I been dogged and I been driven
Ever since I left my mother's home
I been dogged and I been driven
Ever since I left my mother's home
And I can't see no reason why
That I can't leave these no-good womens alone
~ Robert Johnson
Cuckoo for pretty girls! That’s what I was. Yup, there was a time when just the sight of a pretty girl would make my eyes bug out, my palms get sweaty, my tongue get tied, my brain catch fire, and whatever I was wearing instantly turn into pajamas. You get the picture?
If not, this one will have to suffice:
[Stephen in the presence of a pretty girl.]
~ Medford Evans
Yes-sir-ree, I had it bad and that warn’t good. Ah, but that was long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away. At this point in my life, the most I desire from even the prettiest of womens is that they don’t spill any of my margarita while carrying it to my table; that they don’t forget to tell the cook, “No ham in that Spanish omelet”; and that they don’t overcharge me on my Geritol at the checkout counter. Yes, times have changed for me.
Women: can’t live WITH them, can’t live with them.
~ Torch Nordan
That’s not to say that I don’t still appreciate looking at a really attractive woman. I mean, I’m still all man – all that’s left of me anyway. But I confess it: I’m old and tired now. I’d be an easy dog to hunt with except that, nowadays, this dog won’t hunt. Aww, well, “life goes on long after the thrill of livin' is gone” (as an unwise man once sang).
I never gave much thought to marriage, to be honest. I just always assumed that I would wind up that way like everyone else. I didn’t deliberately avoid marriage; I didn’t fear it, but neither did I seek it. I figured marriage “is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.”
Both marriage and death ought to be welcome:
the one promises happiness, doubtless the other assures it.
~ Mark Twain
I can still recall a family vacation we took with our cousins back when I was maybe twelve years old or so. We were laying out on the beach of some lake – either Big Bear or Arrowhead – when I decided to return to the cabin for something I’d left behind.
As I was walking away across the sand, I overheard my uncle say to my parents about me: “That one is really girl crazy. You’d better keep your eye on him or he’s going to wind up married too soon!”
What you need is on the menu and you get it tonight
Buddy, you got womens on your mind
~ Han Valen
Yup. That was me: cuckoo for pretty girls. Making it all too ironic that I never did get married. Heck, not even once.
Well, the thing is, I never had good luck wid womens. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that I actually had bad luck wid ‘em. And it started early . . .
Despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, I have not yet been able to answer…the great question that has never been answered: What does a woman want?
~ Sigmund Freud
One of my earliest crushes was on this little girl named Mary Ellen. That was when I was eight and nine years old. We were living in The O.C. then (Orange County – the primary White Trash center south of Bakersfield, California). Mary Ellen and I both spent our after-school hours at a daycare center waiting for our moms to get off work and pick us up.
Women have been my trouble
Since I found out they weren't men
~ Waylon Jennings
In the backyard, I would rush up and kiss Mary Ellen flush on the lips every time I found her hanging helplessly upside down on the monkey bars. (It wasn’t until some years later that it dawned on me that Mary Ellen spent most of her time upside down on the monkey bars. That girl was deliberately wearing my lips out!)
What do you get when you kiss a guy?
You get enough germs to catch pneumonia.
After you do, he'll never phone ya.
I'll never fall in love again.
~ Dionne Warwick
Unfortunately, before our relationship could graduate to the swing, the slide, and the teeter-totter, my parents up and moved the family to Santa Monica. I still vividly remember saying goodbye to Mary Ellen on the sidewalk next to Iva Meairs Elementary School in Garden Grove. My bad luck with womens had just begun.
You love her, but she loves him,
And he loves somebody else;
You just can't win.
And so it goes ‘til the day you die;
This thing they call love,
It's gonna make you cry
I've had the blues, the reds and the pinks;
One thing for sure:
~ J. Geils
As the years wore on, I went from one love interest to another. At Grant Elementary School in Santa Monica, I fell like Charlie Brown for a little red-haired girl. That was a groovy, psychedelic Brady-like relationship (it was, after all, 1969/’70 and the height of the Hippie Era). Things were Far Out, man, until I acquired braces to close the gap between my two front teeth (or the “rat hole” as a friend once called it). One day the little red-haired girl called me “tinsel teeth.” Good grief! ‘Bye-bye, little red-haired girl. Ah, no worries, there are other fish in the sea.
A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.
