The Fire Is Out (#350)

Once upon a time, I was good at dating. Like, fire emoji good. If I didn’t have a serious boyfriend, I was usually dating several different guys (and very open about that fact, don’t be thinking I was a serial cheater or something). I was always on the lookout for potentially new, more interesting boyfriends. Every place I went, I automatically assessed the men:

Like every other woman in the world, I sometimes ignored my own assessments and made some Very Bad Choices. I also dated some very nice men where our timing, our religion, or our goals just didn’t work out. By the time I met my future husband Andy, I had accrued quite a few gifts from those exes. Plus a bunch from the messed up ones, too.

Once Andy and I were dating, those gifts not-so-mysteriously disappeared (i.e., Andy broke them or threw them away). The only survivors were jewelry I hurriedly gave to my younger sisters.

After we got married and Andy heaved my box marked “Romantic Correspondence” into a dumpster, he declared victory. (What? Doesn’t every writer keep a box like that? It is was potential material!)

Andy hasn’t been jealous or competitive with other men since. Not that he had reason to be. Other men? An affair? When the fuck would I even have the time, let alone the interest?

Baby D and his army of plushies. Wars staged daily.

 I was (and still am) too busy with our pets, raising our tornado of a child WHO NEVER NAPPED, running our household, volunteering at school/ soccer, and trying to squeeze in writing to even think about men. Except in a smash the patriarchy kind of way.

I figured other moms felt the same. Until the fire department arrived.

Every year, a nearby fire department goes around our neighborhood, stopping at each hydrant to test new recruits on connecting hoses to the hydrant. Every year, the fire truck collects a mesmerized audience of toddlers, preschoolers, and their caretakers. The first year, I followed fire department aficionado Baby D in his little cozy coupe car, grateful I didn’t need to entertain him with stuffed animal wars or Nerf weapons for a whole 15 minutes. (All I had to do was listen as Baby D lectured me on the differences between the pumper truck, the aerial ladder truck, and the urban search and rescue truck.)

When the fire pumper truck finally drove away, one of the moms said, “Some of those firefighters were pretty cute, huh?”

I looked at her blankly and said, “What?” because I literally could not comprehend what she said.

She winked, laughed, and said, “Yeah, right” before spotting her kid scootering into the street. “Wyatt! Back on the sidewalk!”

I don’t know if those firefighters were all male, let alone “cute.” What men looked like no longer registered. One of them could’ve started dancing and stripping down and I’d’ve been like, “Hey, can my kid have your hard hat so he can pretend to be a firefighter and maybe entertain himself for 5 seconds?”

I don’t know where my neighbor mom got the energy to assess firefighter attractiveness.

Maybe little Wyatt took naps.

Published by

Autumn Ashbough

WF writing about the humorous perils of life with Chinese-American significant other.

19 thoughts on “The Fire Is Out (#350)”

  1. Women ogling firefighters is a “thing” that I’ve never understood. I doubt they’re objectively any more attractive than other professions (like, say, writers!). I’m sure there’s some type of hero-worship philosophy behind all that, but who knows?

    Women aren’t the only ones who make Very Bad Choices, btw. I’ve made more than a few myself!

    1. I think the presumption is that because of all the physical training , firefighters have a good physique. Plus, they literally show up to save your life, which is the opposite of daily life, where half of the women murdered are killed by their intimate male partners (about 3 every day).

      Making Very Bad Choice at least nets writers some good material?

  2. Yup, we had firefighters here a couple of times when a random alarm kept going off. The entire apartment gathered outdoors and my elderly neighbour (in her 80s) was busy ogling them, as were the young women – except they were being more discrete about it as their boyfriends/husbands were present. But when the guy who works on the oil rigs moved in and was at home during the day, all those girls were out there chatting “to his dog” (apparently) while their menfolk were elsewhere. Until his girlfriend moved in that is, when all of a sudden, his dog was less attractive 😉

    Never seen the attraction myself, but then I watch rugby so muscular menfolk in shorts are a common sight, so not worthy of getting all hot & bothered over.

  3. Your fire emoji comment… so spot on. Made me laugh out loud.

    And now that I have a child, my heart goes out to you for having one who does not nap. That SUCKS. I am typing this with an infant strapped to my body since that’s the only way I can get my daughter to nap.

    And just a thought… but maybe because Andy was a good husband you didn’t have to fantasize? If I had a shit husband I probably would fantasize about firefighters too lol. But yeah as a new mom, im so exhausted, the sexiest thing to me right now is an all day expense paid trip to a hotel BY MYSELF where I would sleep all day. Oh man. I get hot and bothered just thinking about all that peace and quiet.

    1. I think there’s something in what you say–my mom friends who are divorced from shit husbands are still interested in dating and men, while those of us with solid marriages and decent husbands are like, “Nope, if anything happens to this spouse, that’s it, I am so done, because I’ve learned that even in a ‘good’ marriage way too much labor falls on the woman.” I guess with a terrible husband you can still fantasize that it might be all fairy tale magic with a good one?

      I laughed over you being hot and bothered about the idea of a hotel room–alone. Yes. A thousand times yes. (Except then you would worry about what brainless thing even the best husband might do. Or maybe that’s just me.)

  4. I also rarely notice hot firefighters (or hot anyone) — somehow my brain is not wired that way. But if a man speaks to me in a French accent…forget it.

  5. I do notice attractive men, but just as if I was looking at a painting: “Oh, that’s nice” and that’s it. I have some friends who are single and in the dating market and when they tell me their “adventures” I can’t help but think I don’t want to go through all the hassle of getting to know a potential romantic interest ever again in my life. Too tedious and I’m sure I wouldn’t find anyone better than my husband, hahaha.

  6. I sucked at dating, LOL. I had plenty of guy friends – some of whom wanted to date my best friend. If anything happens to my husband, I have no interest in entering the dating pool again. There’s way too much crap that I’m not willing to put up with again.

    1. Exactly! Men are happier married and women are happier single…hmmm, I wonder why that is? (At least for older heterosexual couples, apparently gay couples are happier across the board, possibly because the labor is more evenly split.)

  7. Ah! The seasons of our lives. There’s the season for dating (which I enjoyed a lot at the time). And then there’s the season when your mind is filled with family and children (and dogs and cats, birds and guppies). That was fun. And yet, one can always appreciate a good looking man.

    Firefighters were never a thing until they started selling those beefcake calendars.

    1. Apparently, some of us have a season where we cannot, in fact, appreciate a good-looking man. Now, a good looking-feather bed…

      I think you are right about the calendars. I don’t remember when they became a thing, though!

  8. I don’t know that I’ve ever ogled a firefighter and now I wonder what is wrong with me. I’m sure some are cute, some are not, but as long as they do their jobs I don’t care what they look like.

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