I used to roll my eyes when I would hear women lament about how hard it is to be female in today's world in which feminine "beauty" is generally measured by dress sizes, inches on the waist, and letters of the alphabet. I have heard 1,968 women say, "How can you grow up as a girl who plays with Barbie dolls and then develop a healthy self-image once puberty begins? If Barbie were a real-life woman, she would be 5'11, weigh 128 pounds, have a 16-inch waist, and don't even get me started on her...(edited for content)." Another favorite complaint from one of my female friends in the early 1990's was, "Why is Cindy Crawford's facial mole considered a 'beauty mark' but people tell me that my mole makes me look like a witch?" The correct answer was technically because Cindy Crawford did not have several 1 1/2 inch-long hairs sprouting to life from her mole, but sometimes it's just better to say, "Yeah, that's soooo totally unfair. Wanna watch Saved By The Bell?"
I could never empathize with the "It's Impossible to be Barbie" complex. After all, I grew up as a kid playing with He-Man action figures. If He-Man were a real person, his pecks would be so powerful that they could legally be given Super Delegate status by the Democratic party. Assuming, of course, that He-Man were a registered Democrat. (Those of us who faithfully watched the show know that He-Man has to be Republican. At the end of every episode He-Man would present a short "moral lesson" in which he used a portion of the episode to illustrate right choices from wrong. As a person who believes in absolute morality, He-Man would be ineligible to join the Dems. But I'm pretty sure Man-at-Arms was a Democrat, Battlecat was an Independent, and Orko a Communist, so the show was pretty balanced.)
While I grew into a fully-functioning adult male with a healthy self-image despite my boyhood He-Man obsession, I have recently become more sympathetic to the women of the world who know that they will never look like Tyra Banks. This added measure of sensitivity has been thrust upon me by one person:
For men who are unfamiliar with Stephenie Meyer, she is a 34-year old BYU graduate, active Mormon, and stay-at-home mom. A few years back she decided on a whim to write a book about teen-aged vampires called Twilight and it rocketed to the top of the NY Times Best Seller list. New Moon and Eclipse soon followed and they were both best sellers as well. As to her personal fame, Stephenie Meyer recently knocked out Orson Scott Card in the third round of an Ultimate Fighting Championship event to become the undisputed most famous living Mormon author in the world. (The most famous dead LDS author is obviously C.S. Lewis, who had to have been a member since he is quoted in General Conference more often than all of the New Testament apostles combined.)
I like Stephenie Meyer for a lot of reasons. It is wonderful to see somebody who is about my age and a BYU graduate make it big. Her books are worth reading and she keeps the language and content clean. She also allows every husband in the church hold out the hope that one day he'll come home from a horrendous 10-hour day at CompUSA and be greeted by his ecstatic wife who says, "You're not going to believe this, but Creating Keepsakes wants to buy my scrapbook template pages for $1.8 millon!" While most of the Twilight phenomenon is undoubtedly positive, we as men have an obligation to begrudge Stephanie Meyer for two reasons:
Or, as I like to call them, Jerk Face #1 and Jerk Face #2. If you have not read the books, Edward is Bella's deep, intense, passionate boyfriend. Jacob is the funny, charismatic, forgiving friend who would do anything to make Bella his. They both possess magical powers that are far superior to any of the tie tricks that LDS guys learned on our missions (except for blowing on our tie to make it wilt like a flower, that's classic!) In other words, both Edward and Jacob are much, much more interesting than any of the husbands or boyfriends of the women who read the Twilight books.
LDS men should feel as much contempt toward the two main characters of the Twilight series as a woman recovering from her fourth c-section in seven years feels toward Barbie. Approximately 97% of all Mormon women between the ages of 16 and 42 have read Sister Meyer's books and I'm guessing that 92% of them wish their husbands/boyfriends were more like Edward or Jacob in some way. The other 8% have a crush on either Jack, Sayeed, or Sawyer from Lost. If you happen to be dating a young woman and she reveals that she has a crush on either Sawyer or Sayeed, your in pretty good shape. It is highly unlikely that she will ever meet a surly con artist or a former Iraqi Republican Guard torture expert, let alone be swept off of her feet by them. But if your significant other has the hots for Jack, be very, very afraid. There are a lot of divorced, desperate 30-something doctors out there trolling outside of Bath and Body Works looking for vulnerable women whose husband/boyfriend just did something incredibly rude, such as forgetting that today marked the 1,000th day since your first date.
