Friday, October 31, 2008

An Open Letter to Matt, my future boyfriend

Hi Matt,

I hope this note finds you well.

As you may know, Anna – the lovely woman who does both our laundering – suggested we might be a good match. I – an adventurous and fun-loving girl – was of course open to the idea. Anna has since back- peddled suggesting she might not be comfortable inserting herself into what should be natural progression of two like-minded people, so I – one who never wants to make anyone uncomfortable - thought I’d just pop you a line myself and slip it under the door of the apartment Anna once mentioned you live in. No one takes the time to write a personal letter these days, you know?!

From what I’ve heard you’re just the nicest guy and really pay the kind of attention to Anna that we both know she deserves. Plus - hellooo - you live on Thompson Streeeet! I mean can you say fate?! I wonder if we’ve actually already seen each other at one of the neighborhood haunts... I can generally be found casually sipping one to two drinks at a reasonable hour in a non-descript outfit. I’m really just a down to earth girl trying to fit into the wild Manhattan scene.

So, listen, we should try to get together some time! It’s so rare that someone you casually know randomly suggests a person they think may have a lot in common with you based on very vague information. I feel like in these hard economic times we all need a little whimsy, you know? What do I mean by whimsy? Let’s talk it over once I get a look at your general build and find out what you do for a living.

Maybe the best way to get to know each other is to just meet out among some friends. Some of my good friends live in the area, and I’m sure they’d be up for a drink or ten after work. What about yours’? Are they the I-went-to-a-school-with-a-strong-acamedic-reputation-but-also-great-football-team-and-so-we-know-how-to-work-hard-but-also-play-hard types? Not a requirement…just wondering…

Give me a call at 555-2222 when you get the chance. Really looking forward to finally putting a face to a set-up by my dry cleaner. Oh, and listen, should the friends of mine you end up meeting greet you with something along the lines of, “Matt!! OMG!! FINALLY!! We have been waiting forever to meet you!!” don’t even worry about it. They’re just rrealllyy friendly...


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

This is what happened with my dry cleaner offering to set me up

I’d like to thank you all for your interest in the progress of my laundry love Matt.

It's been a roller-coaster of emotions since Anna first proposed the idea. I'd say I've never been so in love with a complete stranger recommended by a service provider of mine, but my old ophthalmologist once said he thought I'd be perfect for his son.

Here are the paraphrased details up to this point:

Wednesday 10/22 – 7:30am.

I go down to Anna’s with laundry in tow hoping to catch Matt. On 10/21 she reported that, “he drop shirts off early in morning.” I am shower fresh in a plaid trench coat and new brown boots. I waltz in with a hurried strut that says, “I have places to go, but not so fast that I can’t say hello to the woman who irons my clothes. She’s important too, and, dressed in this adorable pencil skirt, I understand that.”

No Matt.
  • “Hi Anna, where’s my boyfriend?” (Oprah says aspirational language is the first step toward success)
  • “Haha – Jessica – you juuust miss him. He have early meeting. I say you come in soon. He laugh then leave.” (Has Matt rejected the mere idea of me? What clothes of mine has she shown him?!?!)
  • “Ugh – fine. But you tell him I won’t wait around forever.”
  • “Okay – I tell him.”
  • “No Anna – don’t actually tell him that. Don’t actually tell him anything, okay?”
  • “Hahaha Jessica – oookay.”

Fuck. Can I trust Anna to be a stealthy, coy matchmaker on my behalf? Probably not. Do I have any choice in the matter? No, none.
Friday 10/24 – 6:00pm
I pop in after work to pick up a suit I think I’ve left there thinking maybe Matt needs to pick up his favorite shirt so he can wear it to the exact same place I just so happen to be going tonight. He probably does. It makes perfect sense.

  • “Anna! What’s up! How are you?”
    “Jessica – Hi - how work for you?”
  • “Good, good – working hard, working hard. Hey listen, did I happen to leave a suit here recently?”
  • “You suit? No. You no bring suit to be clean ever.” (Right. That’s true. Probably because I don’t actually own a suit).
  • “Right. Hhmm. Okay.”
  • “Jessica Matt-You-Boyfriend come only in morning. I tell you this, no?”
  • “Oh – haha – who? Haha. Matt-my-boyfriend. Haha. Anna. You’re a riot. Gotta run!”
Okay, so she’s more stealth than me. We’ll call that a humiliating-though-positive development.
Sunday 10/26 – 11:00am
(please know that the process I went through to determine what time on a Sunday morning Matt might go to the dry cleaners began at 7am)
I have nothing to be cleaned. Due to the frequency with which I have been “popping” by Anna’s my entire wardrobe is cleaner than it’s ever been. I have now resorted to re-cleaning some towels just so I have something to bring down there. Whatever. It’s fate.
  • “Jessica! You here again? Hahaha.” (That bitch)
  • “Yep – Hi Anna – these towels just got so dirty yesterday somehow.”
  • “I understand.” (Her tone is clear as day. She’s on to me like white on rice. Ooh. Right. Sorry.)
  • “Anna -- say -- I was thinking. It would be so funny if, since you think Matt is the nicest guy and I’m the nicest girl, it maybe you told us both to come in at the same time to say hi to each other finally?”
  • “Ooh I arrange set up?” (Let’s count the number of times I can feel a fool in the span of five minutes…)
  • “Right. Yes. So you see...”
  • “Okay Jessica – I tell Matt. See what he think.” (What?! Run to by him!! Where is her loyalty! I wonder if she’s gotten to Chicks before Dicks in her urban dictionary. Hhm. Right. Best not to risk finding out she hasn’t.)
  • “Fine Anna. I mean – no big deal – it’s just so funny, that’s all. You know, right?”
  • “Oh yes Jessica – I know.”

Oh. So it’s going to be like that now. Fine. But this is far from over. I’ve invested way too much money into unnecessary laundering to give up without a fight.

To be continued...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ways girls give guys the advantage: example #1

You see this a lot in a typical bar scene.

An attractive guy walks into a bar where many groups of girls are standing in packs drinking vodka sodas and waiting for attractive guys to walk in. He instantly becomes the best looking guy in the room.

