Wednesday, June 28, 2006

gearing up for the convention

This weekend, I'm going to be speaking in front of hundreds of people (mostly men) at a seduction convention in Montreal.

I have never given a talk in front of so many people before. Generally I don't have a problem with public speaking, as long as I rehearse what I'm going to say. It wasn't until this past weekend that I even decided on a topic (after choosing and dismissing several), but I have my speech prepared and can finally relax and look forward to the trip itself.

PUA Logan and I will be driving up to Canada on Friday. I'm betting it'll be an adventure. I've never been in the company of so many pick-up gurus and PUAs-in-training before, and I'm not sure what to expect, but I imagine there will be a lot of energetic and friendly people there. Clifford also mentioned that there will be some women in attendance and I'm curious to trade notes with the ladies and find out what they have taken away from the PUA culture.

I will say, I find the whole thing rather surreal. Last year, I was reading about pick-up artists and now I have become part of the seduction community. In some ways, this convention is the culmination of all the nights out, the chatting with PUAs on and off-line, the articles and newsgroups and blogs devoted to pick-up.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. The unknown is always at least a little intimidating. However, I'm confident about my discussion topic and my ability to impart some valuable advice and suggestions. As far as I know, I'm going to be the only female speaker at this thing. After being asked for a female opinion countless times, I'm happy to offer one in such a setting.

Now what in the world am I going to wear?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

BF "Social Proof" David

It has been said that you are never as attractive to the opposite sex as you are when in a relationship. I've always found that frustrating. I hate to think of human nature as driving people to gravitate toward what they can't have. The "feast or famine" nature of the dating world can also be maddening. As a matter of pure etiquette, I also think there's something rather rude about flirting with someone who you know is in a relationship. Especially when her boyfriend is right next to her.

At the same time, that's the way social proof works. If you're with a good-looking and charming person, it raises your esteem in the eyes of others. I mean, there must be something great about you to attract a person like that, right?

There's also the "it happens when you're not looking" adage. When you're not trying. When are you not looking and trying less than when in a relationship? Not to mention that people having sex on a regular basis tend to have a happy, relaxed glow to them.


It all makes sense, and yet I was still surprised when, over the weekend, several guys acted a tiny bit too friendly with my boyfriend in the vicinity.

One of the guys was a regular at Bar K, there celebrating his birthday. True, we were all toasted (hours of drinking at a previous bar had been going on at this point) and there was a festive atmosphere at the place. Nevertheless, I had talked to Bar Regular on a number of prior occasions and he never flirted with me. That night, however, he smiled, stared, complimented how I looked, and hugged me for a little too long. All with BF David a foot or two away.

It was a nice ego boost, but made me a tad uncomfortable, so I made it more obvious that I was there with my boyfriend. A few smooches later, Bar Regular got the hint.

"You two make a great couple," he told us.

"Yes, we do," BF David and I nodded.

"Have fun," he said to BF David as we were heading out, giving him a significant look.

"Oh, I will."

Another incident took place on the subway on Saturday night. BF David and I were heading to my apartment and took the lengthy ride to catch up on some reading. He was finishing up the last few pages of The Game, while I indulged in a gossip rag.

"Excuse me, but is that a Neil Strauss book?" A guy sitting near us asked.

"It is," BF David held it up to make the cover visible.

Subway Guy then started talking to BF David, talking about how he used to live next door to Neil and how Neil tried to hit on his sister.

"So what's the book about?"

BF David and I smiled, knowing the conversation was just beginning. We told him.

"Do these pickup artists really exist?" Subway Guy asked.

"Honey, why don't you answer that one," BF David gestured for me to take it away.

I talked about PUAs for a bit, and Subway Guy was riveted. The conversation then turned to dating in general and online dating specifically.

"I just got back from an online date, actually," he said.

"Yeah, we're both online dating veterans," I commiserated.

His eyes lit up. "What's your profile name?"

"Oh, I took down all my profiles before I even met this one," I pointed to my boyfriend.

"But what were the names?"

Puzzled as to why he'd ask, I told him, adding, "They're hidden now, though, seeing as I have no use for them." What did I have to do, give BF David a blowjob to get the message across?

Subway Guy was very outgoing and pleasant to talk to, but I was relieved when he got off the train. I got this odd feeling that he may have been flirting with both of us, though BF David said he was definitely flirting with me. I don't know. After all, he didn't even begin the conversation by talking to me. Which is when BF David pointed out that the cluelessness about PUAs might have been a ruse, and an indirect way to get my attention.

