Tuesday, January 31, 2006

picking up

I have been learning so much about dating. I think it really boils down to two things:

1. Confidence
2. Stamina

Last night, I was determined not to get wound up about CDave and his neither-here-nor-there email. He mentioned that his internet access was going to be limited, but I wrote him back instead of calling (I hate the phone, except to talk to my mother and make plans). I decided I would show a little more enthusiasm in my note and mentioned that I had a lot of fun on Friday and would like to do it again (interpret "it" as you will). I knew it could be a couple of days before I heard from him, and in the meantime I was keeping part of my weekend open, just in case.

In the pick-up community there is something known as "oneitis", which is when you get hung up on a single person. Sometimes oneitis leads to a relationship and other times it leads to a big wad of misery.

I felt the beginning symptoms of oneitis toward CDave appear, and I decided to take action to calm my neurotic little heart. I excercised. I meditated. I went back online and wrote to a couple of men. I have a date with a new one tomorrow. Oneitis symptoms cured.

This is where stamina comes in. Dating is, in some ways, like long-distance running. Things will go and go and go, uphill and downhill. Sooner or later, you may get a stitch in your side. You can give up at the first sign of discomfort or you can suck it up and run through the pain. Dating is all about running through the pain. If you get a little hurt and give up right away, chances are, you'll end up feeling depressed, jaded, and lonely. You also might close yourself off to potential romantic opportunities by giving up too soon.

Belive me, I've been there. I got worn out and busied myself with other social activities, proclaiming myself to be on a "break from dating". Now, I honestly believe that if a woman truly wants to find a man, whether to get a little action or find a boyfriend, breaks should be as infrequent as possible. You have to keep on going. Last week, I got two emails from guys rejecting me. If I didn't keep going, I wouldn't have had my awesome date with CDave on Friday, or my crazy make-out-filled Saturday night. A couple of weeks ago, my friends and I ended up at a party with no prospects. If we gave up, the night would have been a washout. Instead, I insisted we go to a bar. And when that bar didn't pan out, we went to another one. And another one. Finally, at the third bar we met hot guys.

This is where confidence comes in. When I say confidence, I mean in yourself and in your circumstances. If you want to find someone that will value you, you have to believe you're worth something to begin with. PUAs call this "inner game". In the same way that a woman can sense a loser vibe from a man, insecurity and desperation can be picked up by a man. That insecurity and desperation could cause a man to either exploit a woman's weaknesses, or ignore her altogether.

Today, I am pretty secure in myself. Ever since I got my ego together and realized my self-worth, my interactions with men have dramaticaly improved. But I don't don't only have confidence in myself, I have confidence in the fact that I will eventually meet someone who is right for me. In the meantime, I'm going to have as much fun as possible (which is a lot) and take whatever adventures life throws my way, instead of pining for The One. Saying "it's never going to happen to me" is easy during the low points, but you have to stifle those feelings if you are going to survive, especially in a city as tough as New York. And once you have that inner game going, you become more approachable. Who do you want to talk to, the depressed person scowling in the corner, or the happy person laughing in the middle of the crowd?

You might be wondering about all the PUA lingo. Well, ever since reading Neil Strauss's The Game and having my own encounter with a pick-up artist last week, I have become more and more captivated by these seduction communities. I have even started a list linking PUA blogs (check them out!). It's tempting to dismiss these guys as players who use evil tricks to get girls into bed. The fact is, if you scratch the surface and get past the pussy-chasing, there are some great techniques both men and women can employ, for dating, or even other aspects of life. Things like being able to start conversations with anyone and honing social skills, dealing with rejection, and making yourself a more charismatic person overall.

Women already employ some of these techniques, without even realizing it. For example, my friend gets a lot of attention when her hair is in braids. This is called "peacocking", a term that's used when personal appearance is altered in a way so as to be a conversation piece (in fact, the PUA I met was wearing a small watchface on a string like a necklace; had I not been too busy trying to expose him as a fraud, I would have commented on it).

I emailed Neil (aka "Style") to share my PUA story and tell him how much I enjoyed the book. I recently received a friendly reply. The PUG (pick-up guru) himself said,

It's not wrong to learn the skills of attraction, but it is wrong to lie to people, lead them on, misrepresent yourself, pretend to be something you're not, etc.

I couldn't agree more. It shouldn't be about manipulation, but self-improvement. Make yourself more engaging and then go out and engage people. Keep knocking down that doubt and all those other emotional hurdles.

Run through the pain and the pain disappears.

Monday, January 30, 2006

the male merry-go-round

I was riding high after my date with Computer Dave on Saturday. The world outside was a little warmer and brighter (sure, it was sunny and unseasonable warm for January, but still). I felt rejuvenated and wondered if my inner glow manifested itself externally. Could people tell? What did it matter, I was coasting on a happy post-orgasmic wave.

(Oh, and I wonder, am I the only one whose skin clears up after being with a man? There must be a scientific explanation involving hormones and/or bodily secretions that accounts for this dermatological benefit. I'm kind of surprised no pharmaceutical or cosmetics hasn't cashed in yet.)

Anyway, as free-wheeling as I may be about the sex thing, when I sleep with someone I like, someone I believe has potential, I can't help but get attached. You'd think I'd learn by now, but I am a slave to those pheromones. In dealing with the aftermath, there are a couple of things that can be done: go out, have a blast, and meet new people or languish in When's-He-Gonna-Call Land. Or, if you're an ambitious little multi-tasker like myself, you can do both!

Saturday, I had plans to meet some friends at a bar where the drinks are cheap, the bartenders hot, and dancing on the bar is allowed--nay, encouraged! I knew it would be a fun night no matter out.

I started off the evening by shamelessly hitting on my hot friend Keaton. This is after detailing my sexy night with CDave via email, as well as mentioning some of my other floozy adventures. We can't really blame Keaton for rebuffing my advances. The next day, I aplogized if I was inappropriate and promised Keaton I wouldn't hit on him anymore, but I might have been lying.

After Keaton went home, Pretty Polly and I decided we needed to get the show going. The energy was lagging and if we didn't do something soon the night would be a bust. The solution was simple:

"Let's do shots."

At the bar, I spotted an attractive guy. Polly confirmed he was indeed cute and went into wingwoman mode like a pro.

The guy was just standing there, looking off into space, when Polly said,

"You look like you're lost."

Not anymore he wasn't.

The guy came over and I turned my smiley charm up to eleven, though I think he had enough beers at that point where it hardly mattered. Some probably-cheesy dialogue followed which I will spare you. Actually, he didn't say much, he just pulled me to the back area of the bar for a dance.

He was doing these choreographed movements I couldn't really follow along with, but I smiled and laughed and about two minutes into the song we were making out.

We kept dancing and I looked over at Polly and the other girls, who gave me bewildered what-just-happened-there looks and I raised my eyebrows in a damned-if-I-know reply.

The song ended, I returned to the girls, not being able to explain. I didn't even know this guy's name (Polly later found out; he tried to mack on her, too, but she found that understandably gross).

Now that I had my mojo back, it was time to work it. While at the bar waiting to order more shots, a trio of large, older biker-looking guys started chatting with Polly. I was nearby, standing in front of a cutie who looked like a smaller version of Viggo Mortenson. He was there with a male friend and glanced at me a few times, so it was time to break the ice.

"I wonder if I'm going to need to save my friend from those guys. They kind of accosted her."

Banter banter banter, introductions made, and Viggo ends up buying us a round of shots. Polly joins our group and chats with his friend, who is a sweetheart but not exactly the biggest winner in the Good Looks Sweepstakes, if you know what I mean. I hoped this would not prevent Polly from meeting a hottie of her own (alas, it did).

Viggo was in jeans and a leather jacket and I think he had me guess what he did for a living. I guessed he did something arty, like play in a band. Turns out he's a lawyer. More banter at the bar, standing close to each other, leaning in and then we were kissing, right in the middle of the crowd. (So strange, I never hooked up with lawyers before and I've now kissed two in the last few weeks). Polly made me stop kissing him at one point so that we could dance on the bar, which was fine with me.

Viggo, his friend, Polly and I left to find another bar. We ended up at a place that had a quiet lounge area in the back. Viggo and I sat on the couch, chatted, exchanged business cards (I love giving my card out; makes me feel like a grown-up), and made out. When he tried to get me to lie back on the couch, I started feeling a bit dizzy so I had to sit up. I drank lots of water and soda, knowing I was going to need to go home soon.

There was another round of shots, and I felt a vague queasiness coming on. Nothing I couldn't handle, but it was time to call it a night.

