The Case for the Boy Next Door

by Amy on February 4, 2012 · 1 comment

Every night, five hot men appear before me like a criminal line-up.  These men are, for the most part, the type I’ve always fancied.  Clever, not a spelling out of place, good-hearted, ambitious, hilarious, and even more important: straight and available and looking.  And even better, I have all the power.  After studying each man, I get to check whether I’m a) ooh — interested, b) mmmm…maybe interested, or c) not interested — into the trash you go like an empty soda can…crunch.

The stuff of fairy tales, you say?  No — the stuff of Match.com’s Daily 5.  I used to ridicule, then ignore, Match’s hand-picked-just-for-me options.  “You both like to eat!” Match would encourage about our obvious compatibility.  “He doesn’t hate cats (that much)!”  But about six months ago a drool-worthy crop of male specimens started popping into my bedroom nightly (er, via my iPad screen), and I started paying attention, to the point where it became appointment surfing each night at 9 p.m.  Could this be for real?  Seriously, where are they getting these guys?

That’s the catch.  Everywhere but Tennessee.  Hunky cowboys from Texas who read real books, handsome artsy types from Manhattan who would never be embarrassed to meet you at an art museum, Seattle nerdboy cuties who don’t know it, California surfer boys with jobs who speak non-surfer…hell, even some of the guys from the Jersey Shore seem slightly enticing.  It’s proof that the Good Ones are out there…nowhere near where I live…but why is it when I narrow my search to Tennessee, the options that stare out of the photos might as well be looking out of an America’s Most Wanted poster?  Downright.  Scary.

Yet this new book Situations Matter: Understanding How Context Transforms Your World by Sam Sommers, tells us proximity is a keener path to true love than are the usual appearance and personality contenders that top most of our lists: “face, butt, wit,” as blog author Jeremy McCarthy sums it up nicely.  Apparently Mr. Right is more likely to be next door than staring wistfully at the same moon from three states away, and it’s his very next-door-ness that makes him attractive.  Could this be because, through this forced and repeated closeness, we actually get to know those in our own communities and eventually see past their face, butt and wit to what really counts — their soul?  I can think of countless examples of men from my past who suddenly floated my boat after I knew them for months or even years, and not because they’d gotten an eye implant.

Typical girl, though, why settle for the boy next door when I haven’t seen all that’s out there?  Last weekend, so over the slim pickings in Music City, I flew to Chicago for a masquerade ball, excited to have an exotic citified new palate from which to choose.  And the palate was colorful indeed:

Bachelor Number 1 had that urban edginess but with a sprinkle of sweet in the skin that crinkled around the corners of his eyes.  He was wearing a wedding ring, though, so I didn’t consider him available.  Until he began to act, in front of his friends, like we were a couple, dancing with me, following me to the drink line, following me back to the dance floor.  I was perplexed.  This guy was not acting married.  “Do you think he’s widowed?” I whispered to my friend.  “How sad if that’s the case.”  “Are you married?” I finally blurted after he’d dragged me around the dance floor for the fifth number in a row and one of his acquaintances had asked if I was his wife.  (!)  “Yes,” he acknowledged to my question about his very marriedness without hesitation.  “Where is your wife?” I asked.  “She doesn’t like these sorts of events,” he shrugged.

Granted, DUH, Amy, but sayonara.  No sooner had I turned away from Married Guy then I had the amazing luck to run into Bachelor Number 2, the love of my weekend from last year’s ball.  Silk-tie-wearing ambitious business owner, health nut, funny as hell, ability to kiss amazingly for hours at a time.  It took me at least a month of REO Speedwagon songs to get over him last year.  This time around we clicked immediately, like no time had passed at all.  “I can’t believe it’s really you!  Is it you?” he kept asking, grabbing my hand and staring at me like the cat that swallowed the canary.

Only…“are you high?” he asked me.  “Um, nope.  Are you?”  “No,” he slurred, obviously high on…something.  “Do you get high?” I asked.  “Not much,” he said.  “Where’s your hotel room?”  Then he dove in for the full-on mouth-wide-open bad-kisser attack.  THEN he proceeded to confess that he had sold his business and was currently doing “nothing,” with no current plans to do “anything.”  Also (nonchalantly), should he propose to his on-again-off-again girlfriend?  “Um, is this girlfriend currently ON or OFF?” I sought to clarify, and quickly.  “On,” he clarified without hesitation, then asked if he could see my “boobies.”  The answer, you might guess, was no, and not only because of his word choice.

I almost kissed the ground on which Nashville’s men walk when I arrived back home the next day.  I thought about some of the sincere and honest and nice guys I know here who might make a perfectly fine catch if I ever thought about them in that way.  Maybe they wouldn’t stand out right off the bat if Match.com flashed them into my iPad tonight.  But maybe…okay, just maybe…I’ve been too quick to check the “not interested” box for my hometown boys.

The case could be made that there’s no place like home.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kendra January 7, 2013 at 4:36 pm

You, my dear, are HILARIOUS! I had similar experiences.

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