Stella Dixon’s take on romance at the shore – where the odds are good, but the goods are seriously odd.
When it comes to men, Cape May is more like Cape Maybe. Maybe he’ll look for a job this winter, or maybe he’ll sit around playing with his Wii. Maybe he’ll mow the lawn, or maybe he’ll sleep until noon. Maybe he knows how to balance a checkbook, fold his laundry, and take a shower without being told… or maybe not.
I’ve dated lots of maybe men who view adulthood as optional. I’ve put up with their baseball caps and baggy jeans, their perpetual hangovers, and their apartments full of dirty dishes and dirtier magazines. But there is one kind of maybe man I can’t stomach: the momma’s boy. This is the guy who, at age 32, thinks to himself: “Gee, maybe I should get my own place… or maybe I should continue watching ESPN on my mother’s couch.” Inevitably, he decides on the latter.
The momma’s boy I dated in college, a guy named John, didn’t live with his mother, but he might as well have. When John bought a cat our senior year, his mom scolded him. “You know I don’t like pets,” she said. “How could you not have consulted me first?” Feeling guilty, John cried. He sobbed, in fact – genuine, bona fide tears. I told him to go ahead and adopt the cat.
“Name it Backbone,” I said, “because then you’ll actually own one.”
Things only got worse from there. If John had so much as a hangnail, he’d call his mother. If she didn’t answer, he’d want me to comfort him just like a mother would. He wanted me to take care of him, but he wanted me in hooker shoes and lip liner while I did it. It was exhausting.
I thought the men I’d meet after college would be different.
Last week, I gave a guy I’d been interested in a ride home. He’d had too much tequila at the Ugly Mug to drive himself. When we got to his house or, more accurately, to his mother’s house, he realized he’d left his keys with his buddies at the bar.
“Can’t your mom let you in?” I asked. He looked at me as though I’d suggested busting through the door with a chainsaw.
“I can’t wake her up at two in the morning,” he said, “obviously.” His concern would have been sweet, I suppose, if he’d also had an issue asking me, at two in the morning, to cart him all the way back to the Mug.
Perhaps Freud was right; you can’t come between a man and his mother. I can’t really blame a guy for prioritizing his mom over me; her love is unconditional, and mine is definitely not. If a guy refuses to cut the cord, a girl’s got no choice but to cut him loose. There are no maybes about it – even Cape May men need to grow up eventually.