One member of every single group of girls take note of his arrival and brings the full group up to speed.
  • "Girls. 3:00.”
  • “Oooh – he is fantastic looking.”
  • “Probably gay” (this from the most currently bitter member of the group)
  • “I think he’s only hot from the profile. Look, dead on he has a sort of funky brow thing going on” (this from the girl who thinks he’s gorgeous but doesn’t want in on the game tonight. She could just say that but instead she has to be sure it’s clear to everyone else that she doesn’t want him anyway)
  • “No, he’s hot. It. Is. On.”

Each group of girls inside that bar is engaged in some variation of that same reaction. I know this because they could not be more obvious about it. It’s like when two characters in a sitcom step over to the corner of a room then proceed to talk in full volume about the other character three feet away.

He can hear and see you. He’s right there.

Now there’s nothing wrong with making it clear to a guy that you’re interested, but in this kind of group scenario you’ve just given him a massive upper hand – the kind of upper hand that will likely prevent him from making the first move.

Why? Because he knows for a fact that four plus groups of girls are currently talking about how to best approach him. Odds are one of them will figure it out. In the meantime he can stand at the bar with his bros drinking brew dogs and talking in hushed volume with non-obvious body language about which betty they hope wins out. Why should he risk it with a set-up like that?

This chain of events is one among of group of things we girls unknowingly do to give guys the bar scene advantage. Other examples include dancing in a small, tight circle in a far, back corner of the bar (he’s not crossing the room to join in a rousing rendition of Sing You’ve Been Gone) and arriving with one or more gay best friends (he's not a. taking the risk that one’s your boyfriend and b. dealing with the stare down he’ll get if they both are in fact gay)

In this particular scenario I say elect your best first-impression girl and move quickly. This is far less about getting the guy and far more about marking the territory. You are the group of girls in the bar who will not stand around and whisper about the hot guys that walk in. You are above that. You are prepared to walk right up to him and deliver the best lie you have collectively come up with.

“Hey, sorry for staring. We saw you walk in and thought you’d looked just like this guy we know from _______. Wanted to apologize for creeping you out. I’m Jessie.”

Tomorrow - an update on Matt

A modern meet cute theory

I’m not saying it’s a hard and fast rule, but I do believe the weirder the places you put yourself in the greater your chances are of meeting someone – case in point the guy I met at a hot dog stand at 3:00 in the morning.

I had been out with some friends on the Lower East Side – Libation I think – for one or too many vodka tonics (my then drink of choice – I’ve since switched to soda on account of the popularity of skinny jeans). I had to go to the bathroom because I have the bladder of an 8-month pregnant woman, so I went wandering around downstairs looking for one. I found it, went, and then somehow walked out the front door of the bar. I have no idea how this happened. I can assume from my state of mind (or lack there of) that I thought the front door was the stairs back to the dance floor. This has happened before.

Once on the street I decided I may as well go home. Again, these are assumptions. It is entirely possible that I had another destination in mind. No matter because on the way to wherever I was headed I smelled hot dogs.

I, like most people who claim to be grossed-out by hot dogs, love them. I take mine with saur kraut and brown mustard, exclusively. Of course drunk at 3:00 in the morning I’d take it any way it came.

And so I proceeded to sniff around the dark and unsavory streets of the Lower East Side looking for the source of this hot dogs smell. Luckily the source was actual hot dogs. I found them somewhere shockingly far from where I began (apparently when the sense of logic is dulled the sense of smell is sharpened). At said hot dog cart was a very attractive man, naturally. I must have approached looking like a crack whore hoping to score, because he said something like, “wow, you look like you really want a hot dog! Let me buy that for you.”

This is where my theory comes in. See if I had simply been in a subway car with this guy or inside a store or sitting on a park bench he would have had no prompt to speak to me. It was because I was a laughable disaster in an already hysterical environment that he had an opening line -- a meet-cute as the 1950's filmmakers would call it.

They didn’t have saur kraut but I wasn’t about to refuse a free hot dog from a perfectly good-looking man. I believe we stood there for some time as the vendor (a man whose version of this story I would kill to hear) prepped the dog because we somehow grew comfortable enough with each other for him to ask for my number and kiss me. Yes, hot dog in left hand, high-heeled foot dangling off the cracked, concrete curb, I kissed a boy at a late night food cart.

But again, it was because of the very bizarreness of the situation that the chain of events occurred. I’ve had similar luck standing and watching the trapeze school that used to be outside Hudson River Park (“so, are you a trapeze artist or just a fan?”) and at the New York City Transit Museum (“so, what’s your favorite subway line?”) leading me to believe that the stranger the circumstance, the more natural the conversation. Ironic, but somehow still logical.

And no, sadly my hot dog man never called. Apparently you’ve got to kiss a lot of guys at hot dog stands at 3:00 in the morning to get a prince.

Friday, October 24, 2008

An Open Letter to the people who've requested I write about their relationship issues so their significant others who read this blog will change

I'm not doing it.

Not only is it a bad idea for you - but it is a bad idea for me.

I more than understand your desperate need to have this problem resolved without you yourself having to take any action. I too wish I had a device to communicate my embedded desires to the people who most need to know (except I sort of do). Bottom line - bad idea.

I know what you're thinking -- if _____ isn't smart enough to recognize the issue at hand and correct it, they probably won't realize, after reading the post, that it is about them.


Because if I wrote it - which I won't - I would use the kind of necessary specifics that would make it abundantly clear I'm talking about ______.

Why can't I just dance around the topic? Make it a theme not a full-on rant? Pepper it into a post about something else?

Because that won't get the job done. I'm a results-oriented person. And if what you want is for ________ to initiate sex somewhere other than in front of the TV, you you need to be specific.

I apologize for not being able to help solve your problem. But please understand that I too am at risk. See there's a slight chance _______ won't realize it was you who requested the forum on not complaining about one's mother every fucking day, but she will absolutely know I wrote it.

So I'm sorry, but you're on your own. I recommend a quick sit-down or maybe an anonymous note. You could also have a mutual friend who you don't really like address it. Or just break up. That's probably the best solution really.