Since most women would like their men to adopt at least a few of the Edward/Jacob qualities, I'll lend a hand to my male readers who have not yet read the books but would like to make it sound like they have. If you ever find yourself in any of the situations below and your wife/girlfriend is a Twilight fan, the following quotes will be pure gold:
LADIES: PLEASE HELP US OUT AND POST COMMENTS TO LET US KNOW WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING QUOTES YOU LIKE THE BEST:
-If she thinks that you drive too recklessly: "Honey, please trust me as much as Bella trusted Edward when he had to break all known traffic laws to get her out of Forks and away from Victoria. If he can drive Bella's pickup truck that recklessly, then I should be able to steer with my knees while texting with my right hand and using my left hand to hold my Slurpee."
-If she ever says on a very warm day, "I feel so hot right now" you should respond with, "My body always feels hot to the touch....kind of like Jacob's." You can then raise your eyebrows like Magnum P.I., flex your pecks, and put your arm around her.
-If she ever says on a very cold day, "I feel so cold right now" you should respond with, "My body always feels cold to the touch....kind of like Edward's." You can then raise your eyebrows like Magnum P.I., flex your pecks, and put your arm around her.
If she says that you have a fear of commitment, tell her, "I just can't rush into a relationship right now. My heart's been broken before and I would like for our relationship to take the next step, but I often feel like Edward did when he left Bella for Italy. His heart was with her, but the timing wasn't right at the moment." Note: This will buy you approximately 3 1/2 months. You will then either have to put a ring on her finger or change your name to Miguel Sanchez and live in Panama for a year while things die down.
If she wants a relationship but you just want to be friends, just say, "I am so glad that we both agree that we can have a fulfilling, close relationship like Bella and Jacob enjoy."
If you really want her to back off and stop bothering you, tell her, "I'm really a creepy, soul-less recluse who thirsts for human blood. I have killed before and have to restrain myself on a daily basis from killing again. I'm not talking about in a heroic, romantic Edward-like way. I'm talking in a really deranged Jeffrey Dahmer way." Note: You will never, ever, EVER see her again at this point, so only bust it out when absolutely necessary.
If you are on a date and there is an awkward lull in the conversation, get a pensive look on your face and say, "I was reading on stepheniemeyer.com that the next Twilight book is going to be told from Edward's point of view. I can't wait to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the emotional trial it must have been for him to be away from Bella for so long during New Moon." Note: If you say this, your female companion will get down on her knee and propose to you on the spot. Only use this line if you are seriously considering taking this young lady to the temple one day.
If she is insecure about her looks and repeatedly asks you if she is pretty, stroke her hair and gently say, "Sweetheart, you always look beautiful...in a Bella sort of way." Note: If you've never read the books and try this line, please post a comment with how this one works out for you and how long it takes for the bruising to heal.
Once you are married, write the following in your next wedding anniversary card, "I am eternally grateful to know that we can be together forever. I am even more grateful that I did not have to sink my vampire teeth into your neck and suck out all of your blood to make it happen." Believe me, she'll dig that one.
Just Added (see comments): After numbing your lips by sucking on a Popsicle, ask her, "Have you ever wondered what it feels like to kiss Edward?" Note: She will be utterly helpless when you close your eyes and lean toward her.
Well, guys, there you have it. Be sure to check the comments to see which of the quotes will score the most points with your wife or girlfriend. In the meantime, do everything possible to act like an undead vampire and/or a teenage werewolf while keeping the love of your life away from Jack from Lost. And women think they have it hard trying to live up to the Barbie standard? If they only knew how hard it is to be a man!
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