Joker

I’m tending bar at the pool yesterday. A couple (mid-60s) is sitting at a table nearby. She calls me over.

“Excuse me.”

“Yes?”

“Is that a roach there?”

She’s horrified while pointing to something brown on the ground. Now, my eyes suck. No denying it. But, I could easily tell it was not a roach. My first instinct was to pick it up and eat it. Then, I thought, “Well, fuck, it could be a bug.” I began considering how to recover if it were, in fact, a bug. We’re outside. Bugs are outside. There’s no fucking dome over the pool.

I squatted down to inspect it.

“No, ma’am. It’s a piece of bark.”

I picked it up to show them. Her husband just smirked.

“Ew. OK. Right.”

“Honest. It’s bark.”

“Well, give it to him.”

I handed the piece of bark to her husband. He looked at it, looked at me, then tossed it down her top. This made my week. Actually, her reaction made my week. She screamed, jumped up, and pulled at her top until it dropped out.

I know it’s kind of fucked up of me being amused by the terror of another. Yet, if someone overreacts to something, they are opening themselves up to being the target of pointing and laughing.

Her husband is my hero in that I could see a part of me in him. I was a mischievous little prick. In fact, I still am. I recall eating M&Ms on the sofa next to my wife years ago. She made some comment I can’t remember that kicked in my prickery. It didn’t take long for the brilliant idea of what best to do with an M&M crossed my mind. I sprung to action. I took an M&M between my right thumb and forefinger, then inserted it into her left nostril like she were a vending machine. She happened to be inhaling at the very moment, which sent the M&M deep into her nasal cavity.

Now, a good husband would spring to action by helping her dislodge it, then apologizing and offering reparations in the form of a foot rub. I was not a good husband. I was and still am a joker.

All I could do is practically wet my britches while rolling on the floor laughing my ass off. She eventually blew it out and threw it at me. Then she kicked me. My ribs ached — not from the kick — from my laughter.

I’m sorry. I’m just a horrible, immature dickhead most of the time. At least life with the joker is less bland.

#NotMe

Let me begin by apologizing to any women who have felt discomfort by my actions. Sure, that includes my writing. Think of my silliness as a tickle — I’m trying to make you smile, not hurt you. If it hurts, either tell me or leave me. If it tickles, stick around till it hurts.

I understand and appreciate the #MeToo movement. My suggestion is to be careful of swinging that pendulum too far away. I’ve already modified my behavior to the point where it has become unattractive timidity with some women. I’m not saying I used to go around slapping women on the ass, wishing them a happy Monday. Though, now I find myself offering at best a fist tap … a fucking fist tap. Soon, I’ll be saluting and, eventually, bowing.

When on dates, I used to find it effective to show affection as a sign of interest. I’d gently place a hand on her shoulder, touch her knee, or even do the unthinkable — move a strand of hair that’s stuck to her lip gloss. When I have deployed such strategies, they seemed to have the intended results. Perhaps, I should be checking the blogs of exes to be sure.

Another modification I have made is announcing my intentions just before the end of the first date. I pull out a note card and read my prepared statement:

“Thank you for a wonderful evening. I appreciate your consideration of my application for the position of boyfriend. At this point, with your permission, I’d like to escort you to your car. Once there, I will attempt to hug you (without grinding my privates into you) and, again with your expressed written consent, I would like to plant a gentle kiss on your right cheek with no tongue or saliva of any sort. I promise I will not smudge any makeup, presuming there is makeup at the location of the peck, nor will that kiss linger beyond one second, nor will it migrate to any other part of your body. I, also, will not grab your hair, nor place my hands on both sides of your face to steady the target, as some may find that controlling. After delivering the peck, I shall open your drivers-side door, wish you a safe trip home, close the door (being careful not to pinch your ankle or dress), and wave bye-bye. Exactly fifteen minutes later I will send you a text message again offering my appreciation. This text will NOT include a picture of my penis. I promise. He’s lovely but quite camera-shy. Again, I apologize if that is too much information. I just want you to safely open the text without a cringing face. Shall we?”

Typically, this statement of terms and conditions results in no date number two, so what’s a man supposed to do?

“Oh, shut up and just tell me how hard you’re going to fuck me.”

“Wait. What?”

