Warm-up Guys: Jimmi Hendrix, John The Baptist, Frog Prince … & Me
I am, it seems, following in a hallowed tradition that includes opening acts such as Jimi Hendrix for the Monkees (quit after a few shows),
and Prince for The Rolling Stones (booed off the stage),
the warm-up comedians who psych up studio audiences for Leno, Will & Grace, Big Bang Theory, Everybody Loves Raymond, and their ilk (like the Conan O’Brien’s warm-up guy, Jimmy Pardo);
set-up pitchers like George Sherrill,4
and, well, John the Baptist (you know, the “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight yada, yada, yada” guy), shown below as the subject of Giovanni Battista Gaulli’s The Sermon of St. John the Baptist.
In analogous fashion and in emulation of the Brothers Grimm tale, The Frog Prince, I have become, for a select group of soul mate-seeking women, “The Next To Last Toad I Ever Had To Kiss” (before kissing the one that turned into a Prince) or, in scientific notation, “The Penultimate Obligatory Bufonidae Osculation.”
How I Got My Warm-up Guy Rep
The back story follows:
Recently, an ex-main squeeze wrote that she had not only gotten over me, but had, in fact, also hooked up with Mr. Right (even at the zenith of our relationship, I had failed to meet criteria for Mr. Right but did transiently qualify for Dr. Close Enough For Now) and, consequently, has scheduled a June wedding to be followed by the honeymoon in Maui and the requisite happily-ever-after.
Let me interrupt your shoulder shrugging and “So whatting?” to point out that she was not the first of my exes to use yours truly as a stepping stone en route to
bigger and better more compatible men.
Nor was she the second.
She was, in fact, the third woman on the dating train to find romance and happiness one stop beyond the HeckOfAGuy station.
Regardless, a full appreciation of the miraculous nature of this trifecta is possible only if one takes into account
- The relatively small number of women I’ve dated – and the necessarily smaller number of women I’ve dated who keep in touch with me (note: By “keep in touch,” I have in mind something more benign than, say, the vehemently voiced hope that I fall victim to a plague of spectacularly virulent STDs ). Within this select group, a subset with three members represents a substantial percentage.
- The grown-upedness of each woman. Each is demonstrably competent, rational, employed, and well-liked. None is afflicted by impulsivity, the desire for more children, or other psychoses. In other words, these are not helpless, desperate women who require husbands to take care of them. It’s just that each has found the right man, and is willing to commit herself to a relationship. Kinky, eh?
Being the perpetual precursor is not, however, all guitar riffs at Woodstock, baptisms of saviors, and wet amphibian smooches. There are drawbacks beyond the cumulative expense of three wedding presents. For example, I struggle under the moral burden of responsibility for the life-long sexual frustrations these couples will endure as my exes are inevitably disappointed by their new life-partners’ failures to meet the standards established during our time together. Of course, the exes, brave little troopers that they are, loyally insist that their sex lives are better than ever. It doesn’t require a hot-shot shrink to know that there’s some semi-pathological self-delusion going on somewhere.
Besides, it could be worse. You may recall that one of my role models, John the Baptist, was beheaded at the request of a beautiful woman (see Caravaggio’s illustration of the event on left). Let me be perfectly clear about this: Not one of my exes has demanded my decapitation, a record of which I am, quite naturally, proud. I’m also a bit relieved, given that each of these three new men now coupled with the exes seems sufficiently infatuated to merrily whip together a guillotine and razor off my head should my ex- and his current sweetie intimate that such a keepsake would be a clever Valentine’s Day alternative to the clichéd red roses and assorted chocolates.
In any case, there are benefits to the role, primary among them being, of course, the personal fulfillment consequent to bringing romance and happiness to these couples (while I could diagram the causal links between my sojourns with these women and their current rapture with someone else, elaborating the obvious would be unattractively pedantic) and thus enriching all humanity. As is true of so many of my qualities, it’s a gift – and a responsibility.
Besides, if I ever find it necessary to run the personal ad- online dating gauntlet again, I can surely fashion a seriously seductive sales pitch by characterizing myself as a breeding ground for true love, a come-on with the inherent advantage of implicitly precluding long-term entanglement.
Besides, the woman I’m dating now just read the draft of this post, and now she is pretty excited about her future prospects.
Credit Due Department: Jimi Hendrix photo by Pudimm – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikipedia. Prince photo by penner, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikipedia. Pitcher photo by User Keith Allison on Flickr – Originally posted to Flickr as “George Sherrill”, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikipedia. John The Baptist painting photo by Giovanni Battista Gaulli – Web Gallery of Art: Image Info about artwork, Public Domain, via Wikipedia. Jim Pardo photo by Reed Kavner – CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikipedia
Note: Originally posted March 3, 2006 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of AllanShowalter.com
- The reader is advised not to confuse this convenient means of establishing my common sense, open-mindedness, and humility with a proposition that I actually believe. [↩]
- Karma, aka statistical serendipity packaged with incense, candles, & crystals, here cynically offered as an indication of my spiritual awareness [↩]
- As Sherlock Holmes observed to Dr. John Watson in The Sign Of Four, “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” [↩]
- For the baseball-challenged, set-up pitchers are the pitchers brought into the game in the 8th inning to “set up” the game’s big finish for the closer, the pitcher who handles the 9th inning [↩]