‘You are a shitty girlfriend,’ declares my partner. I can hardly disagree. After returning from a week-long research trip to England, I have explained that I will shortly depart for another conference and then leave again for six weeks of teaching in Europe. ‘I hope you will still make the bed and clean the bathroom when I am away,’ I say wistfully, knowing that my house will soon be covered in man arm-hair and tiny cat litter crystals. Still, he does not merit such neglect. Openly admitting that I deserve punishment, I suggest the following: ‘Why don’t you recite all of the things that suck about me? I promise to listen silently for ten minutes.’ In a surprising move, my partner declines this offer, noting his well honed will to survive.
So as usual, I will have to do it myself. I suck at the following: 1) changing lightbulbs; 2) pretending to like arm day; 3) operating expensive espresso machines; 4) using fast forward buttons; 5) sitting still long enough to let nail polish dry; 6) modesty. I hasten to add that I am pretty great at every other fucking thing you can imagine. ABT and I discussed this topic at length while I was visiting him in London last week. We got along swimmingly, drinking wine and agreeing that we are both incredibly talented, hard working, and intelligent people. So why are we not more successful? More famous?
According to many well educated ‘personal development’ coaches, highly successful people are decisive and never procrastinate; they are positive, live in the present, seek out the unknown, and are relentlessly curious. Both ABT and I fit the bill so far. To continue, successful people also ‘network‘, a term important enough to require bold font. Hmmm. Here is where I might be failing, for I do not have a rolodex, much less a ‘rolodex full of people who value the successful person’s friendship and return their calls.’ Oops. Maybe this diagram will help me to improve in this area:
Nope. I still suck at networking, in person and online. While at the University of London conference last week, for instance, I should have first identified and then chatted up the most influential academics present. In fact, I received lessons at my American grad school about how to hand-shake firmly and eye-contact directly anyone who might be of future use to me. But what did I do instead? I skipped the lunches, dinners, and final banquet to workout and blog. I suck. ABT sucks too, admitting that instead of indulging in self-promotion while at gigs or DJing, he befriends the lowly doorman or buys drinks for beautiful, stupid women. He is indeed—and I say this without prejudice or bias—one of the most musically talented people in the world, able to play any instrument, engineer any song. He takes risks and works hard. Unfortunately, like me he neglects to kiss the right ass. ‘We are simply too smart and have too much integrity to become famous,’ we affirm, laughing until we cry and then laughing again.
Here is another bold characteristic of successful people: ‘They do less, and they do it well. Successful people think that it’s highly unproductive to have a lots of projects going on. To contrast this, they get rid of all the projects where they are wasting time and they focus on the few that are providing the highest value in return.’ Ummm. Double crap; this is another quality I lack. Easily bored, I take on new projects all the time, moving away from my work on King Louis XIV’s anus to become a figure girl, teaching revs classes and then writing a book about natural history museums. Although I love to learn and do new things, a little consistency would help, making me more brandable. Even this blog site is too diverse, ensuring that it will never truly become popular, never reach the ‘tipping point’ that ABT told me about. I need to focus on one marketable thing and then deliver that one thing reliably, like McDonald’s. Or that cleverly pissy David Thorne at http://27bslash6.com. He has 150,972 facebook likes; I have 265. One of them is a 17-year-old who called me a ‘MILF.’ I am doomed. ABT is the same way. With his open and curious mind, he tries everything, playing many kinds of music. If he was less engaging and talented, he would find his niche and then beat it like a dead horse, making a shitload of cash in the meantime. With a sigh of self-respect, ABT admitted that this was unlikely to happen any time soon. Or ever.
On the bright side, I definitely value the friends I have, even though they cannot further my professional career goals or even give me money. Just the other day one trusted female friend texted to say that she was desperate for a ‘lady-chat.’ When we met later at a local pub, she sat down, looked at me with disappointed eyes, and then shook her pretty head. ‘Uh oh,’ I surmised, ‘man trouble?’ For the past few months, my lovely gal pal has been online dating an amazingly promising chap, who is sweet and attentive, undemanding and thoughtful. ‘Yesterday,’ she said ‘he sent me a picture of his cock.’ ‘Oh no!’ I say, stressing the ‘no’ part of this sympathetic response. ‘But why?’ I wonder. ‘That is what I would like to know.’ ‘Maybe,’ I guess, ‘he considers the dick shot a kind milestone, like a two-month celebration. You might get to see his puckered butt hole in four more weeks.’ ‘Ugh,’ my downcast friend replies. ‘On the bright side, at least it wasn’t an image of his hairy ballsack.’ We laugh bitterly. ‘I would like to know what woman in the world actually wants to receive close up views of man cock?’ she questions. It’s as if she can read my mind. ‘If women claim to enjoy having such photos on their cell phones,’ I say, ‘they are lying, just like when they fake orgasms in order to protect a man’s fragile ego.’ After a few minutes of silence, my porn-unhappy friend proclaims: ‘What’s wrong with sending flowers? How about a box of chocolates? That would show he cares.’ ‘Well,’ I opinionatedly assert, ‘he is clearly a cheapskate. He probably learned that it would cost $29.99 to send flowers, and then glanced down at the free contents in his pants. Out came the fucking camera and the rest is history.’ We are giggling like fools and the other patrons are starting to stare at us.
‘So show me the damned picture,’ I say. More laughter. ‘Well, it certainly seems to be fully functioning.’ Good god. We shake our heads, vainly waiting for the flowers and boxes of chocolate to arrive. Yeah. It pretty much sucks to be an old-fashioned girl in this crazy networked high tech world. But I have a plan…