Sunday, October 28, 2012

Black & Yellow

Good evening.
Fellas, this one is for you. But ladies, you're more than welcome to stick around! You may learn a thing or two you didn't already know about us strapping, enigmatic Y-chromosomers.

Those of you familiar with the practices of the Jewish faith will know that when a boy reaches a certain age, he becomes a man in the eyes of his peers by partaking in a custom known as a Bar Mitzvah. This is an age-old tradition that's been going on for generations. But I'm here tonight to tell you -and you're hearing it here first, folks! -that I've discovered a second custom, another rite of passage that can be used to identify the passing from boyhood into manhood. It is a symbolic struggle that every boy on the planet must deal with at one point or another. But it doesn't come in the form of a religious experience, nor does it take shape via physical transformation. Instead, this rite of passage is nothing more (and nothing less) than my own namesake: a single, solitary question.

The question being: Betty or Veronica?

For the uninitiated, here's a quick history lesson: Archie Andrews is an American comic book character who debuted in 1941 from the comic company MLJ Magazines. The character eventually became so popular, however, that they shortly changed their name to Archie Comics. In a nutshell, Archie Andrews is a well-meaning but naive ginger-haired teenager who surprisingly has not one, but TWO smokin' hot girls both pining for his affections. And Archie, that beautiful idiot, can never seem to decide on which one he loves most. To this day, Archie comic books are still being published...which means that Archie has been unable to decide between the two girls for over 70 years now.

But let's give the man some credit...this ain't exactly an easy choice.

The two aforementioned smokin' hot candidates in question are Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge. Betty is a blonde beauty, sweet, kind-hearted, gentle, shy, but spunky. She has the unbelievable ability to be both a tomboy and a girly-girl all at once; she could be slipping into her Riverdale High cheerleader outfit one minute, then sliding under a car to give the engine a tune-up the next. She adores Archie and treats him (and everyone else, for that matter) with the utmost respect. Veronica Lodge is a gorgeous brunette who also happens to be the daughter of a multi-millionaire. Thus, Veronica tends to be bratty, spoiled, and stubborn. She's a very high-maintenance gal, who enjoys such pleasures as shopping, sunbathing on the beach, and going out for wallet-gouging dinners at French restaurants. She also adores Archie, but she tends to take him for granted, and often brushes him off entirely to continue her on-again, off-again relationship with Riverdale High's resident asshole, Reggie Mantle.

Now, at this point, most of you are probably waving your arms in the air and insisting that only the most obtuse, OBTUSE idiots would pick Veronica. But back that judgment train up for a sec, homies. Like I said, this isn't that simple.

Yes, Veronica can be a bee-otch at times. But can we blame her? Her rich daddy, Hiram Lodge, spoils the pants off of her, and lavishes her with money and credit cards without ever really teaching her the true value of a dollar. As for Veronica's mother, the woman is barely present. I've read over 100 Archie comic books and I think I may have seen her once: Veronica has a piss-poor male role model and a nonexistent female one. That's got "recipe for bee-otch" written all over it.

Besides, let's remove Archie from the equation for a minute. When she's not hanging out with boys, Veronica spends her time with her best friend in the whole world...who happens to be none other than Betty Cooper. And when these two are alone together, that's when the real Veronica Lodge starts to bubble to the surface a bit. On her many girls-nights-out with Betty, I've seen Veronica selflessly stand up for her friend, donate all of her childhood toys to poor kids, pay for all of her friends' Christmas shopping, organize school bake sales and pep rallies, & tons of other stuff that no self-proclaimed bee-otch would touch with a 10 foot pole. See, Veronica plays the hard-to-get card around the boys because her lack of a normal childhood has made her more than a little insecure. She needs to flip-flop between Archie and Reggie; not because she's mean, but because she simply doesn't know what she's doing. And she'd never admit that, of course. So she just smirks and pretends that it's all part of her "bad girl" routine. Unbeknownst to the boys, she's a total sweetheart. And because of her rich, cold upbringing, this means that she became a total sweetheart all on her own. That, my friends, is one hell of an admirable accomplishment.

Most people who read Archie Comics start doing so at a young age, but when we get older we inevitably find ourselves staring for longer than usual at those pages where Betty and Veronica are lying on the beach in their generous bathing suits, and we take to asking ourselves: if we were in Archie's EXTREMELY lucky shoes...who would we pick? And the answer that immediately follows usually sounds something like this:

"Betty! No, wait, Veronica! Yeah, Veronica!, screw that, I'll go with Betty! Maybe. Or Veronica....definitely Betty. Probably. 50-50." And then we'd give up and pull out a coin to settle things.

Therefore, I submit to you that this, THIS is the ultimate test of manhood. There is no right or wrong answer to this question: what matters is whether you can answer it without second-guessing yourself. And that is what separates the men from the boys. Archie is 17 years old and has about as much intelligence as a baby monkey; he's still got a long way to go before he can pick one girl over the other. It could take some men years to finally realize what it is they truly want. It's never too late to find out what your answer will be, and you'll learn something valuable about yourself in the process.

So to those of you who can answer the question without a moment's hesitation, congratulations. You've reached a level of wisdom and maturity that others can only dream of. And to those of you who still don't know for sure, don't be discouraged. Mulling it over, after all, is half the fun. :)


Oh, you're still here? What's that? You're asking what my choice would be? Well, gosh, if you really want to know, I guess it wouldn't hurt to tell you. But remember: this is a personal journey. Choices are based completely on individual emotional response, so don't go looking to my answer to help you out with yours, okay?

To learn whom I would choose between Betty or Veronica, feel free to highlight the spoiler-free section below.

Both. In a hot tub. With some strawberries.

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