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.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

The many costumes of Anna Broadway

Introducing my blog to new readers is always an interesting experience. I guess it’s sorta like the reactions I used to get, telling people I was in an M.A. program for religious studies. Sometimes I’d mention my (now-married) brother’s joke that with my undergraduate degrees in economics and religious studies I could start a cult. This often got a brief chuckle but little more. At one wedding, however, the conversants gamely spun the joke into 5-10 minutes’ banter. Likewise, my stock line that my M.A. could pave the way to a career as therapist for sexually frustrated priests had widely divergent responses.*

Conditional shock-n-awe
While mention of Sexless never fails to titillate, the topic which strikes a chord is not always the same. Sometimes, men have been most fascinated by the notion that all those I date would eventually wind up in the blog (as opposed to my pants, of course). Indeed, on this basis, some last night concluded that having a blog creates a status akin to that of rock star — but this, I’m sure, was merely your basic, booze-laden flattery. The rock-star metaphor did generate some interesting questions, however. For instance, if truly a quasi “rock star,” one will surely generate groupies — i.e., readers who form a blogcrush.** But in this case I could potentially return the favor, resulting in a most unlikely instance of “rock star” crushing on groupie. I mean, that Frasier, after all … pretty witty. And Wedding Date … well I guess we’ll see rather soon, eh? ;)

But by far the most shock-and-awe inducing tidbit from last night’s blog-promotion patter was a key mention of twin-bed celibates. My audience was fascinated by the image of my early-30s single friend from church, lying there in his lonely twin bed trying to fall asleep to the sounds of his neighbor’s shaking bed and spanking hanky-panky. As the questions flew toward me like eager shots at the corner pub dart board, it was hard to tell which compelled them more: musings on my friend’s possible neighbor-envy, or the curious size of his bed. They imagined, for instance, that twin beds only come designed for juveniles and children. Did his bed have some sort of race-car headboard? No, I quellingly reported, it’s just your standard twin bed (though the springs are probably in better shape than some might be).

Spankers just your average wankers
I confess, I was a bit cross at this unexpected fascination with beds. You see, the tidbit I most wanted to share was my own brush with spanking celebrity. Sunday night I stopped by Twin-Bed Celibate’s pad to pick up a bag of fruit left for me there (members of my Friday night Bible study often send me home with groceries to offset my $50/week budget for food and incidentals). When I reached the building, the phone in the lobby didn’t seem to be working. I had just pulled out my cell phone to give Twin-Bed a call when a youngish Caucasian couple entered the lobby. When I saw the man pull out his keys, I quickly hung up the phone and followed them toward the elevators.

They were a man and a woman, early 30s at the most, and engaged in a riveting trick-or-treat conversation. There was much discussion of which floor to begin with, and whether or not steps would be involved. In defending his speedy deduction of the most-efficient route possible, the man showed no excess humility. The elevator came, we three stepped into its bordello-red cage, and I pushed the button without really noticing what floor they were going to.

Six floors up, the elevator stopped, and I moved toward the door … just as the couple did the same. As I trailed behind them toward Twin-Bed’s door, I realized the couple was going toward his half of the building … and then to the door of the apartment directly adjoining his. The spanking hanky-panky neighbor!*** It was a thrill as delicious as the time Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart passed me, walking up 7th Avenue.

A quiet Halloween
And pretty much my only brush with “fame” the rest of the evening. You see, I spent the rest of my Halloween going to the evening church service and then supping with Guy Friend #1, his girlfriend, and another woman (her favorite Sexless bit: my need for two vodka OJs to recover from an adrenaline-inducing email earlier this summer). No one at our restaurant was dressed up for the occasion, though the waiter did look like an older and more careworn version of Mr. Fontastic.

In retrospect, I think it may be the first Halloween in a while I have utterly ignored. My family used to observe a hallowed Broadway family tradition: the anti-Halloween celebration we called “Blackout night” (equal parts cheapskatism and countercultural rebellion). Every October 31, we’d shut off all the lights in the front of the house where would-be trick-or-treaters might discover we were home, and huddle in the family room at the back of the house. There, illumined by candlelight or some other low-wattage device, we’d eat dinner on the floor, maybe bob for apples or play card games. This tradition is so fondly remembered by my parents that in the middle of church I got a text message from them (sent to all us kids, since my folks are so tech-savvy) fondly recalling those happy nights. Apparently the folks were taking a break from their usual Sunday-night ritual of having a “romantic evening” as they have informed me.****

Anna im Kostüm
“Romantic evenings” in general were actually a most-fruitful costume inspiration, starting in late college. Every year, the local Campus Crusade for Christ chapter would have a Halloween party, forsaking all pretense of alternative celebration (such as the “Harvest Festivals” sponsored by many churches and religious groups). My senior year of college, still on my post-Berkeley rebellion against Christian culture, I hit upon the brilliant idea of persuading a particularly shy and upstanding guy friend (later to become King of the Pseudo-Date) to go as a Chippendales dancer. This lobby effort went on for a good day or so until finally King of the Pseudo-Date caved, having strong-armed my brother onto the dance line and dreamed up a condition he doubtless thought would save him from bare-chested humiliation: if they went as dancers, I had to go as a stripper.

And he thought this would deter me?!! I acquiesced immediately and set about finding the perfect accessories for what I was later told by Sgt. Ex-sessories more accurately resembled a burlesque dancer’s costume (he evidently had expertise in the various vagaries of stripper attire). Then two years later (I am inexplicably unable to recall Halloween 2000 celebrations) I was invited to a party whose theme was circus performers and sideshow freaks. As tongue-in-cheek homage to that party’s theme, I went as a 25-year-old virgin, suited up in red skirt, platform boots I deemed grungy and riotgrrrrly, and of course a chain belt with lock appropriately labeled “Chastity.” I wore the key along with an old purity ring on another chain strung round my neck. There was less difference than one might think between the on-the-shelf virgin and my old-fashioned stripper two years before.

The final costume in this — shockingly, I know — sex-themed series was an idea Best Friend came up with for last year’s Halloween: Good Librarian Gone Bad. Surprisingly it turned out the strategic inclusion of seamed stockings and date-stamp necklace were mostly unnecessary accessories. My glasses alone sufficed to persuade the hipster party set that I was a librarian. If there is a “next” time for dreaming up a costume, I might just go as a certain blogstress … red pants, mirrored shoes and all. It’s that or a nun.

Dahlings, I must warn you, as tomorrow morning I embark for the highly anticipated weekend in DC with Wedding Date, there may not be much blogging for a bit. But have no fear: I’ll be up to many hijinx guaranteed to generate much entertainment. Friday night we plan to go swing dancing, as Wedding Date insists his “fee” is that I teach him how to dance. Imagine Dirty Dancing without the “dirty” part ... maybe. ;) We’ve already established that Anna and Wedding Date must remain Bible-width apart at all times. Although there are those pocket-sized Bibles ... Then Saturday is the Big Date, and finally Sunday night it is anticipated we will catch some live local blues with Sis (whom Wedding Date dreams I will start calling “Jarhead Broadway” — but you folks wouldn’t appreciate Marine-insider humor like that, now would you?!!).

Alas, that other much-anticipated date with Hippie the Groper has been postponed till next week, but with Geriatric Gent scheduled to call me then as well, my social calendar is already filling up.

*Generally it proved a good litmus test for humor.
**Mind you, I have no idea what the symptoms of such would be ...
***I must say, for the nearly retired cop P.I. he reportedly is, the noisy neighbor was younger than I had imagined.
****One “perk” of our new grown-up-to-grown-up relationship is alarming candor.