A fun thing about being single is that you can reverse man-shop.
By which I mean, until I find a man I want to be with, I like to pick out men I don't want to be with.
I call it the Better Off Dead Game, but it could just as easily be called the Better Off Celibate Game.
Of course, celibacy is not as bad as death, but they are related concepts. As in, I'm dead below the waist, but on the bright side, I can still watch TV.
Anyway, no matter what you call the game, I play it all the time, which might be why I spend my Saturday nights with dogs.
Like the other day, I was in New York, where Francesca, Laura, and I had a meeting with our wonderful publisher Jen, after which we went to a bar to have a celebratory drink. Francesca and Jen ordered wine, but I had just turned in the manuscript of my next book and had been dreaming of a margarita, so I ordered it as soon as I sat down. So did Laura and everybody else.
Nevertheless, the bartender handed us drinks menus. "Ladies, we have great specialty drinks you should try. I recommend the Sofia."
I didn't open the drinks menu. "Thanks, but I'm dying for that margarita."
Laura said, "Me, too."
Jen and Francesca chimed in, "We'll have the wine."
The bartender frowned. "You didn't even look at the drinks menu."
I said, "I know, I want a margarita."
The bartender kept frowning. "At least look at the drinks menu."
So I did, God knows why, but I couldn't read it without my reading glasses, and neither could Laura. Plus we both wanted a margarita, so we asked for one a third time.
At which point the bartender asked, "You're really not going to try the Sofia?"
I answered, firmly, "No, can we please have our drinks?"
He went away, scowling.
And I knew I was Better Off Dead.
Hell, I was even Better Off Celibate.
See? It's a fun game, right?
But wait, there's more.
It was a quiet Sunday morning, and I was riding my bicycle on the trail with Franca. The trail was hardly crowded except for a few other people riding bikes, walking, or jogging together.
Suddenly a man with two small kids started yelling at us, "You should ride single file! You should be riding single file!"
I didn't understand what his problem was, because we were nowhere near him or the kids. Franca and I are insanely obsequious on the trail, always riding single file when it gets busy, letting people go ahead of us, and generally being Codependents on Wheels.
Most of the time, we're just trying to stay upright and not crash anymore.
So I called back to him, nicely, "Don't worry, we'll go single file if somebody else comes the other way."
The man yelled back, "You should ride single file all the time!"
But we kept rolling, and he kept yelling at us, then he switched to yelling at the next twosome who rode by.
Want to play?
Better Off Watching TV.
In fact, Better Off Watching Infomercials.
To my thinking, both of these guys are really the same type of guy, a variation of Mr. Take Charge. And I always liked that kind of guy when I was younger. I wanted a guy who had all the answers, handled any situation, and basically was combination of Daddy, Superman, and Bradley Cooper.
This last because, are you blind?
And honestly, I don't think it's Mr. Take Charge's fault that he takes charge, because just as I got the message that that was what I was supposed to want, I suspect he got the message that that was what he was supposed to be.
Or maybe what happens is that Mr. Take Charge stays the same, but the women change, like I did.
We grow up, if we're lucky.
We get older and realize we don't need adult supervision.
We are the adult supervision.
And as I got older, I realized that Mr. Take Charge morphs into Mr. Control Freak.
And probably from there into Mr. Ray Rice.
It's taken me decades to figure out exactly what I want, and to be able to ask for it.
And it's not Mr. Take Charge.
It's a margarita.
No more Mrs. Nice Guy.