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, July 29, 2004

Do I move you?

And now for today’s Spooning Fork...

Do I Move You?
‘Do I Move You?’ from Anthology
Whatever else she may have been, Nina Simone could be queen of the barn-burner when she wanted. When Austin Powers lost his mojo, he would have needed little more than this song, the epitome of what I like to call the smokey-bar blues, to regain it. How could you not instantly want to get down-’n-dirty when exposed to this potent 2:45 siren song? Just listen to those wailing harmonicas ... Struggling with bedroom eyes, folks? Here’s your ticket.

And yet, in “Do I Move You?” Nina manages to pose that one question worse than “Do I look fat?” By the end of the song, she’s got him backed up against a wall or the bed — you just know it. I’ll wager the man she was singing to felt not just a little terror should he fail to demonstrate adequate satisfaction. Come to think of it, this might just be the number capable to teaching men to fake an orgasm ...
When I touch you, do you quiver ...
from your head down to your liver.
If you like it, let me know it!
The answer better be “Yes .... yes ...
Great God Almighty, that pleases me!”

Other assorted ‘findings’ from this week ...
  • Tantric sex = good, but may result with control-freak men. (Tidbit from another writer, shared at a rooftop Brooklyn barbeque.)
  • Messenger bags are hot when worn by women. Which is to say, the way the strap separates our breasts is hot. I guess they just like spread in general ... (Inside scoop from a guy friend, shared over dinner in a French cafe.)
  • Law school is the baby-clock for men. Women who age fear they’re too old to still have natural-born children. Men who age fear they’re too old to still take a stab at law school. (Insight gained from cocktail chitchat with a bunch of current and aspiring lawyers.)
  • Narcissism is hip again! Recent comments from anonymous readers indicate my failure to use the cover of anonymity to reveal deep, personal secrets of the Broadway story is, well, a disappointment. Too bad there wasn’t a reply-to email so I could share the “Earl” of my other blog.
That said, sometime this week I’ll try to post the story of either my meeting with The Latin American, or the backstory on The Harvard Lickwit.

To hear

Nina Simone
To see

Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
To download

Download iTunes


Beauty makes him beat

There are times when I feel rather guilty about being a woman. Last night, for example, I’m sitting at a friend’s going-away party describing my ongoing search for employment. When I mention something about “doing a lot of networking” lately, the friend interjects (without malice): “Yeah, but you’re a cute young woman!” His point: I have an advantage.

And I have to admit, when you’re dealing with men, looks certainly don’t hurt. Lately I’ve even taken to leaving my glasses at home a lot of the time. While their “geek chic” generated plenty of sexy-librarian mojo during grad school days and lately in bars around the city, I’m starting to think this unframed Broadway face is strong enough to stand on its own.

I pride myself on being the sort of woman who’s generally upfront, non-manipulative and straight-forward with men, but the fact of the matter is, my looks do factor into the interaction equation. At a cocktail party not long ago, I was catching up with the Harvard Lickwit, to whom I confessed a fear that my snug-fitting fuchsia pants were not in keeping with a dress policy that mandated ties for men and frowned upon “wardrobe malfunctions.”

Dress-code exemptions
“Since we’re being honest with each other,” he replied (referencing an earlier conversation about the nature of our phase as friends-who-don’t-kiss), “as long as you’ve got a body like that you don’t need to worry about the dress code.”

I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this. Was it a statement about dress codes in general? I’m not sure how I feel about such an exemption. More likely, it derived from gossip that later made its way to my ears: supposedly the party’s organizer has the hots for the me.

And indeed, at a later meeting of the same group I experienced some confirmation of this tidbit. The host is a slightly gruff Tim Robbins type whose evident chainsmoking gives his voice the rasp that made newspapermen hot in the 70s. Of course Woodward and Bernstein talked like that! It was because they used their voices so much — prying important secrets out of sources over the whiskey and smokes necessary to create a relaxed rapport. Or, because with the more shifty-eyed, it was necessary to engage in low-talking, furtive conversations. Strain on your voice, all of it. Hot stuff. The Tim Robbins type is clearly experiencing some 70s nostalgia or undergoing an identity crisis because lately he’s been cultivating a serious ’fro. A gray ’fro. As Best Friend pondered: “Is he gray down there?”

