Friday, December 29, 2006

Missing Something Podcast

Penny recently had me as a guest on her podcast, which was a blast. We discussed blogging, podcasting, what it's like putting your innermost feelings out there for the public, and a variety of other things, including my crazy plan to get Barman Ben to fall for me. We chatted for an hour, which Penny whittled down to, well, nearly 48 minutes. Long, but very off-the-cuff and (I like to think) entertaining.

For anyone curious, the podcast can be found here.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Kiss and Run

I spent my birthday with Polly and Coworker Chris. I didn't want to do a big dinner or party, and in the weeks leading up to it, felt guilty that my friends' enthusiasm for my big day overshadowed my own. Then I had that recent sunny breakthrough and decided it would be a great birthday no matter what. I wasn't aiming for legendary, just positive, upbeat, and enjoyable (though kisses would be a definite bonus).

I spent part of the day on my own, though I received emails, phone calls, and texts throughout day wishing me well (I even got a Happy Birthday MySpace comment from Arty Adam!). It was nice to have some quiet time before meeting my pals; I took a long walk in the park, and the pretty scenery and endorphins helped my affirmation that this would be my best year ever.

The main destination that night was Cozy Bar, from the previous week. I'm not proud to admit this, but I have developed something of a crush on Barman Ben, who I maybe had a moment with the last time I was there. When we entered the place, I got the butterflies, the plummeting elevator sensation. He remembered me, and when I told him it was my birthday, reached across the bar, took my hand, and brought me in for a kiss on the cheek. Except that I turned my head a bit and there was some slight lip grazing. Oh my. It was both embarrassing and electrifying. I was rendered dumbstruck, unable to say anything without thinking I sounded utterly foolish and barely coherent. I haven't felt so off my game since the third grade, when I fell in "love" with my older (6th grade!) hall monitor (red hair, blue eyes, freckles, beyond adorable; I exchanged maybe three sentences with him my whole life, yet still Google him every few years).

Barman Ben and I did have a brief conversation, about music, during which I spent most of the time thinking things like, "Oh my god, Barman Ben is really talking to me, about non-alcohol-related things." "Oh my god, he just asked about my music tastes. I know this one. Um..." "Oh my god, he is totally lingering on this side of the bar. I hope he never goes away. Alas, there he goes."

Yeah. I kind of have it bad.

When I turned back to Polly and Chris, I was barely able to form coherent sentences. I know it's just transference, because I haven't met anyone I like in a while, etc. but he is so goddamn debonair I can't stand it. The best I could do was try not to spill my drink or look too starstruck, and keep the staring to a minimum.

Luckily, Polly brought her A game, and practiced a new technique she's pioneering called the Lasso and Abandon. She tried it out at the big holiday party last week, where she started chatting up a cute-ish computer programmer (Lasso), introduced him to Roommate Rachel, and then left the two of them to it (Abandon).

After a cigarette break, I came back inside to see that Polly was talking to a reasonably attractive guy (Lasso). I came over and he turned his attention to me; since Polly is now dating someone, I didn't have to worry that I was entering in medias flirt (she also made it easier by turning away and talking to Chris: Abandon).

Architect Abe was a couple of years younger than me and I can barely remember what he looked like beyond being cute (Brown hair? Brown eyes?). He wished me a happy birthday and we chit-chatted about who knows what. At what point, I asked,

"What are your favorite movies? And you're not allowed to say Star Wars, The Godfather, Taxi Driver, The Matrix..."

"How about The Lord of the Rings?"

"Nope, you can't say that one, either. That's another typical favorite boy movie."

He must have found my film snobbishness charming, because he not only stayed around for a while, but bought me a drink and also gave me a small box of Godiva chocolates that he had in his pocket. Sweet, no? Meanwhile, I had already determined that it couldn't possibly work, because one of his favorite musicians is Jay-Z (considering some of the questionable material in my collection, I fully own up to the fact that I have no right to be a music snob. And yet...). Even so, I kept on with the flirting.

