, or the kid with the welder's mask, and how best to tell those jokes.
Also, just to be upfront about this, I think a lot about doin it.
You should message me if you are completely, firmly and unequivocally certain that you can thrive and flourish in a nontraditional, non-monogamous relationship. Not try it out, not see if it's everything you've heard, not experiment. You must understand that it is a choice, and not an easy or a lazy one. You must know how to conduct yourself ethically and joyfully.
I am not really poly, in the same way that I am not really allergic to onions and tomatoes. I really really don't like onions and tomatoes, to the point that when I get a piece of either in my mouth, I have to get it out as fast as I can, which involves isolating the offending object by getting as much of my mouth as far away from it as I can (which makes me look like a blowfish), then spitting it out as discreetly as possible after having gagged and made a face like a blowfish. If I don't do that, I will throw up.
Now, is this an allergy? No. It is, however, an instant and violent reaction, which is a lot like a strong allergy. The point is that if I go into a restaurant, it is much easier for me to say to the server "Could you please make sure there are no onions or tomatoes in that chili, because I am allergic to them", and much more likely to get me the kind of food I need, than if I just say "No tomatoes or onions, please, because I don't like them" because allergies are much more legitimate than preferences. See what I did with the elaborate metaphor there?
Similarly, I am not really poly, in that I am not looking for a multiple-partner relationship with everyone involved being important to everyone else and committed to the idea that all of us need to be in love, to one degree or another, with each other. I might be open to that if the right bunch of people came along, but I am not actually here shopping for it. What I am, more accurately, is a fundamentally non-monogamous person, in that I believe that sex and love are not interchangeable and that, even if I love you - which I will - commitment does not equal, compel or imply monogamy.
I am not opposed to monogamy in principle or in the world, but I have tried it and it wasn't my bag. If you like the look of me, and you want to go out with me, but you are monogamous, you are welcome to try and sway me to your point of view; I will listen, but it's not going to take. There is a lot more to say about that, but it is not especially funny or necessary, so I will leave its explication for further interactions. However, if you know that you can live a full and unworried life in that kind of relationship, well, lector, circumspice.
Failing that, I am the ideal Short-Term Date, that thing that OKCupid offers you and most people say they're looking for, but no-one knows the meaning of. I know what it means: it means that you can go out on a few dates with me, have a really good time, enjoy whatever it is we choose to do together, and then meet the guy you think will be your true love for the rest of your life, and tell me you've met a great guy and can't date me any more, and I will not only be really happy for you, I will be a shoulder for you when it doesn't work out.
I will be, assuming things go that far, your friend first and your lover second in a way that no-one has been before, and if we make that great friend connection, I will always be there for you. If you read the three words at the top of my profile, you know I put up some odd ones - I made them all up - one of which, at one time, was pendiferous. It was supposed to be a conflation of penultimate and splendiferous, with the implication that I would be the best, last guy you would date before you met the man who would talk you into being his soulmate; it's happened to me more than once. And I will be.