Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Treat

I slipped. I caved. I fell off the wagon. Big Time. It was as if some higher being plopped the quintessentially attractive man in front of me. It was a test and I failed. I resisted, he persisted and I melted into a puddle of lust somewhere in the 80s on the west side. I even told him I had sworn off men, but that didn’t save me: one minute we were dancing and talking and the next minute he was in my bed.

Normally I would have awakened the next day feeling guilty, slutty. Instead, a funny thing happened: I was smiling. I smiled all day. You see, this guy is a rare find in Manhattan. He was smokin’ hot AND well mannered. For example, even when he was in my bed, he didn’t make any assumptions about what I would or wouldn’t do. He was consistently attentive and engaged: he opened the door for me, called me beautiful repeatedly, listened intently when I spoke. It’s a shame there’s no future in it (he’s not suitable on at least a couple glaring counts, including age), but in spite of that and maybe in part because of that, I felt like I had given myself a huge treat. I gave this dieter a box of super-sumptuous, velvety chocolate. Mmmm.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

How Do You Like Them Apples?

While riding the subway today, a man asked me if my apple was real. I had a nectarine protruding from my purse. It looked nothing like an apple. “Are you serious?” I queried. “And it’s a nectarine,” I added. He mumbled a string of words that were unintelligible for the most part, but I caught something about apples in Africa that look like peaches or nectarines or whatever it was I was carrying in my purse. He didn’t strike me as the type of guy who’s been to Africa, but you never know. Regardless, he was confused, I was confused, and I spent the rest of the ride trying not to make eye contact. To distract myself, I broke one of the rules of my celibacy pact and assessed the marital status of the attractive and age-appropriate guy whose chest was about three inches from my face. Not surprisingly, he started talking to a woman across the train shortly thereafter. Attractive, age appropriate AND single are almost unheard of in these parts.

A close friend’s husband asked me out last night. For about the 50th time.

As I walked through the front door to my building tonight, someone was posting a notice scribbled on 8.5 x 11” notebook paper. “Ladies free before 10 p.m. Always nigger free.” Presumably it was advertising for a bar. My eyes nearly popped out. In my book, the use of the “n” word is only acceptable for Blacks, and sometimes even that is debatable. The guy who was posting it was not Black. I thought about waiting to rip it off but knew that someone else would. The vast majority of residents in my building are Black. Am I missing something? Either his action was socially acceptable among a very select population, including most people in my building, or he is a complete idiot. I think it’s the latter, which means he has something in common with my friend’s husband.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

She-Wolf Ravishes Grocery Store Patron

My fertility peaked yesterday. I know this because I stumbled upon a fertility calculator while on a general health Web site (You can find the calculator here:, and couldn’t resist trying it out. The result came as no surprise because I’ve felt like a veritable she-wolf the past few days. In fact, Friday night I caught myself looking at one of my male friends in a way I have no business looking at him. Thank goodness I didn’t have plans last night because the she-wolf was ready to draw blood.

At some point over the course of the weekend I indulged in a bout of self pity and lamented the fact that the she-wolf must go hungry. Don’t worry, there’s no need to join in the pity party: this she-wolf is abundantly familiar with deprivation. It’s been many moons since I’ve had someone at my sexual beck and call, and I’ve never had anyone I love at my sexual beck and call. Of the three men I’ve been in love with, I wasn’t sexually intimate with two (including the love of my life featured in the previous post), and the third was primarily a long-distance relationship. This discovery is exciting for me. When you reach your thirties, sometimes you imagine there are no firsts left. Now I have something amazing to look forward to!

Random observation: In any given week in nyc, perhaps the most hostile place you can find yourself is in a grocery store at 5 p.m. on a Sunday. We all know this, and as much as we try to avoid it, we find ourselves pursing our lips and squaring our shoulders as we enter the ring. This is exactly where I was today at 5 p.m. It’s every person for him-/herself. I am a firm believer in making a contribution whenever I have the opportunity, and this is no exception. You know the slow, indecisive woman standing smack in the middle of the aisle? She has precisely one second to move out of my way. I’m not proud of this. I am generally a kind-hearted, even sweet person, but if I were kind-hearted and sweet in the grocery store at 5 p.m. on a Sunday, I would still be in the grocery store at 9 p.m. on a Sunday. And that’s just not how I want to spend my Sunday evening.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Love of My Life