We took smoke breaks now and again, played a game of pool (I won! A birthday miracle), and I tried to send telepathic signals to Barman Ben that he was the one I really wanted, yet my dashing cocktail man wasn't picking up on them.

It started drizzling, and Architect Abe and I huddled in a doorway to smoke another cigarette. He had his arm around my waist and I was leaning into him, and I knew what was coming, but I still started the short trip back to the bar, except that I semi-stumbled and laughed at my big shoes (I swear, I wasn't that drunk). Abe helped steady me, and then kissed me. It was a nice kiss, then a nice mini-makeout session, except for two things:

1. All of a sudden, I was very, very dizzy. Not tipsy dizzy, not smitten dizzy, but disoriented dizzy.

2. All of a sudden, despite the pleasant smooching, I felt a terrible urge to go away.

Which was a problem, because Abe was all set to come to Bar Z, our next destination, with us.

"Now we're really celebrating your birthday. Let's go to Bar Z and get some more drinks."

Back inside Cozy Bar, I started mildly panicking.

"We have to go now. Right now," I hissed to Polly and Chris.

Abe was at another part of the bar, presumably saying goodbye to his friends. My friends and I made a swift exit without him seeing, though I did manage to say good-bye to Barman Ben (another handshake and a "Nice to see you again" which is surely "Will you bear my children?" in BarSpeak. No?).

Outside, it was now raining in earnest.

"What's going on?" My friends asked.


"Aren't we going to Bar Z?"

"No! That's the last bar we can go to now!" I scurried around the corner. "Hurry, he can't see us!"

"What happened?"

"We made out and I got birthday kisses and they were good and yay. But then, I just needed to leave. I couldn't have him be my date for the rest of the evening. I don't know what's wrong with me."

"Dolly, that's terrible," Chris chastised. "You just kiss a guy and run away?"

"I couldn't help it. He was so sweet, too. He gave me chocolates."

Coworker Chris continued to admonish my bad behavior. Polly left to spend the night with her man shortly thereafter, but Chris and stayed out for a couple more drinks. There was some platonic snuggling, and a mutual agreement that we would never make out, ever.

"I got my birthday kisses, so I'm good."

Chris shook his head.

"I know, I'm awful."

I still don't know what got into me. Was the idea of meeting a cool, down to earth guy so frightening to me? Have I become so commitment-phobic that I couldn't bear the idea of going to a second bar with him? Was the kissing too underwhelming? Has Barman Ben temporarily ruined me for other men with his stoic dreaminess? Sadly, I can affirmatively answer that last one.

All in all, a lovely birthday with lovely people. I believe karma did pay me back for the kiss and run with my first ever case of pink eye shortly thereafter (unpleasant!). Nevertheless, I like to think that the slate is now clean. Just in time for the new year.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

new me

Well I see that the world is upside-down
Seems that my pockets were filled up with gold
And now the clouds, well they've covered over
And the wind is blowing cold
Well I don't need anybody, because I learned, I learned to be alone
Well I said anywhere, anywhere, anywhere I lay my head, boys
Well I gonna call my home

~Tom Waits

We interrupt this moping to bring you a special bulletin:

Alright, I've had it. The other day, it dawned on me that I have been depressed for three months now. Three months! Lame lame lame. I have astounded myself with these lows, and have come close to giving up time and time again. That's just not right. It's time for me to do something about it. Enough crying, enough letting things happen, enough feeling sorry about it all, enough drifting. It's time to do some steering.

Since endorphins have been a great source of sanity, I'm going to kick up the diet and fitness regime a notch. I'll get more pro-active with the job/career options. It life gets too monotonous, I'll look into volunteering somewhere. And If the depression doesn't let up in the next month, I may even see a counselor.

I always love a good comeback, and there's no reason why this time it can't be me. Tabula rasa and all that. I'm going to work on Dolly 2.0, and the new model is going to rock.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

booze bad

I came home from brunch with Willow today and cried and cried. I know, I'm tired of it too.