“I’m not looking for a nice guy. Take me back to your place. Open a bottle of red, and go down on me until I scream.”

“But…”

“Jesus Christ. Why is it so hard to understand? I love affection and having orgasms as much as you do. This banter is all bullshit. Yank down my panties. Bite my earlobe. Flip me over and have your way.”

“You do know it is April second, not April first, right?”

“For fuck’s sake, man. I have enough pansy-assed gentlemen in my life. I want a man to grab, suck, and fuck me — not at work — at your place, right now. I don’t need candles. I don’t need smooth jazz. I just need you to find my clit and make my day.”

FML

Bar Therapy: Session One

The social lubrication I have been delivering often comes with advice. Mind you, I’m not the type to offer unsolicited advice (unless I see you in a bicycle team get-up), but people seek, and I deliver. A couple joined me at the bar last night. They were teetering on the “cutoff” line, but I played along.

“So, Phil, we’re thinking about getting married.”

“Why would you do such an awful thing?”

“What?”

“Kidding.”

“Are you married?”

“I was for thirteen years. I consider it time served. So, what’s the hesitation about?”

“I don’t know. I mean, you’re a handsome guy.”

“Maybe you should mix in an ice water. And, what does that have to do with your nuptials? I’m no threesome-seeker. I have enough difficulty with one.”

“It’s just … well … women probably hit on you. Let’s say you have a girlfriend. Do you?”

“Hells to the no.”

“Anyway, if you did, and some hot woman comes up to you and says she’s going to fuck you tonight. How do you resist that? I mean, she tells you she’s totally going to blow you and fuck you dry.”

“Um, that doesn’t happen, but if it did, once I finish my happy dance, I’d have to decline graciously.”

“Bullshit.”

“Look, if I have a girlfriend, that means I have chosen to be blown and fucked by said girlfriend. There’s no need for a bar wench. Plus, it’s too fucking stressful. How am I going to get funky with the patron, then wash the stank off me, and find a way to look my woman in eyes while lying about my night?”

“Fine, but what if your girlfriend is away.”

“How far away?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Say she’s gone, out of town for two weeks.”

“Right.”

“And, the woman who is totally going to fuck you tonight is super hot. You’d do her.”

“Probably not.”

“Probably?”

“See this? It’s a three-thousand dollar bottle of cognac. I love cognac. I have four bottles of cognac at home. While they’re nowhere near thousand-dollar bottles, they’re delicious. I pour two fingers, sip, and go to bed happy. I don’t need that fancy shit and the stress that comes with it.”

“You’re just saying that.”

“If your man is happy with what he has in you, he’ll probably stay loyal.”

“Again, probably?”

“They say a man is as loyal as his options are limited. It depends on the man and his relationship. If either are tainted, his temptation is more difficult to resist.”

“So, should we get married or not?”

“If you make each other’s lives better, do it, and enjoy it while it lasts. You might want to insist he doesn’t tend bar at Slutopia. I, on the other hand, have been on a horrible dry spell, so I’ll be emailing them my resume as we speak.”

He’s Not Your Ken Doll

Just a bit of advice for those considering dating men over 50: We come as we are. We’ve spent 50 years becoming stubborn, set-in-our-ways apes. No promises of juicy steak dinners, fine cognac, or oral favors is going to change us.

One particular feature that comes with your Phil doll is fur. I’m fucking Italian. As such, I come oilier and furrier than most. Some have suggested that I wax here, trim there, and shave that. Not gonna happen. If your man has a stray hair or two, learn to love it, sugar. You go right ahead and scrape and rip all the hair off your body, if that suits your needs. He’s your cuddly bear. You wouldn’t have a hairless teddy bear, would ya?

Had a friend’s recent bride brag about having couple’s manicures with him. I think they should be called womanicures. Have a look-see at my foot claws and you’ll understand why I would never ask even the cutest little Asian clipper to deal with my baseball-beaten toenails. Sure, my buddy insists (in front of his human investment) that he enjoys getting his toes tidied. I know better.

Fitness nuts are annoying. If you choose to be anything-free, goodie for you — it’s not for me. I was putting Spenda in my coffee and heard a comment suggesting fake stuff is bad, and I’d be much better off using unbleached sugar. You know why I use Spenda? Cuz I like the fucking taste of Splenda. To mimic that flavor, I would need to add four packets of yuck-sugar and then spend five minutes stirring the coffee to get them to dissolve, by which time I would be drinking warm coffee, which sucks ass no matter what packet was added in the first place. Leave me and my coffee alone.

