Late last night I wrote about my writers’ group’s dinner with Phillip Margolin. I’ve given it much thought since then, and I think I understand why success just seems to rain down on some people, and other people chase it frantically and never catch it, kindof like a dog chasing it’s own tail, or a dog chasing a stuffed rabbit at the dog track, or a dog chasing a squirrel, or a …well, I’ve run out of examples and if you haven’t gotten the point by now, you must actually be a dog.
Yes, I think I’ve got the answer, and I’ll get to it sooner, or perhaps later, but here’s an example of what I’m talking about. I’m a girl. Like all girls (and I’m talking about gender here, not age because I’d probably have to use the word woman which doesn’t seem to make my point as well, if there is a point – we’ll have to wait and see).
As I was saying, as a girl I watch other girls and the one thing you’ll notice about girls is that the ones who want a boy (now here it seems like it would sound better to say man. Odd.). Anyway, if a girl is craving a guy (that works!), she has it written all over her like a neon sign: I WANT ME A MAN AND I’M NOT TOO PARTICULAR, HELL, EVEN YOU’LL DO!
Guys see her coming and they scatter like cockroaches when they see a can of RAID. I love using cockroaches as an analogy, and it says nothing about my attitude toward men. And I’m not doing product placement either. I hate RAID and killing bugs, but this seemed to work and I’m not changing it now. This is a prime example of over thinking something, which is exactly what girls craving a guy do.
Here’s the catch. The girl doesn’t just want a temporary guy, she wants a permanent one. This is what scares guys to death, but the girl is oblivious to this. She thinks that if she puts on a little more makeup, shows a little more cleavage, and gets a little drunker, she’ll be closer to snagging her prince charming.
But guys see right through this. They want a temporary woman – they’re looking for a good time for a short time. Like from midnight to three. This is the manly guy thing that has been proven in bathrooms all over the country. In women’s bathrooms, you’ll see little hearts drawn in permanent marker with Sally loves Billy or LaKeisha loves Muhammad inside them. In a guy’s bathroom you’ll see: For a good time, call…
What a girl’s gotta do is decide she doesn’t want a guy, then she’ll attract them like maggots. This is because guys love a pursuit, yes, but they’re also hard-wired to see women in terms of their relationship with their mother. There’s even an old song about this by Harry Von Tizer and William Dillon (wonder if he’s related to Bob Dylan?) that has a nice, catchy tune and lyrics and a chorus starting with, “I want a girl just like the girl who married dear old Dad.” This is two guys saying, out loud, that they want to marry someone just like their mother.
Which proves my point. If you want to snag a permanent guy, you have to become his mother. How do you do that? Easy. You ignore him when he talks to you, like that commercial for the TV show “Family Guy” where the mom’s trying to take a nap and the son is standing beside the bed going, “Mom, mom, mom, mummy, mummy, mom, mom, mummy, mummy, mummy, mom…” and she finally shouts, “WHAT!” and he says “Hi.” You have to ignore him for a long time, like a few weeks or at least through a couple of sets the live band does at the bar.
Then when you finally acknowledge that he exists, you have to have a laissez-faire attitude toward him. Laissez-faire is a word I learned tutoring – this was on a high school kid’s spelling list, and he’s from Somalia, so he doesn’t realize that the word is never, ever used in the English language in any way whatsoever except on a vocabulary sheet. Other words on the list were caveat emptor and coup d’état – I had to look them up in the dictionary to explain to him what they meant – and just try using them in a sentence!
What I’m saying is, you can’t just let the guy possess you right away, because these days he can do that with any old girl. You have to be special – he has to work to win you over. Or as one happily married guy I know phrased it, “I chased her until she caught me.”
What’s this got to do with success as a writer? Beats the hell out of me. But I think there must be something to it. Somehow we’ve got to play hard to get with these agents and publishers. (Disclaimer: You should have a respect for the rule of caveat emptor when you read anything I write.) Wouldn’t it be a great coup d’état, though, if I, as a writer, could snag a great publisher by using a laissez-faire attitude? I sure wouldn’t use these words, though, because I’d have to look them up again.