Theory about dinner dates

Sat, Aug 20 2011 | 7:07pm

I have this theory about dinner dates. First of all, you can never go wrong when offering to pay for a girl. I mean, I like women's lib just as much as the next girl, but I am also living in a super expensive city and I am not one to look down on free food. Also, if you are the one offering to take me out to dinner, if you pick the restaurant, it seems only appropriate for you to treat. I know this is not a novel idea by any means, but I am hoping some dudes read this and take it to heart. But here's the deal, when you treat a girl, you should do just that. You should not, however, casually say, “Nah, don't worry about it,” but with a slight tilt at the end, which makes me feel like maybe I should worry about it. I am a gentlewoman (thank goodness that is not an oft-used word) and will inevitably counteroffer with my half. I feel like when a guy says, “Don't worry about it” or “It's ok” or “I can get this”, it is a passive aggressive way of saying, “I can pay for this dinner, and I suppose I will pay for it unless you want to chip in for your half which I secretly want you to do but I am also willing to wear the gentleman's hat and handle the bill myself”. And maybe I am wrong, but I don't think so. Exhibit A: Last week you say, “Nah, don't worry about it”, and I respond with, “Are you sure? I can pay for my half,” and then you immediately reply, “Ok, sure, you owe X amount of money.” Confirmation. I knew you didn't really want to pay for me, but you just threw your paltry offer out there because you thought it was what I wanted or expected.
Listen. Be a gentleman, insist on it being your treat without making a big deal about it, hand the waiter your card without a second glance and don't allow for any discomfort or second thoughts. It's not that hard.

A Letter Written in Frustration

Thu, Aug 18 2011 | 7:07pm

Dear Cab Drivers who were trolling the intersection of 6th Avenue and 15th Street at 2:00 in the morning on August 14th,
Did you notice a young girl in black shorts and a cream shirt made more cream by the tone of her skin seeping through her rain-soaked tank top? You know, the girl in the pink helmet who looked kind of desperate but still somewhat cute in a damsel-in-distress sort of way? Perhaps you saw her, and you swerved to pick her up, but then you caught sight of the two little dogs by her side, originally camouflaged by the sheets of rain pummeling their little hides, and you decided to race away, burning rubber. Well, anyway, that girl stood on that corner for over twenty minutes, so frustrated she forgot to shiver, so thwarted she forgot to hold back tears in public, so defeated she could barely console her miserable dogs who did not understand why they had to stand in the cold rain for so long. And yes, I know it sounds dramatic, but I just wanted to say that you guys suck.
Except for the guy that answered my pathetic pleading and finally drove us home at 2:30 in the morning; that guy doesn't suck. And maybe one could say that he did not deserve such a generous tip because he was just doing his job after all and because he initially declined the fare, only caving in after much cajoling. But that guy saved us, so tip him I did.
And New York City, I still love you, but I am still touchy about it so tread lightly.

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Happy Anniversary to the Judiths!

Sun, Aug 14 2011 | 7:07pm

Let me take a minute from my diatribes about my silly dating life and give a shout out to two of my favorite people on this planet. One year ago, on August 14, 2010, my little sister Vanessa married my best friend Alaine. This was a momentous occasion on so many levels. First of all, they were married the week that California repealed Proposition 8, known as the Marriage Ban. This was a wholly coincidental and fortuitous event that gave an added shine to the nuptials, although it was almost superfluous in its nature, since the wedding was not about paperwork but more about a celebration of love and unity. Secondly, and those that were there will most likely remember this in detail, it was basically the best wedding ever. And by wedding, I mean party. I believe the reason for it being such an epic party (in addition to the churros and margarita machines) had to do with the fact that every guest was genuinely happy for the two women. You know how sometimes you go to weddings and you are there to support your friend or your cousin or your date's cousin, and sure it is fun, everyone likes a good dj and yeah the food was mediocre, but at least it was free, and overall it was a good night, even if you are not a fan of the groom or maybe the bride is a bit controlling but what can you do it isn't your place to protest. Well, this wedding was different because it was clear that everyone thought Alaine sure was lucky to score such an awesome wife and Vanessa definitely scored on such an amazing wife and look at their family, and their daughter, and their friends. So special, so unique, so lovely.
And so a year has gone by and they went on their honeymoon (thanks for letting me crash it!), and Vanessa met me in Argentina, and they have both been to New York, and they have been living their life to the fullest like people always talk about but don't always do and I remain blessed to be their sister, their friend, their avid fan. So, if you have a glass, raise it to The Judiths! Happy Anniversary to my incredibly beautiful sisters!

Letters in New York: Part One

Fri, Aug 12 2011 | 7:07pm

Dear Feminine Half of the Cutest Couple in all of Manhattan, Thanks for welcoming me to your city. Your home. I know some people think peer pressure is something that no longer concerns us past the age of 17, but you have proved that wrong. Exhibit: Lacy.
You are surrounded by friends that adore you, but sometimes I feel like they do not even know how much you deserve to be adored. But I do. And I love you.

Dear Bald Man, Everyday you walk your Golden Retriever by my salon, and every day you offer me a wave and a smile. You probably have no idea that I am new to the city, and you probably have no idea how much I appreciate your daily gesture.