The love of my life called tonight. I met him when I was 18 and a freshman in college. He sat behind me in one of my classes and barely said three words to me the entire semester, which was remarkable because I was very friendly with everyone in the class. It wasn’t until the end-of-semester party, a couple beers in his system, that we had our first conversation. He was in a serious relationship at the time, so he decided to introduce me to one of his male friends. Even though that amounted to a failed attempt at matchmaking, it successfully forged our friendship. For the next couple years, we watched each other cycle through various relationships, always there for each other. It was toward the end of my junior year that our conversations took a different tone and the friendship began a slow evolution into something deeper.

Unfortunately, neither of us was mature enough for that kind of love. We let fear dictate the fate of our feelings and blamed it on bad timing. At first it was easy to put off expressing how we felt about each other. I took for granted that he would always be there for me. After I graduated, I lived abroad for an extended period. When I returned, he was on his way to graduate school abroad. He asked me to go with him; my courage buckled and I let him leave. The leaving didn’t seem final because I thought it was reversible; that is, until he married someone else. He is still married and now has two kids. There is literally an ocean between us and a gulf where the reversibility once resided.

It’s a problem. I am not a home wrecker, but I am weak around him. When I’m with him, I’m awakened, pregnant with the fantasy that I can board a time machine and change the course of our history. The romantic in me – the one who believes in everlasting, true love – comes out to play.

I simultaneously long for and dread seeing him. Last time we saw each other I was in the middle of my divorce and he was in a bad patch in his marriage. We acknowledged that fear had kept us apart all these years and that the love hasn’t subsided. He said he always thought I was too good for him; I believed he was too good for me.

Maybe he doesn’t love me as much as I imagine, but I don’t think he has the strength to leave his wife. Regardless, I am afraid of what might happen the next time we see each other. What if the bad patch in his marriage has persisted and he doesn’t have the strength to stay faithful, and I don’t have the strength to resist?

We may find out soon. He is coming to this side of the ocean and wants me to meet him for a weekend. This will be the true test of my celibacy. The one thought – belief – that gives me the strength I need is that I deserve love from a man who makes me the number one and the only woman in his life. I already settled once in my life and I’m determined to not settle again.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Things We Do

Tonight I had dinner with a couple female friends, and when I arrived at the restaurant they greeted me with pained looks. They are about to embark on a beach vacation and, in preparation, had just gotten Brazilian waxes. "I'm bald as a bandicoot!" declared one. The other said, "It really wasn't as awful as I thought it would be. It just feels like a thousand needles are sticking me in my nether region every few seconds."

Yet another reason celibacy has its advantages. As long as I'm celibate, you won't find me lifting my legs straight in the air to allow a stranger to pour hot wax on my most delicate parts.

As an aside, I needed to visit the ladies' room in the restaurant, and it was out of toilet paper. I alerted the manager and while I was waiting for a fresh roll, two women walked in wanting to use the toilet. I explained the situation to them. One left, but the other unwrapped a (normal-sized) bandaid, walked past me saying, "It's okay, I'm all set" and walked into the stall. I'm not sure what she did with the bandaid but surmised that she had a Brazilian wax like my friends; otherwise, the bandaid would be the last thing she'd want to befriend in the bathroom stall. Madness!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Hard Work

I’m not very good at this dating hiatus thing. At all. The thing is, I have a weak spot for men. A good-looking guy smiles at me and I melt. But what he sees is a woman trying not to smile back. My face contorts in that trying-not-to-smile way and I end up looking like an idiot. And then I fret about looking like an idiot. And then I start berating myself for caring that I look like an idiot because the point of this whole blasted, protracted exercise is to get over myself and how I look. This is hard work!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Holdin' Out for my Batman