Viggo offered to let me stay at his place, but I would have declined regardless of my sobriety state. I enjoyed my time with him, but the chemistry wasn't anywhere near as irresistable as it was with CDave.

I made it home okay and endured a killer hangover yesterday (I normally don't do shots). I also thought a lot about CDave; I thought of his smile, the way he held my hand, our easy time together. I agonized about if and when he'd call.

I did get a call from a guy last night: Viggo. We spoke for nearly an hour and at the end of our conversation, he asked me out. I'm not much of a fan of the phone, so I am sending a universal plea to all the males on the planet:

If you call a girl you have already met in person with the intention of asking her out, please do so within the first fifteen minutes of conversation!

I enjoyed chatting with Viggo, but it might be tough to synch up our schedules to meet this week. Also, he's a cool guy, but I don't click with him the way I do with CDave. I just know I need to keep my options open and not discount potentially nice guys while waiting to hear from one.

I did get an email from CDave today. Short, casual, "just wanted to say hi and I'm alive." Ended with a smiley, but didn't ask me out again. Sounds like he's dipping a toe in the water, maybe to see if I'm freaked out for ending up in bed with him so quickly. Or he doesn't want to be an asshole by brushing me off completely. Or he's interested, but wants to make sure I'm interested, too, so is staying neutral until I give him some positive signs.

As much as I've tried to keep up The Rotation, none of these other men have been able to take my mind off of CDave. I couldn't fall asleep last night because of thinking about him so much.

I fucking hate dating sometimes. I wish I didn't make myself so paranoid over this kind of thing. It feels like ages since I went from the anxious uncertainty of initial contact with a man to the fluid confidence of mutual affection. Yes, I am having a blast going out and having wild nights kissing strangers, dancing on bars, and careening around the city until the sun comes up. However, I would trade it all in for a happy romantic relationship. I would love to get off this merry-go-round and work on developing a real, steady connection with a man.

Of course, it isn't as easy as merely wanting it. Sometimes, you just have to keep spinning...

Sunday, January 29, 2006

when sparks fly

When a woman wants to prevent herself from being too slutty, there are several things she can do, such as:

* Make sure her bedroom is so embarrasingly messy, bringing someone home would be out of the question.

* Leave legs and girly bits unshaved.

* Wear unsexy, grandma-approved underwear.

I did all of the above for my Friday night date with Computer Dave.

We didn't have an extensive correspondence before meeting up, because I had a good feeling from him from the start and wanted us to get to know each other face to face instead of keyboard to keyboard. In person, he looked just as good as his photos: warm, friendly, attractive. He greeted me with a kiss on the cheek and a light hug. I felt a nervous buzz travel through my body when we separated and smiled at each other.


We had it, in a palpable way Hipster Henry and I didn't; I knew it immediately. While we were waiting to be seated in the restaurant I was babbling about something. I paused and saw CDave looking at my lips in that I-wonder-what-it-would-be-like-to-kiss-her kind of way. Excellent. I love that look.

Throughout dinner, I was a little flustered. I dropped my chopsticks and nearly took the tablecloth with me when I stood up to use the bathroom. There were pauses in the conversation while we ate, but they weren't awkward.

CDave had two things which really drew me to him: a great smile and a great voice. He smiled an easy, genuine smile that lit up his face and brightened his blue eyes. He spoke in a soothing, slightly low tone of voice that made me lean in a little to hear him and made me hope he'd keep talking. The guy could read a phone book aloud and make it sound sexy.

I realized mid-way through the meal that, despite my nervousness, I felt relaxed in CDave's company. And not just relaxed, but happy, too (must have been those pheromones firing away). I hoped the date would continue.

He paid for dinner (I think I'm getting better about men paying for meals, though it's still taking some getting used to). Outside, we started walking down a dark, fairly quiet street. I wanted to get a drink with him, but didn't want to be the one to suggest it, so I waited. We walked in silence for a few blocks and I started to worry that he was going to end the date. Luckily, we reached a dark, lounge-like bar a little while later and CDave asked if I wanted to go in (hell yes).

I insisted on getting the first round of drinks. CDave drinks whiskey; there's something about men who drink whiskey that I find sexy and I can't explain why. He navigated us to a secluded corner of the lounge. When he chose to sit next to me instead of across from me, I knew for sure that the attraction was mutual.

We talked about... oh, you don't care what we talked about. Luckily, it didn't turn into that situation where you end up talking so much, you leave no room for the kissing moment. Our body language was great: we sat with our knees pressed together, leaning towards each each other. While in the middle of saying something, CDave took my hand under the table. Ooh... What was I saying? I finished my sentence and we just stared at each other, squeezing hands, smiling. I had that amazing elevator-plummeting feeling in my stomach. I live for that feeling.

He pressed his head against mine and said he didn't want to make out with me in the middle of the bar. I said that was okay (though, as we all know, I have no problem kissing in public). However, there was an atmosphere of such intense anticipation and tension hanging over us, he couldn't resist kissing me a little bit. In some ways, it was even hotter to have quick mini-make-out sessions, before CDave felt self-conscious and had to pull away. It was sweet.

I made sure not to drink too much, and attained a pleasant tipsy state. I was having a terrific time and didn't want the night to end. CDave didn't either, and invited me back to his place. I was tempted, but my contact lenses were killing me and I needed to take them out. I also wanted to sleep in my own bed. But I wanted him in that bed with me.

We took a taxi back to my place. I made him wait in the living room while I rushed around my room, throwing piles of clothes, magazines, and mail into a small suitcase. Then I swapped my granny bloomers for a black thong. Nothing I could do about the shaving at that point, but the hair growth wasn't too bad and besides, I was determined that the underwear would stay on. Nothing would happen beyond kissing, cuddling, and light petting.

I was naked within an hour. CDave was able to get me off despite my buzz, which he gets major points for (it's very challenging for me to come when I've been drinking). We passed out and I slept pretty solidly.

In the morning, I wasn't sure if CDave was going to want to go right home or what. He smiled and asked,

"Am I still allowed to touch you?"

We fooled around some more in a semi-sleepy state, napped, woke up, and fooled around again. While the caffeine rush of my morning coffee is usually my favorite way to start the day, being given successive orgasms by a hot man is so much better. He turned me on so much, he didn't even need to do a lot to get me off. That's how good the chemistry was.

Neither of us said anything about seeing each other again, but when he was leaving, we had a lingering hug that made me think this could be the beginning of something. I don't normally have first dates that last 18 hours.

I have no idea if he'll call, but I'm not stressing over it. I'm fully aware that I might have blown it (if you'll pardon the pun) by rushing the physical side of things. At the same time, if a guy is going to dismiss me because I put out on the first date, then I probably don't want to be with that guy anyway. I went with the flow of things and being intimate with him felt natural. A tiny bit too-much-too-soon, but still natural.

I do hope there's a second date, but I'm not pinning all my hopes on it.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Playing with the Player

Last year, I read a fascinating book about the world of pick-up artists called The Game by Neil Strauss. While I hate the idea of men reading this book as a means of getting techniques on how to pick up chicks (if anything, it's more of a cautionary tale of how playing games can sabotage genuine relationships), I think every woman should read it. The tricks mentioned in the book are clever and based in psychological and sociological behavior. If you're female and think you might be impervious to these routines, you're wrong. If you think the tips were designed to hit on dumb women, you're wrong again: one of the codas of the PUA (pick-up artist) community is that you go for the girl you think is the most beautiful and unattainable.

While reading this book, the only thing that disturbed me more than how scripted these spiels were was the fact that I knew I'd be a sucker for them.

Last night, I met a living, breathing pick-up artist.

And, of course, his name was Dave.

(And no, I did not feel like Molly Ringwald.)

I was at an industry event with a friend, Pretty Polly. These events are mildly fun and are good for honing my networking skills, but the last place I expect to meet a potential hook-up.

I don't remember if Dave was introduced to our group or came over himself, but as soon as I saw his name tag, I knew he'd be trouble (for those playing along, this is now the fourth Dave that has crossed my path in less than a month). Naturally, I was immediately attracted to him. After all, he fit the profile: tall, sandy hair, blue eyes, looked like he had lots of issues. Plus, within minutes of meeting me, he was giving me shit.

I love it when guys try to get a rise out of me. It's pretty easy to get me on the defensive and I love nothing more than to spark up a playful argument or play devil's advocate. There's a thin line between lust and pseudo-hate (for reference, watch some movies starring Kate Hepburn opposite Spencer Tracy or Cary Grant; that's the kind of chemistry no Meg Ryan or Tom Hanks can manufacture on-screen today).