At any rate, the Tim Robbins type is a flitter — he pops into conversations for like two minutes to make sure people are happy, then drifts away before things get too serious or boring. With any luck he’ll catch only the wittiest moments and be convinced our chats are the stuff of a screenwriter’s dream — and these gatherings the mark of a canny host’s success.

But he wouldn’t be entirely wrong to think so. These gatherings draw a smattering of Ivy-league grads and other word nerds, so the small talk is sometimes clever. The sad thing, though, is when an evening of steady drinking starts to catch up with your wit. Later that evening (the post-fuchsia pants evening) a covert romantic I’d been introduced to popped back into the conversation. Like the Tim Robbins type, Covert Romantic is a flitter. But whatever interest he had in me was evidently more powerful, as he’d stick around much longer. Invariably, though, he’d drift away for a while before returning to my side.

When smart men vie for women ...
One of these returns interrupted my conversation with a quick-witted, good-looking Yale alum who was gamely indulging my rant about the decorative use of turkeys in a Thanksgiving spread at a newspaper I once worked for. Apropos of nothing, Covert Romantic reappears and starts recounting a Sept. 11 story he’d just heard with all the grace of shifting from 4th to 2nd gear without 3rd. I wince on his behalf, but the gathering crowd is generous.

Later, however, back on light conversational ground, he and the Yale Hotpot debate the aesthetic merits of a particular phrase that one of us had used. Yale Hotpot and I then return to our conversation while Covert Romantic listens and attempts to re-insert himself with a heavy-handed quip he has to work for. When Yale Hotpot points this out, it dawns on me that quite possibly this exchange is largely for my benefit. A breeze from the open door stirs the hem of my semi-transparent vintage dress, and I struggle not to grin. So this is what it looks like when intellectual egos duke it out. Unfortunately for Covert Romantic, the wine has wilted his wit over the course of the evening, and Yale Hotpot is both sober and of the profession where verbal quickness is encouraged.

But the lumps and the male sparring don’t end there. At the end of the night, I find myself walking uptown with the Tim Robbins type, who wastes no time in mentioning that Covert Romantic looks like a child molester, from which comparison I can insinuate anything I’d like.

Clearly my presence at these gatherings is similar to taking photographs in India. There’s no such thing as unobserved observation, or innocent participation. As luck would have it, I’m probably one of the more attractive women in a crowd that sometimes borders on sausage fest. And that makes a difference. It always makes a difference. If it weren’t hard enough learning to gracefully manage the social impact of my smarts, I also have to learn to manage the impact of my looks, such as they are.

What’s a girl to do?
While men may not take notice at the way I lick my dessert spoon (as romance novels would have it), they do notice when I start to dance (one time, in fact, I think I was propositioned to act in a porn film!). It’s a power that all women have. I recognize it in my father’s reluctance to tell me or my sister that we’re beautiful, although he will praise our character and call us lovely. And I see it in a friend who worries about marrying a pretty girl who later gets fat, but doesn’t seem to care about his growing belly.

I can’t somehow abdicate that power (nor would my vanity permit me to do so), but I still want to try to find that line between putting my best foot forward and being exploitive. Without tossing all my cutest clothes, of course …

Movies ♣ All the President’s Men

Invisible Dragon: Four Essays on Beauty
Invisible Dragon: Four Essays on Beauty

Independent Nation: How the Vital Center Is Changing American Politics
Independent Nation: How the Vital Center Is Changing American Politics

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Celibates wear orange

Sorry to regular readers who checked back Tuesday to catch the very-exciting announcement about my new all-access commenting feature (now totally inclusive, thanks to Haloscan) ... You guessed it: today was yet another occasion on which I left my computer behind for a foray into the real world. I actually had not just lunch, but lunch and coffee. With men. Two different men, in fact. I even managed to pay nothing except for subway fare, but that’s surely more a consequence of the sympathy-inducing powers of unemployment (when present in a “reasonably attractive” woman) ... than a new crop of pseudo-dates creeping in under my nose. (Besides, in my experience thus far, pseudo-dates are generally the province of Christian men. Secular men know they want sex and make no bones about it.)

Writing a blog like Sexless in the City is a double-edged sword, you see. While you instantly gain men’s attention, there’s a good chance things will never get past the first little chit-chat. Except, of course, for the writer who recently proclaimed himself intent on getting into my blog. Now why does that sound dirty ...

Today’s conversations, however, were generally less salacious: the woes of wooing a gender-balanced Kerry-party crowd, and why a long-time Apple user has recently switched to PCs. (I was conversing with guys, remember.)

