Friday, March 31, 2006

Avert Your Gaze

Two minutes is not a very long time.


The timer on my electric toothbrush is two minutes. I don't know why, but those usually feel like the longest two minutes of my life. I'm sure it has a lot to do with being aware of the time going by (and let's face it, brushing your teeth is necessary but hardly the most thrilling of activities). I never realized 120 seconds could go by so slowly.

Until last night.

I was invited to an eye gazing party. Just when I thought I had experienced the gamut of wacky ways to meet people, from online personals to speed dating to the lock and key party, along came yet another thing to try, perhaps wackiest of them all.

The premise behind the gazing party is something many of us urban daters can relate to. Having the same conversation over and over again when you meet new people can get monotonous (What do you do? How long have you been in New York? If you were an argyle sock, what three colors would you be? Okay, so maybe not necessarily that last one.). To my understanding, this event was started in an attempt to foster an environment wherein two people could have a real, meaningful connection.

This is how it works: Like speed dating, everyone gets a number, the women stay in one place, and the men circulate. Unlike speed dating, you don't get a checklist to mark down who you are and aren't interested in. You also don't get to talk. For two minutes, while various global music plays, all you do is look into the other person's eyes.

Last night, Willow, Polly and I went to a downtown bar to see what this gazing thing was all about. As we approached the venue, we all got intimidated. We glanced at people walking past us on the street.

"What if we have to stare at someone like that guy for two minutes?"

Our dread mounted. We would need plenty of alcohol to soothe our pre-staring jitters. Luckily, we had half an hour to get liquored up before the event began. We downed two cocktails in quick succession and I brought a glass of wine to get me through the actual gazing.

Oh, did I mention that there was a television crew filming the event for Telemundo? Si si, there was.

I had a buzz going that was supposed to make me more socially amenable, but instead made me a smartass.

"Do you want to mingle?" Polly asked.

"No." I replied.

Willow and Polly looked concerned.

"Um, I mean... yes! We should mingle. It's the thing we should be doing."

We went over by the bar, where the three of us proceeded to talk to nobody but each other for fifteen minutes. Then we returned to the couch 'n' ottoman area.

"That was some good mingling, ladies!" I said.

We made ourselves comfortable at our "stations". Luckily, Polly and I were on the same couch. Unluckily, this could also have some drawbacks.

"I think I'm going to end up laughing. I can't help it," Polly said.

"You can't laugh! If you start, that'll get me going, and we'll end up ruining the gazing for everyone." I took a big sip of wine.

My first gazee came over and sat down. Actor Alan and I started discussing Buddhism and meditation, which was a nice change from the typical what's-your-name-and-what-do-you-do intro. I asked how he heard about the party and he said a friend of his recommended it, that it was the friend's second eye gazing party and he enjoyed it. It was reassuring to have endorsement like that.

After a brief intro and some guidelines ("It's not a staring contest", "It's easier to pick one eye and gaze into it than go back and forth between eyes", "No touching"), the gazing began!

I thought I'd be a little more comfortable maintaining sustained eye contact with Actor Alan since we had a pleasant little intro chat. Boy, was I mistaken.

Looking for someone that long is INTENSE. I mean, the only time I look at a guy that close to me for that long is before we're about to make out. And even when I really like someone, that kind of uninterrupted eye contact can be overwhelming. But with a total stranger? Good lord, "uncomfortable" doesn't begin to describe it.

It wasn't unpleasant with Actor Alan and a few of the other men, but some had a way of looking at me that made me want to run out of the room. One guy slightly squinted at me as if trying to see way down deep into my soul and another guy actually sneaked a peak at my rack (Come on now! How on earth did he think he could get away with that?). Another guy winked at me; oh brother. If I was less of a lady, I would have rolled my eyes.

There was a break mid-way through, and a guy came over a few minutes early. Let's call him Musician Matt. I asked Musician Matt how he found out about the party and he said he went to the last one.

"Oh, you're friends with Actor Alan!"

That gave us something to talk about, though the chat was still rather stilted. Nevertheless, I tried to make small talk. It wasn't until the music stopped and guys around us stood up that I realized we accidentally chatted throughout the entire gazing session. Oops.

"You're not supposed to talk! It was so distracting!" Polly chastised me, then the two of us collapsed in laughter.

We laughed so hard, we couldn't stop for the next couple of gazing sessions. As promised, if one of us started cracking up, so did the other. I kept mouthing "sorry" to the dudes I was supposed to be staring at.

Then my contact lenses began to bother me. All this looking at people took a lot out of my Acuvues! I apologized to the last few guys for being so blinky.

After the last round, we got more drinks and did some proper mingling. It was draining and a novel experience, though I'm not sure if I could do it again. I found myself thinking about other things in order to close myself off to peoples' intense stares, or counted down the seconds to feel less... invaded.

I was glad to participate in this unique event and would recommend it to others, if only for the personal challenge and entertainment value. However, it was also nice to ride the subway home and not have to look at anyone.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Money Changes Everything

I hate money. Rather, I sometimes get squeamish talking about it. I think it's a very private thing and am surprised when people discuss it so openly. Despite all that, a recent comment about prenuptual agreements as neccessary evils got me thinking about the role money plays in relationships, so I'll try to move beyond my comfort zone.

Part of the reason I don't like money talk is because I view it in a similar light to personal hygene: it's the individual's responsibility to be reasonably clean and presentable to society and it's also up to the individual to sort out their finances. Yet somehow I have been in relationships where someone else's money problems became my own.

The first time was in college. I was 19, he was 32. We'll call him Moz, because he could give Morrissey a run for his money with his moping skills. Moz worked a part-time retail job and couldn't afford to move into his own place, so he lived with his ex-girlfriend-- I cringe just to see how bad this looks all written out (at the time, yes, I did believe they were fully broken up). Since his ex was a "psycho bitch" (his words, not mine), our dates had to be surreptitious, which made it all the more romantic. Man, was I one dumb 19-year-old.

Moz frequently whined about his cash flow dilemma. I wanted to help. I clipped job ads for him; he would find excuses not to follow up and the one time he actually set up an interview he blew it off. I tried to be patient, but it baffled me that I was able to manage my small allowance better than he was able to handle his part-time salary (bearing in mind he was living virtually rent-free). Whenever we went out, we always paid our own way, but once he even asked me to buy him dinner, because he had no money on him. I did so, but it felt a little odd for me, a jobless college student, to be paying for her employed, considerably older boyfriend. Obviously, Moz and I had other problems besides his irresponsibility with money, but it ended up being the factor that made me stop seeing him. This wasn't a man who wasn't able make his life line up right, it was a man who was too lazy to do so. Last I heard, he's still in retail and still chasing after much younger women.

Then there was Poet Paul. For the most part, we had a very healthy and copacetic relationship; he is one of two men who I have lived with.

Poet Paul warned me early on that his biggest flaw was money troubles. Not only $15,000 worth of debt (which isn't a big deal, because I had more than twice that after college), but his attitude toward money. If he had it, he spent it. Payday would come around and he'd splurge on gadgets, books, CD's, round after round of drinks for friends. Then a period of modest living would follow, until the next check. He was generous to the point where I became suspicious that some friends were taking advantage.

Due to some complicated circumstances, I had to move out and we continued our relationship as a long distance one (Poet Paul was not based in NYC). He would follow me to New York within a year, he promised, just as soon as he paid off his debt and saved up some money. Six months into the year, I asked if he was any closer to minimizing his debt. No, he wasn't. Was there any chance, realistically, that he'd make any headway by the end of the year? No, there wasn't. Which means he wouldn't be able to move to New York for a long while. In fact, I found out my mother secretly gave him a thousand dollars so that he could visit me. I ended the relationship, seeing that it was going nowhere. I couldn't believe the ultimate reason it failed was because of money. Speaking of which, despite his heartfelt promises, he never paid my mother back.

