It’s date night. I’m cooking spaghetti. I’ve already left work early and grabbed all that I need from the grocery store, snagged a bottle of red wine from the liquor store and have showered up. Over text, I’m calm, composed and confident. Outside of my phone, I’m running around without a shirt on screaming obscenities to no one. I have a beautiful woman on her way over, and I’m frantically trying to vacuum pet hair off the floor and couches whilst firing up the stove and arranging all the ingredients for tonights meal. With only moments before her arrival, the sauce can finally get started. Just need to brown the meat. The meat. Oh God, where’s the meat..
Enter the fuzzy roommate. He eats my remotes, poops on my floor, and whenever I’ve JUST gotten into bed without fail he has got to go outside.
Not to place all the blame on him, his antics can largely be blamed on his upbringing. When he was merely 3 years of age, his adoptive mother moved out. This put a slight strain on the conditioning of his manners, and instead of playing the roll of a strict owner, the two of us would commonly stay up way past his bedtime together living the bachelors dream – eating pizza and drinking beer.
As time progressed forward, his obedience retention began to collapse. He began to make the transition from sleeping in his kennel to my bed, would beg more often for my food, and started refusing to get off the couch. One time – on Valentines Day mind you – he had the indecency to throw up in my bed and just walk away. Like he was disgusted by it. The little jackass even had the gull to give me a look as if to say ‘bro, you gonna clean that up or what?’
I can’t say he’s all terrible though. Granted his stubborn mannerisms, he has proven to learn methods that benefit him. For instance, once I came home and he once again crapped on the floor. Lucky for me, dogs are a pattern based species. So when he does poop, I’ll know instantaneously when I walk in the house as it’s always positioned within stepping distance upon house entry. Now, him and I both know that when he does this, I scream and he runs away. So generally he tries not to do it. This time though he must have really had to go. He took what I would call ‘the decoy shit’ in his usual spot – at the back door – which was very small. I saw it, muttered to myself, and cleaned it up. What I didn’t realize was that he left a turd the size of an infant at the front door. By the time I found it, he was already hiding in what I could only assume was the attic. And although I kept putting food in his bowl and it kept disappearing, I didn’t see him for two days.
So anyway, what happened to the meat? He did what any other dog of his capacity would do. He pulled it out of the grocery bag, sliced it open with such precision using what I could only imagine was an exacto knife and ate my $10 worth of raw lean ground beef. He then carefully placed the empty package into a seperate bag and put it beside the garbage can. I threw it out MYSELF unknowingly while trying to clean the house in a mad dash. I only realized all this after digging through the garbage and finding the bag with the empty meat package with the current date. And back to the grocery store I went.
I realize now that I’ve raised him to be what he has become. No one is to blame but myself. So where do I go from here? Well, I found refuge in taking the same course of action that any parent does when they have a delinquent child – simply have another. And now I have a cat. Now unfortunately for me, the dog has a bigger influence on the replacement child than I do. And even though I can’t prove it, I’m 99% sure he’s selling her drugs..
Dating. The final frontier. These are the voyages of the impeccably hopeless Hazard. His continuing mission? To explore strange new social situations, to seek out new women in new social circles. To boldly go where at least a few have gone before. Potentially many, although he doesn’t like to think about that…
At the beginning of every year, I have an optimistic view that this is going to be the year that I will meet someone and fall in love. I know full well that I’ll have to dive straight into the dating pond without water wings multiple times, and at some point I’ll find a compatible match. And every year, the same cycle occurs. I go on multiple dates with multiple new women, find ONE that I decide I’m head over heels for, and spend the rest of the year chasing after that one that I simply can’t land. Repeat.
So why is dating so tough? I think I’ve figured it out.
When I’m standing in the kitchen and my dog is looking at me from the couch, he stands up wagging his tail and gives me this toothy smile that I can only assume is welcoming happiness. However, once I stare him down and slowly begin to turn on my heels, his tails stops and he freezes in place. As I begin to angle my body towards the door, his face turns cold and his legs begin to tighten. I crouch slowly into a sprint stance and his eyes lock to mine. The second I take a step, he rips out a low bark and launches after me. For my pup is hard wired on an instinctual level to chase. And I am no different.
