For most of my (unmarried) adult life, I have had the keen ability to attract rather pitiful men. I don't mean 'pitiful' in the 'won't get a job and sits on the couch all day, playing video games and eating Cheese Whiz out of the can' sense. I mean 'pitiful' in the 'stray dog' sense... you know, the ones you look at and think, “Oh, bless his heart.”
Remember Troll-Guy? Uh-huh. Pitiful. And there have been others. Case in point...
When I was about 21, I worked in a video store. It was a cool job where I met loads of people and had a lot of fun. We had many regular customers who came in often -- sometimes every day. One of those customers was Lloyd. Bless his heart.
Lloyd was, I’m guessing, a couple of years older than I… I’m not really sure, as he had sort of an ageless quality about him. To be honest, he looked a bit like an overgrown baby. He was sort of… 'blobby'… not overweight, really, but roundish with little muscle tone… blobby. And his hair looked as if someone had put a bowl on his head and cut around it. Actually, I think I can say with reasonable certainty that Lloyd’s mother (who might have also been his aunt and/or his sister) was that ‘someone’. Bless his heart.
Lloyd lived back in the ‘hollers’ (or ‘hollows’ to you non-Pigsknucklian speakers) at the foot of the Blue Ridge and he worked at the poultry processing plant in Turkeygizzard (the town adjacent to Pigsknuckle). And I’m going to go out on a limb and bet that today, 23 years later, he’s still working there. He used to come to the video store after work several times a week, always with his parents (who also worked at the plant). He’d get out of his truck and mosey down the parking lot, wearing his knee-high rubber turkey-guttin’ boots, dragging a comb through his bowl-cut. Before he even entered the store, he’d look for me, his blobby face lighting up when he caught sight of me behind the counter. You could actually see him screwing up all his courage just to say hello. Bless his heart.
Lloyd spoke in slow motion (probably because he thought in slow motion) and I had to keep myself from smacking him on the back of the head in an effort to force the words out more quickly. And I really wish I could write his accent the way it sounded. The guy invented new vowel sounds. My friends and family used to love it when I imitated him and I can still make Ryan wet her pants laughing when I ‘do’ Lloyd. Anyway, our conversations always went like this:
Lloyd (blushing): Haaaa Da-ayann. Haair yoo?
Me: Hi Lloyd! I’m fine, thanks. How’re you?
Lloyd (blushing profusely): Ahm fahn. Purdy wehther wi’re havin’, ain’t it?
Me: It is. Is there anything I can help you find tonight?
Lloyd (ready to pass out): Noooope. Ah’ll just luuk ‘round, thainks.
Me: OK, well if you need help, you know where to find me!
Lloyd (grinning and bumping into the counter as he walked away): Yup. Ah’ll fahnd ya!
Bless his heart.
You see, for all my sarcasm and smart-assery, I’m actually not a mean-spirited person. I feel for people like Lloyd. Having been the underdog once or twice in my life, I tend to always root for them… and Lloyd was an underdog if ever there was one. I was always kind and friendly toward him, which, while good, meant I had to be careful. People like Lloyd have big blobby hearts inside their big blobby bodies and it’s very, very important not to break them, even inadvertently. As such, I had to humor his crush… at arm's length, anyway. And Lloyd’s crush got about as big as his rubber boots. On Valentine’s Day, he brought me a box of chocolates the size of my first car. Bless his heart.
Luckily, there wasn’t enough nerve in Lloyd’s blobby body to actually ask me out, so I never had to stomp on his heart. I don’t know that I could have, honestly. I probably would have gone. Can you imagine that date? McDonalds meets Deliverance…
“You shore got a purdy mouth when you eat them chicken nuggets, Da-ayann... and Momma and Daddy think so, too.”
Anyway, eventually I moved away from Pigsknuckle and I never saw Lloyd again. I still think of him every now and then and wonder how life turned out for him. I really hope he met someone who appreciated his big blobby heart (and wasn’t related to him in any way) and they lived happily ever after.
So, as I say, pitiful men love me. They always have. They still do.
Another case in point…
I take Sundance to the park every day. I like the park. I meet some really nice people at the park. Occasionally I meet a guy I think I’d actually like to go out with. But of course, he never asks. Nooooo. See, when I go to the park, it’s first thing in the morning… I haven’t showered… I have no make-up on… I’m not wearing my miracle jeans… my dog smells better than I do… I’m so not pretty. I wouldn’t ask me out either. But that could all change.
Lately there’s been a guy at the park, walking the trail most mornings. He’s definitely a ‘bless his heart’ kind of guy and there is a certain ‘Lloydness’ about him. For example, he’s blobby. And he speaks in slow motion (though his accent’s not quite ‘holler-ish’). Unlike Lloyd, he doesn't wear rubber boots... but he does wear dark socks with his white sneakers (which, I swear to you, were on the wrong feet the other day). Also unlike Lloyd, he doesn't sport a bowl-cut. In fact, he’s bald. Now, I have to tell you, I usually find bald men quite sexy. But I do prefer that if someone is really going the way of the cue ball, they just take it all the way. This guy has an odd rectangular tuft of hair… just above his forehead… about 1x2 inches. It’s sort of like someone put a hair-stamp on him and tried to post him somewhere. Bless his heart.
Anyway, when I see him, I smile and say hello, as is my way. It’s obviously his way, too, so we did this in passing for about a week. Then he started chatting, as people at the park are wont to do (me included), mostly about Sundance. I’d be friendly but as soon as I could, I’d say, “Well, we’d better get going! Enjoy your walk," and I'd scoot in the other direction as fast as possible. Then, the other day, he brought me into the conversation, asking what I do, have I seen this movie or been to that restaurant, etc.
Yeah. Uh oh.
Today, though? Today he gave me the classic, “Well, you’re so pretty, your husband is one lucky fella!” Yes, he said “fella”… and then he looked pointedly at my ring finger… which is quite bare. And I wasn't quick (or smart) enough to come up with an imaginary boyfriend, let alone a husband.
Oh yeah… I see a big box of chocolates in my future...
Bless his heart.