Saturday, April 12, 2008

Son, You Got a Panty On Yer Head...

Recently I heard this woman on NPR talking about an essay she wrote for the New York Times called "It's Not You, It's Your Books", the gist of which is that people have literary deal breakers in their relationships.

Being a native of Central Ohio I never really had a literary deal breaker in as much as I couldn't tolerate the company of someone who loved Ayn Rand or hated Dostoevsky, it was more like I was thrilled if the dude had a job, didn't have a mullet and could read at all, period. It was an extra super-duper double coupon bonus (and I didn't care what genres were preferred) if he happened to list reading as high up on his list of things he enjoyed doing.

Holding out for an avid reader totally paid off in the end because my husband (even though he doesn't enjoy fiction the way I do and is more into history and politics) is so brilliant it makes me want to weep with joy.

I am totally biased about reading, maybe unfaily so, but I have this thing like if you don't read then you must be stupid. Not that I'm some genius (my lips move when I do simple addition and I may even go blank and begin to drool) and I have certainly run into many people in my life that have proved this theory wrong. I used to work with a guy (at the construction company) who was functionally illiterate (like couldn't even fill out his insurance forms), but had an amazing photographic memory and could eerily recite shit that he had overheard word for word.

So it's fine not to be a reader, chances are I probably would have had sex with you anyway although I most likely wouldn't have dated you publicly or introduced you to my friends.

The concept of the literary deal breaker is how I knew that my best friend Amys marriage to Assface was as doomed as doomed can be when, not even one full year after their wedding, Assface proudly and pompously announced that reading for pleasure was a complete waste of time.

Amy was floored.

I probably mentally nicknamed him Assface right then and there.

Imagine the shock and horror of my poor darling Amy at this news. Like finding out you're married to Joseph Stalin or Jesse Helms or Roy Cohn. Fuck, name any historic killjoy.

Not that she hadn't noticed in all that time that he didn't care for reading. But he was a student and she just assumed that he didn't have the time. It never occurred to her that he or anyone on the planet could actually be anti-reading. What the fuck?

As I was saying, I didn't really have a literary deal breaker so much but I did have a movie deal breaker.

I loved the movie Raising Arizona so much that I saw it twice in one day. I went to see it at the theater the day it opened with my friend M. She and I both worked in retail at the time and had Fridays off so we went to the movies a lot on Friday afternoons. Matinee prices. We were young and poor.

Raising Arizona was the fucking funniest thing I had ever seen in my whole young goddamn life. M and I laughed so much we missed half the movie so we decided to shell out for it again at the next show.

It was too good not to share so we went to the pay phone in the theater lobby (because back then "car phones", as they were called were only owned by oil tycoons, real estate barons and Hugh Hefner) and called in the reinforcements, her boyfriend, my best friend, her sister and all our other friends and demanded they meet us at the theater immediately for our second viewing. We called as many people as we had change in our pockets to call.

A little later in life when I met Dan and Nature Boy I knew we would all be great friends because they loved Raising Arizona as much as me. To this day we all make references to and quote from this movie to each other. Some highlights include:

Not unless round's funny.

Sometimes I get the menstrual cramps... real hard.

Does the Pope wear a funny hat?

Let me sneak a little peek-a-loo!

I'm crapping you negative.

These things aren't as meaningful or as funny typed out here on my blog, but trust me Raising Arizona is all kinds of funny.

When I was a young singleton, and some man-boy was poking around looking for a date and he either refused to watch it, said it wasn't funny or didn't get it - he was immediately ruled out and the connection was instantly dead. I felt like if you didn't get that movie than you would never get me.

Flossing was my other deal breaker. That tidbit is somewhat unrelated to the subject of this post but a reminder to all you young (and old) single people out there of the importance of dental hygiene.

Now... on the other end of the spectrum I had another movie deal breaker in that I knew that if the interested party claimed to love any number of the Police Academy movies, Porky's, or anything having to do with Steven Seagal or god forbid Chuck Fucking Norris, not only would never work but I might have just run away screaming.

