Michael Campbell

Story Time.

Love Skills

by | Mar 18, 2008 | Uncategorized

After spending enough money on therapy to have bought a decent sports car, I learned that I try to buy love. Indeed, a lot of people do. The theory goes something like this: we know ourselves well enough to realize that, if you knew us too, we have no clue why you would date us.

So we compensate with tangible things we do understand. I, for one, will fix your leaky faucet or your broken shower head. The internal argument goes like this: when Mr. Funnier Young Betterhair comes into the picture, with his newer car and bigger lug nuts, I can say, “Yeah, but when the wax floor seal of your toilet needed replacing, who was there for you?” And you’ll be totally unable to imagine F. Betterhair fixing your toilet, and you’ll choose to stick with Toilet Guy.

At least, that’s how we do the math. It doesn’t sound as smart when I actually type it out.

It might be a better plan to be emotionally available. I didn’t learn that from my dad, but he did teach me how to sweat-solder a copper pipe and cut a compound miter joint with a radial arm saw. I’m sure my dad’s great-great-great-etc grandfather taught his son how to club a buffalo, or something romantic like that.

My friend Raoul takes it to its logical conclusion: a guy asks a girl out on a date, buys drinks, then dinner, escalates to a fancy trip to Costa Rica, gets married and builds a home, then fighting starts and divorce and she ends up with everything. So when Raoul gets a crush on a girl, he just buys her a house to get it over with.

“For God so loved the world that he sent his only Son,” the Bible says, and His Son was a carpenter. We consider carpentry a quaint trade now, but remember, back then everything was made out of gravel. If you wanted a nice front porch you had to try to scoop up a pile. A carpenter back then was the high-tech equivalent to today’s webmaster. Everybody wanted one! He must have seemed like a Jewish Steve Jobs or something. Maybe that’s why everyone followed him. While he was saying “blessed are the meek,” women were thinking, “That dude could build me an awesome sun deck.”

Men don’t really get why women love them, so they come up with reasons like these. I cannot come up with any other explanation for why a man would become a plumber, except that he needs love that bad. The snag is that when you hold a plumber’s hand, you can’t stop thinking about where it has been.

Musicians get around it, because when they sing broken-hearted songs, the opposite sex swoons, “He understands!” Unfortunately, he understands because he just got dumped by his girlfriend when she caught him reading the instruction manual for his new hammer.


  1. jo(e)

    When my parents met, my father was working as a musician — he played summers at resorts in the mountains. And my mother’s advice, based on her experience, was always, “Don’t date or marry a musician. Because then you never have anyone to dance with.”

  2. Leslie

    Is Raoul a real person? Cuz I could use a new house.

  3. Anonymous

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  4. Christi

    You fix plumbing for affection, I bake cookies.

    Yours is MUCH healthier.


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