If I meet someone who’s extremely interested in me right off the bat, chances are I’m going to lose interest very fast. Consequently, if a girl shows some interest in me but doesn’t want to commit, chances are I’m already planning on making her my wife. If you’re following along, you’ve realized that this is BAD. So what chance at happiness do I really have with a mindset so whacked?
Probably not much of any.
To me, shopping for a compatible mate is like playing an old NES version of Mario. After the first few levels, it gets repetitive and boring. Like, I always find myself jumping over SO MANY OBSTACLES to impress the girl I’m out with, while at the same time shelling out my OWN collected coins to pay for our meals and drinks. And there are always these other goombas out to block you from getting your girl that you’ve got to deal with. And all this, just to find out at the end of the day that she wasn’t the one, and my princess is truly in another castle. It’s just such a hassle.
On some positive note, there is an end to Mario. It’s beatable, and I know exactly how it ends. Unfortunately, happiness is at the end of World 8 and I seem to be stuck somewhere between World 1 and a hard place. However if I’m going to play this crazy game of love I’m going to have to be patient. That, or invest in a warp whistle. Which is probably loads easier at this point.
Today was an exceptionably difficult day at work. I worked outside through rain tearing apart a deck, followed by some custom decorative work to a client’s ceiling. Did I mention that I’m an electrician? Ceiling work and deck building to a sparky is sort of like washing your heiny in the shower BEFORE your face – it’s just wrong. Needless to say when I finally got home from work, I wanted nothing more than to crack a beer and pass out on the couch in my underwear. My dog had other plans for me..
Being a dog owner takes a certain sense of vigor, or over the years you’ll be driven clinically insane. My immediate reaction was utter rage as I stepped into last nights wet sea food packages and avocado rinds, but after bellowing profanity in a voice comparable to that of Zeus, I had to laugh when I saw how bad the dog FELT. Oh, he was hiding, but like dealing with any 6 year old child you figure out their one and only hiding spot.
You know that moment where your dog knows they’re in the wrong? And they actually feel bad? That’s my favourite. Not only because it’s amazing to see another creature portray empathy to humans, but because it’s downright hilarious to screw with them. I’ll call out his name vigorously – nay, unremittingly and watch his ears slump back. Then I’ll ask the question he hates most in most pretentious fatherly voice I can conjure.. “What did you do?” This immediately triggers something in his brain that splits his motor functions down the meridian of his body, causing the left legs and right legs to walk in unison in a crablike fashion towards me. He’ll slowly sit beside me – never making eye contact – and extend a shaking paw in what can only be described as his method of apology. By this point, I can no longer contain myself. I’ll fall over in complete hysterics and convulse on the floor in laughter. And the dog finally understands he’s now in the clear.
The little mongrel has not only destroyed many objects in my house such as tv remotes, wooden baseboards, xbox controllers, window blinds and once drank my last glass of perfectly blended gin and juice. No bullshit.
And I know this may sound ostentatious, but he’s also a habitual cock blocker. Every time I have a woman over he jumps in between us on the couch. Of course the girl loves him. He’s adorable. And when he’s all up on the girl virtually hugging them with his paws literally around their neck, he’ll slowly turn his head back and look me straight in the eyes. That’s the definition of an asshole.
He has also ran away. Many times. Once, he made it all the way to the other end of town via cab. Sadly, I wish I were joking. This isn’t even the worse part. Once year during a dateless Valentines Day I let him sleep in my room and he threw up in my bed. Seriously. Who DOES that?
However, as much as a handful these jerks can be, we still love them. The dog is always happy to see me come home, he’s by my side for every movie I watch on the couch and can tell when I’m feeling down and need some company. As the years go on the bonds that have formed only grown stronger. To the benefit of both parties. As much as he has prevented me from getting close to women in my own house, he has attracted a lot over to us on the jogging path. And myself being a grouchy old man who hates to cuddle, he either lays at the foot of my bed or aptly leaves the room if I move around too much. That’s respect. In return, I pay for the pizza on pizza nights and keep him loving life with routine car rides. Although, those car rides don’t always end up how I intend them..