"Isn't one of the tricks to ignore the target and get her to start talking to you?"

BF David was right. All this time in the seduction community and I failed to notice one of the primary techniques.

Was subway guy hitting on either of us? Was he a bit more aware of the PUA world than he let on? Perhaps. Was Bar Regular simply friendlier because of his state of birthday inebriation? Could be. Was one of my guy friends from the same bar outing being sweeter than usual because he's been getting some, too? It's possible.

However, BF David has been getting more attention, too. Women are smiling at him left and right.

Where were all of these people when we were single? Probably smiling and flirting with other people in relationships.

Looks like being unavailable has made both of us more appealing.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

ArtyAdamSpace

One cool thing about having a boyfriend is being able to change your relationship status on Friendster and MySpace. No more "Single" for me! Excuse my while I tick off the "In a Relationship" box.

Hey, sometimes it's the little things. It's nice, because exes who I don't speak to and friends who I am no longer friends with but are still on my friends page for whatever reason can see that I'm in a relationship (if only there was an "In a HAPPY relationship" category). It's even nicer, because illiterate weirdos have been emailing me less frequently.

The only person who I ever met through MySpace was Arty Adam. After a lot of instant messages, a few dates, and numerous hours playing video games, things between us fizzled.

This morning, I checked my email and saw that I had a message from him on MySpace. The first thing I thought of, of course, was that he found my blog and wrote to tell me off (it's going to be a while before I stop being paranoid about that).

This was the note waiting for me:

Subject:Hi there

Body: I hope things are well with you. You deserve it.



The time stamp was something like 3:30am, so I'm guessing there might have been alcohol involved in that email. I used to have a serious drunken texting problem, so I could imagine drunken MySpacing could be an increasing phenomenon.

Should I bother responding? Arty Adam was always nice to me (if a little passive), but anything I could reply would probably sound trite and hollow. So instead, I'll write my reply here:

Dear Arty Adam,

Funny you should write, because I have been reliving some of our dates while putting together the sample chapter I am writing for my agent. Oh yeah, I'm working on a book proposal that has to do with my blog and, by extension, my love life. Which means you will be mentioned in the book when it comes out. I hope you don't mind.

I would say that it's a shame things didn't work out between us, but that isn't true. I met a wonderful man, who I am in love with, so I wouldn't want things to be working out any other way. I wish you all the best and am sure you'll find someone special, too. I had fun with the video games and light bondage and hope you find someone to enjoy both with again. Because a good pair of handcuffs is a terrible thing to waste.

~Dolly

Monday, June 19, 2006

Love in the Real World

Polly's post about recent relationship difficulties made me realize that I haven't been entirely forthcoming about my own little stumbling blocks with BF David. This wasn't in an effort to paint things between us as some kind of fairy tale, merely something I haven't had the chance to extrapolate on.

The truth is, we've had a few tense moments. I don't know if "argument" would even be the right right word, because usually it's more a conversation or situation that evolved into something more uncomfortable and negative. One time, it was sparked by our differing opinions on a play we saw together. Another time, it was triggered by his momentarily overwhelming me by venting about his new job-related stress. On Friday night, it was caused by a homeless man.

We were in midtown, heading home after meeting Willow for a couple of drinks. I kept my eyes peeled for a taxi, nervous because we had already passed a group of loitering teens on the street who shouted something out to us. It's also worth mentioning that we were both tired from an exhausting week and a little tipsy.

On the next corner a homeless man approached us and said something hostile to BF David. I didn't hear what it was (later I found out it was something derogatory about me), but the two of them instantly got into a screaming match.

I hailed a taxi right away, opened the door, yelled for BF David to get in the cab, and pulled him inside. It took a couple of seconds to get him in the car, and the homeless guy followed us and pounded on the back window.

I was terrified that this guy might be a lunatic who was carrying some kind of weapon, and my fear quickly mutated into anger. I shouted at BF David that he shouldn't have gotten into an argument with that guy, that he should have walked away in case the situation became dangerous. BF David replied that he was defending my honor, that I was never in danger because he was always standing between me and the homeless man, and that if things had escalated, he would have been able to handle the situation. BF David was angry that I lashed out at him while he was standing up for me, whereas I was angry that he let himself be provoked by a complete stranger who could have been a real threat (he probably wasn't, but this is New York City after all, so giving mentally unstable strangers the benefit of the doubt isn't the best idea). It isn't that I didn't trust BF David to be a man, I didn't trust the other guy.
We were both quiet in the taxi and there was an awful negativity in the air. I wasn't even angry anymore, just sad that we both got carried away with our tempers. Even after making up, which we did later that night, it took a while for that tension and feeling of gloom to die down.