As is seemingly everyone I know, we're having a rough holiday season. Throw in an impending birthday and the mean reds are coming fast upon me again.

We swore we'd come up with something fun for New Year's, but it's tough to feel festive.

"It's like I'm failing on all counts," I said outside, post-eggs Benedict. "It's not just because I'm single. If I was on a career track I loved, it wouldn't be so bad; I could throw myself into my job. Or if I was in the midst of writing something great, I could immerse myself in creating a story. But I don't have a single person or thing to focus my passion on."

"I know what you mean. I'm in the same boat. I'm so ready to say good-bye to this year."

The weekend was a bit of a mess. Friday I went to a massive fancy holiday party with Coworker Chris, Polly, and Roommate Rachel. For whatever idiotic reason, I didn't eat much and went into conveyer-belt-drink-mode, to the point where I lost count but got very, very wasted. Coworker Chris did, too, and we flirted and bantered and held hands and it was all what the hell is going on, we're acting like a couple and we so aren't.

"It's inevitable," I told him. "We're going to make out some day and it's going to be 'eh' but it'll be out of our system and will affirm that we're not attracted to each other, and we'll go back to being friends."

"You think that's what's going to happen?"

"I know it."

A little later in the night, we were talking about sex I was telling him about this one place in the back of my neck where I like to be touched--a place that most of the men I've dated have been ignorant of--and he asked,

"Where? Here?"

And I just closed my eyes and couldn't answer. Yes. There.

I know we don't fancy each other, I know we're not meant for each other, I know it will be friends first and last and always, but there was so much alcohol in my bloodstream, which makes me crave smoking or kissing and he was right there and I possibly maybe a little bit tried to kiss him. He pulled away and I'm so glad he did. What was my problem?

"There isn't going to be any awkwardness because of this," I promised.

Miraculously, I didn't get sick. I fought off a hangover the next day with a greasy burger and brisk five mile walk.

I like to think it's temporary and only because of party season, but I'm worried I'm becoming something of a social alcoholic. I can go days without drinking, but once I start, I want to reach that numb happy place. Like last night, with Podcast Penny.

We went to a club, which was full of couples, so many couples. They seem to be everywhere these days.

I was going to try to keep it to soda, but social anxiety got the best of me. Penny and I did a shot, then another, then another. We went outside for a cigarette.

"It's like I've forgotten how to talk to people," Penny said. "I'm not there yet. I'm just too jaded."

"It's hard for me, too. Though you gotta fight that cynicism." It's like quicksand, the way it pulls you down. Optimism takes effort.

A few hours and a few drinks later we were about to go. While Penny was in the bathroom, a man came over to me. I wasn't attracted and there was something very fey about him, but decided not to be rude. He shook my hand, or rather limply grazed the tips of my fingers. His mannerisms were effeminate. His favorite bands were Pet Shop Boys and Erasure. He bought me a drink, so I felt obligated to chat a little. He was a slow talker, offered short answers to my questions and did not ask many of his own. We're talking glacial pacing that would've made Tarkovsky jealous. I let the conversation lapse into dead silence. Podcast Penny, where are you?

"Would you like to get together sometime?"

What I really wanted to say is, You are GAY, so I don't know why you're asking me out, especially since it's clear we can't sustain a five minute conversation, and have less than zero chemistry. Instead, I made up some crap about still getting over a break-up, but did give him my email out of guilt. I really should have said no to that drink, but I've been feeling so unattractive, and low self-esteem plus alcohol can result in some bad decisions (as any Girls Gone Wild video can attest to).

Then there's today. Woke up from a nightmare in which my boss was yelling at me. As I was leaving the apartment to meet Willow, I heard the sounds of sex being had. I felt a little sick, because it seemed close by, like across the hall close. Outside, Neighbor Neil's blinds, which are usually pulled up a few inches, were down all the way.