PUA Dave was on my case immediately, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't start it. As soon as I saw his hand-made (as opposed to printed out) name tag, I accused him of crashing the industry event, and grilled him on his credentials for being there. At first he played passive to my aggressive, acting surprised at my boldness and asking Polly,

"Is she always like this?"

"Yes, and that's why we love her. It's endearing. You find it endearing, too."

"No, actually, I find it annoying."

The game was on.

It took me a little while to figure out that Dave was a PUA. I kept grilling him, which was an obvious IOI (indicator of interest) on my part. In fact, initially I was acting more like the PUA than he was, doing the cocky-funny act that is so widely recommended in the pick-up network. Cocky equals confident and confidence can be very sexy.

PUA Dave turned the tables on me in no time. He asked if my hair color was real. I laughed, showed him my roots, and said, "what do you think?" He called me mean. I didn't catch it right away, but what he was doing was "negging" me. This is the term for when a PUA says something negative to cut a girl down and put her on the defensive. He does this playfully, to create a charged (but not hostile) atmosphere. Look at it this way: beautiful girls are used to being hit on in a direct, hey-baby kind of way. They get told how attractive they are all the time as well as being given slew of other compliments (not that we don't love it). Or, they don't get hit on much at all, because guys get intimidated by them. The guy who has guts to approach a woman and challenge her instead of giving her a line about how hot she is is going to get her attention. Think of it as slightly more sophisticated playground hair-pulling.

Yep, PUA Dave had me at, "are you always this obnoxious?"

I decided to fool him by asking how long he thought Pretty Polly and I were friends (we have known each other for less than a couple of months but people have mistaken us for sisters).

He said, "Let me give you the best friends test."

My eyes widened and jaw dropped open. "You're a pick-up artist!"

PUA tried to play it cool and of course denied it.

"I know what the best friends test is," I continued. "It's one of the tricks pick-up artists use."

"What's the best friends test?" asked Polly (she had read the book, but only parts of it).

"PUA Dave asks us if we use the same shampoo. We look at each other and then say we don't know. He says it doesn't matter, because what counts is that we looked at each other before answering, which shows a close bond. The whole thing is part of a routine."

PUA Dave smirked and said he didn't need any routines.

I shook my head, heady on the knowledge that I knew what he was. "All that making fun of me before was part of it, too."

"You mean negging?"

"Ha! You even know the lingo! You are totally part of the pick-up network."

"He is a PUA!" Polly joined in. "Which means he used to be an AFC!"

(That's another acronym they use, which stands for 'average frustrated chump'.)

PUA Dave tried to deny it, but then decided to play along, negging me again by asking if my nails were real. I laughed, enjoying every second of this twisted scenario.

"See, you're having a good a time and liking the vibe that's being created here. And when this event is over, you and I are going to go out for coffee."

I laughed again, and kept laughing. Then I blushed, because I was attracted to him, even before he began his psycho-manipulation game. He knew he had me.

I gave him my business card ("only if you write your cell phone number on it") asking if he was going to add it to the big manila folder of other girls' numbers he collected.

"I'm not like that."

Yeah fucking right.

I mingled some more with my fellow industry professionals, even exclaiming to one about how we had a real pick-up artist in our midst. Even as I was denouncing PUA Dave, my eyes kept following him around the room. He came over a couple of times, touching my arm, my back, establishing a tactile intimacy even as he told me that's what he was doing and I rolled my eyes saying, "I know. I read the book." I asked how old he was and he said 32, which I knew was a lie (he looked older).

While in the middle of talking to the industry guy and Polly, PUA Dave came back around, took my arm, and said, "we're leaving now."

I know what you're thinking. I should have told this creep to fuck off. Instead, I waved good-bye and let him help me into my coat. (This is one area where PUA Dave gets points: he had some excellent gentleman-like tendencies. Boys, when's the last time you helped a lady into her coat?)

Once outside, I was ready for a mini-adventure, but also a little scared, because I didn't know who the hell this guy was and, despite my strong physical attraction, did not feel safe with him. I said we should walk west, which was in the direction of my subway line.

He made me walk at a slow pace (I normally walk fast) and talked in this calm, lulling tone of voice (some PUAs employ mild hypnosis techniques, and I felt like that's what he was doing to me).

At one point, he stopped walking and faced me. He pushed me against the Plexiglas wall of a bus stop and kissed me. Oh man. It was so arousing. He was a very sensual kisser, dominant yet gentle (which could describe his whole persona, actually). I had to keep swearing to myself I wouldn't sleep with him. I was crazy enough to leave the bar with this guy; I'd have to be straightjacket-bound to fuck him.

I was hoping he'd take me to some dimly-lit bar where we could make out some more and I could continue to fight the urge to tear his clothes off. However, a little later, when he pressed me against a light post and passionately kissed me again, I knew this "date" would be over soon. (Oh, that's another goal in the world of PUAs, to separate the girl from her friends and take her on an instant date.)

PUA Dave took me to a cheap, brightly-lit cafe. It was about as romantic as a dentist's office.

I asked him about his family and he talked about his mother's journals and mentioned one of them was from 1963, the year he was born.

I got quiet. I did the math.

"Yeah, I'm 42, not 32."

"You lied."

It was like someone snapped their fingers in front of my face, breaking the spell. I cancelled my order and we walked out of the cafe.

He walked with me to the subway, trying to explain, apologize. I had nothing more to say to him.

PUAs can use all the tricks and techniques they want/need to. In the same way that a good con artist is to be admired for his skill, despicable as his deeds may be, a pick-up artist is a talented individual. But a liar is a liar.

I'll play with a PUA, but I won't play with a liar.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Pussy Strikes Back

I had a shitty morning. Between the pile of work at the office and the two consecutive cyber-blows to my ego and the dredges of a cold I picked up (probably from having too much fun), I was depressed. I was wallowing in some serious No-One-Will-Ever-Love-Me-Again territory.

I left the office at around 1:30 to take a head-clearing walk and get some lunch. I listened to agressive music and tried to turn my inward anger outward. This is how it goes. Reciprocation is one of the trickiest aspects of dating, to say nothing of relationships. I had to steel myself and keep going.

Only today, I wanted fate to be a little kind to me. All morning, I prayed I would not run into Pussy Galore and I continued the prayer while walking. I didn't want any more reminders of how the male sex was Just Not That Into Me. Seeing PG on a day like today would be a low blow. Would fate be that mean?

Cue the terrible Alanis Morrisette song.

I saw PG several minutes later as I was crossing the street to go back into the building where we work. He was walking two feet ahead of me. I could do nothing but smile and think,

Oh, it's going to be one of those days.

Part of me hoped he'd keep walking, remember he needed to get something from the deli or drugstore down the street, but no. He was walking into the building, and I was following. I could have walked around the block or delayed my own entrance to insure we were on different elevators, but I decided to dive right in to the social discomfort that awaited me. In fact, I would welcome it.

When I got in the elevator, I saw a coworker and smiled at her, but not before glancing at Pussy and giving him the briefest little half-smile. Then I babbled incessantly to the coworker in what I hoped was a funny and engaging and not psychotic way. She got off the elevator and then it was just me and PG and Some Woman.

"Are you getting a late lunch?"

I turned around.


Pussy was talking to me.

The following is the conversation that we had in the ensuing eight-to-ten second elevator ride. The spoken conversation is in quotation marks. The unspoken conversation is in bracketed italics.

PG: "You getting a late lunch?"
[Are you pissed off because I never got in touch to reschedule the date?]

ME: "Yeah... well, I usually like to get lunch at around this time. Maybe a little earlier."
[I was... but hey, the phone works both ways and I never got in touch, either. Maybe it's even better than the date never happened because we work together and you're probably a little too young for me anyway.]

PG: "It's rare that I even go out for lunch. I get so busy."
[I thought you'd never want to talk to me after that whole incident.}

ME: "Really? I'm busy, too, but I need to run out at least for a few minutes every day."
[I thought I wouldn't either, but you are so cute and whatever reason our date never happened, I know you didn't mean any harm.]

PG: "Yeah, today I actually had some time."
[Of course I didn't. But are you sure this awkward conversation is better than the awkward silences?]

ME: "I know, it gets so hectic sometimes, I have to force myself to leave my desk."
[I'm sure. This is way better.]

When I got back to my desk, I sent PG a cute little email about how we're both on similar elevator schedules again and he replied and we wrote back and forth about the most banal things, but it didn't even matter. His emails made me smile. I can't help think that we still have a spark, even though we are no longer tarted up and drunk at a corporate Christmas party.

