Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Confession

I have just spent the last hour looking at wedding pictures.

I love wedding pictures. Love, love, love them. I especially love wedding dresses. So I'm at work, and I have nothing to do (I'm a temp, not neglecting my duties or anything) and I start searching for and then examining total strangers' wedding photos.

Some of the couples were really handsome, some were fat, a few wore dumbass Ren Faire outfits (complete with swords... Jesus!) and all seemed really young. Of course, anyone younger than me is young.

My favorite was an English couple who got married in a registry office. She's wearing a brown and blue tea length dress, and flat shoes with rubber soles. A bride not in heels. Wow. There's this one photo, just before the ceremony, where they're right outside what I take to be their apartment, and they're hugging. I felt all lump in the throat-y. Same thing happened when I looked at the really handsomely designed wedding site of these two crunchy Oregon types. She had dreads, and he was really fantastic looking. They're both about 23.

I've only been to ... let's see ... six? weddings in my life. No, seven, I uh, forgot my sister's wedding for a minute there. I've never been a bridesmaid. I really want to be one! But I'm not that close with anyone who's likely to have bridesmaids.

Anyway, I am trying to keep myself from getting all maudlin, but I keep thinking, I want someone to want to marry me. And I want that someone to be really cute, too. Also, I'm dead set on a wedding dress, and I keep thinking that if I get much older I'll have to wear a tasteful pantsuit or something. Damnit, I want a gown. And, uh, a groom.

In other news, I didn't meet with Rick, but we're supposed to ge together sometime next week. And, despite my horror of talking on the phone, I did briefly speak to Olivier (also not his real name). He's French, complete with sexy accent, so my usual voice-fueled panic was moot. Instead I was thinking, "Ooooooh, he's French!" in a sort of smug way. He's a musician. That makes him the stereotypical bad boy type, doesn't it? Perhaps he has a problem with authority, too. Then we'd have all bases covered and I could go right to the "Why hasn't he called me?" stage.

Truth is, I've never been into bad boys, unless they have short hair and high cheekbones. I always, always go for the shy, awkward types. I like skinny, rumpled-looking intellectuals who are sort of goofy and endearing. And make self-deprecating comments, of course. I like 'em modest. I think it's cause these boys (they're boys, not men ... I like younger men ...) are totally non threatening on one hand, and also it's so flattering to be approached by one -- the thinking behind this is that they must really have it bad if they can fight the shyness hard enough to ask one out. Alas, with all the SRLIs (skinny rumpled-looking intellectuals) I have dated, I've generally made the first move. I think my natural state is to be fairly agressive socially (not flirting, at which I am terrible, but friendly, at which I am very good) but I try to curb this tendency cause I think it's more seemly and fetching to be chased. This strategy has its flaws, however. Mainly that it doesn't work.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

First Contact with New Boys: Urgh

I just got a call from Rick. As soon as I heard his voice I thought, Hmm, bet he’s an actor and, No. NO. No. Also, almost as soon as I said "Hi," he launched into this anecdote about the guy at his Laundromat sniffing his clothes. (Very strange: just noticed that Spell Check capitalizes Laundromat. I never knew it was a proper noun.) To be fair, the story was pretty funny, but I don’t know. I must have a weird hypersensitivity that makes me say, No. NO. No. Sort of like having allergies. I’m sure Rick’s not bad at all, and, after my first few moments of panic I calmed down, and I think he sounds OK. It occurs to me that on every first phone call with a guy I automatically think No. NO. No. I think that might be based more on the fact that I hate talking on the phone with men I’ve never met; I find it nerve-wracking in the extreme. So it’s probably more of a reflection on me than him. Anyway, we have tentative plans for tonight, though I told him that I do go to bed muy early, and we may end up rescheduling since he has lots to do before going out of town on Friday. He (or at least his voice) reminds me a bit of Eddie. Bad things about Eddie: a)totally flaky actor b)didn’t even get to break up with him since he disappeared on me. Good things about Eddie: a)kind of liberating to be involved with someone with whom I neither had nor wanted a future b)the sex.

OK, so if Rick is reasonably attractive, maybe I can parlay this into a casual kind of sitch?

