Saturday, November 08, 2008

Foreign Band - Part 2

I called George back right away. I could hear a din of people behind him and imagined the fans, old friends, acquaintances and industry folks clamoring for his attention. Despite all that, I was the one he was talking to.

"So what's this other party downtown?" I asked.

"It's at this bar on Bowery," he gave me the address. "If there's a list, I'll make sure your name is on it. I'll be down there with a couple of friends in about half an hour."

DJ Darla and I hopped in a taxi and headed over to the Bowery, where some of her friends met up with us.

Even as I passed the young, semi-hip crowd to get to the bar, I didn't count on George showing up. Still, it was one of those random nights out in the city that seemed sprinkled with fairy dust. It was this energy that drew people to New York, this wondrous feeling that anything could happen, so you better be ready to follow the adventure.

Darla and I found seats at the bar and ordered drinks. About halfway through my cocktail, I felt someone to my left tap my shoulder.

"Hi!" I smiled at George, who somehow snuck past and grabbed the bar stool next to me. "Did you just get here?"

"About ten minutes ago. Indie Film Director is here, so I was watching him outside for a bit, trying to impress these two girls, seeing if he was going to make a spectacle of himself."

George introduced me to a couple of his friends, who promptly left us to chat.

"How was the meet and greet?"

"Lots of people wanting to take pictures, some autographs, though Singer Spencer gets the worst of it. I did get to see some friends who came from out of town to see the show, so that was pretty cool. The rest of the band wanted me to come back to the hotel with them, but I said I had to find that girl from the front row." George smiled and I noticed he had a slight overbite.

A photographer from the concert came over to us. When I talked to her at the show she seemed down to earth, but in front of George Guitarist she was different. She fawned over him, name-dropped, and seemed practically under physical strain in her effort to impress him. I didn't get it, because it looked so obviously phony, and this is a woman who claimed to have had a lot of contact with celebrities. In any event, George was gracious in listening to her, but after a couple of minutes we turned back to each other and continued our conversation.

It's funny, I didn't even think about him in terms of being in this band that was about to make it big. To me he was a guy I saw across the room (or stage) that I found attractive. I just thought it was great that we were getting along so well on a personal level too.

George is not from the country that Foreign Band now resides in, so we talked about travel and living abroad. When he found out that I love to sing, he offered to produce a track for me. He also has separate creative projects that he works on and so do I, so that was another topic of focus for us, along with what inspires us. This was especially fascinating for me, because George is somebody who makes his living doing creative work, and it's not an easy life, but it's akin to the kind of life I want to have someday.

George's friends came around and asked if we wanted to go to another bar, so we all piled into a taxi and were dropped off at some place on the Lower East Side.

At that bar, some Italian guy came over with a bottle of wine and asked us to share it with him. I thought maybe he was a fan of Foreign Band, until he asked George what he did for a living.

I turned towards George with a pseudo-puzzled expression, "Yeah, what do you do again? Are you some kind of musician or something?" I teased.

I guess the group of us had some kind of great energy to us, because strangers kept coming over to us. They didn't know who George was, so it was rather puzzling, but fun, though George and I would quickly turn our focus back to each other.

His friends were good-natured about it. "Hey George," one of them called out, "what the hell happened during your guitar solo? It fell apart."

George nodded toward me, "Ask this one, it's all her fault."

"You better get at least a kiss out of it," his friend replied, "Though I don't know, you'll get a face full of red lipstick."

George just smiled. I reached over to the nearest table, grabbed a cocktail napkin, and wiped off my crimson lipstick. Before I realized what I was doing, I leaned over and kissed George. He kissed back and put his arms around me. The rest of the bar ceased to exist.

It gets a little blurry past this point. We must have closed out the bar, because I didn't get home until after 4:00am. We shared a taxi, which dropped me off first then continued on to his hotel.

George called me the next day and I saw him that night. I'll keep that story to myself.

Since then. we have exchanged a few emails. He asked me to send him a sample of my singing, so that he could produce that song for me. He and Foreign Band are working on their new album and playing more gigs abroad, but they'll be back in America next year.

I have no illusions about having any sort of relationship with George, though I would like to maintain a friendship if possible. I see him more as a muse and mentor. He and the rest of Foreign Band work incredibly hard for every ounce of success they attain, and it has motivated me to get my own life together and turn my focus to artistic pursuits above all else. What could have been a frivolous hookup with a musician turned out to be a rather significant turning point for me. Who knew.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Foreign Band - Part 1

Chances are, you don't know Foreign Band, even though they are pretty big abroad. Considering their great music, memorable live shows, and diligent work ethic, chances are good that America (and the rest of the world) will know Foreign Band in the next year or two.

I discovered Foreign Band X months ago, was floored by their music, and amazed I hadn't come across them before. Added to the pleasant surprise was an announcement that they'd be playing New York soon. Usually I'm late to the party and discover bands after they've toured for their best album, broken up, died, etc. Not this time. I bought a ticket and anxiously awaited the day of the show.