I call not it. I've got my own stack of issues to weave ever-so carefully into blog posts in an attempt to make the appropriate people pick up what I'm putting down.

Good luck to you.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My dry cleaner offered to set me up

Though in fairness Anna is much more than my dry cleaner.

I consider her more of a casual friend who does various services for me at a discounted price (“Jessica – you no pay full price. You my friend.”)

As a small-ish town girl living in big city I tend to treat my local shopkeepers like 1950’s soda shop owners. There’s Deeb the falafel stand owner, Jose the parking garage attendee, Allain the doorman at the Dove (slash accomplished modern artist), and Muhammed at the liquor store. As such this set up situation is not the first time romantic matters have popped up among my Thompson Street fam.

So I’m at Anna’s (official name Best Dry Cleaners – of course) the other day when my phone rings. I would never rudely answer a phone call while Anna is showing off her latest English slang phrases (“Jessica you hot tranny mess”), so I let it go.

  • “That you boyfriend Jessica?” (she calls me this exclusively).

  • “Ha! No Anna,” I say, “probably just my Mom. I don’t have a boyfriend.”

  • “No! You lie! No true,” she says.

  • “Well, thank you Anna. I too can’t believe it, but alas this is the present situation. I’m taking a little guyaitus.”

  • “Jessica what this mean?”

  • “Right. Sorry. Just means no men right now for me Anna.”

  • “I have man for you!!” she screams.

  • “I’m sorry, whaaat?”

  • “I have favorite guy. D 111 – apartment right there. Apartment with doorman. He nicest guy.” (the value of a doorman transcends cultures – fascinating).

  • “Oookay Anna. Haha. You hook it up. Haha. Tell him I’m available and that I’m your favorite girl,” I say jokingly as I walk out the door.

Two days later:
  • “Jessica, I tell Matt allll about you. He laugh but say okay.”
While I am in no position to be refusing introductions to “nicest guy”s, the thought of being set up by my laundress brings up some questions – most notably – what kind of guy does the woman who cares for my clothes thing I belong with?
I know the following: his name is Matt. He is nicest guy. He lives in a doorman building on Thompson Street. He drycleans and/or washes his clothes. Anna adores him.
Frankly I’ve known less, but still.With this limited knowledge plus 20 years worth of over-analysis, I’ve deduced the following:

  • He is a good tipper – Every time I tip Anna she says, “Jessica – you nicest girl.” Thus if Matt is, to Anna, nicest guy, he too must tip.

  • He has good clothes – I’ve seen Anna turn her nose up at a some of the crap people drop off. She has an eye for labels. If she thinks highly of Matt it has something to do with his merchandise.

  • He is white or close to white – Anna is Korean, and I know for a fact that traditional Koreans believe people should marry within their race. Ergo – Matt is Caucasian-ish.

  • He can afford to live in the only doorman building on Thompson Street

  • He talks to her – likely – about as much as I do – I’ve seen Anna stone wall a customer or two over the years. If you pay no mind to her, she returns the favor. Matt is probably a fairly nice and conversational guy if he’s won her over.
I’ve decided to play along. Mostly because I am dying to see how she attempts to play match maker (I envision some clever switching of the clothes – our phone numbers are on the receipts…). It would for sure get us in the Sunday Times Vows section, maybe even on the Today Show. Plus I'd potentially never have to leave Thompson Street.
But bottom line, who doesn’t want some good clean fun out of a lot of dirty laundry? (please believe me when I that is the least cheesy ending of all the drafts I wrote).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

An argument against reason

We watched a video today as part of the new hire orientation at my new company. It was a 20-or-so minute sizzle reel highlighting the company’s accomplishments, goals, and perks – a multi-media pep rally of sorts (they’ve clearly got my number).

Throughout the video are clips of a speech given by the CEO marking the launch of a new mission slogan: Next Thing Now. In it he says a lot of things about cultivating talent and thinking outside the box – typical CEO-of-a-media agency stuff.

Then he said something that I wrote down in my moleskin (I know something is meaningful to me if I an immediately inclined to write it down in my moleskin. For example the previous two entires are “Santo Gold – L.E.S. Artistes" which is an amazing new song and “black felt cloche hat” which is something I must own).

“In order to do all of this,” he said, “to really be innovators and movers and writers of the future, we cannot be reasonable.” The he said it again for dramatic effect. “We. Can. Not. Be. Reasonable. We must be unreasonable because it is when we are unreasonable that we force change. Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa. These were not reasonable people. We need to be them.”

(They sell moleskins at most major stationary stores. For now just write it on whatever is available)

I’ve had my fair share of experience with “unreasonable.” When I was three I insisted on wearing the same peach party dress every single day for six weeks. They would hide it. I would find it. They would reason with me. I would throw myself on the ground and bawl 'til they gave in. Later in life I launched a small internet company with zero business plan or foresight and attempted to date some of the most inaccessible men for some of the most embarrassing lengths of time.

So it is with good, solid history that I approach my march toward adulthood with reason in my mission statement. It is the theme of two of my five listed Facebook quotes.

But it’s hard to argue with the Ghandi thing. Same for MLK, and Mother T not to mention every other person of significant positive social, political, business and fashion change. They metaphorically launched small internet companies without a solid business plan – then they followed all the way through.

There are moments when in order to be truly great, we must be unreasonable - pushers of envelopes, jumpers off cliffs, askers of the tough questions.
Why go for great? Because a life goal of “just okay” seems like a real waste. The question isn’t why – it’s when.

When is it worth it to throw ourselves on the floor and bawl it out if that’s what it takes and when is it time to call our tough-love friend to talk us down from the ledge?

I don’t know. The video ended there. 

Sunday, October 19, 2008

It is my life’s goal to determine if drunk thoughts are real thoughts.

People always say the same thing when you come to them with shame, regret, and confusion after acting on a drunk feeling. “Well, you know your drunk thoughts represent how you really feel…”

In 80% of all circumstances that … means “about him/her”. The remaining 20 encompass career, family, health, and political issues (drunk voting kills).