Then there's my last boyfriend, Business Owner Brian. When I found out BOB was his own boss, I thought I might have finally found someone who was careful with his money. After all, with an inconsistent income, he had to budget himself carefully, right? Well...

He and I moved in together (by my admission way too soon) and he quickly noticed that he made a calculation error in the money he projected to make. He was off by a couple of thousand dollars. I had just started a new job, where I was making a salary that provided for my basic needs and was considerably more money than my previous job (so it felt like more than it was). I certainly didn't have enough to support both of us for a month or two, though. However, I felt guilty being able to afford to go out to movies, bars, concerts, and restaurants, while he had to scrimp. I felt bad and wanted him to be able to have as much fun as I did. Once again, I also felt strange that this guy, who was a decade older than me and knew the intricacies of running a small business, needed me to give him cash. I gave BOB a few hundred dollars out of my savings for day-to-day expenses and demanded he not bring it up again and only pay me back if he wanted to, whenever. We broke up a month later. Once again, there were reasons beyond money, but financials ended up being the factor that pushed the relationship into final destruction. He never paid me back, either, but I don't really care about that.

In case I sound even vaguely self-righteous, let me state right now that I can be pretty careless with money. Even though my student loans are nearly paid off, my credit card debt is getting a little out of control and I use plastic to enjoy a much better life than my media salary would normally afford. I don't balance my checkbook. I have a 401k, but couldn't for the life of me tell you how much money is in there. This morning I checked my wallet to see how much cash I had because I had no idea if I might be down to my last twenty. When I go out with friends, the only thing I keep track of, spending-wise, is making sure I have enough money for a taxi home.

Despite all my own financial flaws, I have never made it a problem for anyone I was in a relationship with (and hopefully never will). I was unemployed for months while I lived with Poet Paul and always paid my way, never needing to borrow money from him.

What puzzles me, even more than the fact that men who earn more money than I do can suck so much at managing it, is how much it weighs on a relationship. It's one thing for two people to stop loving each other or betray each other somehow, but for a relationship to end because of money is ludicrous, yet it's happened to me several times now.

Despite getting burned time and time again, I still hate the idea of dating a rich guy (yet another unpopular opinion I hold). Lack of money can bring misery but having so much that you become way too smug and comfortable can bring even more misery. I think, ultimately, the idea of having a lot of money scares me, so I feel more comfortable with men who don't have much. Even so, is it too much to ask to organize your funds just a little bit better? I guess for some, it is...

Monday, March 27, 2006

Beyond the Pale

One of my closest friends, Fuchsia, is getting married later this year. Yesterday, I went with her to look at wedding dresses. There were five of us in total: the bride to be, two singletons included me, one woman who is in a serious relationship (but was sweet to say that she is used to being the only single person in a group and is surprised that she has someone), and another who overcame a broken engagement, but had gone as far as buying the dress (she was so astute and asked all the right questions; I told her she'd make an amazing wedding planner).

Fuchsia is the closest thing I have to a sister. While some women would feel a twinge of sadness or jealousy at her impending nuptials, I am nothing less than thrilled for her. I know how many years she has waited for the right man, how she never thought she'd find anyone, and how much she deserves this.

She looked beautiful in every single dress she tried on. There was one gown that was particularly stunning, and when they pinned a long veil to her hair and I saw the complete picture in the full-length mirror it brought tears to my eyes. I know these giant life changes are happening all around us and these rites of passage occur every day, but when it happens to somebody close to you, it's kind of staggering.

Needless to say, it got me thinking about my own ideas about marriage and, specifically, The Big Day. Yesterday's outing, much as I enjoyed it, made me realize something once and for all:

I don't want a traditional white (or off-white, ivory, beige or champagne-colored) wedding.

I suppose this is just the latest in a growing list of unpopular opinions. Maybe the same girl-gene I'm missing that's supposed to instill a passion for chocolate (I can take or leave it) and shopping for shoes (hate it!) also controls Modern-Bride-reading, dream-wedding-planning impulses. While looking through catalogs and racks of wedding gowns, I did not see a single one I'd want to wear (I wouldn't go for anything light-colored, anyway). There were a number of breathtaking dresses, but after a while they all blurred together. Also, unless you luck out at a sample sale, a decent gown with all the trimmings goes for a couple of thousand dollars (to start). That's money that could be put toward a kick-ass honeymoon, if you ask me. Having said that, seeing how lovely Fuchsia looked in the pricier gowns made me want to fork over a credit card, say "pick any one you want" and insist she get the $650 hand-embroidered Italian floor-length veil as well.

I love seeing this happen for her. However, I know I don't want it to happen in the same way for me. In fact, this may sound strange, but I don't want anybody I know at my wedding besides my husband-to-be.

Society promotes the concept of sharing your union with your family and friends, but when I picture pledging my undying love in front of a crowd, my immediate reaction is to cringe and imagine how invasive it would feel. I mean, I already know I'm going to cry like a little girl at Fuchsia's wedding, so I can only speculate at what kind of waterworks are going to be going on when it's my turn. It's such an intimate act and I can't bear the thought turning the ceremony into even a minor spectacle--unless, of course, there's an Elvis impersonator involved. I don't mind having a big look-at-us-we're-married-isn't-that-wild party later, but the the event itself... should be private. I'd much rather get hitched in the Tibetan mountains or within Peru's Nazca lines or along the Irish coastline... somewhere either remote and tranquil or somewhere teeming and chaotic, like Tokyo, Hong Kong... or, of course, Vegas.

Now that's my idea of a dream wedding: the groom, myself, and The King. I'll take that over a Vera Wang fairy tale any day.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Say Yes

A recurring theme in my life and this blog has been the concept of "Yes". Looking for reasons to say "Yes", saying "Yes" more, and generally creating a circuit a positive energy using this powerful word.

While it could be argued that in recent times I may have said "Yes" a little too much, I've also found that being ready to say "Yes" means being truly in the moment.

You know how sometimes you'll make a decision and then you receive some kind of cosmic signifier to reaffirm it? That's how it has been with Yes. There's a book called The Year of Yes, about a woman who says this magical word for a year to every man who asks her out. That one's on my reading list, but doesn't interest me as much as Danny Wallace's Yes Man. One day Wallace, an Englishman in his mid-20's, met a man on a bus who told him, "Say 'Yes' more." He took that advice and it revolutionized his life.

I ended up with a copy of Yes Man in a rather random and seemingly coincidental way (I'm unable to go into the details here). It was as if something placed the book in my path. I finished it a few days ago and would recommend it to anyone. Apart from being an entertaining read, it is sure to make you want to create and seize your own Yes moments.

As if that wasn't inspiring enough, just now I was watching DVD commentary for a film and came across the following:

Saying "Yes" to the instant (realizing one's wakefulness to the present moment) will give way to a chain of yeses, a system of "contagious affirmation." To say "Yes" to one instant is to say "Yes" to all of existence.

I felt compelled to pause the movie then and there, and write this post immediately.

I have a number of theories on what happiness is, but I think Yes moments have a lot to do with it. When I was eighteen years old, I traveled thousands of miles on what would become a life-altering journey. It was during this trip that I promised myself never to be in a situation where I am left wondering "what if".

Eradicating potential question marks from my life has led to some very foolish behavior, but I have never regretted pursuing my curiosity and never will. Depression is defined as "anger turned inward" but I think it also should include "marked lack of curiosity". When I was sick over the last couple of weeks and felt down emotionally, not only did I lack energy, but I lacked passion; I lacked a sense of wonder.

Right now, I feel positively electrified and filled with curiosity... Yet at the same time, I am satiated. I have faith in the notion that life gives you exactly what you are supposed to have when you are supposed to have it, and I am saying "Yes" to all of it: to my family and friends and past lovers and current solitude and every single other thing which has led to this very second.