There was passing talk about the celibates at a yoga center where I lunched: apparently they choose to don orange for some reason. I mean, orange. It’s like, “Warning! Celibate on the loose!” No offense to Buddhists, but isn’t that also the color of choice for hazard suits and criminals? It’s like you’re either about to encounter something very dangerous (a sex-starved grown-up), or that person is about to face great danger: a soul unable to compensate for other needs with sex. These people (judging on what I saw) don’t wear the typical Buddhist garb where it’s not only vibrant orange but some sort of toga to boot … they were wearing the clothes it looked like Martha Stewart rejected after failing to bleach the orange to a satisfactory pastel.

… But I digress. What caused greater curiosity was my other friend’s remark about encounters with fake ads on personal sites. Not long ago, he claimed, a hypersocial relative from France came to visit. Before inviting a steady stream of girlfriends to come join him in crashing on my friend’s tasteful couch, the relative first turned to local dating sites. (Why does this remind me of some kids’ cartoon with mice, like, Francois visits America?) As the men browsed the ads, they found that most women pictured were average, but 1-in-10 or so was stunning. They of course responded to these (well, the hypersocial Frenchman did), but curiously none replied. My skeptical friend inferred that these were probably fake ads created to keep men hooked on the site, dreaming of getting a date with that “average woman” who looks like a pornstar yet for some reason can’t meet men.

Of course we’ve all heard about the fake photos people supposedly use in personal ads (I think I once “whispered” to one Texan who did such when I was still on Udate) ... and we’ve seen horrifying proof that plenty don’t ... but have any of you heard or encountered personal ads where the whole thing seems unreal? This is probably nonexistant on Craigslist, but I assume most of you don’t exclusively rely on that site for meeting people.

So ... thoughts? I’d be curious to hear your stories.

Random reader of the day
In one of Monday’s promo ads, I made the mistake of saying, “What kind of stripper would rivet a Muslim lady?” Now I’m scared that horny European terrorists have me on their radar:
Subject: i take u
Date: July 26, 2004 1:57:38 PM EDT
how r u hope u ok i saw your add on the web say u need some one glad to know u more if u want me to be i also look for some one so what ever the caese is i be happy to help or be with u if u need a pic i can send one
What, me, paranoid? Nevah...

Song of the Day
And finally: the much-teased premier of the Sexless in the City Spooning Fork (so-named because a) spooning is an old-timey term for kissing — aka, snogging — b) a tuning fork is a music-related implement, and c) at 1:17 a.m. I can’t think of anything more clever to describe this song-analysis feature).

Dancing Queen
Dancing Queen from Gold - Greatest Hits
I have to confess, the true meaning of this song was not really brought home to me until the wee hours of a recent Saturday morning, which I whiled away in an east-40s karaoke bar. Thanks to the aid of a slick vintage-90s music video, however, it all came together ...

When you actually read them, the lyrics are a revelation. No wonder Brazilian waxes are sweeping the nation! It’s not Bush-hatred run amok, but decades of girls’ nights out encouraging women to free their inner stripper — I mean, “pole-dance professional.”
You come in to look for a king
Anybody could be that guy...
You’re a teaser, you turn ’em on
Leave them burning and then you’re gone
Looking out for another, anyone will do
Forget all that grinding-with-your-girlfriends crap. The really secret to male attention is dancing like it rumples up your panties in a good way. (Don’t forget, Abba sang in pre-thong days.)

Now what if the candidates had to each do playlists for Apple, their platform cleverly embedded in the lyrics? What then, I ask you, what then? Bush, I guarantee, would not include “Dancing Queen” on his tape because he’s worked against human-trafficking. Actually quite a lot.

And so we see why Anna Broadway will not have blogging credentials for either political convention ...

Postscript, Aug. 21, 2004
This just in: more on possible contents of the Presidential iPod! Note in particular the close-up from his blog ...

ear candy

Gold: Greatest Hits
Gender, Trafficking and Slavery (Focus on Gender Series)
Gender, Trafficking and Slavery

Focus on Gender Series
We've Got Blog: How Weblogs Are Changing Our Culture
We’ve Got Blog

How Weblogs Are Changing Our Culture

Download iTunes

Sunday, July 25, 2004

My day as a stripper

Apologies to my regular readers who checked in over the weekend to see ... the same essay! ... but this was the weekend I forayed into stripping. I spent most of the weekend gloved and on the street in front of my house, instead of bare-handed and blogging away inside.

