I'm Having More Fun Than You

BOOK: I'm Having More Fun Than You
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I’m Having More Fun Than You
 
Aaron Karo
 

 

For all the girls I’ve ever hooked up with.

I’ll never forget you.

That’s a lie.

Contents
 

1
Spurning Thirty

2
Ahead of the Game

3
The Naked Truce

4
Partners in Prime

5
The Pursuit of Happy Hour

6
A Girlfriend Indeed

7
Fools of Engagement

 

E
arlier this year, as my thirtieth birthday drew closer, I noticed that the women around me wanted to get married more, but I actually wanted to get married
less.
My reluctance to tie the knot is far from an isolated phenomenon; I’ve observed more than a few guys in their late twenties and early thirties who are enthusiastically unattached—and the women who are increasingly frustrated by them. It strikes me as hilarious, ironic, and a bit cruel that men eschew commitment just when girls begin to crave it most.

You see, I used to think my college years were the best life was ever going to get. Then, I thought I peaked during the frenzied days of my early twenties. But the truth is, I’m just now entering my prime. Turning thirty ushers in a period of unprecedented independence for men. We finally have the confidence, experience, and wherewithal to pursue the lifestyle and the women we desire most. These same women often ask me why the guys they meet are so opposed to the idea of being committed. And I tell them it’s because we’re just now getting the hang of being single.

As we grow older, it becomes increasingly difficult to avoid comparing ourselves to our peers. After all, I’m bombarded with Facebook alerts whenever my friends (or random acquaintances, for that matter) celebrate a birthday, and I can’t help but notice their profile pictures now include a significant other. Invitations to high school reunions beckon and soon I’m being introduced to the husbands and wives of people I never thought would copulate. I flip through the pages of my college alumni magazine and begin to imagine the babies in the photos my classmates submit are smirking at me in disdain. I sit at the singles table at weddings, so far from the action I can barely make out who’s delivering the toast I care nothing about. All around me, couples—consciously or otherwise—make those not in relationships feel ostracized, belittled, and unworthy. But all those who cast judgment should take heed of my simple message: “I’m having more fun than you.”

Any salute to singlehood is also a celebration of freedom. To me, the advantages of flying solo include not just the ability to pursue any woman, anytime, anywhere (though that’s certainly a bonus). The true benefits of bachelorhood are just as much about what you
don’t
have as what you do have—one cannot truly live the dream without both the presence of options
and
the absence of annoying obligations to a significant other. Only when those conditions are met can I endeavor to work hard and play harder. I’m not responsible for anyone but myself. And so, simply put, in my life every morning is a morning after.

There are times, however, when I feel a certain kinship with my betrothed brethren. Even though I refuse to be tied down, I can still relate on some level to those who have made the plunge. I guess, in a way, happily married people and perpetually single people are similar: we’ve both given up on dating and have merely chosen different exit strategies.

These revelations have come after a long and eventful journey. I was born and raised in Plainview, New York, and attended the University of Pennsylvania. It was during my freshman year at Penn that I first began recording the mating and dating rituals of my peers in an email column called
Ruminations.
It went viral, and when I went to work at a major investment bank following graduation, I even listed the far-from-PC column on my résumé. (One day I’ll tell my kids how fast and loose those dot.com boom days were.) One year later, in 2002, I found my calling. And it did not involve knowing all the keyboard shortcuts in Excel. That summer I published my first book,
Ruminations on College Life,
performed stand-up for the first time, and left Wall Street forever. Three years later, in the summer of 2005, I was touring the country as a headlining comedian, I published my second book,
Ruminations on Twentysomething Life,
and I defied every fiber of my being by moving from Manhattan to Los Angeles. The allure of touching fake breasts was far too great to resist. Another three years later, in the summer of 2008, I was performing on the
Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson
on CBS, recording an album for Comedy Central Records, and launching Ruminations.com, which enabled my fans to write and share their own twisted thoughts. I review my background here not to impress but rather to impart to you that the book you’re about to read is the result of more than a decade’s worth of observation and experience. I’ve spent my entire adult life talking with, partying with, and trying to sleep with my fans across the country. Their stories have inspired me. In fact, I continue to write
Ruminations
to this day. The column, which was first emailed from my dorm room to twenty high school friends, has now been read by hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

This book is about bachelorhood on the brink of thirty. I look back at the hijinks and hook-ups that filled my twenties and look forward to what lies ahead. My lifestyle affords me the opportunity to take risks, make mistakes, and only learn a lesson half the time. And yours can too. But this book won’t tell you how to do it, only how I did. What am I, fucking Oprah? Many a night I’ve found myself reading emails written to me by guys on their BlackBerrys at bars halfway across the country, asking me to give them real-time advice on how to pick up chicks. I usually read those emails on my own BlackBerry while at the bar myself and wondering the exact same thing.