I’m not sold on this.

In my near decade of consuming alcohol and then feeling feelings, I have yet to see a clear answer: YES, drunk feelings = true/uninhibited/to-be-trusted or NO, drunk feelings = like mirages in a desert of legitimate emotional connection.

We need to figure this out.

Not only because it would be helpful to have a sense of how we really feel about certain things slash people but more importantly because it would be really great to know how certain people slash things feel about us.

So far, square one. “But I like him every time I drink” isn’t evidence enough to suggest it’s correct -- there’s no real control for an experiment (experimenting with one exclusive liquor per given evening was as close as I’ve come. Then I realized that in that scenario I’m the control...) -- and, frankly, no success story to point to with a, “ha – I felt that way and then my feelings were confirmed and lead to a healthy, lasting relationship. Good. Done.”

In my most recent efforts to figure it out I’ve turned to the staple of our early days of problem solving: context clues. What else is going on inside this sentence that might help me determine if my mind can be trusted while drunk?
  • I am dancing a lot and if I might say so, very well: Mind in check. Dancing is never the wrong decision.  Well is a sure sign.
  • I have ordered $40 worth of Chinese food at 3am: Inconclusive. It can be very smart to fill the stomach – unless you turn into a vom-pire (© Dani).
  • I have told many people to “just put it on my tab – I have a card down”: Brain not functioning. Drunk generosity is one of the first signs of mind shut-down. 
  • While trying to determine if my mind is sound enough to correctly assess basic emotions, I am still drinking: Right. 
It’s a mixed bag. And really what’s to say a well-choreographed Billy Jean routine after one bottle of red correlates to your feelings for Joe from Accounting being real and worthy of action? The mind has many sections. Dance skills and unguarded, true love might very well be in different ones.

And so I’m left with no choice but to conduct an experiment aiming to determine the validity of drunk feelings by evaluating in how many instances they lead to actual relationships and/or marriage.  As I see it - it's our only choice.  A civic duty to our future drunk children.

Sign-up forthcoming. You are welcome to remain anonymous – unless you’ve ever exhibited a thing for me while drunk.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

An Open letter to the remaining single male Boston College alumni attending the BC/VTech Game this weekend

Hi Men,

I wanted to take a moment to remind you about the finer points of marrying a fellow Boston College alumnus in light of this weekend’s festivities.

As I’m sure you know ending up with someone who possesses like interests is one of the keys to a successful, lasting relationship. These most often include similar family background, personal morals, level of education, and life goals.

As I’m sure you also know, it can be very hard to ascertain these details at loud bars, via vague Facebook profiles, and in Manhattan.

But with a fellow Boston College alumna, there are no questions.
  • She is either from Massachusetts, New York, or New Jersey.

  • Her morality prompts her to engage in volunteerism and avoid stealing but does not prevent her from hooking up with you.

  • She likely applied to and got into all the same colleges you did, but chose BC thus proving her overall intelligence.

  • Her goals are to own a spot on Shea so she can throw the world’s greatest tailgates making her future BC students the envy of all their peers.
Though that should really be enough, of equal significance is the laundry list of things you will never have to explain to your fellow BC-alum spouse:

That Newton was way better than Upper because it provided a close-knit, lasting community - That there is no hotter place on earth than a packed Mod during a party - That living in 66, even though it’s technically for losers, is still way better than living on College Road - The annoyingness of OLs (unless you were an OL in which case probably best to end up with another OL – you shouldn’t have trouble finding them; they travel in packs) - The significance of a cappella, a Jesuit Education, and the real secret to Kairos.

Each Boston College class is comprised of approx. 49% male and 51% females Taking into account lesbians, nuns, and girls who stayed with their high school boyfriends – there are enough of us for each of you. Get 'er done.
As we head into this very important game weekend let's keep those Jesuit tenents in mind and find some time to focus on being men and women for each others.
See you on Shea,

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Some jobs are like hot men

Today is my last day at my current job.

To be vague but contractually appropriate – I am moving from a film-oriented operation to a media-oriented operation. While those two things sound similar and are just 30 blocks apart, there will be a world of difference.

Some people (namely my Mom) have had a lot of questions (which is an understatement) about how I could leave my current place (a fairly famous place) for the new (less obviously glamour) opportunity. I’ve explained it in the following way.

Working at my current job is a lot like (what I imagine) dating a very, very hot man (to be like). With him on my arm I can get in anywhere, talk to anyone, look great in any picture. He is at once VIP access, street cred, and a massive personal resume-builder. She’s with him? Wow, she must be legit – the world says when they find out we’re together.

Sometimes he is as great as he looks - fun, dynamic, spontaneous, well-dressed. Sometimes though – he treats me like shit.

Maybe because he doesn’t know how to be a good boyfriend? Maybe because he’s too caught up in himself? Or maybe (probably) because he knows he can get away with it; he’s hot enough to get any girl.

Regardless, it affects his behavior. And his behavior in turn affects my life. And right now, I’m trying to make my life as un-negatively affected as possible. Positive effects are the goal -- positive effects involving stability, progress, and dental insurance.

My new job is slightly less hot, or as Abby would say, “he looks like a husband.” We probably won’t go to as many IT parties or rub elbows with bold-faced names. When people see us together they'll probably say , "he seems really nice" or not say anything at all. But according to people who’ve been with this guy before – he knows how to treat a lady. Right now, that’s what I’m after.

Of course I wouldn’t have known to look for someone like my new guy without experiencing the old one, and I wouldn’t trade my former jet-setting life for a healthy 401K (I was once two feet from Madonna!!), but you cannot – as often warned – have it all. Right now I’m going for stability over stilettos.

And there you have it. I think this metaphor best describes both the differences in my former job versus my new while also hinting at my reasons for moving on all in within the shell of a relationship-themed metaphor.

My Mom: “So are you saying this means the guys at your new job are going to be less good-looking”

Wish me luck...with her.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

On Guys and Game: The Results Episode

Back, finally, to the issue of guys and game. The original question: is it true that a guy may in fact be very into you but may not possess the god-given game to make a move?