Anyhoo... if you have never seen Raising Arizona, what the hell is wrong with you? Rent it immediately. I realize that it's 21 years old now, but I think it is every bit as good as it was when it came out. I plugged in this scene for you that I found on YouTube. I never realized how much punch the Cohen Bros. were able to pack into a 7 and a half minute scene. There is not a millimeter of film wasted.

What movie, book or music is/was YOUR dating deal breaker?


evil-e said...

My dating deal breaker is no pay/slow pay on their share of the bills. That is the reason I have kicked two girls out in the past. Also, if they cannot find the on/off switch on the vacuum or negotiate a fry pan once in a while they are history.

Before any feminists get in my face: I am a Felix Unger (neurotic neatnik who knows very well how to cook, clean and do laundry)

I am not a male chauvinist, I am a male fair-share-ist. Just help me out with the housework and the bills and you stay on my good side. I am domesticated male, hear me roar!

Family Adventure said...

I feel the same way about reading, and I'm slightly snooty about it. If you tell me you love the shopaholics books, we're unlikely to be best friends.

I don't actually have a favourite movie - the few that come to mind now involve lots of fighting due to living in a house filled with testosterone. The only recently seen movie that I actually enjoyed was Little Miss Sunshine.

Hope you're having a good weekend, and that the skies stay clear and the snow stays AWAY.


Anonymous said...

I love to read and I do A LOT of reading...therefore, I kind of get turned off when I meet a guy and he just doesn't get that a person can read for fun.

It's not a total deal breaker. If say, the guy has a passion for something else (such as music)...then I'm more willing to put the reading aside.

i am playing outside said...

i have yet to have such dealbreakers. although andrew reads and reads and reads, and im in school so i dont have time, because im already reading the most boring crap under the sun.

my problem is that i only like REALLY good books. just like i only like REALLY good movies. i dont want to watch or read something mediocre. i just dont know what to read!

SkylersDad said...

I floss while I read!

Yeah, I know, I have to beat the women of with a stick...

Tara said...

"Well okay then!"
I didn't realize that Dotty was played by Frances McDormand until I saw "Fargo". Then I recognized her under that hairdo. Love that movie, I've seen it a billion times and it still makes me laugh.

I agree, if they like Steven Seagal or Chuck Norris, that's a red flag.

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

Evil - we will have to remain internet friends I'm afraid, as I am a filthy pig. My teeth are excellent and I read like a son of a bitch, but criminettely I hate to clean.

Heidi - what are shopaholics books? I'll have to Google that and until then assume it's not dissimilar to Danielle Steele.
The weather here is chilly and damp but thankfully not even a hint of snow - so far.

Silver - you've got a point there about having a passion for something else. I suppose it would be unfair to expect someone to love reading as much as I do. Good thing I'm married and no longer have to worry about such things. hee.

Player - You are young and romantically attached. I was old and single and the deal breakers started piling up over the years as I went on more and more bad dates with men who annoyed me to no end.

That's the kicker though isn't it? Only you can be the ultimate judge of what is a REALLY good book or movie to YOU. In the end taste matters.

Skydad - Totally hot.

Tara - Frances M is one of my favorite actresses and she totally stole the show in Raising Arizona didn't she? Love her and Holly Hunter and John Goodman too. And the Cohen bros.

Chris said...

My wife and I held extensive negotiations before we tied the proverbial knot. We made a few compromises, but oddly enough the only single thing that was a "dealbreaker" for both of us was...

Neither of us would consider a relationship with a Republican.

We could compromise (within reason) on religion. We both needed the other to have at least one degree, but we could bend a little on that if need be (she has three to my one). Our past dalliances were of no consequence. Even money was negotiable (she made considerably more than I at the time). But politics? Dealbreaker.