Extreme fitness nuts are red flags. If someone is obsessively training to run a what-the-fuck-athon, I know there’s a horrible break-up in her recent past. Her ex beat down her self-esteem to the point where she believed she somehow became undesirable to all men when she became undesired by him. He’s an asshole, honey. You’re magnificent. Find a man who sees that. Oh, and that man will not be running any hip-cracking race.

It’s best to avoid “shoulds” at all costs, especially when dealing with gray gorillas. Don’t tell us what we should change. Love us as we are, if you want us to stick around.

Welcome to Swing Town

The more I’m exposed to this phenomenon, the less I understand it. Many first dates I’ve recently encountered casually inserted references to a puddle of swingers they almost stepped in. Naturally, while green when it comes to swinging, I’m no rookie at bullshit detection. Anyone who tells me they “kind of, almost, thought about it once … when drunk,” is lying.

So, what gives?

Well, there are different varieties of swinging. The best most men like me can give a nod to is the two girls on one guy thing. We get it. Four tits are better than two, etc. But, page three paragraph four of the Swingers’ Manual (no, there is no fucking such thing) says:

“As Husband-A makes love to Wife-B, while she orally pleasures Wife-A, Husband-B is to station himself bedside on Chair-C, touching nothing but his own Dick-D.”

Say what?

Let me get this straight. I have to sit here and flip my bippy whilst watching Horace leave his man-stank all over my woman? Nope-se-doodles.

I have enough difficulty peeing next to another man. There’s no way I could be in the same room with a second erection. It would be boner see-saw — his grows, mine shrinks. Would not matter one scintilla how hot the women were or how into it my woman was. Not gonna happen.

I’m not judging. You go get your freaky-deaky on, girlie. Just don’t get it on me.

There are many swinger types and swinger parties in SoCal. That’s no surprise. I understand some couples need to spice things up, so they might attend one just out of curiosity, but nothing will happen — unless it does — then, welcome to the shit storm.

Whatever happened to spicing things up with, oh, I don’t know … lingerie? Hey, get crazy and try out the whole oral with an Altoids thing, maybe. Wait, what about flavored lube? No? What’s that? You want some random dude we meet in a bar to get balls deep into you and his tongue-pierced bisexual clit-bopping maven while I keep score? Oh, fuck, no. Are you fucking crazy?

God, I need a drink.

Where are the old-fashioned women? I met my ex-wife at a happy hour. We chatted, spoke nothing of second-hand sodomy, went through the usual five or so dates, then sealed the deal … probably missionary style without any oral or dirty talk. I can’t totally remember because I’m fucking old and killed those brain cells. Still, I’m damn sure she’d vouch that it was a pretty fucking plain-Jack-and-Jane first date that led to 13 years of marriage without vicarious boffery and bedside meat beating. Go figure.

Lead with what?

Last night, I began receiving unsolicited dating advice from a woman in her late twenties who was recently wed. She asked where my woman was. I said there wasn’t. She asked why I’m single. I said I don’t care. Then the interrogation began. We got to the topic of pets.

“I have two cats.”

My buddy jumped in to emphasize that I have — not one cat — TWO cats. She reacted predictably.

“Well, you might want to not lead with that.”

“Really?”

“Sure. What if she’s allergic or doesn’t like cats?”

“Oh, then I’d have them euthanized.”

“Ah, good answer.”

“Your sarcasm detector is broken. I would never get rid of my catSSSSSSSS because some pussy support unit was oversensitive.”

“Maybe that’s why you’re single.”

“Again, I don’t care. Single life suits me just fine. What if your man said he would only consider marrying you if you traded your beloved schnauzer for double-D implants?”

“I don’t have a dog.”

“Right. You certainly have something annoying that he is willing to overlook because he loves the rest of you more than he hates the annoyance. Otherwise, he would not have bent a knee.”

“No. Actually, he loves all of me including my flaws.”

“He tolerates your flaws. My cats are not my flaws. They are two of the finest things about me. They’re clean, quiet, and wonderful company. I’m crass, intolerant, and opinionated. I eat too many peanut butter cookies and drink too much wine and bourbon. My woman is going to have to deal with that or take me in small doses.”