To borrow another phrase from Yes Man:

Si a Todo.

[Translation: Yes to Everything]

Friday, March 24, 2006

twist of fate?

Something miraculous has happened.

Or, maybe...

Something spooky and devious has happened.

I checked my email this morning and saw that I had a new online personals message. I momentarily stopped breathing when I saw who it was from:


He wrote,

According to TV Tyler, I'm too "metrosexual" for you.

I replied,

Wow, I didn't realize TV Tyler was now my matchmaker. Does that mean we can't meet for coffee? I mean, it would be nice to know someone else in the neighborhood. I also think we'd have a lot to talk about...

Okay, something is going on here. Either the universe is listening to me and being frighteningly generous or... they found my blog.

Up until last night, Film Felix hadn't looked at my profile in over a week. TV Tyler and I haven't corresponded in a week or seen each other in nearly three weeks. I suppose it's possible that he gave Film Felix the green light-- or even encouraged him to write, just to see how I'd react.

How am I reacting?

I'm freaking out a little.

I mean, I just wrote about Film Felix a couple of days ago wherein I said how impossible it would be to ever meet him. After expressing my utter curiosity about the guy, is it the most stunning coincidence in the world that he wrote to me last night? Or are there other forces at work here? Sneaky, blog-reading, let's-mess-with-Dolly forces?

In what would have been a moment of sheer insanity, I almost sent TV Tyler a did-you-find-the-blog email. Then I took my straight-jacket off and realized that would be the King of All Bad Ideas. Instead, I'm going to do this:

If TV Tyler or Film Felix is reading this, please email and tell me you found the blog. Please don't keep it to yourself for the macabre novelty of seeing what I might write about you. Fucking with my head may provide some entertainment, but isn't it a little too TV teen drama? Besides, TV Tyler, you and I have had some outstanding dates (at least they were in my blog--er, book) so wouldn't it be better not to taint the memory of them? I know that sounds corny, but seriously. And Film Felix, what if you and I meet and really hit it off? Wouldn't it be better to get this pesky blog business out of the way and start clean?

Okay, I hope I don't sound like I'm losing my marbles.

This is so strange. I feel really in synch with the world around me, really tapped in and awake... but also unsteady. What if Film Felix wrote that message when he was drunk, as a joke? What if he has no curiosity about meeting me whatsoever? What if he writes back and says mean things? What if he doesn't write back at all?

And if he does agree to coffee (which I think we may need to modify to drinks, because going into this stone cold sober might be tough), what about TV Tyler? I mean, he's going to know I'm meeting his roommate, so there would be no need for a heads up. Even so, I want to be decent about this whole thing. Should I let our lapsed communication speak for itself and not risk stirring up awkwardness or is a word or two in order? If so, what the hell do I even say?

This is all so... Unprecedented. I have no idea what will happen next, if anything at all.

Thank you!

I just wanted to say a quick thank you to everyone who made it out to the blogger party last night. It was such a success that we're going to try to do it as a monthly event. Hope to see you at the next one!

[Oh, and sorry not to write more about last night, but I am deeply preoccupied with something. All will be made clear in the next post.]

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Something is beginning in order to end: adventure does not let itself be drawn out; it only makes sense when dead... Each instant appears only as part of a sequence. I cling to each instant with all my heart: I know that it is unique, irreplaceable--and yet I would not raise a finger to stop it from being annihilated. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

Every period of prolonged action should be followed by a period of reflection. Lord knows I've had quite a bit of action these last few months, and being ill the last week-and-a-half has allowed for quite a spell of navel-gazing.

People are good at taking lots of things for granted, especially a healthy body. When the congestion and achiness came on and my energy plummeted, when I nearly lost my voice over the weekend and spent the better part of ten days barely being able to get out of bed, my depression increased, and I didn't realize how much of it was physical. Unhealthy body, unhealthy mind.

Anyway, now that my voice and general feeling of well-being is returning, I can solidify some thoughts that have been percolating in my feverish head.

I've been playing it pretty fast and loose with men. I have followed impulses, reveled in a chemistry-filled connection, and basked in the afterglow. I had unbelievable amounts of fun and lived in the moment. I wanted to keep my options open and continue meeting/seeing various men.

That attitude worked for a while, but I have moved on.

I am now accepting boyfriend applications.

I was thinking about how I haven't exactly inspired relationship desires in men by sleeping with them so soon. At the same time, I've also had relationships come out of previous promiscuous phases. Besides, Polly is in the same boat as I am and she doesn't sleep with guys as quickly as I do, yet she is also single. And when I have gone through periods of my life when I have been more chaste (no, really), the result was often the same: no relationship.

The conclusion I have reached is that we are single because it's our time to be single. We have a lot to offer any man who comes along with serious intentions, but those men have not revealed themselves to us as of yet.

I do believe there are good men out there. I think TV Tyler is a good man. I also think the fact that we see each other once every week or two, primarily for sex, indicates low boyfriend potential at this point. Quite frankly, whatever it is I have with him is not enough for me, but the way our interactions have evolved hardly merit a state of the nation discussion. I haven't answered his last email. I'm guessing I won't hear anything further from him.

There's also the matter of TV Tyler's roommate, Film Felix.

I have never met Film Felix. He and TV Tyler have been friends for a number of years. From what he's told me, it sounds like Film Felix is TV Tyler's Pretty Polly.

On our third date, TV Tyler and I started talking about our online profiles, and I mentioned that I changed my screen name. He said that his roommate actually pointed that fact out to him. I asked how his roommate would know my screen name and it's because I checked out Film Felix's profile (the way the site works, you can see the profile of anyone who has viewed yours). I became embarrassed, even though I shouldn't have been--it's not like TV Tyler and I were exclusive. I asked what Film Felix's profile name was and he told me: Falant [obviously not the real profile name]. I froze, because I remembered it well, better than any other profile; I could see the photos vividly in my mind and could practically quote some of his questionnaire responses. TV Tyler joked about how Film Felix should have asked me out and brought me back to his place, where TV Tyler could be sitting in the living room to casually greet us. I must have turned bright red at that point and TV Tyler cracked that he wasn't into threesomes.

He was a better sport about it than I would have been. If my roommate told me TV Tyler had looked at her profile, I'd be miffed, even if it was irrational of me (I'm sure that wouldn't be the first time in history a woman was irrational).

But wait! The plot thickens. Or rather, it kinda semi-coagulates. A little.

I was on the subway a few weeks ago, reading a novel in which one of the main characters shares my name. I reached a dramatic scene in which another of the main characters is introduced and I swear a jolt of electricity went through me when I read the name: Falant. The only time I ever came across the name before was via Film Felix's profile. Of course my brain, in its eagerness to make super-connections, thought it must be fate that I was reading this book which contained his unusual pseudonym and my real name. I was destined to meet Film Felix, I absolutely had to. It was a sign, right?

Um, probably not. I'm clearly taking my frustrations with TV Tyler and turning his roommate into my ideal because I haven't actually met or had any contact with him. Therefore, Film Felix can still be perfect in my mind.

Meanwhile, I realize there is no way I could pull off a roommate switcheroo. Even though TV Tyler clearly doesn't want me to be his girlfriend, I think his friendship with Film Felix runs too deep and it would be beyond awkward for me to start anything. It doesn't stop me from being curious, but I know this curiosity isn't coming from a healthy place.

Pretty Polly and I were discussing the concept of tabula rasa shortly before she named her new blog. The idea of clearing the slate and starting clean is quite appealing. It means rethinking some of my attitudes and behaviors. It means shaking off the last of these blues and approaching the world with a new sense of possibility. It means being patient and steadfast (and, yes, less slutty).