Adding a humorous moment into the mix helped. When we got out of the taxi, both of us were still pouting. BF David spotted one of those plastic stands that holds free public magazines (Learning Annex, etc.) which had been knocked to the ground. He lifted the kiosk angrily until it was upright, and the sharp motion caused all the magazines to spill out onto the ground. I tried to keep a somber face, but couldn't help chuckling as we walked to his apartment building.

"You liked the way I did that?" he asked.

"Yeah, it was really smooth," I laughed again, despite myself.

We were still upset while talking in bed later, but were able to discuss what happened more rationally, seeing each other's perspective.

Whatever temper issues BF David and I may have, I'll credit him with being a very good communicator and making me a better one as well. In the past, I didn't always air out my grievances when I should have, and let hostilities build over time. Or, when arguing with a significant other, I would feel like we were talking in circles and kept believing I was in the right without making an effort to see the guy's point of view. These days, I realize how destructive that kind of passive-agressiveness and selfishness can be.

I also realize that things aren't always going to be easy. The first two months have been relatively smooth for BF David and me, but life will always add speed bumps. Lately, work has been more stressful than usual for both of us, and personal projects and numerous social obligations have been leaving us frequently frazzled. What matters is that we try to be aware of our triggers. He gets cranky when he's hungry. I get cranky if I don't have time to decompress right out of the office. He needs me to be flexible while adjusting to new job responsibilities. I need him to be patient with my mood swings at certain times of the month.
Considering the fact that we are still together and still nuts about each other, this whole open and honest communication thing must be working.

Of course, it could also be that we never wait more than 24 hours to have makeup sex...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Why I've been so quiet

Thanks for all the great replies to my request for good and bad pick-up lines. Please keep 'em coming!

Apologies for the lack of substantial posts lately. Apart from my day job, which has been keeping me busier than normal, I've been busy sorting out details for this new business venture I'm going to be a part of as well as trying to plan the trip to Montreal at the end of the month for Cliff's Convention. On top of all that, and trying to maintain a semblance of a social life and spend quality time with BF David (happy two-month anniversary, baby!), I have another personal project to which I've been devoting myself.

I'm working on a book proposal for my agent. This is what I have been giving a lot of my time and energy to lately. I've been working unbelievably hard on this thing, so please bear with me if I haven't replied to emails or have otherwise slipped under the radar. The proposal is going to be done soon and it's going to be all kinds of awesome and then I'll return to more timely posting. Lots of big things are in the works, so I'm sure I'll have plenty of good stories!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Do you come here often?

Ladies,

I need your help. I've been sharing my stories on this blog for nearly half a year, but now I'm going to turn the tables and ask you to share an anecdote or two.

Or, rather, a pick-up line or two.

I've heard plenty, but I'd like to know which ones have been tried on you and which ones you have responded to (whether that response was to smile, roll your eyes, or walk away). Which approaches have worked and which ones bombed? What did you find charming and what did you cringe at? Most importantly, what do you wish guys would do and/or say more often when approaching you?

You can leave a comment here or email your response to cocksanddolls@yahoo.com. Please note this is for my personal research purposes, so I will be deleting all comments while I gather information.

I'll tell you what this is about later on, but it's rather important and time sensitive, so I have to be secretive for now. Even so, I'd love some help from the women out out there...

Friday, June 09, 2006

Ring-a-ding-ding

Recently, whenever I've gone into a pharmacy and browsed the condom selection, I've been drawn to the Elexa brand put out (get it; "put out?" Thankyouverymuch and don't forget to tip your waitress) by Trojan. The dark packaging picturing an enticing female silhouette houses "sexual well-being" (the website's phrasing, not my own) products aimed at women. Aside from "natural feel", "ultra-sensitive", and "you'd swear you were riding bareback" (perhaps I made that one up) condoms, there are freshening cloths, intimacy gel, and a vibrating ring.

Hang on, let's talk about that last one. I know a ring can get a woman pretty excited, but I never heard of a vibrating one doing that.

At first, I scoffed at the vibrating ring. I don't know why, sometimes I just like to scoff at things. Oftentimes, I end up liking the very things I initially scoffed at (blogging being a prime example). Eventually my suspicion turned into curiosity.

"I'll surprise BF David," I thought to myself, picking up an Elexa box and perusing the condom racks.

