I have had more than my fair share of romantic dust-ups. I have, in fact, been the clown-faced bop-toy of Love. But no more.

I used to have this problem, see? I liked girls who absolutely hated me. No, wait. I had multiple, somewhat related problems. I liked girls who absolutely despised me, and I had a tendency to fall for women for the shallowest possible reasons.

In junior high and high school, I was the biggest horndog for cheerleaders around. I'd be completely uninterested in a girl until she put on that little miniskirt and started waving those pompoms around. Then she became, like magic, my One True Love. My Holy Grail. My Precioussss.

This was a problem. Aside from my permanent lack of money, I was also miles below everyone else's social class. I didn't even get invited to D&D parties 'cause even the geeks thought I was contemptible. So the cheerleaders, these paragons of short skirts, long legs, bouncy bosoms, and social snobbery, despised me, almost entirely because my affection tended to devalue their own popularity the way a sleazy pool hall would lower property values in a ritzy neighborhood. Of course, the fact that my unwavering devotion swung from one cheerleader to the next might have had something to do with it, too.

It also didn't help that, when I was a kid, I had this aura I gave off -- even at my most cynical and evil-hearted, everyone thought I was a wide-eyed, naive, saintly schoolboy. Quite aside from my astounding unpopularity, just about everyone wanted to pound me into the concrete. Hell, I look at pictures of myself from back then, and I wanna pound myself into the concrete, too. So I guess it wasn't that surprising that other people, including cheerleaders and their boyfriends, treated me so horribly.

I used to wonder what was the matter with me, until I realized that, while other people gave off pheromones to get other people to like them, I was actually emitting anti-pheromones which caused girls to hate me, or at least to see me as a completely unsatisfactory boyfriend. I'm hoping to find a doctor someday who'll help me isolate and patent these anti-pheromones. Something that rare must be valuable, right? Who needs love when you've got millions of dollars earned from your bizarre biochemical physiology?

Things turned around a bit when I got to college. Almost immediately, I discovered that people didn't give a flying fuck what my social status had been in high school. The guys who played football didn't want to kick my ass -- they wanted to play hacky sack and smoke de ganja. The tough guys and rebels didn't want to kick my ass -- they wanted to talk about religion and smoke de ganja. A few of the fratsters acted like they were still in high school, but most of them wanted a ride to the grocery store and a little extra pitch-in money for beer. And to smoke de ganja, of course.

Girls were a lot different in college, too. Yeah, there were cheerleaders, but my fetish seemed, for some reason, to quit working. The cheerleaders in college were athletes first and foremost, selected because they were strong, agile, and willing to work hard, not because they were pretty, popular, or had sex with the cheerleader sponsor. Yes, they were attractive, but they just didn't make my head spin like they had in high school. The two sexiest college cheerleaders I knew were hotter'n a pair of two-dollar pistols, but I'd never, ever seen them wearing their cheerleader outfits, so my feelings for them weren't actually related to cheerleading.

Which is not to say that I'd magically become less shallow. I was still chasing girls with long legs and bouncy bosoms -- my libido had simply unchecked "short skirts" and "social snobbery" from its list of Must-Haves. And yes, my new college-age fixations still hated me, so I suppose all remained right in the universe.

There were the two interchangeable sorority girls with long legs and bouncy bosoms; the bespectacled brunette library genius with long legs and bouncy bosoms; the chain-smoking, leather-clad bad girl with long legs and bouncy bosoms; the regal, opera-singing redhead with long legs and bouncy bosoms; the Mexican restaurant waitress with long legs and bouncy bosoms; the punk-as-shit ass-kicker with long legs and bouncy bosoms; the intellectually uptight blonde with long legs and bouncy bosoms; and many, many more (Yes, my college was, at the time, singularly blessed with girls with long legs and bouncy bosoms -- I've been back more recently, and it just ain't the same). I chased after all of them with wild, unchecked enthusiasm, and they all hated me with the intensity of exploding suns.

That hasn't changed. I don't think it'll ever change. It used to bother me, but it doesn't anymore. I used to be the T-ball to Love's four-year-old ritalin-addled toddler, but no more. I've made peace with who I am.

But still, thank god for hookers.