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You might think this is another esoteric essay on the nature of spirituality, but it’s not. It’s really about you men and your ability to cope with that bizarre, confusing ritual called courting.

Let’s face it. In matters of pitching woo, there is no how-to manual. There is no F1 button that calls up a Help menu. There is only bathroom wall scribblings, lunchtime gossip, and Penthouse Forum. The rules change all the time. What worked last year will not work this year. Women change faster than you; they change faster than you can even imagine. I’m here to tell you of a few dangerous new trends that could derail the mating ritual you’ve worked so hard to develop. The changes are insidious in their sneakiness. My pointers are offered free of charge. I cannot be held liable if you read this advice and Something Bad happens. No warranties are implied. YMMV.

Someone who knows what being a man means...you have the decency to always walk on the street side of the sidewalk & give me your jacket when you see I'm cold, but you're man enough to take charge in the sack. Someone who will look at me with pride & love, & think that my curves are as beautiful as those on the 1 in NorCal at sunset. Someone who respects my mind & cares about what I have to say...but also knows when to shut me up with the perfect deep, soul-crushing kiss. Someone who can appreciate a lazy sunday afternoon on the couch with the Times...I'll even give you first dibs on the Calendar section. It would be great if you could share my love of music, art, architecture, nature, film & books. It's mandatory that you be intelligent & quick-witted with a strong sense of self. You have to be to keep up with me.

I am on a spiritual path that is genuine and embodied. I'm also very much into being in this world. I bike, practice meditation and energy movement, connect with close friends, read, and dabble in art, dance, and writing. I've traveled a lot, and seek growth opportunities regularly. I am satisfied with where I am right now, in this stage of my evolution, and am enjoying the journey as it unfolds. I love my work, which is supporting people in accessing their highest selves to transform their lives as they wish to. I mention that because I value intellectual capacity in congruence with spirituality. -- (a random chick listing from CraigsList.org)

We begin with a peek at spirituality. Somewhere along the line, as the great iceberg we call Western Civilization calved and separated from that ponderous Antarctic ice shelf that is pre-Enlightenment man, and we decided that organized religion didn’t matter any more, we became obsessed with religion’s new substitute: spirituality. Spirituality is to religion as margarine is to butter: it’s not the real thing, but it’s similar, and it’s fooled itself into believing that it’s modern and therefore as good as or perhaps even much better than that old time religion.

Spirituality has crept quietly into the domain of dating services when we weren’t looking. There’s been this revolution that snuck in on little cats' feet, and all of a sudden, women are looking for spiritual men. It’s an alarming trend.

Years ago, women sought fine upstanding Christian men, or perhaps fine upstanding Roman Catholic men. I’m not quite sure what the difference was, but every WASP woman seemed to know. It probably involved pearl necklaces and Electrolux vacuum cleaners. This went out sometime during the Eisenhower administration, when we first became aware that Jews and Negros were humans too. Nowadays they can’t say they’re looking for a Christian man, because that’s gauche. Nowadays, they say they’re looking for a guy who loves poetry, or who loves theater (or theatre, if they didn’t have the good sense to be born in the United States). Poetry and theater are alarming enough, but women have taken it a step too far, as they are wont to do, and now they’re even looking for men who are "spiritual," or if not completely spiritual, then perhaps just in touch with their spiritual side.

I’m flabberghasted. Utterly. Women readers are urged to pull up a chair and listen careful while I disabuse them of certain nonsensical notions that must be disabused right here, right now, nipped in the bud like the bad ideas that they are.

First off, men HAVE NO spiritual side. They have many other kinds of sides, but no spiritual sides. They may have mechanical sides, or sports sides. They may have barbeque sides, home repair sides, all-sex-all-the-time sides, or even remote-control-and-beer sides. These are all valid manly man sides. But no true man has a spiritual side. You can turn him this way and that, upside down or right side up, but you still won't find it. It's not there.

(Even priests and missionaries don’t have spiritual sides, in the sense discussed above. No. Priests like their beers and whiskey just as much as any regular guy does. They like to watch Notre Dame football games, too. The fathers probably argue about who gets to hold the remote control. They may not use the same descriptive language necessary to describe the abysmal nature of that last bone-headed play, or they may say it in Latin or Aramaic, I don’t know, I haven’t hung out with church folks in a while, so times may have changed, but I think not, and the point of all this is that they are still all guys underneath those smocks or black things, cossacks, or whatever. It is not in the nature of a true guy to go Googling for the correct names of these things, because he doesn’t really much give a shit. Any true guy will recognize the innate correctness of this last statement. Any true guy, if he’s not spiritual of course. A spiritual guy might, but then again I’ve never met a spiritual guy, and I suspect that not even freaks of nature types with really bad chromosomal codes could have genetic predispositions that could make them truly spiritual.)

There is honestly no man I know who has ever thrown aside his book of Sylvia Plath's poetry and said to his woman, “Honey, I’m in the mood for some George Balachine. Let’s go out and grab us a few tickets to the ballet tonight.” It is just not going to happen. We don't have a spiritual bone in our bodies.

Women: give it a rest. Spiritual guys are like unicorns. I know you believe in unicorns too, but – really – they’re just not out there. Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there it is.

In the same way that men aren’t spiritual, they also aren't aware of the concept of thread counts. Do you know what a “thread count” is? (If you’re a woman, don’t answer. This answer was bred into you on a deep genetic basis millenia ago.) Thread count is the number of threads per linear inch that your bedsheets are weaved or woven or however the fuck you say it. Low thread count is like 60 or so, or, if you happen to still have the bedsheets I sold you from college days, about 4. High thread count is about 4 billion. Low thread count is bad, for reasons unknowable. If, as a man, you say to yourself, BAH! This does not matter, silly author!, then I urge you to reconsider the truth of my statement. You might even wish to perform the following experiment, using well-established Guy Science methods.

If you are dating, and you are able to drag your girlfriend into your apartment for an evening of what one hopes will be consensual sex, be warned that while you are busily arranging yourself, she will whip out her microscope and count your threads, and if your sheets don’t qualify you are in real danger of not getting laid.

WARNING: This experiment has to be controlled for external variables, yadda yaddah, you have to run it about seven times to get statistically significant results, and if read this far you've probably gotten all glazey eyed, and I'm sorry about that, but I'm a scientist, dammit, not a doctor!

The textile industry has gone behind our backs on this one, fellas. One day, everything’s fine. Bedsheets are bedsheets. All is right with the world. The next day, BOOM, bedsheets are high-thread-count or low-thread-count, and you don’t even know it. No one tells you. There’s no label on them that says WARNING: YOU MAY NOT BE GETTING ANY ACTION ON THESE. It’s a scandal, really.

So there it is. As if you didn’t have enough to worry about. You’ve got your pre-date list, which consists of proper grooming, a light read of today’s paper, tooth brushing, throwing all of your dirty underwear into the closet you’re sure you won’t open. To that list you must now add the following: One, you have to avoid any woman who’s looking for a spiritual man. And two, you have to wash your bedsheets and MAKE SURE they have high enough thread count. What that is, I have no idea. When you find out, please let me know.

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