I know he's too young for me (five years my junior) and that if he asked me out again (which he wouldn't), I should say no because he had his chance with me and he blew it and needs to respect me more than that... Oh, but he is so adorable that if he ever did ask me out again (which he won't), apart from requesting a breathalizer test, I'd probably melt into a happy puddle and faux-reluctantly say yes.

Not that I am imagining that this is an even vaguely possible scenario. Oh, no. Never.

So nice, I get rejected twice

The last two emails I received were from boys. One was from a random cute guy I gave my card to while out with friends over the weekend. He wrote:

You passed me your contact info at [name of bar} on Saturday. Although you are not my type, I have to give you props for boldness (the card). I'm happy to make another friend if you like. I take it from the card that you [guesses about my job from company name]? How was the rest of your evening and weekend? My friend certainly seemed to enjoy his birthday party.

Not his type? Either his type must have a penis or he goes for dim, unattractive, banal girls. Ah well, can't please 'em all. As for making another friend, thank you but no thank you. There's a quote from a movie where a woman says, "I have enough friends. All the positions have been filled. I'll let you know if there's an opening." Exactly.

The other email was from Hipster Henry:

It was nice meeting you as well and I enjoyed the conversation. I have to be honest though and say that even though I did have a good time I really didn't feel the chemistry beyond good conversation and you being a nice and interesting person. I'd rather let you know that upfront rather than do the fade, simply because I think you're a nice person.

Isn't that nice?

So this is where I am. I have a date at the end of this week and if that one goes badly, I may need to cool it for a week or two. I'm starting to get drained from these random encounters that go nowhere. It's fun, but it's starting to get a little depressing.

I could handle getting one of the above notes, my skin is pretty thick, but to get two within a twelve-hour time period is... disheartening. It's hard to stay positive and believe it's going to happen for me again, muchless maintain my healthy ego. I should shake it off as a bad day and move on. I should, but I can't. What if I'm one of those women who isn't meant to find love in her 20's and will be alone for another decade or two? Or forever?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

When Henry Met Dolly...

I was nervous about my date with Hipster Henry for three reasons:

1. I felt a bit under the weather and knew my energy would probably lagging.

2. He mentioned his interest in pop culture, fashion, media, and various hipsterish things, which had me concerned that he's looking for someone a little more Williamsburg-ish and trendy.

3. I liked him even before I met him. Yes, I broke one of the cardinal rules of internet dating (or, for that matter, all dating) and got my hopes up. But how could I not when Henry's emails made me laugh out loud and were full of such intelligence and playfulness? I would look forward to each of his rambling messages and, no matter how busy I was, make time to write him a novella of my own. We asked so many questions, went off on so many tangents, and bonded over so much minutiae, I decided it would be impossible (if not fatally cruel) for us to meet and not get along in person.

Yes, the stakes were higher than usual. Cute pictures, successful career, plus fantastic personality must equal eminent disaster, right?

He was already there when I got to the bar. Thank the lord; I hate being the one to wait. He picked a lovely lounge with a subdued, grown-up atmosphere. There were banquets in the back and the two other couples there looked like they were also on dates. Great choice, HH!

HH gave me a hug hello after I apologized for being a little late. He had a good balance of casual-but-put-together going on with an outfit that paired Converse sneakers with a velour jacket. After talking to him for a little while, I realized that HH was what all those hipsters wished they were: effortlessly cool, smart, funny, confident and successful. Yet he was all of these things without the fucking pretention that that so many of "Billyburg" kids seem to acquire (in fact, he doesn't even live in a "cool" neighborhood).

When we first sat down, I did that thing I often do at the beginning of a date when I'm still getting my bearings. I talked a bit too much, cranking up the charm and trying to be ultra-entertaining. Some time into my first glass of wine I relaxed and started acting more like a real person and less like I was auditioning for the role of HH's girlfriend.

The conversation had a natural flow to it and, just like in our emails, we went off on numerous tangents. We shared anecdotes and connected over various areas of pop culture and even poked fun at one of the couples, trying to figure out what their story was (which now makes me wonder if either couple watched us and did the same thing). As for sparkage... I don't know. HH is attractive, but I wasn't overwhelmed by a desire to pounce on him (which is good, because who knows what those two couples would have said then!). At the same time, I was curious and, had the circumstances been right, would have welcomed a let's-see-if-we-have-chemistry kiss.

Despite my pre-date jitters, any fatigue and impending-cold-like symptoms I had earlier that day were held at bay for the duration of the date.

I did feel we were getting along and would have liked to keep going. Unfortunately, HH had to be up early the next day to leave for a business trip, so he asked for the check at around 10:00pm. He apologized and said he wished he could stay out later, and I don't know if he was being polite or if he actually wished he could stay out later (do guys say stuff like that when they don't mean it?). He also paid for dinner and drinks, which is always a surprise, since I'm used to contributing something to the bill, independent woman that I am. But he insisted. Do guys pay on a date even if they're not into a girl? Some do, right?

All of this makes HH even more of a riddle, because he was so well-mannered and friendly and nice that I have no idea what he thought of me. I mean, obviously neither of us was overwhelmed by lust for each other, but the evening felt like a tip-of-the-iceberg date, where it's too soon to tell where things might lead. I enjoyed myself and would happily see him again. The question becomes whether HH is on the same page. Should I email him when he gets back from his trip or wait for him to get in touch with me? I don't want to play these silly games, but I know guys can get scared off if a girl appears too eager. Whereas I'm not eager, I'm just curious.


This is where it comes in handy to have a rotation. Having a date with a different guy in a few days and being in correspondence with several others takes the edge off meeting Hipster Henry. I'd like to hear from him, but it won't be the end of the world if I don't. Sometimes it's enough just to know I have options.

The Dave Report

Remember I mentioned how I meet an inordinate amount of Daves? Here's the list so far (this month alone):

Lawyer Dave - Met him during a bar-hopping adventure over MLK weekend, kissed him in doorways to stay warm against the freezing cold, took him home and talked until the sun came up. Laughed more with him than any man in the past year.

Computer Dave - The one who got off on the right foot by calling me "lovely" in his first email. We have a date later this week, at a fairly fancy restaurant I nearly went to on my last birthday (I never get taken to fancy places on a first date, so this is exciting). So far, from our correspondence, he seems the utmost gentleman and I have a good feeling about him.

Yet-to-be-named-Dave - A new OP guy. Still too soon to see if there will even be a first date.

That's three, three, Daves-as-romantic-prospects in less than a month. What is it about me and that name?? For a while, after too many misfires, I swore off dating all Daves completely. Yes, I realize how silly it is to turn a guy down because of his name (which I did on several occasions) but that's how bad my track record with Daves was. This year, I'm shedding all past grievances and preconceived notions to keep myself open to all possibilities. Good thing, too, because by lifting the ban on Daves, it seems that I've doubled my dating pool.

Later, I'll update on a recent date I had with a man not named Dave (I've been a busy girl...).

Saturday, January 21, 2006

shitting where you eat and awkward elevator rides

A lot of people don't believe in office romances. My longest relationship was with somebody I worked with, so I don't discourage them, as long as you can handle the potential fallout. The company where I met WorkLove was full of attractive guys, and we spent long hours working in an open plan office, where there was a fair amount of interaction. A lot of us would go drinking together, on Friday nights or after a particularly stressful day. We all know what stress plus alcohol plus attractive people's hormones can lead to.

As it was, our receptionist had an affair with one of our company directors, and was propositioned for a threesome with him and the other director. She also made out with at least two other guys in the company. This made me feel less like the company whore when I ended up going through two of the boys I worked with. I had a serious relationship with the second one, but the first one...

It all began as a typical Friday night. We were out drinking, possibly celebrating somebody's new job (this company had a high turnover rate). The group of us ended up at a club, where I started flirting with one of the cute boys I worked with (since I can't remember a thing about him, we'll call him Generic Gary). I never looked at Gary that way, but several cocktails and alcopops made him seem... well, hotter than he ever was to me.

Conversation was minimal, and Gary and I were making out in a dark corner of the club in no time. I said,

"We can't let anybody from work know about this."

Fifteen minutes later, he and I were sucking face on the dance floor, grinding against each other while Christina Aguilera's "Genie in a Bottle" played and my manager stood two feet away, watching.

Gary came home with me because he missed his last train (such a lie), but I told him we wouldn't do anything because I had a friend crashing on the couch in my room (also because I was finishing my period and felt a little icky; also because I didn't want to fuck him). In bed, I made out with him a little, but kept quieting him and moving his roaming hands so that we wouldn't disturb my friend.

