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The courting adventures of unemployed man!

By Bernard Chapin
web posted December 8, 2003

Some of our readers are already familiar with my friend and collaborator, Yakov, also known as Common Sense. Truly, he is a man of all souls and few would question that a bright future awaits him. Therefore, imagine my disappointment to hear him say, two Fridays ago, that he had been laid off from his job.

I immediately tried to console him but found that he didn't need it. He was euphoric. Yakov's angle on the pink slip was, "Nah, this is great. I'm guaranteed unemployment checks for twenty some weeks. I could have kissed those Japanese guys' feet. It's like 2002 all over again! I'm going to have the time of my life. Christmas has come in November this year."

On Sunday, however, his voice was different. His mood was somber. I asked him if something was bothering him, and he said he was worried about a first date he had scheduled for later that night. He suddenly fathomed that he'd have to explain to women why he was on the dole.

He asked me, "What if she asks about what I do for work?"
"She will," I answered. "That's why you have to lie. There's no way around it. Just say that you still work for the last guys. It's only a two week distortion. As far as distortions go, this one is pretty minor."
"No, I'm not going to do it. I will not lie. It's my code. I try to lead a falsehood free life."
Now, I admire my friend's stance and agree with his outlook, but I'd say I was still on salary if I were him. "Well, CS, you're going to need to make an exception in this case, buddy."
"Bern, no offense, but I'm better than that. I'm not going to lie to get chicks."
"That would explain a lot." I told him.
"Shut up. You can do whatever you want but I'm going to level with her. Don't worry, I'll tell you what she says good or bad."
"It'll be bad" I warned.
Then, a strange thing happened. I had an epiphany. It was as if some quasi-scientific spirit entered my ear and whispered "this would make a great experiment. The world wants to know."
"Wait a minute," I announced. "We could turn your dates into a study to see how girls react to the fact that you don't have a job. This will be huge. It will rock the academy, and maybe even the rock and roll McDonalds. Then, next year, after intensive analysis, we could present our findings at an alternative reality science conference."
"You know of a lot of alternative reality scientific conferences then?" He asked.
"Don't mock me, Yakov. This is good stuff. Everyone will want to know the results. Then they'll test, retest, post-test– "
"The results are going to be me getting rejected."
"So? You're the one to doubt it. As for me, I fully expect a bloody house-o-rama. This is going to be worse that when the Russians took East Prussia in 1945. But regardless, let's have some fun with it. Since you're going down you might as well make a joke out of it."
"What if things go well on the date even after they hear I'm unemployed."
"Listen Common Sense, at age 32, it's time for you to lose a few illusions. None of these chicks are ever talk to you again if they find out you lost your job."
"That's a pretty shallow thing to say. How do you know that?"
"Okay, man you just keep waiting under that tree for Santa and say hi to the Easter Bunny for me the next time you see–"
"Look, I'm just saying there's a chance that they'll like me anyway." Suddenly, Common Sense had an epithany too. Wait a minute. This will be just like Joe Millionaire–except I'm not tall or model underwear. I'll go out with these girls and find out which ones really like me for who I am as opposed to what I've got."
"Yeah, but with you and I on the show it would have to be more like Joe Twenty-buckonaire. Listen, how many girls you got lined up right now or are talking to on the phone?"
"This one's it."
" Let me see if I can't drum another one up."
"What about those two girls from last month you were going to hook me up with."
"Oh the better looking one fell through. Apparently she realized you were friends with me which damaged your reputation beyond repair. Next time when I introduce you to a girl tell them that I'm your pool cleaner. Oh, that's right, you can't say that because it would be a lie."
"Shut up. What about the other one?"
"She wouldn't let me forward her number to you because you told her you like twenty-year-olds best."
"She's 35."
"That chick has to lighten up."
"Fine. Look, what I'm saying here CS, is that we must conduct this experiment. If things go well on your dates then you say nothing silly, but, if you can tell you're going to get knocked out of the box anyway, let's have some fun. We'll make up a bunch of crazy things for you to say or do and then we'll observe how they react."
"Bern, it's a tough sell, but for science, I'll do it. The project's bigger than the both of us."

Thus, the madness began, and for the next hour on the phone we came up with timeless "buzzkill" behaviors in response to his dates getting nasty about his lack of work. Ideally, he should display only a few behaviors on each particular date. Then, the next day, he'll write down what he did and how they reacted. Then, if we're on to something and derive good data, we'll then ask our friend, Johnny Q-bacca, to replicate it on his own. There was no telling where it could all go. Below are the 20 ideas we thought up.