Despite spreading the word to my friends, I ended up going to the concert solo. No big deal. Either I'd run into people I knew, talk to new people, or enjoy the music on my own. Done it before and would do it again.

The day of the show, I got to the venue more than an hour early. Usually, I don't care about proximity, but that night I wanted to be as close to the front as possible.

There were a cluster of girls at the front of the line and a guy I knew socially through clubbing, Journalist Jason. Jason greeted me warmly, introduced me to the girls, and gave me a swig of something out of an energy drink bottle that looked like Gatorade and tasted like rubbing alcohol.

I chatted with the group, who were massive Foreign Band fans. One talked of flying to various cities to see them live. Another showed me a tattoo design she created involving a full-length portrait of the lead singer. These gals were hardcore and fun to talk to, especially since they were as enthusiastic (if not moreso) about Foreign Band as I was.

At one point while we were outside, I saw a cute guy in black jeans and a hooded sweatshirt wandering around.

"That's George Guitarist! He's such a sweetheart," said one of the girls in line.

Singer Spencer was more the acknowledged heartthrob of Foreign Band, but George was definitely more my type.

Doors at 8pm, and we were finally let in. I was lucky enough to get a spot in the very first row of people, dead center. Not the best for people-watching, but great for band-watching.

After the opening band, the roadies came up to get Foreign Band ready for their show. George Guitarist came out with them to set up his instrument. He looked over at me and we smiled at each other. I felt a jolt of excitement in my stomach.

The show began and the crowd around me erupted in fanatical screaming and arm waving, as they reached for Singer Spencer, an intense and elusive performer who teased them into a frenzy.

Unlike most of the people around me, I focused on George, who kept looking at me and smiling. Or was he? With the bright lights, the audience mostly in darkness, could he really be aiming his attention at me?

During one song, George had a guitar solo and he came around to the center of the stage, right across from me. He waved a beckoning finger at me and I smiled. Then he mouthed,

"You are so fucking hot."


Somehow I managed not to have my jaw fall open in shock, and instead blew him a kiss.

There were a few more glances exchanged during the rest of the concert and then it was over.

Afterwards, I lingered at the venue, where I ran into people I knew. We chatted about how amazing the show was. One of my friends said,

"That guitarist seemed really into you!"

I'm sure I blushed. "We did kind of have a moment."

I wasn't going to try to get backstage or wait around for the band to come out. Instead, DJ Darla (an acquaintance) and I planned on going to an after-party downtown, in the hopes that the band might turn up later.

As we were heading outside, I felt someone tug on my hair.

I turned around and it was George Guitarist.

"Do you know how many times I fucked up out there because I was staring at you?" he said.

I laughed and asked him his name, partly because I was so nervous I wasn't sure I remembered and partly because I didn't want to seem like such a fangirl.

"Are you going to the afterparty at Downtown Club?"

"What after-party?" He looked confused.

"You don't know about your own band's after-party? That's no good." I took out a pen and paper, wrote down the name of the place and address, along with my name and phone number.

"I have to talk to some friends downstairs, but I'll come out to this later."

"You should."

We smiled at each other again and went off in opposite directions.

When we got outside, I asked DJ Darla: "Did that really happen?"

She confirmed that it did.

We didn't want to get to Downtown Club too early, so we went to Tiki Bar for a drink or two first.

My head was buzzing. "You know, I don't even expect George to come to the club later, or to ever hear from him, but what already happened tonight was pretty cool."

"You never know..." said DJ Darla.

I went outside for a cigarette and saw I had a new voicemail:

"Hey, this is George from Foreign Band. So there's this other party happening downtown and I can get you on the list if you want to meet up there. Otherwise, we're still in town tomorrow and I don't have anything going on in the evening, so maybe we could do something then. Give me a call."

Holy shit.

Reality check, please.

To be continued...

Sunday, October 05, 2008

tentative at best

Let's not call it flaky, let's call it whimsical. Capricious, even.

I didn't used to be this way. I used to rely on a firm schedule and found comfort in social activity that was planned days--if not weeks--in advance. Now, not so much.

I say "let's play it by ear" a lot. I won't buy concert tickets more than a few weeks ahead of time. I have no idea how I'll use up the rest of my personal and vacation days this year. I get nervous when somebody asks to do something more than a couple of days from now. I panic if I feel like my time is being imposed on.

What changed? Did I suddenly realize what precious little free time I had? It's not as if it suddenly dawned on me. How did I go from being so rigid socially to enjoying spontaneous plans so much? How did I go from being thoroughly dependable to a more unknown quantity?

J had a lot to do with it. Between the two of us, we had a healthy social calendar. There were birthdays and weddings and holidays and funerals. There was his giant family and my clan of friends. There were our mutual friends. There was always something to do, something we were invited to.

