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, November 10, 2004

High-end chipped cup seeks same

Alrighty, my dears; I’ve seen the hit-counter stats and I know you’re checking in. Had I been blogging this from Wedding Date’s house, I doubtless would have finished not one but two blogs by now — such were the early-morning wake times I kept. Back home in Brooklyn, however … my body happily returns to pretending it operates on PCT.

I can’t even blame this laxness on the Groovey Geezer in question, Geriatric Gent (what was that Sugar Ray* lyric? “Pretty spry for an old guy”?). As soon as my Bible study wrapped up last night, I dutifully called him, but was unable to conjure up a non-recorded voice on his end. It didn’t take much shivering in the near-freezing New York night to persuade me home, warm slippers and a steaming hot toddy sounded much better than this uncertain lark.

I did leave a message, but no word yet. He’ll call eventually. I don’t know if it’s the generational chasm separating us, but he’s clearly not averse to calling up the ladies and has no trouble recalling our numbers. Even more shockingly, his memory seems rather long where I’m concerned.

I first met him sometime in June or July, but not long after he embarked on a trip back home that stretched into September, then October … and possibly even early November. Yet repeatedly during this sojourn, I got reports from our mutual Iranian friend that he kept asking after me and promising to squire me round to “all the hottest fall parties.” Men’s promises being what they are, I’m not holding my breath.

Still, it is nice to think some men aren’t capable of swiftly forgetting me.** As Queen of the Rejected, sometimes you start to get the feeling every man has AADD — Attention to Anna Deficit Disorder. Harvard Lickwit excepted, I was well on my way to becoming the one- or two-date wonder for a while there. This undoubtedly had something to do with certain, ahem, high standards … but still. Even the guys I crushed on (not all outside the tight circle of Christian men, remember), swiftly passed by my offered interest. As B.B. King mourns:
Every woman I want only wants herself.
Everybody I love seems to love somebody else.
And every woman got a license to break my heart.
And every love affair is over before it gets a chance to start.
This is what explains the whole shock-n-awe persona, you see. In some economics class only half attended, back in the day, there was a discussion of profits. Say you’re trying to recover costs of $200. At $5 each maybe 40 people will buy the item. But if you price the item at $20, only 10 will be willing to buy — a 75% decrease in your consumers. Either way you make the same revenue.

Early on in my life as love-seeker, I realized the $20 attention was pretty hard to come by. Those guys simply weren’t in the market — at least in the local area. But because I thought it was male attention and love I needed to fill my heart, I went after the $2 and $4 market (thinking that love and relationship worked the same way revenues do in the economics example). Sure, it took 5-10 of the $2-4 guys to match the attentions of one quality man, but I figured those 5 or 10 were still better than the one good man I couldn’t find. The $20 guy probably cares about things like character or my ability to maintain a conversation; the $2-$4 guy mostly cares about how I look, the way I dance, or my mastery of innuendo. In those categories, it happens, I’m good enough to get by — even though few of those things are really very distinguishing of me personally. But over the long haul, I’m starting to think my father is right (yes, this reflects a major paradigm shift). You want someone to notice more than just the beauty of the face and form you were born with (things you have little control over anyway). Ultimately what I think most of us want is to end up in a situation where — whether it’s in the middle of fractious children grinding their dinner into the placemat, or rocking out to the blues band at your local bar — the other person in your life turns to you, smiles slowly, and says, “I’m glad you’re here.”

Beauty may be part of the package he/she is talking about, but it’s not really what makes someone a good and desirable companion, day in and day out. For me, at least, contented (and committed) long-term companionship is basically all I’m looking for. I know lots of people talk about soul mates and all that, but how could another person just as broken, confused and imperfect as I am really be that? Spiritual hunger is something I turn to God with. Besides, as David Wilcox sings:
I try so hard to please you to be the love that fills you up
I try to pour on sweet affection, but I think you got a broken
Cup because you can’t believe I love you. I try to tell you
That there is no doubt, but as soon as I fill you with all
I’ve got, that little break will let it run right out

I cannot make you happy, I’m learning love and money never do
But I can pour myself out ’til I’m empty trying to be just who you’d
Want me to. But I cannot make you happy even though our love is
True for there is a break in the cup that holds love inside of you
Guess I’d better find out which thrift stores carry cracked $20 cups, and hope my owner decides to donate me to that store so certain shelf-mates and I can get acquainted …

*Sugar Ray being a strangely appropriate if now-obscure cultural reference. He was the headlining musical act at the last art party I attended with G.G.
**Then again (to make the bad political joke), maybe I just wasn’t dating enough elephants. It is they, after all, who are known for the long memory …