“The old gals were all married. There were online photos albums attesting to this fact. There were outdoor weddings on the beach with everyone barefoot at sunset. There were honeymoons spent snorkeling in Fiji. Some of them even had babies!”
All of Jenny’s old high school friends were married. She knew so because of Facebook. By “old high school friends” I mean “girls in Jenny’s class.” They hadn’t really been her friends. They hadn’t French-braided one another’s hair at sleepovers, or anything like that. In fact, when Jenny sent them “friend requests,” these “old high school friends” had figuratively scratched their heads in confusion. “Jenny Anders… Jenny Anders… Hmm, doesn’t ring a bell, but I guess I’ll ‘confirm’ her.”
So now Jenny saw that the old gals were all married. There were online photos albums attesting to this fact. There were outdoor weddings on the beach with everyone barefoot at sunset. There were honeymoons spent snorkeling in Fiji. Some of them even had babies!
Jenny was as single as they come. She looked at the Facebook pictures, and she frowned.
“I need to get me a husband!” she announced (to herself, because she lived alone with her cat, Jenny #2).
And don’t you doubt that Jenny. When she puts her mind to it, she can do anything. Well, anything that does not require supernatural powers. You know what I mean. Do not be difficult.
So she made a big sign that said: “THE GREAT HUSBAND TRYOUTS. THIS SATURDAY. IF YOU ARE HANDSOME AND SMART AND NICE AND FUNNY, COME SAY HI AND SEE IF I WILL WANT TO MAKE YOU MY HUSBAND. $5 ADMISSION. SIGNED, JENNY.”
She taped it to a signpost at a busy intersection, the one where you sit and wait at the red light before you turn left to go to either Starbucks or Safeway.
Now Jenny, bless her heart, didn’t have an ironic bone in her body. No, she was totally earnest. But her sign attracted a bunch of fellas who thought, “How clever! How refreshingly forthright! I must meet this Jenny, and see if she’s hot!”
On the morning of the Great Husband Tryouts, Jenny woke up five minutes early to get extra gussied up. She put on her most fetching outfit. But although she did this, she was hoping that the fellas would fall in love with her personality. Still, it couldn’t hurt to wear that “figure-flattering” dress, and by “figure-flattering” I mean it showed off her big boobs and downplayed her saddle bags.
Outside Jenny’s apartment building, a line of guys had formed on the lawn. There was a mix: some were the aforementioned irony-appreciating types, wearing stupid hipster glasses with the thick black frames, the Buddy Holly kind that is supposed to make it look as though you don’t care about your image when the truth is that you are obsessed with your image. They wore “funny” T-shirts, ones that looked like they were cast-offs from gas-station attendants or diner cooks and had names embroidered on them–“Enrique,” “Raj”–that were not the real names of these white boys.
“Oh boy,” Jenny sighed. (I agree with you, Jenny.)
Then there were your garden-variety perverts. Old homeless geezers, creeps with shifty eyes and nervous tics.
Jenny put the kibosh on dealing with this group right away.
“Okay, I want all the perverts to go home right now.”
The geezers and creeps sadly hunched their shoulders and left. That Jenny, I tell you what. She means business.
And then here’s what she did with the rest of the guys, those smirky, ironic hipster types with the “Diff’rent Strokes” T-shirts and the goddamn Converse sneakers.
She made them compete against one another. It was just like Field Day. It was very exciting. A crowd formed, and some dude even showed up to sell cotton candy in special colors like blue and purple.
First the guys were paired up, and there was a three-legged race. Then there was a potato-sack race. Then she gave the guys spoons and eggs, and the guys had to put the egg on the spoon and run across the yard without dropping the egg off the spoon.
It was only when she was about to make them bob for apples in a barrel that one of them spoke up.
“Hey, what’s going on here, anyway? This is retarded.”
Jenny spun on her heel and fixed him with an icy glare. “Fixed him with an icy glare”–you like that? I just now made that up. I bet I’m the first person to ever use it.
Anyhoo, Jenny fixed that icy glare of hers on the whiner. “Excuse me, but you may be dismissed. Both for questioning me and for saying ‘retarded’ instead of ‘God’s special little angels.'”
“Whatever,” said the whiner, and off he sauntered in his stupid Converse sneakers.
Another hipster tried a gentler tack.
“Well, I think at first we all thought this was charmingly idiosyncratic. ‘Oh ha ha, a potato-sack race. How “old school.” What’s next, pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey? LOL.’ But once we began hopping around in those potato sacks under the sweltering sun, and we realized you were in earnest… Well, this is all wrong.”