For a while, I loved having days filled with so much to do, with a person who adored me so much. Then I started realizing that we never had a full weekend to ourselves, to do nothing. Even in the early stages of our relationship, we never had that long stretch of time where we sequestered ourselves in bed and tuned out the rest of the world (mental note to make sure that happens in my next relationship). And when we did have a so-called lazy day, even those had a rigidity to them; there were workouts and errands and little things that always seemed to take longer than expected.

Eventually, the time time we spent together started to feel structured, even when it centered around fun activities. I became frustrated that so many social obligations were stacking up weeks and months into the future. I felt like I had less time to myself, too. Despite asserting to J that I was not a phone person, there were frequent phone calls (he checked in with me up to five times a day). What started out as a feeling of having this loving person so dedicated to me grew into a feeling of being smothered and controlled. Some of our biggest fights were about my need for more personal space. I could see how the relationship could become codependent. I had a life outside the relationship that was beginning to feel hampered.

Since the breakup, one of the things I cherish most is having my schedule back to myself. Invited to a party? No need to check with J to see if there is a conflict on his end. Want to stay in all weekend and be a couch potato? I have the final say. Want to spend days in a row being a social hermit and ignoring all calls/emails/texts? So be it. My free time is all my own.

The problem is this nervousness I've developed about making firm plans too far ahead of time. I was the furthest thing from spontaneous for most of my life and now I've swung to the opposite extreme. Last weekend, I had no plans for Saturday and set plans for Sunday. I ended up going to a last minute gathering on Saturday and bailing on Sunday plans.

Have I become less dependable? Maybe a little, except with my mother and closest friends. With everyone else, it's a crap shoot. I'm probably a frustrating person to date right now and yet potential suitors are on the horizon. My independence and new-found unpredictability is probably attractive to many, yet I've been on the other side of the fence, dealing with people like today's me, and I know how maddening it can be.

There's nothing I can do about it right now. I'm enjoying the last minute, the unexpected, following my whims, carving out my own trajectory. It leads to adventure. I am all about adventure these days.

Monday, September 29, 2008

We're Going to Do This

I always said that no blog would be worth sacrificing a relationship for. That I'd respect a significant other's wishes for privacy and end the blog if it was going to become an issue. J did not want to live in a fishbowl, which I respected. He made assumptions about what I wrote about and, to the best of my knowledge, never actually read a single post, preferring to imagine it as something more base and sensational than it was.

J is no longer in the picture. I won't go into why, at least not in this post. I won't go into when, because this gives me a 14-month blurry timeline to play with.

I have accumulated a lot of stories these last 14 months, and there's no need to do something so ordinary as tell them in chronological order.

Let's start with Barman Ben.

For those just joining in, or those whose memories are as bad as mine (that's why I have to write everything down), a brief rundown on this Ben character:

I met him nearly two years ago at Cozy Bar, where he still bartends today. Handsome, charming, mysterious, the man was a cocktail of trouble, and I instantly developed a maddening, overwhelming crush on him. He intrigued and inspired me so much, I wrote a short story about him, possibly my best fiction to date. I gave him a copy of the story and he loved it; he mentions what a good writer I am to this day when introducing me to other patrons. Ben himself is an actor (stage and screen). One of the Cozy regulars, Magazine Mitch, teased me about my crush when not mercilessly hitting on me. He and I went to see Ben in a play where he appeared entirely naked. Ben flirted, and I could have sworn some spark was there between us, but nothing ever came of it. Then I started seeing J and my visits to Cozy Bar became less frequent.

Barman Ben got under my skin in a way few other men ever have, and while I made peace with the fact that nothing would ever happen between us, there remained a secret thrill of seeing him behind that bar, and a lingering question mark in the back of my head. What if?

One night X months ago, I went to Cozy Bar with my friend Dancer Denise. We expected a girls night, but within minutes of arriving got caught up talking to others. There was a special energy to the place that night and it was extra-lively. Lots of familiar faces, retro music, and a buzz of effervescent conversation had us in high spirits in no time.

Barman Ben was behind the bar and his usual dapper self. I stood at my usual spot at the corner of the bar and fended off overtures from the men around me, polite but disinterested, watching Ben without watching him. All this time and he still had a mesmerizing effect on me.

"Why don't you just tell him you want to fuck him?" Magazine Mitch asked.

"Can you not say that so loudly please?" I knew Ben couldn't hear us, but I couldn't be too sure.

"Do you want me to tell him?"

"I'm sure at this point he pretty much knows." I shrugged.

"Face it, Dolly, it's never going to happen."

"I know."

"So that's why you should get with me."

I laughed. "We're not going to make out, Mitch."

"I liked you better before you lost the weight. You were less cocky then."

Denise ended up leaving with a cute boy she picked up at the bar. Barman Ben and I raised our eyebrows over the spontaneous pair-up and smiled. I felt him looking at me throughout the night but made it a point not to look back... much. He was exceptionally flirty with a random girl I ended up talking to, as if to show me how well his charms worked on others. There was something pointed about it, and I smirked at the prolonged hug he gave her when she left.

