Background Note: This is a post from one of my long-abandoned sites wherein I assumed the persona of a pompous therapist and answered “real” questions submitted by the readers. Enjoy.
Dear Dr. Brian,
Why do people try to put round pegs in square holes?
submitted by Serena L.
Fess up. Were you drinking when you sent this?
I wouldn’t normally dream of being rude with such a direct query, but I do always try to ensure that I understand all provisional elements which led to a patient’s query. You clearly have issues, as evidenced by the extraordinary number of emoticons that were on this email until I thoughtfully and hastily deleted them. (I find it quite difficult to concentrate when corpse-less heads are rolling and blinking.) I like to make sure that I focus on the signs of psychosis that are most important to you and your Facebook profile.
And, of course, there’s the legal angle concerning this matter. Should the authorities contact me after you, say, dance naked at the intersection of 4th and Main, or, you know, actually kill someone, I need to be able to provide them with a professional diagnosis. “She was fully aware of the possible outcome of her actions” means admit her to Beaver Valley Home for the Permanently Twisted and keep the tranquilizer darts handy. “She was totally smashed” means throw her in the drunk tank and let her sleep it off. This distinction is critical, especially if the local news programs decide to highlight your case in an effort to boost their ratings.
But I suppose, to be fair, especially since I have vacation coming up and may not be immediately available should the police knock on my door, I really should analyze your query from both a plastered and non-plastered angle. Let’s do that, shall we?
In the first scenario, we’ll assume that you were sober at the time of your writing, although, now that I glance through your phonebook of a file, sobriety in your case would clearly be a statistical anomaly. Nevertheless, we must be thorough in our assessment. Let’s picture you having a nice cup of herbal tea whilst you bang out this email, wherein you wonder why people try to put round pegs in square holes.
This may come as a shock to your delicate nature but, from a purely physical standpoint, that round peg is going to fit in a square hole, unless it’s a really big round peg. There shouldn’t be an issue. So you’re not speaking in literal terms. Therefore, this is a euphemism that something else is going on in your life.
Naturally, when most non-institutionalized people use euphemisms, they are generally masking something to do with sex. In your case, you are a bit blue about the sex that you are not having as often as you feel is your entitlement, and on those rare times when you do entertain a gentleman caller, things don’t quite work out as you planned and we quickly have complications, anxiety and madness. This is not healthy. Things must change. The result of your intimate social interactions should result in a simple but pleasant orgasm and not the sudden need for straight-jackets and restraining orders.
You are going about this whole procurement process in the wrong way. I strongly advise that you make some adjustments to your search-and-seizure methodology when it comes to wrangling a man. This may sound overwhelming, but I am happy to talk you through it, especially since I charge by the minute.
As a preliminary step, I suggest you sign into your laptop, the one that reeks of poor-choices and shame. Access all of those lurid “love swap” websites where you have been seeking redemption. Delete all “connections” you have made with shifty folks who have suspicious or untrustworthy user names. (Examples: “Throb the Wonderbull”, “Candy Man Five Times” and “Spanking for Jesus”.) Delete all profiles that do not provide a clear, non-manipulated, high-res photo of the candidate that can be used in a Google search to determine legal status and conviction rates. And by no means should you remain linked to anyone who lists their occupation as “Spearmaster”.
Now go to all your own main profile pages and make some updates. Remove any indication that you are desperate and will take a chance on anything. That photo of you lying in bed and looking sadly over at the empty space beside you? Very artistic shot. Get rid of it. The video you posted where you make a scrumptious home-cooked meal, waltz into the dining room with a steaming tray of goodies, and then burst into tears when you see only one place setting? High quality, with excellent cinematography. Delete it.
Why was this necessary? It may come as a surprise to you, but the average straight American male does not exactly find it erotic when a woman waves the Needy flag from the get go. Have the “WUV ME” tattoo removed from your forehead. Take all those panties with the “Neurotic and Clingy!” cross-stitching and throw them in the back of the closet. Remove “doormat” from your list of hobbies.