For the record I reached out to the entire male Blog Board on this issue. This is a group comprised of eight sometimes-adults with varied female experience and fairly level-headed approaches to the state of the dating union.

It took me an entire weekend to sift through their responses – a fascinating collection of precious email anecdotes and painfully honest gchat conversation that made me feel way better about my 20+ years of over analysis. Girls, next time you slam the phone down and scream, “does he even care at all!!??” please remember that yes, he does care -- he just sometimes cares very wrongly and confusingly.

To the point – in a word – yes.

Sometimes – apparently many times – a guy is very into you but does not know how to make it happen. This issue is an absolute Pandora’s box of the male psyche, but I will try to splice the many responses into a few finds to help you understand why it would be really helpful for you to just tell his buddy you have a thing for him and take it from there.

Things I’ve learned:

  • Game is very dependent on circumstance. Simply, the more risk of embarrassment the less ability to make a move. Scenarios that damn-near cripple a man include: you work with him, you once dated a really good friend of his, you are a really good friend of his. To quote one guy’s response on the third scenario, “I would be scared absolutely fucking shitless”.

  • Many good guys (define as you will) are very preoccupied with not seeming like an asshole. They don’t want to come across as the archetypal meathead slinging cheap lines at anything with cleavage. Nor do they (and this is significant) want to be with a girl who would go for that. Still they struggle to find a way to be respectful while also smooth, witty, well-timed, and possessing of an excellent exit strategy. To this end one sly guy answered my question with one of his own: what would girls prefer? No game or bad game? I didn’t have an answer.

  • Guys believe girls often seem very unapproachable. They’re either in girl packs (which can be added to the complex circumstances list), falling for the attention of assholes, or just playing too hard slash confusing to get. This is part of the larger, fascinating fact that girls can always tell when other girls like a guy, and same for guys with guys, but in most cases neither sex can figure out the other. Solution: opposite sex wing men. This deserves an entire post. Stay tuned.

  • And finally. I write sentences with "slash" too much. From my absolute favorite commentator, “I was a goddamn philosophy major. I have read Lonergan and understood it, but I just read the blog entry from today and I am fucking confused. Thought I would get that off my chest. Thank you.”
No real solutions but at least some clarity. This – now for the fourth time in three months- brings us to the same conclusion: get set up.
But - word to the wise - be sure to get a full background check...

Monday, October 13, 2008

My secret city behavior

Most New Yorkers have secret city behaviors – little things they methodically do to trick or test the gods. Some are superstitions (never cross from west to east on an odd numbered street), others are based in logic (if alone in a cab always sit in the middle. If it side swipes anything you’ll be safe-ish), but most are just bizarre habits we’ve developed to convince us we have control over anything that goes on here.

Mine is that I carefully inspect every arriving subway car as it pulls into the station in search of my fated perfect man.

Depending on how fast the cars approach this can be anything from a really difficult to completely impossible task. Also, I don’t exactly know what I’m looking for, so the whole premise is sort of...challenged. Still, nary a train speeds by without my contact-corrected eyes zeroing in on each passenger I can identify like I’m some character on a crime-solving primetime drama. I have, after three years of this almost daily process, become extremely advanced.

I know at this point that there is enough distance in between the small door windows and the large, behind-the-seats windows to blink twice re-wetting the eyes for continued scanning. Also I’ve determined that more men tend to stand than women, so if a particularly speedy set of cars approach I concentrate my gaze exclusively on the standers.

All of this is conducted without the slightest affect on my face or body. I’m like a prima ballerina after three hours on stage – not one sign of concern, pain, or unbelievable hunger.

This of course is only phase one of the activity.

Should I happen upon a figure that I think might be Him in one of the first few cars I have a distinct choice to make. Shift to my well-rehearsed, ooops-forgot-I-actually-want-to-be-in-the-third-car-so-I-can-exit-at-the-right-corner-of-my-stop-because-that’s-just-how-well-I-know-the-subway run. It’s more of a non-chalant-seeming sashay – 'scuse me, sorry! would love to make it down to car number two or three, but probably more likely three -- yes definitely three -- don’t mind me! But if you happen to mind me, please note how well I run in heels.

But there’s always the chance that the first Him I "see" won’t be as correct as the second Him sitting in a car that has yet to past by...

Then again considering I don’t know exactly who I’m looking for, it could be just as wise to stay at my original post and rely on the gods to plant my man between one and three cars away from me. Presumably if fate is working I shouldn’t have to run in heels.

In 3.33 years I have seen a Him four times. Once I got tripped on my sashay to his car (lady in the overly pointy purple suede boots, I will never forgive you. At Thanksgiving when great aunts ask why I’m not seeing anyone I cite you specifically.). The other three times I made it in and sensed he could be correct but had absolutely no idea how to transition from strangers in subway car to casually conversing future lovers. All that expert honing of my man-in-car vision had taken a toll on my conversation skills.

Once or twice I contemplated the famed Missed Connections section of Craigslist, but logical as that may seem, it goes distinctly against my secret city superstition. A second chance at fate is way less fun.

I often wonder how mine compares to other people’s – more interesting? More difficult? More obviously focused on finding a soul mate? Impossible to know.

But it reminds me of that old saying -- that if we each put our problems in one, big pile we’d assess the options and take our own problems back.

I like to think the same applies to secret city behaviors. Unless yours is the same as mine. In that case, I'm most commonly waiting for the E train at West 4th.

I grew up a little bit on Sunday evening around 8:30pm.

You know you’ve grown up a little bit when you can look back on your previous self and make that sound my Mom makes when they won’t apply a coupon to sale merchandise – total disgust.

Around 8:30pm I reflected on my 3:45pm self and made that exact sound.

Michael and I had spent the day engaged in one of our favorite Manhattan activities: walk around the city and try to find things you’ve never seen before (working title). This time we found an 18th century Chinese village and the NYC jail – a series of building that look like Soviet Russia. It was a striking juxtaposition.

Near the end of our walk Michael noticed the newly opened store of 
designer Billy Reid – a recent recipient of the CFDA award for new male designer. If you know what that means, awesome!! right?! If you don’t – Michael saw a cool new store.

