My friend Obidiah Feinstein is laying on my floor, quietly strumming my out-of-tune guitar.
I’ve known Obi since before I got married and divorced. He’s seen me through countless relationships and even made out with me once on my friend’s sofa; we were drunk. HIs father’s a Jewish hippy from Brooklyn, his mother, a Mennonite hippy from Canada. I think they’re relieved that Obi didn’t rebel by popping out a right wing investment banker with a loft in SoHo and a home with a three car garage in Connecticut.
Obi broke up with his girlfriend last night. It’s no big deal. They break up all the time. They’ll be making up by Monday. But, for the time being, he’s hiding out at my apartment, probably because I have coffee at my apartment and he doesn’t have any at his.
I’m curled up on my yellow chair, leafing through my copy of Susie’s Alaska Men magazine. My dog’s wedged herself between my thigh and the chair cushion. The magazine is very thin, considering it’s a year’s worth of single Alaskan men. I might need to rethink my Alaskan dating strategy.
Obi’s friend from Anchorage told him that the reported 7 to 1 ratio of men to women in Alaska is misleading. When you take crystal meth addicts and assholes out of the equation, it’s more like a 1 to 1 ratio.
Which means the pool of single men in Alaska is a lot smaller than originally anticipated.
Which means, my chance of getting picked by a single man in Alaska is a lot smaller than originally anticipated.
I’ve never had any luck at being picked up – at bars or anywhere else.
“You’ve got to smile more,” Obidiah states. So matter of fact. He’s been dating and breaking up with the same girl for seven years.
“I’ll smile if someone smiles at me.”
“You’ve got to smile first. Men are afraid of rejection.”
“Even Alaskan men?” I don’t like looking desperate.
“Yes, Amy, even in Alaska, men are afraid of rejection.”
I toss him my copy of The Guide to Picking Up Girls – a tome by the venerable Gabe Fischbarg.
“Make yourself useful and give me some insight on the male psyche,” I say. “Maybe I can backdoor my way into a date.”
He rolls on his side and opens the book. I go back to my magazine. My dog shifts her head so that she’s leaning her nose on my leg, suddenly interested in participating in the conversation.
A brief survey of men featured in issue number 42 of Susie’s Alaska Men Magazine reveals that most Alaska men are seventeen years younger than me, though a near twenty percent are twenty years older than me. One hundred percent do not live in Fairbanks, where I will be. Most are devout Christians, aside the single Mormon man who is looking for someone willing to convert. And their over-riding concern is finding a woman who is sexy as hell and likes fly-fishing.
I’m losing hope.
“It says here that a guy should always have breath mints, a pen and paper, a business card, chapstick, and cigarettes and a lighter when he’s out picking up girls,” Obi reports. He flips a page. “Can I borrow this?”
“Make sure I get it back.”
In the back of Susie’s Alaska Men Magazine, Susie also has list of do’s and don’ts.
*Don’t write a very short or a very long letter.
*Don’t lie about your looks.
*Don’t call a man at work.
*Don’t show up at his doorstep.
*Don’t lose hope.
“‘You don’t want to be caught without a pen when you need one,” Obi reads. “‘You don’t want to have to rely on others to write down a number… Also, it’s disruptive to the rap if you start having to ask around for a pen to use.’ Oh, wow,” he pauses.
“You learning something?”
He nods. “‘You must be careful not to get caught writing down a phone number on a piece of paper with other girls’ phone numbers on it…'”
“You sure you’re ready to be single again?”
The sun is finally streaming in through the window, the heat kicks off. My dog wriggles from her perch onto a hotspot on the floor by Obi’s head.
“If you carry your guitar around, and a pen, you won’t have a problem picking up girls,” I tell him. “It’s easier for guys. On the other hand, I have no idea how to look sexy fly-fishing.”
In Don Quixote, Cervantes, as the narrator of the story, tells a story. “There was a madman in Seville who was taken with the oddest and craziest notion that a madman had in all the world. It was this: he made a tube out of cane, sharpened at the end, and catching a dog, in the street or elsewhere, he would hold down one of its hind legs with one foot and lift the other one up with his hand. Next, fitting the tube to the right place, he would blow into it, as best he could, till he had made the dog as round as a ball. Then, holding it up in this way, he would give it a couple of slaps on the belly and let it go, saying to the bystanders, – and there were always plenty: ‘your worships will perhaps be thinking that it is an easy thing to blow up a dog?'” Then he asks: “Does your worship think it is an easy thing to write a book?”
And I ask: do you, dear readers, think it’s an easy thing to get a date in Alaska?
Only time will tell.