Monday, June 28, 2004

...The Great Motivator

You know that joke that goes “90% of all men masturbate - the other 10% lie about it”? I have another one, not quite as catchy. I believe everything a single man does in his life - every decision he makes, every path he chooses - can somehow be traced back to how this may increase or decrease the possibility of him having sex. Some men will claim to disagree with me on this. They are lying. They want to come across as nice guys, not leches. They think it'll help them get laid.

Ideally, I like to think of myself as thoughtful. Sensitive. Deep. Complicated. Truth is, I’ve mostly just been trying to hit it too.

In college, I grew my hair out. This wasn’t an act of youthful rebellion, non-conformity or some kind of political statement. It was a strategic decision. I simply had a very realistic view of my looks. I knew that I was good-looking enough never to have to worry about going the blow-up doll or women who are into Star Trek route, but I wasn’t always going to come home from the bars with 7 numbers either.

My theory: Let my friends compete amongst themselves for the girls who were into the clean-cut look. When a girl who was into long-haired guys came along - it was Gooch or nothing.

My libido has led my career path, too. My college sweetheart had been fairly easy prey when I was “Cool Fraternity Guy” Gooch, but after graduation I questioned how sexy I was coming across as “Lives With His Parents, Entry-Level, Low-Paying Job-Having” Gooch. Despite often crippling shyness, I pursued a career in sales where I have been ever since.

I’d like to say that my decision to start a 6-day a week gym habit and maintain a strict diet was based on a commitment to healthy living and avoiding the diseases often associated with a sedentary lifestyle. Truthfully, it had more to do with the realization that the 5-months pregnant look wasn’t making me much of a chick magnet.

I stayed at the same company long after various buy-outs, mergers and general mismanagement had sucked any joy out of the job. But the pay was still good and my “Staying Fuckable” routine didn’t come cheap. There were the frequent visits to the tanning bed to keep my body freshly bronzed. The trips to the mall to ensure I was keeping in step with the latest fashions. Hundreds of dollars a month on various protein supplements and creatine transport products to maximize muscle development.

I did put that job on the line once. During the height of the dot-com boom the company grew so rapidly that, to maximize space, they literally tore down the walls that enclosed my office to fit in more desks. It wasn’t so much a need for privacy that caused me to protest against this idea so stridently. I was just worried about how women who take such things into consideration would feel about “Cubicle Drone” Gooch vs. “Plush Office With a Window” Gooch.

Getting married threw off my entire system of incentives. When I realized that the average number of times we do it per month wasn't likely to go up or down regardless of the increase in my bench press, I stopped working out so hard. I still go to the gym, it’s just that the almost religious intensity that once characterized my workouts now have more of a going-through-the-motions-no-need-to-get-yourself-all-worn-out-so-you’re-too-tired-to-watch-American-Idol-when-you-get-home level of effort. My chances of getting lucky no longer hinge upon whether I go ahead and just get the fries or substitute a green salad with low-calorie Italian instead.

Since I no longer have to consider the possibility that a routine visit to the grocery store or post office will result in sudden romance, I feel little shame about failing on the promise I once made to myself not to become one of those married guys who goes out in public appearing as if his clothes were picked utilizing Eenie-Meenie-Minie-Mo.

When some former coworkers and I made the decision to start our own company, I couldn’t help but wonder if this was a choice I would have made when I was single. To help get our business off the ground, my partners and I agreed that for our first year we would live on salaries small enough that only our most basic living expenses would be covered (the majority of our earnings going back into the company). Married, this was an easy choice. It wasn’t hard convincing my wife that the long-term benefits far outweighed the short-term pain.

But knowing where destitution ranks as a turn-on, I question how long of a dry spell I would have been willing to live with had I been single.
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