I haven’t seen a Batman movie since Tim Burton’s first one in 1989, but with all the hype surrounding the Dark Knight, I wanted to give the franchise another chance. I wasn’t disappointed. I needed to go to the bathroom for the last 1.5 hours but couldn’t bring myself to leave my seat. The acting was great, the action sequences fantastic, but what appealed to me the most was how it handled the age-old good vs. evil theme with such intelligence. It invites you to think about the definitions of hero and villain and how often the two are blurred in real life. Whether someone is labeled a hero or a villain frequently boils down to public perception; a true leader has the courage to be perceived as one or the other depending on what is necessary to achieve the greater good. A few lives may have to be sacrificed to save hundreds or even thousands. Sometimes a city – or country – needs a villain to mobilize it to act against a common enemy. This is all so interesting in light of the current political situation in the world. Politicians understand how to exploit public perception, but the enlightened ones apply this knowledge for the good of the people whereas the weaker ones, fearful of losing power, apply it for personal gain.

Two of my favorite quotations from the film (may not be exact):

“You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

“Perhaps both Bruce and Mr. Dent believed that Batman stands for something more potent than the whims of a terrorist Ms. Dawes. Even if everyone hates him for it, that's a sacrifice he's making. He's not being a hero. He's being something more.”

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Day 31 of Self-Imposed Celibacy

In the middle of a Mexican jungle last month, inspired by the myriad insects that so resembled men in nyc - from the emerald-eyed lightening bugs that dive bomb and pinch you to the scorpions to the blood suckers - I decided to give up dating for the remainder of 2008. It just felt like the thing to do. Since my divorce a year and a half ago, I've had one semi-relationship: with a man I believe had a male lover on the side. Otherwise, I've been on scores of dates, but not one with a man I felt had the potential for anything beyond mild amusement and occasional sex. I figured I'd rather spend the energy on other things.

Since I made that decision, men have so kindly given me frequent reminders for why I'm better off celibate. First there was the "friend" who tried to take advantage of me when I was drunk (mind you, I was responsible for being drunk, but he played the friend card to make me think I was safe from aggressive pursuit in his company). Three weeks ago he IM'ed me out of the blue, trying to convince me to go out with him. When I made it clear I wasn't interested in repeating the drunken episode, he tried to convince me he was relationship material and that we should consider something more serious. The real reason I didn't want to repeat the drunken episode, and that a relationship was out of the question, was because I don't find him in the least bit attractive. In fact, I find him repulsive. I'm not cruel, so I tried to soften the blow by telling him I didn't think we were a good match. He wouldn't let it go and pressed the issue. Are men gluttons for rejection? I finally had to put it plainly: I'm not interested. Period.

Then there was the guy who, after telling him repeatedly I only wanted to be friends, tried to trick me into kissing him. He had been reading my palm and then wanted to "try something else." I needed to close my eyes. I closed my eyes for a split second before thinking, "WTF?!" When I opened them, my view was blocked by his face coming in for the kiss. I pushed him against the wall. A long discussion ensued in which I explained that when I say I only want to be friends, I truly only want to be friends. He wouldn't let it go and pressed the issue. I told him in no uncertain terms that I wasn't interested. A couple weeks ago, he sent me a text message asking if I'd like to be his "friend with benefits." Again: WTF?! Again: Are men gluttons for rejection?

Last night I was at Summer Stage in Central Park with a girlfriend. A man sitting behind us chatted me up. I was friendly because I enjoy talking to complete strangers. However, I don't think I sent any romantic signals. I had no interest whatsoever, celibacy aside. For one thing, he has a daughter who is close in age to me. What's more, he lives in Ohio. Before he left, he asked if he could see me again. This really annoyed me because I can only conclude he was hoping for a quick fling before he heads back to Ohio. I just don't get it. Why would I choose to be with a man who has nothing to offer? What's the point?

Don't get me wrong. I love men. I LOVE MEN. Most of my best friends have been men. I've been head over heels in love three times. I would fall head over heels in love with the same men if they were to walk back into my life (I'm still in touch with two of the three, but they're both married).

Perhaps I'm so sensitive about it because I made a bad decision when I got married, and I'm gun shy now. I married a man who was head over heels in love with me, not because I loved him but because I loved being adored. Now I'm working on adoring myself so that I'm not dependent on the wrong man to do it for me. So there you have it - that's the real reason behind this self-imposed celibacy. No more married men, no more desperate men, no more closeted bi men. No more trick kisses or trick penises, for that matter. Just me. And one helluva New Year's party. Can't wait.