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.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Sexless does DC

Close (as distinct from: obsessive) readers of this blog will know that last weekend I bused down to DC for the ... um ... Columbus Day? weekend to see my sis. True to form, there was classic sister bonding:
  • hoisting monster 24-oz. pints of Bass ale in a Georgetown bar
  • sharing the guest bed and stories of bare-handed bug-killing (Sis attributes this to the Broadway women’s pioneering spirit)
  • guacamole wars (she called mine “gourmet” because it involved more chopping, but seemed to prefer her garlic-laden, lime-free version)
  • watching the Seahawks heartbreaker while I unraveled the sleeve of a Lands End sweater (shrank the sleeves eights years ago; now handknitting the yarn into a better garment)
  • drinking endless cups of coffee
  • shopping at Trader Joe’s
I came in Friday afternoon, after enjoying a very lively conversation/blog-promo session with a fellow Chinatown bus rider who empathized with my dating woes (he attracts older women but at 24 wouldn’t mind a little youth), mildly challenged my politics, and offered advice on my job search. That night Sis and I walked our feet off trying to find an Adams Morgan pub or restaurant serving veggie burgers for her, and finally chose a Mexican place with shredded-beef tacos for me, sangria and mediocre guac for us.

Anna falls hard
... For a DC curb. Walking back to the nearest train station, all the excitement of being with Sis and in a strangely dead town caught up with me: or rather my feet. Casualties were relatively minor* — pride (Sis laughed uproariously at my acrobatic tumble) and moderate injuries:
  • bruises and torn jeans at the left knee
  • swelling, an instant bruise and two days’ wrist stiffness in my right hand
  • briefly sore muscles in my right ankle
I guess ’twas a sign I wasn’t meant to chase the men in that town. ;) Not that I would have tried. Generally speaking, Sis and I are both unimpressed with the city. In fact, I can safely say DC will not be appearing on my list-of-possible-cities to move to from New York. Then again, shivering here at my desk — warm latte or not — doesn’t entice me to job-hunt on the East Coast much at all. Suggestions for other, warmer cities, folks? Places an unemployed writer might be paid to do her thing?

A night out in G-town
But back to DC. Saturday Sis and I rose late, and then spent much of the afternoon in good-natured arguments regarding just about anything I brought up (she likes to play devil’s advocate, views almost all of my crushes as evil, shares my tendency toward über-feminism, but doesn’t agree that men assume more responsibility in the commitment of marriage than women generally do). She did, however, purchase September’s Sexless BOTtoM after frequent endorsement and quotation on my part. This book counterbalanced her other purchase, On Killing, and gave her something non-military related to read.

Prior to the headier stuff at Georgetown’s B&N, however, Sis and I took an entertaining ramble through M Street’s Urban Outfitter. Along with the almost-inevitable Sex and the City trivia game (above), we discovered a most-enlightening set of flashcards I instantly craved for my non-existent coffee table (hey, I could find one on the street one of these days ... can’t say where I’d put it, but I could find one). I mean, where else people — but here — could a nerd who once claimed to be “adept at the vernacular” get real help? With this guide I could finally master such hard-to-handle language as terms like “play,” “bounce,” “grip” and “ice”! From a Houston Chronicle writeup on the cards:
What makes the cards humorous and entertaining are the drawings, which depict a Beaver Cleaver or Mayberry-happy lifestyle. The images come from Dover Books, a publisher of copyright-free clip art and illustrations. “The drawings are from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. They’re pretty funny and white-bread,” says [manufacturer Knock Knock’s owner] Bilik who then wrote the sentences to match the drawings.

Picture this illustration: A man dressed in s suit (presumably of the suburban variety) is hugging his Opie-like son. The sentence below reads: “Yo, lil’ dawg, daddy’s got to bounce.”
Man, I miss shopping at Urban sometimes... But with my unemployment budget, if cinnamon-roll baking garners a stern sister lecture, doing anything more than merely feasting my eyes is trouble for sure.

Fortunately UA knickknacks are plenty entertaining just in the store. Other items that amused included a handy guide to one’s political affiliation (whether or not you shave, and where could be a clue, ladies) and various candidate dolls.

Sidewalk tawk
Back on the sidewalk later, we passed a man selling illegal DVDs of still-in-theaters movies. He was momentarily distracted by my top: “Is that a classic Rolling Stones t-shirt?!” “Not classic.” But definitely catchy. A guy at Katz’s deli liked it too. So tell me, male readers, is there something I’m too slow to get about the sex appeal of a loose-fitting, pink v-neck t-shirt with a giant tongue on the front? It doesn’t even flash any cleave! Maybe I need more flashcards...

As for the presidential erection...
Finally, I think, we have October’s Sexless BOTtoM: a little book called The Rise of Viagra. Here’s a sample, just to get you started:
As we now know, in the battle between adultery (extreme potency) and impotency there was one clear winner. Dole may have lost the presidential election, but this time he returned victorious, wearing red, white, and blue and talking confidently to the camera. While Clinton was held to blame for his actions, Dole was blameless — he was a victim of prostate cancer and, consequently, ED [erectile disfunction]. While Clinton spent months denying his situation, Dole spoke bluntly to television audiences about his problem. And while Clinton’s dilemma appeared to worsen over time, Dole had a clear solution to his problem — Viagra. Clinton was repeatedly humiliated and then shown the door. Dole, former senator, veteran, and the new spokesperson for the little blue pill, was the one bringin respectable sexuality back to America and American politics.
Lastly, while on the topic of books, my sister informs me I must read Nickel and Dimed. Since I’m still scraping together the change to purchase Viagra, I hearby wish to initiate the Sexless Lending Library Program — henceforth known as SLLiP. Consider it an informal version of Netflix — you send me the book I want, and I’ll loan you one of mine. When we’re both finished we return the books, including another swap item if agreeable. Make sense? My starting offers for Nickel and Dimed are Lady Chatterley’s Lover, The Picture of Dorian Gray, A New Kind of Christian, Hollywood Worldviews, Solitary Sex, various C.S. Lewis, Updike and O’Connor. Email for a more-extensive list.

Contest reminder
Don’t forget to enter your love-sucks poetry! I know you’ve got a bitter, inner rapper in there somewhere... Here’s another sample, just for inspiration:
The roses are dead / violets are through
I’m mad at Fred / cuz he wasn’t true.
*By comparison, shortly after meeting the Captain, I attended an informal volleyball “clinic” organized by a social committee at the church we both attend. An hour into it, he still hadn’t showed and I was trying to let it put a damper on my mind. But then, quasi-Tevas and all, he appeared ... and proceeded to bare his chest for the games and demonstrate some of the worst girlie-man v-ball moves ever. But he didn’t hold the court of klutziness alone; oh, no. At one point when I had to chase down a runaway ball such that my efforts were most-likely in his sight line, I decided showing a little aggression might make me more attractive. And what did I get for my “hustle”? An instant sprained ankle that ailed me nearly a month, throwing off my efforts to start a regular run routine. Ah, the things I've done for love...

The Rise of Viagra: How the Little Blue Pill Changed Sex in America
The Rise of Viagra

How the Little Blue Pill Changed Sex in America
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America
Nickel and Dimed

On (Not) Getting by in America
Lady Chatterley's Lover
Lady Chatterley’s Lover