"Just let me go down on you," he begged.

What part of My-Friend-Is-Sleeping-In-The-Next-Bed-And-I'm-Not-Going-To-Fuck-You-Anyway did he not understand?

As you might imagine, that one was gossip-laden Monday morning.

After Generic Gary and WorkLove, I had no more brushes with the 'shitting where you eat' dilemma. Until Pussy.

I mentioned Pussy a while ago. In a nutshell, he's a company hottie who I don't interact with but have noticed. We used to be on the same elevator schedule and saw each other all the time, which we acknowledged when we were finally introduced, at a work-related event ages ago.

Oddly enough, we stopped seeing each other around the building after that and didn't talk again until the company Christmas party last month. That night, we drunkenly flirted with each other, and he made my night when he asked if I wanted to get a drink some time. I said "yes" and we even agreed on a tentative day the following week. We exchanged numbers and I called him a few days later. He had forgotten all about asking me out, but was keen to make good on the plans. I said he didn't have to go through with it, but he said something to the extent of 'in vino veritas'. We said we'd figure out logistics on the day, at work.

I was terribly excited about the date, more than I had been about any date in a long time. Pussy was one of the most attractive guys at work and I got this feeling when I saw him that we could have good chemistry. This would be an amazing date, I just knew it. There would be lots of kissing and drinking and secret emails at work in the days following.

Of course, that's not how it played out. The New York City transit strike began on the the very day we were supposed to go out. We had to postpone the date. Then it was Christmas, then New Year's, and he never emailed me to reschedule or to explain or anything (which is how he gets his name). Still, it was okay, because we were on different elevator schedules and I'd never see him, right?


Earlier this week, I had a meeting on the floor where he works. I was in the conference room facing the open door and saw him walk by not one but three times. I have endured several awkward elevator rides. The last one was yesterday and it was the worst. He got on the elevator as I was going out for lunch. I did some shopping and as I was rounding the corner to go to the bank, I saw him again, walking down the block with some girl (probably a coworker). Those eight feet of sidewalk until we passed each other felt like miles.

If I see him around again, I might have to make a wisecrack about how we're both on similar elevator schedules again. I can't stand this awkwardness. And yet, I kind of like it, too, because it adds a fun little tension and drama to the work environment.

Though now I might have to change his name to Pussy Galore.

Friday, January 20, 2006

With Friendsters like these...

Not to sound like Little Miss Popular, but I get a lot of guys contacting me through Friendster. Typically, they are not my type or somehow creep me out. There was the one guy whose friends were all scantily clad girls, whose photo was a torso shot of himself in boxers. I can't remember what he wrote, but I emailed him the following:


I expected not to hear from him again, but a few minutes later he sent me another email:

"I like you."

*throws hands in the air*

I got another note recently from a guy I have serious suspicions is a cardboard cutout. He is a lawyer, his favorite books are "legal thrillers", his favorite show is Law and Order, favorite movie is Top Gun and favorite singer Billy Joel. He's probably a nice guy but a little (read: a lot) too generic for me. But who knows, now that Jessica Simpson is single again, maybe he's got a shot.

A couple of days ago, I got an interesting note from someone on Friendster. He came right out and asked if I wanted to meet for a drink. His profile was a nice reflection of his artsy pursuits, his photos cute, and there was something familiar about him, so I agreed. (It takes some nerve to ask a girl out, so I always give people points for that.)

Yesterday, he sent me an email asking if I wanted to meet that night at a neighborhood bar (we both live in the same area, so I'll call him Local Larry). Normally, I wouldn't agree to a last minute date so late in the evening, but this is the year of saying "yes" more, remember? My gut told me to shuffle some things around and meet him.

I reached the bar first. I hate it when I get there first. I got myself a glass of wine, tried not to feel too awkward, and sat at a table close to the front door. I started getting that dreaded feeling of the About-to-be-Stood-Up. Five past the hour. Ten past the hour. I'd give it 30 minutes, tops.

My phone rang.

It wasn't Local Larry, it was a friend, saving me from the embarrassment of Waiting-For-Someone-Who-Might-Not-Show-Up. She and I chatted with her for a few minutes, until I saw him enter the bar, about 15 minutes late. I hung up and didn't say anything about the time. He did not apologize or offer an explanation. He lives a few minutes away from the bar! What possible excuse could he have had? Plus, I gave him my phone number and, unless you are stuck somewhere without phone reception, if you are going to be more than ten minutes late, you should call.

Bad way to kick things off, Larry.

He got himself a beer, and we started talking. Turns out he went to the same high school and college as a friend of mine. When he mentioned thinking of pursuing the same career that said friend has, I was thrown and said it's like they were living parallel lives. His response?

"Maybe I should meet your friend."

Excuse me if I'm being too sensitive here, but if I'm out with a guy for the first time, I think even joking about being set up with one of my female friends is tacky. I mean, how about being in the moment and at least feigning interest in the person sitting across from you?

Despite not feeling any physical attraction to Local Larry and being put off by those two little things, we kept talking, and the conversation did become more interesting. However, not interesting enough for me to want to get a second drink. Especially after his third faux-pas.

The bar where we met was his local, which is already a bad idea for a first date (do you want to risk running into that person again and do you want the possibility of familiar faces interrupting the mood?). There were two moments where friends of his approached him to say hello. He would turn away, chat for a minute or two, and then turn back to me.

He never introduced me to his friends.

This would be fine if he did it once. Maybe it was someone whose name he couldn't remember, or someone he didn't like much. The second time, as we were leaving, it was a girl with a group of friends. She introduced her friends to Local Larry, and they even glanced at me. A person with any sense of manners would have taken that moment to say,

"This is Dolly."

Instead, I waited until he was done talking to the girl, buttoning my coat very slowly because I had nothing else to do.

We said an awkward good-bye outside and he said we should keep in touch.

He wasn't that bad to talk to, and it would be nice to know more people in my neighborhood, but I'm starting to think I have enough friends. Friends with good manners.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Dancer Tom and I are just going to be friends. Actually, we have been friends for the last couple of months, but our platonic position was cemented last night. The great thing is, it's mutual. When I saw him at the bar, he looked good, but I didn't want to kiss him. It wasn't the goatee (I normally prefer clean-shaven guys, though he was always attractive with scruff) and it wasn't the fact he was getting over a cold (if chemistry is there, even malaria wouldn't stop me from making out). It wasn't even his unstable career or the fact that he's thinking about leaving New York.

There was no spark, simple as that.

It's a relief, because we're both on the same page. No unrequited lust happening on either side, which is the best-case scenario. Better than if we were drawn to each other, because there would be a lot of problems attempting a relationship. I have had so many frustrations dating men who don't know how to manage their finances and I am so tired of hearing guys complain about their money troubles. Last night, it was horrifying to hear Tom talking about waiting to get a check so he could eat. Mind you, this is a choice he has made by selecting a very unstable profession, instead of getting a gig at an office or in retail or something. I could never live like that. In the meantime, he is one of those people who believes money will bring him lots of happiness and is chasing after a big break that may never come. I've been in a position where I was earning a good amount of money but was deeply unhappy, so I couldn't disagree with him more. There's no way that a padded bank account and material possessions are going to bring fulfillment to your soul. Given the choice, I'd rather struggle with money, but retain my current level of happiness. The difference with Tom is he's struggling but still not happy.

Also, as intelligent and thoughtful as he is, there is something emotionally stunted about Tom. He's a couple of years older than me and yet I can't help but feel that he is less mature.

We still had a good time, and good conversation, as ever.

I got a strange omen in the diner later in the evening. I saw a man at a faraway table that looked startlingly like my last boyfriend (who no longer lives in New York). I stared at the guy for a few minutes until I realized it wasn't him, but had to keep looking over to affirm the fact. A couple of months ago, I told my friend that if I was over this ex, but if I ever saw him I'd want to punch him in the face (it was that bad). When I saw this guy last night, thinking he was the ex, I didn't want to punch him. I didn't want to run up and hug him, either, but I felt nothing. Moreover, I felt the rush of freedom that comes with feeling nothing toward a person who caused you pain. I finally cleared the slate.

In the taxi home, where I would expect to feel a twinge of disappointment for not having had a romantic connection, I felt a bizarre exhilaration instead. I was certain that I was one step closer to meeting Him.

I still can't help but think it's on the horizon and that it will be this year.