I tried to tell myself I'm not interested in him, anyway. I reminded myself that I could have sex with Sean Pennish who, after my drunken text rampage, had invited me to come over Thursday (I never replied). Hell, I reminded myself that I could have had sex with Neighbor Neil. None of it mattered. It's not a sex thing; it's the thing I see in the couples surrounding me: the connection, the love, the safety, the affection.

I fight it and fight it, but it's no good: a profound loneliness comes over me. It's back, and it's fierce.

After the mutual venting at brunch, and my petit breakdown back home, I made myself go out to a cafe, and spent several hours drinking tea and reading a book about writing. Quite enlightening and also mellowed me out; felt like I was doing something good for myself.

Got some bread, salad, and olives for dinner. Watched In the Mood For Love, figuring something dark, nuanced, and subtle would fit my mood. Figured correctly, too--at first. There's this one scene where a birthday song is played for Maggie Cheung's character on the radio, and she is alone in her apartment listening to it. I mean, the film is a meditation on loneliness to begin with, but throw in a sad birthday tune and that's me gone. I cried again, not wanting it to be my birthday so soon. Time passes and I have so little to show for it.

I'm going to spend most of this week drying out. I know, I know, I'm kind of a wreck.

There I was, thinking I turned a corner. I tried. I'll keep trying.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

'tis the season to be tipsy

Lord almighty, am I hungover today. Holiday party last night, open bar. I considered it something of a rehearsal for Friday's holiday party, which is going to have many open bars. I was only going to stay for a couple and go to my book club meeting like a good girl.

Four glasses of wine later, Polly says,

"We haven't hung out like this in months. I missed you! Skip the book club. Let's go drinking in Brooklyn Neighborhood."

"But I actually read this damn 500-page book! I killed myself getting through this thing."

"Well, then I'll read it, and we'll discuss it. Now let's go to Brooklyn Neighborhood. We have so much fun together."

"You are the devil."

The only other option was crashing the Wachovia party next door, but that was looking pretty boring, so off we went. How could I resist? The magic was back.

I think molecules shift and currents around us become charged when we're together. There's no other way I can explain the strange energy that Polly and I conjure up between us. We have this crazy bond and anyone who sees us together can sense it. It's our own private social bubble, but turns the rest of the world into an exciting place where anything can happen.

On to Brooklyn!

The first cozy bar we went to was manned by the loveliest and most dangerously charming bartender on the planet. He had me smitten within minutes and I had to keep reminding myself that his job is to flirt with women. Wow, but did he do an amazing job, the conspiratorial way he looked at me, the way he spoke to me (I can't remember verbatim, because yay alcohol, but it was intense). And I am not being delusional, but I swear there was a spark between us.

I waited to use the ladies room and he came out.

"What are you doing using the ladies room? You are no lady," I joked.

The man made me weak in the knees the way he looked at me; so scary.

He took both of my hands in his, squeezed them, said nothing, returned to the bar. Excuse me while I turn into a puddle.

More wine and it was time for a venue change. Down the street and we ended up drinking blue cocktails (good idea after so much wine, no?).

Decided it was a really good idea to drunken text Sean Pennish. He emailed me recently, as he usually does when he sees my Friendster status as single. Not worth the trip for mediocre sex, but I'm reaching the three month celibacy point, which is when I start to get cranky, and he is one of the only men on the planet I can sleep with and not get emotionally attached to.

He tried to get me to come over, but no way, no way. This weekend, maybe. I have nothing slated for the weekend. Would much rather hold out for better, though.

Almost made it home at a decent hour, but on our way out, my craving for a cigarette got the best of me.

"I hate to ask you for a cigarette, but I am absolutely dying for one." I pleaded with a guy smoking outside.

"Tell you what, I'll give you a cigarette, but you have to come back inside and have another drink."

Twist. My. Arm.

