Over the weekend I attended the wedding reception of a friend of mine and ended up at a table with the groom’s best friend B and B’s much younger girlfriend G. My guess is that the age gap was somewhere around 20 or so years. Intrigued by this real-life example of Game principles, I sat back and observed.
B was pushing 50, tall, with strawberry blond coloring and his age undeniably settling in to his face. Fortunately for him, genetics had blessed him with a full head of (non-gray) hair. He seemed confident and outgoing and had solid body language.
G was your typical high-maintenance SoCal Asian: meticulously styled hair, full makeup and constant reapplication of lip gloss, high-end name brand clothing with, as she pointed out, six-inch heels. She was objectively quite pretty. Accordingly, her mannerisms were almost cartoonishly feminine: continuous laughter, a constant need to touch and be close to her boyfriend, and I’m pretty sure she said zero interesting things the entire time. I mainly remember her making remarks about makeup, her sister’s plans not to have a destination wedding, and how she gets her boyfriend up early every morning to make him go to yoga class with her. Oh, and she has a little dog.
The longer I watched G, the more fascinated I became with the exaggerated way she pursed her pillowy lips when she talked. The way her eyes widened and her mouth opened four inches every time she laughed and remained open. And the way that laugh resembled a kinder, gentler version of Janice from Friends.
By this point there were about four different Haleys at war with themselves in my head. Catty Haley was rolling her eyes and shaking her head at G. Analytical Haley was trying to figure out what was keeping B and G together other than sex. Cynical Haley was telling Analytical Haley, DUH, NOTHING. Holy Haley was brusquely chastising Analytical and Cynical, reminding them that G was a perfectly decent and genuinely nice human being, as was B, and trying to imagine scenarios in which B and G had deep, meaningful conversations about the Future, the State of the World, and Interests in Common Other Than Yoga Class. James Joyce teared up with pride.
While all of this was going on in my head, I had the horrible realization that I was a terrible loser at love compared to G, and there was no starker comparison than that between us. I contemplated what it would take for me to turn myself into a knock-off version of her, and it gave me mental vertigo. (I mean, I do pretty well with pervy church geezers, but I attribute my appeal to the novelty of my relative youth and the scarcity of my kind at the
geezer-friendly early Sunday service.) It was all a little bit like being strangled by a live-action version of Roissy’s blog, or discovering that you had gone to war with a spoon in your hand while the other person wielded a bayonet. I kept asking myself, Is this what I need to be? Is this what men want? Because me as I am is not really tearing it up with the opposite sex, non-geezer edition. Maybe the ratio is 1 glossy-lipped Natalie Portman-esque laugh = 200 witticisms. Time to read less and stock up on Chanel.
Lest this seem too self-pitying, it should be noted that my friend who got married is more similar to me than to G, so I don’t think hope is dead or anything. After all, my friend’s husband married my friend, not G (or a G clone). And G is spending her “good years” with a man who may or may not ever marry her. In the end it may all be a wash. Still, I think G will be able to do well for herself (should she need to) even after hitting the wall. There are always men eager to enjoy a personality like G’s.
So, with that in mind…
Now commencing Operation: Everything Is Funnier.