From an objective perspective, one might describe me as a “catch.” I’m a successful writer. I have an amazing family that I’m close with and incredible friends who allow me to poke fun at them in print without their consent. I’ve traveled the world. I possess a sense of humor and an Ivy League degree. I’m also really humble. But all of these things make me one of the most frustrating breeds of men for chicks to deal with: the catch who doesn’t want to get caught. The ineligible bachelor. Always the groomsman, never the groom. I want to make clear, though, that this is a conscious decision. I’ve had serious girlfriends. I’ve held hands in public. But in the end I always felt constrained, like when you stop short in a car and the seat belt tightens up. More and more often I find myself wanting to just park the car, leap out, and bang a chick whose last name I do not know.

What I find so fascinating about twentysomethings and thirtysomethings is that there seems to be no middle ground—the experience is universally divided. Some of us worry about dying alone. The rest of us fret about going home alone. Some of us fantasize about walking down the aisle. The rest of us revel in doing the walk of shame. Some of us dream about settling down. The rest of us scheme about hooking up. In short, if you’re looking for Mr. Right, you’ve got the wrong guy. I’m Mr. Right Now. Seriously—your place or mine?

The simplest way to gauge where you stand in this conflict is to see who’s left when the lights go on after the bar announces last call. If you’re still there, you’re one of us. If you already left because you found a willing warm body, you’re one of us. If you already left because you can’t stay up past 1 a.m. and have “brunch” in the morning, you’re definitely having less fun than me.

I would also like to state for the record that this book is not an anti-marriage treatise. Do I want to get married some day? Abso-fuckin’-lutely. Just not anytime soon. I’m more than content playing the field. Besides, good things come to those who wait. Like lots of random blow jobs. So don’t let it get to you when you see your friends coupling off. Obsessing over that is what makes people our age unhappy. I’ve seen it firsthand. If you haven’t been blessed with the natural disposition to live large, then drink big. No harm has ever come from being single and seeing double. And when your thirtieth birthday comes around, make sure you go out with a bang. Literally.

In addition to freedom, independence, and boundless sexual variety, being single offers another advantage that doesn’t get talked about much. Couples deny it and single people themselves rarely realize it. But the fact is, being alone is an incredible opportunity to learn about yourself. You’d be amazed at how not relying on anyone else not only builds character, but also helps you recognize your weaknesses. And only after you are armed with that knowledge do I believe you can truly find the person right for you. At the end of the day, the world between college and marriage isn’t easy. During the times that suck, take a step back, look at yourself, and laugh. During the times that are awesome, take lots of pictures because you won’t remember shit in the morning. And, finally, to all the single people in the world under thirty, please accept this book as your guide to the road ahead. May your answer to the question “Do you want another drink?” be the only time you have to say, “I do.”

CHAPTER 1
 
SPURNING THIRTY
 

He who is of calm and happy nature will hardly feel the pressure of age.

PLATO

 
 

W
hen I turned twenty, I was studying abroad in London. It was anticlimactic as far as birthdays go because I was already two years over the local drinking age, and in an era before Facebook, BlackBerry, and Skype, I didn’t initially hear from many of my friends back home. I remember feeling very depressed, followed by imbibing many, many pints at the pub, but after that I don’t remember very much at all. Looking back ten years later, it’s laughable to think I had anything to feel down about. I was still in college, I had my whole life ahead of me, and I was surrounded by chicks with sexy if unintelligible accents. Ironically, my thirtieth birthday was not nearly as traumatic. Whether it was newfound maturity (doubtful) or merely denial (more likely), I began to look at things in a whole new light. Thirty can be an earth-shattering milestone, or it can be just a nice, even number and a convenient age at which to take stock. Either way, an analysis of my life at this moment is straightforward: I’m the odd man out, increasingly marginalized by an influx of couples, and oftentimes looked down on by those who take life way too seriously. But I press forward nonetheless. It’s not that I don’t care what other people think; it’s that I’m too busy checking out the cute brunette who just walked in to be paying attention.

SINGLED OUT

 

To me, being single is like having diplomatic immunity. I come and go as I please. I answer to no authority. And if accused of lewd behavior, I can just claim ignorance: “Sorry, I’m not from around here and don’t understand this concept you call dating.” Thankfully, the world is changing for the better. People are getting married later and later—and that means we now have more time to live our lives the way we want to. Birthdays are not so much deadlines as they are markers on the side of the road that you barely notice because you’re having such a blast. Hell, thirty is the new twenty.

An experience that is always strange for me is running into a girl I hooked up with two years ago and finding out she’s married now. Because it really forces me to compare what she’s been doing for the past two years—meeting her husband, having kids, buying a house—with the bullshit I’ve been doing for the past two years: having a series of quasi-anonymous one-night stands and getting obnoxiously drunk at my friends’ weddings. Each time, I consider these facts and contemplate my life and get really introspective. But the conclusion I draw is always the same: thank God I’m not married.