Every moment that came before this one is dead. Here's to adventure of a different kind.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

MySpace: Come for the Vanity, Stay for Illiteracy!

I swear, there must have been a prison break at the Correctional Facility for the Grammatically Challenged because I have received all of the following messages on MySpace in the last 24 hours:

hello sexy
how r u? ur pics r such a turn on id love to pleasure u orally with nothing in return write back

Dear Guy Who Doesn't Like Commas--or Most Punctuation for that Matter,

Oral pleasure for nothing in return? From some faceless stranger on the internet? My goodness, that sure is a generous offer. It's like I won the cyber-lottery. And, If your friends page is any indication, I'm sure I'd be in quality company, with "ShAnNoN" and "Luscious Latina"... yet I'm going to have to give it a miss. You know what they say, there's no such thing as a free oral pleasuring.

u r

I am Gxxxx, 31, male, NYC.
summer over winter
beach over pool
boxerbriefs or boxers or briefs....
your turn....

Dear Gxxxxx,
Autumn over spring.
Pool over beach.
Not telling you the contents of my underwear drawer or... not telling you the contents of my underwear drawer.
Proper use of ellipses over...

hello baby i ll like 2 know u more pls tell me more abt u u can mail me i weant 2 bee ur friend am from us my name is mxxxxx

Hello Mxxxxx,
I'm touched that you want to "bee" my friend, really I am. If you didn't obviously take your writing style from the Prince School of Naming Songs, maybe we would even have a chance. Alas, I would not die 4 u and many things do, in fact, compare 2 u. I hope that doesn't hurt your feelings. Maybe I'm just like my father, too bold. Maybe I'm just like my mother...

No Subject
wow ma im checkin out pages and i had to stop on urs and let u know that i think ur gorgeous i really like wat i see ma so when ever u can make sure u stay in touch dont be a stranger ok cutie .... take care luv


Dear "99-year-old" from Kearny, NJ with the Scarface Wallpaper,

Wow. I'm checkin' out my MySpace messages and I had to stop on yours and let you know I think you have found new and astonishing ways to butcher the English language. And your photos! That one picture that zooms in on your bicep with the heading "U CaNt HaNdLe"...? I think that shows remarkable insight. It's true, I CaNt HaNdLe. I wOuLdNt EvEn TrY.

hi bebe
Are you a model. Wow your'e very adorable and you so look young and pretty . I can't believe a sexy thing like you would be on here .You shold be out there driving all the guys wild with your sexy smile and your beauty.Well I am Rxxxx and i live in Xxxxx Xxxxxx NY . I have a pic so if you to see you may want reply back and il send to you or my aol screen name is dxxxxx im me there and ill show u my pic or email me and i will send to you . Maybe who knows you might like talkin to me and we can get to know more about each other until then sweetness a kiss on your cheeks and a red rose for you @~~<~<~ but not as red as your lipz

Dear Rxxxx,

My name is not Bebe; are you sure you're not confusing me with Ms. Neuwurth?

Actually, I'm not a model, but gosh, how terribly flattering for you to confuse me with one! That must mean that you think I'm, like, really very adorable and young and pretty or something! You are such a charmer! And your blatant disregard for proper placement of the period is so sexy I can't stand it. You should be out there driving all the girls wild with your selective capitalization of the possessive "I". Maybe who knows you might like to learn to write a coherent sentence some day. It would be our secret. My "lipz" are sealed.

[ETA: None of the above responses were actually sent. Mocking the messages on my blog is one thing...]

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Ghost of Hook-Ups Past

Last autumn I met a guy while out with some friends. No, not in a bar, thankyouverymuch. This was in a club. Yes, it was one of my patented meet-and-make-out-within-ten-minutes encounters. We stayed at the club until past 4:00am with his friends, dancing, chatting, having an all-around great time. He asked if I wanted to get breakfast, so we had an insta-date at a nearby diner, not leaving until the sun came up. He tried to get me to go home with him, but I refused (yes, it is possible for me to refuse sex with a hot guy; also, I didn't want to do the walk of shame in fishnets, high heels, and a mini-dress). He said he'd call me. He did, asking me out for that night.

Despite being tired and hung over, we went out again (no alcohol this time) and had a lovely date in the west village. After making out in a doorway on Cornelia Street for ages, I decided, yes, I would go home with him. This is even after being mildly disturbed that he looked like a young, attractive Tony Danza with much better hair (I never had any lustful feelings while watching Who's the Boss, but I'll never look at reruns the same). Anyway, even though I made my usual mistake of hopping into bed too fast, Tony Danza-ish did call me again. We played phone tag for a few days and when we finally spoke, the dynamic was different. He was tired, the conversation was awkward. The initial spark that we had seemed to be lost. He didn't ask me questions about my life and gave me brief answers when I asked him about his.

I don't know what happened, but I decided to cut my losses. He continued to call and email. Not frequently, but once in a while. It would have been just the right amount if it was someone I was still interested in, but we all know Murphy's Law of Dating: the ones you aren't into are the ones who call.

The last I heard from him was in December, when he gave me his new number. I saw him at a concert a few weeks later, but did my best to avoid him and doubt that he spotted me.

Last week, while I was out with Polly, Elle, and Snob, I ran into Tony Danza-ish. It was after a few drinks, and I don't know what possessed me to do it, but I called out his name and said hello (wait, I think what might have possessed me starts with an "al" and ends with "cohol"). He was naturally surprised, but friendly toward me--much friendlier than I deserved.

"So, I, uh, tried to call you a few times." He laughed an ironic laugh.

"I know. I'm sorry."

The conversation was brief, strained, and I was happy to return to the girls.

He emailed me a few days later, gave me his new number, and ended with you looked great the other night, by the way.

I decided to be completely honest. I apologized for blowing him off last year, told him how awkward I found our last conversation, how he seemed so tired and listless, but that yes, it was still rude of me to ignore him. Hey, I always like a shot at righting my karma.

He replied in a similar spirit of honesty and said he was going through a rough time back then, which is why things became strained. He said he's better now and expressed interest in seeing me again. I wrote back and told him,

I'm going through a kind of rough time right now, and am actually taking a break from dating for the time being. I am still single, but in all honesty, I'm not looking. I have been keeping my male interactions purely platonic lately...

We'll see if he writes back. I don't see potential for anything, and I'd be willing to see him as a friend, but that might not be enough for him.

Here's a quick wrap-up of the other guys:

Arty Adam: I think we're doing a mutual fade. It's my turn to write, but in his last email, he said he's busy with a new work project and said it might take him longer to reply. Message received, loud and clear. Actually, more than with Tony Danza-ish, I could see us being friends, so I'm not going to sever all ties, just go quiet for a bit.

Coldplay Guy: Still emailing me. Has hinted at asking me out, but hasn't done it yet. Which is fine, because I'm still fighting the last vestiges of this cold, and am pretty indifferent at the moment. Also, I think he lives in New Jersey, which would not be a dealbreaker, but wouldn't be as convenient as, say, someone who lives a few blocks away from me. Speaking of whom...

TV Tyler: I decided to come clean. Well, a little. He wrote at the beginning of the week (he also hasn't been feeling well; he's always considerate about letting me know why he hasn't been around). Asked me how I was. I decided to really tell him. I told him about my five minutes as a pseudo-cyber-celebrity (though I didn't mention the blog specifically), mentioned being sick and the strain of work recently, and even spilled my guts about my depression. I wasn't all self-pitying in my email, just matter-of-fact, saying it was something I'm dealing with right now. He wrote back a few days later, starting with,

Jesus, I'm sorry things have been so stressful & difficult for you recently. Depression is never fun (it's stalked me a good portion of my life), so I feel for you for having to combat it.