“‘All wrong’?” Jenny arched one eyebrow. It made her look scary, like Cruella de Vil. But she still had her big boobs, so the guys stayed.
“Yeah,” continued the tactful hipster. “Like, we start out thinking this is all some sort of satire about modern courtship. You should have had us take Facebook quizzes, and pick your husband based on the results. ‘Which Brady Bunch kid are you?’ or ‘If you were one of the four food groups, which would you be?’ Then after we’ve all taken the quizzes, you say, ‘If you chose Peter and Protein, you advance to the next round.’ And so forth, until you’ve eliminated all of us but one: your future husband.”
“I know I know!” interjected another hipster, one who was sporting a mullet hairstyle in an ironic manner and wearing a faux-vintage New York Dolls T-shirt. “This is all some commentary on our generation’s fondness for what we call ‘random,’ and our relatively–compared to our parents’ generation–high tolerance for absurdity. How clever of you, Jenny! I like me a smart chick.” This he said while checking out her boobs the whole time.
Jenny shook her head and stomped her foot petulantly, like a child throwing a tantrum. Honestly, other than those big boobs, Jenny didn’t have a lot to offer in a relationship. She was annoying and childish and weird. And I didn’t even tell you about some of her other annoying, childish, weird habits yet–such as her penchant for twirling around her apartment in a nightgown, singing, “I Am 16 Going on 17” from “The Sound of Music,” holding hands with her sock monkey and pretending he was her boyfriend. “I need someone older and wiser telling me what to do-o-o, you are 17 going on 18, I-I’ll depe-end on you!” she sang.
“Look.” Watch out–Jenny’s about to lay down the law! “I just want a husband who can hop around in a potato sack with the greatest of speed and ease, and can hurry across a lawn with an egg on a spoon should the need ever arise, because you never know. And would it hurt if he were also proficient at procuring an apple from a barrel full of water using only his teeth? I mean really. Am I asking for Brad Pitt or Albert Einstein? No. Is this too much to ask for?”
“Ohh,” said that second hipster, the one who had put forth the random/absurd theory. “So all of this was in earnest. Well, earnest is the new ironic. So cutting-edge of you, Jenny!” Again he kept his gaze on her luscious “melons.”
Just like that, as if on cue, one of the perverted old geezers from before showed up. Actually, he *hopped* up, in a potato sack. Where did he get it from? Who knows; perverted old geezers have their mystical ways. He was also–gasp!–balancing an egg on a spoon! Jenny and the hipsters watched as the old man, who had a flowing white ZZ Top kind of beard, hopped closer, the delicate egg not budging from its precarious perch on the spoon. Actually it was a spork he found in the Dumpster behind Arby’s, but let’s not split hairs, shall we? I mean, come on–it was a pretty impressive sight.
And then! He hopped right up to the barrel full of apples–and he plucked one out with his (four) teeth, with grace and even a certain savoir faire. He winked at Jenny after he did it, with the apple still gripped by his decrepit chompers.
Jenny had watched him with her hands clasped together and nestled beneath her chin, like in old-timey movies when the girl says, “My hero!”
The perverted geezer spat out the apple with a dramatic flourish–“Aah-phew!”–and got down on his creaky old bony knee.
“Give me a chance, Jenny. I am old and perverted, but multi-talented. And there’s more where that came from. I can drop clothespins into a jam jar without even bending my bony old knees!”
“Really?!!!” Jenny exclaimed.
“Yes. Really. It is totally true.”
Jenny felt her heart swell with what could only be described as pure true love. She turned to the other guys sitting on her lawn.
“Hipsters, go home. I am going to marry this old pervert. Because the truth is, I no more know what I want in a partner than anyone else does. I came up with my own personal and highly specific criteria, which of course no one can meet. But in the end, I’m going for the taboo, highly inappropriate option that promises to create great drama and upheaval in my life. I’ll tell myself that the perverted geezer and I are star-crossed lovers, that no one understands our love with their small conventional pea brains. And deep-down, I’ll know that I’m unhappy. But the drama and my sense of self-importance will obscure that. So I’ll think I’m happy. And in this rotten tomato of a world, is there much more we can hope for, other than to simply trick ourselves into thinking we are happy? No. There’s nothing else. Go home, hipsters. You irritate me, and I want to marry someone who is bad for me. Thanks for trying out.”