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The Accidental PUA

Wildside Tales

by Wild Man, aka George Palczynski

Once Upon A Time I Was A PUA… Once, Kinda

What is a PUA? A PUA is a pick up artist; the envy of schlubs the world over. What is a schlub? A schlub is a male human who routinely trips over his tongue and most anything else when in proximity to a girl with distinctly girlish features… i.e., pretty. In other words, the PUA and the Schlub are on opposing terminals of a great lineal near cosmic spectrum. Where am I on the spectrum? Somewhere in that great place that’s called “the middle”. I insist it’s the middle nearer PUA. If anyone has reason to insist that assessment takes liberties with reality… keep it to yourself.

The following is based on actual events. Where memory does not well preserve the dialogue, it meticulously preserves the essence:

The place is crowded. A handsome female sits alone at a generous table for two. Twenty minutes later – status quo ante. I’m standing. I don’t mind standing. I am a young enough buck. I could strike a pose with the best of them – power, strength, elegance, and grace.

Aside: Bear with me. I claim, here, dramatic license. It’s my experience, my story, my memory, my perception, my finer points. Deal with it as best you can without resorting to speculative ornery dubiety… all right?

Resumption:

But I will not lead you astray. Let’s work backwards. I had grace… …when I was not moving. When I moved I was not clunky/awkward but… nearer them than graceful. To look upon me for the first magnificent moment, the better part of the population would have bet this bloke had it – grace. I hadn’t; just looked it. Mind, I was not a bumbler/stumbler. I could successfully dodge the furniture with seeming aplomb, but I could not dance on and around it like Astaire and Ginger.

Elegance! Yeeeaaah… …not so much; even though it didn’t require movement. I would cut a better figure in coat and tie than anything casual – but… but that’s true of most any guy; and I wasn’t wearing a coat and tie. It’s a bar with a big screen TV, a big ball game and happy drunks… and it was still morning. Power, strength, yeah, no sham there; it was unmistakable, though, not Promethean.

So, there I was, a mixed bag… and didn’t any of what was in that bag appear to be Adonis. So, there again, the record – stripped down to the truth. Now for the tale that’s as true.

To The Chase

I saunter over to the table for two with two sturdy chairs and the one handsome woman.

WM: Might I sit down… my name’s George?

Her: There must be an empty seat somewhere.

WM: Maybe, but none have you sitting next to it.

Her: (LOOK-THINK… near imperceptible eye-roll) SILENCE.

Aside: My Brain Churns Wildly! In all of a nanosecond, the following crosses my mind:

“CRAP! Did I just say that!… WTF man… Get IT THE FUCK TOGETHER!… Holy and cripes sake!… STOP doing David Niven!”

This was so unlike me, so alien, so out of character, so peculiar, so queer, so freaky-creepy… …but… I got my share of cool too… forgot to mention that.

Resumption:

WM: Look, I got a slightly bum leg – honest. I’ll leave soon as your friend shows… and drinks, on me.

Her: (with a slapdash flash of reluctance): Why not?

WM: (waves over waitress) What’ll you have?

Her:Drambuie coffee.

WM: What’s that?

Her: Shot of Drambuie in a cup of coffee and whip cream on top.

WM: What’s Drambuie?

Her: You never heard of Drambuie?

WM: Heard the name – don’t know what it is.

Her: Scotch and honey liqueur.

WM: (to waitress): Make that two. (to HER) sounds interesting… What’s your name?

Her: Carol

WM: Here for the game I take it.

Her: Yep.

WM: What’ll we talk about over the Drambuies?

Her: Must we?

WM: It’s that or awkward silence.

Her: I’m okay with that.

WM: Yeah right.

Her: Yeah right.

WM: You’ll regret it.

Her: Yeah?

WM: Yeah, all sorts of regrets.

Her: I doubt it.

WM: No one can resist being curious of a stranger. You’ll wonder tonight… hmm… was he rich, or, a cool guy, or… could he blow a mean trumpet?… might…

Her: (Laughter)

WM: There yah go – icebreaker! It’s on Carol.

Her: What’s on?

WM: We’re on. We’re gonna talk – not sit here like strangers, afraid the other’ll bite. Women always want to talk… talk.

Her: About what?