THE SINGLE CALENDAR

 

Valentine’s Day is a holiday—if you can even call it that—when couples are encouraged to rejoice in their relationships while single guys secretly make fun of them. For me, Valentine’s Day is like Columbus Day: it has no bearing on my life and I usually only find out about it the day before.

 

What many women don’t realize is that single guys have special powers. I could be in a car with a bunch of married dudes and say, “Holy shit. Did you guys just see that chick? She was fucking gorgeous!” And the married guys are like, “Karo, that car drove by at sixty miles an hour. How did you see anything?” And I say, “I don’t know. I guess I just kinda
felt
that she was hot. I must have spider-sense or something. My balls are tingling.”

Bachelorhood should be a celebration of independence and, in that vein, I don’t think a guy can truly revel in his availability unless he lives alone. Even if you live with just one other single dude, you’re still sharing. Sharing is the enemy of the bachelor. Pure, unadulterated selfishness is where it’s at. The only downside to living alone in my one-bedroom is that I can’t seem to finish a loaf of bread before it spoils, and when I do polish off something, like a big jug of olive oil, I realize it was me alone who ingested the entire thing. Of course, the upside to living alone is being able to do whatever the fuck I want. My refrigerator has a drawer labeled “fresh produce.” That’s where I keep the beer.

THE SEVENTH WHEEL

 

In 2007, I had dinner with six friends—two married couples and one couple who lived together—thereby making me the seventh wheel. I’d been the third and fifth wheels plenty of times, but never the seventh. Though I’ve watched my wingmen being picked off since college, I didn’t realize until then how quickly they were all turning to the Dark Side. My high school friends, who’ve done their share of damage? Half of them are now married. My fraternity brothers, whom I hold up as the modern paradigm of lechery? Nearly two-thirds have been taken out back and shot. Becoming a seventh wheel, it now seems, was inevitable.

Going out that night with my buddies and their wives and girlfriends did give me pause. On one hand, it’s kind of depressing to see my friends with their significant others laughing and sharing, and realize I don’t have that kind of companionship. On the other hand, it’s exhilarating to know that I’m not accountable for anyone’s happiness but my own, and that the next girl I wake up beside will quickly realize that’s her cue to leave. Upon reflection, I look at being an odd-numbered wheel as a badge of honor. I’d be the fifteenth wheel if I could—if only to be in a room with fourteen people whose lives are less thrilling than mine.

Men and women tend to treat their seventh wheel status differently—the former bask in it while the latter are mortified by the mere prospect of it. I see being surrounded by couples as a positive thing—it’s more obvious that I’m available. But for many women, the same situation only makes it more obvious that they’re alone. That self-conscious feeling is the result of an unfair stigma foisted upon the fairer sex by society. And by “society” I mean boring married people. Being the odd wheel doesn’t have to feel odd. I say if you’re young and you’re free, enjoy. Rock out and drink up.

There are also times when being a seventh wheel comes with fringe benefits. For instance, when my friends’ wives take pity on me because they think I can’t fend for myself (which is only partially true). It takes a special kind of guy to let another man’s wife cook him dinner and hem his clothing. Besides, who am I to turn down all the perks of marriage while avoiding the cohabitation and monotonous sex?

THE DATING GAME

 

I’ve never been much of a dater. I could probably count the number of official dates I’ve ever been on. Quite frankly, I just don’t have the patience. Drinks are for getting drunk, and I prefer to eat dinner while wearing something with an elastic waistband. As far as conversation, well, no one likes to talk about themselves as much as I do, but listening to some chick ramble on about her career as an event planner? No thanks. Besides, it’s not a real job if you can be rendered obsolete by an Evite.

The last time I spoke to my buddy Claudio, he was dating four women simultaneously—none of whom knew of the others’ existence. Although I admire Claudio’s status as a player, his situation doesn’t appeal to me at all. I just don’t have the patience or the follow-through to keep the game going. Before I tackle dating four girls, I should probably try hooking up with the same girl four times and see how that goes.

What is “dating” anyway? Because I look at it as something you do
after
you’ve hooked up. It’s very rare that I go on a proper first date with a chick that I haven’t already banged. Doing things in that order makes the eventual date less awkward and ensures that you have at least some measure of chemistry. Plus, who wants to have dinner with someone you’ve never seen naked?

STAGE FRIGHT

 

I once went out with a girl and later gave her some tickets to a stand-up performance of mine. She proceeded to show up with another guy—on another date! The only thing less classy would have been if she started heckling me.