More blue boozy goodness, conversation with Sales Sam and it wasn't flirtatious, so I started chattering on about my blog, even gave him the link before I left, because why not.

Came home, checked my email, and sent a friendship request on a networking site to a guy in London, saying, "you are cute, I am drunk, and we have music in common. All good reasons to be friends." Seriously, people, keep all electronic gadgets away from me when I drink.

Feel like hell on toast today, but oddly happy. Anticipating the future instead of dreading it. Depression lifting? Let's hope. Medicating with alcohol? A little, but I'm sensing a shift.

I can't believe I'm about to say this after being Mistress of Gloom for so long, but I feel like something good is about to happen.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Glam Band and beyond

"Are you sure you want to go to this party?" Podcast Penny asked, "There are going to be no prospects there."

Sober Sandy and I shrugged. I'm kind of wondering if there are prospects anywhere in the city, so it hardly mattered whether we were going to stay in Hell's Kitchen or attend Glam Band's after-party in a Brooklyn loft. Judging from their last concert and party, I expected lots of gay boys, college students, hipsters, or a combination thereof. We piled in a taxi, and during the ride I thought about whether I should keep going and take the car home, finishing the night just before 1:00am with a live show, a few glasses of wine, and some light socializing, or keep on going.

"Screw it, let's check out the party."

During the ride, Podcast Penny mentioned the older business man she has just begun a fling with. Sober Sandy mentioned a married man she was trying to not to think about.

"Yeah, married guys, bad news." I shook my head. "That's never even an option for me. It's so annoying, too, because I swear, every good-looking guy I have seen on the subway in the last month has been wearing a wedding band."

Penny and Sandy talked about guys for a bit.

"Sounds like I'm the only one without anyone lined up," I quipped. Not in a boo-hoo way, but a a state-of-the-nation way.

"Nobody at all?" Sandy asked.

"Nope. Haven't been on a date in months. Which is fine, I've sort of expected this dry spell. I'm not really out there."

The loft was already brimming with party-goers, adding to the expected crowd a couple of burlesque dancers who later performed (fans, tassels, titties, the whole shebang).

I saw an attractive man a few feet away, kind of a taller version of Seth Green, and straight-looking (though lord knows I don't have the best gaydar). As soon as I registered his cuteness, a girl came over, sat on the arm of the couch beside him, and leaned over to say something in his ear. A girlfriend. Of course. Better to turn my attention to the bar.

I talked to Glam Drummer about his self-proclaimed lack of heart ("the wires in your chest are what help you keep the rhythm, right?" "Right!"), complimented Glam Singer's everlasting eye make-up, and discussed the bean dip with a legendary rock journalist (I wanted to ask him about Bono, like so, so much, but played it cool).

"Want to go smoke a cigarette?" Podcast Penny asked.


Down a corridor, the loft became more of a warehouse, with large tables covered with planks of wood and mysterious tools propped up everywhere. A metal gate was pulled halfway up to reveal a fire escape with two stairways, one leading up, the other down.

Seth Greener was sitting on the down staircase with the girl, who had a mini-Gina Gershon thing going on. He was even more attractive up close, and I couldn't get cranky about his cute coupleness with Mini-G, because they started chatting with us, and turned out to be total darlings.

We talked about Glam Band and how much fun they are.

"We try to see them as often as we can," said Mini-G.

"It's my second time seeing them and I thought tonight's show was even better than the last one," I grinned.

"Yeah, I remember seeing both of you," said Seth Greener.

He did?

We talked about the merits of living in Manhattan, the outer boroughs, and Jersey City (where the two resided).

"I could never live in Manhattan," I shook my head, "Because sometimes I just.. well, hate people. And you really can't get away from them in Manhattan."

Seth Greener laughed and nodded in agreement.

Back inside, Glam Band were finishing up an acoustic set. I made another drink and Sober Sandy came over, showing Podcast Patty and me some moves from her cardio striptease class.

"You should show those girls how it's done," I pointed to the evolving dance party in the open part of the living room.