Very nice and compassionate of him. I wasn't expecting that, or anything, really. I haven't written back. I don't know if I will.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Only Way to Win is Not to Play at All

Desperate Guy recently wrote about the conflicting advice he gets from readers. Last night, we were talking about it and he said the difference between him and me is that I tend to pay more attention to the advice I get (though not necessarily follow it, mind you).

Some of the observations have been pretty spot on: I should take more time for myself, I should take a much slower pace when it comes to dating, and I should be more expressive about who I am and what I want with someone I am going out with. While some of these points may not have been brought on in the most tactful way, I recognize their validity.

I have to say, I have gotten some advice I don't agree with lately. Manipulating a guy I am dating into falling in love with me? I don't think so. Taking a random nice guy I just met and developing a relationship with him? It doesn't work that way; it takes two people and a natural emotional and physical progression of sorts. Using sneaky tactics to compete with another woman for the attentions of a man? No fucking way.

The thing is, I am no stranger to this type of competition. In college one of my best friends (let's call her Clarissa) and I became interested in the same guy, Broody Artist. He was a good friend and ex-boyfriend of a mutual friend, Stripper Sally. Broody Artist told Stripper Sally he was interested in both of us. Clarissa and I would then get into passive-aggressive arguments about who liked him more. Even years later, she emphasized how she really liked him. Well, so did I, but somehow I think she wanted to believe her feelings were stronger.

At one point, I told Clarissa, "All's fair in love and war." Cheesy line as it is, at the time, I believed it. I was 19 and hardly an expert on dating and relationships (to say nothing of friendships).

There was a holiday break and Clarissa and I went home. Stripper Sally was having a party that weekend, which Broody Artist would be attending. Knowing that Clarissa would be out of town, I made an effort to return a couple of days early to go to the party. Broody Artist and I ended up making out in the kitchen for ages. I was thrilled.

I told Clarissa about it when she returned and her feelings were hurt. Broody Artist and I only dated for a couple of weeks, which ended miserably. Clarissa ended up dating him after me, for several months, which also ended miserably. In the meantime, she said that incident made her trust me less.

I don't regret taking a more aggressive stance and dating Broody Artist. Regardless of Clarissa's claims of how much she liked him, I liked him a lot, too, and I know she would have done the same thing if she had been at Stripper Sally's party that night. What I do feel remorse for is that this guy, who wasn't even worth it, put a dent in our friendship.

This is what made me realize how stupid it is to compete for a guy. Which isn't to say I sit in the corner and don't make myself known to him at all. No way, I present my best, brightest, most flirtatious self. I just let him make the final choice.

Taking the high road instead of playing catty has worked for me almost every time. For example, once I met a hot architect in a bar (our eyes actually met across the room and we smiled; it was so sweet) and spent ages flirting with him. One of my "friend's" came over to say good night, but instead spent a good ten or fifteen minutes trying to flirt with him. I was tempted to give her a surreptitious what-the-hell-are-you-doing kick or nudge, but I held back. I decided that this was a grown man who could make up his own mind and if he decided he liked my friend more, so be it. Finally, she ran out of things to flirt about and went home. I ended up bar hopping with the guy and we made out in a phone booth until the wee hours. In the meantime, my friend revealed an unpleasant side of herself and (for many reasons) I am actually no longer friends with her.

I have gotten criticism that I should have stayed on with Coldplay Guy (and by the way, I refuse to give guys numbers and call them HG's or HS's or anything like that) and Drunk Latina. That I should have blown her out by whatever tactics were necessary to lower her social value. You know what? Any guy who would want a woman who would scheme and use underhanded tactics to get his attention is not a man I'd want to be with. I show my interest and make whatever connection I can make, but I am not going to be sneaky or overtly flirtatious or plot tactical maneuvers as if I'm fighting a war. Dating might be considered a war or some kind of game, but love isn't. Playing dirty is not my style and if I miss out on a man or two by taking the high road, I am quite sure those men aren't worth it. As it is, I've done pretty well for myself.

When I was a little girl, I used to read Archie comics. I was baffled by the love triangle between Archie and Veronica, the rich, conniving bitch, and Betty, the wholesome, loyal sweetheart. Deep down, I understood why Archie would be drawn to Veronica: she was sexier, more exciting. With time, I realized that he could never have anything long-lasting or meaningful with Veronica, because she was too selfish and mean-spirited. Sooner or later, he'd see the value in Betty and realize she was the girl to build a future with. Veronica was the girl you fucked, but Betty was the girl you married.

These days, I'm trying to be less Veronica, more Betty.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Locks & Keys & More Locks

Friday night, Polly and I attended Moxie's Lock & Key party. Ever since I heard of these parties, I wanted to go. Like speed dating, there was a novelty to it I couldn't resist (though my one foray into speed dating, done through a different company, was terrible). The women get locks, the men get keys, and off you go, looking for your appropriate match. There's something rather poetic about it, no? (Or rather dirty, if you prefer to view the lock and key metaphor in a different way.) I don't know, there's something about keys I find to be romantic; maybe it's just me.

By the end of the week, I was feeling a bit better than at the start of it, but still rather drained. When I reached the basement room of the bar where the party was going to be held, I quickly felt overwhelmed because of how crowded it was. It wouldn't have been as bad if it was just the Lock & Key folks, but there were other people down there, which made for cramped quarters. I started getting a bit claustrophobic and uneasy that Polly was taking so long. I wasn't ready to start talking to strangers quite yet, and needed a bit more time to decompress. Polly finally arrived, we grabbed a couple of drinks, and headed inside the party room. The place was starting to fill up quickly so we took a seat in the corner to get our bearings before the attempted unlocking began.

We were quickly accosted by a man wearing suspenders in a non-ironic way.

"Are you with the company hosting this party?"

"No," Polly and I answered. "We're guests."

He went on to express his surprise that two women as attractive as us would come to an event like this and even seemed to question what might be wrong with us that we'd be there. This is where I wish I made a crack about having a wooden leg or glass eye. I know he meant it as a compliment, and I know that it's ludicrous that Polly and I, catches that we are, are still single, but still. We played nice and smiled stiffly, slowly walking away to mingle with the other guests.

The format of the party was not what I expected. I thought there would be one lock per woman, one key per man, and when you got unlocked, that was it. This made me wonder, what happened if the first man who tried my lock was the right key? Not only that, what if he had the social intelligence of Suspenders Guy? Would I be doomed to spend the rest of the night with him, giving me no chance to meet any other partygoers?

That wasn't the case. There were several different types of locks and keys, and whenever you got a match, your name was entered into a raffle and you got a new lock/key. Sometimes it would take half a dozen tries to get a match. Three of my locks in a row were opened on the first try.

Unfortunately, three of my locks were also opened by the same guy--one who made me very uncomfortable. He was in his early 40's and not unattractive, but not my type, way too touchy-feely, and a little smarmy. When we were in line to enter our names in the raffle the third time, he started asking all these questions.

"So Dolly, what do you like to do for fun?"
"Dolly, where is your family from?"
"Do you work out, Dolly? Do you do aerobics, weight training?"

While he interviewed me, he'd put a paw on my arm or back. It was too crowded for me to squirm away, so I tried to express my lack of interest by giving him very brief answers, not asking questions of my own, and making zero eye contact. I tried not to be rude, but I obviously didn't give enough of an I'm-not-into-you vibe, because as we reached the front of the line, he asked,

"So Dolly, could we exchange business cards?"
"Let me think about it." I tried to muster a polite smile. Hey, I was thinking about it. I was thinking, "NONONONONOFORTHELOVEOFALLTHAT'SHOLYNO" but I was thinking about it.

Luckily, there were some cool guys at the party, too. There was one cute one who had the strangest accent I've ever heard in my life. He grew up in the deep South but spent several years in Sydney, so it was a mix between an Australian accent and southern drawl. There was also a guy who was a dead ringer for one of the actors from Swingers, though he seemed more interested in Polly, so I didn't chat with him for too long.

