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.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

These boots are made for stockings ...

Originally I planned to postpone this blog entry till the morrow — which is to say, after some sleep — but then I thought, “Do I really want to be snoozing over the keyboard tomorrow, writing from pressure and guilt?!!” No, I don’t. Besides, a friend in dire need of last-minute help on her Fulbright ap rang me up tonight, so I feel I’d better give the morning reserves to her.

Yeah, probably my logic doesn’t follow somewhere, but it’s late. Can edit tomorrow afternoon. Meanwhile, “today’s” entry is all about the Sidewalk Tawk. You see, today I revisited the lower half of my ensemble (said with what I imagine as the bisyllabic French pronunciation) from the infamous Chocolate Vagina Errand. Oh yes. As in, flower-patterned hose, fringed, short skirt ... and basic black boots (not really deserving the label of “hooker boots” that Blogfather gave them tonight — I mean, last night).

Now I’ve never thought of myself as particularly leggy (perhaps because that’s where all the weight was carried, in heavier days), but apparently even not-fat legs, clad in tres dramatic hose can look great.* Because that’s all the men were talking about yesterday, in Brooklyn and Manhattan. In fact of the comments I recall (carefully scribbled on a check stub from yesterday’s happy deposit**), there were the following:
  • “Gorgeous, have a good evening.” En route to Prospect Ave. train station, just prior to turning onto 4th Avenue.
  • “Wooooooww. Very nice.” Muttered under breath by bike messenger locking up his wheels; 24th St. (Manhattan), just west of 5th Avenue.
En route to chatting up the Big Guy, post-deposit, a salesman for some comedy club approached me in front of MSG. In personalizing his patter, he told me how he’d first seen me coming the other way (en route to the bank) and noticed my panty hose. Was I cold? he wondered. And did I have a husband or a boyfriend? I could not lie. How could so many pretty women like me be man-less? he wondered. “I have pretty high standards,” I explained. But low income, when it came to the matter of affording a ticket to his club. And yet, no worries: evidently if I show up Saturday night for the 10 o’clock show and remember not just to ask for “the big black guy” but to mention his name (he claimed relation to Malcolm X and was impressed I deduced his faith from the Muslim name) ... I’ve gotta free in. Woohoo! Still deciding whether to take him up on that.

Other men offered not free tickets, but protection (no, not that kind). Jogging past some kind of doorman in an ill-fated bid to catch the bus, I instead caught the uniform’s eye. “Is someone chasing you? Are you all right?”

And then a half block down, it was back to mere praise: “I love your stockings. Very sexy,” said a guy walking behind me through the pedestrian tunnel built when construction is right off the sidewalk.

But perhaps the most-classic remarks were associated with the F-train, which I took home after watching Boston win (strangely enough, in an East-Soho/LES bar mostly filled with Boston fans — though not completely filled as in capacity.) As I walked toward the other end of the platform, a possibly-drunk man going the other way brought up the Beatles: “Can I hold your hand?”

Direct question, direct answer: “No” (said not unkindly).

“You’ve still got great stockings,” he rejoined. And then a few paces later (still obviously watching): “I still want to hold your hand.”

Perhaps the most resonant remark, however, came from a friendly Caribbean guy who chatted me up about my knitting and was impressed I knew his native country’s mangos are quite good. We ended up having the same stop and much of the same walk home. When at last the topic of the stockings came up (no, I did not introduce them, but by now they were the inevitable subject with men), he remarked that they were not just sexy (a mystery Best Friend and I do not quite get, all the tawkers notwithstanding) but “kick-ass.” And he didn’t think they looked like the Urban Outfitters bargain buy they were, but something I’d gotten in India: “Very Goa.”

Strangely as I walked the last block alone, after giving this friendly neighbor a b-card, it occurred to me he’d probably be a pretty good lay. Not that I plan to pursue such an option ... but sometimes these thoughts do occur to women. Besides, it was 1 a.m., the guy was pretty cool, and sometimes the way one processes random thoughts is more revealing than not having them at all would be. And in this case I basically shrugged the thought off as a life I’ll never have and want even less now than I once might have.

After all, as I’d told him on the train, much of the reason I’m hoping to leave New York is not that the city has burned me out. “Candyland,” the Tim Robbins Type called it earlier (while weaving along beside me as he walked me to my train). “Yeah, but sometimes what you want is fruit and vegetables,” I told him.

If I leave soon, it will be on good terms with this place, but based on realizing its style of dating and mating will always be a little too short-term oriented for me. I’ve reached the point where I’m thinking more seriously of long-term dreams. And realizing those might just require another city. Although I will miss the sidewalk praise ... ;)

Oh yes, I did attempt to photoblog the hose, but decided said pictures were just a bit too trashy for my reform efforts. It’s not like I seek to star in men’s shower fantasies and, um, the “bloody stumps” limb shots I got seemed a little too voyeuristic. Can’t blow all the mystery at once, right, lads? ;) Consider it reason #396 to take up the Sexless tour of the city while you still can: getting to see the famed hose, as worn by the (not really) famed blogstress herself.

*I suppose it doesn’t hurt that earlier this week I weighed in at the rather-shocking number of 127 pounds. I’m sure my scale underestimates ... but still.
**And by the way, many thanks to the generous readers who reached for their pocketbooks at hearing of my financial woes earlier this week.