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To say that the world of online dating is ghastly is an understatement. These days I'm on the damned things more for entertainment than anything else. I've tried Match, OKCupid, eHarmony, HowAboutWe, and Veggie Date. Match is a chaperoned middle school dance in desperate need of spiked punch; OKCupid is a dirty public school locker room, eHarmony is a never-ending physics midterm in a windowless room; HowAboutWe is an elementary school multi-purpose room with sawdust on the floor where some third-grader got sick during assembly; and Veggie Date is that guy who refuses to wear shoes to Social Studies class.
Saying a thin girl needs to "eat a sandwich" is just as obnoxious as saying a heavy girl needs to lay off the cake. It doesn't matter if the target is a celebrity, a chick at the gym, or someone's own sister, whether the remark is shrouded in a sham of "humor" delivered straight to the person's face or in out-and-out ridicule behind her back. It's not said out of genuine concern for the well-being of the person to whom the words are directed. If you feel the urge to spew such distasteful words, I suggest you merely swallow them.
Hey, fellas. If you have the seemingly irrepressible urge to do or say something unseemly or untoward with respect to a lady you wish to know better, you may want to ask yourselves, before proceeding, how you would respond if your sister, mother, or daughter, were to tell you that a guy did the same sort of thing or said the same sort of thing to her. If your answer is a silent disinterested shrug of the shoulders or a dismissive, "Ehhh, no big deal," you have an even bigger problem and are even a colossal toolbox than I thought.
It Shouldn't Have to Be Said, #268: Hey, fellas. If you have the seemingly irrepressible urge to do or say something unseemly with respect to a lady you wish to know better, you should ask yourselves, before proceeding, how you would respond if your sister, mother, or daughter, were to tell you that a guy did or said the same sort of thing to her. If your answer is a silent disinterested shrug of the shoulders or a dismissive, "Ehhh, no big deal," you have an even bigger problem and are even more of a colossal toolbox than I thought.
Would a photo of me reveal anything other than a chick struggling not to sip into a somnolent slouch, a frown that dares you to tell it to turn upside-down, eyes that with each blink find it increasingly hard to remain open? Would anyone waving the Polaroid, waiting for it to develop with little patience, see the fear of losing my teeth as in dreams (either crumbling or in strips like seeds from a cucumber spear), the thirst for lemonade, the low-level nag of omnipresent anxiety that I pretend I cannot identify but which I know but won't say aloud?
You, sir, on the Bronx-bound 2/3 Times Square platform, you of the long coat that I can't decide is more pedophile/flasher or sinister/lined-with-knives-for-quick-sale, baseball cap, and greasy long brown hair, yes, you, Citizen Cane. Listen, if you're willing to compromise whatever reason you have for using a cane in the first place, then by all means, twirl it like a baton in front of your body like a sparkly majorette. But if you can't do so without it clattering and crashing to the ground, you may want to reconsider jeopardizing not only your safety but that of everyone around you.
Several years ago I transcribed the deposition of a man beaten by the police in a case of mistaken identity. The damage left his face and life a mess, and during the course of the deposition he had a breakdown and started screaming and wailing as if reliving the horror. I'd never encountered this kind of situation, so I didn't know how to handle it. I figured all capitals and scads of exclamation points would be feasible. Alas, upon receipt of the transcript, the client informed me otherwise. But really, "Fuck. Fuck. They ruined my life," doesn't pack a punch.
White-haired men and their white-faced dogs, walking at the same halting pace on the Upper West Side, proof of the saying that people and their "pets" begin to resemble each other. I stop to say hello, and stroke the dogs gently as if they're newborns, as much out of care for fragility as for disbelief that I'm so fortunate to make their acquaintance at this stage in their lives. Often they're rescue dogs, so I thank the men for saving the dogs' lives. And invariably they say, "He saved ME", as they smile down at me, smooshing their sweet saviors.
A few years ago I had a "soothing sounds" player (not its real name) with earphones through which I could choose a variety of sounds that were supposed to lull me into easy, soothing slumber that otherwise eluded me. (The "kit" also included an eyeshade for extra sexiness.) However, every option was recorded in a repeating pattern, so after only one use I knew just when each seagull would caw, when each wave would lap on the shore, when each drop of water would hit the roof. Thus, rather than ease into sleep, I'd lie awake, anxiously anticipating the "known".