And speaking of the future, I have a date with JAG (whom for the purpose of this diary I will term Ben) on Saturday afternoon. I much, much prefer first dates to be in a bar, where my nerves can be blunted with the judicious application of alcohol to the gullet. But he suggested Saturday afternoon, and The Rules say you’re supposed to let the man do the suggesting. I mean, I’m being facetious; The Rules are 1950s-era moral tenets disguised as dating etiquette, and I thoroughly disapprove of the book(s) and the(ir) authors, one of whom is named Sherry. I mean, really: Sherry. (That was really quite snotty of me, but as no one's reading this, I'll let it pass).

But I do prefer the guy to make the suggestion. For two reasons: a)takes the pressure off me and b)I like the idea that he’s given it some thought. Or maybe it’s just cause I am a CLOSET SEXIST. Ah, whatever.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

He Had Me at...

Morgan cancelled on me. I'm not even going to consider the implications.

However, I finally got an email from Jewy but Agnostic (JAG – hey! Cool acronym!) boy. And he wrote, "...I should warn you that next time I write, I'm probably going to ask if you want to meet in person. Unless you viciously insult me in your next e-mail …”

I think this is both appropriate and sweet. Though he had me at Jewy but agnostic.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Lunch Hour of the Damned

Just had my lunch date with Anthony. Urgh. Going to meet him, my stomach was in knots. How I hate meeting a potential boyfriend/whatever for the first time, especially when there’s no liquor involved.

Good parts: 1) he bought me lunch. 2) Is a decent conversationalist 3) Not stupid or hideous. Bad parts: 1) No chemistry 2) Looks like they guy who played Dharma’s father on Dharma and Greg, and sort of sounded like him, too 3) Clearly thinks we have potential, as evidenced from the fact that he put his arm around my waist after lunch while we were sitting on a bench in City Hall Park.

I was totally thrown by the latter. First he had his arm around the back of the bench, in time-honored high school movie-date fashion. I thought this was bold, but not a big deal. Then his arm snaked around to my side. I think my discomfort was pretty obvious, I mean, I wasn’t relaxing against him or anything, and I started to avoid his eyes. When he said, “So I think we have some chemistry… I think we would get along…” my brain was screaming, Should I tell him there’s no chemistry now or take the coward's way out and do it via email? I can’t sleep with him! How do I do this?

I think he got the impression that his arm around my waist wasn’t that welcome cause he eventually backed off a bit and explained, “I just feel so comfortable with you… you’re so friendly.”

“I am friendly,” I said. Subtext being: Polite and friendly. I’m not giving you any more-than-friendly signals. Then, struggling, I said, “I’m not really used to that,” which was sort of an understatement. I don’t know if it’s a New Yorkerish regard for personal space or just general standoffishness that made me cringe, but I was seriously disturbed by him putting an arm around me. If we’d been drunk, OK. If I’d relaxed into him when he put his arm across the back of the bench, maybe. If I’d made eye contact with him, maybe. If I’d thought he was cute, yes. I think of all the times I’ve clumsily tried to signal to a guy I was interested… gah! Smiling, making eye contact, taking baby steps towards wanton behavior such as arm-touching and wineglass stroking (guaranteed by body language expert Tracey Cox to signal sexual interest). It’s like banging my head against the wall, as I expect it is for most people: being attracted to people who aren’t attracted to you, and fending off the advances of people you wouldn’t sleep with in a million years.

SIDEBAR, or big long parenthesis: Perhaps this is why I generally go for younger men. They’re so much less threatening, so much more obviously vulnerable. Even though they’re supposed to be less able to read women, I just feel much … safer. And that’s odd, considering my submissiveness, which to me holds a kind of danger and threat. I mean, a danger and threat I find acceptable, not one that might harm me. Although according to some people (mostly bizarre and explicit posters on Craig’s List) submission is about safety and trust. I mean – well, you have to trust someone to feel safe with them when they’re dominating you, yes, but for me I don’t think the sexual excitement would come from feeling safe. I mean, safety is sort of the opposite of excitement, isn’t it? Maybe. Anyway, when I think about being submissive, I think I like the idea of it being sort of transgressive and sexy in that it seems to subvert my ideas about women’s equality. Ah…. !@#$ forget it! SIDEBAR or big long parenthesis ENDS