There's this beatiful song by Muse called "Unintended", where a man sings about being on his way to meet the woman of his dreams:

You could be my unintended
Choice to live my life extended
You should be the one I'll always love

I'll be there as soon as I can
But I'm busy mending broken pieces of the life I had before

It's romantic and dreamy but with a realistic edge. That's how I feel.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

progress report

You know you had a good time when you can't fully remember the good time you had.

Pieces of Sunday night keep returning to me. Apparently, at the second bar we went to, I chastised my friend for not noticing one of the men we were talking to was married. Apparently, I did this by holding up the married guy's left hand, using him as an example as I waved it pointedly and told her she needed to learn to spot the ring. I don't remember doing this, and this was before the shots and drinks at the third bar. Oh boy.

I do remember Lawyer Dave. Last night, I woke up several times throughout the night and kept smelling his cologne on my pillow. It made me wistful and a little lonely. I recall more and more of the night, like how he noticed I had gotten a manicure recently (because he has several sisters) . How he opened doors for me and wouldn't take any money for the taxi. How every time I looked at him I got a rush of pleasure at how attractive he was. How no man has made me laugh like that in a long time. When I looked at him, I felt like I knew him on the inside. I tried to read him and saw lots of white. This was a pure man who was unblemished by the past and would write his own future (he said everything I told him about himself was accurate, though I wonder if my insight made him want me as a psychic friend instead of lover). As much as I would like to be part of his white future, it makes me sad that I probably won't hear from him. I'm not being a pessimist, I just know better than to get my hopes up, especially for a guy who lives in another city who I met while very drunk.

Luckily, I have other boys lined up to fight the He's Not Gonna Call blues. Tomorrow, I have a date with Dancer Tom. At least, I hope it's a date. The first time we went out, we ended up making out (great kisser). The second time, we only had an hour or two to meet and the smooching opportunity never presented itself. The third time, we were out for six hours and had these terrific, in-depth conversations. However, there was still no kiss, even though we were in a very dark corner of a bar at one point. This leads me to believe that we may have crossed over into the dreaded Friend Territory. We'll see. I wouldn't mind being friends with Tom, but to remember how nice the kisses were and have to settle for conversation only would be a teeny bit frustrating. The bar I chose for tomorrow is very kiss-friendly (low lighting, couches, good music), so this will be the make or break date (or "date").

Regardless of Lawyer Dave or Dancer Tom, I have other things on the boil. I'm currently corresponding with two very promising OP guys and I think a date with one of them is eminent.

Keeping three or more men on the go right now is crucial, for several reasons. First of all, I get attached very easily. I fall too hard too fast. Splintering my attention between more than one prospect eases the anxiety of waiting to hear from them, trying to figure out how they feel about me, and all the other fun torture related to dating. Second of all, because I am in the initial stages with all these men, they can disappear at any second (even Tom) and it's less painful if I have other possibilities.

The downside of juggling is that it can get exhausting. The energy and optimism can only stretch so far and burnout is a distinct possibility. Especially if things fall through with every single one of these guys. But they won't. My Spidey Sense is telling me something good is on the horizon...

Monday, January 16, 2006

the boys are back

Where do I even begin?

Before I do last night's recap, I need to talk about my crazy relationship with a popular male name. For privacy's sake, I'll use "Dave".

I have met more Daves than should be statistically possible. My first boyfriend was named Dave, my longest and most serious relationship was with a Dave, and there have been many Daves in between who have caused me grief. At one point, I refused to go out with any more Daves, because I thought no good could come of it.

Obviously I met someone last night named Dave, but let's backtrack to the party.

Actually, I can sum up the party very quickly. It was fun, but there were no prospects and the crowd was very unbalanced with lots of single, competitive women and few single men. The sweetest and most attractive man there was a married acquaintance. I tried to talk to one cute guy who turned out to be unattached, but he couldn't muster up the social skills to say two sentences to me (unless he was stunned by my beauty, though I'd rather not give him the benefit of the doubt).

At around midnight, my single friends and I decided that we needed to leave the party while our energy and optimism was still kicking. One decided to go home, and then there were three.

We took the subway to the lower east side and ended up at one bar that was pretty dead. My friends let me talk for way too long to an Albanian guy with strange teeth, who I eventually realized was impeding the boy hunt.

We talked to a couple of guys at the second bar, but I was more interested in playing Elvis pinball. Not a good sign.

Another friend went home, and then there were two.

Bar three was a place I've been to once before and hated. However, we walked into this place and were talking to cute guys almost instantly. This is where I met Dave.

Dave was very attractive: tall, lean, blue eyes, light brown hair. The shocking thing about him was how much he reminded me of a guy who was my One Night Stand Soul Mate (another story for another time). Dave not only had a similar face, but a similar sense of humor. At the bar, he made me laugh almost continously, which made me want to smooch him. The spooky thing is, he was visiting NYC and even lives in the same city (in the same neighborhood!!!) as ONSSM. Which is also unfortunate, because I knew I couldn't get far with a guy who was leaving town in a day or two.

My friend was doing well for herself, talking to two guys who I briefly met (I think they were Dave's friends). However, before Dave and I got caught up in a group discussion, I suggested sitting down. My strategy was to separate us from the group and enjoy conversation (and maybe kissing) in our own semi-private area.

When I found out Dave worked as a lawyer, it made me happy because I had just written about how I'd break my pattern of going for the starving artists/geeks. There he was being neither. But you don't care about that. You want to know if I got naughty with him. Read on.

After some time of chatting privately, my friend and Dave's friends came over. Dave and I went over to the bar and we expressed disappointment at having our privacy spoiled. I said we'd have to go somewhere else and he agreed.

Dave led me upstairs where there was a dark lounge with loud music and a movie projected on the back wall. Just after we sat down, the lights came on, the music/movie stopped, and the bartenders shouted for everyone to clear out. If they thought that was going to stop me from kissing Dave, they were sorely mistaken.

I told Dave that we still had time, because it would be a while before everyone left. In my tipsy state, I actually made the first move and did the pre-kiss lean-in. At this point, it was safe to assume he was interested, and he went for it. Finally!

The kiss was nice, but we didn't get to make out for long, because the place was closing. Damn New York City bars that close at 4:00am instead of being open 24 hours!

My friend was hungry and went to get food with Dave's friends, while I assured Dave that I knew of an after-hours place we could go to. It was about ten degrees out, so we had to hurry.

We were almost let into a gay bar, but they were closing up and told us the name of a bar across town they were going to, informing us in a snotty way that we'd have to take our own taxi.

Dave was very good-natured about the whole thing and made jokes about how we would get hypothermia before we found a bar. He had no gloves or scarf and was freezing, so I pulled him into a doorway.

"I'll warm you up."

We made out for a little bit and he put his hands inside my coat. When we broke apart, he said he was warmer and I chided him for acting so surprised.

We never did find an after-hours place so I suggested we take a taxi back to my apartment. I was hoping he wouldn't assume this meant I wanted to have sex with him. I mean, I probably would have been open to the idea if I was a little less drunk and not on the rag, but alas.

Turns out, sex was not even an issue. Back at my place, we cuddled up on the couch and talked for hours and hours. He smelled so good it was almost distracting (another thing he had in common with ONSSM; I have a terrible weakness for men who wear really good cologne). The conversation got kind of serious and normally I would have been miffed that he wasn't trying to get my clothes off, but I was tired and mellow and happy just to talk. After the sun came up, I suggested we get some sleep. I changed into pajamas and he didn't even take his jeans off when he got into bed (which makes me wonder if he didn't see me as a sex object at that point, or was being a gentleman... or maybe both?). In bed, we talked some more until I finally passed out. I woke up a few hours later as he was getting ready to leave and he asked for my number. I wrote it down for him, along with my email.

I don't expect to hear from Dave, but it was nice to get kisses from a man who smelled really good and made me laugh for hours. It was also wonderful to fall asleep next to a man. I really miss that.

A little while ago, I checked my email to find that two of the OP guys I wrote to replied to my messages. One wrote me an enthusiastic email filled with questions (I love questions) that began:

What a nice surprise to find an email in my inbox from such a lovely woman.

His name is Dave.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Going for the Gold

Somebody kindly pointed out that it was Friday the 13th when I made a fool of myself in front of Keaton. There is also a full moon this weekend, so strange behavior should be excused. Nevertheless, I solemnly swear this is the last time I actively criticize a guy and pretend to find him deeply flawed, only to send him drunken text messages in the middle of the night telling him how hot I think he is. Lesson learned!

Keaton and I have been in touch and we're going to be friends. I think. I'm an adult with self-restraint, so I can go out with an attractive man without luring him into a dark corner and doing naughty things to him. I think.

