To those who have read my novel “Reality TV and Hookers,” thanksagain for the support! I've started work on a sequel titled “MoreReality Less Hookers.” In honor (or perhaps dishonor) of last night's season finale of “The Bachelor,” I've posted a preview chapter that gives a peek at what life has been like for Jacoby and Carly since the final rose ceremony. Hope you enjoy!
“Dude, I fucking hate Bed Bath & Beyond,” I thought as my wireless signal failed when I tried to check the score of a college football game. No one warned me that cell phone reception sucks in the pillow aisle.
Carly held up two pillows that have the same zig-zag pattern that I now know is called Chevron. I learned this information during last weekend's curtain buying adventure. “Which one do you like better, the blue or the green?” she asked.
“Um, the blue.”
“You're not even looking,” she said with disappointment.
Carly was right. I wasn't really looking. I was desperately refreshing the ESPN page on my phone, trying to get the score of the Michigan game that I bet. “No I really like the blue one better. It matches your eyes,” I replied with a hint of sarcasm that she likely picked up on. She threw two blue pillows in the cart that I pushed behind her as she made her way towards the bath section.
I am a dog that was never properly trained. As a guy who never really had a long term, serious girlfriend before Carly, I'm not used to being dragged on insanely boring weekend shopping trips. One night stands don't make you come with them to buy curtains. I never had to consider what one of my fuck buddies had planned on a Saturday night before deciding to meet the guys up to watch a UFC fight.
Most guys have been putting up with these minor annoyances since they were 15 years old, knowing they were a necessary evil to maintaining a relationship. They've developed over the years a tolerance for, or at least numbness to these activities. They know the deal. Carry her bags at Macy's and you might get a blow job, or she at least won't bust your balls when you go out for beers during Monday Night Football. Before I married Carly I had never watched a chick flick from start to finish. I had never known how mind rapingly terrible they are. My friend Gary has a white board on his fridge with a line drawn down the middle. On the left side there is a tally mark for every movie they watched that he picked. On the right side there is a tally for every movie picked by his girlfriend. That is a man that knows how to compromise. That is a dog that was properly trained.
“Ewwwwww... this is so cute,” Carly said as she picked up a little ceramic stand thingy that seemed like it would hold a couple tooth brushes and maybe a razor. “It would look good in that guest bathroom on the second floor.”
“So buy it. It's 12 bucks. You literally made 20 grand last week hosting that party at Lavo.”
“Be nice to me,” she said, slumping her shoulders and looking up at me with those wide blue eyes. “I know you don't really care what color pillows we have on our couch, but this is first time in my life I've actually lived in a nice place and have the money to decorate it the way I want. I'm sorry if it makes me excited.”
“No need to apologize,” I said giving her a little pat on the butt.
There was a twenty-something-year-old Asian couple directly in front of us on the long line to check out. Like me, the guy was pushing the cart while fucking around with his phone. “I get the feeling that you really don't want to be here,” I overheard his girlfriend say to him in a seriously bitchy tone. He said nothing and kept focused on his phone. It killed me not to say to her “Of course he doesn't want to be here. There's not a straight guy in this store right now that actually wants to be here. He probably wishes he was on his couch watching football like I do.” Instead I held my tongue and simply smirked at Carly as if to say, “See, I'm not the only one.”
I threw the bags in the back seat of the Ford Explorer which we got for free a few months ago in exchange for signing autographs at a local dealership. “We just have one more stop,” Carly said. “There is this rug that I want to pick up a Pottery Barn for the dining room.”
“COME ON!!” I wined. “The Arizona State game starts in like 10 minutes and it's our home opener.”
“Pottery Barn is right up the highway. We're not driving twenty minutes home to drop you off just so I can drive twenty minutes back out here. I'll be in and out in five minutes.”
I sped into the Pottery Barn parking lot and stopped abruptly in the first open spot I saw. I undid my buckle, leaned my seat back and kicked my feet up on the dash.
“You're not coming in?” Carly asked.
“Nah, I'm going to listen to the start of the game on the radio.”
She shook her head at me and made her way into the store alone. I love Carly, I really do. It's been 18 months and I still think of her as sweet, caring, and remarkably beautiful. She is the only girl in the world I would even consider putting up with this shit for. That said, I know that the bar I run is packed right now. They are serving 2 dollar Miller High Lifes for the game and everyone is going bat shit crazy every time the Devils make a play. Instead of being at the center of the party, I'm locked in a hot car in a Pottery Barn parking lot waiting for my wife decide if a rug fits with the decor of the dining room that we've never once used. I can't help but think, “How the fuck did I get here?”