Hitting mid summer up here in Canada usually has three guarantees – finally a blast of warmer weather, mosquitos, and of course the beginning of vacation season. In my family’s household, vacation time usually meant a two week hiatus from our house and a long trek down the Trans-Canada highway to Radium Hotsprings in beautiful British Columbia – all except for me of course. I always stayed back as I had a job while my other four brothers got to ride along and play in the mountains. The years have since flown by, and now even the youngest brother earns a paycheck which means family vacations now only include mom and dad rolling down to the states in a trailer WAY too big for just the two of them.
Of course, leaving their estate in the hands of their vigorously apt sons always has a few rules attached. Unfortunately for my parents, my brothers and I are well versed in the dark art of sarcasm and debauchery.
Taking a wonderfully coloured handwritten letter from my mom, they took every line in its most literal form, completely abusing her misinterpretation of the use of quotations. And of course, I helped.
Parties were had, many games were played, Wednesday night was confusing and potted plants were virtually never watered. I frequently visited to check up on things and consume whatever alcohol they had taken from dad’s liquor cabinet.
However, in the end, we all managed to make a mad dash to clean the place up just before they arrived home. Not all of the notes content went to mockery, however. If there was one thing that we did learn as a team of Men in Arms, it was that mom was essentially right about the cooking. We cooked together, and we’ll be damned if we didn’t learn a few life skills along the way. Such as we so desperately need to marry women who possess talent in the kitchen.
Most aspects of our lives are dangerously relative to sports. Metaphorically speaking. For instance, if you’re the the dating type, you want to see how many home runs you can proverbially hit. Or in my brother’s case, how many times you can hit first base. Zing. Alternatively, or perhaps more literally, you want to hit that good ol’ retirement hole with as little strokes as possible. Still confused? Watch.
Sex could be compared to a football game. For arguments sake, the man plays the role of the quarterback, where the woman takes on the role of the coach. Now, the quarterback is the star player, however he still needs to please the coach. Or he’ll be benched. In a worst case scenario, the coach calls in the backup. And you really, really don’t want that.
Going out on a couples date night could be compared to a game of darts. To start the night, first you want to double up. After that, you want to strategically beat the other team in romance points before doubling out for the win. The prize? Bragging rights. I know, but let’s face it. Darts suck.
If you’re in a bad game of relationship poker and the game has lost it’s value? Throw down your losing hand and cash in your chips. Sure, you’ve taken a loss, but don’t invest the remaining chips you have in a losing game. Try the slot machines, it’s new and exciting. Take a gamble.
Even the small things like general game management could tie in to life. For a moment, view a dance club like a card game preparation. You don’t want to roll up to a group of girls without knowing how to deal with all the players. And don’t even think about hitting the dance floor unless you know how to shuffle.
Have an office job and want to take some time off work? Play it like a game of soccer. Show up well dressed and your hair properly groomed, and follow that up by faking an injury. I mean, really play it up.
Pessimistic with overbearing life issues? Neatly stack all your woes four levels high until they all just disappear.
OK, all I’m suggesting is to pick a sport that works for you and crush life with it. Find your game. Make life fun, because let’s face it – the last thing you want to do is attempt to play the football dating game and wind up excelling at solitaire.
Let’s be real fellas. When we’re out on that hot date with that cute girl we’ve been eyeing for the past quarter century, we don’t just want to impress – we want to bring our A Game. And to do so, it’s important we all follow our own regiment, our personal set of dating guidelines we’ve set for ourselves in order tame the wild lioness across the table right before driving her mad into a frenzy of lust. Not to be confused with a delusional sense of empowerment over our nervous selves as we choke up and enter a downward spiral of failure and self loathing. I’ll get to that later. Gentlemen, I’m talking about the toolset every man needs in order to be fully prepared for a proper night out – the Dating Commandments. And here’s a sneak peak at my own hand crafted, uniquely sculpted set..
Fresh pair of underwear before leaving the house.
Comfort is confidence, gents!
Steer clear of spicy foods.
Don’t want a boothseat earthquake to shake her away before cocktails. If you’re dining at a familiar restaurant and you become clueless for menu choices, best stick with old faithful.
Seat choice and positioning.
