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Postmodern Village
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Why MacGyver has Ruined Me for the Average American Male
By Kathleen Davis

Can you make a bomb from spit and a potato peel? Fix a car with spit and the wrapper off a piece of chewing gum? Repair torn relationships with spit and sensibility? If your answer to these is "no," thou art no MacGyver, my friend, and I have no plans to date you.

I fell in love with MacGyver when he premiered in the mid-'80s, just as my sense of puberty was starting to rapidly rise and my sense of reality was starting to rapidly fall. At that point, I really believed that men existed like MacGyver, as, of course, my eighth-grade English teacher was always telling me a writer "writes what she knows."

So, surely, then, someone knew a MacGyver. They were friends with a MacGyver, lovers with a MacGyver (that last thought always made me tingly in all the right naughty places).

But, alas, being almost 32, at this point reality has returned full-force. I know that no one actually knows a MacGyver, that MacGyver just doesn't exist, my friends. He's as fantasy-laden and unreachable as those distant moons of Star Wars or those magical realms of Tolkien.

Damn it.

Still, the years of TV lessons persist, and I cling to some of those ideas in my subconscious -- unknowingly salivating like Pavlov's puppies when even the semblance of MacGyverisms rise to a male's surface.

But, in the end, it is always revealed to be just that: a surface layer, a hard skin with nothing but slippery, slimy pudding underneath. A girl should be careful not to break the surface.

Hmmm. Maybe THAT'S how all those other girls do it. They keep to the surface layer -- skating on just the bare minimum. I don't know.

What I do know are the following three lessons (learned through heartache) about trying to make a strong and sexy personality equally attune to the emotional:

1.) Just because MacGyver can be sensitive to women and still kick ass and take names does not mean Joe, the guy you picked up at the local bar, is the same just because he's crying in his beer over his last "bitch" leaving him and then gets up to start a drunken bar fight.

2.) Just because MacGyver can get any damsel in distress out of any situation with a coat hanger and a crooked smile at no charge doesn't mean the guy at the body shop with the same smile isn't going to try and pull one over on you because you're a chick and he doesn't think you'll know that your car doesn't even have a timing belt. And, maybe, just maybe, he can take you for a small fortune and still get laid.

3.) Just because MacGyver's passion and charm can turn any evil female into a good girl at heart doesn't mean a girl can do the same for the next asshole that tries to pick her up with Joey's "How YOU doin'?" out back of the Quick Trip one pathetic and angry dateless night.

Now, I know that most men will read this with anger and say to themselves, "That girl is just picking the wrong guy. I'm educated like MacGyver. She's just going for the assholes. She has issues."

Oh, sweetie, don't get your panties all in a bunch. I've tried your kind, too. Here are my lessons from attempting to find sensitive-guy Mac:

1.) Just because MacGyver can get out of a dangerous situation sans weapons with just his big, ol' brain, doesn't mean you will ever get your sensitive man's ass off the couch to go outside and find some damn danger -- even if NOVA is a rerun and he doesn't happen to have the Discovery Channel. The only surfing that boy is gonna do will involve the World Wide Web.

2.) Just because MacGyver can "connect" with wayward, runaway children and defenseless animals doesn't mean it isn't rather creepy in real life when your boyfriend has a high school groupie girl contingency that he doesn't find at all inappropriate.

3.) Just because MacGyver can think through a situation and find both (a.) its historical context, and (b.) its philosophical component, while (c.) applying it to his current dilemma, don't expect your sensitive man to be anything but freakin' peeved if you question the factual accuracy of his "stories" in public or one-up him at Trivial Pursuit.

See, the problem is in the melding, the combination, the welding of sexy go-getter and sensitive smart guy. It's the fiery solder of the two that I find the most incredibly attractive about Mac -- to this day. And, unfortunately, it seems that particular part of the story is where the largest chasm of fiction lies -- not in building a bomb from spit and potatoes, but from building a man with both intellect and spine.

Reruns of MacGyver on TV Land should really come with this disclaimer:

MacGyver is a fictional character. Any resemblance to a real man, living or dead, is purely coincidental, and all in your head, honey. Ain't no man on Earth actually like MacGyver. He is the untouchable male ideal that every woman drools over, searches for, and then finally gives up on to settle for someone who doesn't annoy the shit out of her too damn often. We apologize if this character gives you false hope about your love life and its potential future. Forgive us.

And, lastly, if your husband/boyfriend/lover IS actually just like MacGyver, please don't tell me. I don't need to spend the next few months curled up in a fetal position in my shower again. It was too damn hard the first time I had Mac withdrawl. Just keep your little impossible dream-come-true to yourself and leave me with my righteous anger, damn it.

Curse you, Henry Winkler and your damn '80s creation of perfection. Curse you.