Come As You Are


It’s been a while since I wrote anything that made anyone angry. But about 80 percent of you that come here and honor me with your keyboards are going to get really ticked off.

There’s something the “dashboard” of my blog that allows me to click and see who reads My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog. It shows where the comments, likes, and reblogs come from and I know that eight out of ten people who hang here are female. Well, guess what ladies, I’m a dude, I have testosterone, and while I love you,  I think some things you do, say, think, and promote are craphouse rat crazy.

My house’s doorbell rings a lot, every day. Most of the time it’s little boys ranging in age of five to sixteen, wanting to talk and play with my three daughters, who are eight, nine, and sixteen. A few days ago, one of those boys, who rings my doorbell more than most, shows up on my front porch wanting to talk to Tay. He’s been her friend who is a boy (I don’t use the other word because it will cause robot circuitry to malfunction and people will get hurt) for over two and a half years. He and Tay have been to two homecoming dances, numerous school functions, and even went to Disney World together (with the rest of our family). So they know each other well. Yet, there he was, with a bouquet of flowers in one hand and a balloon in the other. He was wearing a Yankees baseball cap, shorts, loafers, a dress shirt, a tie, and a sports coat. As my daughter bounded the stairs she caught me staring at the kid and jumped in the middle of us, swooning.

Really, Tay? A week ago you two were talking about not going to homecoming and now this is a romantic moment even with John Cusack stalking, I mean standing outside Ione Skye’s house, holding a boombox with Pete Gabriel’s In Your Eyes (the light, the heat) blaring?

A few days later, I come home and Tay and and her mother show me pictures of one of her cheerleading friends, whose friend who is a boy delivered her a huge cupcake (I swear Cupcake Wars is the zombie apocalypse) with a tiara on it saying something like, “every Princess deserves a Prince, let me take you to Narnia err homecoming”. Of course the twitter, the book of face and instagram blew up with these pictures. Instagram had to be involved, it was a photograph of food.

Here’s the kicker, and the one that will prove my thesis.

A boy, who really is just a friend to a girl, who appears to be really full of herself, had his Customs official daddy fly his helicopter (against regulations) and drop a Teddy Bear to the Ms. Whatever, asking her to homecoming. She gave him a lukewarm “sure”, then the kid bragged on the twitter “wait til you see what I do for prom”.

I hear the words oozing from my eighty percent female audience now, “Oh Lance, these gestures are so sweet and they honor women and you’re just a cynical butthole that needs to listen to Bon Jovi”. I love you all, but shut it.

What’s missing here is reality and actual communication. I did these acts. Well, I never had a helicopter, but I did other stuff, for women who eventually found more interest in dudes that did NOTHING.

I’m glad my daughter’s friend who is a boy, is a good kid that went the extra mile for her. But how about asking her like a man, not a Wal Mart paperback book.

What I’ve noticed in my children and their friends is they don’t do the small things with each other. They don’t talk, wonder, help, comfort or understand. They fly helicopters and make cupcakes, though!

Maybe my daughter and her friend will stay together and this latest romantic act will be a brilliant chapter in their lifetime together. But things like this tend to not last.

I’m romantic with my wife. The woman has jewelry she never wears because we’re busy working and taking care of kids. These boys (and girls) need to be taught communication so that relationships are more real.

*****blogger’s note****

Today’s song is the often misinterpreted Come As You Are by Nirvana. It’s about fake friendships. Turn it up.


53 thoughts on “Come As You Are

  1. J. Lake

    This sounds a made up suburban problem to me. Sorry, dude. Maybe you’re just trolling your audience here. Down here closer to Atlanta we worry about babies with babies and it’s terrible. Be glad that someone wants to be a gentleman with your daughter.

  2. Heh. Ya wanna know something that totally cheesed me off? When my publisher categorized Divorce as a romance. Because I hate, loathe, despise, and completely abhor ROmance. Do you know when I saw Say Anything? It was when my now husband, then boyfriend, said “Wait, you haven’t seen it?” and I figured that a chick flick that he liked couldn’t be all bad. (Later revelation: He has to screen the chick flicks. I’ll loan him out or temporarily trade outright for a dude who will go watch horror with me and not murder me when I complain if it’s imperfect and go “oh man this rocks” ever ten seconds if it is.)

