Years ago, I was at the Seattle zoo with my very pregnant college friend and her 5 year old boy, Ben. We were yammering away, speed speaking like only ex-New Yorkers can do, when all of a sudden a 450-pound gorilla started scooping up handfuls of poop and flinging it viciously at us. Ben was screaming…”Mommy, mommy! Make it stop. MAKE IT STOP!” To him, Mommy was that powerful. That’s how I felt on 9-11. SOMEBODY. MAKE IT STOP! I’m freelance and single so I had nowhere not to go and no one to not weep around. So I hunkered down under a blanket and let the newsmen be the head of my household for the first few days. But by Saturday, no more virtual men, I needed some human contact. As fate would have it, my neighbor and I had decided that this particular weekend, 9-14, we would go out among the men. We are happily divorced, have great hair and are both under 130 pounds. Other than the end of the world… what was stopping us?

Wait a minute! Maybe now we’ll get it right? Maybe now we’ll make really good end of the world decisions? But it all felt so silly. So pointless. So soon. So we decided to go out, have a nice dinner on the Santa Monica pier, have a few cocktails and simply LIST our new Really Good Ideas about what types of men we should be dating. We didn’t agree on everything… I like tall, trim, funny and a good sized… libido. She likes wine connoisseurs, beards, a dash of neurosis and a good sized… bank account. But here’s what we both agreed on.

• Someone like The Equalizer who can take a soda can and a piece of dental floss and make a satellite dish to urge the mother ship to send help!

• Someone who can busta move. Because those men are truly fearless.

• Someone who won’t piss off terrorists. Really. I’ve dated men who piss off waitresses. Must have manners!

• Someone who can get the president on the phone. Someone who can get the enemy on the phone.

• Basically, someone you’d want in your lifeboat.

But we didn’t know anyone who fit that bill. Yet. “YET” was the operative word here. For far too long, we’d positioned ourselves in front of men who only had one thing in common. They had chosen well. They had chosen US. Now, it was time to go out and choose a better grade of man. After all, it was only a matter of time before the Anthrax would find us or we’d be a nuclear shadow on the pavement. As we gathered up our Campari glasses and headed for our corner table, we overheard a tiny blond lady say “I only watch Brian Williams. He’s cute.” What now. News trading cards? Will you trade me a Wolf Blitzer for a Ted Koppel? Okay. They’re the only ones we watch on TV as the ‘End of the World Turns’! My friend was quizzing me en-route to our lobsters.

“Beady eyes.”
“Baggy eyes.”
“Bedroom eyes.”

LIGHT BULB! My 9-11 Yardstick. Peter Jennings.
“And yours?” I asked. “Who’s your yardstick?”
“Phil Jackson” she said without losing a beat.

Well. We both had a quiet moment of reverie as we imagined our new fantasy dates. Nice. Nice! Both of those men are sexy, virile, ladies men. So why is that a good thing all of a sudden? It’s the perception of procreation… of survival They’re successful, big, strong, handsome hunters and gatherers that are easy on the eyes. What IF we’re in a bunker for the half-life of plutonium? We’re back to basics. There’s a slight pheromonal hysteria out there. We mammals can smell danger and it makes us act crazy! One of my male friends dumped his girlfriend of 4 years THAT NIGHT, another one asked his girlfriend of 9 years to marry him. So it’s shaken us right to our romantic, sexual, primal, mammalian, gorilla, continuation-of-species core. So 9-11 survivors? Get yourself a Millennium Yardstick. It’s the most useful tool for dating after The Horrible, Terrible, No Good Day. For you men, I hear Anna Kournikova is the measuring stick of choice or how ’bout Ashleigh Banfield or Katie Couric? Bottom line? No more dating out of the lifeboat. As the song in ‘Moulin Rouge’ says… “don’t live dream to dream.” And all you gorillas out there? Watch it. Because we WILL make you stop.