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This article was prepared for the June 16, 2004 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Scoring in Suburbia: A Man’s Perspective

I laughed out loud and at times hysterically while reading DeeinPrinceton’s mordant and jocular glimpse at the single’s scene, “Sex(less) in Suburbia” (U.S.1, February 25). It inspired the following rejoinder — the same scene, from a man’s point of view.

Remember the glory days when you were in your early 20s? Living in the big city and eating the world’s oysters. When dating an older woman, say 30, had cache. When our stamina and enthusiasm combined with their experience and enthusiasm — both parties breathlessly parted winners.

When picking up women in singles bars was like spearing flounders in a pint glass. Well, two decades have passed, and you’ve found yourself in the ivy-lined, idyllic suburbs of your dreams. College girls in short skirts and sweaters now look like teenagers that should have a curfew. Thirty-somethings look just about right and women in their 40s look too much like our wives, ex-wives, or best friends to be dangerous.

Most men are married, some still single, but all of us are living lives of quiet carnal desperation and aspiration. Whether we have three kids and a Labrador, or we’re dating a woman with three kids and a Labrador, we will always dream of those halcyon days when exciting conquests with exotic, sensual, younger women were the norm and not the rare exception. Admittedly, a reverence for the thrill of the hunt is hard wired in most men’s hearts.

True, we’re sporting a touch of grey — ok, a splash — on the temples and fighting and barely winning the battle of the bulge; love handles, beer bellies, and double chins are not easy to hide at poolside. But don’t despair, gents, as my father used to say, even a blind pig finds a truffle in the mud sometimes. We still have a few tricks up our sleeves and some positive things in our favor:

1. Most women consider that men with grey hair look distinguished.

2. We’ve always been told that men age better than women, and we’re vain enough to believe it.

3. Men don’t have biological clocks, and no self-respecting man would admit to hearing it tick if we did.

4. Women from 20 to, say, 59 are still in range, although after 60, no matter how much Viagra and prune juice we consume, the party is pretty much over for both sexes.

5. There are a select number of ing‚nues with foreign accents, wearing low riders, who have “a thing” for middle-aged men. Our vast life experience, maturity, and smoldering sexuality still count for something when competing with those young bucks who wear pucca shells and baseball caps backwards and think that slamming Jagermeister shots with Budweiser chasers is a great way to spend a Friday night.

Here are a few examples of some of my suburban dating experiences/observations, which I’m sure many men can relate to:

Suburbia, where women can drive SUVs, talk on a cell phone, discipline children, and sneak a cigaret all at the same time.

Suburbia, where Chinese food and a video is often the extent of your Friday night — and you’ve come to like it.

Suburbia, where most women are single moms and have only every other weekend to spend with you. Gentlemen, be prepared to pick up the tab for the babysitter. Oh, and politely decline the request to drive her home.

Suburbia, where, while attending your sons’ or daughters’ baseball game or soccer match, you find yourself staring at little Billy the shortstop’s Mom in her cut-off jeans and revealing tank top.

Suburbia, where the local paper publishes a grocery list of singles events, clubs, social gatherings and parties, and you wouldn’t be caught dead attending a single one of them!

Suburban dating, where you can be sure to be asked on the first date why you’re not married. The question always infers there must be something fundamentally wrong with you. Could it be true?

1. I’m adverse to divorce

2. I’m a genius

3. Or just maybe I’ve never asked anyone

Suburban dating, when the first meeting feels more like a job interview. Fellas, some advice, “Take this job and shove it!”

Suburban dating, where if a woman sleeps with you on the first date, deep down inside you’re disappointed, because:

A. She must be desperate

B. If she slept with you on a first date, she must have slept with a million other guys

C. Now you have to call when you said you would.

And if she doesn’t, you’re disappointed.

Suburban dating, where men have to call up every ounce of reserve in their power to resist the temptation to seduce the Swedish au pair. Note to wives, hire more Hazels, Beas, and Alices, and skip the Evas, Veroniques, and Tatianas.

Suburban dating, where my girlfriend and I attended an “Alternative Lambda” after theater Mardi Gras party and both thought nothing of it. After stuffing my face with jambalaya and red beans and rice, I was greeted by a former co-worker of mine who said with surprise, “I never knew you were gay.” I’m so glad I never asked her out.

Suburban Internet dating, where “slim” means a few extra pounds, average means a few extra pounds, and “voluptuous” means a few extra hundred pounds. Whoa Nelly!

Suburban Internet dating, where you learn to stop reading the ad when a woman refers to her match as:

A. My knight in shining armor or riding a white horse

B. Prince Charming

Suburban Internet dating, when the first and last time I agree to meet a person without seeing her picture resulted in the scariest afternoon of my life. This self-described Celtic goddess with flaming red hair and emerald green eyes, (I was imagining Maureen O’Hara) actually resembled one of those strange looking Kewpie dolls that show up in toy chests and as carnival consolation prizes. I kid you not! This woman had a mane of orange hair streaked with grey, a wart on her nose, and hairs sprouting from her chin. She wore a stained sweatshirt with a cartoon character leprechaun emblazoned on her chest that read “Erin go braless.”

My first instinct was to break into a dead sprint for my car, but an overwhelming wave of shock, repulsion, and remembered manners mesmerized me. I agreed to an obligatory walk. During our troll, I mean stroll, through Bowman’s Wildflower preserve, she incessantly mumbled a new age mumbo jumbo. I couldn’t understand a bloody thing she was saying. Needless to say, “please send a pic” has become part of my cyber dating lexicon.

Suburban Internet dating, where men quickly learn to skip any ad that shows a woman kissing her favorite pet. Ladies, guys don’t dig pictures of Sallys smooching pooches!

Suburbia, where you’re free to take your personal ad off the Internet, to assiduously avoid the caf‚ where the nannies hang out, and to take solace in the fact that Kung-Pao Chicken and the Knick’s game on TV is a perfectly safe and acceptable way to spend a Friday evening.

Editor’s note: Edmund is a freelance journalist, bartender, and the principal of a newly minted marketing communications consultancy. He moved to Princeton Junction from New York 13 years ago and is just beginning to break into the Princeton social scene. He is already planning an intrepid escape

by Edmund in Princeton Junction

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