"I will!"

I found myself standing alone, at the edge of the crowd, observing the party around me. Seth Greener was close by, and I peripherally caught him looking over at me, a few times.

Off limits, I told myself.

"What are you drinking?"

I looked down into my cup, at the dark red liquid, and had to think for a moment, partly because I couldn't remember, and partly because I was surprised he was chatting me up. At first I thought it was friendly conversation, but there was something a little more to it, I just knew.

We discussed the pointlessness of liberal arts degrees and living abroad and he was charming and funny and oh-so-confusing, because what the hell was the deal with him and Mini-G?

"I think we're going to call a car soon," Podcast Penny came over, looking vaguely apologetic.

Phew, saved by the car.

A Justin Timberlake song came on.

"You can't leave now," Seth Greener said, "They're starting a Justin Timberlake dance party."

"Do you think there'll be a dance-off? That would be awesome." I watched the hipsters get their groove on.

"I do have a soft spot for Justin," Patty admitted.

"See? You can't go," he turned to me, "Do you want to go smoke a cigarette?"

"Sure," Before I could think about it, I got my coat and we made a mad dash for the fire escape.

Outside, he sat very close to me, and we looked at the creepy alley below us filled with car parts.

"That is one creepy alley," he commented.

"It sure is. But it's creepy in a perfect way. I want my creepy alley to have at least one fender and loose hubcap piled against a fence."

"That's the kind of place you go to get killed. Would you want to go down there? Because I wouldn't."

Suddenly, the creepy alley was hilarious.

"No, I definitely wouldn't want to go down there, either. Given the choice between going down there and staying up here, I'll choose up here, thanks."

We laughed and laughed and laughed. Then we did the thing where our heads leaned in and--

Am I going to go to hell for this?

--I let him kiss me. Four things went through my head:

1. I really miss kissing. Kissing is so great.

2. This is nice, but kissing is so much nicer when there's emotion behind it.

3. I wonder if Mini-G is his girlfriend. Maybe they have an open relationship or are shopping for a threesome or something (which I would in no way be down with, being neither bi nor curious).

4. I should probably find out this guy's name.

We made out for several minutes, during which I tried not to set anything aflame with my cigarette. As with Neighbor Neil, the kissing was a bit awkward in the beginning, then we found a groove and our mouths were in synch.

"What's your name?" I asked, when we finally came up for air.

He told me, but I'm going to keep calling him Seth Greener (because it's fun).

"So was that girl your girlfriend?"

"No, she's my roommate."

Oh! No hell for this girl, then.

We kissed some more, and I felt him shivering beneath his t-shirt and suit jacket. Much as I'd like to take the credit for it, I'm pretty sure it was due to all those Arctic winds blowing about.

We took the action inside, into the warehouse/woodshed.

"I have to go," I said, trying to pull away.

"In a minute." He pulled me into another kiss and another, laughing as we tumbled onto a pile of lumber.

My phone beeped. Had to be Penny.

"I can't have my friends leave without me."

"In a minute," he said again.

The kisses became more intense and just as it was getting really hot, I pulled back.

"I really have to go."

No numbers exchanged, which was fine, because that's better than waiting for a call that might not come (I hate waiting for them to call). I did like him and would have seen him again (I'm trying to do this thing where I try to get to know a guy a little before kissing him), but he's five years younger than me, and as I said to Sober Sandy earlier, I prefer if there's only one struggling artist per couple, that being me.

I finally made it downstairs.

"Somebody's lipstick is non-existent," Sandy raised her eyebrows.

"I can't believe I got kisses. I really didn't expect it. What a nice surprise."

"Are you going to blog about this?" Patty asked.

"Of course! I haven't kissed anyone since Neighbor Neil. I'll have to come up with blog names for the two of you."

We tossed around possible names. "Podcast Patty?"

"There's someone I don't like named Patty."

