There are many things that you can tell people that you've developed that make you an interesting and sought after guest at parties.

Things like "I've developed a cure for baldness" or, in the event that you are already bald, "I've developed a large piece of property."

You can assume that "I've developed pictures of my vacation in Cleveland" or "I developed this strange rash after sleeping with Sally" are not quite so interesting.

Unless, of course, Sally or someone she is currently sleeping with is at the party. In that case you will be sought after by both Sally and her current lover, but most likely for different reasons.

For some strange reason, this was the first year I developed allergies.

If you want to feel awkward and uncomfortable at a party, there are a number of options to choose from. You can show up naked, insult your host's sensitive teenage daughter or have a sneezing fit while hors d'oeuvres are being served.

A sneezing fit allows others to get involved. After the sneezing stops you can pretty much count on some wise guy saying, "Well, I guess I'm not having any more guacamole."

What's weird about the whole allergy thing is that I lived for over 10 years in New York City without a problem. If you've ever seen the movie Resident Evil, where Milla Jovovich battles zombies after mysterious spores are released in Raccoon City, you've got a pretty good idea of what it's like to take the subway in Manhattan.

Savvy New Yorkers know that if you ever see Milla running through the subway, it's a good idea to follow her because whatever's coming down the platform is going to be really scary.

And by scary I mean either the flesh-eating, walking dead or an allergist that is approved by your HMO.

The allergist I finally went to came to the conclusion that I was allergic to dust, pollen and animal dander. Or, to put that in non-medical terms, everything.

Each of these allergens has its own special problems attached to it.

Dust is a natural marvel that has baffled scientists since the Enlightenment when European scientists first discovered light and could actually see how much dust had accumulated under the bed during the Dark Ages.

There are two important facts you should know about dust. It is everywhere and it is always accumulating. And, like Microsoft or the proliferation of boy bands, there is nothing you can do to stop it.

Pollen is the way plants have sex. For some reason, plants are most sexually active in the spring. Spring is also the time when, as every guy knows, all the good-looking women who've been hiding all winter suddenly appear.

Around the same time that plants are having orgies, those of us with allergies have red-rimmed eyes, constant sinus discharge and a large wad of moist tissue in our front pocket. Many healthy people assume that this might be a problem when dating.

Those of us with allergies know there simply are no awkward, first-date gaps in the conversation when you can fill the time with:
Her: "Are you OK?"
Him: "Oh, sure. It's just allergies."
Her: "You look terrible."
Him: "Wanna go back to my place and make out?"
Her: "Not unless you have a haz-mat suit I can wear."

Animal dander is also a problem if you are a single guy because it is a proven fact that 98% of all good-looking single women own cats.

So, I'm going to go ahead and wipe my nose on my sleeve. I don't have a chance with them anyhow.
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