The store was like if EPCOT created a nation of pristine 1950s Charleston South Carolina - immaculate details of re-created vintage in an old building on the newly reclaimed Bowery. If you are the kind of person deeply affected by environment, this was a place you’d overhaul your entire wardrobe and then potentially change your name for (Delilah…Amelia…still working on it).

Naturally I found a dress. Well I found eight dresses and tried on six, but one was the one. I admittedly have an unhealthy attachment to clothing so to best understand this story replace “a dress” with whatever thing you cannot resist. If you can’t think of such item, you can stop reading this post and probably the blog in its entirety. You are an adult.

Now in general I can resist a dress, but with this dress I also found a man – Jeremy – designer Billy Reid’s partner. Michael and I remain unclear on the meaning of partner in this context. He referenced building a lot of things (straight) but also styling a lot of things (gay), offered us an alcoholic drink (just plain smart) and touched my butt a few times as I was trying on the dresses (welcome, but confusing). Either way it didn’t matter. He loved the dress and I loved him. Sold.

At $295 it was well beyond my price range (which for reference is free - $39.99). The only things I’ve purchased near that amount in recent history are a plane ticket to LA and three months of backed-up electric bills.

No matter. Jeremy was having it shipped from Florence, Alabama where it is hand made in my smaller size. I’d just go on the Special K diet (just two bowls a day and a healthy third meal!) until the dress arrived jointly saving money and maintaining my smaller size.

The list of places I would wear this new dress were endless - on a date with a Lower East Side muscian, to an art gallery crawl in Williamsburg, to a party in a West Village townhouse thrown by the editor of I would need brown, lace-up boots and chestnut highlights, but it would be spectacular.

I was planning all such occasions later that evening during the previews for Rachel Got Married (didn’t love it, but Debra Winger is great). I don’t know how or why it happened, but I envisioned going to pick the dress up and paying for it with my credit card when that total disgust sound came out of my mouth.

You have zero need for that dress – my sound mind said. You can’t afford it. Also you never met anyone who lives on the LES, don’t know where Williamsburg is, and in no way belong at the editors party. Grow up.

And with that, the shoulder-perched angel got one victory over the better-dressed but totally broke devil, and I grew up a little

I’ll probably go back for one last look at my almost mistake. Might even try it on again while enjoying a little bourbon and a lot of Jeremy, but I will not buy.  I grew up from turning back from previously sworn against mistakes on a Friday afternoon in 2004...

Friday, October 10, 2008

An Open Letter to Meredith Grey

Listen Meredith -

Enough already. Cut the sad, sick-and-twisted, can’t accept love crap and make a fucking decision. Yes Derek or No Derek.

I get that you come from a rough past with a mean Mom and a run-away Dad and that your Mom had an affair with the head of your current hospital where you now work with your annoying half-sister who got all the love you didn’t. It’s an obstacle, no doubt.

But you are not getting any younger or less-tired looking. Time to dig deep and work this s hit out. I’d say, make your own choice and stick to it, but you’re incapable of that.

Instead I offer the following direction. I would demand it, but you’re fictional and that’s taking things too far. Still:

  • Be with Derek – actually, whole-heartedly, non-over-analytically and without your dumb coy games. Call him your boyfriend. Let him move into your house. Ask your roommates to move out because 35-year-old surgeons don’t live with their girlfriend and her four best friends, even if one of them makes really good muffins (Izzy Stephens…I’ll get to you next). You will not do better than him. All other man would have dropped you like a bad habit given your high school antics.

  • Stop taking advice from Christina – she is a freak. She destroyed her own relationship to a similarly loving, equally attractive, retardedly patient man. Her entire personality is based on not expressing emotion – that isn’t anger toward that mean blonde now-lesbian doctor.
  • Stay in therapy - I have never seen some one less done with therapy. Stay in it. In fact, go more often. Daily would probably be best.

  • Gain weight - Maybe you'd look less tired if you skin wasn't falling off your face. Just a suggestion.
Listen, sometimes you say fairly valid things, and I’m sure you do represent a certain slice of the female population. Bottom line: usually you’re just annoying, and it’s not a kind of woman any of us are aspiring to be.

Get your act together. You’re reflecting really poorly on the gender and with this Sarah Palin situation we need all the help we can get.

Thank you,
Woman kind.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Would you like to ford the river?

--> I live much of my life in pursuit of clear-cut indicators of a person’s true personality. And by person’s, I mean guy’s. With our adult costumes on it’s harder than ever to tell who’s a poser.

And so I, for the good of this blog and myself, test out various conversations built upon what I believe to be strong social indicators of intrinsic personality.

My latest: The Oregon Trail - that cult-classic computer game from our collective youth. It, like the inflated trade value of a Jolly Rancher from ’91-‘93, is one of the strongest markers of the Starter jacket generation.

Within this pixilated trip from Independence Missouri to that valley with a name no one could say (Wil-a-mett-ey? Wh-eel-met? Or was it the French Weel-may?) is the pioneer microcosm of our modern society. Choice of identity, ultimate survival skills, the proper writing of hysterical tombstones -- it was the stuff of life.

Embedded in one’s approach to the play of game is as clear a sign as any of how they will function as mate.

Consider, if you haven’t already, the following:

Choice of character
  • Banker: potentially shallow, likely strategic, definitely rich. Dallas Clem was always a banker. Now he’s “taking some time off”.
  • Farmer: shows tendencies toward masochism and bad math skills. Good guy, for sure, but a beach house in Montauk is not in his future. Although I have a weird feeling not at all founded in logic that former farmers are good in bed.
  • Carpenter: even keel, jack-of-some-trades, expert fixer of broke wheel axels. Slight chance he’s overly religious, but if not – this is your kids soccer coach with a his own bustling start-up.
Selection of Wagon Mates

There were two ways to go with this.

  • Load your wagon with all your friends – (And the boys you had crushes. You did that. We all did) and work tirelessly to bring them safely to that W valley.
  • Or load the wagon with made-up friends but probably enemies/Mrs. Pendelton and kill them off by pressing the space bar to continue every time a safety warning popped up.
Believe it or not, you want the latter. Consider the likely sexual future of a 9-year-old-boy who opted to bring all his loved ones to safety without naming them things like Jessie BigBooger. Right.