Nice weather for it, luckily enough. I had plenty of company between the stoop-set across the street, chatty passersby, and an older Muslim lady who perched on my porch to watch for quite a while. Since my neighbors are indistinguishable from cats when streetside curiosities are concerned, I made many new acquaintances, male and female.

A few things I’ve learned along the way: stripping is hard work. And time-consuming, at that. The stripper has to really penetrate the wood, so full-on immersion is ideal. Unfortunately, however, I do not have or know of these “stripper vats” I keep hearing about from friends. So, I kept taking the wood in and out of the stripper only to discover more time was necessary. Considering the mess it makes, and the discovery of not two but three layers to be removed, this has been an involved process.

But after two arduous afternoons at it, the wood is almost back to its original naked state. One guy at Lowe’s guessed it might be birch. In any case, I can hardly wait till the stripping part is done and I get to actually stain my desk. Until then I’m sure the fumes will provide many a strange dream (we may have sidewalks and street-parking, but there ain’t many garages in Brooklyn, hence the desk gets stored inside).

Thoughts on i-relating
Though I’ve been focused on stripping this weekend, readers mused on the nature of internet relationships. One friend writes:
I have been feeling like there is this Internet “intimacy” that is created by posting personal information about ourselves. This is of course created while simultaneously learning personal things about others, both friend and foe.

This intimacy is often very intense and may seem real, but I have found that more often than not you are meeting the “representative” of the person you are interacting with. This is kind of like when you go on a first date with someone—both you and they are on best behavior. Both of you may be presenting the person you’d like to be, but when it comes down to it, we all have past experiences, expectations, egos and pain that often cloud who we really are (or would like to be.) This combination of things is who we wind up being in this moment.

Interestingly enough, one of the only ways to get past the representative, and, ultimately, past the pain, ego and expectation, is to spend time with your friend, spouse, lover, or family member and work through it together.

The Internet and its IM, e-mail, ICQ, AOL, dating, porn, etc, are creating perpetual first dates for most everyone involved. Ironically, I used to see the Internet as a way of staying connected with people and getting to know them better (aside from its powerful tools of research and consumerism). I found, after a time, that I did not really know these people that I considered “friends” any better, and I had, in fact grown quite disillusioned as to who they really were. (These illusions were conveniently shattered upon spending some actual time with these people.)

The result?

I have removed myself from as many forms of Internet intimacy as possible. I have disassociated myself from those “friends” who turned out not to be friends at all. Most importantly, I have focused on making the relationships that I have more meaningful and genuine.

This still includes the occasional email... ;)
Thoughts? Disagreements? Use the comment feature to talk back. More stories from Anna Broadway’s sordid love life coming soon, plus thoughts on the meaning of “Dancing Queen.” Don’t forget to recommend your favorite song for inclusion!

Music ♣ Abba: Gold: Greatest Hits

Girl Shows: Into the Canvas World of Bump and Grind
Girl Shows: Into the Canvas World of Bump and Grind

Furniture Repair & Refinishing
Furniture Repair & Refinishing

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Gettin’ quippy wit it

Great thing, having sex on the brain. By turns you can seem alternately funny and entertaining (if friends are feeling generous).

For the stand-up comedy portion of the evening ...
A couple audience-pleasing rejoinders from my dinner tonight:
  1. My friend discusses her Saturday evening from last weekend. The main theme is her disappointment that she didn’t get to attend this bizarre “Orgasmatron” party in the city somewhere (a prelude to the Burning Man festival, she says). “You couldn’t get anyone to come with you?” I ask (the innocent poker face lasts perhaps a half second before I crack up like a kid who just made the obvious poop joke).
  2. Later in the same conversation, this friend describes the ads she’s posted on Craigslist, in search of that rare thing: a Jewish guy who likes to travel. (I once sought an intellectual grease monkey, so she has my sympathies.) Not long ago she met or heard from a guy who was Jewish and somewhat pleasing, but got panic attacks about leaving the country. “So you’re saying he’s home-ophobic?”
... This doesn’t work well in print, does it?

