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.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Anna, the over-eager

Since Friday meant a day of, um, no blogging, I’m making it up to ya’ll by writing into the weekend (plus my sister retired so early tonight that I’m trapped in my bedroom, hours away from falling asleep).*

There were never such devoted sisters...
Today you see, the fabulous Broadway sisters slept in, then set off early afternoon — wind and rain notwithstanding — for a fairly spontaneous jaunt out to Long Island’s North Fork wineries. We stopped for coffee twice in six hours (but would have gone a third round had we found a rural Starbucks**), survived one head-scratcher of a Brooklyn parking ticket and a dim-lit left turn over a median (Sis at the wheel), but got lost never and managed to take in many lovely miles of autumn road, one wine-tasting at a small, mother-daughter operated vineyard with a view of the bay, and to wheedle a ready-to-close deli owned by Pollocks into cooking us up some lunch (perhaps they sensed our genetic relatedness).

While tooling down the road, we heard a song that reminded me of yet another hapless, blond-haired Christian guy I briefly yenned for. For all her stated fondness for hip-hop, salsa and ... hip-hop, my sister’s taste in music surprisingly includes alternative stations that play music I remember hearing*** (she favors the same DC station often heard in Wedding Date’s car — duh-duh-duh). So we’re driving down some street in Brooklyn, trying to find our way to the freeway without running down any pedestrians or making an illegal-in-New York City right turn on red when this song comes on. A fairly mainstream song you probably wouldn’t hear on car stereos in Harlem.

Anna falls for a whipster (West Coast hipster)
Both Sis and I immediately remark we haven’t heard it in a while. My first guess is Creed because I vaguely associate the song with post-90s crossover Christian rock, but then I realize it’s Lifehouse: “Hanging By a Moment.” And I remember I actually heard them play the song live, once, at an early-morning mall set sponsored by some local Phoenix radio station. How did I, then queen of the classic-rock station, hear about this set? Well I had met this cute, blond Christian guy at Crusade who had a certain machismo that made me willing to overlook his West Coast hipster style and less-than-towering height (he was practically eye-to-eye with my 5’8”-in-stockings self). And he, in an offer that verged on a pseudo-date, invited me to attend the brief concert with him.

But let’s get back to essentials for a sec: his whipster cred. I should first of all clarify for East Coast readers that this is a type of man you see almost nothing this side of the Mississippi and most certainly not in New York. He conveys a kind of style-savvy cool, but is without both the metrosexual prissiness of the Harvard Lickwit school of New York man (though H.L. should really do without those turtlenecks and belted jeans), and the avant-garde pretensions of the aspiring hipster. This is the kind of man only L.A. could breed: the guy with unabashed mainstream rock-star envy — in that Matchbox 20 kind of way.

Maybe it’s there so grown men can catch their drool
The hair is what gives him away. The top — usually blond — is sculpted into a studied muss of short and manly waves (this works best if the hair in question tends to curl or even ’fro at longer lengths) cemented in place with mondo amounts of product. The face beneath is clean-shaven, except for a strategically cultivated tuft groomed to adorn the curve of an otherwise stubble-free chin (ego-buster: probably a great trick to disguise an otherwise less-than-dramatic jaw line). I mean, what — precision shaving’s some kind of competition sport? Then again, as this blog has proven, almost anything when placed in male hands takes on that jockeying-for-top-slot element.

Ah, but this is Anna at her hyper-catty worst — and seeing as how I try to be somewhat decent to guys, I should return to the key point, which is that this whipster is one of those rare guys I pseudo-dated. Following the early-morning mall show — in fact, perhaps that very night — I had plans to go out dancing with the cutie-pie Christian … and a jointly gathered posse of friends who were all convenient no-shows. I don’t feel like we went out swing dancing, but the Tempe, Arizona main drag was definitely involved, and there was a groove-worthy theme to the evening’s attire.

Clearly I don’t remember much of the night — except that we motored in his swank ride, some old-school, rusting-orange muscle car whose throaty rumble made me drool (perhaps it was even a standard??), and that at some point we happened to pass an even-shorter friend from my photography classes.

The delicate semantics of courtship
I don’t think I even saw that friend, but later he mentioned passing me and Whipster on our “date.” And after that conversation, I made the mistake of reporting the little exchange during a weekday lunch in the student union with Whipster (strangely I can remember exactly which part of the sprawling and multi-floor building we were sitting in). It was an exceedingly poor call on my part. But being my usual, chatty self, I could not resist divulging the prized concerning-us-both comment.

Except that when it came to calling the night in question a “date” I was suddenly stuck — was it really a date?!! Unlike a hook-up, there had been no physical contact whatsoever. And it wasn’t supposed to be a date; it was supposed to be a group outing — except that all the others (OK, maybe there were two of them, one each half-heartedly mustered on both our parts) had coincidentally backed out. Leaving Whipster and I to bravely go it alone in the ambiguous territory of the weekend-evening hang-out.

But my friend had called it a date. And I suspected at least a smidge of interest on Whipster’s part … so in a commitment to accurate reporting and ham-handed probing, I quoted the friend verbatim. Because I feared the provocative nature of his word-choice, however, I said “date” while pulling a rather peculiar face (and of course avoiding all eye contact). A face that undoubtedly shot all hopes of further potentially romantic hang-outs into the ground. Not long after that I mysteriously lost contact with Whipster and his drool-worthy ride.

It was probably not a terrible loss, considering the parts I most remember about him are the car, the tuft, the concert, and my gaffe. Besides! As I have just now remembered, one thing we shared in common was our classic-rock fandom, except that he was really keen on a band I completely hate — either Journey or Rush. (And what did High Fidelity teach us? Music taste matters. It matters tremendously.)

It’s the effort, right?
However, as I said to Sis today: “I was trying.” Sort of like I was trying, with Hapless Hesitator, to maneuver a Christian guy’s possible but uncertain interest into a pseudo-date and then maybe a real date. I was trying! To, you know, date a man who didn’t hate or merely shrug his shoulders at Jesus, and to tell myself that lack of genuine fire for God but nominal affiliation with Him was enough. Clearly God would never bring along a man whose leadership — spiritual and otherwise — I’d actually submit to, but He also wasn’t bringing along any boyfriends. So, in those moments of token obedience (and equally token faith), I tried for fair-to-middling Christians in hopes God would finally cave on His standards and just give me a short-term but multi-date relationship already.

Probably a good thing God stayed God and saw right through my half-hearted nonsense. Too bad I’ve progressed straight from skating the line to spinsterhood. Although, at least this way if a guy asks me to dinner I’ll know it’s not because I’m putting myself out there but because he’s interested.****

*Besides, though reader loyalty is always encouraged, I want no more whinings from the traffic-school bound about my failures to be sufficiently loquacious in a given week. :-o Especially when my mad blogging skillz extend to both footnotes and now these nifty return links. I ask you: what more could a lazy reader ask?!! (Sinks back into chair, overcome.) back
**Sis’ caffeine addiction far putting mine to shame. She had the equivalent of two venti coffees, while I had a grande latte and then only a tall mocha. I shudder to imagine the jitters. back
***Maybe this is just a plot to make me feel old. back
****Well in theory, anyway. Judging from Grandma Broadway’s agile eyelids, a Broadway flirt can never fully reform. (Angel smiley here)