 

Television’s unrealistic portrayal of dating is partly to blame for my aversion to the ritual. No guy in the real world ever says, “So, pick you up at eight?” without giving any indication of what the plans actually are, or how he even knows where the girl lives. Plus, have you ever noticed that when thirtysomethings go on dates on TV, the guy is always wearing a suit and tie and picking the chick up at her brownstone? What universe is this based on? I’ve never even met anyone who lives in a brownstone. And if I’m wearing a suit, somebody better be getting married or buried (not that there’s much difference).

I remember that feeling in the air at my first fraternity date party in college, when all the guys were scrambling at the last minute to figure out whom to ask and what to wear. I still get that feeling every time I go on a date or buy a girl a bottle of wine. Life to me has never ceased to be like one big game of childhood dress-up. Taking a girl to dinner is just about the most mature thing I’ve ever done. When I’m in the middle of a date I can’t help but think I’m still eighteen and soon everyone is going to expose me as a fraud.

The logistics of dating also pose an enormous obstacle for someone as neurotic as myself. If I’m going out to dinner in Los Angeles, my first issue is parking. I can find the restaurant OK, but once I get there I can’t park and end up driving in radiating concentric circles until I find a spot a mile away from my initial destination. The girl probably thinks she’s in the midst of a kidnapping attempt and I’m trying to disorient her. And parallel parking, forget about it. When I first moved to LA, I was driving an SUV for the first time in my life. I was always scared and unsure about how much space I needed. I swear I parked like a gangly adolescent girl self-conscious about her developing new body.

I cringe when I go to a restaurant for the first time and the waiter asks if I’ve eaten there before. Because I know that if I answer truthfully, I’ll then be subjected to a ten-minute instructional lecture on the intricate aspects of ordering tapas. Listen, if your menu is so complicated that living on earth for thirty years doesn’t give me sufficient knowledge to order from it properly, I’m probably not going to like any of this weird-ass food anyway.

When the check comes, there should be absolutely no debate: I’m paying. Ladies, any guy who doesn’t pay for you is fucking worthless. Any guy who offers to split the check should hand in his man badge and have his testicles confiscated at the door: he’s done. If we make it a few more dates, personally I appreciate when the girl does the fake, reach-for-her-purse move. I’m still paying, but I respect the fact that she’s playing along. A few more dates and, yes, I will let the girl pay. But only if she insists. I know I’ve been spending a shitload of money on her the past few weeks. I also know she’s spent a shitload of money on clothes, makeup, waxing, manicures, and other crap I can’t even consciously perceive, but all of which collectively made me want to go out with her in the first place.

THE SET-UP

 

In the twelve years I’ve been writing my
Ruminations
column, I’ve received a staggering number of emails—from soldiers overseas thanking me for giving them a laugh to a fan who quoted me while proposing to his girlfriend (apparently he was a hopeless romantic, emphasis on
hopeless
). But I’m always surprised when I receive emails from mothers and fathers trying to set me up with their daughters, and chicks trying to set me up with their girl friends. Apparently, everyone is fair game for being set up these days. It’s also interesting how every mother describes her daughter as “gorgeous.” Somehow that seems unlikely.

I almost always regret allowing my friends to set me up. Because I’ve found that friends who know you best are the worst at setting you up. Perfect strangers are much better at it because they don’t overthink things. For instance, my tastes are very clear: I prefer brunettes, I like girls in wife-beaters, and I’ve got a thing for doctors. But that does
not
mean you can only set me up with brown-haired surgeons wearing beaters. If the chick is just hot, she’ll do. I’ll bang a blonde. Let’s not get picky.

A woman will tell you everything about one of her friends, but leave out the most important part: “You have to meet my friend, she’s gorgeous, you’ll love her.” I respond, “Is she single? No? Then who the
fuck
cares?” Ladies,
lead
with that information! What do I want to meet a chick with a boyfriend for? What, are me and her gonna become friends? Read
Us Weekly
and eat nonfat frozen yogurt and share lip gloss and go shopping for candles and ballet flats? Don’t introduce me to chicks with boyfriends. You might as well introduce me directly to the boyfriend. The net result is the same: no pussy for me.

OBSERVATION

 

How long a girl stresses the word “so” when describing how cute her friend is is inversely proportional to how cute her friend actually is. For instance, if a girl is like, “You have to meet my friend Ashley; she’s soooooo cute!” that chick is busted.

 

My guy friends don’t get very creative when they’re thinking of girls to set me up with. Once my frat buddy Scott asked me, “Karo, you want me to introduce you to this chick Susan? She’s pretty hot.” “I guess,” I said. “How do you know her?” And Scott was like, “I fucked her.” That’s not really thinking outside the box. But the thing is, that didn’t even deter me. I contemplated it for a moment and then asked, “Well, how long ago did you fuck her?”

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