And now the reality entertainment: Looney Tune responds
After writing yesterday’s blog entry, I resisted the urge to “reply-all” Looney Tune’s recipients ... for all of five minutes. But then Bleeding Eyes returned my email:
You know, I just don't get it, I really don’t. I mean, why? I’m as horny and as interested in sex and all its little avenues as the next guy, I have a decent porn collection, etc etc, but maybe these people are just plain screwy. On the other hand, maybe screwy ladies actually answer that kinda thing, and that causs him to keep on doing it. Maybe he was trying in some weird wacked out way to be humourous.. Kinda like lampoon or animal house style sex humour. I dunno, I’m not explaining the unexplainable... Maybe we should be blunt and just straight up and ask him :P His mass spam mailing multiple people just seems a bit ... Desperate..or something..

I think a reply all is a great idea, probably find interesting responses, but I know that Craigslist mail addresses get a right hammering so who knows, many of the ladies have probabbly been deluged with silly stuff like that idiot from Philly, and will be bored senseless by this stage. I like Craigslist, but its lost a little something since it got more widely known, ... The noise level over content is on the rise. I do take particular curious interestin the casual metting area, but I’ve not got involved. Reading what people are looking for is the point of interest rather than actually doing it.
So I emailed the ladies. The spunkiest one swiftly took matters into her own hands:
I got the same thing!!!! Geez. Have you told him??!!! Maybe he will learn, us “nice girls” aren’t “stupid”!!! Ha
Then she emails Looney Tune, kindly CCing all us ladies on the message.
From: Spunky One
Subject: A lesson for LOONEY TUNE.....
Date: July 22, 2004 11:24:21 AM EDT
To: Looney Tune, anon1@craigslist, anon2@craigslist, Anna Broadway, anon4@craigslist, anon5@craigslist, and 2 more...

Looney Tune, you have a rare way of making a girl feel special and unique! Just a little word of advice...learn to bcc(BLIND carbon copy) if your going to do a mass mailing...makes us all feel a little more inclined to spend some of that time with you....S
Things approach the state of a car crash when two hours later, Spunky CCs the Spam Squad on her reply to Looney Tune, copying his email so we can read his defense. LT explains:
It wasn’t so much of a mass mailing as it was an attempt to decrease the time that it takes to send my picture. Since I am on hotmail, it takes about 5 minutes per email to upload the picture. Perhaps if I was more technology equipped, then I would not have to prepare the email in such a way. However, my computer stinks. Should I be blamed because of that? In terms of making a girl feel special, that is something for the long term as opposed to an initial email among hundreds in her email box.

Looney Tune
I sense an item that Gen X/Y-savvy politicos should add to their social-service platform: make faster computers available to all! The American people need this to more-efficiently date, mate, and procreate. Shoddy equipment restricts population growth!


Spunky tells him:
But could have BCC.....and how you going to get a chance to get to long term if you don't stand out in those hundreds of e-mails we all receive? Actually, now that I think on it, you did stand out, as one who goofed...your even being blogged about...your famous!! And remember worthwhile things take time.....
Seriously though...all the best....
And now, I hope, we reach the end. In Kiss & Tell, Alain de Botton writes:
The process of intimacy therefore involve[s] the opposite of seduction, for it mean[s] revealing what risk[s] rendering one most open to unfavourable judgment, or least worthy of love. Whereas seduction [i]s founded on the display of one’s finest qualities and dinner jackets, intimacy entail[s] a complex offer of both vulnerability and toenails.
The trouble with internet dating is, sometimes they open with toenails.

And we respond with, well, advice on how to better pull the wool over our eyes. Then again tonight’s post-dinner discussion touched on women who conceal their real (and oft unpleasant) identities from the men in their lives.

Honesty? Who needs that? And intimacy? Bosh. What we want is seduction. More deception! And can you bring a little more wine, please?

Counselors are available in the lobby, next to concessions ...

The hidden track
Bleeding Eyes weighs in:
Spunky one seems more concerned about the fact this guys did’nt use BCC, instead of the contents of the email. Now that smacks like she likes this kinda thing .....

That’s disturbing :P
Movies ♣ National Lampoon's Animal House

Kiss and Tell
Kiss and Tell

Reader Poll

Recently I’ve been thinking about adding a new feature to the site: Each day I’d discuss a song (but not necessarily a love song) in terms of what it’s saying about love and relationships. Thoughts from the audience? Songs I should start with? “Closer” is already on my list if this project moves forward. Treatments would probably look like this:

‘As’ from Songs in the Key of Life
Lately I’ve been listening to Stevie Wonder a lot. With its gospel overtones, “As” almost falls into that ambiguous zone of the praise song/love song. But then, the idealization of soulmate relationships has muddied the romance/religion lines as much as the music of Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant has.