    I’ve reached a point where I’m good with romantic. But. I hate the objectification of women. And gestures like the teddy-drop? They are a manipulation of power for the purpose of later objectification. Do not tell me that asshat expected a DANCE out of his little gesture.

    Now your daughter’s friend who is a boy actually sounds kind of OK. My Mom taught me my cynicism, but she also gave me a pretty fair sense that gifts are a good thing. A guy who isn’t willing to give you stuff – not necessarily material stuff, and a gift need not be a cupcake invite to the dance – may not be taking the time to know you. But, and this is the part that gets overlooked by the teddy-swooners, who probably also enjoyed the Jonas Brothers and maybe even Hansen. IT NEEDS TO GO BOTH WAYS.

    Scott, who does not write nonfiction, and I, who do not write poetry, exchanged heinously bad poems over the course of our courtship. We got each other gifts. Small ones. Because we were in grad school and fucking broke. A card here, or a stolen daffodil there. (Confession – I stole those things for him because it drove him batshit crazy when I did. He was sure I’d get arrested by the university police.)

    SO, the appropriate next step would be for Tay to get him something. Something that fits with what they are into and like to do together. Since she is not me, I will not suggest “something that will mildly embarrass him in front of complete strangers”

    Because you’re right. Fucking ROmance sucks. But romanticism, ah, now THAT’s what lives are built on.

  3. I liked how you backed up your points. You made some really good ones. 🙂

    We aren’t overly romantic here, but it’s the little things that count. I’d rather Chris turn the laundry over or buy me a snickers and fountain coke on the way home just because. And that’s our thing…the little things for each other.

    I think the flowers and balloons things are for amateurs cause they don’t know what to do yet.

  4. It has taken me a very long time to convince my husband that I truly, truly, truly HATE celebrating gift-giving holidays. If you’re going to buy me jewelry, you better make it a mood ring or a charm bracelet that ISN’T REAL because I will lose it. Flowers are dead plants. If they are actual plants, I will kill them. Candy is crap. I can go buy candy at the store. In fact, don’t buy me anything. If I want it, I’ll go buy it myself. The whole idea of gift holidays burns me. To me, buying me a gift because a predetermined holiday means NOTHING. Waste of money. Don’t bother. Though…. because Chris actually does like celebrating things (and says I am a scrooge) we have settled on going to the day spa and getting smoothies and a massage for gift-giving days. It’s something we both like and something we probably wouldn’t go do by ourselves because it’s more fun together. So, it works for us. But speaking of boys and girls…. and I may have already told this story, but it’s a proud momma moment, so shut up…… A couple years ago, Chris actually approached Jake and had the “porn talk” with him, and told him “If you’re ever interested, here are my playboys. Just don’t tell your mom I let you see them.” Jake replied, “Why would I want to look at playboys when my girlfriend is the most beautiful girl in the world? She’s the only girl I would ever want to see.” That came out of the mouth of a 15-year-old boy about a girl he had already known for 2 years and had never met in person. That was 2 years ago. In less than a week, he will be getting on a plane to fly to Arizona to meet her in person for the first time. And to date, I do not think he has ever looked at a playboy. If that girl breaks his heart, I will poke her little jezebel eyeballs out!

  5. Dude, I’m so with you here! Really, as a girl/woman, I am. My daughter is almost 22 and she thought all that crazy, goofy homecoming/prom crap was…crap (she had boyfriends and wanted them to just ask her sincerely and nicely without gimmicks)! And my 19 year old boy always just walked up to the door with flowers and nicely asked a girl to the dance. I, WHOLEHEARTEDLY, agree that communication, dating, asking, figuring things out between the two of you, has been left to facebook (not a fan, oh well) and twitter and texting that real human interactions (you know, the stuff we went through as nerve wracking and EXCITING) as it was is totally lost. So sorry….went off on this…HUGE pet peeve, irritation of mine. I hear you here!!!

  6. I am a female, but I completely agree Lance! I wrote a post earlier this year about being wary of men wielding bouquets as the only two guys to bring flowers on a first date (since post-divorce dating) were complete narcissists. I opined in my piece that you really can’t start evaluating a relationship closely until the Disneyland of dating is over. These over-the-top gestures are nice and women can get excited if they want, but give me a Lowes trip and home improvement project over flowers. Now *that’s* how you get to know if you want to spend a lifetime with someone.