Besides, I am following the wise words of Mae West:

"The best way to get over a man is to get under another one."

I may already have a date lined up for next week (I won't go into detail about the guy until it's confirmed, because he tends to be a little flaky).

I have also actively returned to the online personals network and actually writing to men, instead of waiting for them to fall at my feet. The goal is to go on three dates by the end of the month. Unless, of course, lightning strikes me, pigs start to fly, hell freezes over, and I actually meet someone I like in person who I instantly connect with and who likes me back. Oh, what silly ideas I get in my head sometimes. Then again, I am going to a party tonight, so who knows what might happen.

In an effort to evolve and experience new things, I have declared 2006 the year of saying "yes".

I read something very insightful in somebody's profile on the OP's a while ago. He said, many women out there seem to be looking for a reason to say no and to dismiss a man. He wanted a woman to look for reasons to say yes and give a man a chance.

I like that. I will look for more reasons to say yes. I usually like tall men, but I won't dismiss the short ones. I usually go for starving artists/geeks, but I won't dismiss the guys in law, finance, or medicine. I usually like guys at least a few years older than me, but I won't dismiss the ones that are my age or a bit younger. I won't be so quick to judge.

I'm feeling sexy today and I'm glad I'm going to be in a setting later where I'll be meeting new people. I feel confident, switched on, charming, a little naughty. I want to share all that positive energy.

There were a couple of times in the past week where I entered this dark tunnel of despair and loneliness. It was scary, but I genuinely believed that I would never have romance in my life ever again. It felt impossible. I have come through that tunnel, into the light, and am back in an upswing. For me, being optimistic is not a choice, it's a requirement.

It's going to happen soon, I just know it.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Frankenstein's Revenge

[Warning: it is 4:00am as I write this and I am not sober.]

I recently started reading this guy's blog. Let's call him Keaton. Keaton's is funny, intelligent, but a little socially inept and very unlucky in love.

The more I read Keaton's blog, the more I cringed at his the little social mistakes and the more I wanted to help. I jokingly offered to set Keaton up with one of my cool, single female friends (I have several), and then the joke became serious. He agreed to let me work my matchmaking magic.

During the course of trying to find out whether he and one of my friends would be compatible, I started criticizing some of Keaton's strategies with the ladies. I tried to give him pointers on where he was going wrong, and offered advice on everything from what not to talk about on a date (money troubles) to what kind of shoes to buy (black, in the loafer family but not quite). I stressed being chivalrous, told him to keep the sexual innuendo to a minimum, and suggested what to wear (jeans, button-down shirt, suit jacket).

We exchanged dozens of emails during the past few days and I did everything I could to retain my anonymity. For me, this blog represents being able to write freely on any sex/dating/relationship-related topic, and keeping my real self secret from Keaton was crucial. At the same time, it also gave me the freedom to be brutally honest with him and tell him, in great detail, why he was failing with the ladies. I even offered to go on a pretend date with him, to assess his technique (in retrospect, it sounds awful to me, too).

To my utter shock, Keaton listened to my advice, to the point of buying the pair of shoes I suggested. One thing led to another, and we ended up in different bars in the same neighborhood. I was with a small group of people and, after a couple of drinks, sent Keaton a text message asking if he wanted to stop by. He agreed.

I should have seen this coming. I was expecting to meet a guy that was moderately-but-not-very attractive, whose personality would make me run for the hills.

I recognized him right away, because he was wearing the exact outfit I suggested. It hardly mattered, though.

When I saw him, I was stunned and frustrated. Stunned, because he was infinitely more good looking than the pictures he sent me. Frustrated, because I knew (from the very beginning, before we even met) that he wouldn't go for me.

What made it even worse was that the people I was drinking with, who I met that night, couldn't stand him. Which shouldn't be a big deal, but I knew most of my friends would probably be put off by him, too. Even so, I couldn't help but be drawn to his warped sense of humor and be horribly attracted to him. He managed to inadvertently offend or put off every person I was with, and I tried to roll my eyes and pretend to be just as put off as the rest of them, even while laughing at most of his jokes. Instead, I did the thing I do where I act really obnoxious toward a guy to cover up the fact that I like him. It was devastating.

Sucks to be me, right? I tried so hard to mold Keaton into someone that one of my friends might fancy, and I ended up fancying him myself, even though I knew there were a thousand reasons why nothing would ever come of it (starting with the fact that I'm not his type and-- well, there's no point in listing reasons beyond that, is there? Though really, if we ever did get together, we'd drive each other crazy.).

That's what I get for trying to adopt my own Pygmalion.

Serves me right, too.

And now? I can't even make good on my promise to set him up, because I'd be too fucking jealous if he hit it off with one of my friends (he probably wouldn't , but I don't even feel like I can take that chance).

Whose fault is it for creating this drama and putting myself in this awkward situation? Who's the social retard (apart from Keaton)? That's right... me!

Good lord. I better hook up with someone new soon, because I don't know how else to deal with this whole disturbing scenario.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

the motion of the ocean

Any woman who tells you size doesn't matter is lying.

The average erect male penis is five to seven inches long. Call me an over-achiever or call me lucky, but many of my partners have been above average.

This isn't to say that having a big dick automatically makes for a great lover, or that being under-endowed makes for a terrible lover. Obviously technique goes a long way. Sometimes, guys that aren't as genetically blessed make more of an effort to get you off, whereas well-hung guys think that by merely showing up and sticking it in you, multiple orgasms will ensue.

I have to be honest, though. Average guys, cover your ears, because you're not going to like this:

Bigger usually is better.

Within reason. Too big and it's UTI City. Ask any girl how uncomfortable urinary tract infections are. Personally, I'd rather not drink copious amounts of cranberry juice, unless there's some vodka mixed in.

Is it worth irritated girly parts for mild-blowing orgasms? Um...

Also, you may have heard this one before, but girth is much more important than length. It's that feeling of being filled up by a man that's so wonderful.

The truth is, well-endowed men don't have to work as hard. As long as they get a girl turned on and well-lubricated, a big dick is going to hit a lot of nerve endings and the friction and skin-on-skin contact should do the rest. For example...

In college, I once went to a crazy party in an apartment with no furniture and tinfoil on the walls. I started talking to this blonde guy from the west coast with a very biblical name. Let's call him Jehovah. Jehovah was on acid, I was on ecstasy, and before long we were sucking face.

I brought him back to my dorm room as the sun was coming up and we made out in my narrow bed. He was still tripping but managed to get hard. He was of a decent length, but it was his girth that was truly astonishing. Not quite soda can proportions, but I could not get the condom past the head of his shaft, and he had to finish rolling it down. I was a little scared he might hurt me with that thing. When he said the condom was too tight, the complaint was valid: men like Jehovah are the reason magnums were invented.

For some reason (maybe because he was a stranger I picked up while high on drugs?) I started getting second thoughts about fucking Jehovah. I wasn't that into it but decided to follow through.

I am so glad I did. I think I had an instant orgasm as soon as he was in me. He didn't have to do anything fancy, his length and girth were enough to cause such intense pleasure, it makes me tingle just remembering it.

On the flipside, there was the Love of My Life. He had neither length nor girth on his side, but when we finally had sex, it was so emotional and passion-filled, the last thing I cared about was his size. Plus, when he kissed me, I got that rare elevator-dropping feeling that few men since have been able to stir.

I'm not going to lie, I'd love to end up with somebody genetically blessed below the waist. It's important, but only to some degree. However, if he can't give me butterflies in my stomach, all the inches in the world won't matter.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Computer Love

Maybe it's the gray and gloomy weather outside, or my PMS, or the fact that neither Clooney nor any of my other Potentials have been in touch, but for whatever reason, today is a crappy day to be single.

I haven't been through a lonely streak for a while. Actually, I have been in a Good Single Place for the last few months. I'm happy with my career and my social life, and the occasional date and/or hook-up keeps me from utterly shrivelling up and forgetting I'm a woman.

Once in a while, all those good things briefly fall away and I get that little voice in my head. We all know what that voice says:

"Everybody will find somebody except for you. You are going to spend the rest of your life alone."

I know that's not true. A young, pretty, intelligent, and well-mannered girl like myself will pair up sooner or later. Today, all I can think of is that it will be much later. Later than I have the patience for.

I don't mind waiting, I'm used to waiting. I'd rather be alone than with the wrong person and I have plenty to keep me busy. What I would like is a sign that it's going to happen eventually. Some kind of cosmic signal to reassure me that my solo status will not be permanent. I don't need anything big, like a billboard that says, "Cheer up, Dolly! He's on his way!" Just something small: a smile, a kiss, a compliment.

