Sexless in the City

Sometimes reading romance novels doesn’t quite prepare you for a love life...

For this 30-year-old urbanite, love is always a misadventure: The Harvard Lickwit, Hippie the Groper, the 5% Man, and the Ad Weasel. These and many other men wander in and out of her life — but never her bed.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Stalkers and tawkers

Sorry for the late posting, ya’ll; somehow the day got away from me (it doesn’t help when one’s crawl-from-bed time is 11:30 a.m.). Next thing I knew, it was after 6 p.m., and I was suddenly engrossed in the unsexy business of sorting out my bills for the next month. And then, in the midst of such concentration, I was interrupted with a work-related call! I now have a 10:30 a.m. meeting tomorrow that may conclude in a conference call (!!), so don’t expect another posting till late tomorrow. In the lull, you might want to read the comments posted by a Catholic friar (whoops! father) responding to “Sweat test postscript.”

But while the weekend is still a not-too-distant memory, I should update you on my lunch “date” with Geezer #2, the Work Daddy (last week), and this week’s “random” encounter with Bill Murky (about which I have my doubts, as you’ll soon see).

‘Headaches’ for the ’90s ...
But first, Work Daddy. After his random email last week, I was dreading the prospect of lunch and a movie. Like the responsible sort that I am, I translated this dread into great procrastination. So successfully that, last Friday, Work Daddy called to leave a slightly irritable phone message about the invitation he had left for me and the need for my response so he could make plans. When I called him back, I used the recent upgrade of my phone as convenient excuse for my silence. He was instantly solicitous again, explaining that he’d been concerned something had happened “in my apartment.” Because I didn’t call or email back within one day?!!

We made plans for just a lunch the following day, which he later called to cancel on account of a last-minute Sept. 11 speaking gig. Whew! We rescheduled for lunch Sunday after church, which was eaten at a little French place a few blocks south on Lexington Ave. Other than inquiries about a possible boyfriend, this meal actually went quite well:
  • work was discussed
  • Geezer #2 spread no food across his chin and didn’t dribble his coffee
  • my relative status was downgraded from “daughter” to “granddaughter”
The late-breaking “boyfriend” conversation was tiresome, though. Sometimes I just wish I could give the people what they want and say (smiling brightly), “Yes, I do have a boyfriend! He’s great.” When I reveal the lack thereof, however, people express surprise and generally the view that I should or could have one. Gee, thanks. That’s very helpful. And so I wonder: is it possible to form an alliance with a friend whereby he becomes, not the fall-back fuck buddy (FBFB), not the noncommittal make-out partner (NCMO), but the name-only boyfriend (NOB)? Wow, that sounds so romantic, doesn’t it: “Wanna be my nob?” (big grin) “You’d be great in pinches! No wedding attendance required ... unless you want.”

Seriously, though, sometimes when random strangers accost you on the subway ... it’d be awful nice to have a fictious man ready to beat the crap out of ’em if they look at you the wrong way. Saying “I have brothers in Tucson and Florida ... and my dad lives in Vancouver!” just doesn’t have the same effect on New York gawkers.

Sidewalk Tawk
Speaking of which, I’ve decided to initiate a new feature on Sexless: the weekly Sidewalk Tawk. This week’s entry comes to us from a Friday-afternoon saunter up Brooklyn’s scenic 15th Street to 7th Avenue, in search of a Starbucks latte.

Guy on the street as I pass: “Hold your head up. You look too pretty to hold your head down.”

... And this week’s bonus (just to launch the feature proper-like, you understand) comes from a Brooklyn garbage-truck driver a few weeks before: “Can I take you home with me?”

Ah, New York men. Earl shoulda written a song about them, too...

Stalker #3?
Yes, I fear it may have come to this.

Fast-forward from Sunday, Sept. 12 to Sunday, Sept. 19. The day is cool, and I have awakened late. Gobbling down a one-banana breakfast, I splurge on a paper-cup latte from the coffee shop en route to my train station, where I read more of September’s BOTtoM and sip from the water bottle in my purse. By the time service finishes some two-or-more hours later, my bladder is full. But it’s all I can do to drag friends across the street for muffin hour and a much-needed bathroom break.

I’m so focused on said relief that I pay little attention to my surroundings, other than getting to the toilet as fast as I can. Able to relax once more, I emerge from the bathroom and find myself suddenly involved in the parallel, surreal reality that is conversation with Bill Murky. Isn’t that a rather-strange turn of events? you ask. Well, yes. But I swear, the man materialized by my side as if he’d been beamed there by Scotty himself — and jumped right into conversation about my other blog and travels to New Zealand as if we were just rejoining after dance-floor separation at the Pataki party.