He teased me about not having my money ready quickly enough when I ordered drinks. I teased back the next round, waving around a twenty and smirking with mock impatience. When he gave me my change, our hands lingered, squeezed together, took an inordinate amount of time to separate. I looked down at my drink, remembered to breathe.

What was happening here?

I sensed a new curiosity from Ben, an intrigue. I didn't dare imagine anything would come of it, not after the way I tortured myself about him in the past. So I played it cool, flirted with guys who talked to me but made it clear I was a dead end. Eventually, it was near closing time and it was just me, Magazine Mitch, and a handful of others. It was past last call, but Ben still served me and didn't take my money.

Then it was just Mitch, Ben, and me. Past 4:00am. The three of us stood outside and smoked cigarettes. Mitch and Ben discussed music I wasn't familiar with and I focused on being still. I didn't want to appear as drunk as I was. Ben sent me a sidelong glance from time to time, which I matched.

I lit another cigarette and continued to listen to their conversation. Out of nowhere, Ben pulled me over to him, had me stand in front of him like a human shield and talked to Mitch over my shoulder. I smoked while he pressed against me and felt me up from behind, hand up my dress, against my thighs and hips.

Ben took the cigarette out of my left hand, threw it into the street, and placed my hand between us on his crotch. Just like that. And just like that I complied, stroked him over his trousers like it was the most natural thing.

I understood two things right then:

1. This was not about hearts and flowers, this was physical. The romantic portrait I conjured of him in my story was not the same Barman Ben grinding against me. And that was okay, because--

2. In that moment, I knew I would do anything he wanted me to. He could have stripped me down right outside the bar in broad (early morning) daylight and I wouldn't have blinked.

Magazine Mitch carried on talking as if nothing out of the ordinary was happening before him, until he finally said,

"Should I leave you two to it then?"

"Come back in for a few minutes," Ben nodded at the door. "Both of you."

Ben poured Mitch half a pint and led me to the back room. He put my handbag on the pool table, pulled me over to the wall and said,

"We're going to do this, but we're not going to do this tonight."

And then we were kissing.

There weren't any butterflies, because butterflies are the stuff of stories that might have a happy ending, and this was a dead end from the start. So kissing Ben didn't make my heart take flight. It actually felt like an out-of-body experience, like it must be happening to someone else, maybe somebody a little less numb with alcohol.

Ben unbuckled his pants, but this time he didn't need to guide my hand. His own hands travelled south, past fishnet and lace boundaries, but I was too drunk to feel anything beyond a surreal thrill.

He guided me to a nearby couch, sat me down, and stood in front of me. Halfway through he said,

"You're good at this..." he tilted my head so I looked up at him, "and you know you're good at this."

Of course, this is when Mitch decided he needed the bathroom. He wandered past and started saying something to Ben, only seeing his back at first. Then he realized.

"Oh. Never mind then."

I think I laughed, despite having my mouth full.

Ben didn't let me finish and I don't know why. I think he was close. Whatever the reason, that was it. He took one taxi home and I took another, but not before Mitch congratulated me.

When I woke up that afternoon, it took me a while to believe that what happened with Barman Ben really happened. I wish I had been less drunk, to remember what he smelled like, what he tasted like, what his hair felt like between my fingers. It's okay. I remember enough.

I finally kissed him. Yes, there was the other stuff, but that didn't matter to me as much as the kissing did, because that's all I ever wanted. I didn't want to bed him or date him, I wanted one moment, mouth-to-mouth. And I got it. That's enough for me.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I'm thinking about starting up the blog again. It's been over a year. A lot has transpired. Adventures need to be updated. Privacy has its perks for sure, but I miss this space, I miss this confessional.

Is anybody still reading? Would anybody attend my comeback tour? So much to say and no idea where to begin, so I figure I'd dip a toe in.

Anyone still out there?

Friday, July 20, 2007

tempus fugit

There are several reasons why keeping up this blog has been such a struggle. One major factor is my new job. I was able to do most of my blogging at my last job, but that's not really possible now. The bigger, shinier paycheck means more responsibilities and way less downtime. Plus, my computer screen faces a high traffic area and it wouldn't be good for one of my bosses to see me lingering on a site that prominently displays "cock" in its title.

The other main reason for my absence is J.

In some ways, I feel like I've been absent from more than this blog, but the real world, too. I have told J more than once that I feel like I'm on vacation when I'm with him. We have this ability to create our own microcosmos when we're together: it's me, it's J, and the rest of existence is banished to the periphery. Whether on a beach or dancefloor, in a grocery store or casino, life plays out for us like a movie and we walk among its scenery.

I've been so busy being happy that I have hardly noticed the time go by, except in weekly increments. Or in weekends, which J and I spend almost exclusively together (he is napping right now), which pass shockingly quickly, crammed with social and familial obligations, but also hours that belong only to us.