Style of Hunting

The only thing you really need to look out for here is if dude had a habit of waiting around to shoot multiple buffalo full well knowing he could only carry 50 lbs back to the wagon. That’s just wasteful. Mean and wasteful.

Would You Like To Ford The River?

This is the tell-all. You could probably skip the other stuff (except that crucial who-was-in-your-wagon issue). Did they ford the river or wait five days and pay for that ferry?

Most men forded as fording is a very male thing to do. But those who waited are not the sissies of the Oregon Trail – they’re the geniuses. See in order to wait and pay you had to have enough remaining food to feed your passengers, money to pay the ferry, and common sense to ward off Indian passers by. If that’s not a clear indication of one’s ability to run a family I don’t know what is.

How and where you bring this up is your problem. I tend to find a way to work the word Oregon into a conversation and then take it from there. Any mention of the ‘90s works too.

And regarding what to do if they’ve never played The Oregon Trail? Well then it’s clear they’re either too young, too old, or too foreign for you. Press the space bar to continue

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

You can do it. We can help.

Still working on cracking the guys and game situation.

But in the meantime - it’s become clear through response to this topic and my 20 years of dealing with boys (I didn’t start dating until kindergarten) that the root of all male/female issues is fear of rejection. Forget every other excuse; the simple fact is – if we knew the answer was yes, we would ask the question.

So rather than pick apart how and why we are afraid – let’s just end it. We should, at this point, be able to create simple solutions to communicate our feelings for each other. We have DVR.

Two suggestions to start:

Citizen Yenta

If you think someone you know likes someone else you know, ask them. If their response seems like a lie, say, “Really? Because when you do this, that, and all those other things, it really seems like you like ____. Would you like to reconsider your answer?” If they still say no say, “Okay, well then stop doing all those things because it appears to the entire sane world that you have a thing for _____”.

If they say yes, tell ______. You may, depending on the scenario, want to warn the person that you’re going to tell, but I don’t recommend it.

Yes, this can be construed as “betraying trust” or “going behind someone’s back” but what would you rather have? -- ultimate trust in your friends or a really amazing boyfriend? Right. Me too.

A Cinderella Clause

We instate an official, universal time-limit on making a move. My suggestion is four months, but this remains open to negotiation. It works as follows. 

You meet someone you like. From that date forward it is understood by both parties that you have four months to close the deal. Within those four months you can play whatever games you think work, but at the four month mark, time's up. Who’s responsible for asking? Doesn’t matter – the four months apply to each party.   But at time's up each person is technically dead to the other (in the dating sense).

Time limits are often work wonders in things like withdrawal from war and punishing children. And since dating is a lot like war between children, this seems like a smart tactic – and strategy.

If you need more time (wuss) or decide six months later that was the one that got away (aww), fine. But just know that the other person has moved on making your job way harder. In this scenario I recommend making it painfully obvious to a mutual friend who reads this blog that you like the person.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Oh he's that into you, he just has no game

Since the infamous episode/book/movie changed everyone’s lives, the battle cry has been that if he’s not making a move, he’s – all together now – just not that into you. According to the book, nothing stands between a guy and a girl he really wants to be with, etc.


I think there are many guys out there who are very into you and would like to try being with you but have no idea how to make that happen. This belief is based on the fact that guys have told me this is the case and asked me to write about it.

My theory (unlike the book which focuses on the post-date scenario) sits in the pre-date zone – that miserable place dominated by manic FB profile checking. You’re concocting completely see-through ways talk about and, god-willing, see the person so you can further obsess over everything they do in your presence. All the while people are constantly saying, “so is something going on between you and _____ because it really seems like something is…”

To which you respond, “Ugh riiiight?! I. Don’t. Know. All evidence points to the fact that he likes me but he hasn't made a move...But, since you mentioned it, could you list just a few examples, say five or six?, of things he does to make you believe he likes me...?”

Right. You’ve been slash are there. And in your mind you have slash are-really-trying- hard-to declare that if he can’t get it together to ask you out, you don’t want to be with him. (That’s the line we’re going with vs dwelling on the fact that we’re still not sure you like us. Thank you. We’re really proud of it.)

“He is a grown man!” you say, “He should have, at this point, watched enough television to figure out how to make this happen. It. Is. Not. That. Hard.”

Yes, valid.  But it's also true that to some together, mature, seemingly date-able guys, the thought of finally making the move with a girl they placed in the “could date her” bucket the second they met her is scary as shit. And so they come as strangely close to it as possible without actually doing it figuring it will either happen by accident, alcohol or some combination. Because this often works, they keep doing it.

What are they so scared of? You. You’re scary. And the more they like you the scarier you are. The whole prospect of blowing it then maybe having to see you again and it being very awkward is scary. Also, they’re not 100% sure you like them either because you're trying to hide it in case they don't like you.  Right.  That's how that works out.  

Also, don’t do that. That, “ugh, what is wrong with them!” You know it’s scary or else you’d have already done it and we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

Right.  Sorry.  Everyone is to blame.  

So - is this theory really valid and, if so, what are you supposed to do about it?

I’m not sure. Give me a couple days. I need to talk to some people.

Do you really need to practice dating?

Back to this issue of going on dates with people you are not attracted to and want no future with…

There is a common theory in the modern dating world that practicing dating is the smart and logical way to be a better dater. Not to secure more dates, but to be primed for top dating performance once the right date comes along.

And so people say things like, “yeah, I’m not really interested, but, hey, it’s good practice.”

It’s the same concept as practicing interviewing with jobs you don’t really want -- the goal being to fine tune skills at talking about your qualifications while not sounding nervous and/or cocky – to be an expert sales person of yourself-as-potential-employee.

With dates practice it’s to fine tune your skills at talking about yourself while not sounding nervous/cocky/desperate – to be an expert sales person of yourself-as-yourself.