WM: Whatever. No limits. Anything.

Her: You start.

WM: Okay… what’s your favorite color?

Her: (another demure eyeroll… and some strange indecipherable sound nasally emitted – a ‘snort’!?!)

WM: Wait now. Before your eyes roll out of your head, I have first to tell you what your favorite color is by whatever means – guess, educated guess, deduction, induction… prayer…

Her: You swear this is a game?

WM: I swear it. When it’s your turn, you’ll ask me something and then tell me what you expect I’d say… capeesh?

Her: Yes.

WM: So… what’s your favorite color? I say it’s… …green.

Her: How did you get that?

WM: Your scarf has long swirls of dusky green. The thing hanging from your neck has a green stone of some kind… emerald? So… both your highlights are green, so… green!

Her: It’s green. And it’s not an emerald.

WM: Hah! Great, I’m up one. Your turn.

Her: Okay… What’s… your… favorite… … …lady part?

WM: I don’t blush easy… …and you’d say it was…

Her: Oh, forgot. Your favorite is… … …the breasts.

WM: Why so?

Her: I caught you looking.

WM: Looking at the pendant.

Her: That’s probably a lie.

WM: Now, you don’t know me well enough to tell if I’m lying… and… I won’t lie to you.

Her: It’s not the breasts?

WM: Not.

Her: What then?

WM: My favorite Lady Part is the philtrum.

Her: The WHAT?

WM: Philtrum. p-h-i-l-t-r-u-m

Her: That’s not a thing.

WM: You mean, you, a grown woman, don’t know what your philtrum is?

Her: You’re making it up.

WM: you mean to say, you a grown woman, had never had a guy compliment your philtrum? You poor neglected….

Her: You made it up.

WM: I told you I wouldn’t lie and I haven’t.

Her: Okay. What is it?

WM: Tell you what. Let me touch yours. …just for the purpose of pointing it out to you.

Her: Okay.

WM: REALLY! Right here with everyone around?

Her: Sure. I trust you.

WM: You have a page on me written already… or… you’re just hoping?

Her: It’s a feeling, my feelings are usually right.

WM: Okay, I need to get close to you, and I’ll need you to close your eyes.

Her: (Closes her eyes)

WM: (waiting seconds… puts finger gently onto the valley between her nose and upper lip).

Her: (Opens her eyes) That’s a philtrum?

WM: Yes, and yours is near exceptionally…

Her: So help me, if you’re making this up, I’ll…

WM: I told you I wouldn’t lie to you, and I haven’t.

Her: Why is my philtrum…

WM: (interrupting) it insinuates itself onto your upper lip and curls it up and out. Gives your lips the cupid’s bow shape guys like.

Her: You think maybe you have a little too much interest about such things?

WM: I have to.

Her: Why?

WM: That’s my realm of expertise.

Her: What are you an expert on… women?

WM: Hardly. I’m an expert on pretty… cute, and beautiful.

Her: Now that’s a lie.

WM: Is not. It’s a boast, there’s a difference. Guys ought never lie, they must always boast – it’s a genetic imperative.

Her: You are so… … …

WM: What, what?

Her: Full of it.

WM: That’s an evasion.

Her: That was nonsense… ge-net-ic.

WM: What is it when the male of the species fans his tail, splays his feathers, sings his chirps, or thumps his chest?

Her: I don’t know.

WM: They’re ALL manners of boasting. My fan’s greater than his; my feathers brighter, my chirps happier, and my thumps harder than his… BOASTING

Her: (long silence)… And your favorite part is the… philtrum?

WM: (humongous smile – VICTORY!) Yes.

Her: Hard to believe.

WM: But true, entirely… and I couldn’t imagine explaining it to anyone’s satisfaction – even my own. But it’s the first thing I notice on women – not lying.

Denoument

The clock and I made it noon. It may as well have struck midnight. Her friend showed. He was not a boyfriend – he hadn’t an edge to him. My first thought – I could take him – easy, (unless he knew some of that jujitsu shit).

I excused myself immediately. Carol made all the right noises about staying, joining them. I had a previous engagement – friends that had invited me. She bid me wait a second and wrote something on a table napkin – handed it to me – it was a phone number. I requited in kind and borrowed her pen to do so. No problem. I was feeling not a little ‘damn good’ handing it to her and walking away without another word between us.