Cookies crumble, balls don't bounce, raindrops fall not just on your head but create puddles that are often deeper than you think and you fuck up your shoes when miscalculating the jeté that was supposed to deposit you on its other side with pretty aplomb. You have a choice to lament that the cookie wasn't baked right, the ball wasn't inflated properly, and, oh, couldn't the weather have waited until you finally bought those stylish rain boots and, ugh, OMG, the intersection should have better drainage anyway, or you can laugh at all the ridiculousness. Whiners aren't "winners". Shut it.
Pastry Chef postponed our Saturday date after I reneged on the Hell's Angels party prospect, citing, "I'm sick. Or at least feel sick. Lots of coughing and sneezing and stomach stuff" as the reason. When I wrote yesterday to ask how he was, he used the words "like poo" twice. We had switched our plans to this evening. Today I wrote to confirm and he replied, " Weird stuff coming outta parts of my body. Hope I don't get you sick."
Um. You just did. I want to have my cake and eat it too, but this nonsense takes it.
The last time I stood in front of a group of people and read something I wrote, it was a book report in 1976 and the group was my eighth grade English class. I turned down the offer to be the graduation speaker for my college journalism class, because it's impossible for me to utter the phrases "reach for the highest star" and "hopes and dreams" without cringing so hard my soul shatters.
So, fast-forward more years than I care to count, and here I am, standing up in front of people, reading something I wrote, of my own volition.
The Three of Cups Lounge, where I'm doing my reading tonight, is a cute little place heralded by a neon sign. Inside it's kooky-cozy, just like my apartment, so it will be just like hanging out at my place (on a night when I feel like vomiting),except minus Shana (my cat), my very fine art collection, and my existential angst. Then again, that last one will be present in some fashion, even if you can't see it. I will be wearing a mod dress and white gogo boots and will be peeing the pants I'm not wearing. Don't miss it.
True Romance: Valentine's Day with one of my favorite girls of all time. Her Garmin was woefully outdated, thus misdirecting us so it took twice as long as necessary to reach her adorable new house, where we gorged ourselves on tea and crispy salty snacks, clementines, and chocolate. I was quite disappointed when, at Ace hardware to buy paint, rollers, pans, and other whatnot, she announced to the store personnel that she and her FIANCE had just bought a house in town, thus dashing all of my fantasies that they thought we were The Hot New Lesbian Couple in Town.
Dilemma: Do I let the girl cry-whining into her cell phone about boy problems, in the hallway not far from my door, continue out of some sort of SISTERLY SOLIDARITY, or do I open my door and tell her, gently, "He's just not that into you!", or, door number 3, tell her to shut the fuck up already?"
Solution: I opened my door, said, as nicely as I could muster, "Would you mind taking that somewhere else?" She smiled and whispered, "Okay," and I said, "I appreciate you're having troubles and I feel for you," with a medium-sized cheesy smile.
I wish I could say the online dating thing was fun while it lasted, but if I did, I'd be lying as much as the shmucks do in their profiles. It was a sinkhole, a cesspool, a morass of assholes (morassholes) with too much time and pud on their hands. Even the schlubbiest of them, dressed like it's still 1991 with the social skills of a nine-year-old thinks he's "the shit", a cherished commodity, a prize, a trophy, a shooting star because he's in the New York City area where the single guys outnumber the single girls. No, thank you.
I have never been with anyone for whom I developed a "romantic" attraction after not having been attracted to him that way in the first place. The few times I went out with guys who were lovely every other way but who did nothing for me "that way", and then tried to convince myself that I could be into them despite not feeling it, have ended in disappointment for them because they thought something was going to happen and reaffirmation for me that I just don't work that way. Contriving an attraction, forcing it, is the complete opposite of romance.
Text someone else when I'm talking to you, and we're done talking. The conversation is caput. Your attention to your handheld device, to its screen, screams a huge "fuck you" to the person you're with, whether you realize it or not. And why don't you realize it? Are you that so far-removed from the genuine ability to communicate face to face, to speak in real time, to actually laugh out loud rather than LOL? And on a date, if we really dig each other, which would you rather have occupy your hand -- my flesh hand or your flashy phone?
