You can’t put a bow on a pig |

You can’t put a bow on a pig

Allison Berkley
Aspen CO, Colorado

The other day I was talking to my neighbor, and he was complaining about how our HOA dues keep going up. We live in a mixed-use commercial building that is about as far from Aspen glamorous as the Cooper Street Pier is from water.

“I don’t get it,” he said, shrugging his shoulders. “I mean, look at this place. You can’t put a bow on a pig.”

I couldn’t help but think that metaphor seemed to sum up my last relationship exactly.

It’s not just me. I have plenty of perfectly intelligent friends who are stuck in these holding patterns with men who have absolutely nothing to offer in terms of a future. But like a pig to a trough, they just keep going back for more.

Like a few weeks ago, I was having drinks with my friend S. when she got a text message from a guy she’d been hooking up with that said “Let’s have sex.”

You can’t knock the guy for being honest, even if they weren’t exactly the three little words she was hoping to hear.

S. and Sext Man had taken to a routine of late-night booty calls on a somewhat regular basis. It was not as though she had required anything from him for this privilege, so it’s no surprise that he took it totally for granted or that it was the extent of their relationship. Every once and awhile he acted like he wanted more, but only because he wasn’t giving him the attention that he needed, sort of like a baby screaming for a bottle (or a boob). But as soon as she actually went so far as to ask questions about the relationship, he’d pull out the asshole gun and start shooting her with it just to make sure she wouldn’t come back anytime soon ” unless of course, he wanted her to. Then the whole process started all over again.

The fear of commitment in this valley runs as deep as the record-breaking snow pack did this year. In fact, it would not surprise me at all if the two were totally interconnected.

I have another friend, M., who is one of the most impressive women I know. She runs her own company and is extremely savvy and ballsy when it comes to her professional life. She has a tough exterior coupled with that irresistible, syrupy Southern charm. But when it comes to men, she’s as stupid as the rest of us.

“We can get on the guest list, no problem. I get in for free because I’m shagging Josh,” she told me one day. The word “shagging” did not sound right coming out of her mouth, not only because of her Southern poise but because she is 42 years old.

“Oh, so is that what we’re calling it?” I asked. I knew she’d been seeing Josh for at least six months.

“Yeah, well, he sort of freaked out when we had the ‘girlfriend’ conversation. He said he’s not ready to be in another relationship since his divorce.”

And I was like, “Doesn’t he live at your house?”

And she goes, “Pretty much. But it’s not a big deal. I mean, we’re still having fun, right?”

Sure we are.

Maybe our options are limited because we have chosen to live in a mountain town where people go when they want to screw around and party and ski and play and pretend they’re still in college well into their 60s. I know that’s true because I see the old guys every year on closing day at Ajax dressed in Hawaiian shirts and silly hats, drunk off their asses. I have, on more than one occasion, been propositioned by men at Jimmy’s who are old enough to be my grandfather. What’s worse, they’re so arrogant and cocky they act as though they really think they have a chance.

The worst is my friend Lia. Lia is sort of a health nut. She teaches Pilates and works out constantly and is always on some sort of detox cleanse. Yet she chooses to retox every weekend with Pig Boy, a man whose workout consists of one-arm biceps curls lifting can after can of beer. Let’s just say the only six-pack he’s toting is the one made by Pabst.

Pig Boy is more interested in staying drunk and finding his next meal than he is in Lia, yet she acts as though their love is some kind of extraordinary mystery that she’s determined to solve.

“He’s just really smart, you know? Eccentric. I think that’s why he’s so weird.”

“But he doesn’t even talk,” we tell her. “He’s like a Neanderthal. He speaks in burps.”

She thinks this is funny.

But what’s not funny is when she comes running back to us in tears every time Pig Boy admits to her he’d rather eat and drink in peace than deal with her needs ” at least until his needs kick in. Then the whole cycle repeats itself, over and over again. Every time she goes back to him, she makes these pathetic excuses. “You don’t know him like I do,” she’ll say. “It’s only because I talk to you about it when I’m complaining. I never tell you about the good things.”

The worst part is she cares enough to revamp his wardrobe, gradually updating his closet full of Gap and Polo drab with right-now jeans and cool, sporty clothes from Quiksilver and Hugo Boss. He looks good in these clothes. He does. “Some other woman will probably benefit from all those months of hard work and training,” she sobbed on the phone last week.

So what’s the problem? Why are women in this town so desperate to settle for so much less than they deserve? Is something really better than nothing?

My neighbor has it right. The bottom line is, a pig is a pig no matter what it’s wearing.