Our Comprehensive List of Low-Status, Omega Man Behaviors

  1. After informing her that you don't work, look into her eyes, grab her hand tenderly and say, "I support the women's movement. Don't you?"
  2. Add if needed: "I quit working so women could get a chance at the top. In this way, my inactivity empowers you."
  3. Continue along same lines, "it's time women developed self-efficacy. Put me in my place by pampering me and buying me stuff. I'll even let you pick out the color of the lingerie you want me to wear." Then, slap her back and exclaim, "You've come a long way baby!"
  4. Get a large blue suit with cape and put a block "U" on your chest. Then cruise around restaurant yelling, "It's a bird, it's a plane, it's…Unemployed Man."
  5. Make the date a musical experience to make up for what little else you're offering. Warm her heart with the seasonal:
    " Well the weather outside is frightful
    but your hips are quite delightful
    I'm so broke I can't even pay attention
    Pay the check, pay the check, pay the check!"
    It'll be as if Bing Crosby entered the room and spit up on her ear.
  6. Then, if she gets lippy, run out of the restaurant leaving her with the bill. Yell, "unemployed man violated by rich heiress! Police! Police! I can't be bought--for that little money."
  7. Tell her that you always wanted a woman as a breadwinner and that your favorite song is "I was born a coal-miner's daughter." Hum it under your breath and inform her that you're planning on living the same kind of life Loretta Lynn did in the movie.
  8. Pretend to read an article from Time Magazine documenting how cabana boys are back in demand for women of all ages. Discuss how the film, "Cabin Boy," changed your life.
  9. This one is Common Sense specific. Heavily and teary eyed relate to her how much pressure you are under from being unemployed. Confess to her how difficult it is to get through the day–awake. Our man Yakov sets his alarm for 6:30 am just so he can hear Howard Stern until 10 am, but he added with lament, "I never really get quality sleep during the program so I snooze afterwards until 2 pm to make up for it. Then, with traffic beginning to get nasty, I realize they'll be no errands for the day so I mosey over to Starbucks to survey the talent." Friends, have pity for CS. You, nor I, understand the pressure he's actually under.
  10. If that story doesn't give her the puppy eyes, begin sobbing heavily–that'll work for sure (at least when we laugh about it later).
  11. If she lets you into her apartment, excuse yourself and then go into the living room. Once there, rummage hysterically through her sofas for loose change. Jump up and down like Tyrell Owens if you find a quarter, and pocket it in front of her saying, "finders keepers."
  12. If she orders an alcoholic beverage on the date, inform the bartender that she's pregnant and that he has to cut her off or he'll be harming the love child of the local football team.
  13. If she orders a coke, howl "What do I look like, a Rockefeller?"
  14. When you get to the diner, say that your full as you just ate the day before, and don't want anything. Stare at her disapprovingly if she orders anything over $1.80. Then, when her food comes, eat all of it.
  15. Bump into her while walking down the street in old pickpocket fashion. Then say, "Sorry, I guess you don't keep your wallet in your back pocket. Can I see your purse for a minute? I was thinking of getting one for myself."
  16. Scream, when she tries to leave, "I'm not a bum! I'm merely underserved by the economy. You're doing Allen Greenspan behind my back. Why deny it?"
  17. If a neighboring table gets up to use the facilities, frugally begin to eat the food off their plates. Inform your date, "it's cheaper this way. Why don't you do it too?"
  18. Tell her with a knowing smile that "Gimme Some Money" is your favorite song off the Spinaltap soundtrack.
  19. Confide in her about what you regard as a little know secret to the good life, and that is that sex is always better when you pay for it. Say that the patriarchy has prevented women from enjoying the fruits of paid intercourse for years. Tell her with pride that your body is worth at least a $1.50 per month on the street and that, if you say that you love her, then it doesn't count as prostitution.
  20. Rub her shoulders, tease her hair, and then tell her it's not about sex. It's actually about her floating you a few fins so you can get back your heat, electricity and cable. Oh yeah, and getting the car back from the repo man won't hurt either.

Date Number 1

Well, he had the playbook, now it was time to execute. Our man, Yakov, was pretty nervous before his date due to all the stuff he had to remember. The night did not begin auspiciously as he had to pick her up in his beater, but when he got there she looked divine. He was quite enthused. We'll turn to him for the play-by-play:

"The first thing she did was make fun of my car a little. Then she noticed that I had kitty litter in the back seat and said it was too bad because she's allergic to cats. Then she made a joke about how she might not be going home with me that night anyway so it wouldn't matter. When I heard that I was like 'Schwing!' Man, after that comment I was really into it. We ended up at a sushi place where she excitedly talked about herself for an hour. I, of course, pretended to listen. Things were going great. Then, she popped the question: ‘What do you do?'

I cut to the chase. I told her that I was unemployed. She got nervous right away. She asked me how I could afford dinner, and I missed a chance to joke about her paying for it so I wasn't worried. I told her about my going to law school and that I had unemployment insurance to keep me above water along with my savings."

"What happened then?" I interrupted.

"The date was over. She then talked about a boyfriend she had never mentioned before [and probably does not exist] until I took her home."

Here, I felt obligated to remind CS of his duty. "Did you use any of our behaviors?"

"Not a one. I was too bummed out."

Gee, I can't say I blame him, but now at least the two of us have done a little research for the next guys who wish to stand on the shoulders of giants and provide the world with data concerning this completely obvious phenomenon.

Bernard Chapin is a writer living in Chicago. He can be reached at bchapafl@hotmail.com.

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