Aside: Not one moment’s calculation. The natural ebb and flow of girl and guy as it had been ordained ‘in the beginning’. The closest I’d ever been to a PUA, and it had all the good vibrations of pure intentions and not one iota of the craft of cunning.

Life was good that day.

By the by: the home team won the big game.

My Favorite Aunt

Everyone has that favorite relative…it could be an aunt, uncle, or cousin. There was just something different and special about them that made them stand out in your mind. Mine was my Aunt Peg, who was married to my mom’s brother, John.
Peg was a petite woman with bleached blonde hair worn short, with loose curls on top. She wasn’t thin; she was what some would call “curvy” or if mean, “chubby.” Peg also had an eye condition, which caused her to wear tinted glasses at all times. Those glasses, paired with deep red lipstick, made her seem like the most glamorous person I ever saw up close.
But her best quality was she was funny…she was hilarious! And her humor was appropriate to whoever she was talking to, whether it was a 6 year old or a 40 year old. She was my role model growing up.

I’d often spend weekends with her, and she’d spoil me rotten…I was allowed to stay up late and watch TV with her into the wee hours of the morning, and when morning did come, I’d have coffee (with a lot of milk and sugar.) She smelled of coffee, cigarettes, and her signature Chanel No. 5. Peg’s preferred color was black. Black pants, black tops, black sweaters… Occasionally she’d go rogue and wear a beige top. I never saw her in a skirt; always pants, even at weddings. Looking back now, I see how she influenced my fashion choices, as my closet resembles a professional mourner’s.

One of her many quirks was her hair routine. I’m not talking about the bleach she’d apply every 3 weeks (which I started doing for her when I was 12) but her styling method. The woman used cardboard tampon applicators as rollers.
Yes, you read right: the cardboard housing for tampons. The first time I realized it, I was dumbstruck…why? was the first thing that popped to mind. Her answer: “I get two sizes – small and smaller, and they give me the size curl I want.” I howled…when she took the “curlers” out, she’d run her fingers through the curls, messing them up a bit,  then sprayed the hell out of it. Her hair could withstand hurricane force winds.

Peg was full of surprises. She was an incorrigible flirt – she could have guys 30 years her junior wrapped around her little finger. She loved Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, which was to be expected. But she also loved Elvis and David Bowie, which tickled the hell out of me. I think she envied his hair and makeup from the Ziggy years.

After my uncle died unexpectedly from complications of a routine surgery, her light dimmed…and not too long after, she suffered a massive stroke in her sleep. I arrived to the funeral home early, before the viewing, and realized her hair looked too neat. I reached in and tousled the top of her hair to more resemble her normal look. I felt it was what she would have wanted me to do.

See you on the other side, Aunt Peg…

 

 

On Becoming A Dad (Part One)

It was snowing the night my daughter decided to finally leave the comfortable confines of the womb, almost a week late, establishing a pattern she would hold to this day. The roads were passable, but they were getting slick, but in spite of the typical January snowfall, I thought surely, this child had to come soon.

I was off the road by this time; the band I was working with was rehearsing for an album, the sessions for which were to start a few weeks later and, well, I was not going to miss the birth of my first child. As I drove home through the fluffy, huge flakes falling heavily onto the ground and piling up quickly, I flashed on some of the scenes of my marriage during this pregnancy:

I remembered the day we found out my wife was pregnant. We had just decided to try to have a child only a couple of weeks before. I remembered standing up, punching my fists in the air, and shouting “Ninja Sperm!” as I hugged and kissed my laughing bride, because I am nothing if not classy at all the important times in life.

I took her out to a nice little deli to celebrate but, after we ordered, she got sick before the food had gotten to the table. She was cramping and throwing up, so I took her to the hospital. Just a case of dehydration, it seemed. All was well.

I remembered coming home a few months later after a recording session and finding her on the floor of the corner of the kitchen. She had taken an entire loaf of bread, taken the crusts off every slice, molded the remains into a ball, and was sitting on the floor eating it like a large apple.

Cravings, you know.

I remembered waking up in the middle of the night and finding my wife, seven months along by that time, sitting on the edge of the bed sobbing.

