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.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Fake this

Normally I try not to blog on the weekends (since most of you probably read this during the workday anyway), but this weekend’s provided too much to resist blogging while the memories are still fresh.

Friday night, my HFG (basically a Bible-study group) took the night off to have a social event ... which on this evening entailed a trip to New York’s infamous Lower East Side fake-Oh joint, Katz’s deli.

I got there late (as usual) but not too late to order that heaping salt-lick-with-mustard, the pastrami sandwich (hey, the guy was offering meat samples; somehow greasy pastrami seemed better than hard salami though, um, I’m sure that’s a reader disappointment). Also, I’d recently read Jessica’s report of a Katz encounter over at the New Vintage, so I felt compelled to ape her in all regards — right down to the extra-sour pickles (better than the regular ones but — man! — it would take a month of California living to bring my blood pressure down from such salt-OD heights).

Ohhhhhhh, so good
For those who haven’t been there, much less to your typical New York deli, Katz’s is quite an experience. For one thing, it’s larger than most delis, and possibly more confusing. The minute you step through the door, there’s a bouncer-type chasing you down if you walked past without claiming the little green ticket on which they scribble your tab (never a small sum, with two-figure prices for a mere sandwich).

But given the celebrity, I suppose they’re entitled to charge a bit more. Oh, didn’t you know? Why, K’s was the place where Harry met Sally, and learned about fakes. And yes, folks, we sat at that very table last night. Sort of fitting, I must say.

Once our historic location had been brought properly to my attention, I instantly launched into relevant anecdotes. In case you hadn’t already pegged me for an actress (which is perhaps harder to tell without hearing my stories in person), I’ve had more than a few goes at things Thespian. One such experience occurred my freshman year of college, during a presentation for my communication class. I had chosen to speak on sex in advertising (quite a stretch, eh?) since the Herbal Essences ad campaign had recently been unveiled. As I was somewhat tech-unsavvy, however, and not a sufficient TV addict to know what shows the shampoo was regularly hawked on, I had to get a little creative.

A memorable performance
You see, these were also the days in which TV ratings had just been introduced. And I found it highly inconsistent that shows were held accountable for their content, but ads were not — especially when such racy, “oh”-filled spots were being aired during prime family-viewing time, on shows like Friends.

In order to create the necessary emotional response in my audience, I felt I had to give them a taste of the ad’s content. And without video assistance, that meant doing my best Meg.

Ah, life in the city
Following this opening anecdote (demonstration excluded), the HFG group loosened up considerably. Next thing I knew, we were deeply immersed in a discussion on noisy neighbor rendezvous. One man particularly (a leader in my church) had tales loud and colorful. His neighbor, some kind of police detective, not only engages in frequent sex, the shouts from which easily penetrate thin walls, but apparently enjoys some sort of highly audible slapping behavior. One night my friend finally got mad enough to shout some response from his twin bed. The pair on the other side fell silent for once, but he could still hear the bed a-rockin’ (and perhaps the slapping too; I forget).

The sound of Anna smiling
Luckily no such drama awaited me last night, when I got home (though I have heard such neighbor hijinx previously; one consequence of living in a “hip,” twentysomething-filled apartment building, I guess). This afternoon, however, I received a far more pleasant surprise: music-love from a summer-in-Berkeley friend, and one reader who took me up on my gmail offer (still open, by the way). Yes, I am now the possibly proud possessor of an illegal copy of Genius Loves Company, and that greater treasure, my reader’s custom playlist. He calls it “In & Out of Love: the Anna Broadway mix.” Since the packet he sent was so interesting, I’ve attempted to document it for you. Sadly, all you probably see is blue geometry (damn cameraphone!!!), so it’s hard to make out the key, handwritten CD label: “Love?” Why yes, dear, I do: love it, love it, love it. Especially the Joejo song, “Bozo.” Great stuff! And I must say, the Scala Choir singing, “When I think about you, I touch myself” is an absolute gem.

I am a bit perplexed, however, by an unexplained inclusion: a postcard for some upstate New York art show called “Extra Virgin.” Maybe it’s an olive-oil series? He probably meant to send it to the local Museum of Food and just got the mailing confused. Maybe I’ll just drop it in the mail to them myself...

Besides, errands out-of-house are always apt to provoke more streetside encounters with men.

Sidewalk tawk
Heading over to the Starbucks Thursday morning, I passed a small construction site (not unusual for this city). As I walked past, one late-30s guy couldn’t help himself remarking: “Somebody’s happy today.” Then as I continued walking, he commented on my jacket — a nearly finished knitting project that, when done, will constitute Anna’s handmade coat of many colors.

Something about the possible strings hanging down from one wrist tipped him off: “Did you make that?” I nodded.

Spying me on the return journey later, he expressed a desire to have one of his own. If only I’d brought my business cards. You see, given my various “talents,” they advertise my skill in “strategic thought, words, knitwear, photos.” Hence the Politician’s curiosity, earlier this week, when I blamed my silence on work (“Which kind of work are you doing?”). I still can’t quite explain his closing use of “darlin’” though (sigh). That’s just a southernism, right?!!

At least he seems to fill his harem with mostly unavailable women — like a posse of female eunuchs. Of the women I personally know he met at the RNC, one was fiftiesh and married, one was middle-aged and single ... and then there was me. Nonetheless, he’s taken pains to maintain contact with all of us, he told me. He even hopes, evidently, for a reunion. Demonstrating most-peculiar optimism, he promised to see about getting me yet another ticket, should he find himself invited to the inauguration.

Now if I had a dollar for every promise like that I’ve gotten this summer ... I could buy a few lattes without splurging.

Ray Charles
Genius Loves Company
When Harry Met Sally
soundtrack DVD