“Well, it’s no surprise you’re having a difficult time finding the one.”

“You’re missing my point again. I’m not searching for the one. You found your one, which is great for you, for now. After you have your heart kicked around like a rugby ball for decades, you’ll understand my perspective. Single life unteathers the soul. Opportunities abound.”

She didn’t buy it. They never do. Ah, young love. It’s cute as a toddler, until shit starts flying.

In a Wink of Time

I’m sitting at a bar minding my own business as nearly everyone around me is in their phones tapping, scrolling, enlarging, and laughing. I used to think I was missing something; now, I think these electronic tumors have become a pandemic of sorts. People don’t talk to each other. There was a sign in a pub in Paso Robles that read, “We don’t have WiFi. Why not talk to the person next to you?” Word.

I usually face the door (Italian thing) and keep an eye on the TV, unless it is on soccer. I scan the surroundings, yes, looking for prospects. I’m single. It’s what we do.

Last night, while scanning, a young lady winked at me. Yes, at me. There was nobody next to me, that’s how I know. Signals have certainly evolved over the years, but I was pretty damned confident that a wink is a sign of flirtation. I didn’t want to wink back, because it had been so long since I winked, I was worried it would come off as a wince. So, I walked over and sat next to her.

“Hi.”

“Oh, hi. How are you?”

“Well, I’m flattered.”

“About?”

“You winked at me.”

“I what?”

Fuck.

“You winked … toward me … when I was over there … with nobody around me … maybe, somebody behind me?”

The mad scramble I made was embarrassing beyond words, yet I kept doggie paddling, hoping to surface with a modicum of self-respect.

“Um, no, I don’t think I did.”

“Is there something in your eye?”

“I don’t think so. I’m just here waiting for my to-go order … to take home and eat … with my boyfriend.”

“I’m sorry. Honestly, I’m not intending to hit on you. I just thought you winked at me as a sign of flirtation, inviting me to come over and chat.”

“Yeah?”

“I now understand that you blinked (which most people do two eyes at a time), and my interpretation of your body language was incorrect and quite presumptuous, so I bid you farewell as I return from wherse I came.”

“Where’s wherse?”

“You’re totally fucking with me, and I deserve every bit of it. I do know how to interpret a smirk. Over there is where I was and where I belong, gripping the blue mountains.”

“Ha ha, you’re kind of cute. Too bad I have a boyfriend.”

“Yes. Yes, it is. Well, until we meet again. Oh, and maybe some eye drops. Toodles.”

I sulked back to my origins and slugged back a long pull of fizzy yellow water. She grabbed her order, headed out, stopped at the door, turned, and winked (of course, she fucking did) as she departed.

Be the boss? Nope.

57 years into this experiment called life, I’ve come to learn that the worst job on earth is managing people. People suck. We’re unreliable. We tire easily. We lie and make excuses. We hate other workers who we think don’t work as hard as we do and make more money. We bring emotional issues from home to work. The average worker’s goal is to make more money by doing less work. This makes being the boss an absolute nightmare.

Sure, I’m generalizing. Not all workers are lazy shits, but we’re all lazy shits sometimes.

Staring at a computer in my home office for 15 years has made me less dough and more doughy, so I decided to take on part-time work. I’ve been working in restaurants and bars since I was 16. I can cook, wash dishes, and pour drinks. Easy-Peasy.

When I interviewed, it was similar to the scene in American Beauty when Lester re-enters the workforce and is deemed a bit overqualified. The interviewer asked if I wouldn’t rather take on a supervisory role. I laughed and said, “Oh f… I mean, heck, no. But, thank you.”

I just want to show up on time, clock in, do my job, clock out, and go home. I want to take nothing home from the job other than some smoke-laced dollar bills and wine stains. Deal with people? Sure — the ones next to me or on the other side of the bar, no problem.

The same thing goes for owning a business. I owned a bar for 10 years. It almost killed me. People ask if I’d consider owning another bar. Again, “Fuck, no. You could hand me the keys to the Bellagio, and I’d hand them right back to you.”

Look, life isn’t about owning more, bigger, better; It’s about stress reduction. Being able to earn a living and leave work at fucking work, is what it’s all about. If I bring home stress, it’s nothing a little bourbon can’t erase. Bourbon doesn’t pay the bills, though. Especially when it’s the bourbon you’re trying to sell.

