Man #1, Where Are You?

2When asked whether or not I am able to make my living as a novelist, I sometimes answer “it depends how you define ‘living.’”  The answer is yes, in a world where nothing goes wrong.

But, in the real world, cars break down.  Roofs spring leaks.  Garages become structurally unsound.  Fillings fall out of teeth.  Eyeglasses get stepped on.  Furnaces wear out.

And that’s just not in my budget.

I’m single and, just lately, I’m dipping my toe back into the dating pool.  And, although I swore I’d never include the size of a man’s bank account on my list of priorities, this time around I find myself looking at a man and wondering whether he could be persuaded to arrange for new shock absorbers.

In Jill Conner Brown’s HILARIOUS book, The Sweet Potato Queens’ Book of Love, there is a chapter entitled “The Five Men You Must Have in Your Life at All Times.”  There is no mistake that #1 is “A Man Who Can Fix Things.”


Jill Connor Browne, who NEVER has to fix her own car.

To be fair, my brother is pretty good at fixing things.  Unfortunately, I have to share him with his wife who unreasonably believes that he ought to be available to fix things at their home.  Also, he doesn’t have any money, either, so the big ticket items (see earlier comment re: deteriorating garage) stand neglected.

Yesterday, I bought a new battery, windshield wiper blades, and wheel covers for my car.  Okay, the wheel covers are cosmetic, but at $16.88 at Wal-Mart, I splurged.  Today, I saw that one of my two “good” tires had a bubble.  On closer inspection, I saw that another of my tires had worn down to the degree that the belt was showing.


So, I’m getting THREE new tires (I’d budgeted for two) and, when they put the car on the lift, the mechanic informed me that my suspension is in bad shape.

Tell me something I don’t know.

Luckily they just repaved the two main roads leading out of where I live.  I figure the potholes and frost heaves are gone, so who needs suspension?

Of course, I should probably do something about the cracked windshield and the leak in the radiator.  I figure the air conditioner can wait until spring and, as long as I remember that the automatic window on the back seat driver’s side only goes down and not up, I should be fine.

We shall not discuss dents.  Or trim.  Or paint.

Then there’s the 98-year-old cottage in which I reside.  It is absolutely charming.  The furnace is starting to make funny noises and belches the scent of un-burned oil from time to time, but it still works.  And the roof only leaks over one little corner of the kitchen, which should be fixable.  The kitchen is so small, I only need to buy one roll of wallpaper to hide the water damage.  The front walk can wait until spring, and I’m hoping to get one more summer out of the dock.

The Sweet Potato Queens book also recommends #3 A Man Who Can Pay For Things.  I’ve never really had one of those.  I’ve definitely dated men who can afford to pay for things, but I’ve usually kept financial woes a secret, only accepting help in a true pinch, and then paying him back immediately.  Now that I’m ready to readjust my thinking on this point, the Men Who Can Pay For Things all seem to be dating women about twenty-five years younger than me.


Tomorrow I get an eye exam and already know I’m going to learn I need a new prescription – my acute iritis attack seems to have caused some permanent (very mild) attrition in the left eye.

So, do you think I should reveal all this stuff to potential boyfriends?  You know, in the spirit of full disclosure.

Yeah, I didn’t think so.