"Podcast Paula?" I wrinkled my nose, "I don't like that name. I'll think of something better."

"Are you going to put this conversation in your blog?" Sandy asked.

"Maybe... Can I just say I still can't believe I got kisses tonight? I don't even care that he didn't ask for my number."

"He'll probably see you at the next Glam Band show. He did remember you from the last one," Patty pointed out.

He did, didn't he.

Friday, December 08, 2006

How Not to be a Pickup Artist

In the last week or so, I have received the following messages from Realtor Rick:

"Are you fun?"

"How can i lose a pirate themed bet? Suggestions welcome."

"This is magic!
Keep pressing down & you'll see santa's willy
act your fucking age, there is no Santa! :) pervert!"

If there is such a thing as text spam, you're looking at it. What's next, offers on discount prescription meds, penis enlargements, and millions of dollars sitting in a Nigerian bank?

I was sorely tempted to reply "unsubscribe" to that last text, but I did not answer any of the above messages, because I know that any reaction to a PUA is considered a good reaction. Besides, it's much more fun to mock them in my blog. I actually wasn't even going to write about it, but it's been a slow week, so what the hell.

This made me realize some of the issues I've had with certain PUAs I've met. Many are fun and cool guys, but a lot of the time I end up feeling like I'm interacting with a caricature, not a person. There have been moments when I've been able to get past the PUA border and talk to the guy about real things, but they have been rare. Once, during a blogger outing, one PUA said I was throwing him off his game because we were discussing serious matters with actual depth (origins of the world, biology versus social programming, etc.). Which I would think would be a nice change from asking a dozen different women,

"Do you think David Bowie is hot?"

For some crazy reason, I thought Realtor Rick would be able to treat me like a friend, not a sounding board for text game. [Incidentally, if any man read the above messages and was even vaguely tempted to send one of them to a women, I implore you not to--unless you want to be The Cheesy Guy. Friends don't let friends send corny texts.]

I even tried to send him a more personal email, asking what he's been up to. The reply?

Even Pickup Artists Have Families.

Um, is that the title of the real email I was supposed to receive, or maybe a book report he is working on for the next lair meeting? Who knows. I just know my eyes are getting sore from rolling them so much.

I had the same problem with PUA Logan. I spent an entire weekend in Canada with him, but didn't get a sense that I got beyond the exterior player (or playa, as the kids today like to say) shell. It got to a point where I got really annoyed by his poking and hair pulling and throwing pieces of paper at me. The seduction community has a tip where they suggest treating the woman like she's your kid sister, but I always find that condescending and irritating, not the least bit attractive, and end up viewing the guy more as the annoying little brother I'm glad I never had.

To be fair, I know I have complained about men who are dull and ask the generic what-do-you-do-for-a-living questions. However, I think a certain amount of small talk is not so bad when you are just getting to know somebody, and there's a point at which the routines really do come across as phony and hollow. Maybe not to less suspecting or more foolish women, but to me there's something way contrived and trying-too-hard about that kind of thing. I'll give some credit for trying to be different, but it would be even cooler if different could also incorporate an element of being real.

From what I have observed of the seduction community, I wonder if some men experience a loss of identity in trying to be the ultimate confident alpha male. Yes, there's an element of self-improvement, if (IF) the information is processed a certain way, but I also think there's a risk for self-delusion, too. You know, Social Robot Syndrome.

I find that, while I still like a man to be dominant, I also go for vulnerability, maybe a streak of shyness or geekiness, and a range of human emotions other than perennial cheerfulness. You know, genuine layers of quirks and feelings and flaws that all people have. And sure, I'm a sucker for good banter, but there's a point where it needs to stop skimming the surface. Coworker Chris and I flirt and lob playful chatter at each other, but the next minute we might be sharing our innermost thoughts.

My point is, I know there are seduction guys who read this blog, and I know the lines and routines are going to be passed around and memorized and tested anyway, but I just wanted to give a shout out to, well, showing a bit of depth and range of character from time to time.