    Great post.

  7. You make some good points. But maybe these boys are just more evolved? I agree that this is not the stuff of long-term relationships. But should kids really care about that? I think they’re just overflowing with hormones and need SOMETHING to do with them!

  8. Lance left out a few details. They have been dating for 2.5 years. The first 2 years they went to homecoming together it was a choice they made together. He wanted to do something special for her because it is her Junior year. There is nothing wrong in doing something special for the person that you care about. They both EQUALLY do special things for each other and both respect each other. This was not some silly goofy thing that a teenage boy did. Again, why is it a bad thing to do something nice for someone you care about?

  9. You know how I came upon that little helicopter gem (and subsequently read about the cupcake in that story)? Because give me an hour or so on Rt 66 and I’m where it happened. At first, I was like oh, how sweet (you know because the only man to ever bring me flowers is my husband) but as I kept reading? I wanted to smack that little self-absorbed “oh it happens to me all the time” wench and thrash those smug little comments right out of her. And the idiot dad who flew the helicopter in the first place?!

  10. Grand romantic gestures have always turned me off (even as a teen), but I definitely think I’m in the minority here. I do like the romance that shows someone pays attention to you in the smallest of ways. It’s funny because I have fond memories of the movie Say Anything, but if a guy had actually done that boombox move with me in real life? I would’ve hated it. My favorite thing to do, when I was a teenager, was to go to the park at night and talk while staring up at the stars. To me, that is romance. Reading this makes me even less ready for my little girl to grow up. I have a feeling she’ll love the grand gestures 🙂

  11. Huh, this is an odd post. I’ve been gone for a couple of weeks, and have lost the pulse of conversation (apparently). I don’t know diddly about some giant cupcake, and I haven’t a clue about the helicopter. As for romance overall… I am a diehard fan of it! It sounds like more than that is going on though…

    I’m a bit of a cynic, and have never been really good at the “dating” game. I am much more comfortable shifting a good friendship outside of the box instead, probably because of the communication (and the fact that I really want to know who I get close to,) but I am also single, and have been for a long time, (my choice) so consider the source. I’m not fond of the courting process, I would rather get past all that crap and get straight into who the person really is. It just makes better sense to me. When I am in a relationship; however, I love to be romantic, and romanced. Love notes in lunch boxes, petals strewn from the front door to the bedroom, or a favorite meal served in candlelight (that is unless it’s a hot dog at the ballgame LOL) are fun for me.

    Real is sexy 😉

  12. Sometimes you have do something over the top because time only allows you to IMPLY there is something more there. First impressions and all that. I dunno… not being a mushy girly girl type, no one really did anything romantic over the top for me. Except Mike actually… He surprised me once. And I married him. 🙂

  13. I’m hyperventilating over here. The teen years are coming and I just don’t think I can handle it…

    No, I’m okay now…

    I think you have a valid point. “Romantic gestures” can be really nice, but when we get to the point that they’re required or expected they lose their meaning. Personally, I blame the “treat your children like a Disney Princess culture” we live in. I used to work with a young man in his early 20’s. One day he was telling me about his girlfriend who he had been dating for six months. He bought her diamond earrings for their six month “anniversary” (don’t get me started on how irritating it is to call something that has existed for less than a year an anniversary). He was afraid she wouldn’t think it was enough. Diamonds! For someone he had been dating for less than a year. That isn’t ROMANCE. It’s one-upsmanship.

    Maybe I’m getting old, but for me romance is waking up and finding that the dishwasher has already been emptied or hearing “You seem tired. Let’s order in instead of cooking.”

    • I hate expensive jewellery. Flowers die. Don’t wear lingerie. Not a big fan of candy and besides, kind of fat. The Well-Travelled One is on a pretty good level with me on these things (except for candy, and me being fat. He’d probably disagree there)

      He openly declared when we started dating that he is ‘not into all that romantic bullshit’. Which, turned out to be bullshit in and of itself, because he does all sorts of nice, thoughtful things for me. Not grand romantic gestures with teddy bears and helicopters, but things like making breakfast for me and the kids on a weekday or picking me a flower when we’re out for a walk or just helping me with stuff around the house so that I have more time to relax. He’ll also burn me CD’s or movies if I mention a band or show I like.

