Meet Mike. Mike likes soap operas. He likes them so much that he TiVo’s four hours of soap operas every day, which he then views when he returns from work. In fact, he likes them so much that he felt it would be appropriate, and possibly fun, to talk about nothing but on our first (and last) date.
Even though he was gainfully employed in radio news, and did not consider his daytime drama viewing a true vocation, I can remember his favorite plot lines from shows I’ve never watched, more than I could tell you what his work life was like. He was addicted.
He never sufficiently established his smart credentials to make his albeit odd hobby legitimate. He felt no need to convince me that he also had intellectual pursuits, had an education, or could even read for that matter.
He didn’t seem to care about the stereotypes surrounding such an admission, so I sat back and enjoyed the show.
Mike liked seeing the same characters daily because he felt that they were part of his family. He looked forward to checking out what they’re wearing, what they were doing that day in soap land, and how their lives were progressing along.
He admitted to getting a “bit” obsessive and lost in the make-believe. (“I couldn’t sleep for two whole nights during Lizzie’s leukemia battle on Guiding Light.”) He also had to miss a few days of work when Ryan’s Hope was pulled from ABC. (“Those were some grey days for me.”) Yeah, well I was feeling the heavy grey cloud of another hopeless date looming above me.
He spent ample time online entering comments on other soap fans’ blogs, and finding out any plots he missed on Soapnet.com, and from reading Soap Opera Digest. And guess who was there for the 2003 Soap Opera Digest awards to see Susan Lucci win her very first Diamond Award from SoapNet? That’s right, my fantasy boy, Mike, with his equally jonesed grandmother in tow. They even got their picture taken with a few cast members from As the World Turns. Grandma has the photo proudly displayed on her fireplace mantel, right next to Grandpa’s cremains.
Mike’s one beef with soap opera watchers was that they just didn’t understand the richness of Passions. He was there for the soap’s debut on Monday, July 5, 1999, and will be there until the network rips it off the air. This show had introduced story lines about such things as witches and warlocks, ancient Egyptian goddesses, cursed islands, dolls that talk, and mermaids. What’s the problem? he wanted to know.
I liked the true confession that when he’s not on the air, he would sneak to the backroom and, instead of checking for weather updates and pulling fresh copy off the Reuter’s feed, he’d check out http://www.nbc.com or http://www.soapoperafan.com. I asked if he cleared the history out of the computer so no one could see what he’d been up to; he laughed and said he was one step ahead of me. He erases, then logs onto http://www.cnbc.com or http://www.foxnews.com, so it looks like he was actually doing something worthy with his free time.