~ Irina Dunn (10+ years prior to marrying Brett Collins)
In high school, although I was pretty occupied playing sports and involved in some other extracurricular activities, my thoughts occasionally turned to girls. OK, I’m not gonna lie to you - it would be more accurate to say that my thoughts occasionally turned AWAY from girls. I was always looking for a girlfriend when I wasn’t wrestling or body-surfing. And sometimes even while I WAS.
I sort of found that girlfriend once, too. Michelle was her name and I asked her to go to the Senior Prom with me. But she was only a junior and her mom nixed that idea, telling her that if she went to the prom with me, her own Senior Prom the following year would seem anticlimactic. Just my luck!
So, on the night of my Senior Prom, I went to Jack-In-The-Box with my buddy Eric. Oh, it was a “memorable” time!
I don't think about money
'Cause it depresses me when I do
I don't think about women
I'm just takin' lumps for hard nights, rhythm and blues
~ Rock 'N' Roll Johnny
I ran into Michelle a couple of years later working in a clothing store at the Fox Hills Mall. We got to talking and I learned that her family had moved to a new district late in the following school year. Being the new girl in school, she was relatively unknown and therefore no guy asked her to her Senior Prom. I guess Michelle had the ‘Bad Luck With Mens’ Blues in the same way that I had the ‘Bad Luck With Womens’ Blues. (I’ll also bet she wanted to strangle her ma!)
[LOL by S.T.McMe]
“Stephen, I miss you in my life. I almost feel like I gave my soul away.”
~ Ms. Venus; October, 2007
“Stephen, the difficulty I’m experiencing is that you … believe, so strongly, that you know the “real truth”, that an open discussion doesn’t seem possible or pleasant. Given that, I’m not going to defend or explain my opinions and beliefs to you.”
~ Ms. Venus; August, 2008
It’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind.
Immediately after high school graduation, I started working in the movie industry where I met the sweetest, cutest girl named Lisa Ayres but whom I now refer to as Chantilly Lace. I was falling pretty hard for her when she went back to school and I lost track of her. Love is a many splintered thing.
Genesis 3:16 tells us that after Eve transgressed God's rule and then enticed Adam to also eat the forbidden fruit, God pronounced judgment on her and stated, "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." This goes to show that sometimes even God is only half correct.
~ Stephen T. McCarthy
I was just getting interested in this other gal who was just getting interested in me too, when I learned from a reliable source that she was bisexual. DOH!
Now for some guys, that wouldn’t be a problem - in fact, it might be considered a “bonus”. But with my traditional values . . . fuhgeddaboudit! I won’t be left for another woman! (Ooh. That didn’t come out right.)
Mormon man: “I’ll wager you can’t cite a single passage in the Bible which forbids polygamy!”
Mark Twain: “Sure I can: No man can serve two masters.”
Well, my “relationships” (if I can use such an ambitious word) with womens were up and down, climbin’ then crashin’ ‘n’ burnin’, for a couple of years afterwards.
I don't know, but I been told
A big-legged woman ain't got no soul.
~ Led Zipperz
But it was the oddest thing: the Hispanic womens seemed to like me. I didn’t understand it then and I’m no closer to understanding it now, but for whatever reason, Hispanic womens were far more apt to be attracted to me than were White womens. I had come to realize that while the Mexican girls thought I was hot (well, lukewarm anyway), most non-Hispanic womens wouldn’t even give me the time of day. I’d stagger up to a Cindy or a Sally or a Susie at the bar and say, “Hey, baby, you got the time?”
“It’s two to one you’ll get one to ten if you don’t leave me alone.”
Wasted away again in Margaritaville
Searchin' for my lost shaker of salt.
Some people claim that there's a woman to blame,
But I know, it's my own damn fault.
~ Jimmy Buffett
Then one night I had a dream. I found myself in the company of the ideal woman – my soulmate. It was not an erotic dream at all, rather, idyllic, like some scene from a love story filmed through snow-white gauze and slightly out of focus. I was in perfect love with this young woman and she was perfectly in love with me. There was some music playing in this dream - soft, gentle, beautiful music - achingly beautiful. The music, the scene, and the girl pierced my heart and left me nearly breathless.
What a dream I had, pressed in organdy
Clothed in crinoline of smoky burgundy
Softer than the rain
~ Simon & Garfunkel
The dream was exceedingly lovely and the moment I awoke, I knew that the music I’d been hearing while dreaming was the song ‘For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her’ by Simon and Garfunkel. From that day forward, I attached the name “Emily” to my mental image of the ideal woman. I knew that when I found my future wife, I would be finding the “Emily” of my dreams (even if her name turned out to be Ramona).
