City of Wuss

A young couple entered my Uber in Venice, heading for Hollywood.  They sat far apart in the back seat.   I soon heard what sounded like…sniffling, then the tell-tale exhale of deep sobs.   I started to reach into the console to offer her a tissue, then I realized she didn’t need one, he did.

And so it continued, all the way across town.

Who does this? Who weeps in front of a woman for 30 minutes?  Who weeps with another man in the car? Who can’t hold it together until the apartment?

But it didn’t end there.  He asked me, in a cracking voice, to please turn the radio up. To mask the sound of your shameful sissy tears, I thought to myself.  But no, he wanted to sing aloud to “Move Along” by The All-American Rejects, which he did with cathartic, pitchy elan.

What would Robert Mitchum think? He’d bitchslap both of us, me twice, for feeling guilty about judging. When I dropped them off, she marched away from him in silence while he followed, pleading his case in hand gestures.

Since I’m going to a shallow hell today, I’ll say it: she was not thin.

Colton Underwood cries (Courtesy of ABC)

What the hell happened to millennial men? Does no one police this?  Disney and Tinder seem to have done wonders for the women.    The men have gone a different direction.

In packs of four, they roll into the car, shouting into their phones: “Dude meet us at Harlowe. We’re swinging for the fences tonight.  If it’s not popping, we’re going to Lubitsch.”  Do you have an aux cord? I wanna play some fire.  Then they argue amongst themselves about what constitutes “fire”.  Forty minutes in West Hollywood traffic watching the lines in front of the clubs sucks the bravado right out of them.   They’re already talking about going for a taco run.

You pick them up at the end of the night, empty-handed, and they wrestle each other in the backseat. “I’m smashing Lisa. The countdown has begun. I got a number…..I’m calling Thursday.” “You’ll never do it.” “Friday, then.” “You’ll never do it.” They fall out of the car onto the sidewalk, punching each other in the gonads.

Two women take their place, as composed as swans gliding across a pond. “Hey driver, Jessica is turning 30-wonderful tonight. She’s feeling extra wonderful. What do you think about that?”

Here’s a depressing observation: I’ve had more women making out with each other in the back seat, than men with women. The last heterosexual makeout session unfolded like this:

She: Was this a date? He: What do you mean? She: Tonight. Drinks. Was this a date? He: I don’t know. Do you want it to be? She: Do you want a kiss? Say it was a date.

Then she cradled the back of his neck with her hand and pulled him toward her, the way you’d train a puppy.

I blame the phones, even though I shouldn’t.

17 thoughts on “City of Wuss”

  1. Meh. You’re in a very specific self selecting situation. Driving young people to clubs in WeHo and DTLA? That’s hardly a random representative sampling of Millennial men and women. Have you done much Ubering at the Dollar Tree in Pacoima? The coin-op laundry in Palmdale? “I told you to shut those kids up Bitch.” Ah, the soundtrack of my own childhood… Happy times. Happy times.

    1. Not the Dollar Tree, but I have Uber-ed people to visit their baby mamas in the hood. Technically, they got it together at least once.

  2. It’s not the phones. It’s this.

    Never, ever be average, drive a Honda Accord, live in a “cookie cutter” tract house, go to Applebee’s, shop at JC Penny.

    No girl will fuck you if you are this guy. Better to be destitute, living in a van, working on your album or your art, fooling her and yourself that you can one day be a rich and famous creative if only for this *one thing*. Narcissism cuts both ways.

    1. Jeez, I’m guilty of half these things. Is this why I have to negotiate with Mrs. UpintheValley? Now my memory is jogged a little…when I was penniless, sleeping on a dirty futon and rode a motorcycle I got what I wanted when I wanted it.

  3. Love this stuff, thanks. Thanks for the Mitchum mention, a perfect example of an American male, one of many of that generation on which I tried to model myself. The wife says I was successful, phew!

  4. Saying that you’re being shallow and then making a comment about her size doesn’t make it ok. I like your blog, normally, but wow. What the hell does her size have to do with ANYTHING that was going on between them?