And don't get me wrong -- there's nothing intrinsically wrong with Republicanism, or conservatism, it's just that both my wife and I have pretty strong feelings that lean the other way, and wouldn't be able to put aside our political leanings 24/7. We can have friends from "across the aisle," and we do, but the thought of having constant political disagreements in a relationship was unpalatable. My grandparents had a politically mixed marriage that worked for 60 years, but my God the arguments they had!

(Again, I wanna stress that there's nothing wrong with conservatism -- it's just that it's hard to live with someone with conflicting views day in and day out...)

Other'n that, she watches movies (I haven't seen a movie since "Prances with Wolves" or whatever that was called -- if it's not Monty Python or "The Jungle Book" I really don't wanna see it) and I read books.

Frenchie said...

Before I got married, the main dealbreaker would have been anyone who watched either WWF wrestling or Nascar. Nature Boy, however, went through a brief Nascar-watching phase last year, much to my horror. My jaw would clench when he would announce, "I just want to watch a few minutes of this race." It was, thank God, a phase however, and now it's over. For better or for worse, right?

Gwen said...

I think I have both, literary and movie deal-breakers - anyone I intend to be with HAS to read and has to have good taste in movies. I'd also add music as a deal-breaker, but admit that I spent 5 yrs w/a guy who was obsessed w/Rush. Twice during those five years I spent a week of my life driving all over the midwest seeing them in every city we could get to. I think my music dela-breaker was born on those trips.

My cousin and her husband love RA so much that they engraved, "You bet I do!" inside their wedding rings.

Renaissance Woman said...

I like to read and I am always reading something...but I'm not a quick reader and that gets frustrating. I am attracted to readers. Hope the fact that I don't read 100 books a year flags me as "deal breaker" material.

SkylersDad said...

I realized that while I was being glib, I didn't answer your question. I can handle differences in Movies and Books, but I think we must like the same sort of music. Otherwise it turns into a war while driving.

But my absolute #1 thing in a mate is they have to be themselves and not a poser. I hate people trying to be something they are not, and it is always easy to spot.

doorknob_dan said...

I think my movie dealbreaker was if someone didn't like The Big Lebowski. That's the type of humor that you've gotta have to make some sense out of me.

The other non-movie dealbreaker is if they can't name cities in at least ten different nations, because I plan on being on the lam a lot.

If you're helping me escape the fuzz you've gotta know that 'Sydney' is in a bunch of different places. I don't want to end up in the wrong country, because extradition laws can work against our relationship.

Leonesse said...

I have had to raise my eyebrows about being married to a non-reader. A highly intelligent, non-reader, but still... He is a doer, not a sitter.

I am proud to say that Leonesse Jr. is a huge reader after about 3 years of hating it because of that lovely No Child Left Liking School policy. Lion King Jr, on the other hand, still hasn't recovered. After 8 years of having to do MORE book reports than the other kids because he was in AP classes (Not higher level reading and comprehension, mind you, just more work) he just isn't interested. He stopped taking AP classes because of that reason. He wanted to learn more, not just be assigned more.

I read way more blogs than books right now. Pop on, pick up where everyone is, then pop back off. Reading (which I have always loved) just takes the time that I don't have nowadays.

Oh, and I have wanted to watch Raising Arizona since it came out and just never made it a priority. I will now! I love the Cohn bros.

The Guv'ner said...

Could I just ignore the subject at hand to say this is the most awesome blog post title I have ever seen. A panty. HA HA HA! Damn, you kill me.

pistols at dawn said...

Not putting out was always my dealbreaker.

Also, "Raising Arizona" is still brilliant.

Churlita said...

Movie and book choices are the least of my worries when it comes to men. for me, it's more like, are you abusive, do you lie and/or cheat? The rest is up for grabs.

Linka72 said...

*gasp* Oh..he's an angel, he's an angel straight from heaven!!
I swear Lady, I have just gotten a weird "girl crush" on you!! I thought I was the only person who thought that Raining Arizona was the funniest movie EVER!!
I realize that I have completely avoide dthe question..but I'm a jackass like that.

another good thing said...