Finally I said, “I’m not really looking for a serious relationship right now.” Which is absolutely true and, as I have always understood it, a polite fiction meaning I'm not interested, pal. But I’m just not attracted to this fellow, and I wouldn’t want a frivolous relationship with him, either. I want nothing from him. I can’t imagine stroking his hairy arms or melting at his nasal voice. OK, that was mean. But I was really thrown by the arm maneuver. The thing is, it wasn’t such an outrage for him to have his arm around me, I mean, it’s hardly sexual assault. But I was really uncomfortable, and I resented him for it.

“Yeah, I’m just taking things as they come,” he said, which missed my point. “Seeing how things go.”

I tried again: “So I got a lot of responses to my ad, so this week I’m kind of busy…” Also, I asked him how old he was and he admitted to being older than his ad suggested. "I mean, of course I lied cause I was looking for someone much younger," he explained. You know that makes me think? Not flattering things. I said I would get in touch at the end of the week or early next week and with some relief I left him at the train station. On the way back to the office I thought longingly of Tim, that lovely, lovely boy I met a few weeks ago.

YET ANOTHER SIDEBAR This was crazy: his girlfriend posted an ad on Craig’s List saying, in effect, Sleep With My Boyfriend! I thought, well, that’s certainly grist for the mill, so I answered her ad. She sent me a photo of him, as well as one of herself in her underwear, which gave me pause for thought. But he looked cute. Anyway, she set the whole thing up, he emailed me -- a very good emailer, and enthusiastic and sort of awkward, which made me feel more comfortable – and then we met for a drink. We got along great, he had even read, and liked, Laurie Colwin, which I took as a sign from God or something. And I loved the idea that his girlfriend was setting the whole thing up, which made it a kinky feminist endeavor instead of just kinky. We drank and made out and when he said he was “on the dominant side,” I was overjoyed. And then I said I was looking forward to going down on him, and pleasing him. (!) I must have been very, very drunk to say that, even though it was perfectly true. So we had plans to meet that Sunday, but I didn’t hear from him. Eventually his girlfriend emailed me to say he’d gone home as his father was ill. Then Tim emailed me to say that his father’s illness had put a dampener on his libido, and that he and the girlfriend had broken up. Gah!!! So disappointing. So I wrote back to say not to worry about it, hope his dad was better, keep in touch. I can’t imagine that I’ll hear from him, so I view this as a missed opportunity of the first order. Damn his father and his dicky heart! YET ANOTHER SIDEBAR ENDS.

Anyway, at last I’ve stopped feeling quite so disturbed by my lunch hour. But still. Finding someone who returns your level of interest is like digging for a needle in a haystack.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

More from the Dating Front

So. I got a couple of emails from Dominant Guy, Anthony. He sent me a photo of himself (in swimming trunks, no less) –tall, thin, dark haired, balding a bit, as far as I could tell.

So in the last email he asked me what my nationality is. I always find that question weird. I mean, I’m an American. The question really means, what’s your ethnic background? And I always think, Why do you want to know that? But I just wrote back to say that I was an Ashkenazi Jew. Then I didn’t hear from him and I thought, Oh my God, he’s an anti-Semite! He doesn’t date Jews! He’s seen my photo! Then last night he called me, and as it turns out he is not an anti-Semite. In fact, he’s Jewish. Or, as he put it, “My mother’s Jewish. So I guess technically I’m Jewish. My father’s Italian.” Which I guessed, given his name. We’re going to meet for lunch. I kept thinking, lunch? Who meets for lunch? But what the hell.

We didn’t talk at all about submissiveness or anything in the least bit sexual, which was a relief to me. Conversations like that should only happen in person, and preferably when you’re both naked and comfortable. In fact, talking to Anthony, who has a slightly nasal voice and a somewhat – well, if he were from NY I’d say he had a New York accent, but as he’s from Philly it doesn’t apply – was just a normal conversation, except for the fact that I was talking to someone I’d never met, but had picked up on Craig’s List. Though I’m really psyched to explore (dumb term) my submissive side, I don’t think I want a boyfriend right now. I want to sleep around and be a little crazy, like I was this spring. On Thursday night I’m meeting Morgan, who is definitely looking for a NSA type thing, possibly ongoing. I told him I wasn’t monogamous (or rather, I’m planning to be a slut), and I hope that works out. I haven’t had sex since June. And you know, time’s a wasting. I’m in my sexual prime here, I’ve got to move fast before it ends.