The great thing about this event was the variety of people. You would have to be unreasonably picky (and I am pretty damn picky) not to find at least a handful of people to talk to. And most of them were very friendly. For me, the problem was conveying disinterest to non-prospects who chatted me up. I don't like to be rude, but I don't like to lead a guy on, either, and it was a venue where being approached was supposed to be okay, so I had to find a balance between nice and "no thanks". I really hope I wasn't bitchy to anyone.

After six or seven locks and nearly as many cocktails, I was tired. I sat down near a couple of guys (one of whom I noticed earlier and vaguely reminded me of the lead singer of Coldplay).
"Don't worry, I could care less about locks or keys, I'm exhausted."

The guys smiled and we chatted for a bit, then Coldplay Guy's friend left. The two of us quickly got onto the subject of music, which I am very passionate about. When he told me he was familiar with my (rather obscure) favorite band, I was all kinds of enthusiastic to talk to him.

Just as we were getting engaged in a great conversation, a very drunk, very cute Latina brunette bounded over and sat on the other side of Coldplay Guy. They clearly were previously acquainted; not only did he open her lock earlier, but somehow they swapped so that she was wearing the key around her wrist and he her lock. I didn't want to know. Despite my initial misgivings, Drunk Latina turned out to be extremely friendly, and I enjoyed talking to her, too. She had her mitts all over Coldplay Guy, though, so I sat back and let her flirt.

Coldplay Guy, aware of the situation, seemed rather baffled.

"Do you realize how lucky you are to be sitting between the two most beautiful girls at this party?" Drunk Latina asked.

Coldplay Guy stammered and expressed his disbelief. His shyness was cute, though it meant the AFOG (alpha female of the group) would get him. Despite my own occasional aggressiveness and the downright wolfish behavior of some NYC women, I refuse to compete for a man. When they went to get another drink, I didn't accompany them.

Polly said Swingers Guy and his friend wanted to take us out to dinner after the party. Actually, I'm pretty sure they wanted to take her out to dinner, but Polly has been my wing woman plenty of times, so I agreed to go. Besides, who knows, maybe Swingers Guy and I would hit it off.

Before we left, there was something I had to do. I took out a business card, wrote my personal email address on it, then took out a second card and did the same thing. I found Drunk Latina and Coldplay Guy at the bar and handed both of them my card.

"My friend and I are heading out, but it was so great to talk to you, so definitely keep in touch." I smiled at both of them, but focused my attention more on Drunk Latina.

She took my card and smiled when she saw the address. "I work right nearby! We'll have to do a happy hour sometime!"

"You bet! It's great to know more people who work in the area." I said good-bye, barely glancing at Coldplay Guy.

Dinner was fun, though there wasn't a spark between me and either of the guys. Also, Swingers Guy asked out Polly while I was in the bathroom, so even if I was interested, that would have ruled him out then and there.

The next day, I received the following email:

Subject: [Name of my favorite band] Fan Club

Hi Dolly! This is Coldplay Guy from last evening's party...It was so much fun speaking with you and I was quite excited that you gave me your card. Amidst the mass confusion of the event I think it was a blast.

You have my e-mail address but you're also welcome to give me a ring so we can continue the [genre of music I love] debate. Looking forward to hearing from you...

Take care,

Coldplay Guy

Of course, in the back of my head, I'm convinced he went home with Drunk Latina. Still, nice email, right? It's too bad that I'm lacking the stamina to muster up serious enthusiasm. I will, I will. Just not right this second.

Blogger Happy Hour

After last week's lovely outing with Elle, Snob, and Polly/Kristin, we have decided to organize a proper blogger gathering. We're going to be meeting on Thursday, March 23rd. If you'd like to come, send me an email (cocksanddolls at yahoo) and I'll add you to the evite. It should be fun, if only for the overlapping blog posts that will follow (like Roshomon, but with less crime and more booze-- hey, maybe that could be our catch phrase).

I'm currently home sick and feeling like hell, but I promise I'll write a proper post soon, which will include details of the Lock & Key party on Friday as well as how I seem to be sabotaging things with TV Tyler (or am I?). In the meantime, I'm going to try to eat my first proper meal in nearly 24 hours and watch the rest of Roger Dodger (Campbell Scott as a PUA-gone-horribly-wrong, rar).

Sunday, March 12, 2006

In vodka (and gin) veritas

I think I'm tired of dating. I need a break. Once upon a time, I was friends with guys before they became my boyfriend. I hate it how in New York, you're either dating or you're not, no in between. I finally have some guy friends that aren't ex-boyfriends or gay (or both; I still have my suspicions...) and it's comforting to see that we're in the same boat. Everyone is trying to make a connection. Those who are paired up don't usually realize how tough it is for us to find somebody. Sure, there are lots of choices, but so very few right ones.

I don't think it's going to go anywhere with Arty Adam or TV Tyler. I got an email from the former a couple of days ago. One line, very neutral. No word from the latter in a week now, since we last saw each other. My instincts are telling me to move on.

I got an email earlier this week, from a guy who found my blog via the Village Voice. He suggested meeting up for coffee. Two things made me say yes: 1. When I saw his picture, the first thing I thought of was Cary Elwes' character from The Princess Bride (which is why he will be known as Wesley from now on). In other words, he was super-cute. 2. He sent me the link to his Flikr page and one of the pictures he uploaded was my favorite drawing by one of my favorite contemporary artists.

Wesley and I met for brunch today. He was already at the cafe when I arrived and was reading a novel by one of my favorite writers. It almost felt too coincidental. The coffee was amazing and conversation pretty good, too. Wesley is so easy to open up to. He seems a little shy and he seems to be in a place where he's working things out and trying to find outlets for his ideas. I can relate. I feel like we got to touch upon a topic or two which I rarely discuss with people. I was extremely hungover and concerned that I would be a little out of it, but Wesley was fighting a cold, so we had a level playing field. I wasn't at my best, but I had a great time. I like this whole non-date-with-an-attractive-man thing. It takes the pressure off. I hope Wesley wants to meet up again (um, I haven't actually told him as much, but he reads this blog, so he probably now knows).

It looks like I might have officially reached dating burnout. Not just dating, but the whole making-out-with-a-guy-in-a-bar/casual sex thing. I have finally gotten to the point where meeting people is easy, where I know I can attract men, but I have no more energy for this numbers game. Being 'on' all the time is draining. Which means I have to make an important decision. Either I continue the Rotation, or I stop. Except that it's not much of a choice. I have already started slowing things down. I don't expect to see TV Tyler or Arty Adam again. I'm feeling less extroverted and don't feel a desire to strike up conversations with people I don't know. A cute guy tried to flirt with me while I was out tonight and I smiled and walked away from him. I can't do this anymore.

Is it exhaustion? Is it depression? Is it a newly-found patience? Is it the fallout from too much partying? Is it a temporary introversion? Probably a mix of all of the above.

Time for bed...

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Hot Brother

Sorry I've fallen behind with the updates; lots going on.

I promised the story of Hot Brother. It's probably not what you think.

To give a little background, after I met up with PUA Mr.Right (formerly PUA David, which we agreed was painfully unimaginative) the night he introduced me to his brother, I tried to get him to set us up. I also begged him not to give his brother the link to my blog. He said he wasn't going to get involved beyond giving me Hot Brother's email. Fair enough. I thought about it for a bit, then wrote Hot Brother a note and included the link myself ("you might as well know what you're getting into"). I said I'd like to continue our conversation and would be happy to meet up as friends. I didn't want it to come across like I was asking him out, because I didn't want to put needless pressure on the situation.

