Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Epilogue to Cute Dude at The Post Office Store

I love a challenge.

Not a physical challenge, of course. I mean, I haven’t broken a legitimate sweat in years. But an intellectual or social challenge? Yeah, t
hat's my joint.

As readers of this blog know, I have balls and I’m not afraid to use them. That's part of what makes O.H.M. what it is. I like to write (and do) things that are ballsy and that make people think. To make people think, sometimes you've got to take creative risks and make people a little bit uncomfortable, and sometimes you have to get a little bit uncomfortable yourself. You have to hit that savory umami note (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umami) that’s just the right sort of flavor but doesn’t go from savory to sour or bitter. 

That's the goal, anyway.

So it has been with many (if not most) of my blog posts, and so it was with the Cute Dude at The Post Office Store series. I didn’t start out intending for "Open Letter to Cute Dude at The Post Office Store" to turn into the wildly hilarious and bizarre saga it became, but once it did, creativity and The Collective Will of the Masses compelled me to follow art's lead.

And where art led was to some very interesting insights, and a new friendship.

The CDATPOS saga was one of the most popular things in O.H.M.’s short five-month history. All of the CDATPOS correspondence was in the top ten most viewed posts of the several hundred I have written. So naturally, I had to ask myself why.

I think there are a few reasons, the least of which is my writing. A big reason is that CDATPOS himself is a very smart and funny person with lots of friends (for good reason) who was game to play along with a rad and sort of awkward (radkward?) piece of social media-based performance art. 

Another reason is that the story line, as it were, appeared to resonate with a certain demographic—specifically harried moms, also probably with good reason. I could almost hear and see my fellow cougars roaring in delight as each chapter of the CDATPOS saga unfolded in real time.

Mothers can start to feel invisible after a while, even if they have kind and attentive partners. Your life as a mother is school pick-ups and soccer practice and rushed dinners eaten standing up and work and bedtimes and passing out from exhaustion and insomnia and looking at your face and your body in the mirror and wondering where the time went and where the rest of it is going. 

Just because you’re happily married doesn’t mean you’re blind or dead. You can still see a cute guy in the post office store that puts a proverbial automatic defibrillator on your almost-dead little raisin of a heart, makes it go pitter-patter, and makes you want to go back in time a little bit to a bygone day when you might've actually pulled a Carly Rae Jepson and asked CDATPOS to call you maybe. 

Does that mean you’re going to drain your bank account and run off to the set of Cougar Town forever? Of course not. But a silly crush like that is fun to think about and even more fun to write about, precisely because it's fantastical and whimsical.

A guy friend of mine who is in his 40’s and married with kids pointed out that he could never pull off something like the CDATPOS thing—not even in jest. He was thoroughly enjoying watching it unfold, and called it “brilliant writing and more brilliant living.” 
But if he had done the same thing, he noted, the sweet, funny, tongue-in-cheek cougar story-line would come off as creepy, weird, and threatening, and he's right.

I think that’s because men don’t necessarily acquire the same insidious feeling of invisibility over time. Our society simply does not value or emphasize youth and appearance for men in the same way it does for women, and there are too many prominent examples of that to even begin listing.

That's why if a happily married man penned a tongue-in-cheek open letter to a woman thirteen years his junior, it’s creepy because it seems like a realistic possibility and a legitimate pass. If a woman does the same thing, however, it’s sweet and funny, because it seems innocently irreverent, which, at least in this case, it is. And therein lies the double-edged, double-standardized sword of what keeps CDATPOS on the funny side of a potentially thin line. 

In the meantime, real-life chilling out with CDATPOS and the fam was extremely fun and awesome, and I'm happy to have a new friend, both in virtual and in real life! And with that, I'm passing the mic to Geoff, who will get O.H.M’s last word on CDATPOS as a special guest blogger. 


Cute Dude at the Post Office Store: A Husband’s Response


So, you’re the one who’s been “making eyes” at my wife, or, as you call her “Fox.”

