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Thursday, November 04, 2004

How Do I Love Thee: Rating Your Stalker

First let me begin with a brief history of love. Forgive me if the dates aren’t exact but have you ever tried working with fact checkers who have been outsourced to a customer service center in Huancayo, Peru? The company is saving a bundle so they tell me not to sweat the small stuff like accuracy. Has anyone in the office seen the Quechua/English dictionary?

1200 A.D. Troubadours in the south of France disseminate the idea of love through popular songs. Men other than troubadours plagiarize their songs and hook-up right and left.

1600’s Shakespeare raises the bar on romance and mushy-ness with his sonnets and plays. Because copyright laws are invented men are forced to actually express themselves to women in their own words. Most men don’t even bother and hence there is born a huge market for a 24 hour sports channel for guys with no charm. Until technology advances to meet this need guys who don’t have dates stay out of trouble by waging world wars and doing yard work.

1945 The greeting card is invented and men are off the hook again. Cards are sold in the same aisle of the store where you find beer and snack products. This is even easier than ripping off lines from the troubadours. A lot of women seem to think it’s cute and heart-felt even if the cards often come with slurred signatures and covered with Cheeto stains.

1980 Men’s notion of love founders on the barrier reef of modern society. In response to this alienation the rock group Air Supply releases its love anthem, I’m All Out of Love. Are men truly “all out of love?” Many people feel this song to be the height of kitsch but it proves to be a turning point in the way in which men would express their romantic ideals. The intense outpouring of feeling resulting from the Air Supply tune leads directly to the birth of stalking—the new romance.

But this isn’t a history lesson. This column is directed to the female readers.

Women, do you ever feel that your stalker isn’t really trying very hard? I mean, how committed do you have to be to call someone on the phone a few times a day and hang up? Maybe loser-boy shows up at your work and screams out “If I can’t have you then no one can,” as he is escorted out of the building by security. Yawn. If only you had a nickel for every time you’ve seen that one before.

Christo covers the Reichstag in a paroxysm of creative energy and all your stalker jerk can muster is a poorly-written note left under your car’s windshield wiper? Maybe it’s time the two of you had a talk about where this relationship is going. Let him know that you felt a tinge of jealousy when you heard that the blond tramp in the temp pool has a stalker who sends her a bouquet of flowers every day. Admit to him that you actually pulled a bunch of orchids out of the dumpster and took them home. One girl’s stalker garbage is another girl’s center piece. It’s stalker envy, it’s pathetic, and you’re sick and tired of it.

Other women show off their restraining orders like jewelry. The lame antics your stalker has been pulling aren’t even worth the effort, unless he’s willing to go down to the courthouse and wait in line for you. His brand of obtrusiveness is about as threatening as a shy Girl Scout selling cookies. If he really wants to get your attention he should try 24 hour surveillance, seven days a week, rain or shine. He should send disturbing letters written, if not in blood--which is just totally gross--then at least in red ink. If he’s old school perhaps a self-inflicted tattoo. Or how about a tasteful gift once in a while; something practical like a nice sauté pan with a lid? Is that asking too much?

Where is the commitment? Where is the obsession? He doesn’t even call in the middle of the night like any other self-respecting creep but phones between 6 and 8 in the evening like some love-sick telemarketer. It’s time to lay down the law with this sicko. Either he needs to bring his stalking to a new level or you're going to fix him up with one of your desperate single friends. Let’s see how much energy he has for bothering you when he has to help his new girlfriend paint her kitchen or take her cat to the vet.

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