It's been a dramatic change, going from the life I had before J to the life I have now. My days are different because of the shift in employment and my nights are different because I am no longer single. It's been tough staying in touch with friends. Polly said I fell off the radar a bit when I was in my last relationship. I know I've done that to an extent again, but I've been making a concerted effort not to drift away from the people who are my second family: Willow and Polly and (former) Coworker Chris and Podcast Penny and all the others. Not to mention my alone time; there's less of that, too.

Not that I'm complaining. Merely adjusting. I love inhabiting the world that J and I created for ourselves. I don't want anything to mar this world, which is why part of me is at a loss as to what to write about. I could write about how J has only ever dated thin girls and how I worry that if I don't keep off the fifty (yes, fifty) pounds I have lost in the last seven months, he'll leave me (though he is beyond supportive of my fitness goals). I could write about our magical (to the point of spooky) telepathic connection, about the way we fit the way I have never fit with anybody before. I could write about how nerve-wracking it was meeting each others' families. I could write about the positive-adjective-defying sex. I could write about how I feel like I've waited my whole life for him, and it was worth the wait. How he constantly makes me laugh, impresses me with his resourcefulness, and takes my breath away with his knockout combination of generosity, sensitivity, and raw masculinity. I could write about how I've reached a point where not having him in my life would be inconceivably tragic.

There are endless lists of things we have done (cooked together, taken walks in Central Park, gone away for the weekend) and things we haven't done (had our first fight, said the L word, anal). Part of me wants to chronicle every special minute of it. Another part of me wants to fully immerse myself in this wonderous time of my life, this falling in glorious love, and forego the need to capture it in words.

Time: it moves at light speeds, but I can't help the foolish notion that J and I have so much of it. Yet it still slips away, another hour, another day, another week. I blinked and found a month had passed that J and I were together. One of the happiest months of my life.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

quick note

I'm still around. It's hard to balance a new relationship and new job with being social, to say nothing of keeping up a blog. I've spent the last few days playing nurse to J, who has had a severe case of bronchitis. We're about to leave for a barbecue, but I'll update properly soon, I promise.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


I made a deal with the universe: if I got the job this new job, I would stop seeing BT.

I tried to be casual girl, spur-of-the-moment girl, no-strings-attached girl, but that's not really me, not as far as relationships go. I knew that ultimately it wasn't good for me. I drank more around BT, my sleep schedule got thrown off, and I spent the beginning of every week dusting off emotional cobwebs, trying not to be attached, trying to distance myself. Even when I went out without him, I had my phone at the ready, waiting for his text messages, not being fully in the moment. Part of me hoped he'd come around and start asking me out on real dates, even while a bigger part of me understood that we would not be compatible in a relationship.

I was concerned that I had the wrong kind of energy around me, a careless and possibly destructive energy that could interfere with these bright new beginnings. It was time to be honest with myself and stop sectioning off my heart, stop forcing myself to stop feeling and reassess my attitude towards intimacy.

Anyway, I got the job, and I knew I had to make good on my end of the deal. This was a couple of weeks ago. I decided to wipe the slate clean: no more online dating, no more crushes on bartenders, no more drunken hook-ups. BT went out of town for a few days, which made letting him go in my head easier. Here I was with this great life as well as this new body and now new job. There wasn't any room to think about dating, to obsess about relationships. Why focus on the one aspect of my life that was lacking when I had so much else going for me?

I made peace with the fact that there were no romantic prospects on the horizon and probably wouldn't be for some time.

Then I went to that club the weekend before last, where J, a friend of a friend, started chatting with me. J and I talked for hours and hours. There was an instant rapport. We had our first date a week ago. We had our second date on Friday, and it was easily the best date of my life. We had our third date on Monday and I'm seeing him again later today. We talk on the phone every day, we exchange countless emails and texts, and have become pretty much inseparable since we met.

J and I have a connection that is so special, so electric, it is downright telepathic. I can't describe it any other way but to call it magic. I feel like I have fairy dust sprinkled over my life.

I've been struggling with what to write about J. Words can't do him justice and I'm still figuring it out what to chronicle and what to keep private, what to keep ours.

As much as I have resisted and fought and raged against the idea, it all comes back to that Buddhist koan: to find something stop looking for it.

I stopped looking, put blinders on even, and one night I glanced up and found the man of my dreams sitting next to me.


Tuesday, June 12, 2007


When I go walking in the park, I wear dark clothes, headphones, and big, dark sunglasses. I am not there to be social, I am there to work out. I don't talk to anyone and, with the rare exception of someone asking for directions, nobody talks to me.

On Saturday, I was doing the last mile of my second lap when I noticed somebody jogging next to me. Jogging very close to me, slowly, to keep the same pace as my speed walking. I looked over at him, annoyed. Usually, people in the park follow etiquette and pass each other or allow for a certain amount of personal space. Then, clocking his interested look, I realized why he was jogging so close to me.