      I think that’s the kind of stuff that tends to be more meaningful, long-term. Stuff that’s not all cookie-cutter cliche romance, but things that are more attuned to the person that you are with and who they really are and their wants and needs.

  14. Oh good grief, a helicopter, really? My husband is not “romantic” in the traditional sense of the word. I knew he was like that when I married him. He has always been very supportive of whatever I am doing, though. I have free range to be whoever I am and he never tries to hold me back or change me, but always encourages me. I would rather have that than flowers or gifts.

  15. Oh stop. You’re just a grumpy Dad who can’t stand the thought of some other male sweeping your daughter off her feet and away from you. Do you really think you knew about real communication when you were 16? I have a 16-year-old boy, he can hardly put a sentence together around a girl – even if he had a helicopter to shout it from.

    Relax Dad, I’m sure you’ll always be her number one boy.

  16. My dad always got suspicious and anti-romantic whenever My boyfriends did nice things too… Hmmm… Pattern?

    I do agree that most men do romantic things just to *ahem* get laid, at least in my past experience.

    I’m young still by all your standards (24) although I’ve been through a lot of relationships, some hellish and scarring and not in the teenage “oh he was mean Waaah” kind of scarring but the “I probably would be dead now”/abusive kind of scarring – (should essay them, sometime) –

    -and after those, having a man (I won’t call him a boy) who makes me a mix CD asks me things like: “can I help you do the dishes?” after his first dinner with my family Or “Can I help your parents move furniture this weekend?” is a LOT more sincere and romantic than any bouquet of flowers I’ve ever received! I have learned that is the true test of love: when I’m sweaty and tired and haven’t gotten a chance to shower and just want to sleep will he say, it’s okay, let’s just cuddle and watch a movie?

    Yeah, that’s true love.

    ….but I still think at your daughter’s age and the boy’s age, that _is_ “true love” to them and actually a really sweet gesture on his part. Only my highschool sweetheart was that cute until my current boyfriend now. Let her enjoy it, because she might have to deal with a lot of jerks after that point if things don’t work out with Tay!! For your sake and hers, I hope not. Any kid of yours and deanabo’s should be pretty smart though!

  17. Lance, I’m sure you expected a lot of estrogen-fueled backlash, but I agree with you. Lex and I were friends at church, then gradually things blossomed. I gave him my mom’s engagement ring, left to me when she died, and asked him to resize it once I knew he was getting ready for “the big moment.” I didn’t want new jewelry.

    I told Riley when she was a young teen, “I don’t care who you bring home. Honest. Any shade of brown, green, purple tomahawk, male, female, I don’t care, as long as they are worthy of you and you like and respect each other.”

    She hasn’t brought anyone home yet but WAS confident on “coming out” because she knew I was sincere, and so was Lex.

    The big showy guys always disappointed me. I think they were insecure about themselves, thought I would not think they were enough just as they were, that they needed fancy dinners and such to impress. Peacocks. (ha ha, just got that one) Lex is the one whose eyes I want to see across the table. We’ll be holding hands while our teeth soak in Efferdent someday… God willing! Love to you both, what a FAB couple! Amy

    • awesome comment

      I think the other commenters are touching on my overprotectionism but I’m sending this response sitting next to my wife as she watches some spooky ghost show and I catch up on writing. we love this and it’s not a big gesture. the kids are gone and we will spend some quality time together.

  18. As a guy, I have to agree with everyone who is “pro-friend-who-is-a-boy”.
    I couldn’t talk to girls at 16. I can barely talk to them at 40+.

    After all this time, if you have a good sense of him, and he’s a good kid, the romantic gesture is nice. And it’s nice that he wanted to declare so…vibrantly.

  19. Tiina

    I don’t think anyone should try to warn their children about the burdens of the real world. The real world will present itself. Your kids may do better, they may find what they are looking for, even if you didn’t. But more specifically, there is only one way a father can really teach his daughter. How he treats his daughters mother will be the only thing that matters in the long run.

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