Um, yeah. The Pataki party. As in, the event where I met him. Some two weeks before. After which Murky made not one, not two, but four attempts to contact me through cyberspace — all of which I ignored.

And yet here he is, by my side, jabbering away about how he likes to think of himself as “an adventurer” and clearly needs to take up dancing so he can deal with his extra weight. We both glance down at his undeniably pudgy form, and I am unable to demur. “Well, there are lots of ongoing dance classes through the church,” I say gamely, and whip out my bulletin. Never mind that we have yet to converse about how it is he is there at the muffin hour after my service. Never mind that we have yet to voice such essential clichés as, “Wow, imagine running into you at Redeemer!”

No, he operates as if all is normal and we’re just old friends. I oblige by assuming he should know about the church’s social resources. (Does he?!! For once I’m actually grateful to be poor. Living on unemployment means I can’t afford the class fees for the latest series on ballroom, so I am totally safe in advising him to take it.)

He, however, is certain that I dance on a regular basis. “Look at you—” he gestures at my visibly slender torso.* “Not an ounce of fat on you.” I regretfully glance down at my hot-red-pants clad form and search for words of denial that would do anything, anything to break up the cloud of sexual intrigue hanging around me like such a harbinger of hurricanes.

Around this time, my friends materialize on the horizon, bent on attending Sunday school, and I suddenly find myself an eager participant who must, oh-so-unfortunately, bid him goodbye.

He has not emailed yet, but promised to do so because he’s so impressed by the volume of content on my (other) blog and somehow has the idea this medium is perfect for fund-raising for his club. In our two conversations so far, he’s very full of talk about this club. It’s some sort of Republican political thing and, I fear, may be a haven for other freaks like him.

What about Bill?
It was actually not till much later Sunday afternoon that I began to consider the unusual timing of his appearance. I’m starting to think he stationed himself there, outside the bathroom door. There’s just something too weird about the way he started conversation — that can’t be merely explained by the presence of a brain tumor in his past (I promise, I’m not making this up). I think the reason he started conversation so seamlessly is that he’d somehow seen me enter the bathroom, and waited there, thinking about the remarks that he would make. Boyfriend, where are you?!!

Just kidding. I’m a strong, capable woman. And my sister — the Marine — certifiably knows how to kill. Besides — I’ve already survived not one, but two stalkers. One of whom I even met at church. :-o

The thing about Bill Murky is, I’m not sure whether he really attends my church or not. Help me decide: which is more creepy? The possibility he does attend and recognized me during service ... or the possibility he doesn’t but came to a service because I’d mentioned it on my blog?

Maybe I’ll have to learn a little lying after all. You know, I don’t mean to be rude, Bill, but I actually have a boyfriend. A very, very jealous one. But Poster Boy, help me out: will constructing little safety-securing lies reduce my shot at finding a solid, Christian husband? Or is that just as bad as swearing?

View from the BOTtoM
No, I haven’t forgotten him. For a wrap-up on today’s topic, Steven Rhoads:
The theme of female vulnerability recurs throughout this book. Because women tend to bond with those they sleep with, men’s more cavalier attitude about sex can leave women bitter and emotionally devastated (254).

... [S]tarting in 1970 women have been more depressed and unhappy than they used to be. Women feel rage toward men, but men don’t feel rage toward women. The sexual revolution gave men, not women, what they wanted. Writer Danielle Crittendon notes that all women are now equal in their relative powerlessness to get the committed men they want:
The woman who holds back from sex, waiting for the right man to come along, will find that no right man does — because he can get what he wants elsewhere — just as the woman who gives herself freely discovers that she hold no firmer grip over him, either. The sexual revolution, from a male point of view, could be summed up as, “You mean I get to do whatever I want — and then leave? Great!” (Rhoads p. 129-130, quoting Crittenden, What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell Us, p. 35, 43.)
Readers – thoughts on this rather-provocative assessment? You haven’t been shy about commenting lately, so don't restrain yourselves in this case. ;)

*Best Friend in recent IM sesh: “You’re looking rather scull-y lately ... not that it looks bad.” Other friends also keep comparing me to a “rail,” but as someone wisely pointed out, it depends on the size of the rail in question. In any case, I’m sure my morning latte has nothing to do with all this talk...

Sexless BOTtoM

Taking Sex Differences Seriously
Taking Sex Differences Seriously
What Our Mothers Didn't Tell Us: Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman
What Our Mothers Didn’t Tell Us

Why Happiness Eludes the Modern Woman
Not quite a sight unseen:

What About Bob?