A cranky middle-aged man waiting for a prescription glanced at me while I was picking out the condoms.

"That's right," my look countered as I grabbed the big box, "I plan on having lots of sex. Looks like you could use some yourself."

BF David and I tried out the vibrating ring that weekend.

It did not look the way I expected it to. I thought it would be akin to a napkin ring, but made of latex (I know: sexy). Instead, it was skinnier, more like one of those jelly bracelets all of us girls wore in the 80's. That is, a jelly bracelet with an attached capsule-shaped vibrating nub capable of creating massive orgasms (I don't think us ten-year-olds could have handled such powerful fashion accessories back then, anyway; we had our hands full figuring out those t-shirts with the sewn-on suspenders).

The device acts as a sort of cock ring for the man and clit stimulator for the woman. Having tried it twice now, I can enthusiastically vouch for this thing. In fact, the second time we tried it I had an orgasm within 30-60 seconds (though that speaks to BF David's talents as much as the ring's). Needless to say, I'm a fan; I'm ready to act as president of the Elexa Vibrating Ring Fan Club. Or better yet, a cheerleader (because I'm always looking for an excuse to get a costume).

Anybody looking for something a little extra and fun in the bedroom should give the vibrating ring a whirl. It's small, quiet, and may just make you come like an A-bomb. It's like using a miniature sex toy, but not as intense or intimidating, and you can obtain it an any Duane Reade.

Now if only Duane Reade would start carrying nipple clamps...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Pick-up Artists in the Media (Again)

Here's an article on pick-up artists that's worth a read:

"What Does it Take to Get a Date in this Town?"

Jaimal Yogi's article is informative, fun, and paints a well-rounded (even *gasp* positive) portrait of the seduction community in a city that sounds like an even bigger dating nightmare than New York.

San Francisco magazine was nice enough to contact me before running the piece to fact check my encounter with a couple of the PickUp 101 instructors (hey, actual fact checking; imagine that!). I only wish I wasn't in Europe when Yogi emailed me and could have answered more of his questions before his deadline passed.

Unlike the Village Voice piece, this one is not full of fabrications and doesn't read like it's determined to cast these guys in a bad light. It's well-written and fair. The article is something I'd recommend to anyone interested in possibly learning a few new facets of the PUA world (Some of them are cool! Some of them don't use routines!) and I am flattered and pleased to be quoted in it.

(Thanks again for the link, Coasta!)

Monday, June 05, 2006

The Dolly Mama

Anyone who meets her usually ends up saying the same thing:

"You have a cool mom."

Don't I know it. A few years ago, during a period of financial difficulty, I had to move back in with my mother for a while. She remains, to this day, one of the best roommates I ever had. She wasn't messy, but wasn't uptight about cleanliness, either. She's considerate about privacy and personal space. She's full of great stories and has lead the most fascinating life of anyone I know. She smokes and drinks and anyone who comes over invariably ends up getting tipsy at her hand (like BF David, who met her last week).

Once, during a particularly bizarre online date, I ended up smoking pot with the guy. I called my mom to her know I was on my way home.

"How was your date?" she asked.

"He's not for me, but he did get me stoned!"

"Good for you! How do you feel?"

"Really relaxed... but hungry."

"Would you like me to make something for you for when you get home?"

"Actually, I'm kind of craving Thai."

When I came home, there was $50 worth of Thai take out on the kitchen counter.

Another time, while on a more successful date, I ended up going home with the guy (though we almost did it on one of the fire escapes of the Puck building, which would have made for a much better anecdote, but alas). As a courtesy, I called Mom from the taxi on the way to his apartment.

"How was your date?"

"Good. Really good. I'm actually not going to be coming back tonight."

"Do you have condoms?"

"Do we have condoms?" I asked the guy. He nodded.

"Yes," I told Mom.

"Okay, have fun!"

Mom knows about this blog, but doesn't have internet access at home, and therefore does not read it. Even so, sooner or later she will read it in one form or another, so I have tried to prepare her for some of the racier content. So far, only one story has shocked her to the point of tears. This does not detract from her coolness. She still remains one of the more open-minded people I know. Which is why it wasn't that strange for us to follow up Friday's dinner in the West Village with a trip to Fantasy World, a large sex shop on Seventh Avenue (and much better than the one BF David and I visited the week before).

We walked over there in the pouring rain, discussing sex and sex toys.

"You know I'm going to blog about this, right?" I told my mother.

