© Charles E. Corry - 1987, 1999
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There is a dark side to the Cinderella story that is seldom told. Having failed to trap the Prince at the ball, the wicked stepsisters are still loose on the world.
If you're a warrior-class, mesomorphic single male it's more than probable you've met at least one of the genre. She's usually quite lovely, good physical shape, and intelligent. Vivacious, with a well-established sexual identity that she quickly expands to include you.
Compared to the gum-popping twits with twats you usually meet, at first she seems to be the woman of your fantasies. Then, when the search for an honest man begins to look trivial compared to the search for honesty from this woman, you learn the meaning of trouble.
Initially, you think the problems are with you, and you try to clean up your act. You cut your drinking and carousing to hardship levels of just two or three nights a week. You work out more often, and the bod looks good. As an extreme sacrifice, you even attempt to become couth (always without success). Nothing works! Perhaps you first become suspicious when you notice the glass slippers on sale as the Blue Light Special.
As you finally realize, this is one of the stepsisters.
Thus, if the following behavior patterns describe any of the ladies you love, vaya con Dios.
When she needs something, she doesn't ask. Please is not word she is acquainted with. A polite request is not in her lexicon. Every command is imperious, to be obeyed on penalty of loss of her sexual favors.
Suggest she might phrase her orders in a more polite fashion and the psychoanalysis begins. Not of her, but you. Turns out you've committed psychological rape by asking her to be polite. Its no wonder no one likes you since you're so lacking in sensitivity.
She thinks nothing of breaking a weekend getaway date, for trivial reasons, with less than an hour notice. If you should dare to break a luncheon date with less than a weeks notice for anything less than a national disaster (that she expects you to predict), its the end of your world together.
When she is upset with you the routine goes something like this: You ask if she will tell you what the problem is? Her reply, "You should know." You can think of a half-dozen things you've screwed up lately. Don't play the game of listing them for her in order to try and find out what is bugging her. Out of six possible misdemeanors, she won't have known about at least two and will have forgotten at least one of the remaining four. These will then be used as additional evidence against you and none of the six will actually prove to be the reason she was originally upset.
Instead, take the fifth (bourbon or that old demon rum) and try to forget her.
Her biggest thrill in life, and driving motivation, is to go shopping. The bigger, more confusingly laid out, and distant the mall is, the better. Where you were oriented towards a weekend on a mountain, canoeing, fishing, or anything at all to get away from the rat race for awhile, she is determined to find the place where the rats are thickest and most frantic.
You are the type who walks in the nearest store, maybe flirts with the pretty sales clerk, picks out what you want, buys it, and gets out. All told, twenty minutes max. She, however, visits every store in the mall, regardless of whether she has even heard of the product, patronizes the ignorant male sales clerk, discusses the unknown product at length, imagines buying it for some distant relation or scumbag friend (a bit of jealousy there?) who won't be able to live without this great find. Compares the relative merits and worth of this product she hadn't even heard of twenty minutes ago, looks at everything else in the store, then leaves. Time? How much of this can you stand? She can keep this up for at least eight hours without even going to the head. Want to bet you don't last two hours? But, if you don't share the thrill of shopping with her, you don't communicate. She feels unsatisfied but she will have a headache that night.
Don't try hauling her to the boondocks though. Her perfume and makeup are great bug attractors and all of them will bite her. She will insist on wearing it, however. The temperature will be too hot, or cold, it will rain, or be too dry. She doesn't like deserts. In the mountains she will get altitude sickness. Animals frighten her, e.g., spiders, skunks, etc. And, for whatever value you put on your relationship, don't take her car. Murphy lives for suckers like that.
At some point her car develops problems. This is always a crisis point in your relationship and you will invariably come out the worse for wear after this experience. Save yourself the heartache. Find yourself another woman immediately the first time her car acts the least bit strange.
At the first odd noise she will ask you what is wrong, next, what to do about it, and require an immediate cost estimate. If the cost estimate exceeds what she can afford to spend on that worthless piece of junk, it is assumed to be your fault the car broke (female logic). Now you may be a mechanical genius, have been fixing cars since the sixth grade, have the flat rate manual memorized, and Joe at the corner garage may regularly ask your advice, but she is not going to listen to you about what to do with her car. She will immediately, or at least as quickly as she can reach a telephone, form a committee of her girlfriends, the drone male friends she keeps around her, neighbors, and any unlucky bystanders. None of this pack will prove to know how to open the hood or check the oil but, count on it, she will take their advice over yours. Do not interfere with this process, on pain of banishment. Do not even dare go out and fix it while she is talking on the telephone (she then looks like a hysterical female).
