The Problem with Men
By Simon Thalmann
“The problem with men is they’re selfish,” said Julie, chewing her gum vigorously and twirling a curl of bleached, blonde hair with a
single, meticulously manicured finger. “They never want to talk, and when they do they only want to talk about sports.”
Samantha nodded as she pulled a portion of her thick, brown hair behind her head and used both hands to manipulate it into a ponytail.
Her hair was glossy and shimmered in the sunlight; the remainder of the hair not tied, fell in soft wisps onto her shoulders.
“I totally know what you mean,” Samantha replied, continuing to fuss with her hair. “They never listen.” She held out a wayward strand
and pulled it straight. “God, my hair is so fried. I need to get it cut.”
“Agh, tell me about it,” said Julie, reflecting Samantha’s movements with her own hair. “I have such bad ends right now.”
A middle-aged man jogged shirtless by their table in a pair of board shorts, carrying an iPod, muscles rippling. The women watched him
pass in silence. Julie licked her lips.
“He was hot,” said Samantha, putting her legs on an adjacent chair.
“For an old guy,” said Julie. They both laughed. “Cute sunglasses though.”
She opened her Coach purse and dug around inside, bringing out a small container of lip gloss. “The stuff is the best,” she said.
“Ooo, me too,” Samantha said, reaching across the tiny round table. Julie applied the lip gloss, rubbing her lips together to spread it
more evenly, and then handed the container to Samantha. Samantha did the same. “Is this the plumper?” she asked, inspecting the tiny
bottle.
“I don’t know, is it?” Julie asked sarcastically, again digging in her purse, then handing Samantha a small hand mirror.
Samantha looked in the mirror and puckered her lips, making a kissing noise.
“Mwah,” she said. They both laughed.
The middle-aged man jogged back along the boardwalk. The women stared, and as he approached he slowed down. Julie turned and
winked at Samantha, who winked back.
The man paused his iPod and walked over to their table.
He lowered his sunglasses, “Hello, ladies,” he said, peering over the rim. His breathing was heavy. Sweat glistened from his pectoral and
abdominal muscles. He was wearing impeccably white, Nike cross trainers.
The women just smiled.
“I was wondering if you could tell me, which direction is the Parkview?” He struggled speaking through labored breaths. “I’ve been
running for almost an hour, and I think I lost my hotel.”
Julie pointed down the boardwalk.
“Next right,” she said. “There’s a shortcut through the alley.”
She crossed her legs.
The man turned the direction Julie pointed, squinting.
He put his sunglasses back on. “Yeah? Well, okay then,” he said. “Thanks.” He pressed “play” on his iPod and continued jogging
toward the alley. Julie uncrossed her legs and turned to face Samantha over the table.
“God,” she said, disgusted. “Can you believe that guy!”
“I know,” Samantha replied, leaning forward. “What a perv!”
The women leaned back, crossing their arms.
“You know what the problem with men is?” Julie said. “The problem with men is they’re men. They’re gross.”
She crossed her legs again and looked out over the boardwalk toward the beach.
“Disgusting,” Samantha agreed, digging through her black, leather Gucci handbag.
“Like that guy,” Julie went on. “He was totally checking me out. It’s nasty,” she said. “He could like, be my dad.” She shivered. “I feel
totally violated right now.”
“Ugh,” said Samantha. “I know.” They sat in silence. “Hey, are you hungry?” Samantha asked.
Julie leaned forward and peered down the boardwalk.
“Kinda,” she said, blowing a light-pink bubble. She popped it with a dark red fingernail. “You wanna go?”
Samantha nodded and the women rose, packing up their belongings and putting on their black Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses. They
walked fluidly down the strip and turned right down the alley. Julie cupped a hand in front of her mouth and breathed into it. She
sniffed quickly.
“Eww, is my breath okay?” she asked, puffing toward Samantha.
They stopped as Samantha sniffed Julie’s breath. Samantha nodded.
“Want some more gum?” she asked.
Julie shook her head.
“In a sec,” she said.
The women turned a corner and found themselves facing a dead end. The middle-aged jogger was there, stretching and adjusting the
case on his iPod. He smiled.
“Hey,” he said. “You know, I thought you ladies said to take the next right. I must’ve missed it, ‘cause I ended up here.” He finished
with his iPod and took the ear buds of his headphones out of his ears. “Thought I’d get a quick stretch in while I could,” he said. “What
are you girls up to?”
The women just smiled as they approached, eyes hidden behind their dark sunglasses. Julie licked her lips.
The man stepped back awkwardly as they closed in.
“Whoa, there,” he said with a smile. He chuckled uneasily. “Is there something I can help you with?”
The women looked at each other, their smiles growing impossibly wide, wider and wider until the skin slipped off their faces, revealing
slimy green fish heads. Their sunglasses popped off, illuminating beady, black fish eyes.
“Yeah,” said Samantha, in a bony gurgle. “Lunch!”
The middle-aged man stared at them in disbelief, too shocked to scream. The two creatures opened their mouths, exposing rows of
tiny, razor sharp teeth. Drooling, they fell upon him.
When it was done, Julie stood and wiped her mouth. She straightened her bleached, blonde hair and placed her sunglasses back on her
brow. Samantha took her thick brown hair out of a ponytail and shook her head, letting the shimmering hair fall straight, and then used
both hands to pull it back again.
“You know what the problem with men is?” Julie said as the women turned, walking away from the dead end. It was empty except for a
pair of impeccably white Nike cross trainers. “The problem with men is they’re never consistent. They’re either too fat or too lean.”
“Ugh, I know,” said Samantha, dropping an iPod into her handbag. “And they’re always so salty.”
They exited the alley and made their way back down the boardwalk. Julie cupped a hand in front of her mouth and breathed into it.
She sniffed quickly.
“Ugh, can I have some gum?” she said.