Friday, March 27, 2009

It's A Cute Problem

A humor column I wrote in April 1998 for a (now) defunct Queens, NY weekly publication. It never saw print, until this post!

Cute women are a problem. Well, not necessarily all cute women. Most cute women, in fact, are reasons to wake up, eat breakfast, get dressed, go to the park, and hide in the tall grass with your binoculars. But I digress.

The cute women who cause problems are the ones you know personally. More specifically, ones know who because they know your wife. Most precisely, the cute women you know because they are your wife's friends.

Before anyone starts running for the phone book to call my cute and lovely wife, I am not confessing to anything that any other married man hasn't ever hought about. At certain times, I have glanced at a woman my wife knows (and girls she knew when we were just dating) and thought,' She looks kind of cute." Naturally, and perhaps I should say, sadly, this has happened less and less the longer we've been married.

Now before anyone starts running for the phone book to call the friends of my cute and lovely wife, I am not going to name any names. Age, bad job choices, lifestyle, and clothing and haircut changes have taken their tool on many of us. I did not write this piece to be cruel and calculated and say, "Sheila has pigged out since she turned 30." It was the furthest thing from my mind. All names in this article have been changed to protect, well, me!

In college, my wife and I both knew Alice, a girl who worked at the school paper. During these halcyon days, Alice regularly attended weekend screenings of the audience-participation favorite, "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." She would get dressed down in white bra and panties and dance on stage with the rest of the troupe. While I never went to one of her performances, I have seen a famous photo taken by my friend, Jim, of Alice bending over to adjust her stockings. But I digress.

Alice, who was quite cute, was quite aware of her cuteness and took full advantage. This is the most dangerous type of cute girl -- one who manipulates the system to the fullest. One afternoon, she came into the paper's offices dressed in a man's shirt. I assume Alice had underwear on, but that was the extent of her outfit. Walking past while she was on the phone, I heard her announce happily, "I caused a traffic accident walking to school this morning!"

After graduation, I fell out of touch with Alice. Then Jim called me and said he was driving through Forest Hills, saw her at a bus stop, and gave her a lift down Queens Boulevard. "And?" I asked expectantly. "She's lost it," Jon sighed. Whatever combination of the elements had hit her, Alice was no longer a cute girl.

Most of the time you can avoid cute women. Not that most men want to avoid them. At most offices, it's an unspoken rule to have a 8:1 male-to-cute woman ratio. My company is no different, although we recently relocated. This shifted the most readily-available cute women from my floor to a different floor in another part of our new building. Like hunter/gatherers, the men immediately went on the prowl, breaking out blueprints and floor plans to determine where the "new" hot spots were in the quest to rediscover cute women.

It's truly annoying when your wife asks about cute women. On our anniversary several years ago, I told my wife that when we had first started dating, Jim had asked if I would mind giving him her phone number if "things didn't work out" between the two of us.

"Don't worry," my wife responded, "I wouldn't go out with any of your friends." For no reason, she added, "Too bad I can't say the same thing about you."

"What are you getting at?" I asked.

"Come on, you think that some of my friends are cute!" she said.

"Like who?" I retorted. A direct answer would have been catastrophic.

"Like Denise," she replied.

I laughed. "Denise must have gained at least 20 pounds since I've known you," I said. "Proportionally, I can only imagine what she's going to look like in 10 years!"

"Well, what about Caroline?"

Caroline worked in a beauty salon. It was the best possible world for her, since without hair and nails, her conversation skills were nil. "Caroline's brain is bottle-bleached and shrunken from too much time under a hair dryer," I said.

She gave it one more try. "I know you like Marti."

I shook my head. "Marti dates more losers than Drew Barrymore," I said. "I'd hate to think what kind of microbes are sliming their way through her internal systems."

For some reason, these answers did not please my wife. Here it was, our anniversary, and she was mad at me -- and for what?

"I can't believe you're mad at me because I'm not attracted to your friends!" I gasped.

It took a moment for this to sink in. She looked at me and asked, "You're not just saying that, right?"

She looked so cute. And you know what I say about cute women....
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