I stopped walking, letting him run a few paces. He stopped too, then turned around and walked back toward me.

This is when I noticed that even though it was Saturday afternoon, and even though we were on the "safer" side of the park, the stretch of track where we stood was in the shade and completely empty of people. That's when I got scared. I realized that even if I sprinted, the closest person was easily a hundred or more feet ahead of me. If he had some kind of weapon on him, I could be in trouble.

I was rooted to the spot, unable to move.

Just before he reached me I said, with great hostility, "Can you please leave me alone?"

He paused, then walked out of the park. I finished my workout, a little shaky, hating the guy for making me feel unsafe in a place I frequent, in broad daylight.


That night, I went to a concert with my friend Music Mandy. The two of us got to the venue early and chose a spot where nobody was standing, to crowd watch and wait for the first opening act.

A few minutes later, I sensed a guy standing right next to me, I mean right next to me, when there was plenty of open space around us. I groaned inwardly, because the guy was hovering, and I knew he was going to try to talk to one of us soon. I faced away from him, chatting with Mandy, but a little while later I felt a tap on my shoulder.

I turned around, bracing myself. Standing next to me (too close!) was an older man with a dark pony tail.

"Can I take you out sometime?"

"Um, sorry, but I'm kind of seeing someone." I smiled awkwardly and turned back to Mandy.

*tap* *tap* *tap*

I turned back to him.

"What's your name?"


"Well, can I get a number for your so that we could talk some time?"

"No, I'm sorry." I gave Mandy a Look and murmured, "Let's take a walk."

That's twice in one day. I'm sympathetic to the fact that it takes a lot of guts to make that approach, that it's not easy to put your ego on the line. However, there's a difference between casually expressing interest and making a woman feel deeply uncomfortable (or worse, actually afraid for her safety) with one's interest. Respecting personal space is key, as is noticing a woman's body language. If I'm wearing dark glasses and not looking in the guy's direction, or if I keep turning away to talk to my friend, it should be pretty obvious that I'm not interested.

After these two unpleasant incidents, I felt more guarded than usual, though I did end up enjoying the darkly experimental, noisy concert.

I ended up at a club with friends after the show, where some drinking, dancing, and socializing raised my spirits.

A group of us took over a stretch of banquettes and later in the night, this guy came over. He looked like he was trying to sit on on one of the unstable end tables, before changing his mind and sitting next to me.

"That's much better," he said.

"Yeah, I don't know why you'd sit there when there's miles of couches in here."

"Well, I wanted to sit near my friends."

"Oh, you know these people?" That's when I really looked at him, noticed he was actually pretty attractive.

"Yeah. What, you think I came over just to hit on you?" He raised his eyebrows, smiled.

I laughed. "Well it's been a strange day for it..."

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

a new dawn, a new day, a new life

I shouldn't have pinned so much on this one thing. I know that, but I couldn't help it. When I had my first interview, weeks ago, the second the company was mentioned, I felt a jolt of electricity and knew I belonged there. Then I had a second interview, then a third. There were skill tests, references checked, a background check, and a drug screen. You'd think I was going to work for the CIA, not a media company. The whole process, start to finish, took nearly a month.

I got the job.

I'm happy to still be working in media, but even happier to be working in a broader spectrum. New projects, more opportunities to grow, and a company that is just plain cool.

This is such a major breakthrough for me. I have been in serious crisis mode with regards to my career for some time now. One of the two big goals I set for myself this year was to figure things out vocationally (the other is fitness-oriented). My current job is fine, but became a dead end--not to mention the money's pretty lousy. I was at a loss, but started actively looking, anyway. I figured if I didn't find my dream job, I should at least find something higher paying, and chip away at my debt. I'm not one for setting major life goals, but I did it this year.

That's why this feels like such an accomplishment. The new gig has tons of potential and is a good boost money-wise, too. That's all I need to be happy: potential. Hope. I know it's going to be lots of hard work, but the future looks brighter for the first time in over a year.

I gave my notice and everyone at work is really happy for me. I've been receiving congratulations from all around. My friends know what a big deal this is for me, how long I've been searching, waiting, and I'm grateful that they're sharing in my happiness.

Just now, I was saying to Podcast Penny how much I wish somebody told me in October, when I got passed over for an opportunity within my current company, than in eight months time I'd get an awesome new job. Of course, now I kinda wish somebody would tell me how awesome my love life is going to be X months from now, but I have too much else going on to dwell on that. Apart from the new job, I've been riding a recent wave of inspiration and working on art projects, which is one reason I've been writing less. I've also been less of a slacker about nurturing friendships, so things are hopping socially, too.

I feel like I'm entering an exciting new phase of my life. The tears, the frustration, the reluctant patience, all of it has finally given way to something good. The air around me feels full of possibility and I love it. Sometimes I wish things could stay like this indefinitely: on the cusp, at the threshold, brimming with anticipation. Of course that's not possible.