Aside from the obvious fact that it’s not nice to use people as practice for when someone better comes along (this should be obvious…), I have a few issues. I can’t say that I’m fully yay or nay on the matter, or that I haven’t done it myself a few times, but here’s how I see on both sides, of the female side:


  • Guys are a lot alike as a gender, so it could really be that experiencing a wide “variety” of them in a dating scenario will help you understand them and thus react to them better. Sorry, but that really seems like fact
  • It is really nice to go out to dinner. Sorry, but that is fact.
  • You could have some major personality flaws that could become clear through rounds of practice-dating. I’m not sure how though because if a practice guy said, “wow, do you ever stop talking about yourself?” you’d say – “eeww, whatever, you’re just a practice date” so that’s not really so helpful…
  • Guys you’re not really interested in may not make for the best dates. Therefore the data you’re collecting on these practice dates is false and/or pointless. If you then apply that knowledge to future dates with potentially correct guys, you will fail.
  • The goal in a first date scenario is not to deliver the most well-rehearsed version of yourself. That’s called acting. Dating can sometimes feel like acting but if it does then you’re doing it wrong.
  • Yes many things in life require practice to develop the skills to succeed under pressure. They should not include eating while answering basics questions about you life.
  • You can’t practice for an unknown. Unless you are practicing dating with so many guys that you’ve actually encountered most possible dating scenarios, each situation is unique. You don’t know what they’ll say or ask or if/when/how they’ll lean in for a kiss. This is not debate prep.
Okay, so I sit on the nay side.
Bottom line: there’s no harm in going out with someone you’re not 100% sold on but that's not called practice. It's called open-mindedness.
I suspect we sometimes call it “practice” because we fear people are judging our decision to go out with the guy in question. In this case what we really need to practice not caring what other people think. Aaww.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

5 (real) Reasons NOT To Go On a Date

John - a friend I commonly refer to as the best man I know (no Mike, still not you) - passed along an interesting article the other day: Five Reasons NOT To Go on a Date.

While my concentration is usually focused on ways to get one date not avoid five, I gave a read. John is generally very thoughtful and mature. While the rest of us were making senior week hit lists we'd never follow through with he was solidifying lifelong happiness with a girl he didn't have to be drunk to kiss. I'd read the the phone book if he told me to -- and they're still printing those.

According to CNN's column The Frisky (first problem) - the 5 reasons are:
  • You're lonely (we're 25 and single - if we only dated when we weren't lonely we'd never date and thus be lonelier. This is illogical.)
  • You're desperate (define desperate...)
  • You're sick (fine.)
  • You're not over someone (but is it not true that the best way to get over someone is to meet someone new? My mom said it is.)
  • You're drunk (define drunk...)
John is not to blame, but these are not five good reasons. These are Sarah Palin reasons -- crap. They sound like they might not be crap but then you come out of your glasses-reflection-induced trance, think about them for two seconds, and realize they're stock crap. Also - you cannot be a team of mavericks. It is, by definition, an individual person thing.

Here are five real, specific reasons written in a spirit of bringing change and hope to the old ways of not going on dates through experience and a proven track record for success:

  • This person was recommended by someone you do not like: If a is to b as b is to c then you won't like this person either. That's math, which I'm told you cannot argue with.
  • This person blew you off two to three times prior to this date finally being scheduled: Once and maybe they were just sick...or drunk apparently. Two to three times and probably they are just an asshole.
  • You are going to have to hide your date with this person for any number of reasons: Right. Probably telling.
  • You aren't attracted to this person and don't see any possible future with them: See, dates are not things, they're people. As such they should be treated with some degree of care. Some people believe you should go on dates with absolutely anyone just to practice going on dates. In my head that seems logical. Then I think about how I would feel if I knew I was someone's practice round. I believe this is the golden rule which people pretty much agree is really valid.
For further questions please see John. He actually knows what he's doing.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Prom date theory revisited.

The other day my friend Chris said something that made me wonder slash freak out.

We were gchatting about our situations relative to those of our friends. Our dating situations aka the only situations people seem to want to talk to me about these days. (Pierson, I blame you for this).

Chris was saying how weird it was to him that all his close friends were involved in long-term relationships – relationships on their way to lock down.

I was saying – what?! Really?! All your friends? Wow. Not mine. Hhmm. Shit.

Chris and I are the same age. We both live in Manhattan but have friend groups here and in Boston – where we both went to school. So for all intents and purposes – we have the same friends: college educated, city-dwelling, fairly-motivated 25-year-olds.

Of his, 85% are in committed, long-term relationships. Of mine, eight. No, not 8% or even eight complete couples - just eight individual people. Some of them are dating each other so if you remove those it’s just six.

I wasn’t and am still not sure what to be more concerned about - that all Chris’s friends are taken or that not enough of mine are. Luckily I possess the ability to worry about multiple things at one time. (Mom, I blame you for this).

We’re at that age where it’s no longer way too young to be with the person you’re going to marry. While we haven’t hit, hurry up and find someone, anyone, it’s now legit for people to lock it down.

But why are some friend groups making the move and others staying mainly single?

I don’t know, but I have ideas in the form of bullet points (Katie, this one’s your fault).

  • Some entire groups of people are just more mature than others. It makes sense that people make friends with people who are most like them - so immature people would flock together and then collectively not be dating. While this is logical, my friends tend to land on the together side of life (most of them), so it doesn’t hold water here.

  • Chris is exaggerating and so am I. Chris doesn’t seem like he’s exaggerating because he didn’t use phrases like "a million and one of my friends are practically married" or "I have zero single friends". That’s how you know. I am almost always exaggerating, but not in this case. I would never in a thousand years exaggerate about this, ever.

  • Prom date theory. One person nails down a date. Then another. Then a third. Suddenly everyone is a mad dash to get a date before all the good one’s run out and they’re ousted from the cool kids limo. Replace "the prom" with a lifetime of happiness and "the cool kids limo" with it’s really boring when all of your friends are dating and you’re not and voila.
I'm going with bullet #3. Then again, all my male friends recently participated in an organized competition called Man of the Year involving a series of physical, emotional, and drinking activities. So it could just be the maturity thing...