Hurricane Boyfriends on Aisle 2

Angela Manfredi 2005 ©

Angela ManfrediSure, I heard the weather reports, the warnings, the coordinates, the millibars- are- lowering bulletins, the wind speed readings, and I noticed the bulls-eye painted around South Florida, but I really didn’t pay attention to the hurricane until I tuned in to the 6 o’clock news and saw the jacket-less meteorologists sporting rolled up sleeves. When weathermen start ditching clothes and breaking a sweat, I’m thinking “I’d better get to the store.”

With list in hand, I march up and down the aisles, chucking provisions into my cart: batteries, cookies, tuna, cookies, chips, cookies, water, ice, cookies, bread, donuts, (Hurricane Coming = Carbohydrate Anarchy) and, oh… I may need help with this last item.

“Excuse me, sir, I see you’re busy restocking shelves, but can you tell me where I can find the Hurricane Boyfriends?”

Blank stare.

“You know, the brainy, brawny, strong, sensitive type with a washboard stomach who can work a power suit and a power drill?”

Blank (unamused) stare.

I glance over the beleaguered clerk’s shoulder to see a palette of water and a mountain of batteries headed my way, but it appears that a shipment of hurricane honeys eludes me. So, it’s off to the hardware store where an officious, red-vested, 2- way radio-carrying manager presides over the entrance directing anxious shoppers to the plywood and flashlights.

Me: “Hello,there. I know this is last minute, but I’m hoping you have at least one Hurricane Boyfriend left in stock.”

Manager: “Excuse me?”

Me: “A Hurricane Boyfriend. A guy who’ll ride out the storm with me and my cats, wrap his well-defined biceps around me when I’m frightened, be thoroughly impressed with my ability to turn canned salmon, dry cereal, and peanut butter into a yummy (albeit thirst - inducing) casserole, and be touched by my willingness to throw my body over his to protect him from flying foliage. I will be a pillar of strength and a beacon of bravery tempered by a dash of damsel- in- distress. This is my chance to demonstrate that ‘ “I’m the one you want on your arm in a crisis” ‘, taking us from 0 to 60 on the relationship speedometer in just 48 hours, whereas in regular weather conditions, it could take months to get to that point.”

Manager: “We don’t carry those.”

Hopeful Me: “Maybe there’s a replenishment truck of Hurricane Hunks en route even as we speak. Can you check?”

Annoyed Manager: “Listen, lady, it is not my fault that you are unable to sustain/maintain/attain a relationship with a non-evasive, career-woman embracing, nice guy with edge who will call when he says he’s going to. This store is not responsible for furnishing you with an emotionally evolved, visually delectable, intellectually engaging male specimen for use during this hurricane or any other.”

Resigned Me: “I’m not the only woman to ask you this, am I?”

Resigned Manager: “You’re the fifth one today.”

Left to my own devices, I flip through my mental rolodex in search of a candidate. The one that keeps coming to mind is my summer crush. We went to a movie and bonded over Bunch-a-Crunch, yet, he remains irresistibly aloof and unwilling to ratchet up the romance factor.I’m faced with quite a quagmire. What is the protocol if a harrowing, environmentally destabilizing event--in the form of a weather crisis or family reunion-- occurs during the early stages of a courtship? What strategy do I employ to lure a skittish, potential-ridden project to my shuttered lair? Clearly, I will have to present a carefully crafted case. If he senses that I’m merely a natural disaster opportunist, he will undoubtedly scurry back into hiding under the Witness -Me- As-I- Run- From- Commitment Protection Program.

To get a bit more insight, I dig out my “Elusive Bachelor Tracking Map” to see if securing a hurricane companion is at least within the Cone of Possibility. According to the projections, beer, a case of cat-allergy combatant, and ESPN SportsCenter could create a pressure system powerful enough to steer my aloof Adonis into making landfall in my living room. So, against all The Rules, and flying in the face of that latest treatise on male behavior, He’s Just Not that Into You, I pick up the phone.

(Yes! It’s the answering machine.)

“Hi, it’s me. I’m just very casually wondering about your plans for the Hurricane. I think that your apartment is in an evacuation zone and I reside way west of Military Trail…next to the Heineken outlet. I still have power, cable, and…darndest thing, a sudden hankering to enjoy some televised athletic events. So, if you’re around and want to spend the storm playing cards and doing shots of Benadryl, I’m your girl.”

Hours later, the only thing I have to show for my telephonic supplication is a bad case of caller’s remorse. Hurricane Boyfriend doesn’t respond. So, I pack up the kitties and ride out the storm with a group of my co-workers. I return home when the worst has passed and spend the next few days reading by candlelight, eating granola bars, and meditating myself “cool”. I’m grateful that the only damage I experienced during the hurricane was to my ego as opposed to my house.

At work, things slowly get back to normal and we shift our focus from hurricane season to holiday season. Planning for the office festivities have begun. I head to the store and seek out the least hurricane-weary salesperson.

“Excuse me, can you tell me where you stock the Holiday Boyfriends?”

Blank stare.

“You know, the good-looking, charming, attentive type who can work a company merger and a company party…”