These days

I’m at SFO sitting in a fun swivel chair with my feet up, listening to Mark Ronson’s Version album. I don’t know when the switch went off. Once there was Christian Bale. And then there was Mark Ronson. I think it was a vertical move. Christian Bale just turned out to be such a jackass in real life that I couldn’t continue to justify my imaginary devotion to him. Whereas everyone says the same thing about Mark…he’s a nice guy. I mean, he learned how to cut his girlfriend’s hair this week, for God’s sake. That’s the straight man you actually want in your Swiss Army knife collection of Y chromosome carriers.

I’ve got a couple of theories…just idle thoughts as my brain veered into audiobook induced sleep on the plane here from Tucson.

  1. There is an inverse relationship between promise and payoff when it comes to guys; and
  2. When Americans are faced with the real threat of death, they become incredibly polite and docile.

(I’m now on the plane to Newark, flying business class because the splurge is worth it on what might be my last cross country flight for a very long time.)

I’ll address the second one first. After 9/11, airports were on alert. You couldn’t leave bags unattended, you were asked a litany of questions. Getting through the security line became a nightmare with 3 ounce liquid limits and potential shoe bombs. It was all bullshit really. It didn’t address the perceived threat and just put everyone in a really bad mood. TSA agents are the most surly people I’ve ever dealt with. And fellow passengers, especially on Southwest, acted like it was the 12th Annual Hunger Games.

But the current threat, Covid, is real, much more likely to transmit and actually harm people. And because we know the threat is real, people are taking it seriously. There’s less attitude and more cooperation.

The only one so far that I’ve since found to be immune to this new paradigm is the German teenager in business class. It must be awful to be a teenager in the time of Covid. The only thing worse is sitting next to a surly teenager named Sophie who keeps being loud and sarcastic with her parents and mediating between her younger brothers in the row in front of us who should just be left to their own devices. She’s a 14 year old hausfrau. I don’t envy her future.

When the flight attendant asked us if we wanted the lobster Mac and cheese or the ravioli, each one of the German kids responded, “You’ll have to ask my parents.”

I was ordering for myself when I was two. Kids these days.

Ok, so now we go to the first point…

So, I grew up around upper class Mexican male culture, a derivation of Spanish culture which owes its romantic attitudes to the Moors and the Crusades. This idea of romantic love, where the man woos the woman with grand overtures and promises of eternal devotion all comes from this time. You have men serenading women. Kidnapping them from overprotective fathers. The whole concept of Romeo and Juliet is based on this urgency.

But like most things that come on hot, there’s nowhere to go but down.

I’ve never been into Mexican dudes. And the few that I ever even remotely entertained tended to be Han Solo rogues and deviants from the norm. I liked bad boys from the get go. But the ones who you’d think are cool and deviant end up being let downs anyway. They’re so…conventional. Convention to me has always been synonymous with boring. And there is nothing more boring than someone who tries to win you over with sweet talk.

If a guy knows you minutes to hours and he’s already telling you you’re a knock out or beautiful or whatever…if that’s the best he can come up with…based on obvious superficial markers…it’s a sign of what he’s after…a pretty outside that’s usually young and fertile and has good genes and will produce cute offspring.  There’s very little investment in these compliments and the pay off is sex and possible transmission of genes to progeny. That is all you are worth to him. Unless you come from a family with a lot of money…

Why women fall for this, I’ve never understood. I mean, I understand it from a cursory point. Everyone likes being complimented. It just comes off as phoney and slimey.

French guys on Tinder come off with this romantic nonsense and it is only thinly veiled nonsense with a different accent. Using the same profile I’d engineered in NYC to hookup with smart, cool dudes, I was instead getting French guys who wanted to woo me. I was suddenly captivating and enchanting. That’s not to say that I’m not, I am. But my charms don’t lie in a brief Tinder Profile. For that experience, I have to get to know you and warm up to you and then really let you see what’s going on in this noggin of mine. French guys are such a disappointment.

As are Italians. This is why I always say no when guys offer Ubers on first dates. It’s not bad in itself, but why are they so insistent when they don’t even know you?

It was such a weird departure from NYC Tinder culture where guys don’t woo. At least not at big game hunting level. They go in with humor or off the cuff remark because NYC women have already evolved past the thinly veiled nuanced introductions to guys who just want to trade nudes.

They’re low key. Slow burners. They can pick someone up in person so Tinder is a secondary hunting tool and, with nothing to lose, they play the game real cool.

I think it’s why I had such a strong attraction to Israelis in particular and really smart Colombians. They’re secure in their masculinity. They can take ballsy women. They don’t apply outmoded romantic metrics to a paradigm where chivalry substitutes for genuine interest.

I don’t even bother with white Americans. There’s no point…which is why Tucson was such a bust. You date one grad student hipster…and you’re done with the town. If I wanted an education on the history of indie music, I’d pick up a book. I can’t stand these guys who lecture women on music. They’re always so predictable.

Obviously these are generalizations. But growing up around Mexicans it was a lot of sweet talk and my job as a girl was to never show these guys up in the brains department, always defer to their mothers, and not be too eager for sex because those women are reserved for only a very limited purpose.

Basically, Mexicans feel less masculine because they demand that their masculinity be catered to. It showed how fragile it was. And there is no faster lady boner killer than a man who has to be propped up.

On the other hand, every real connection I’ve had with a guy has flowed from nonchalant confidence. They’re upfront. I play stupid for the first bit until I realize how they operate. Basically it requires a lot of listening and batting my eyes and then figuring out which modality will get me what I’m most interested in.

If it sounds sociopathic, that’s because it is in the technical sense. But only in a benign way. I’m not manipulating anyone for anything. I just don’t human intuitively. I human like a FORTRAN punchcard. There’s a lot of if/thens. But it works, so why fix it if it ain’t broke?

And if the guy can hold my curiosity, I’m motivated to comply. If he’s boring, especially if he’s arrogant, I’ll start playing games and lapping him just to keep it interesting.

I couldn’t think of one Mexican dude off the top of my head who could withstand five to ten minutes of this. They wouldn’t be able to keep up, and even if they could, they wouldn’t deliver in the end. I’m not up for being anyone’s fan club of one. If you want that, go ask your momma, mamon.

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