I'm good at being on my own, but right now I want to be around others. I want to go on dates. Since I only meet so many (which is not that many) guys organically, in person, at random social functions, this means one thing: online personals.

*cue music of doom*

Online personals are the best and worst thing that ever happened to the world of dating. They are great, because even the biggest social retard can get him/herself a date. They are horrible, because sometimes the person you end up on a date with is a big social retard.

Having met a ton of people through various correspondences that initiated in cyberspace, I can't discount OP's entirely. Thanks to various websites, I have gotten some great friends, had some great sex, and accrued some great anecdotes. Even so, I don't expect to meet my soul mate online. I know many people do, I just have a gut feeling I won't be one of them.

That doesn't keep me from logging in and staying hopeful. I try to go to as many social functions featuring people I don't know as possible, but on a day like today, where I have nothing in my calendar and an empty stretch of evening ahead of me, I know the lure of OP's will be irresistible.

It feels like treading water, writing notes to these strangers, maybe meeting them, having it go nowhere. Movement without progress. Even so, it gives me a strange hope. Maybe one day, I won't have to do it anymore. Maybe I'll be able to log off forever.

Monday, January 09, 2006

passing strangers

Some day, the man of my dreams is going to post an ad on Craigslist's Missed Connections describing how he saw me on the subway/in the coffee shop/walking down the street and was so struck by my beauty/elegance/smile that he was too shy to say anything to me at the time but is now deeply regretful.

Yeah, and some day I'll sprout wings and be able to fly to work instead of taking the subway.

The great thing about living in New York City is that you are constantly in contact with lots of different people, many of which are attractive and potentially interesting. The awful thing about living in New York City is that you are constantly in contact with these people, but rarely actually make any contact with them.

It happens all the time.

For example, last week, I saw the same cute guy on my subway two days in a row. I had seen him on previous morning commutes, and he seemed to recognize me, too. He's the kind of guy who becomes cuter the more you look at him, and even more attractive once you get to know him (provided he has a great personality, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt). He was reading a Phillip Roth novel, so I deduced he was at least fairly intelligent (hey, it's better than Dan Brown).

The second morning, on my way to the subway, I promised myself that if I saw this guy again, I'd do something to acknowledge the synchronicity, like nod or smile. There he was, already on the platform as the subway pulled up. He sat across from me and immediately pulled out his book, making no eye contact. Sigh. Why must you make life so difficult, Phillip Roth Boy? Instead of making some kind of connection, we played the I'll-Look-At-You-When-I-Know-You're-Not-Looking-At-Me game.

Today I was a running a little late, and just missed my usual train. I wonder if he was on it.

This is one incident of many, and I know I'm not alone in my frustration or Craigslist wouldn't be flooded with so many damn Missed Connections (though it would be nice if people made more of an effort to be a little more specific. Posts like "J, I miss you. Do you miss me too?" are so oblique it's ridiculous).

I don't know what the solution is. Just about every day, I see someone that I would like to talk to, but I am too socially inhibited or too rushed to make any contact. Instead, I walk right past them, or spend the subway ride looking at them out of the corner of my eye, or bide my time in the coffee shop hiding behind my laptop or book. Just like everybody else.

In an alternate world, in a less cautious and hostile city, things would be different. It would be okay to approach a person and say,

"I don't know you at all but there's something about you that made me want to say hello. You might be in a relationship or we might have nothing in common or I might not be you're type, but I'm happy to take the risk. My name is Dolly."

Sadly, this is not the world or city I live in. For now, I'll keep checking Craigslist...

Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Art of Flirting

A friend recently saw me talking to a guy I have a big crush on (we'll call him Impossible, because it's never gonna happen). She said I put out exactly zero signals that I liked him that way. Impossible isn't someone I have felt comfortable enough to flirt with, for several reasons I won't go into, and I don't run into him often enough to consider him more than an acquaintance, so in his case, it isn't a big deal.

The incident did get me thinking. I consider myself fairly competent when it comes to flirting, but sometimes I play it on the aloof side of the spectrum. Or I'll tease a guy or get into arguments with him instead of being touchy-feely, looking up at him through my lashes, and whatever other crap girls do to entice a guy. I suppose it's the adult equivalent of hair-pulling on the playground, except I'm the one that does the pulling. This technique has worked for me, too, especially on males that have an arrogant streak.

However, not all men might respond to the subtlety involved in playful arguing. Men and subtlety is usually a tricky combination; when in doubt, being straightforward is the way to go. Unfortunately, this contradicts the very nature of flirting.

Flirting isn't about being blunt. Flirting is about giving enough hints that the guy gets it. Not all of them do. How many times have you had to point out to a male that a girl was obviously interested in him, only to get a bewildered, "she was?" in reply? Granted, I have misread signals, too. Girls tend to be a lot more analytical and observant about male behavior, though, or we wouldn't have endless conversations along the lines of, "what do you think he meant when he said/did this?"

Last night, I was in a bar in Chelsea with a couple of friends. The atmosphere was friendly and upbeat, and the three of us were happily tipsy. A couple of men came in and I noticed them right away, because:

a) They were older than most of the other patrons (I pegged them in their late 30's/early 40's) and

b) One of them was really attractive (we're going to call him Clooney, because he is a hot older bachelor).

I positioned myself near Clooney and his friend, and ended up standing between them. His friend started asking me questions, and I was polite to him, but I engaged Clooney in conversation at the first possible chance, before he stepped aside to let his friend flirt with me (I know some men have a code about these things).

Clooney and I started talking about music, because he wasn't familiar with one of the songs playing in the bar. I told him who the singer was, and he had heard of her, just not that song. He seemed impressed that I knew so much about the singer, and that was my first cue that he might be attracted to me (because, really, who cares about this singer? We were just using her as a vehicle to flirt).

I asked how old he was (39) then asked,

"So when did you stop listening to music?"

He laughed.

We kept talking and moved over to a nearby small table, which was nice, because we were able to create our own personal space.

Sometimes I get psychic impressions of people, and looking at Clooney, there were certain things I sensed. I don't know why, but for some reason I knew he lived on the Upper East Side, which he confirmed. I asked,

"You don't work in advertising, do you?"

He didn't seem to hear me, so I asked what he did for a living (I hate asking that question, because it's so boring, but I needed to know if my hunch was right).

"I work in advertising... wait a second, did you just ask me if I worked in advertising? How did you know that?"

"I just knew."

"What else do you know? Can you tell me where I'm from?"

"No. It doesn't work like that. I can tell you you're not a native New Yorker."

"Do you mean Manhattan?"

"The five boroughs, yes."

He named a town he grew up in, outside of NYC.

Granted, most of the people in that bar were probably not native New Yorkers, so I wasn't exactly being Kreskin there.

Clooney kept trying to get me to tell him more things about himself, and I said I needed to get things wrong, too, or else it spooked me too much. Then I jokingly said,

"I'll talk to you as long as you're not a Leo."

He looked shocked.

I sighed with great exasperation. "PLEASE tell me you aren't a Leo."

He took out his license and showed me the date of birth.


"You guys have been plaguing me for the last year."

[To offer a few examples... The guy who courted me for a couple of weeks like I was Queen of the World, then dumped me for an ex? Leo. The pretentious artgeek that I have great sex with but could never date? Leo. Pussy, the cute guy from work? Leo! I think even Jon, the recent bad lay, was a Leo. Not to mention various other Leos I had brief encounters last year that I have probably blocked out of my mind.]

He asked me to tell him about his sign and I went into the usual: charming, arrogant, likes everyone to bask in their glow, etc.

"That doesn't sound very positive."

I put my hand on his arm. "Ah, but don't forget the charming part. You know how to draw people to you."

Clooney seemed to like that.

We talked a bit more, and in my tipsy state it was easy to be flirtatious and touchy-feely, though he kept his hands to himself (which was gentlemanly but confused me as to whether the interest was mutual).

Clooney and his friend needed to meet some friends for drinks and said good-bye. I started to get disappointed that he didn't ask for my number, but then, just before he left, he said,

"Would it be okay for me to give you my card? Or I don't know if you have a card..."

"I have a card." I went to find one.

"See, chivalry is not dead," he said, in reference to getting in touch with me rather than vice versa.

When he said that, I knew he was unlike the man-boys that I've had dealings with in this city. This was a man that knew how to make a move on a woman while being a gentleman. Go Clooney!

I really hope he gets in touch. I would love to go on a date with him.

Those damn charming Leos...