Dear Wrinkled Man on the Corner, Have you ever seen the movie The Neverending Story? You remind me of Morla the Ancient One, and yes he is a gigantic turtle, but you have the same sunken in eyes that have watched men wander for a multitude of years. I do not want to buy an umbrella or a two dollar plastic ball, but I am happy to greet you as I walk my honeys around the corner.

Dear Kingpin of 22nd Street, The look you shoot me after you saunter up the tree lined block around the corner from my house is not only one of disdain, but also one of expectation-like you are waiting for me to recognize that you own the block, and the slow and deliberate walk is proof of this fact. Ok. I acquiesce. But will you please stop bullying my dogs? Olive is not very comfortable with felines, especially big, burly orange ones with a mean right hook.

Dear Mighty Women of the World's Sexiest Book Club, I admire you profusely. If you knew how much I rave about your intelligence and your beauty, you'd blush.

Dear Friends that I used to meet at Dolores Park, Last Monday I was stabbed with a wistfulness so painful and fierce, I wanted to hop on a plane. Home is where they understand you, and sometimes I miss home something awful.

Dear Me, See you in a month. Por fin.

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Bon Iver - I recommend reading out loud

Thu, Aug 11 2011 | 7:07pm

And so last night I went to see Bon Iver live at the Prospect Park Bandshell, which is an incredible outdoor venue inside an incredibly beautiful park in Brooklyn. And while everyone stood around me, swaying and clapping and even dancing (and oh how cute they are, those two, my friends, the ones dancing with hands clasped and eyes closed, almost old-fashioned the way they move, and really they are the best looking couple in all of New York City, especially because they are quite lovely people on the inside, too) I stayed on the ground. I laid on my back with my eyes to the stars and I don't know what excited me more, the massive shooting star or the scattered fireflies.
And despite the fact that my supine form most likely irked some concert-goers, I remained still. A body, but not a corpse, see those fingers flutter to the beats and the ankles bounce? And I felt the music more, because it didn't just vibrate on the bottom of my feet and in my ears, but it reverberated up my back and on my neck and it pulsed underneath my butt and my thighs. And my brain. And I could hear the words better down low, like they were sinking to meet me. And I did not see the strangers around me, the ones holding up their bootleg cameras or texting their friends, or trying not to spill their beers. And those strangers around me noticed only an annoying body taking up extra space; they did not notice the tears, unsuccessfully stymied at the onset of “Flume” as the words transported me back to the ICU in L.A., because the word 'flume' makes me think 'ventilator'. And it is not an accident that my position made it easier for the tears to pool behind my eyeballs, instead of down or out or all over and sure it is not the most comfortable, but sometimes better in than out.
And then when that cursed song ended, I joined the friends around me. I waited a minute or two, allowing gravity to work its magic, and then I stood and opened my eyes. I linked arms with my best friends, smiled at them reassuringly, and I became part of the crowd once again.

Dating in 2011: a disclaimer

Thu, Jul 28 2011 | 8:08pm

Some people have inquired about the authenticity of my dating blogs. Here is the truth: My stories and anecdotes and experiences are true; they did happen in real life and in 2011 and in New York City. Fortunately, not all of these things have happened to me. Unfortunately, they have happened to my closest friends. And, let's get serious, most of these stories are mine.
A lot of these dudes have entered my life through an online dating site or two, though a few I have met the old fashioned way, as in person, or what the cool kids call “organically”. (Do you think that 30 years from now people will have devised an even newer dating system and will call “meeting people on the dating site” “old fashioned”?) So listen, I did not make this stuff up, and frankly I feel like some of these guys are so ridiculous I doubt I could have concocted them in my head. Anyway. Luckily, I am still having fun.

Proposals for Dating in 2011

Thu, Jul 28 2011 | 8:08pm

How about I suggest we go grab pizza, and then you concur, and then follow that up with an email telling me that times are tough and would I mind treating you?
How about we go on two dates, have very little physical interaction, as in no goodnight kiss, even, and then you send me a text that says, “Text me if you like nice guys with big [expletive]”.
I think we should make out and you should attack me like a Frenchie puppy after a long walk in NYC July who has just found a bowl of water. Also, make sure to keep your eyes closed so that you do not see how nonplussed I am with your amorous advances.
You want to really show me what a gentleman you are? Ask me to hang out while you are still living with your girlfriend, but assure me that I have nothing to worry about because she has been “canceled”.
How about we sit for three hours at a lovely bar and you proceed to dominate the conversation with idle chitchat followed with the exclamation, “Wow, my neurons are really firing!”
I love it when you call me “Goofus”.
I find it super sexy and masculine when you use the acronym “LOL”.
I also love it when you say, “Why are your eyes closed in every photo? LOL”.
You know what I think is super awesome? Vomiting on the second date. Super classy.
You know what else is awesome? Vomiting, and then taking a quick catnap that turns into a two and a half hour snooze.

