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At rise the stage is bare. There may be an approximation or a suggestion of a doorway – but it is not mandatory. There is a small milk carton just right of center. Could be a chair – a tree stump. ARTHUR enters. He carries a bouquet of flowers and a huge, heart-shaped cardboard box of chocolate. He checks his breath in his palm – slicks back his hair and knocks on the door. He knocks again. One more time. Eventually his shoulders slump and he sits on the milk crate. He sets down the bouquet – helps himself to a piece of chocolate. He takes a deep breath. Finally…

ARTHUR

I have to believe that somewhere in this great big beautiful city there is at least one woman I haven’t asked out on a date – yet. I have to keep the eternal flame of hope burning because – well – I am that guy. I am the guy who refuses to give up on love in the face of disappointment. I am the guy hanging out at the airport looking for unfamiliar faces.

I drive a bus. All day long I drive up and down State Street listening to the hum of the people going here and there and never even noticing me. Then I see a smiling girl standing at the bus stop and I am convinced that smile was meant just for me.

By the time I get to the next stop – this scene plays out in my mind. We’re introducing each other to our closest friends and family. My friends are proud of me for such a great catch. Her family is happy because I eat her Mom’s mystery casserole.

By the time I get to the next stop we are picking out china patterns and giving our mutt a clever name. I want a Bulldog. She wants a Jack Russell Terrier. She wins. We name it Spike.

By the time I get to next stop, we are making wedding plans and buying baby-name books. I’m leaning toward Emily for a girl and Jack for a boy. She likes Hunter for a boy and Chloe for a girl.

 I am that guy.

I am the guy who would view a hair-bone-horn protruding from her forehead as an asset if that was the only requirement for a second date. She would gaze lovingly into my eyes as I put on my protective helmet. I would also be grateful because I would never lose my keys.

The problem begins with me. I am an overweight and underemployed Caucasian male who enjoys musical theater and owns a cat. The odds are stacked against me from the gate. I might as well karaoke a Cher song.

One would think my absolute lack of fashion sense would be enough to convince a tender-hearted woman to step in and stop me before I buy another sleeveless shirt with an eagle on it.

My inability to part with more than $5.00 for a haircut has got to be viewed as a desperate scream for help. Don’t even get me started on the sandals.

I have no interest in conquests. One-night stands are for other guys. I want to be a boyfriend – then a husband – then – God willing – a daddy.

I am that guy.

One evening a pretty young friend asked me what I was looking for in a woman.

“A pulse,” I replied.

“You can do better,” she said. “You deserve better.”

She’s probably right, but I don’t seem to have the skill for getting the better ones. I am not even sure I know exactly what that means.

I do know there is a perfect one out there. I know that somewhere there is a woman who is telling her friends how hard it is to find a good man.

I imagine I’ll find her someday. She’ll be smart and pretty. She’ll get my jokes and she’ll like my friends and she won’t have a hair-bone-horn protruding from her forehead.  If she is out there – I’ll find her.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for me; I’ll be the guy at the arrivals gate with a sheepish grin on my face and a bouquet of flowers with no name on the card.

I am that guy.

Paul Barile is a writer/actor who plays a little music. A Chicago native – Paul has had works produced in a variety of houses in Chicago as well as Madison, Wisconsin and other exotic lands.
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