Have you ever spread rose petals from your front door to your own bed — then return later to follow them upstairs? Have you gone bowling with family couples on New Year’s Eve (as I did this year)? If so, you needn’t suffer alone; you’re most likely a lonely guy needing a support group.
My dog and I watched a Steve Martin movie, “The Lonely Guy,” recently. He begins narrating, “Hi, I’m Larry Hubbard and this is how I became a lonely guy. I met this gorgeous ballet dancer named Danielle and she was nuts about me. She asked me to move in with her.”
Things unraveled when he returned home bearing gifts, barely noticing the hairy-chested stud next to her in bed. After rummaging through his mail, he took his place in bed on her other side and while he kissed her shoulder, she introduced Raoul. “He’s moving in tomorrow; he’s bringing his things over in the morning.” Finally irritated, Larry barks, “Bringing his things over? There’s hardly enough room for our things.”
On his way out with hands full of belongings, Danielle yells, “Larry, don’t forget the garbage.” He somehow manages to drag clanging garbage bags behind him. On a park bench sat another sad sack (a bespectacled Charles Grodin), also carrying bags and a fern, who meekly introduces himself as Warren Evans, asking, “First time, lonely guy?”
He confessed, “My girl Melanie just left me. She came home last night and caught a guy robbing her apartment … they just kind of hit it off.” Larry commiserated and Warren replied sadly, “Probably for the better; she really started to let herself go. Drank a lot, never bathed … fat.”
With an encouraging smile, Larry said “Hey, you’ll meet another girl.” Warren shook his head slowly and mumbled, “Not like Melanie.”
“No, better than Melanie,” Larry promises. Thus, a beautiful friendship arose from the ashes. One night Warren invited Larry to his apartment for a party, and Larry was shocked to see Dolly Parton and Tom Selleck among other A-list celebs.
“What are those?” he asks.
“Party cutouts; I got them at the Lonely Guy Store on 81st and Lex,” Warren says before excusing himself to check on dinner. Sipping a drink and swaying to the music, Larry answers the door to a cop warning about the loud music.
Before leaving, the officer pointed to the cutouts and asked, “Where do you get these? They’re fantastic!” Larry began, “You mean you’re a …”
“Yeah, a lonely cop,” came the reply. “Do you know if they got Gene Hackman?” he asked, to which Warren replied from the kitchen, “Yes, but you have to reserve him a week ahead.”
After repeated failures, Larry tries jogging to meet girls. Stopping, he tells us, “I’m not really jogging; I’ve only run 50 yards and this isn’t real sweat.” Pointing to a spray can, he says, “They sell these at sports stores. This can was taken from a Boston Celtics player immediately after a double-overtime game.”
Just then, he spotted a pretty gal sitting at a café counter. He jogged in and began chatting her up when she asked, “How long have you been a lonely guy?”
“Is it that obvious?” he asked with amazement. She said sweetly, “I know phony sweat when I smell it.” Apparently she had met one of her six ex-husbands jogging with canned sweat.
She left with, “Hang in there; lonely guys don’t stay lonely forever” — adding she’d written her number on his napkin. He giddily used the napkin to wipe off the vanilla milkshake mustache the grinning server pointed out to him. He would remain a lonely guy.
Life alone wasn’t easy. At a swanky restaurant, when he told the waiter he’d be dining alone, the crowded, buzzing room suddenly hushed, all eyes on Larry as he’s led to a table lit with an actual spotlight. There was a rash of “Lonely Guy suicides” on the Manhattan Bridge, which Larry describes as, “Sort of the in-spot for suicidal lonely guys.” The radio said about one deceased loner, “He left no note; apparently he had no one to leave it to.”
The movie’s too long to detail all the travails Larry suffers before finally finding and settling down with Iris. Even Warren — several times talked down from the crowded bridge — began dating Dr. Joyce Brothers.
So you see, there’s hope for you lonely guys. After the movie, I dabbed my eyes dry, vacuumed up all the rose petals and whispered to my dog Ginger, “The dire forecast for 2018 has been upgraded to, ‘Clear and sunny.’” (Then I chugged more wine and passed out.)