Upon chatting with my roommate about relationships she told me I should turn our conversation into some kind of anti-Valentines Day blog post. While I really don’t think what we were talking about was “anti-Valentines Day”, it’s definitely not in danger of appearing on a greeting card any time soon. Be warned.
There’s a V-chip implanted in my brain. I don’t how my parents did it, but at some point in those dawning days of home-television-censorship that percolated through the 90’s, when befuddled politicians urged parents to regulate their kids’ viewing habits with little chips inserted into the backs of their TVs, they must have bypassed the tube all together and lodged the thing right in my brain. Clever move, Mom and Dad, clever
The genius of the V-chip was while certainly designed to ‘desmutify’ TV of all of its swears and sex stuff directly, it’s more sinister purpose was to push a certain kind of morality on TV by eliminating all programming that even hinted at sexual situation. This resulted in a saccharine diet of such lost-in-the-woods protagonists as Corey Matthews, Danny Tanner, and Randy Taylor who submitted to a specific code of conduct, particularly when dealing with romance on a weekly basis.
|Can't get no satisfaction.|
Randy might like his lab partner, but he can’t just ask her out. He barely knows her! What is he, some kind of creep? He can only ask her out after helping her solve her family issues, and in the process get to know her. So sayeth the V-chip.
Danny Tanner can’t have a one-night stand. Are you kidding? He’s a loving father, which means any romantic interest must have sincere long-term aspirations because as a father he is obviously no longer a real man with real human needs.
And Corey can’t just ask out any girl he sees like Shawn so cavalierly does. After comical failure after comical failure he is only permitted to ask out a girl with whom he has already cultivated a genuine connection prior to forming romantic feelings for her—Topanga! And even at this, Corey must wait until he believes that someone else might ask her out first before he is allowed to disturb the status quo of their friendship with his selfish request.
Though this code is seemingly predicated on sincerity, sensitivity, strong moral fiber, and other excerpts from the Boy Scout oath, it’s really about making sure there is no possible way that any of these characters could be ever perceived as creepy. It often muddles immorality with assertiveness, but hey, who can really sympathize with a protagonist who knows what he wants and goes after it?
And so where your Shawn Hunters and Uncle Jesses can effortlessly approach any girl without censors blaring, my V-chip is calibrated to the Corey Matthews setting where everything needs to be “just so” for a girl to be met.
|Though best friends on the same show, Corey and Shawn were held to vastly different standards.|
For example where I’m told a normal person might see someone he’s attracted to at a bar or on the street, and simply go right up and talk to her, such a prospect is simply not an option for me. The V-chip doesn’t allow it. From a logical perspective I can clearly understand the reason, even the necessity behind such tactics, but alas the chip is a logic-less master.
How about in one of Jim Carey’s first movies, Once Bitten where Carey’s last resort of escaping a virgin sacrifice at the hands of a bunch of vampires is to have sex with his girlfriend and lose his viriginity. Just to be clear, in order to have consensual sex with his longtime girlfriend, Carey must be first threatened with supernatural termination. These things just don’t make sense, and yet, they’re what the V-chip demands.
So scenarios where the V-Chip shuts me down;
I see a girl a like at a coffee shop and walk over to say hi and introduce myself.
My V-Chip; “So why are you being such a creeper? Pff, you don’t know this girl, she doesn’t know you, Stranger-danger. She’s clearly just here to enjoy some coffee, but you want to come barging in because, why? Just what are you thinking here? I know what you’re thinking here, mister, and so does she!
Okay, so that’s completely ridiculous. Here’s the V-chip acceptable version of meeting a girl in this scenario;
So we’re back in the coffee shop and the power goes out. Maybe a sudden blizzard strikes, snapping electrical lines, taking out the lights and the heat. Because the snow has piled so quickly, no one can leave and we’re all trapped in this freezing coffee shop. We meet to figure out what to do and it’s decided that someone must go into the basement to throw on the back-up generator (in this scenario this coffee shop has a back-up generator). For some reason the employees who know the basement’s lay out can’t go, because someone has to make the coffee?, so me and this girl I like volunteer—what luck!
At first she says she’d rather go by herself, or “Can’t someone else go?” but then I make some kind of lame joke that she feigns laughter at—we’re such an unlikely pair—and the situation has opened the door for us to get to know each other in a legitimate and non threatening way as we talk to fill the time while searching the dark basement for the generator that will save everyone’s life—so non threatening except for the potentially deadly blizzard outside that has been worsening by the minute.
In fact maybe the snowstorm has brought in some arctic wolves that are now prowling about the basement. And then maybe the blizzard and black out are actually the results of a new global ice age that has plunged civilization into chaos, creating a new world order where loosely-allied bands of marauders, who are also somehow mutants, have made their way into the basement along with the wolves. Also something is on fire.
Unexpectedly thrown together into such a wacky fray, we quickly improvise a plan for survival, relying on her skills as a former high school soccer player and my amateur knowledge of canine biology—wow, we’re really getting to know each other in a totally authentic way now! Using the bacon bits that we’ve found in the supply closet, she kicks them all over the apocalyptic mutants, thus summoning the artic wolves whose main diet I once read is strikingly similar in aroma to imitation bacon substances.
The wolves attack the mutants, we find and activate the generator, and are dashing for the upstairs door when one of the road warriors leaps through the fire and grabs her ankle. We were so close! Without hesitating I tackle him, taking both of us down the stairs, telling her just to go on without me, but she comes back for me using the ninja katana—so at some point we find a ninja katana—to free me.
We scramble back upstairs, locking the door behind us. We’ve made it. We now have light, heat, and no fire-wolves-apocalyptic mutant army. Success! We embrace in our shared victory, knowing that we couldn’t have done it without the other and that our lives will never be the same. This is my opening so I ask her if she’d like to have a cup of coffee with me and then we really kick it off.
This would be an acceptable scenario in which I could meet a girl as per the stipulations of my V-chip.
My V-chip’s concept of romance is a mangled distortion of 90’s TV culture where every boy wears a bowl-cut and every girl a denim jumper. It didn’t reflect actual 90’s culture and clearly doesn’t reflect today’s. Our relationship with one another has evolved over the years to where it has achieved some level of sentience that allows us to communicate. It has clearly stated its programed imperative has no room for re-evaluation and that its half-life is upwards of five thousand years or so. In response I’ve tried knocking it out of my head with a softball bat, but you know, it’s stuck in there pretty good.