Sorry if I’m a little preachy and self-helpie here. This is just my perspective. If you love having two screens on your cubicle desk and don’t mind the odors of corpocracy — coffee breath and Jason’s farts — keep slapping that keyboard, sweetie. For me, at this point in life, I’ll trade a Benz for a Bolt and employee reviews for salted rims. Cheers.

What happened?

Most adults have gone through the scenario where a future ex asks what happened with an ex. The intention is to discover things to look for if the current relationship is to proceed. I get it. Still, what answers do you expect? Do you expect honesty when it looks bad? I usually rely on the harmless “we grew apart” response but, oh, how sarcasm begins boiling within me.

“She died.”

“What? Oh my god, I’m so sorry.”

“Don’t be. I pushed her off the cruise ship on our honeymoon after she said I drink too much.”

All right, maybe that’s a bit harsh. I’ll try again.

“She left me for one of her students.”

“Oh. She’s a professor?”

“No. A middle school teacher.”

“Wait. What?”

“I know. You gotta watch those little fuckers.”

Yes, yes, I get it — harsh again. How about this?

“She left me because she insisted that I’m gay.”

“What made her think that?”

“Look, even vegetarians crave a little bacon now and then.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I mean, you go down on your roommate once in a while, right? That doesn’t make you a vag-atarian. Ha ha ha. I crack me up.”

“I don’t go down on my roommate.”

“No? Huh. Well, that makes one of us.”

Let me stir that sarcastic brain soup. Need to crush some of those nasty bits and recover the “nice guy” persona.

“Nothing.”

“What do you mean? You’re still married?”

“Oh, hell no. We just fuck a lot. I just saved 50% on my car insurance by switching to single.”

“You still have sex with your ex? Why are you on a date?”

“Oh, don’t worry. If this works out and we start fucking, I’ll cut back on the ex sex.”

Obviously, I can’t do it. I need to stick to the standard.

“We grew apart.”

“How so?”

“We grew tired of each other’s shit and decided it was time to move on. Here’s to me moving on. Cheers! Let’s get some wings. Want to?”

There ya go. Quick and harmless, then a quick change of topic and wah la.

Love at First Huh?

It was nice of some friends to invite me to Valentine’s dinner. They insisted I bring a date. I had no date and, more importantly, felt no disappointment therefrom. So, I made drinks and drank the leftovers.

An enjoyable evening was had by all the couples and me — fine wine, food, and conversation. There was even a pastor in attendance. I’m not religious, yet no exorcism was conducted. Inevitably we got to the “let’s go around the table” portion of the evening. That’s usually when I skeedaddle, yet I was landlocked, so I played along.

The topic was “love” and when/how we knew our person was “the one.” Since my person was me, to avoid blatant narcissism, I was asked to define how I’d know when I met that special person. I provided my overly logical response.

“When I find that woman who enhances my life as much as I enhance hers. In other words, we make each other’s life better.”

“I understand, but you could hire someone for that.”

“Really? Where? Kidding. Yes, I know, silly. That would make my sex life better, but my financial standing worse. Hence, not an ideal option.”

“Well, why are you single?”

“I guess because right now I complete me.”

Religious folks rarely appreciate my frankness. I usually dig myself deeper into their seventh level of Hades by attempting to explain the main difference between faithless and faithful is taking or giving responsibility and credit. I take full blame and responsibility for who I am. No god is keeping the ideal woman from me (just my prose, perhaps), and no god is holding me back from seeking her. Also, I’m not going to stand and point to the ceiling after I get laid.

The other couples provided wonderfully romantic anecdotes.

  • “I knew she was the one when I first laid eyes on her.”
  • “God brought him into my life at the perfect time.”
  • “I had to have her, no matter what. It was meant to be.”
  • “He was out there just waiting for me to find him.”

Aw.

My reaction to all of those sweet nothings is, “For now.” Relationships bud, grow, wither, and die. We absolutely should celebrate and enjoy the blossoming of a wonderful duo. Why not also celebrate singledom — the state featuring unlimited possibilities? God wouldn’t approve? Well, fuck that god. My god loves me and loves my choices, which either bring happiness or life lessons.