Position yourself at the table so you have ease of access to the washroom, but not so you’re facing the TV. TVs tend to be too distracting, and you’ll never follow or create conversation when the game is on. Don’t be a fool, PVR that shit. Oh, and go for the booth seat if at all possible, where the washroom is still in your sightline and the TV is not. Booths are just generally more comfy, and she’ll appreciated it. Plus it’ll accent the comfort of your freshly pressed undies.
Be aware of signs of crazy.
I should clarify. Spontaneous is cute, but if your date is doing something that is clearly setting off red flags, it may be time to call it a night. Followed immediately by calling it quits.
It’s all about dictation.
When you speak, pretend every word that comes out of your mouth is being narrated in Morgan Freeman’s voice. This will automatically make you more confident, and interesting.
If you’re in an alcohol consuming environment, pace yourself. You don’t want to slur or stumble around and lose your manly suave demeanour.
Stories, stories, stories.
Tell her interesting stories about yourself, but don’t brag. You want to play yourself up and seem interesting, yet at the same time passive and subtle.
The dreaded numbers question.
Gentlemen, this conversation doesn’t always pop up, but if it does you certainly want to be prepared for this. If a lady friend asks how many women you’ve…courted, don’t respond with the real number, nor with a lie. The best reply is to play it down on a sad key of how a relationship went sour and you were single for a half year, met a lot of new people until you met your next longterm girl. Which also ended sadly. Then make a comment of how you never really counted, but it’s about the quality of relationships that interests you, not a petty number of mistakes. Seem too suave? Yeah, I couldn’t pull this off either..
Picking up the tab.
Be sure to pay for at least both meals, if not the entire tab. Hey, you’re out to impress, not save a buck. Idiot.
On the drive home afterwards, be sure to play it cool and not let stupid sentences fall out the front of your face. Be sure to compliment her, but be confident about what you say. Be yourself!
What Hazard ACTUALLY does…
Before I continue, I should explain that these are not in order nor pertaining to one particular date in its entirety, but rather real experiences throughout the years. Every explanation holds validity and is 100% true. And pressing on.
Fresh pair of underwear before leaving the house.
Not too long ago I rocked the classic fresh pair of gitch, but wore year old running shoes. She noticed. And commented. The nerve..
Steer clear of spicy foods.
I went for the spicy italian penne dish. Old faithful alright. I was farting before dessert was served.
Seat choice and positioning.
We sat at the most comfortable booth in the back corner for privacy. I couldn’t find the washrooms and there were 2 TVs in my path. I didn’t hear anything she said midway through first period.
Be aware of signs of crazy.
OK, I really wasn’t ready for this. One time on a date, we decided to make a homemade dinner. Her objection to my love for spaghetti and homemade sauce apparently wasn’t a large enough red flag, and so we headed to the supermarket to pick up alternate dinner supplies. At the veggie isle, she decided it was a great idea to “test” the veggies before buying. I looked at her shocked and asked her what the deuce she was doing eating food off the shelf. She looked at me annoyed, and asked me if I had ever “lived on the edge”. I replied all the time, and explained however eating a habanero pepper live off the shelf didn’t meet my wild lifestyle criteria. As her eyes widened with horror (and flames), she ran and grabbed an orange juice and began chugging it in the middle of the store. I chuckled, explaining that what she consumed was an acid and she required a base such as milk, to counteract the burning effect. As she ran to the dairy isle and began drinking a milk, I was tearing up with laughter and politely explained to her that I wasn’t paying for the orange juice or milk. However I was willing to spot her for the pepper. As she bee lined it to the store washroom, I created a twitter account. That was the last time I saw that girl.
It’s all about dictation.
When you’re really into a girl, you tend to shed your natural skin and slowly become clad in the nervous armour of Shaggy from Scooby Doo. I choked up on most of my words, and even Morgan Freeman couldn’t pull me out of that slump. My inner narration slowly became more and more that of Peter Griffin, until I actually started doing the voice on my own. She stared at me blankly. Women never seem to appreciate voice impressions. I switched to a Stewie Griffin.
This one time, I had a lady friend back at my parents place outside in the hot tub. About 3 over too many beers in, I had to goto the washroom, located in the house and downstairs. My dad had previously ripped out all the carpet on the staircase for a renovation that STILL HASN’T BEEN FINISHED. What happens when you combine too much alcohol, wet feet and a slippery staircase? Well, let’s just say my joints are still bothering me to this day.