Once you’ve tidied these things up, turn off the laptop, and walk away. Do not check your email for 3 days. If Prince Charming has really been searching for you for 30 years, he’s not going to be deterred by a long weekend.
When an appropriate amount of time has passed, calmly sign back in, and slowly review the entire contents of your inbox. Do not seize the first email from a male-sounding name and immediately begin making plans to have yourself Fed-Exed to him the next morning. If the gentlemen stupidly identifies his work location in the email, do not run to the phone and call his boss, trying to arrange some days off and a travel voucher for him.
Read each and every email with a healthy sense of caution and carefully consider what each and every of his written words literally mean, rather than what you would like them to mean in your fevered and lusty mind. And here’s a hint: Just because they took the time to reach out and tentatively touch, it does not mean that they are madly in love with you. Adjust your pace.
Okay, that’s one analysis. But the more I’ve pondered you query, I’ve come to the conclusion that you really were drunk when you mailed this, and I must go into THAT angle of the analysis. (It also means that I’ve wasted my time for several paragraphs of expensive counseling. You will still have to pay for it, of course. This is America, where one always has to pay exorbitant amounts for the simplest medical procedure. But perhaps you could tear off the top half of this missive and give it to your even needier friend who joined that “I Will Bang Anything with a Pulse” website.)
After careful review of your submission, which took at least 20 seconds, I can surmise that the following events are what led to you sending this cryptic email:
You were at Joe’s Crab Shack the other night with your best friend, Chlamydia, having cocktails and chit-chatting. Clam was doing most of the talking, as she always does, but you’re used to the sound of her incessant voice by now and it was actually comforting and soothing, like a gentle tropical downpour.
You were also having a bit of sidebar fun, flirting with the waiter and making sure your breasts were in the way each time he reached for your empty glass. You knew you really had his attention when he started trying to refill your water glass each time you took the tiniest sip. Things were heating up. Then, whilst lover boy was on his break, you spied his mother bringing him lunch money, and she looked exactly like you, so the plug was quickly pulled on that little adventure.
You vaguely looked in Clam’s direction, checking in, and discovered that she was only on Item 4 of the 10 things about herself she always brings up, so you had plenty of time there, as she usually doesn’t stop for input until Item 7, glossed-lips flying. You turned back to the bar, because really, isn’t that where everyone eventually turns?
And there he was.
You don’t normally go for cowboys, but something about the way he filled those jeans, standing at the bar with one boot up on the rail and talking to his buddy, sent a hormonal jolt through your body that nearly blew your toes off. You realized you were staring, and were just about to turn away, when he looked right at you, gave a little tip to his hat, winked, and then kept talking to the buddy.
Oh. My. God.
You turned to Clam and kicked her leg under the table.
“What the HELL?”
“Sorry, sweetie. I love you, but I needed you to shut up for just half a second.”
“Well, you didn’t have to-”
“Yes, I did. You weren’t going to take a breath for twenty more minutes. Okay, don’t look right now, but there’s a guy at the bar-”
Her head immediately whipped in that direction.
Her head whipped back. Her massive hair did the same a few seconds later. “Holy cow! He is so hot I could-”
“He’s mine, don’t even think about it.”
“He doesn’t even know you exist.”
“He winked at me.”
Clam paused, pouting, then “But that doesn’t mean he wants-”
“I am just telling you, as a friend, that if you do the tiniest thing to distract him from me, I will CUT you. And quit sticking your titties out.”
Clam sighed, then relaxed her shoulders. “Well, we’re gonna need some more alcohol to get through this. Where’s the waiter? Is it past his curfew?”
And so the seduction and the serious drinking began. You did all your attention-getting tricks, laughing loudly over nothing, flipping your hair, pretending to get margarita salt on your shirt and then jiggling things around.
Five rounds later, things were getting a little swimmy. You were having a hard time remembering Clam’s full name, and whether or not you were the person who drove tonight. Cowboy still hadn’t come over, but he hadn’t left yet. And you really had to pee.
So you fumbled for your purse, and then you struggled to slide across the booth bench. (It sure wasn’t this hard getting in here. What the hell?) Wait, why is there a pair of legs at the end of the booth? You look up, and focus. It’s him!