If you suspect her car may go on the fritz and don't want to abandon her for another woman, the only safe course of action is to leave town until she gets it fixed. That way, when you call her, you can be on the committee which discusses the problem. Be very sympathetic over the telephone, but stay away until her car is fixed.
Whereas you are generally prepared to eat the south end out of a north bound mule about every four hours, she requires a special diet. Whatever she eats, it will only be enough to starve a sparrow, regardless of the extent of your physical activities. When this makes her tired and bitchy, as it will, you are the one who will be blamed. She will also be sure to instruct you on all the things you are eating that are bad for you. You are prospecting in the Mojave in July and she is telling you salt is bad for you. You go cross-country skiing in the Rockies in February and you're surviving on pemmican while she insists on maintaining her vegetarian diet and lectures you on the dangers of the fat in pemmican.
Decisions about restaurants require major discussions. First, she asks you, "What do you want to eat?" then, "What should I wear?" At that point, even silence condemns you as a lecher. Try to make a run to a McDonald's drivethru while she is debating which restaurant to go to for dinner. You'll be hungry again by the time a decision is made. All bets are off if, instead, she is having you over for dinner. Take two bottles of champagne, some Maalox tablets, and hope for the best. Remember that you are in a mine field. Try to exhibit a modest amount of couth. Do tell her what a wonderful dinner it was, darling, and how you will always remember it. Don't comment on her choice of dishes. Even those soya nut cutlets she so lovingly prepared just for you and there, dear, weren't they tasty and delicious, and ever so nutritious. Chances are you'll be able to catch a Big Mac on the way home, so bear up.
Ever notice that the bigger health food fanatic she is, the less healthy she seems to be? Don't dare be so indelicate as to tell her that those liquid protein cocktails are not the ideal food, and that she needs some other things in her diet. Things you usually get at McDonald's. If you do discuss proper nutrition, God forbid, she will quickly let you know that her diet is based on Dr. Nonothing's ten years of dedicated (to making a buck) research, and worked wonders for her girlfriend (who suffers badly from anorexia).
The topic can be quantum mechanics or changing diapers. You may be a Nobel laureate, but if she has made up her mind based on whatever passes upstairs for logic, you might as well save your breath. If she has the answers, that is the WORD, and she cannot be swayed from her position.
Vogue or Cosmopolitan may have recently run an article on the subject you are debating. She will naturally agree with them. Don't bother quoting the New England Journal of Medicine, Physical Reviews Letters, Journal of Geophysical Research, or other such sources. You are then being insensitive and talking down to her, or you need to get down to earth and deal with these things on a human level.
She hates it when you lecture to her. Don't! When she has given you the WORD on the subject, map it into whatever space you deal with her in, using whatever mapping functions are required for the topological transformation. Then remember, whenever dealing with her on that subject in the future, invoke the proper transformation algorithm and everyone can be happy.
Incapable of such mind-boggling transformations? Brother, welcome to the club. At least learn to recognize the WORD, and save your breath after you've been given it. Do not learn to come to attention, salute, and say "Yes, ma'am" when given the WORD. That is not what she expects from the warm, sensitive, kind, and caring person who exists in the space she has mapped you into. You certainly do not want her to think that the transformation algorithm she uses for you may have a few badly defined variables. Believe me, if she redefines those parameters, all is lost. The real (i.e., her redefined version) you will look ugly to her compared to the vision of you produced by her initial mapping functions.
One of the most important things she has to discover at the beginning is what your sign is, and if it is compatible with hers. However, if she wants your body, it won't matter what your sign is. If this is the case, accept your fate even though it be star-crossed.
Remember, a kind, warm, sensitive, and caring person (you) remembers her sign and its relations to yours. Somehow, though, you never do.
Astrology is such a boring topic when you could be discussing astrophysics or cosmochemistry (see above about being insensitive, talking down to her, etc.). Besides, nothing you say to your friends interests her. She is, after all, the center of the universe as she perceives it, and anyone who doesn't recognize that doesn't really care about inner feelings.