Piano rolled blues, danced holes in my shoes
There weren't another other way to be
For loveable losers, no account boozers
And honky tonk heroes like me
~ Waylon Jennings
I was not one to risk facing a whole lot of rejection, so I rarely asked a woman out until I was already fairly confident that she was going to say “Yes.” I recall the night I dated Janna. She was one of the few girls who possessed enough courage to hang out with the boys and me (the League Of Soul Crusaders) from time to time. Gradually, I got to thinking that Janna was nice looking and not too talkative and that she might agree to go out with me, so I axed her.
Human intellect cannot estimate what we owe to woman. She gives us good advice, and plenty of it. She soothes our aching brows, she bears our children – ours as a general thing. … What, sir, would the people of the earth be without woman? They would be scarce, sir, almighty scarce.
~ Mark Twain
I took Janna to dinner one night, and while she was sitting there across from me in the restaurant it suddenly came crashing into my mind that – DOH! – she looked just like my sister, Bonehead! I kid you not, the whole night I couldn’t get it out of my mind that I was dating my sister. Well, I say “the whole night” like this was an A-List date, but the truth is, the moment I realized how much Janna looked like Bonehead, I couldn’t wait for the date to end. I took her home kind of early, then I went and poured myself a strong drink and tried to
whisk(y) that night out of my mind. I never asked the po’ girl out again and she never knew the reason why.
You think I was being unreasonable, don’tcha? You think I was exaggerating; making a mountain out of a molehill, right? Oh yeah? Well, take a look for yourself! Here’s a photo of Janna. She’s on the right in the colorful pastel blouse:
And now here’s a picture of my sister, Bonehead, in the back of my old Chevy Luv truck:
[Bonehead in my truck. Just my luck!]
Hey, who’s the wiseguy who wrote “Uhp! Your [sic] an idiot!” across the side of my truck? Well, I suppose it WAS past time I washed that vehicle.
When a girl marries, she exchanges the attentions of many men for the inattention of one.
~ Helen Rowland
My love life continued with its ups and downs (mostly valleys with very few “high points”, unless tequila was involved). And then one day I got the idea to ask Gloria out. Gloria was one of Bonehead’s best friends and that’s one of the reasons I had never really given thought to dating her previously. Did I REALLY want to date one of my sister’s friends? Wasn’t that just complicating an already complicated thang? Was I really so desperate as to stoop to THAT?
But Gloria was a very sweet and somewhat shy, attractive Hispanic girl – just my type. And I guess I was her type, too, because I came to realize she was attracted to me. I don’t know if my sister told me so, or if I figured it out myself, but it’s probably the former because I always was pretty dense when it came to discerning a woman’s interest in me.
Wedded persons may thus pass over their lives quietly...
if the husband becomes deaf and the wife blind.
~ Richard Taverner
The whole gang, including Gloria, had plans to go that night to the Sunspot, a dance club situated on the Pacific Coast Highway between Santa Monica and Malibu. Earlier that day, I made up my mind that I was finally going ask Gloria for a date. At some point, I would approach her at the club and ask her to go out with me – alone – the following weekend. I didn’t mention my intention to any of my friends. Aw, but I should have. Bad Luck struck again.
[Stephen and Gloria at Bonehead’s wedding.]
That night at the Sunspot, before I had found the right moment to approach Gloria, my buddy Dean suddenly comes bounding up to me and says, “Hey, guess what! I just asked Gloria out. We’re going out next weekend.” DOH!!! . . . “Hard luck and trouble is my only friend … If it wasn't for real bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all.”
Well, obviously, dating Gloria was a no go. To ask her out now would make it look like I was trying to steal a girl from my buddy. The cowboys in the white hats don’t do that.
The girl I love, I stole her from a friend
He got lucky, stole her back again
~ David Lindley
Then there was the cute Mexican-American gal, a co-worker of mine, who was getting married in a week. She and I were talking one day when she told me privately that other than her fiance, there was only one other guy she was always interested in. Yup, “Yers Truly.” NOW she tells me! The ‘Bad Luck With Womens’ Blues – I has ‘em.
Believe it or not, this was just the first of two times that a Hispanic woman told me after she was married or committed to a marriage, that she’d always had an interest in me.
Barney Fife: “What’s so terrible about living the rest of your life without a woman anyway?”