“Hi there, pretty ladies. My name’s Brad. Mind if I sit with you a bit? My buddy had to get on the road, but I’ve still got some fight left in me, and you two been yukkin it up all night and havin’ a good time and I’d sure like to join your party. If you don’t mind.”
You hurl yourself to the other end of the bench, squeezed up against the wall to ensure there is more room on your side of the booth than on Clam’s side. She’s in the same frenzy, throwing packages and crap over her head, but she’s slow out of the gate. He plunks down to your right. You quietly promise Jesus that you will go back to church real soon. Amen.
And he turns out to be completely charming, telling funny stories that have you busting a gut. Even Chlamydia is enraptured, temporarily forgetting to be a slut. He keeps ordering rounds, though. You’re so lit that you can no longer understand everything he says, but it’s fascinating just watching his lips move, and the way his big hand rubs his chin every once in a while. Still, it becomes clear that something else is about to bust if you don’t do something about it in the next five minutes.
“Sugar, could you scooch out a bit? I need to powder my nose.”
He scooches. As you slide over, you discreetly grab a shrimp fork and stab Chlamydia’s hand. (“He is MINE, bitch.”) Then you stumble toward the restrooms.
To find that the ladies’ room is packed, line out the door. Oh god. This is a serious biological moment.
Then your eyes spy the men’s room down the hall. Not a soul in sight. You’re drunk and clenching, and the decision is a quick one. You stagger that way.
You slam through the door. Still no one. Perfect. You beeline to the only stall and slam the metal door open, only to find that the toilet is broken and overflowing. How is this happening?
You turn around, and there are two urinals on the wall. One is very low to the ground, probably for little boys, and is out of the question. The other one seems awfully high, but it will have to do.
You approach the taller one, trying to work out the math. You’ve seen these before, of course, but you’ve never had to use one. The bowl doesn’t stick out far enough for you to just walk up, lift your dress and squat, as there’s not enough room for you to spread your knees and try to get your business hovered over the water.
Maybe you can back into it? Yeah, that’s got to work. So you struggle getting your panties down (WHY do undergarments cause so much trouble when you’re a bit tipsy? Hate them.), then you hike your dress up to your bra to keep things dry. You stumble backwards and feel the cold porcelain hit you in the upper butt. You stand on your tip-toes and are just able to clear the bowl.
When you half-involuntarily sit down, your feet actually come off the ground, so you have to hang on to the flush handle for balance. It’s an odd sensation and position, but your body instinctively knows that it’s good enough, and here comes the rain again.
While struggling to hang on, you think you feel part of the bunched-up dress get caught on something, but you’ll worry about that in a minute, can’t stop the flow right now, you’ve saved up gallons while flirting with the cowboy. There’s been so much pressure for so long, that the release is almost erotic, it feels so good. You let out a small sigh. And relax.
And your hand slips off the flush handle. Suddenly you are plummeting forward and downward. Halfway to the floor, to your increased horror, you realize your dress IS caught on something and is in the process of ripping apart down your back and across your waist. The good side is that this somehow slows your fall, so that when your head hit’s the ground, it’s just a gentle tap.
The bad side, and it’s really bad, is that with the way the dress split, the upper half of the dress has your arms entangled and you can’t move them. The bottom half of the dress is keeping the bottom half of your body stuck on the urinal. You are hanging upside down, with your exposed lily-white ass aimed at the ceiling.
The door to the men’s room whacks open. Cowboy boots shuffle across the tile floor, and then pause. You hear the gruff, sexy voice you’ve been giddy about all night:
“Darlin’, how’d you get your cooter caught on that there toilet?”
Please see Lanae at the front desk. I’m sure you’ll be needing more sessions.
Try to get some sleep,
Originally published in “Idiot Fondue” on 08/15/09 and “The Sound and the Fury” on 04/19/11. Revised and updated with extra flair for this post.
Story behind the photo: Yet another snap from Castillo Gibralfaro, Malaga. This is actually a guardhouse kind of thing, but it looks enough like a decaying outhouse that I thought it would work swimmingly with this post.