    Try the same caveat with any other bias and see if it still feels ok to do.

    1. Your point is well taken. Caveats do not license discriminatory comments. I was viewing it through the gender power dynamic: Thin=beauty=the whip hand in relationships. Absent this, why the groveling?
      I won’t pretend nature’s biomechanics are fair, but we are hard-wired this way, to a point. If anyone is reading this and feeling not thin and insulted, I apologize.

      1. I was exploring Chernobyl with a random group of western tourists a few years back – mostly college students. Our local guide for our radiation vacation was a pretty young Ukrainian woman – also a college student. At one point while we were wandering around the ruins of Pripyat a couple of the guys commented that the Ukrainian would be attractive if she fixed X, Y, and Z about herself. I turned to them and gave them my best bitchy queen assessment.

        You. What are you? 24? 25? You already have a pretty serious beer belly under your unwashed Phish T-shirt. You think that’s sexy?

        You. With the greasy stringy hair and the week’s worth of stubble. You’re not Brad Pitt. And your dick isn’t nearly as impressive as you imagine.

    2. Mrs. UpintheValley has reiterated your point, ETA. She also helpfully pointed out that by including any mention of physical characteristics I have undermined my own argument, which is the inability of millennial “men” to interact manfully with women. In addition, classic physical appeal doesn’t always translate into power in a relationship, as amply documented by The Bachelor franchises.

      So I’m doubly chastised.

    3. Thanks for commenting, ETA.

      I read this, was taken aback, and being a fan of the blog, read it again to make sure it was as bad as it seemed the first time. I thought about commenting, but omg the thought of going on the internet and saying ‘hey there fella, talking about womens body size here is kind of messed up and undermines what might have seemed thoughtful at first’, but does any gal want to have that conversation with the internet (okay, with men on the internet)? No. No, they do not. I planned to just unsubscribe and move on, but your comment deserved a high five.

      I also figured the ‘apology’—if there was one/if the comment was published/if there wasn’t a defensive or mean reaction—would be exactly what it was (“If anyone is reading this and feeling not thin and insulted, I apologize.”), which could frankly be read as the polite modern man’s version of ‘ha ha you must be a fat b**ch yourself if you care about this’.


      1. Hey MB.
        When I wrote: “If anyone is reading this and feeling not thin and insulted, I apologize.”
        I was sincerely apologizing. Clearly, it didn’t read that way.
        I wasn’t insinuating anything about readers/commenters weight, nor their concerns with the original line.
        So I amended my comment.
        Don’t go away mad. You won the point.

  5. You move it to the left, yeah
    You go for yourself
    You move it to the right
    Yeah if it takes all night
    Now take it kinda slow
    With a whole lot of soul
    Don’t move it too fast
    Just make it last
    You scratch just like a monkey
    Yeah you do real cool
    You slide it to the limbo
    Yeah how low can you go?
    Now come on baby
    Don’t fall down on me now
    Just move it right here
    To the Harlem shuffle
    Yeah yeah yeah to the Harlem shuffle
    Yeah yeah yeah to the Harlem shuffle….

    You can’t really blame the phones, it’s the culture Millenials have grown up in. Instead of moving it to the left and right, they are swiping it to the left or right.

    Hey hey hey, do the Tumblr shuffle.

  6. Your comment on appearance is honest. The issue is on shifting reasonability of standards. Nobody’s purpose of existence is to please others. Unless one is a masochist, it would seem sensible to avoid unpleasant people to the extent it is possible as a social animal. Emotional incontinence is seldom pleasant. American Rejects – Move Along – not a leap to view it as someone was dumped, likely in public to avoid an honest and emotive private intimate discussion. The learned ideal is that it is “the inside of the person” where beauty resides and that the exterior of the person seldom is reflective of this fact. However it is disingenuous to deny there are not some acute double standards. So what is one to do when ubiquitously instilled ideals do not match reality – someone coerced into finding a physically unattractive person attractive despite a lack of attractive nucleus.

Comments are closed.