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Fixer-Uppers

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The last time I’d seen green shag carpeting, I was crawling across a frat house floor contemplating the myriad shades of the color I encountered as I groped for the joint I’d just dropped. I seem to recall marveling that night at Mother Nature’s ability to cultivate a lawn so lush indoors with no sun. I believe my exact words were “Whoa!” Oh wait — that’s just one word. Whoa…

As I toured this sad little house – nearly twenty years later and, unfortunately, stone cold sober – the “urrrrgggghhhh” that would have accompanied the reappearance of my tuna sandwich would have been far more generous than this floor merited. On my right – rising from the psychedelic jungle beneath my feet – was a wall covered with a depressing dirt brown cork paneling. Making a failed attempt at balancing it on the left was gold metallic wallpaper plastered with bright red flocking. I checked my image in the gilded mirror in its center to make certain my nipples were not exposed. I could have sworn I’d seen that very wall on a movie jacket in the adult section of the video rental store.

Silently I wondered what grievous sin this house had committed that resulted in its banishment to Architectural Digest hell. As I stood on the kitchen floor’s brown and gold floral linoleum and looked beyond the blue Formica counter top to the yellowed-fiberglass covered patio, I fell in love. All this house needed was a little care – preceded by a complete gutting, of course – to make it as beautiful as I imagined its life had begun.

In real estate, fixer-uppers can be real bargains.  Many times a home’s faults are simple cosmetic lapses in – or sometimes complete absences of – taste.  At other times, make-up is simply not enough; you need to call in a contractor  — and a demolition crew. Either way, it’s usually less expensive – and has a history, more character and a bigger backyard – than the soul-less McMansions behind the guarded gates across town. 

Cars often make great fixer-uppers as well. My younger daughter’s first car was a pickle green ’73 Dodge Dart Swinger she bought for $390 the summer she turned 16. That fall Jalapena became her auto shop project. She drove her with pride until years later when she went away to law school and we donated Ms J to a local charity.

Houses have potential. Cars have potential.

Men are what they are.

Why is it that so many of us look at a man and see him – instead of as he is – as what we want him to be? More specifically, as what we believe we can turn him into?

When we shop for a purse, we look first at the style.  Does it appeal to us?  Does it look good on us?  Is it big enough? Are its pockets and compartments sufficient? What about the price?  Are we willing to spend that much?  If the answer to even one of these is “no,” we put it back on the shelf. What we don’t do is buy it, then try to remake it.

So should our attitude be with respect to men. Don’t fool yourself into believing you can change them. Accept it; you can’t.

If you’re looking for a good provider and he wants a sugar momma, put him back on the shelf and keep shopping.

If you’re looking for excitement and he’s a barely breathing substitute for Ambien, put him back on the shelf and keep shopping.

If you’re looking for GQ and he’s modeled for People of Wal*Mart, put him back on the shelf and keep shopping.

If he’s not what you want and you can’t accept him exactly as he is, put him back on the shelf.

Keep shopping.

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About PD Williams

Writer - primarily humorous women's fiction. My secret agenda is to help men become in actuality the visions they think they already are. I point out their many flaws in the kindest, gentlest, most supportive way I know -- gotta protect those fragile male egos -- so we can stop wasting our energy trying to change them. After all, as women, we have more important things to do.

8 responses »

  1. Nicely done my friend!!!

    Reply
  2. Shop til you Drop

    Reply
  3. You know I’m thinking about GQ and Wal-Mart. Keep shopping, keep shopping, keep shopping. I really like this.

    Reply
  4. “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
    ― Maya Angelou

    I’ve been through most of your blog (still have a few to go) and I could have commented at anyone of them; but that’s the magic of the voice you’ve been able to present–I don’t know how to describe it; it’s comfortable in its own skin; yet comforting, even when being prickly; but there is something else in it, something unique. Interactive comes to mind because I don’t think I”ve ever come across it before–the reader feels involved, like they are having a great conversation, even answering back out loud as they read your narrative. It’s a wonderful thing to be so very insightful and smart, but not make a single person feel stupid. You have a gift; I’m overjoyed to see it in use; beside myself to know you are enjoying the whole of it, begging to the end. I can’t wait to see you succeed in this Paula. Much love (and plunging forward to read more), eric

    Reply

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