The city is not your child's playground. The restaurant floor is no place for your baby to perfect the art of crawling and licking the floor. The bus is no place for your baby to learn how to stare into strangers' faces a foot away with her finger up her nose and a drooling mouth ready to cough. I don't need to taste your baby's breath. The subway steps are not an appropriate arena for your toddler to learn how to navigate stairs and the turnstile during rush hour the proper venue to teach it how to swipe a Metrocard.
The prospects are all dismissed, discarded, and shredded, none of them even worth the time beyond the first 20 minutes of a casual get-together. Had I brought a sieve and collected their conversation and personality contributions into the pan, and sifted through at home into a special tray, my efforts would have yielded almost nothing, not even fool's gold. I'd have better luck digging a hole through the center of the Earth clear through to China (that's how you get there, right?) or closing my eyes, spinning a globe, and pressing my finger on its surface to locate someone suitable.
Even though I've lived in this country my entire life, and by now we're like a so-called "old married couple", and I may feel comfortable enough to let Iowa see me with wild unbrushed hair and Arkansas walk in on me while toothpaste froths out of my mouth (well, maybe not yet) and New York catch me sitting around the house in the stretched-out yoga pants with the holes and mismatched socks that don't just need darning but damning, I still can't bring myself to casually refer to it as "The States" when talking about returning to it from "abroad".
I never felt like "myself" around you, so good riddance. I never felt comfortable in your home, where you had me take off my shoes and wash my hands and feel like I couldn't really touch much without feeling like you would rush to put something back in its place the moment the door closed behind me on my way out. You have proven that you never knew me at all, that you only wanted the parts of me that suited you or that you felt were appropriate. That's not friendship. That's not even acquaintance. That is, indeed, complete bullshit.
I peeked through the blinds, to see whatever was obstructing my usual view of so much uninterrupted azure sky. It took a moment to recognize it as the most gorgeous UFO I'd ever seen, with just enough flashing lights to give it a soupcon of flair but not enough to be ostentatious. Through the gap in the slats created by my curious fingers, searchlights beamed inches from my face, so I hid in a cramped closet. I crawled out to take a photo for Facebook but decided it wasn't worth the risk. I'm sorry I let you down. Ahhh, dreams!
I recently told a long-time so-called friend where to get off after I'd had enough of her fake friendship and crinkled-nosed condescension. She generously took it upon herself to send me a bullet-pointed "laundry list" of everything she doesn't like about me.
Oh, how I adore being presented with this kind of laundry list. It only shows that the sender has an entire dresser full of dingy old granny panties with elastic so old and decrepit that it's not only lost all its use but turns to dust when you exert even the slightest amount of effort to "engage" it.
Its signs are neon and that's good enough for me, here on the sidewalk on West 39th Street, in the surprise flurries and my shiny black vinyl gogo boots. This is where my friend's band is playing, at this Chinese restaurant that, though the windows, looks like it hasn't enjoyed renovation since the Carter Administration. This makes it even more perfect. Once inside, I expect to see, huddled in banquettes, balding cuckolds and their dolls, their dames, their skanks who demand food before business. It's the New York I wish there were more of, the grit that tastes so good.
This bus ride to Clinton, New Jersey, with a final destination of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is a treat. I'm willing to bet at least 90% of the people on this Thursday evening bus do this on a regular basis and find it as much of a treat as doing laundry or emptying the dishwasher, but for me, someone who even finds a bus ride down Fifth Avenue great fun, it's a great adventure. And the Country Griddle restaurant, into whose parking lot the bus pulls, with its subpar veggie burger, cole slaw, and french fries? May as well be Le Cirque!
The scene in "Annie Hall" where Woody Allen tries to recreate the lobster/kitchen scene he had with Diane Keaton with a new girl couldn't be more perfect if a real lobster climbed up my leg (taking special care not to nick me with its claw-hands), tied a lobster bib around my neck, and served me "mock lobster" in a red tofu shell with a British accent. My last boyfriend not only instantly "got" the cat talk but reciprocated with aplomb. A new guy on a recent date gave me an "Oooookay" and a confused chuckle when I tried it. NEXT!
Several times over the past few days I've found myself in situations where I felt like no one would understand exactly how I was feeling without me having to explain myself, without having to point out any reason why I felt the way I did, where no one would just listen and "get it" and not feel the need to give unsolicited advice. And every time I gasped as I realized that there was one person who always "got me" at times like this in the past, who would just smile and KNOW. I miss you, Daddy, you crazy freak.
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