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It was our annual family vacation and we were heading through O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on our way to Punta Mita, a place just North, up the coast from Puerto Vallarta in Mexico. The whole trip started wrong: my daughter and her best friend packed their own bags, showed up on time, helped me load the car and didn’t fight the whole way up to Chicago. Something was wrong. I felt that impending doom was on the horizon. They never help out, and I prefer for trips to start off bad, so any improvement looks like a miracle. We checked into our hotel around the airport so we could catch an early flight out. The same pattern continued: everyone got up on time, the girls didn’t set off the fire alarm smoking weed in their hotel room, and they were ready for check in at 5:30 in the morning. I was getting worried.

We took the shuttle from the hotel and made it through security. We went to Wolfgang Puck’s breakfast. We had been on a roll: the doors were opening on cue; no wait service; plenty of space on the shuttle; a guy helped me with the bags. Things were looking good: we were on our way to a hot resort on the Pacific coast of Mexico, we were all experienced travelers, packed, locked and loaded for a tropical adventure. What could go wrong?

While we waited for our scrambled eggs and toast, I decided to check the Weather Channel on my BlackBerry to see what the weather was like in Punta de Mita and that’s when the shit hit the fan. I clicked on the forecast for the closest town and the forecast called for thunderstorms on our arrival. Undeterred, I clicked on the ten day forecast and it predicted rain, hail, wind and lightning for the next two weeks: epic rain, torrential downpours, disaster-area flooding, and major evacuations. Noah didn’t have it this fucking bad.

If there’s one thing a person should do before booking a flight and hotel, it’s check the weather in the place you’re going to visit. Don’t bother asking the hotel staff or the travel agent because that would be like asking a hooker for advice on your love life. The woman at the desk will tell you it never rains. According to her, there are 365 days of blue skies every year, and when you arrive in the middle of a tropical monsoon, the hotel staff will look and tell you how strange the weather has been for the last couple of days. It just so happens that the climate change affects the place you want to visit the day you arrive.

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The first stop was Dallas-Ft. Worth. Now, if you haven’t been to DFW, think of Disney World without the Magic Kingdom, Mickey, Goofy, or Pooh Bear. The place has its own monorail and roller-coaster like escalators. On the good side, it is full of good restaurants and it is a lot better than a dump like Miami International.  On the flight down, I finished the new Justin Halpern book entitled “I Suck at Girls.” It’s a lot like his previous book, “Shit My Dad Says,” which is funny and self-deprecating. Once again the author’s Old Man takes center stage and makes all kinds of outrageous statements. Halpern might as well let his father write the book. The book is full of laugh-out-loud moments. It is basically the sexual autobiography of a guy who never gets laid in high school (not too different from my own experience, but that’s not the point right now). Halpern turns obsessive compulsive disorder into an art form. At one point his father tells him outright that he takes the simple act of ordering lunch as if he were presiding over the Cuban Missile Crisis.

gabacho

As usual, I finished the book about an hour into the flight. It never seems to fail: I finish the book I’m reading on the plane at the beginning of the trip and I have to lug it around with me for a week.  My daughters and her friends had been having their share of boyfriend troubles for the past couple of years. I am not sure where they find them, but invariably these schmucks have all been losers. I guess it was out of desperation that I picked up Steve Harvey’s “Think Like a Man and Act Like a Lady” and Sherry Argov’s “Why Men Love Bitches” at the bookstore at Dallas International.  I’ve put up with watching my daughter and her best friend drift from bum-to-bum: bad boyfriends, guys in the terrible 20s, and too many that think they can get away with booty calls.

My wife has been good about helping the girls pick up the pieces after their relationships come crumbling down, but I’m more into helping establish an early warning system, something to keep these cavemen at bay. A few weeks earlier, my wife and I had seen the movie based on Harvey’s book and really enjoyed it. Not only did it bring new faces to the cinema but it presented some useful information for girls and their fathers. For the last couple of years, I’ve seen more drama than anyone can imagine. There has been a revolving door of bad boyfriends that has driven me to the tenth level of cynicism. The last one was skinny with big ears and curly hair and he lasted about two days. He still shows up now and then. I call him the skinny punk.

After my youngest has dispensed with her previous beau, two replacements showed up within days. All she has to do is change her Facebook status and the doorbell rings.

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We left off last week when I was describing my youngest daughter’s boyfriend, the one I referred to as the “skinny punk.” After my youngest has dispensed with him, two replacements showed up within days. All she has to do is change her Facebook status and the doorbell rings.

“Who are these two schmucks?” I ask.

“Which ones?”

“The one with curly hair and the other one with big ears?”

Nobody. We’re not “talking.”

What do you mean, you’re not talking? What do they do? Sit around and look at you like a hungry dogs waiting for a treat?

No. I mean we’re talking, but we’re not like “talking”? Get it? We’re just friends.

No, I don’t get it and neither do they. Guys don’t do the “just friends” thing? If the dude has a pulse and he’s not a flamer, he wants to sleep with you. Plain and simple.

Blank stare and incredulous look.

Does he know the toilet seat ain’t cold, yet? You know, you just broke up with that one guy.

Dad! He has a name! Will you chill out? I already told him that after my last breakup I wasn’t ready for another relationship right now.

Oh, yeah! Five bucks says all he heard was the word “now.”

No, Dad, he knows.

Right. You can test your “just friends theory” by adding a few important words to your disclaimer: I am not interested in a relationship with you, now or ever, and then take a look at his face.

That’s harsh. I don’t want to hurt his feelings.

Trust me guys are real stupid.” They’re used to rejection and they get over it real quick. But if that comment is too direct for you try this one to cut through the bullshit: (speaking in a girlish voice) “you’re just like a brother to me! That one will give them and instant “soft on.”.

Come on, Dad! I told him I don’t want a relationship right now. We’re just hanging out.

I gave her the “I don’t buy it” look and she said, “whatever, Dad” and the conversation officially came to a close. She laughed off my advice, but two days later I went out to get the newspaper at six o’clock in the morning and I find that the Midnight Romeo has left flowers and a love letter for her on the front porch.

Being as I can’t remember the guy’s name, I woke up my daughter to inform her that “one of the schmucks” has left her yellow roses and a love letter on the doorstep.

Did you read the letter?

Of course, I read the letter. I’m your dad, what did you expect? I told you this guy was a schlep! Quoting the letter, I said, “I’ll wait for you.” I told you all he heard was the “now” part. Hey, you know why I know he’s a schlep?

No. Why?

Because I’ve been a schlep! I’ve written letters like that. What can I say? Guys are stupid! We think a girl is interested when she says, “not right now.” What she should be saying is “not with you, ever.”

Cross-posted at My Ongoing Struggle with Misanthropy: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Gabacho– according to the Dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy– is derived from an old Provençal word “gavach,” meaning a person from the foothills of the Pyrenees who spoke incorrectly. These days, it means “outsider,” somebody who just doesn’t fit in.

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