“Honey,” I said, reaching out to caress her shaking shoulder, “What’s wrong?”

“I-I-I-d-don’t,” she gulped pitifully, “I-I d-d-don’t have anything t-to w-w-wear!”

“But Sweetheart, we bought you a bunch of new clothes just a week or so ago!” I said, trying to calm her.

“T-t-they’re as b-b-b-big as CIRCUS TENTS!” she cried.

My mother had come to stay with us in hopes of being here for the birth of my parents’ first grandchild. I remember the day we called them to tell them the news: it was met with stunned silence. For some reason, without saying as much, I felt like many people in the family didn’t think my wife and I would last as a married couple, and I felt like all of our doubters, possibly my parents included, thought that we would be completely unsuitable as a mother and father to a newborn. Still, in a very short time, they came around to the idea and were looking forward with great excitement at the prospects of being Grandparents. (I asked my father how he felt about being a Grandfather. He said: “The only problem I have with being a grandfather is waking up every morning next to a grandmother!). Mom had been staying with us for the better part of two weeks. If the baby didn’t come in the next day and a half, my mother would have to go back home to Dad and would miss out on the birth.

My wife hadn’t been able to sleep on the bed since shortly after the night she woke me up crying about her wardrobe. She slept on the couch and I slept on the floor beside her. The couch was a gift from my parents. In fact, all the furniture was from my parents. When we moved into the apartment, we had our clothes, dishes, my guitars and amps, and not much else. We did like the situation we were in for a time; we bought a futon mattress to sleep on and positioned things on the floor in such a way that things only made sense when you sat on the floor and found everything within easy reach.

However, as my father explained: “You cannot have a pregnant woman sitting on the floor, son!”

I came home from the rehearsal that night intending to slip quietly into the apartment, not wanting to wake up my wife on the couch nor my mother, who was sleeping in our months old bed in the bedroom. Nevertheless, I found my wife awake.

And angry…

“Honey?” I said, as soothingly as I possibly could. “Are you o.k.?”

My lovely, diminutive wife was levitating at least five feet over the couch. Her eyes were glazed over to an almost otherworldly white, and her head was spinning around three hundred and sixty degrees.

“YOU DID THIS TO ME!” she said with voice that rang through the apartment as if it had come from the very heart of hell.

“Is it time, Honey? Do you want to go to the hospital now?”

Her eyes turned red and lasers SHOT out of her eyes, burning two holes right through my forehead! She spit what seemed to be pea soup at me! Tables and chairs were flying around the room!

“I HOPE YOU PASS A KIDNEY STONE THE SIZE OF A VOLKSWAGEN!” she hissed as she raised up farther into the air.

Just then, my mother appeared behind me, looking up at my wife floating in the air, dodging plates and cups flying all around her. She was clothed, had her coat on, had my wife’s coat over her arm and was carrying my wife’s suitcase. My Mom had been a nurse since before I was born. I depended on her professional expertise.

“Get her in the car! Let’s get her to the hospital!” she said, ducking and just missing getting hit by the coffee table flying just over her head.

I turned to grab my coat.

BANG!

Hit in the face by a frying pan flying at me from the kitchen stove!

There was no doubt about it. I was about to become a Dad…

Tupperware Hell

As a female of a certain age, I’ve been invited to all types of home parties: make up, candles, clothing, even wigs. But nothing compares to the Hell on Earth known as a Tupperware Party.
You receive an invitation…it promises to be a “fun” night, with refreshments. And there’s “no obligation to buy” anything. Bull…of course you’re obligated, after all, there’s refreshments!
Short of saying a relative died or that you’ll be out of town, you’re trapped. So after sighing heavily several times, you go. Upon walking in, you are hit with an array of plastic storage items; some that you never knew existed. After all, I’ve been reusing the plastic tubs I get my deli takeout in. There are squares for sandwiches; round containers of all sizes, from nuts to a cake (with a cover and handle!) and sectioned crudite containers for parties, butter dishes and pitchers. If you have a house at a lake or the shore, I’m sure this might be of use to you, but since I don’t have a vacation home, did I really need anything? I looked around wildly and took a large slug of the mediocre wine…what could I purchase and not look totally cheap?