Time to move forward.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

suspended animation

Is it possible to die of suspense? I wonder. Right now, I am waiting on news that will change the course of my fate. For the last few weeks, I've been in a state of agitation, my patience being stretched to its limit, my stress regulators doing what they can to keep me in check.

"Don't forget to breathe," BT keeps telling me. He's been one of my few sanity anchors recently.

I wish I could feel the same easy, relaxed sense of well being that I feel with him all the time, but the real world encroaches. Responsibilities, pressure, decisions, tedium, obligations. So much patience and resilience required. Why was I in such a hurry to grow up and be an adult?

And now, all I can do is try to show some grace under pressure. All I can do is wait. I'm poised at a very dangerous angle, at the precipice of elation or devastation. I shouldn't let it affect me so much, should keep my wits about it, etc. Go ahead, tell me not to care so much. It won't do any good. This is going to have a great impact on me one way or the other, and I can't pretend it won't. I was never any good at playing it cool.

Soon, soon...

Saturday, May 26, 2007


I stand in front of you
I take the force of the blow
-Massive Attack

Last night was different. Happier, giddier. Both of us have made progress with our personal situations, which made for a lighter, cheerier atmosphere.

When we stood to leave, the bartender, a Greek woman equal parts sassy and sweet, hugged me goodbye like an old friend.

"Take good care of her," she said to him.

"I always take care of her," he replied.

"He's a good guy," she told me.

I nodded. "I know."

I don't know what to call it, but I'm finally starting to understand that maybe it doesn't need a name. I can't explain it to my friends, who worry I'll get hurt because it's not a traditional relationship, more of a once-in-a-while thing. He's not my boyfriend and yet I've been seeing him longer than some of my exes. Every time I see him, it's with the understanding that it might be the last time. There has been a lot of passion, but conflict, too. I'm drawn to him in a way I haven't been drawn to anyone in a long time.

I pinned down what was bothering me about the situation last week. It's not that I need for us to be exclusive; I like having the option of seeing other people (though I equally dislike the thought of him doing so, because I'm jealous like that; oh well). It's not that I need to be labeled his girlfriend. Last night, he introduced me to everyone as his friend, but then openly kissed me and wrapped his arms around me. The label didn't matter, because I felt genuine warmth and affection from him.

No, what troubled me was the time in-between, the days during the week when I don't see him, when there's barely any contact, when I have to fend for myself. I have plenty to keep me busy, but it was more a matter that I never felt like I could call him after a tough day to talk, that I could view him as a source of support the way I do my other friends. That's what it was: I didn't get a sense that he was my friend.

Last night, I told him that. I said I was aware of the risks of developing a closer personal relationship, that treating him more as a confidante could lead to sticky territory of more attachment and a need for commitment. Which isn't what I was asking for.

He saw the difference.

"You can always call me if you had tough day and need to talk. I would be there for you the way I'd be there for any other of my friends. And if anyone was every giving you a hard time, I'd sort them out. I'll be your bodyguard." He got a fierce look in his eyes, a spark of anger at the idea of somebody messing with me.

"I guess I never felt that from you before."

"I consider you my friend. I have from the very beginning."

He said he didn't think of me as a casual fling or fuck buddy (how I hate that term), that he thinks about being with me during the times we're apart.

He mentioned a personal story I shared a couple of weeks ago, of something awful that happened to me as a little girl.

"When you told me that, even though you said you couldn't remember it happening, I felt so sad for you I wanted to cry. And I couldn't stop that from happening to you, but I feel so protective of you now."

He sees a part of me not many others see. In many ways, I'm still naive, still blind to the evils of the world, and oblivious to life outside my small sphere of consciousness. For the most part, I have led a relatively sheltered life. He sees this innocence, and wants to shield me from harm.

I feel his protection.

This is one reason why I love being with him, why the times we are together are worth all the uncertainty that follows. I feel so safe with him that everything else falls away. I can let go of my fear and be my real self. And despite our strange and uneven communication in between, when we get together there's a sense of relief and inevitability, a sense of belonging, even if it's just for the night. There is always at least one moment during the night that feels perfect. It might be a minute in my room, listening to music in utter stillness. It might be in a taxi, crossing the bridge and putting my head on his shoulder. It might be in a crowded bar, smiling at each other through the hazy din of layered conversations and alcohol. It might be when he wipes away my tears, pulls me in close, and kisses me. It could happen at any time.

I pay a price for these perfect moments. I want more of them and yet I have to understand that their beauty comes from the wild and unstable circumstances surrounding them. It's the power, brightness, and instability of a lightning bolt. It's breathtaking and treacherous, impossible to predict.

When that lighting does strike, time freezes and everything is in its right place. In those seconds or minutes or even hours, in his arms, I am completely, irrefutably, safe. Protected.