Totally with you on the reading thing- though I can deal with a newspaper magazine man... but my true heart goes out to a male author...
as far as movies, if the guy is into international/indie stuff, he probably rocks- some of my best guy pals are artists and they get that whole world-
gotta agree with you on the Raising Arizona-- great lines in there.
H.I.: [thinking] If not Arizona, then a land not too far away. Where all parents are strong and wise and capable. And all children are happy and beloved. I don't know. Maybe it was Utah.

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

Chris - Politics is a big deal in this household - my darling is a card carrying Democrat with big opinions and a loud mouth.

My "you must think Raising Arizona is funny" deal breaker didn't last that long - my other deal breakers (that I can remember) were:

-Must not hate gay people
-Must not hate black people
-Must not hate any general group of people different than one's own.
-Don't be a hater.
-Must eat more variety of food than what's on the menu at Rally's
-Must smoke/not smoke depending upon whether or not I am smoking or not smoking at the moment.
-Must not say terrible things about parents unless charges were actually filed or entire family appeared on Maury Povitch.
-Must not sleep with other women and then lie about it.
-Must have job or some vague ambition to have a job.
-Must have some sort of income independent of parental units.

The list got longer the longer I stayed single and stopped really giving a shit about whether or not I ever found "the one" and was more interested in whether or not I was happy at any given moment.

This has turned out more like the 10 Commandments.

Politically MDH and I are pretty much in alignment on seeking fairness, honesty and tax paying citizens having the things in life that they need, medicine, food, and sound roofs over their heads.

Gwen - honey we've all been there. I myself was in a 2 year relationship with a man obsessed with Styx. I should have known better - he had a mullet too. He read technical manuals which was kind of weird, but he also read any book I suggested which goes a long way to explain why I put up with the bad hair-do and music selections.

Frenchie - Nature Boy is so fine I would be willing to tolerate some NASCAR now and then, but wrasslin' - no way. I can't get with his living off the grid fantasy either.

R-Woman - I'm not a fast reader either, but I read every day. It's like I can't not read every day.
I think when it comes to love we tend to throw all of our rules and regulations out the window
when the chemistry is right anyhow.

Skydad - I hadn't even thought of music when I wrote the post - I'm so darn lucky MDH and I mostly like the same stuff.
I roll my eyes but tolerate his Lion King soundtrack and Grateful Dead bullshit, while he rolls his eyes and tolerates my Gorillaz and Soul Coughing. We both love Rockabilly, Jazz, Western Swing and all things Punk.

Doorknob - if I were 10 years younger The Big Lebowski would probably have been my deal breaker movie too. I dated a guy once that was much younger than me and also very stupid. He didn't know anything or where anything was. We weren't trying to escape the law or anything, but it was really irritating.

Leo - Yeah! A convert. You won't be sorry. Raising Arizona is laugh out loud funny.

Guv - the title of the post is a line from the film - which is why you must see it.

Pistols - I got nothin' for that. You win.

As for the movie - amen brutha.

Churlita - I guess I already assumed those things would be deal breakers, but sometimes it's hard to tell if things are going to swing that way until it's too late and you're already invested in the relationship. I have a short fuse and when I was a dating single person I had very little tolerance for bullshit of any kind so probably never really dated anyone long enough to find out if they were abusive or a liar head. And damn lucky too.

Linka - well gosh I don't know what to say - I've never been somebodys' girl crush before. I will try to live up to the title.

AGT - hey! welcome back! of course readin' & writin' is important to you madame - you're a pro.
That's also probably why you appreciate such a fine script with not a wasted word or line.

Anonymous said...

Your hubby would like Wilbur Smith-- history in a novel form.
My hubby is like leonese's hubby-- doer, not a sitter. He only reads technical books. UGH.
Dealbreaker: TV shows about deer hunting. I CAN'T stand when they WHISPER "hey that looks like a big buck there--I'm getting up my shotgun, gonna shoot him now"
Hubby will be flicking through the channels, and stop on that, and look at me and grin. I run screaming from the room!!