And I got an email from Jewy but agnostic guy, who looks like actual boyfriend material. He’s also a writer, surprise, surprise.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Back in the Saddle

On Saturday I posted an ad on Craig's List, and got about 70 or so responses. Which is always gratifying, until you respond with a photo and never hear from the guy again. I don't care how hard it is for men -- I've been dissed dozens of times. Dating is hard on the ego. Stupid hard, especially if you've got any outstanding self-esteem issues. Like me, and, I assume, almost everyone else in the world.

And I answered an ad or two. One was from a guy looking for someone "Jewy but agnostic," which I figure about sums me up. Also, that's fantastic terminology. He actually seems very nice and --gasp-- not bad looking. Then I, uh, answered an ad for someone who was looking for someone submissive. That's me (I think).

That's a new development for me. Back in April, when I was seeing (for the lack of a better term) Eddie, he said, "You're submissive, aren't you?" when we were fooling around.

"I guess so," I said, breathlessly. It had never occurred to me before.

We didn't get far with that scenario since Eddie disappeared (and still has my tape recorder, that jerk!) but I've been thinking about it a good deal. Do my sexual tendencies compromise my feminist principles? Gah. It's complicated, being a sex positive feminist. Especially if you're not having much sex. Must work on that.

Friday, September 15, 2006

My Night of Glamour!

Not really. I came by here at about 10:30 last night for the party. There was a moderate-sized crowd outside the doors, but, more impressively, a dozen or so photographers and reporters standing at the electronic gates in the lobby.

The loft was completely dark, though, so it was impossible to see the celebrities rumored to be flitting about. Foiled! I did a three circuits and left -- I was all alone, which is a stupid way to arrive -- or stay -- at a party. The women looked glossy and professional, the men cute (though not as cute as the bartenders) and many were wearing those Elvis Costello black specs I find so fetching. At one point I did see some photographers shooting two girls, who were pressed up against one another and smirking, in approved fashionista style. I didn't recognize them, but I wasn't standing that close. There was a small, curious crowd around them -- moths to the flame -- we onlookers tried to figure out whether they were stars of an MTV reality show, or just pretty publicists. I did not see Drew Barrymore, though I think she was there. On the way out, however, I did see Maggie Gyllenhaal (spelling?) standing with two older women by the elevator banks. I could only tell it was her because there was decent lighting.

I wish I'd been able to enjoy last night. When I walked in the door the DJ was playing Heart of Glass. Then it was Gnarls Barkley' Crazy (I hear that song everywhere. All. The. Time.) and when Bizarre Love Triangle came on I thought, this DJ is my age! He knows all the songs I know! I wanted so much to be able to enjoy myself, but yesterday I was in such a terrible mood, and I thought, going to parties and staring at cute boys and fantasizing that I am with one of them is exactly what I have been doing for 20 years now. Or thereabouts. I've always told myself to wait a bit, I'll meet someone who'll flirt with me. But at what point do you stop living in reasonable expectation and switch to amiable resignation for for fear of being one of those pathetic spinsters who keeps hoping, long after anyone will look at her?

God, I really sound morose. I'm not usually like this. I'm just really cranky about my career (uh, I mean, the lack of it). I'm writing, but not working hard enough at getting a writing job, and fearful that even if I do work really hard, I still won't get a decent job. I think I would be pretty reconciled to almost everything if I had a satisfying work life. I mean, doubtless I would still complain, but I wouldn't be overcome with the belief that I am wasting my life, not living up to my potential, becoming a source of pity and contempt for my friends (God, please not that). Truth be told, I don't actually mind being single. I so enjoyed last spring when I was on my dating/sex spree. It's just that right now, when I'm feeling vulnerable, it's another rock to hit myself over the head with: You are 33 and work as a temp. No one fancies you. And let's not forget You can barely make ends meet. All true. Sometimes these facts don't seem as grim as they have this past week.

