• Larkyn Simony

My Picker Is Broken

Updated: Oct 22, 2020

Enjoy the Parade of Laughably Unsuitable Men!

In today's post, My Picker is Broken, I will parade around for you like a prized show pony the history of my laughably horrible taste in men. Last year, I realized that my "relationship" history has been a series of atrocities on par with every version of The Real Housewives. I have suspended my dating life until I figure out how to choose smarter and choose better.

The first time I heard about anyone having a broken picker was on The Dr. Phil Show. A woman on the show was wailing about her terrible relationship problems. Dr. Phil looked her in the face and said to her in that tough love, no-nonsense way, that we all have a relationship picker, and hers was clearly broken.

I am not sure why I was watching Dr. Phil. In the late 1990s, my dad developed a bizarre fascination with The Dr. Phil Show. He would watch it every day without fail in the afternoons after he got home from work. I think he began watching it for the same reason we all rubberneck at traffic accidents when we drive by them on the highway—they disturb us, yet we can't look away.

Sometimes Dr. Phil had interesting things to say. Too often, his show smacked of Jerry Springeresque sensationalism, only without Jerry's awesome bald bodyguard, Steve. No one ever got hit on the back with a chair, either, and no one had a paternity test. So, it was kind of like Jerry Springer, only without any of the fun parts.

Dr. Phil told the wailing woman that her picker was broken. Though I didn't realize it at the time, I would eventually come to adopt this sentiment as my own.

I have been guilty of liking the "bad boys," even when perfectly nice, normal, sweet, attractive men were close at hand and interested in me! I think the allure of the "bad boy" is in the hint of something forbidden he offers. He may have dark good looks, a penchant for dangerous activities like riding motorcycles or playing extreme Frisbee, and a touch of underlying charm and goodness that could be tapped into. By the right woman. We always think these men will change, if only they find the right woman. In the fantasies spawned by our early infatuations, the right woman is always us.

In most cases, however, the "bad boys" end up being duds. We then long for those perfectly nice, normal, sweet, attractive men who were once close at hand and actually interested in us when we realize this. Only, now they are married or in long-term relationships because the smarter women snapped them up. We are left to rummage around the city dump for the slim pickings that are left.

Before I realized my picker was broken, if I had been on The Dating Game, it would have gone something like this:

ANNOUNCER: Bachelor Number One is a 42-year-old Harvard-educated lawyer for a non-profit organization that fights for the humane treatment of animals. He is a world-class cellist, operates his own organic grocery store, and volunteers twice weekly at the local retirement home.

His best friend is George Clooney, who he invites to his house often. In his spare time, Bachelor Number One enjoys lavishing the woman in his life with praise and gifts. He also prints his own money, which is recognized as legal tender in 49 out of 50 states.

ME: Hmm…

ANNOUNCER: Bachelor Number Two is a 47-year-old high-school dropout. He has not had gainful employment since he ran that lemonade stand when he was eight. He lives in a shed out behind his parents' house and gets around the city on a recumbent bicycle he built from trash he found outside a Walmart. Bachelor Number Two enjoys binge drinking, watching shows on an amateur night at the local "gentleman's club, "and his once-weekly bathing ritual.

ME: Ooh!

ANNOUNCER: Now, Ms. Simony, who will it be? I know it's a tough choice, but you have to make a decision. Do you choose Bachelor Number One or Bachelor Number Two?

STUDIO AUDIENCE: Bachelor Number One! Bachelor Number One!

ME: Chuck, I pick Bachelor Number Two!

As you can see, I have not always thought logically when it comes to men.

The first time I remember illogical thinking coming into play for me was at the sixth-grade dance in elementary school. There was a perfectly nice, geeky boy I could have danced with, but I had my eye on Shane, the blonde who had just returned to school from a three-day suspension. While no romantic dalliance ever occurred with Shane (doesn't that name just sound like a delinquent's name?), we did share a slow dance that day. After my first taste of bad-boy Shane, my ill-fated, yet intoxicating (to me) preferences continued to plague me throughout my school days.

And, not only did I like duds, I attracted them too! Also, when I was in sixth grade, there was a boy named Ronnie who lived around the corner from me. He was in my class at school. His nose was always running, and he never wiped it, and he was not the sharpest tool in the shed. Perhaps, after several more years of growth and development, along with the adoption of proper hygiene rituals and some additional schooling, Ronnie would have turned into a fine young man. However, at the time, I thought he was "grody."

Ronnie, as it so happened, also had excellent tree-climbing abilities. That year, my mom and I walked through the neighborhood for exercise nearly every evening after dinner. Ronnie discovered our ritual, and we saw him every day as we walked by his house, perched on the branch of a tree in his front yard, watching as we passed. He would hang off the side of the tree like a ship's lookout searching for land. Ronnie would not speak as we moved past his spot, but would creepily stare down at us through the branches. So, not only was he a dud but a budding stalker, too!

Thankfully, I did not somehow decide that Ronnie was an excellent choice for me to "go steady with." Still, the image of his eerie countenance peering from amongst the leaves haunts me to this day.

I don't know what happened to Shane or Ronnie. Hopefully, they grew up to be productive members of society and outgrew their youthful foibles. I especially hope that Ronnie no longer watches women from up in trees. That sounds like the beginning of an episode of Unsolved Mysteries.

I wish I could tell you that I liked only lovely, sweet, upstanding young men after sixth grade and that no creepy stalkers were ever interested in me again. Unfortunately, though, my poor choices and ability to attract creepy guys continued into adulthood. The bright side to all of this is that it can all seem rather funny if looked at in the right light.

The best part is, I now know that when I decide to date again, I will choose Bachelor Number One instead of Bachelor Number Two.

Photo by Fred Moon on Unsplash

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