There was no word from him for nearly a week, which I took as a sign that he read my blog and was scared away. Which wouldn't have surprised me. Last week I got a reply. He had been out of town. He'd be happy to meet for a drink. He would skip the blog and preferred to get to know the in-person me. Ooh, great answer. I suggested a few days I was free and he invited me to a concert at Carnegie Hall, where his friend was performing. Wow!

The concert was on Wednesday and I hadn't heard from him confirming plans, so I wasn't sure if we were still on. I was also battling that monster depression from the beginning of the week, so my head was foggy and I wasn't sure I'd even be up for it. He called around lunchtime and followed up with an email. Did I want to get drinks/dinner beforehand? I was tempted to apologize, tell him I was unwell, and take a raincheck. I thought about it and decided to go. How many times does a girl get invited to go to Carnegie Hall by a personable, attractive guy? I went out, bought a new dress, started to cheer up. I could do this.

Hot Brother met me at work and we walked uptown. He asked what I had been up to. He hadn't heard about the Village Voice scandal, but because he knew about the blog, I could tell him about the crazy turn my life took for a while. It was such a relief to be able to talk freely about it, whereas none of my dates and even some of my closest friends are still in the dark about all the madness from the last couple of weeks. It sometimes feels like a burden to have these secrets, and it was great not to have to censor myself.

We had dinner at the Brooklyn Diner. The conversation flowed and one salad and two gin and tonics I felt myself relaxing.

The concert was beautiful. It was a choir singing a Mozart program. I love Mozart, so some of the pieces were familiar to me, and comforting. I've been saying how I feel like I haven't been nourishing my soul enough lately, but this music did just that. It was just what I needed. Hot Brother pointed out his friend toward the end of intermission and I thought of how incredible it must be to perform in a venue as austere as Carnegie Hall. Lucky woman.

We took the subway downtown together. Hot Brother got me talking and talking and I didn't even notice when we got to his stop. We didn't get to say a proper good-bye, so I sent him a text message when I got home, thanking him for the concert. He replied, "You're very welcome-- you make good company." Aww.

I don't think it was a date. He wasn't very touchy-feely (he put his hand on my back a couple of times, but that was it) and I didn't get a this-is-a-date vibe from the evening. That is totally okay with me. I think right now I prefer getting to know guys as friends. If Hot Brother and I don't get past being platonic, that will be fine. He is so easy to talk to; I actually feel like I talk way too much around him. It's nice to find people you can be so at ease with.

The night out with Hot Brother was the perfect antidote to the dating burnout I've been experiencing. He makes good company, too.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

70+ comments later

...But tell me how you really feel...

First of all, I want to extend my enormous gratitude to everyone who has offered their support these last couple of days. From those who defended me on the blog, to those who sent compassionate emails (O, yours was so sweet, it made me cry), to one dear friend who actually called and sang me a song on my voicemail to cheer me up. You all rock.

Having given it some thought, I think the depression was brought on by exhaustion, hormones, and work stress (and maybe even the Village Voice thing) more than dating. Yes, I think moving away from having as many casual physical encounters is a good idea, but I wasn't sad because I felt cheap after hooking up with so many guys. Are you kidding, I loved every second of it! I do not nor will not regret it. The melancholy was triggered by stress from many different sides.

This blog is not about my work life or about the noble causes I support. Those who need to broadcast how they're making the world a better place are more self-absorbed than they will ever realize. True charity is done and then not spoken about.

I started this blog to chart my progress in terms of sex, dating, love, and relationships. I am comfortable with my body, comfortable with my sexuality, and make no apologies for my actions. If anybody reading this disapproves or dislikes what I have to say, don't read it. I'd rather not see such nauseating self-righteousness on here again, but I'm actually surprised these comments didn't come sooner. However, it would help if people actually read what I wrote before unleashing judgment. I don't go to bars in hopes of meeting my soul mate. I go to socialize and frequently end up having casual hook-ups with guys I meet there, which I don't expect to go further. Yes, I may rush the sex with men I date on occasion, but I'm working on that. At the same time, I am enjoying exploring what is out there with passionate curiosity instead of being on a desperate husband-hunt or a hermit spending Friday and Saturday nights on the couch at home, waiting for The One to magically appear. That's just not my style.

With regard to the PUA culture, I can only speak from my experiences. I have gained so much confidence and become so much more at ease with who I am and the people around me since getting involved. Many people will choose to perceive it as nothing more than a quest for bedpost notches; I view it from an angle of self-improvement and development of personal charisma. The rest of you can believe whatever you want.

As for the haters who came out in full force to spew their bile while I was feeling fragile, it's tempting to reflect the same anger you showed me, but I don't actually feel it. In this case, I think a song lyric would be more appropriate:

You know I'm not gonna diss you on the Internet
Cause my momma taught me better than that.

I swear, that is the only time you will ever see me me quoting Destiny's Child. Cross my heart.

Now... can we try to get along? If I have to keep wading through all these bickering comments, I may decide not tell you about tonight's lovely outing with Hot Brother...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


[Warning: I'm about to show my sensitive side. Some of you may want to avert your gaze.]

I recently read Unhooked Generation by Jillian Straus. Its sub-title is The Truth About Why We're Still Single and in her interviews with one hundred single men and women, she uncovers some unpleasant, albeit accurate, truths. We're selfish. We bail at the first sign of pain and discomfort. We have a lot of choices, and therefore don't feel a strong urge to commit ourselves fully to one person. If we do, we keep one foot out the door. We have a list of qualities we look for in a partner that few people can match. We take pride in being picky. We're terrified of marriage and yet have unrealistic ideals for it. We put our happiness above everything else (a different way of saying we're selfish, but it bears repeating).

Reading this book was like listening to a continuous echo of every conversation I've ever had with my friends about relationships. Straus focuses on city-based singles and covers everything from the how internet dating panders to our checklist mentality to how we are lacking a coda when it comes to courtship, which results in confusion and uncertainty about how to read each others' behavior.

The author never makes judgment calls on this era of casual hook-ups, fuck buddies, and undefined, non-committed relationships. She merely illuminates our current dating climate and points out why we're taking longer to find partners and settle down.

The last section of the book is devoted to profiling long-standing, happy couples. They discuss their first impressions of each other, the evolution of their relationship, and what keeps them together. This is the part of the book that fucked me up.

As I read about these couples and their unconditional, enduring love, I couldn't help but be moved to tears. It made me see what a truly shallow plane I've been living on with my own love/lust life lately. Sure, I've been having some of the most fun I've ever had, but it doesn't mean anything. It doesn't add up to anything significant. I meet a guy, date him/kiss him/fuck him, then meet someone else. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Even this situation with TV Tyler and Arty Adam, it's going nowhere. It has been a month, and I can't open up to them because I think they'll be scared off. I have kept so much of myself shut away from both of these men and they have done the same with me. I don't know a single thing about any of Arty Adam's girlfriends or when he even last had one. I don't know why TV Tyler's marriage ended. I have gotten very little indication from either of them that they care about me as anything more than someone to watch movies with or drink with or play video games with or fuck. By the time I've reached a month with every other man I have been with, there has always been some kind of expression of affection and movement toward a commitment. At the very least, I no longer harbored a feeling that the guy could still disappear at any moment. Some kind of foundation had been built. Not so with Arty Adam and TV Tyler. I know it's my fault as much as there's. The real question is, what now?

The answer, I think, is nothing. This melancholy feeling has been with me for the last couple of days now. I'm starting to feel the burnout from all this manic dating and I think a week or two under the radar would do me some good. I have a lot of activities with friends lined up, including a Lock & Key party with Pretty Polly on Friday and a friend's birthday party on Saturday. Well, okay, and there might be something tomorrow that could maybe, possibly qualify as a date, but I don't want to jinx it, so I won't say anything more just yet.

