I've been a husband for six years. I've been a father for 18. Do the math. That's negative 12. Who needs an abacus? I belong to a generation of parents who, in financial speak, are upside down. If our children were mortgages, we would be one nation underwater. Wait a minute, we are. Shucks.
From foreplay to foreclosure, we keep getting screwed. Blame it on the burst of the housing bubble or blame it on the burst of the condom bubble. Either way, things don't always unfold the way we hoped.
Ideally, love and marriage should come before baby and carriage just as incontrovertible evidence should have come before Bombs Over Baghdad. Then again, Bush and Dick always had a mind of their own anyway.
Even though I'm no longer an unwed single parent, I'm not married to my son's biological mother. And now that "blackman" (as my wife and I affectionately call him) is weeks away from high school graduation, I have some words of wisdom to share with other parents who aren't married to the mother or father of their child(ren).
Relationships often play out with two sets of rules: his and hers. Nowhere do double standards flourish more than when it comes to issues of weight. Men want their girlfriends and wives to stay in shape. While it may or may not always work out that way, we certainly find ways to make our feelings known: "Babe, you sure you want to eat that deep-fried doughnut?" After all, there is only so much cushion for the pushin' a man needs.
But turn the tables, and you find that most men roll differently. And when I say "roll," I mean actually rolling up on the drive-thru and, two heartbeats away from cardiac arrest, we'll bark out our order: "I'd like my double standard with cheese please."
Indulge me as I speak from my own personal experience because, you know, that's something I never do.
Earlier this week, when I decided to entertain the topic of how married men process the fact a close friend is getting divorced, I thought of several films I've seen over the years featuring orphans. Stay with me.
Have you ever watched an orphan movie? And I don't mean the time you acted as a benevolent soul and took home that straight-to-video joint starring Vivica Fox and Eddie Winslow from 'Family Matters.' You remember. The one that no one else was willing to take a chance on and upon wasting one hour and 42 minutes of your weekend, you didn't know whether to pat yourself on the back for blindly supporting black cinema or smack yourself in the face.
Granted, it was charitable of you and your family to take home an unwanted movie, but that's a different type of orphan movie, one abandoned by the studio system and the public. I'm referring to real orphan movies with the cliche villainous nuns, bloody British accents, the whole nine. But it's another cliche also found in all orphan movies that's applicable to the subject of men, friends and divorce.
Twelve months ago, it happened again. Regrettably, the story is a familiar one. An older man, balding and wealthy, began lavishing a younger woman with cash and gifts. As sure as she was stunning, he was horny. And there he salivated, only an arm length's away from a Pez dispenser of magic blue pills.
That said, this arrangement - excuse me, "non-arrangement" - was merely a platonic friendship, according to the man that no one believes. Justice system, meet Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's Prime Minister. The two of you will be getting to know each other over the next few months.
The young woman in question, now a whopping 18, is Karima el-Mahroug. As you can see in the photo above, she resembles a Moroccan Tracey Edmonds. One catch, though: the black Tracey Edmonds wasn't being wined, dined, and intertwined at the age of 17 by a world leader.
Karima, though, young and susceptible, finds herself at the center of a sex scandal that is shaking this southern European country. She's been dubbed "Ruby the Heart Stealer". The proper forensic translation: "Ruby the Teenager".
This leads me to a bigger question: What's up with men chasing underage girls? Fetishes abound; I get that. There are men who will hand over a piece of change for something strange. But having sex, even thinking about having sex, with a minor a half a mile north of puberty doesn't rank very high on the checklist of things men should do before they die.