The woman hosting the party was extolling the virtues of everything – look, you can transport a cake for the holidays easily! And this 9×12 will hold two dozen brownies, keeping them fresh! And they make great gifts (as if..) for loved ones! As I listened to the group ooh and ahh over the various items, I looked to make my escape – there wasn’t enough wine there to keep me. And then I saw it…it was too adorable. A lunchbox, with various containers for all the things you might put in a lunch…I fell in love. Never mind I rarely (if ever) packed my lunch; this was just too cute for words. So I bought it.
The reason I bring this up is I was cleaning my storage room in the basement the other day and found it, 35 years later. It’s still adorable….and still unused.

A Family Heirloom From Dear Old Dad

My Sister and Brother-In-Law, whose name is Robert, once purchased a hill just outside of a small, Mid-Western town of Paragon.

I’m not kidding.

Meanwhile, three states away, my father was getting screwed by the company he worked for.

Royally screwed.

Royally, Bend-Over-The-Counter-And-Spread-Your-Cheeks, maliciously and with great evil and greed SCREWED.

He floundered about after that for a while. This was a man who started working on the floor of a bearings plant and ended up as Division Vice President of Operations. My father was helping to run the company internationally, but that company was bought out by another, bigger company who let go the previous management, people like my father, who was just shy of his retirement. He tried consulting work. He managed a bar. Eventually, he got used to the idea of being retired.

So he and my mother bought a plot of land from my sister and brother-in-law and built a lovely home right beside the plot of land at the base of the hill where Robert and my sister had their prefabricated house that they purchased to live in while Robert acquired the equipment needed to build their dream home on top of the hill.

Have you got all that?

The dynamic between my father and Robert during the time that they lived in adjoining lots at the base of the hill was always in flux, and always verging on the volatile. Robert is quiet, strong, reserved, and my father was kind of loud, kind of brash, and because of his successful career, a little arrogant. My father told Robert once that his daughter was the apple of his eye, and that if he ever hurt her, he would kill him. On the other hand, one time they were discussing my sister, and my father, who apparently was a little irritated, said, “Well, I said what I said because I’m her father. She is my daughter.” Robert replied, “Well, I’m her husband. I’M the one railing your daughter.”

From there, a frosty detente was reached. For my father, his relationship with Robert had to change for the good of his relationships with his daughter and his wife. For Robert, he realized he loved my sister and also loved and appreciated our mother, so a decent relationship with my father was important to the happiness of his own house.

Unfortunately, my brother-in-law’s quiet resolve almost COMPELLED my father to poke at him until he got a response.

Now, I’ve gotten to this point and read this from the top, and I realize I am not really doing my father much good here. For the record: he was a very kind man with a very giving heart, who lived for his family and worked hard to raise us healthy, happy, and well adjusted. I love him very much and I miss him terribly. He is a Marine.

Hoo-Rah!

However, like all of us, sometimes he could be an asshole.

For instance, my father took to waiting in the very early morning, sitting grimly on a large rock that sat between their mailboxes, with a huge blanket around him. Eventually, Robert pulled up and saw his father-in-law sitting on a rock at four in the morning, head down, covered in a blanket.

Robert rolled down the window and asked, “Jack! What are you DOING?”

“I am going to a RAIN DANCE!” said my father, grinning manically with his eyes wide open. “THIS is the DANCE…of MY PEOPLE!”

With that, my father craned his head back, his face up to the heavens, opened his mouth, and began to loudly chant: “OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHEY YA HEY YA OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHEY YA HEY YA…”, standing up and flinging off the blanket, he started to dance.

He was completely naked.

All 6’1” and 360 pounds of him.

Dad kept that up for almost two weeks.

Then, there was the time Robert came home to find the yard filled with pink flamingos. Another time, Robert found the doorstep festooned with flowers that had been thrown away by the caretakers of the cemetery down the street.

There was the time Dad put dead fish in Robert’s mailbox. There was the time Dad told Robert he knew all there was to know about construction equipment and building your own home, so Robert let Dad “help him”. Of course, Robert was not happy when Dad messed up Robert’s backhoe because he had no idea what he was doing.

A few days after Mom and Dad bought the lot beside my brother-in-law and my sister, Robert got a package.

It was from my father.

The box was pretty big. Perhaps it was that wide-screen TV? Inside, another box.