Andy Taylor: “What?”
Barney: “There are plenty of guys living full lives without women!”
Andy: “Mmm… maybe.”
Barney: “Look at old Jed Mack there. He’s been living all alone out in that shack for twenty-five years. Is he complaining? Everytime you see him he’s happy, wearing a big broad smile.”
Andy: “Talkin’ to himself.”
~ “Man In The Middle” (1964)
But I shouldn’t give the impression that female relationships NEVER worked out for me. I mean, it isn’t like I didn’t score a Countess once.
The longest lasting and most significant of my romantic relationships was with “The Countess” – a half Mexican, half Irish lass. (It was her Mexican half that was able to tolerate me; the Irish half wouldn’t give me the time of day.)
That was a fine romance. “The Countess and the Cowboy” was truly an A-List Relationship. At least it was for me. We had a blast together; too many good times to count ‘em all and stuff ‘em in a saddlebag.
I turned the Countess on to Waylon Jennings and Roy Rogers.
[Waylon and Jessi: “Leather And Lace”]
Cowboys ain't easy to love and they're harder to hold
If you don't understand him, and he don't die young,
He'll probably just ride away.
Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys
They'll never stay home and they're always alone
Even with someone they love
~ Waylon Jennings
Everything I've ever really needed to know,
I've found in one Waylon Jennings song or another.
~ Stephen T. McCarthy
But it was an equitable relationship because the Countess turned me on to Glenn Miller and Gene Tierney (and Gene Tierney REALLY turned me on!)
That’s me on the left, bent over and studying something. The sports coat I’m wearing is a dead giveaway that this photo was taken at either a funeral or a wedding – Aw, but I’m being redundant. Actually, I’m pretty sure that this photo was taken at F-in’ Lelly’s “wedderal” (that’s when a man gets married and buried).
That Black dude with the flattop haircut standing behind me in that photograph is Lonnie, my best buddy at the time. He and I once took a “Start Your Own Greeting Card Company” class together, and now the S.O.B. is a professional cartoonist. You should buy his book ‘My Washcloth Stinks!’ Tell him S.O.B. sent ya. Stephen Of Blogland, that is.
~ John Lee Hooker
What did us in, the Countess and I, was our views of the future. What the Countess most wanted was to have a real family, complete with rugrats and traditional domesticity. Unfortunately, I felt differently. Having rugrats was never a desire of mine; I just couldn’t imagine anyone calling me “Pop.”
So, after five years, five months, no weeks and zero days, the Countess and I called it quits. But who’s counting? It was an era of good stuffs - one of the most fun times of my life.
A man in love is incomplete until he has married.
~ Zsa Zsa Gabor
Oh, I still get my hands on womens from time to time, but it’s not too exciting. Now, in my old middle age, this is as hot as it gets:
Them ‘Bad Luck With Womens’ Blues - I has ‘em. But really, I’m not complaining. I’m content in my rut, and satisfied with living the life of an old curmudgeonly bachelor. I wasn’t too terribly crushed to find out that “Emily” was just a myth - an unrealized “dream.” It’z all good ‘cause I ain’t got no one yakking at me to take out the trash and mow the lawn; I can hang out with the boys at the barber shop as long as I want; I can “drink scotch whisky all night long” and I ain’t got no anniversary to remember or it’s the death of me.
I consider my bachelorhood to be a blessing . . . when I’m not crying myself to sleep. Nah, I jest. I wouldn’t change it now if I could. Why do you ask? You available or somethin’?
All my friends are married
~ Tom Waits
Taking into consideration the general dissatisfaction of the vast majority of married couples known to me, and considering how half of all marriages end in ugly divorce, I can honestly state that I do not at all regret having never gotten married. And having read Stephen Baskerville’s shocking book ‘Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers, Marriage, And The Family’, I am absolutely convinced that any man who would get married in today’s America is full-blown, certifiably, totally out of his gourd insane. I’ve always been crazy but I ain’t insane.
His disciples said to Him, “If such is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.”
In fact, referring to our lifelong states of bachelorhood, my brother Napoleon once remarked to me, “That’s the only part of our lives that we didn’t fu#k up.”
Amen, brother Nappy, amen.
Let us sing . . .
~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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Dear Diarrhea… (Or, Journal Notes About A Crappy Love Affair)
‘My Washcloth Stinks!’ by Lonnie Millsap
[Buy his book; make the old man happy!]