Stories, stories, stories.
One time, becoming overzealous in my story telling, I revealed a story in which I inadvertently wore a condom home from an ex girlfriends house and dropped it accidentally in front of my parents. Embarrassing? Meh. As they say, no shame no gain! Or was that pain..? I should probably delete this.
The dreaded numbers question.
I once went out with a girl who was adamant on knowing. I didn’t know which direction to lie, up or down? Lying up may seem douchey, however lying down would bring me into the negatives. Nervously, I began to name off every girl I had ever been with. And I should have stopped there!
Picking up the tab.
Before I continue, allow me to explain that I am Mennonite. In other words, I can be stingy as heck with my cash flow. Now, if the girl means a lot to me, I of course have zero quarrel paying every time. However on the flip side, I always watch to see how the date reacts when the bill is passed to the table – the stare into my eyes, the purse open, or the shy look away. I’ll always pay, people. I just won’t always like it.
This one probably takes the cake. I began seeing a girl over a decade ago, and was driving her home. I was still kind of new to dating, and didn’t know how to end the conversation before dropping her off. I liked her, but was young and didn’t want to be tied down. In my head I had played out how I was going to break it clean and just be friends, but when I opened my mouth to talk “I love you” secreted out the front of my stupid head. That right there turned into a year long relationship.
I realize now that most advice I give should be taken with a grain of salt. Especially when it’s free. However, doomed to remain single as it may seem, while you’re all out there getting married and making babies, I’m making memories. Terrible and awkward as they may be, I cherish every one. And that’s something that no marital status, or therapist for that matter, can take away from me.
The wind was light but present as the sun was breaking through the morning clouds. The bases fully loaded. Two had already walked, the last batter hitting to first. This next hit should be a breeze. I could visualize the ball slow motion, connecting perfectly with the bat and sailing out over the fence. Both dugouts fell silent as time seemed to slow down. A bead of sweat trailed my forehead to my chin. It was my move. My time to shine. Only one problem remained. I was the pitcher..
With hockey winding down to the occasionally rare summer call out, it was time to hang the pads and dust off the old ball glove. However, contrary to popular belief, I’m horrible at softball. Sure it may seem like I have an athletically sound greek hockey-god body, but it’s mainly been used to drink beer, inhale tobacco and sleep in on weekends. In short, I live the life of an asshole. At least I’m not cocky.
This past weekend was the opening season tournament, and our brand new team hit the field ready and raring for action. We didn’t expect to do great, or even to win for that matter. All we expected was to figure out our place on the field and maybe contract a minor hangover in the morning. One out of those two happened. Surprisingly, it wasn’t the hangover.
Keeping in mind I did play two years prior for one season, and that team stuck me as pitcher because I was roving as a right fielder, it was apparent I would step up to the mound this year as well due to my uncanny ability to stay within 10 feet of the mound at all times. Oh, and I can throw, too. The rest of the team found their spots quickly and things began to fall into place.
Throughout the tournament we calculated that a beer-to-performance ratio was directly proportional, and by the end of Saturday we managed to crush a team 17-6. My one and only lucky play involved diving and intercepting a ground bouncing hit, throwing it to first to make the out the whilst I fell over backwards. Now, to put this into proper perspective, the field we played on looked a little something like this…
Pure, inefficient, effective luck on that play did not hinder me in the slightest from popping up off the ground screaming “I’M AMAZING” while jaunting back to the dugout. All of a sudden I began to love baseball. I began wearing my hat backwards and leaving my aviators on during innings. I even started walking out to the pitchers mound in faux slow motion between innings until I got yelled at. And as the weekend progressed without me coming close to playing as well as I did during that game, I kept reliving that moment for the duration of the tournament. And reminding my teammates how cool I am.
By the end of the weekend I was sore, horribly sunburnt and exhausted. My tongue was sore from an excess of sunflower seeds, and I’m very sure I packed on at least 5 pounds from consumables such as beer and ball park hotdogs. Unlike hockey, slow pitch baseball may be the only sport I’ve ever played that will wind up putting me in worse shape by the end of the season than I was in when I registered. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.