Friday, February 26, 2010


Bad news from Buffalo.

Ryan Miller has a girlfriend
, my best friend texts two days ago. And then this morning my father sent me an e-mail with a link one of the local radio stations had put up so everyone could gawk at the pictures of the new girlfriend. And they are pretty gawk-worthy. After all, she's been in Maxim. One of the pictures the radio station jocks put up features her wearing nothing but an unbuttoned dress shirt. She's turned to the side and squatting so we are all afforded what could loosely be described as "an eyeful."

I immediately forward this link on to my office-mate, who, like everyone else at school, humors me about my love for Ryan Miller ("Have you started planning the reception yet?" my office-mate will ask. "Have you chosen your appetizers?").

I can't compete with that!
I write to him.

She's strictly arm-candy, he writes back. He'll get tired of her, and who'll be waiting in the wings?

I guess the answer is me. I'll always be waiting in the wings--hopefully in a way that is more charming than it is stalker-ish. Or if not me, then maybe someone like me. Sure, it's true I know nothing about this new girlfriend except that she likes to take her pants off and be photographed in her underwear--and, yeah, I can see why that would appeal to even the smartest, most enlightened of men--but it's just that I've always hoped that Ryan Miller would get a girlfriend who is the sweetest, kindest, smartest, most adorable girl-next-door. I would be totally okay with it if he started dating some elementary school teacher from the suburbs, a girl who has a closet full of smart cardigans, a girl who routinely has to scrub paste off her hands after work, a girl who has had to sprinkle sawdust over vomit when Billy McQueen had a bad reaction to the brownies the Room Moms brought in to celebrate the February birthdays. She would have glasses. She would have a collection of plaid headbands. She would be well-versed in pie-baking.

I feel like Ryan Miller needs a smarty. Someone with an advanced degree in something other than hotness. Hey! Guess what! I have an advanced degree, and it's certainly not in hotness. My degree is an MFA in creative writing, and I've got a decent set of good qualities that come along with that, like, well, I know all the words to Salt-n-Pepa's Shoop. Surely that's got to count for something. It might not be a Maxim model, and it might not be the elementary school teacher with the heart of gold, but it's somewhere in the middle, and that might not be a bad place to be for a man who's played so brilliantly during the Olympics.

And, in addition to playing brilliantly, he's been doing something else quite well these past two weeks: Getting stubbly.

This picture was taken today, after it became clear that, well, Finland wasn't going to be winning the game anytime soon--it was, after all, 6-0 in the middle of the third period--and so Ryan Miller got to go to the bench to rest up for the big gold medal game that'll take place on Sunday. And that meant the cameras kept cutting to him--sans helmet--and that made my afternoon, which I was spending baking placek (and was thus already pretty great), even better.

Earlier, during the first period, I'd called Greg, one of my friends from grad school--the boy who had the bad fortune of having to sit next to and put up with my hysterical shrieking at most of the Maverick hockey games--and said, "HOLY SHIT! ARE YOU WATCHING THIS RIGHT NOW?!"

He wasn't. He was driving back from an teaching gig in Detroit, but he wanted to know how it was going. I told him it was going pretty well, considering the US had scored six goals in, oh, the first fifteen minutes of play.

"You know," he said, "the other night, we were watching the Olympics, and we saw Ryan Miller getting interviewed after the game, and I guess I never really knew what he looked like. So when I finally saw him, I thought, Jess is madly in love with that?'"

"Well, in his defense," I said, "after the game with Canada, he looked like he'd lost fifty pounds. He looked tired. He looked like death. And, well, he's got the crooked face."

"A VERY crooked face," Greg said.

"Yeah, but it's a very appealing crooked face," I said.

And, oh, is it ever. It's enough to make a girl stand in the middle of her apartment at 4:00 in the afternoon, screaming, "YOU ARE A GOD!" at the top of her lungs, clearly giving her neighbors something to wonder about.

So, really, all that's left now is to ignore the news from Buffalo, to forget that Ryan Miller is dating some exotic-looking Maxim model, and spend some time hoping and wishing that that boy, that crooked-eyebrowed boy, helps us get gold on Sunday.

I've got my fingers crossed.

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