And seriously, the little sister thing? Please knock it off.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

anarchy in nyc

I see him all the time. I pass him on the street, I ride the same subway car with him, and this morning we went to the same gourmet deli for breakfast. There's a flicker of mutual recognition, but we never say anything to each other. I haven't seen Neighbor Neil, who lives six goddamn feet away from me, in three weeks. But Willow's ex, who lives in a completely different borough, but obviously works near me, crosses my path on a nearly weekly basis now. Further (minor) evidence of fate's utter refusal to be nice to me.

Willow and I went out last night. Things have been rocky for her as well, so we shared a nice cup of Life Sucks (as well as a giant pitcher of sangria). Work has been trying for Willow, she's expecting family drama over the holidays, and things with Spanish Sam did not work out. No tidy endings, either, he just drifted off, stopped returning phone calls. Which is more reasonable after a lackluster date or two, but after two months of passionate dating? A chorus of "what a loser" is called for.

"He used to have a much different life," Willow said, "He had the wife, the house, the car, the high paying job. He doesn't have any of that anymore."

"Maybe the divorce and all the crap that followed caused a kind of regression in him. He took the grownup, responsible route, and when it all fell apart maybe he decided not to do the adult thing for a while. Not that it excuses his disappearance and disregard for your feelings, but it could be a reason why."

"That makes sense," Willow nodded.

"I know that after getting knocked around by life the last few months, I feel like I've regressed to being all kinds of teenager. I cut off my hair, paint my nails black, listen to the angsty music I listened to a decade ago, and have an angry and destructive mindset. I feel separated from the rest of the world and generally hate people--present company excluded, of course."

"I know what you mean."

"Seriously, though," I continued, "if all this has taught me anything, it's that being a good person does not guarantee a happy ending."

"That's so depressing."

"Well, let's not say ending, but more that everyone is given hardships they have to deal with, and being sweet or nice does not mean a person will have an easy life or is even entitled to one."

Willow mentioned a rather bitchy and self-centered friend in her mid-20's, who has shot up the career ladder, found love with little diffuculty, and is getting married next year.

"It seems like everything has been handed to her, yet she still complains about friends her age who are becoming lawyers and doctors and making tons more money than her."

"There's always a reason to be dissatisfied," I shook my head.

The bartender refilled our sangria.

"And the fact of the matter is, half of our friends who are getting engaged and married now are going to be divorced within a few years. I can think of one or two people already who I don't think are going to make it."

I never heard sweet, thoughtful Willow sound so cynical. It was actually comforting, because I can't deal with saccharine peppiness right now. And sure, I know it's not good for us to wallow in our bitterness, but we have enough perspective to know it's a phase and will pass.

Call it a crisis of faith.

"At least you believe in God," I said to Willow.

"That doesn't always make it easier."

"Yeah, but they say God has a plan for everyone. I don't believe in God, so I'm just in the midst of a whole bunch of chaos right now."

Depression is defined as anger turned inward. Sometimes, I let the anger go a little, like last night, with Willow, and find comfort in the fact that we are both lost, anxious, sad, frustrated. We've had so many upbeat nights out, but I think it's a mark of true friendship that we were able to be real with each other, not put on a phony front, and still feel somewhat uplifted at the end of the evening. It was more validating than any things-will-get-better platitudes. Shared pain, real feelings, and an overriding theme of: "we just have to get through this, and we will."

When we were done with the sangria and asked for our check, the bartender poured us a free shot. It was dark brown and tasted like an alcoholic pancake.

"Thank you!" We trilled, and left a generous tip.

"Wow, that sangria seemed to go on and on and on. What a huge pitcher," Willow marveled.

"I know! It was like Jesus blessed it or something. No offense..."

Willow just laughed, ever easygoing.

That potent shot pushed us over into proper tipsiness, but also gave us just what we needed to deal with the bracing cold outside.

It's going to be a long winter.