Now mysticism, Zen Buddhism, and questions of the infinite are things you get off on. You may write haiku, climb mountains, watch sunsets over the desert or the sea, sleep under the stars, or stagger drunkenly into the dawn after all night debates on the meaning of the universe and our relation to it. You laugh at chipmunks, yourself, and your fellow men. She, however, finds these antics childish and boring.
Talking and drinking wine in the evening with her tend to lead to acts of creation, not discussions of it. Not that there are any complaints about these creative acts, mind you, but next day she bitches about your inability to hold a serious discourse with her. You're not interested in her mind, just her body.
It avails you little to explain that she touches the innermost core of your being and that not all communication is by the spoken word. Obviously, you don't have the mystic aura she seeks, and can't understand her need to communicate with the One. Maybe if you were a monk you'd satisfy her esthetic desires?
A lovely woman probably has other males hanging around her. The real question is what is she doing with the likes of you? Well, for one thing, these other males, while not always gay, aren't your average former Marine either. Further, they tend to be of social classes (e.g., lawyers) you wouldn't associate with of your own free will if you were knee-walking drunk in the Blue Fox in Tiajuana. But, since they are her friends, you are expected to be polite to them. You can't be jealous of them, as they aren't really competition for her favors, and she is going with you because you're nothing like these drones. She tends to swoon when she thinks of the sheer male-animal sexuality of you and what you do to her. It is a must that this be discussed in detail, not only with her girlfriends, but also with her pet drone of the moment. Somehow that provides her with a feeling of security. These drones are also always happy to tell her what an insensitive bastard you are when she explains her side of your latest quarrel, which comforts her.
What you find difficult to accept is the drone who does everything for her, and to whom she turns for advice on matters he patently knows less about than she does. Your natural urge to shelter and protect her is offended by the fact that the drone is fixing her faucets for her. Only a confirmed male chauvinist would attempt to explain this to her.
She also feels very protective of her drones. You can be in the middle of the greatest act of congress since your creation and one of her drones calls. Bit of a dustup with his lover (male or female). Nothing for it but that she must stop and discuss it with him, because she is a warm, kind, sympathetic woman. You, however, are an insensitive S.O.B. for not understanding this other persons needs. Does she understand your needs? Does she care about what she has done to you in the middle of the moment we all live for? Is everything your fault? Of course! Get up, get dressed, and leave as soon as the phone rings.
You've found through experience that, with sufficient neglect, any house plant will perish. Some of those cacti Aunt Martha gave you were pretty hardy but they just weren't with you any longer when you got back from that last six-month trip to Mexico.
Her place stops just short of a rain forest and she cries if one of her plants looks sickly. Worse, before you can leave for dinner she must water and talk to each of them. You talk to yourself and your computer but draw the line at talking to house plants (sober, anyway). She will also spray each leaf on each plant as she talks to it. If you got anywhere near that much attention, you'd be wagging your tail.
Instead, her dog is wagging his. At least her dog loves you. So much, in fact, that he chews your shoes to pieces during the night. As you hobble to your car in your stockings you become a lifelong advocate of using animals for medical research experiments. You also have a leading candidate.
Some kind soul is sure to give her a darling kitten at some point in your relationship. Despite the lack of housebreaking ("Rub its nose in it and spank it! You cruel beast!"), you remain officially neutral about her cat until it launches a predawn attack on you at 0400 hours. Let me assure you that the hypothesis that a cat always lands on its feet is not valid. If it makes it from five stories up, try from ten next time.
If you value your soul, do not let her sweet talk (or however) you into house sitting (while she goes off with another man?), or helping her move. The Lord cannot preserve you if one (or hopefully more) of her beloved plants should die in the process. Whose fault will it be, even if she moved the plants personally in her car? Your first guess is correct.
Obviously this list could grow but you are already to the point of ad nauseam with her. Need I describe the PMS she uses as an excuse for her bitchiness regardless of what time of the month it is? How about her willingness to believe any sort of nonsense so long as it contradicts you? Is she a rabid environmentalist while you work for Rape, Ruin, and Run Mining? Is any compromise possible with this woman? Did you really expect rational answers? Come now, you fool, you know better than that!
Is there any escape? Even if the Sergeant Major promises embassy duty in London or Paris, you're not reenlisting in the Marines? Can one of them housebreak us yet? That seems about as likely as developing couth. However, with the above description of the behavior patterns of these ball-busting stepsisters, can we avoid the worst of the lot? Your skepticism is justified, even battle-scarred veterans of the war between the sexes can be suckers for a pretty face and a lovely body.
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