Now that Halloween is over, I'm sure you're counting the days left during which every Target, Barnes & Noble and Best Buy will be filled with a miserable quagmire of people who are apparently unaware that other humans populate the Earth -- running you down with their shopping carts, blasting through the arm that's holding your child's hand like some Red Rover game from hell, and grunting at you when you glare at them after they refuse to say, "Excuse me for drilling you in the back with my fifty-pound shopping bag."
People get nuts around the Christmas season, which typically starts on December 26 -- when everything, including the store manager's children, is put on sale in a final, desperate attempt to turn a profit. But the worst of it hits the following December 24, when guys go insane because we have absolutely no idea what the hell women want, and have exactly one hour to come up with something. Guys are the worst gift-givers of all time. "Men" will inevitably come up with some sensitive, romantic gift that will bring tears to her eyes and bring up the lunch of any guy who hears about it. A guy's present will bring tears to her eyes, too, but only because it offers continued proof that she's saddled with a cretin. And you, of course, have no idea why a really nice windshield scraper -- a tool that she refuses to buy herself -- isn't considered a thoughtful, practical gift.
Guys won't be out at the after-Christmas sales, partly because we're insensitive trolls, but mainly because we're still comatose while trying to digest ten pounds of turkey washed down with two bottles of wine and a fifth of Bailey's Irish Cream. We'll have already forgotten what gift our significant other gave us, because we really don't care. We're easy to please. In fact, the only thing guys are really particular about is their choice of beer. Otherwise, guys are very uncomplicated.
575 St. Paul Street
This was confirmed the other night when a few of us went to the Irish Hound (575 St. Paul Street) to knock back a few well-made Black and Tans. We could have gone anywhere, but we chose the Hound because one of our friends would be there with his highly attractive little sister. Because guys are so easy, we have very basic, common fantasies. ("Men" would deny this, but "men" are known to lie.) And one of the most commonly held fantasies is the (little) sister.
A few weeks back, I asked a friend what he was going to do that weekend. "Well, my sister's coming into town, so I'll probably take her out," he replied.
"That sounds nice," I answered. "Is she hot?"
Inexplicably, he looked at me like I was nuts for asking. So I told him: "Listen, anytime a guy mentions his sister, it is required by federal law that some other guy ask about her physical appearance. Observe."
And then I shouted down the hall to another friend: "J.P., when a guy tells you his sister is visiting, what's the first thing you ask him?"
Without hesitating, J.P. shot back, "Is she good-lookin'?" J.P. is definitely a guy.
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Back in 1984, with a few simple drumbeats, Van Halen created the soundtrack for another venerable fantasy. Ever since, whenever a guy sees a woman wearing those thin, dark-rimmed glasses that "men" might consider semi-dorky, he hears the opening riff to "Hot for Teacher." We all had at least one teacher, typically in grade school, who drove us wild; you can lump librarians, particularly those with tightly wrapped hair, into this same genre. A shrink might tell us the basis of this fantasy is the hope of being on par with an authority figure. I'd say it's the hope of being horizontal.
A very popular Halloween-costume trend this year was the (naughty) nurse. I've never observed an actual nurse wearing a little white hat, flaming red lipstick, an ultra-short white dress with the front plunging to her navel, white stockings with a back seam and five-inch white heels, but if there's a hospital with a uniform code like that, I will gladly consider transferring. Guys love the nurse fantasy because we crave pampering, particularly when we're sick and lying on the couch whining for chicken-noodle soup and back rubs like a two-year-old. (After my recent illness, I'm still waiting for the woman in my life to come back with the cherry Luden's cough drops I sent her for over a week ago.)
Some fantasies are fostered at an age when we don't realize the full import of what we're observing. For example, all thirtyish guys who grew up watching The Dukes of Hazzard knew on some primal level that there was something special about Daisy, but we couldn't quite figure it out. (We also understood that "Cooter" was a really funny name for a character, but didn't know why.) On Buck Rogers, Erin Gray generated similar feelings. Unfortunately, outside of Halloween or a Star Trek convention, we guys will never see a woman who lives on this planet in a tight spacesuit, or a female who has running water in her home wearing Daisy Duke shorts and a midriff-baring shirt tied up around her breasts. Hence the popularity of Britney Spears.
By no means is this a complete guide to male fantasies, but ladies, you get the idea. It's supremely simple to please your guy. My advice to you: This Christmas, if you want that gift you've always hoped your guy would buy, hit the nearest Walgreens and pick up a pair of teacher spectacles, and all of your dreams will come true. The beauty of it is...so will ours.