Right now, the priority needs to be less on dating and more on shaking myself out of this funk. Ups and downs are to be expected, and I'm no stranger to the inevitability that the peaks are accompanied by valleys. I'll get back up there... soon.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Arty Adam, TV Tyler, and a Surprise

This past week was so exhausting. Luckily, the weekend has been full of two things that are effective at relaxing me: alcohol and sex.

It's unnerving how quickly time goes by. I couldn't believe it when I realized that I have been dating both Arty Adam and TV Tyler for about a month now (the former a little under; the latter a little over). Together, they just about make the perfect man. Separately, there are things about both that give me pause. It's easier seeing these differences after another weekend in which I saw them consecutively.

Friday night, Arty Adam met me at my apartment so that we could head over to the sushi restaurant together. Except that he got to my place while I was still on the subway. I got a text from my roommate letting me know and started to mildly panic. I could just imagine him, sitting in the living room, looking for a way to pass the time and noticing the stack of Village Voices in the corner...

I apologized profusely for being late, quickly changed and freshened up my make-up, and we finally set off. Man, was I ready for some sake. Arty Adam was more than understanding about my tardiness. He's so mellow and relaxed about everything, I imagine it takes a lot to get him angry.

I was a little concerned the conversation might be a bit stilted, because the very thing that was most pressing in my life at the moment was the one thing I couldn't talk about. Luckily, we found plenty of other topics to discuss. In fact, all through dinner we kept up a consistant chatter. We never get on any deeply personal subjects, which can be nice, but we also end up having conversations that are friendly but not intense or passionate (if I were an English teacher, this is where I'd point out the foreshadowing).

We went back to his place for video games and more sake. We played for at least three hours straight. Three hours. Of video games and sake. Nothing but drinking and playing the game. Am I the only one who sees the problem with this?

If it was TV Tyler and me playing the game, we would have been lucky to have a half hour of uninterrupted game time before fiercely making out. Arty Adam and I had no physical contact all night, apart from our hug hello. He didn't put his arm around me or take my hand or try to kiss me. In general, he doesn't seem like much of a touchy-feely person. Maybe this is due to his shyness, but surely you can forego that with a woman you've already slept with!

Anyway, the only reason why we stopped playing is because my eyelids were getting heavy. He said I was more than welcome to spend the night and I took him up on the offer. We got ready for bed and he asked if I wanted any music. Thank goodness, because last time I kept waking up because of it. I said no thank you, I can't sleep well with music.

It was silent, it was dark, and we started kissing.

I might go to hell for this, but I couldn't help it. I started thinking of TV Tyler and how my whole body responds when he kisses me. It's nice, but not the same with Arty Adam.

He undressed me, got me off, I took a moment to rest, then I went down on him. I was hoping we'd have proper sex, but he came and then we fell asleep.

This is the thing about Arty Adam I have the most trouble with: he doesn't cuddle. I don't need a guy who's going to be wrapped around me all night, but a little spooning, a little body-on-body contact throughout the night is great (especially since it sometimes leads to more sex). This guy did not touch me at all. I could have tried to instigate a cuddle, but it didn't feel natural, so we slept on opposite sides of the bed.

I was hoping for morning sex when we woke up, but again, he gave no signals that he was up for it (pardon the pun, or don't). Yes, I probably wasn't giving out many signals, either, but come on, if you have a naked woman in your bed who gave you a blow job the previous night, would you really be questioning if she'll have sex with you? Also, it was frustrating me just how passive his behavior was (even though he claimed to be dominant!), so I wanted to see if he'd make a move, the way he did last time. I waited. And waited. Finally, at around 11:00am, I said I needed to start my day and got dressed. Alas, no handcuffs and no intercourse. What's a girl to do?

Plan that evening's date with TV Tyler, that's what. He and I were going to meet at local bar at 10:00pm. This gave me time to have dinner with my new friend Sophie and grab a quick drink with Mango and another PickUp101 instructor before meeting him. Later that night, TV Tyler called and asked if we could meet an hour later. Not a problem with me.

I'm actually glad we had the extra hour, because Sophie and I had the best time chatting with these guys. Mango and his business partner were so friendly, upbeat, and laid back. Any woman who would meet them would get a positive impression of the PUA community. They are great flirts and conversationalists and kept us smiling and laughing the whole time we were with them. Afterwards, Sophie (who had never met a pick-up artist before) and I felt energized and came away from the encounter with such a positive feeling. I wish I could have stayed out later with these guys and seen their students in action. I was also invited to an NYC lair meeting the next day and would have loved to attend, but had to pass because of a previous obligation. Next time, definitely.

The bar TV Tyler chose was a small Italian-themed place, with candlelight, festive-but-chilled-out music, and the kind of atmosphere where you can exhale and feel your stress disappate. Perfect. I got there first, ordered some prosecco, which tasted like heaven in a glass, and waited at a small table by the front windows.

TV Tyler was fifteen minutes late, but swept me up in such a passionate hug and kiss, time no longer mattered. He ordered some Italian liquor for us and we chatted. He had been drinking and I was tipsy, too, which made for some amusing moments as we took turns accidentally tipping our table (nothing spilled or broken). He was in a feisty mood and, much in the same way Polly's last date was injected with a certain chemistry by negging, a similar dynamic happened last night. TV Tyler had moments where he'd play the pseudo-bastard, I'd get pouty, he'd go back to being nice, and we'd resume our usual banter, but it would be revved up a notch. TV Tyler wasn't running any game on me, he's just extremely deadpan and his sarcasm comes out in infuriating-but-loveable ways. The thing is, I was negging him back, and he would pretend to get fed up with me and threaten me with a spanking (which he knows I'm a fan of). In fact, during the walk back to my place, he took his glove off a couple of times to give me a whack on the ass when I gave him lip. Rowr.

Back in my room, we started kissing and before the clothes came flying off, I went to take out my contacts and get some water. When I returned, TV Tyler was naked in bed. Mmm, hot naked man in my bed. Christmas came early and so did I. Actually, that's not true, it took me a while because I was buzzed. He wasn't able to at all because of his alcohol intake, but that's okay, because I knew he would later on, and probably more than once (I was right). I fell asleep in his arms.

Hang on, I want to say that again. I fell asleep in his arms. In fact, there wasn't a single moment while we slept when his arms weren't around me. I couldn't begin to find words to describe how good it felt. And that's just the spooning and cuddling. The sex is a whole other story. We woke up in the middle of the night and went at it, and then again in the morning.

There's this James song called, appropriately, "Laid" which has a line that goes,

She only comes when she's on top.

Well, I can come other ways, but when I'm with TV Tyler and on top, it's impossible for me not to come. The perfect way his body fits with mine in that position creates a veritable orgasm factory. Sometimes, I can't even keep track of when one is ending and the other is beginning. And just when I think it can't get any better, this morning he gave me one of the biggest orgasms of my life.

So yeah, the sex is pretty mind-blowing. In all honesty, though, I don't know that this will ever evolve into a real relationship. He still doesn't show much of a curiosity in my life, which bothers me. Also, his daughter, who he misses terribly, is always going to be his number one priority. Which is sweet and sad and something I understand, though I'm not sure if it's something I can deal with in the long term. I think we have some core incompatibilities, and even though our relationship is mostly physical at this point, once in a while I sense a glimmer of feeling that I've developed for him. I need to be careful.

It feels like I'm at a sort of crossroads, even though there's no need for me to be. I can let things continue to evolve with Arty Adam and TV Tyler. Deep down, my instincts tell me that the former and I are better off as friends, and any relationship the latter and I could have would be volatile. Neither of them (after a month!) have made any boyfriend noises, so I guess I'll just keep coasting.

As for that surprise, it came in the form of an email from the Editor-in-Chief of the Village Voice, Doug Simmons. He gave me his cell phone number and and urged me to call him. Whatever could he possibly want to talk about? Do you think maybe he wants to ask me out? Or set me up with Nick Sylvester?