Inside that, another box.

Box after frustrating box, Robert kept opening boxes until he got down to a small jewelry box. He opened it, found a white rock and a note from my father:

“Dear Robert:
I want you to know that you are more to me than a son-in-law: you are truly a part of my family. This is why I have decided to bestow upon you a family heirloom. What you hold in your hands is a piece of what is known as “Snow Quartz”. It is very rare and very valuable and was picked up by my great-grandfather as a memento of the place where he was standing when a miracle occurred and kept him from being shot to death fighting for the Union in the Civil War. Please take care of it for me.

-J”

I know that Robert was amazed and astounded when he received this present, a beautiful gesture of love and trust from his father-in-law. Maybe it was time to reappraise the relationship with him, maybe cut him some slack.

He proved he was amazed and astounded by the heirloom because he went to a jeweler and paid to have the stone put into a gold setting so Robert could wear it on a chain around his neck.

He paid a lot of money.

Like “a couple of hundred dollars” lot of money.

A few months later, Robert was helping my Mom and Dad move into their new house. It was hot. Robert took his shirt off. Dad saw the chain around Robert’s neck and caught a good glimpse of the stone in its setting and began to chuckle. My mother looked at the stone around Robert’s neck, and back at my chuckling father.

“What?” said Robert incredulously. “You sent me this treasured family heirloom to look after, I thought it would be safer to keep it around my neck. It’s not every day that someone gives you a piece of rare Snow Quartz. Even the jeweler was impressed!” he explained.

Mom sighed, rolled her eyes, put both hands on her hips , turned to my father, and grumbled: “You didn’t TELL him, did you?”

Dad stood up, wiped the smile from his face, walked over to Robert and put one of his big, meaty hands on my brother-in-law’s shoulder. “Robert, I love you like a son. You love my daughter, she loves you. I admire your work ethic and I meant everything I said in that note about how I feel about you.” My father was grinning and frantically trying not to laugh; looking down at the stone Robert was wearing around his neck, and said, “But that is one of my kidney stones that I had taken out when I had that surgery nine months ago.”

Dad put his arm around Robert and chuckled a little as he led Robert to the bar, so he could have a beer. “Look, I KNOW that this isn’t a rock picked up from a Civil War battlefield by one of my ancestors, but look at it this way: I gave you an actual piece of myself. That came out of my body! Out of the kidney, actually! That rock was blocking my URETHRA! I couldn’t PISS because of THAT ROCK!”

And that’s partially why I am the way I am.

Traffic Court

Ah, Traffic Court…where those possessing a lead foot gather to mourn the loss of money and gain points on their license. I was dreading it, but found out it’s nothing like I expected.
Yes, I was speeding – 17 miles over the speed limit; 42 in a 25 mph zone. I had no idea…I had the windows open and was singing loudly as I zipped down a small tertiary road where I lived…then I got waved over. The nice young officer said, “Look, plead Not Guilty, pay the amount on the ticket for a Not Guilty plea. You’ll have to show up at Traffic Court, but chances are you’ll only get 2 points max instead of 5.” Sounded good to me, because I did not want an increase to my auto insurance.
I started getting letters from attorneys…vultures, really, who troll the police reports that are public record. I started to worry a bit…did I really need one? Pfft, I’ll wing it. What could go wrong?

On court day, I scoured my closet, looking for something that said I was serious, mature, contrite…who am I kidding? My wardrobe consists of jeans, yoga pants, and a collection of tee shirts not suitable for court. I mean, wearing a shirt that says “Beautiful Badass” isn’t exactly serious, mature, and definitely not contrite.

I show up for the 2:00 hearing and find approximately 40-50 other people in the room, most who looked like they just came from the gym or gardening. And I was worried about clothes?? They call your name to check you in, and at one point the clerk announces that “we have a married couple here today – the Mulhollands. Everybody give them a round of applause!” So we did, with a few doing the Wave.
It became apparent this was a bit of a joke, because if you paid your $161.50, you could leave…and no points. THIS is what I go worked up about? And it’s not reported to the state. Do the math – 40 people x 161.50 = $6,460. And this was just one group!! The Mafia could learn something from these guys…
Oh, and the judge never showed his face… I wonder if the Honorable John Hunter even exists.