It's hard work, being optimistic. I am naturally a pessimist. A few years ago I read a book called Learned Optimism, which says that pessimists actually have a better grip on reality than optimists. But it doesn't do them any good. It's much healthier to maintain a certain degree of delusion about yourself, and your future. It's an effort for me, and right now I'm grudging that effort. I think I might start taking the Lamictol again -- Dr. C. advised it.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Urgh. I've been calculating how much it costs to sustain my glamorous lifestyle. Being that my glamorous lifestyle consists of homemade egg salad and an outer borough apartment with two roommates, I'm a bit put off by the results.

Here are my expenses:
rent: $586/month
COBRA: $414.14/month
phone: $73/month
travel: $73/month
laundry: $20/month
doctor C.: $61/month
doctor F.: $30/month
April: $ whatever I can afford (not much, lately)
food: $120/month? I don't know
meds: $40/month

Then there's the student loan fees at $233. My parents, bless them, cover that.

My cost of living is a total of $1417.00/month, not counting what I pay April (let's say an average of $120/month, if I see her every other week). If I work 5 days a week at $19/hour for 35 hours, I take home $483. Four weeks of $483=$1932. That leaves ... $515/month. Hmmm. That doesn't seem right. Oh, yes, my credit card bills. Considering everything, I'm sort of impressed that I'm not more in debt than I am.

What kills me is the maintenance. I don't mean manicures and blowouts, which I don't actually get. I mean the fact that after paying $414.14/month for health insurance, I shell out at least another $130/month in fees so that I can a)see the dermatologist (OK, I know that sounds like vanity, but my skin is a real problem. It's a big deal to me) b)see my therapist Caroline, to whom I owe several hundred dollars. (She is so awesome) b)see my psychiatrist so I can get my scripts c)buy my meds so that I will be able to get out of bed in the morning and temp to afford these things. And when I think about that $2210.76 for the car door I dented ... I mean, I'll find the money, but the found money is something that could go towards, I don't know, paying off my credit card debt, saving for retirement, or even my incipient nose job fund (another story). Grrr, argh.

Rereading the above I realize that I sound like a basket case. More than that, a bitter basket case. One of those bitter, New York basket cases who is obviously destined to live in a rented apartment in Queens with three cats and elastic waistband jeans, bemoaning the lack of good men in New York. Oh, please, don't let me be bitter. Keep me from being righteously indignant, too, if possible, since righteous indignation has a habit of crossing the line into bitterness.

But onto other news. Tonight my office is hosting a party-- something to do with Fashion Week. I can't imagine why, since we are in no way fashionable here. Nonetheless, my coworker tells me that the guest list includes Drew Barrymore. I LOVE Drew Barrymore. I hope I get to see her. Apparently her favorite song is Otis Redding's "That's How Strong my Love Is," -- my favorite song, too! Plus it is mentioned in a Laurie Colwin novel. So we are clearly destined to be great friends. I wish. I have a love/hate (or rather fascination/resentment) thing going with most Hollywood actors -- mostly I just can't get over the idea that I should be a movie star, and how come they get to be famous and stuff... I know, not very rational. Or particularly mature, for that matter. But. The point is I'm not fascinated by/resentful of Drew Barrymore. I just think she's cool. And a good actor.

I'm also wondering if I should plan to spend the evening in the bathroom in order to a)avoid looking lost and sad as I won't know anyone there and b)catch celebrities inhaling cocaine. If I don't see some celebs getting high I will be very disappointed. I feel that's what they're celebrities for -- to live out my decadent and dumbass adolescent dreams. I expect them all to be making out outside the cafeteria and getting high in the stalls. Ah, high school. OK, tomorrow morning, non stop celeb info!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Oh, and get this

I just want to rant a bit because ... well, because.

I go on lots of dates with men I meet online. I think it suggests something not too flattering about me, but nonetheless. I started online dating back in 2000 or so. Only very occasionally do I actually meet men at work or a party. Earlier this year it occurred to me that my social circle was no longer expanding. Like, it's reached this sort of critical point where I've already met everyone I'm going to meet. It was a weird feeling. Lots of my friends are in steady relationships, or married, or married with children.