"You better!" said Mom, who is single and has men my age hitting on her all the time. "Who knows, maybe I'll get a date out of it." She gave me a mischievous smile.

Mom was uncomfortable being in the store too long once she decided on her purchase, so I didn't spend much time on my quest to find a perfect riding crop (next time, next time). Even so, I never imagined I'd get to a point in our relationship where I'd be comfortable picking out condoms with her standing a foot away.

Later, in the taxi, Mom vaguely asked how things were with BF David, bedroom-wise. I do have limits with how much I can share with her about my sex life, so I said things were great, without going into detail (it was enough to mention handcuffs during our dinner conversation).

"Good," she nodded. "Sexual compatibility is really important."

We started talking about how things were with her and Dad, but luckily the taxi got to my place before we could delve into it too much. I guess there are some things my mother is even more open talking about than I am.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Knock Me Up, Knock Me Down

Some people just can't exist without worrying about something. Unfortunately, it seems that I am one of those people. When I was single, I worried that I might be alone for the rest of my life. When I met someone I liked, I worried that it would all somehow fall apart--and hey! It usually did! When I started dating BF David, at first I worried that he wouldn't stick around, or that I wouldn't want him to. Once I realized just how much we were falling for each other and we started batting the L-word around, I felt more secure in the relationship. Today, I can see us lasting and lasting.

You'd think now that I don't have to worry about where my next kiss is coming from, I'd calm the hell down and stop worrying entirely. You'd be wrong.

My latest paranoia? The big P: Pregnancy.

Holy crap, I am so scared of getting pregnant. Not that I have much reason to be. BF David and I use condoms, every single time; we don't mess around when it comes to safe sex. And while they aren't 100% effective, the condoms have done their job in all the years I've been sexually active. I have been never been pregnant and have been fortunate enough not to endure even the slightest pregnancy scare.

So why am I so worried about getting knocked up?

Because, if I got pregnant five or more years ago, the solution would probably be more clear-cut. I always told myself I wouldn't even think about kids before my late 20's. Now that I'm here, I can't imagine being the slightest bit ready for a family before my early or mid-30's, or ever, for that matter. I'm still working on getting my career off the ground and even though I don't make a lot of money, I love having the freedom to be frivolous from time to time. I mean, at one point I firmly stated that I'd never have kids, solely because I'd have to give up sushi and alcohol for so many months. Not quite the maturity that a potential mom needs to exude.

The thing is, now I'm at an age where getting pregnant wouldn't lead to an easy solution. I am finally in a healthy and exciting romantic relationship and I want us to enjoy it as long as damn possible. Though as much time as we spend together, we have busy lives of our own and busy social calendars without adding any ginormous responsibilites to the mix like a tiny little living creature who poops and cries a lot. In other words, I am in no way prepared to have a kid and the very idea terrifies me to no end, but the inevitable trauma of having an abortion scares me, too. I honestly don't know what I would do in such a situation.

All this paranoia has be considering something I never thought I would again: The Pill.

My first experience with birth control pills was a miserable one. The wretched thing made me bloated, moody, unbelievably sleepy (I felt like a borderline narcoleptic) and generally far removed from myself. I felt like an alien in my own body and couldn't control the cloudy, unreasonable thoughts my brain generated. Not fun.

I did try a different Pill, one with less estrogen, but by that point I was freaked out about putting hormones into my body and potentially disrupting a healthy balance I had going. I don't lead the healthiest lifestyle on the planet, but I am lucky enough to be of solid stock, so it's extremely rare that I need to see a doctor for anything more than a check-up. My mental health, with the exception of certain times of the month, is also pretty sound. Seems like it would be foolish to possibly mess that up. I don't want to gain weight again. I don't want to subject BF David to my rollercoaster moods while my body rights its hormonal levels. I don't want to not feel like myself. As much as I support how much The Pill has done for women in terms of taking control of their sexuality, a bit part of me simply does not agree with putting foreign chemicals into your body for an extended amount of time. I say this as someone who has experience with the foreign chemicals, and prefers life without them (whether they are deisgner drugs, hormones, or even large doses of alcohol-- though I still like that last one, in moderation).

It's a tough call and I am still undecided. I have a doctor's appointment next month and will revisit the issue then. For all its drawbacks, taking birth control pills would probably give me a bit more peace of mind than using condoms. But then again, they might also give me an extra five pounds I vehemently don't want and a month's worth of The Crazies. After all the crap I have put into my body over the years, after getting to a point where I actually like my body and respect how well it works, maybe I should leave it alone.

Lots to ponder...