And not entirely innocently, either. I mean, you Lloyd Dobblered your own sound system and cooked five pounds of pork tenderloin for our entire family, to the delight of Juneau's Desperate Housewives! Oh, sure, you may have plated it all fancy with a handmade cayenne-garlic pesto and delicious tomato-onion jam, but I read the subtext loud and clear—you wanted to display your hot, ample loin. 

Well, CDATPOS, if that is your real name, I’ve got news for you: it worked. You’re every bit as cute and hip as my wife said, and you turned out to be a nice guy who knows his pork.

Let’s not beat around the bush, CDATPOS. OHM readers will recognize the concept of “Sister Wife.” What I propose is that you become my “Brother Husband.”

Oh, what I wouldn’t give to have a younger, fitter, hairier, more energetic man—who cooks!—around the house. For one, the gutters are super clogged. Also, the tires on both cars need swapping, the crawl space needs insulation, and the kids are clamoring for a tree house. You can attend to all of that, while I go get a tattoo or snapchat selfies or whatever it is 24-year-olds do these days.

Think about it, CDATPOS. As Brother Husband, you could make eyes at “Fox” anytime you like. And then “Fox” can dispatch you to Costco for coconut oil and a gross of tampons so everyone looks at you like you’re some kind of pervert—even those sample dudes with the beard nets.

It’d be a change of pace for you, and an occasional break for me. You see, “Fox” doesn’t handle nearly as many household responsibilities as her blog might otherwise suggest. Nor should she. She’s the “Fox,” after all—it’s not just any woman whose bathroom I’d scrub for 15 years.

But another set of hands would prove handy, pardon the pun, as would another set of wheels, especially on weekday mornings when three different people need to be in three different places—with three different lunches—all by 8:00 a.m., two requesting breakfasts like cheese omelets with farm fresh eggs and French Toast while "Fox" puts $472 worth of wrinkle cream on her face, crimps her eyelashes, and does whatever else she feels she needs to do to become the “Fox,” (although she really doesn’t need to do any of that).  

As for the sleeping arrangements, CDATPOS, I’ll even let you have the master bed. Am I scared something will happen? Nah. Clearly you’ve never been anyone’s husband before. And even if something did go down, that’s the spot the kids run to first thing Saturday morning, again demanding three-cheese omelets made with farm fresh eggs and French toast. They can call you “daddy” for all I care, as long as I can snooze til 10.  

Mull it over, CDATPOS. In the meantime, can I get that recipe? 


GZK (these are my actual initials, not just an acronym)

P.S. – Don’t ditch the Lloyd Dobbler routine, CDATPOS; that’s probably very effective with the eligible ladies. 


  1. Alas, I do not weep for your male friend who isn’t able to flirt en blog with a younger woman because of the “creepy” stigma. After all, sexual violence is pretty much an exclusive male on female occurrence (except for a few notable exceptions) and not usually all that funny. For someone who remembers when a woman with an independent checking account was heresy, the fact that we can enjoy a bit of humor by turning the tables and using the cougar metaphor is just one of the few advantages that our scrambling struggle for some semblance of equality has afforded us. As an older person, I can attest to the fact that eventually we all become invisible to, not only the opposite sex, but to the culture as a whole, so equality ultimately wins in that we all end up dead anyway. We still have a long way to go before there is gender equality, but I’m proud to use the cliché “We’ve come a long way, baby,” because women and men parent equally more often, more women contribute financially to their families, gay people are overcoming their heinous stigma, a transgender female gets work as a model, and men inevitably are more conflicted about their roles in the culture. Well, that’s what progress looks like. Messy, messy, sometimes hot and sometimes not.

    P.S. you must have a great mom and ditto for your husband. Great comments from you both. Your marriage is proof that progress is still alive and well, despite creationism being taught in Kansas public schools.

    1. Love this comment, thank you! Yes, my mom is pretty badass. Turning 70 this year and a doctor back when few women were. She uses her maiden name and still works full time. And I also have a lot of gender reversal in my marriage and quite the funny and good sport of a spouse!

  2. I concur with your assessment of dude's cuteness. I saw him today as a matter or fact.

    But, he needs to turn down his goddamned music. Old people like me hate that shit.


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