Anyway. So! Let's see. I'm on the nerve personals --- fast cupid, you know? This one guy emailed me months ago. He sounded nice and not hideous looking, so we emailed back and forth. I am excellent via email -- witty, charming, etc. I'd date me. Anyway, there was a hiatus in our emails due to some technical difficulties with his computer (he said) and when he wrote to me again about a month later, I'd forgotten about him. Anyway, we went back to emailing. My protocol is I generally wait a day or two to respond, and I don't ramble or complain. (though obviously the opposite applies on this blog).

So a few weeks back he wrote to say that since I didn't sound psychotic, he'd give me his phone number and maybe we could arrange a time to meet. I thought the psychotic crack was a bit presumptive, especially as I take antidepressants ... I didn't say that, however. I wrote back to say that while meds had rendered me pretty normal (with a joking emoticon), I wouldn't call him because I really hate talking on the phone to guys I haven't met. I mean, the potential for awkwardness is so high. I hate those dread silences, when you're both desperately trying to think of things to say, and you can't even make eye contact and smile or order another drink. I really do avoid calling people I don't know, not just in romantic situations. Anyway, I added that I'd love to get together with him, but could we arrange it via email.

I never heard from him again.

Then I was also corresponding with a guy from Craig's List, which is like the heroin of the online community. Craig's List is for the hardcore. He asked me if I wanted to hear a band on Wed. night. I said, What time? I generally go to bed early, or something along those lines. Because, you know, I do go to bed early on weeknights, otherwise I have a hard time getting up in the morning. He wrote back to say about ten, and why, did I have a curfew? So I responded, saying that although I knew it was lame and nerdy, a 10pm show was too late for me. After all, I live in Queens. Say they actually start on time, and only play for a half hour. Still, if they're playing downtown, it'll probably take me the good part of an hour to get home. So I said I'd like to meet up for a drink, earlier, however.

I never heard from him again.

There was also this other guy, also courtesy of Craig's List. We emailed a bit, and then he just disappeared.

That's three men in one week who dissed me! Jesus, I'm like the bubonic plague

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished. !@#$

No good deed goes unpunished.

This was a phrase that I used all the time as a cynical undergrad. I believed it, because, like I said, I was a cynical undergrad. It really annoyed my friend Gina and finally she told me to knock it off.

So I did, because although I still believed I was correct, I didn’t want to bore my friends.

But the phrase came back to me forcibly this past summer, when I rammed my car into a parked Mercedes. How is this a good deed? It’s not. It was a stupid one, and entirely my fault. I was on the way to a job interview, driving through a part of the Bronx I didn’t know and about to be late. I made an ill-considered U turn and promptly heard the crunch that signifies trouble.

Even then, there was no good deed. I swore, and drove off, terrified of being late.

After my interview, which did not go too badly except for the part where they told me the starting salary, I convinced myself to head back to the scene of the crime. Perhaps the driver would have seen the car in the meantime, and driven it away! Then I would be off the hook. Unfortunately, the car was right where I had last seen it, and it was sporting a nasty dent on its driver side door.

I left a note not because my conscience told me to, but because I knew this was an anecdote in the making and I didn’t want to have to admit I’d left the scene of an accident without so much as a note. I considered driving away again. My conscience bothered me, but only a little bit. What bothered me was how easy it would be for me to forget it had ever happened.

The thing is, I don’t think I believe in karma. I think it’s an excuse to blame the victim. A sort of Republican mindset that insists that your suffering is all your own fault. Nonetheless, I was pretty sure that if I neglected to leave a note, I would pay for it in some way. Which argues for the idea that I do, in fact, believe in karma. I left a note.

That night I got an email. I spoke to David, the owner of the Mercedes, who seemed genuinely surprised by my note. I was apologetic in the extreme. We agreed that I would pay his $500 deductible, which I had to borrow from my credit card. I did not inform my insurance company since a)this would mean telling my parents, and they already have enough ammunition against me considering my pathetic attempts at adulthood and b)it would only raise the damn premium.

Last week I got a bill from his insurance company to the tune of $2210.76.