ROMANTIC PRECEPTS FOR THE AESTHETICALLY CHALLENGED

Jacob Appel

PROXIMITY

If you spend enough time with any other human being, eventually you will fall in love with that person.   Gender, age and character give way to proximity. Unfortunately, there is often not enough time.  Sophia Loren would come to see me as a sex symbol, eventually—shortly after the planet grew uninhabitable and was enveloped by the sun.

FALSE HOPE

A woman I once had a crush on mentioned casually that Abraham Lincoln was “ugly.”  That seemed a misplaced judgment—especially as the man had abolished slavery, saved the union and given his life for his country.  Of course, afforded the choice of kissing this woman or

Honest Abe, I’d unquestionably have chosen the former, so one wonders why we teach school children about the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address, when we could just

WHAT WOMEN WANT

Kissinger claimed that power was the ultimate aphrodisiac. I suppose that might be true if one were a Neanderthal: any woman will be putty in your hands if you wield a large club and corner her in a cave. Of course, Kissinger also claimed that Pinochet was a friend of democracy, so he may not prove the best source for insight into human character.

WHAT WOMEN WANT II

Serial killers. If we are to believe media reports, Ted Bundy received more fan mail in prison than Jimmy Carter did in the White House—the majority of it from women offering him their hands in marriage and other body parts censored by his wardens. Teenage girls sent topless photos to Gary Gilmore while he awaited the electric chair. The Unabomber garnered more marriage proposals each year than I have in a lifetime. Lesson learned: You can’t choose to be handsome, but you can choose to butcher strangers.

LONG TERM PLANNING

Life is the great equalizer. Height increases one’s changes of losing one’s virginity at sixteen, but also—or so the scientists now tell us—raises one’s risk of cancer at seventy. The women who wear makeup and artificial tans in high school look gorgeous; at the reunion, their skin takes on the hue and texture of a perpetual bruise. In the nursing home, beauty is merely as beauty does, although owning a care and having your own teeth help. The trick to successful romance is to court the least attractive partner in adolescence….and then to wait until time wrinkles and distorts the beautiful people to match.

GRACEFUL AGING

At twenty, most men desire women who are beautiful, intelligent, sensuous and charming. In return, they will endure almost any amount of abuse. By sixty, most men are too beleaguered to notice whether women are beautiful or intelligent. All they want is less abuse. As my father says, “people don’t become more beautiful or intelligent with age—only more difficult.” Every
time he says this, my mother storms out of the room.

PROSTITUTION

Exchanging fifty dollars for a blowjob is considered a criminal offense. Exchanging a house in the suburbs and permanent financial support for a blowjob every night is considered a happy marriage. You’re only a whore if you don’t drive a hard enough bargain.

PERSONAL ADS

If I ran a restaurant with a sign outside that read, “You must be taller than this line to be served,” people would be outraged. So why are people who bill themselves as “open-minded” given a free pass when they seek out “tall, white men over six foot two”? A much more equitable approach would apply a socialist model to romance: We’d pool all the beautiful people and divide them equally among the rest of us.

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