Monday, May 21, 2007

"Giving Up"

Excerpt from a chat with Miss Curious, last week:

Miss C: why can't he just be in love with you already?!?!?!
Dolly: i know, right?
you know when he's goign to fall in love with me?
Miss C: I know when
Dolly: after i get totally heartbroken and decide conclusively i want nothing to do with him and
that's when
Miss C: yup
Dolly: there is no solution
Miss C: so are we in hell?
where nothing goes our way?!?! hahaha!
two ships passing in the night
Dolly: the solution is to give up
but i mean "give up"
Miss C: possible?
Dolly: fully accept the fact that we're going to be alone
Miss C: if we're supposedly here to propagate, and I've overcome the desire to have my own children (would adopt children who've been left)... then how is it I cannot rid myself of the need for a partner? Because propagation should be the only need for one... successful hunter/gatherer propagation
so there's a chance that we could "give up"

Dolly: what about companionship? sex? love?
should all of those come from different sources?
Miss C: yes, they should
companionship, sex, love
all byproducts of our primal instinct to reproduce

Dolly: but how do we splinter ourselves like that?
Miss C: that's what we must discover
there must be a way
Dolly: distracting ourselves with tons of hobbies and other social activity?

Miss C: yeah, drugs and alcohol

Dolly: becoming buddhist
Miss C: smoking weed and live music make me complete!
Dolly: that's what people keep suggesting to me
buddhism, not weed

Miss C: buddhism is actually pretty fucking great... but I'm personally too neurotic to "be at peace without knowing the answers"
I actually try to apply many buddhist philosophies to my life, but it's tough to achieve
how's it going for you?

Dolly: it's the wanting that's the sticky point for me
i can't imagine passion without desire
and i can't imagine life without passion
i don't want some kind of neutral life. i'll take the roller coaster any day

Miss C: I'm not sure what my answer is to that question anymore
I can completely see why you'd want it that way

Dolly: sometimes it doesn't feel like i have a choice
Miss C: you're absolutely right... it's more in theory ;-)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Scents and Sensibility

This morning, the smell hit me right away. A cotton ball damp with a new brand of toner, a fragrance so familiar, I was no longer in my apartment. But where was I?

It took me a minute to place the familiar scent. The lime top note hit me, and then I remembered. Going back several years, he mentioned the name of the scent, an obscure one. I made a special trip to a shop on Madison Avenue to buy it for him. This was during the long distance correspondence, before we met, before we kissed, before we moved in together.

"This is what he smells like," I held the bottle in my hand, pausing before I brought it up to my nose.

I know about pheromones, I know about the scientific theories that propose love boils down to smell. I know about the sweaty t-shirt experiment, where women were more likely to be attracted to the men whose odors they responded to best during a blind smell test. What I don't know is how deodorants, scented lotions, colognes, and perfumes mask or enhance a person's natural odor in a subconscious way. I know I'm sensitive to a person's smell, and highly sensitive to men's colognes (there are some brands that I find highly erotic and others which utterly repulse me), but I'm curious about how much we affect courtship and mating by changing the way we smell.

I was nervous that day, standing in a shop full of glass bottles, about to spray one, the one, about to inhale his scent. If I didn't have a positive reaction, I knew it would never work between us. Yet when I craned my neck to catch a whiff of the citrus mist that I sprayed, I was pleasantly surprised, even a little excited. I was also relieved. Of course, things ended up not working out between us anyway, but it was because of irreconcilable, not olfactory reasons.

Friday night, outside Bar K, a delayed hug hello. My nose against his black t-shirt, inhaling.

"You smell good," I said. "You always smell good."

I asked him to name the colognes he wears, one of which is my favorite male brand, and I wonder how much stock to put in such things. Is it really all about smell? Is that what we mean when we talk about that elusive x factor known as chemistry? If he wore the same cologne as my father, would I no longer be attracted to him? (I could never date a man who smelled like my Dad.) The first night we met, he told me I smelled good; if I wore a different perfume that night, would he not have been attracted to me? Not as much?

For the most part, I prefer it when men wear cologne, though it can be tricky to select the right scent. I made the mistake of choosing incorrectly at least one time that I know about: on a first date, I once wore the same perfume that my date's ex-girlfriend used to wear. We hit it off, but I knew there would be no second date; there wasn't. How much of that had to do with that perfume and the memory trigger is something I will never know.

I'm endlessly fascinated by the smell-memory connection. When I was reminded of my ex's scent this morning, I was so disturbed and overwhelmed, I had to spray myself with perfume to cover it up. I also had to think twice and choose a perfume that wouldn't bring back other memories. I sprayed a bit too generously in my haste, and can still smell it on me. This spicy scent does conjure a vague nostalgia, but I've worn it sporadically over the last five years, so it isn't tied to a specific part of my life the way other scents are.

Friday night, during that hug, I recalled the necklace he left on my nightstand, the way the leather cord absorbed his scent, made him vivid in his absence.

In a blind test, would I select his sweaty t-shirt over all others?