Today at the Bowery Mission

Mon, Jul 25 2011 | 8:08pm

Today I had a stranger pray for me. That is not entirely accurate. Today a stranger offered to pray for me and I stood there while he put his right hand on my shoulder and then grabbed my left hand with his left hand and he offered up a prayer to Jesus Christ, Lord and Saviour, God of all things, God of this here girl and I almost forgot to open my eyes when he was finished speaking but then he squeezed my shoulder as a gentle reminder.
I do not remember his name, forgive me I met many names today, some hard to pronounce, some too soft to really hear, and though I do not remember his name I can recall his smile and his gratitude and his words.
When a stranger prays for you at church it is possible you may not pay as much attention for this is an ordinary occurrence, a habit, something not unexpected and please do not feel shame even when you promise yourself to not let your mind wander so much next time. But today, at the men's shelter, in that concrete basement with the grey walls and the greyish floors and the men clamoring in the adjacent room, raising their voices, fighting, always fighting, and with the showers blasting, unusual for a Monday but necessary in this heat, today when that hulking but gentle man asked if he could pray for me you can bet I paid attention.
And here I am, after a weekend of little sleep (yes, my own fault and I cannot help but hear my mother admonishing me about burning the candle, etc., I wonder if I will hear that phrase, hear her voice forty years from now, but of course I will because I do not see myself slowing down and because some things I cannot control, including my mother's voice) and after a morning of errands and a few hours cutting hair like an assembly line worker, like a sweatshop worker, like a hard worker, I am not exhausted and of course I attribute it to that man, that tall stranger, and his words that he lifted up to the heavens with me and for me, and they were his words, but they were mine, too.

Houseguest

Mon, Jul 25 2011 | 8:08pm

Mary the alcoholic was wondering if she could come over. She used to wait for a proper invitation just like her mother taught her like she knows to be appropriate but she is tired of waiting and wondering so she has jumped the gun, so to speak, and was hoping you would have her over for dinner. This week. How about tonight?
Alcoholism means something different to Mary than it does to you, or to the drunk on the stoop who talks to my dogs but does not touch my dogs, to the woman who is in AA, to the sister who started AA before she was even past the legal age to drink, to the grandfather with liver failure, to the frat party revelers, to the friend that occasionally has wine with dinner but does not comprehend drinking by herself, to the families, to the offspring with the tainted genes, to the priest, to the counselor, to me.
And Mary, like so many other people in our lives, does not appreciate you using that term because it does not apply to her, does not actually mean anything to her because she just told you it does not apply to her and you are lucky she doesn't actually get mad at you for such silly impertinence.
Have her over, and go so far as to hide the liquor but of course it does no good because Mary, having lost points in the polite department by inviting herself, has compensated with being the studious guest, no empty hands here, why it was hard to ring the doorbell, what with the flowers and the two bottles of wine she has so graciously brought.
And let her drink, what can you do, she is 40 years old and you are 50 and yes you are a mom but you are not her mom and you are both adults and of course you recognize that one of you is not acting like an adult but what are you, the maturity police?
And so Mary the alcoholic will drink her wine, and create a small scene as she sobs on your denim couch, sobs so violent it is like watching an overeager drama student trying to impress the older, suave director and cringing because it feels so fake, no-one really cries that loud or that hard or that fitfully, wiping the slobbery snot with one arm while trying to salvage the dripping mascara with the other, but guess what, sometimes people are that messy and loud and borderline ridiculous and you can't judge them, judge their pathetic stories, judge their pity party because it is not Mary's fault, it is the wine.

Nostalgia

Mon, Jul 18 2011 | 8:08pm

There is something about New York City that feels familiar, like you lived here once before, or spent summers here playing stickball in the streets using potholes for bases and rinsing your sweaty head off under the rusty drinking fountain spout. And yet you are new to the city. These streets are not yours and never have been and let's get serious, you have never played baseball in the street using a stick. But walking from Avenue to Avenue, sticking to the shady side of the street feels so normal and ingrained.
Novels and movies and perhaps even television have created this false sense of old memories that do not belong to you, but still feel potently real. You feel nostalgic for a time and a place that you never knew, and you are not the only one.
Sometimes you find yourself frustrated that things are not as you “remembered” them, not as you want them to be. They are off kilter in such a way that you feel deceived, or ripped off, or just plain sad. Why is it so different from the movies? This is not the New York City that has been branded into your imagination since your childhood. It is so much cleaner, quieter even, and certainly more “normal” than you expected.
But then you are walking down 22nd Street and you see a group of men lounging and loitering on a brick stoop. Some of them are smoking and all of them smell of stale cigarettes and last night's booze and maybe fried breakfast. You know these men; they were here yesterday and the evening before and come to think of it, they may just set up shop on said stoop every day of the week. They are engaged in what your mom calls “shooting the sh*t” and it makes you wonder what they talk about day in and day out. Do they ever run out of things to say to one another? No, because as you walk by one breaks off to accompany you on your walk for a bit and he compliments your dress and your breed of dog and mentions the heat wave and sidles in time with your step. You can feel the rest of the men watching with approval and one whistles and then two more laugh and if you did not know better, you would feel like you were stepping into your very own movie scene complete with a brick stoop and a group of weathered old blowhards. You may not be the star, but you are here.

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