  • Please let me know what you think. Thanks!

Coming soon ... Looney Tune responds to emails from the Spam Posse!

Download iTunes

Music ♣ Nine Inch Nails: Downward Spiral ♣ Stevie Wonder: Songs in the Key of Life

The spam approach to pick-up emails

Last night when I got home, I arrived to possibly the most appalling email, ever. I say this not because I, personally, am appalled, but because I am appalled on behalf of the hapless sap who sent it — who clearly does not even grasp the egregious nature of his mistake. Hell, I’m appalled on behalf of his mother!

At first glance, it looks pretty harmless:
I am a 27 year old male who lives in Philadelphia. I work in the construction business as a planner. I am still fairly new to the city after moving here from California after college about 5 years ago. You sound like a nice girl. You can find my picture attached. As for me, I enjoy a little of everything but it would probably be nice to spend some of that time with you. Who knows.....maybe!!

Looney Tune
Maybe NOT
Attached is a grainy j-peg of our antihero, holding what appears to be the head of a cartoonish blow-up doll in his lap. I am utterly at a loss to otherwise identify the object, unless it is some sort of basketball painted to resemble a Looney Tunes figure. It is clearly an inflated object. With semi-human features.

Now the photo’s not great, by any means (reminds me of the terrible pictures posted by one of my first-ever chat — I mean “whisper” — buddies on Udate; that guy lived in the midwest somewhere, and thought I’d appreciate him regalling me with accounts of the local, possibly underage, Udate conquest he fucked in his kitchen) ... but it alone is not enough to provoke such horror. Mainly my initial reaction is, Unfortunate photo. And why he’d email me? Another one who didn’t read the ad well. (Sigh)

But then I glance up. I glance up to the subject-line area. And I see to my shock not “” (which he would have gotten from reading this blog), but the “anon1234987@craigslist” email of the personal ad.

Here’s the kicker: I can’t actually tell which one is my email address because it’s not just sent to me! There’s a total of six, yes, six anon@craigslist email addresses in the “To:” line — plus two more cut off by my email program!!

Literally, I am in shock.

I mean, yes, he’s a construction worker. But for God’s sake. He’s a planner in construction. Is it really possible to be this clueless?!!

A recap of the strategy errors
  • Bad picture — OK, understandable. Easy mistake.
  • Writing to a personal ad that’s really not a date-solicitation at all — slightly less-excusable, but still he’s in good company (maybe four other such emails have so far been directed to me).
  • Writing-in-hopes-of-a-date to a woman who lives in New York — stretching the limits of judgment, but hey, Philly’s only two hours away, right? Wouldn’t you be willing to drive that distance just to meet a “nice girl”? (Surely he drives; he’s from California.) Regarding this geographic gaucheness, he’s actually not the worst. Two days ago I got emails from men in San Francisco and London (yes, I promo’d myself on Craigslists there). Then again ... re-reading the Londoner’s email reveals he also sent his email to multiple women. He at least was clever enough to BCC us (British men are so much smarter), resulting in “Undisclosed-recipients” as his message-object. That does explain a few things ...
  • Hi,

    I'm [Name] and I work in a bank.

    I'm an honest and genuine caring kind of guy.

    I enjoy ethnic foods - especially chinese and indian - going to a movie - and travelling.

    Have been to Canada 3 times - including coast to coast by train - and have also been to Ukraine.

    If you want to know more - or meet - then email me or call 01234 678903.
    But back to Looney Tune:

  • Sending the same email to multiple women — unproductive in the resulting vagueness, but something you could easily conceal ... with a little common sense!!! Take this sample:
  • Hi. I saw your profile and I would like to get to know
    you better. I’m looking for some fun. I’m a 22 year
    old white male. I’m 6’2” 200lbs. I live in NE Philly.
    Let me know either way.
    This guy probably multi-sent the email too (note the same geographic mistake). But at least he took the time to use one email address! Joey from SanFran even used my real email, suggesting he cursorily read the blog (although he didn’t mention it).
If you’re going to spam the wimmin, do it right
Our antihero, Looney Tune, however, has clearly never heard of BCCing. Too bad. He could’ve still only sent one email but either followed the British banker’s approach or put the first “anon@craigslist” email in the “To:” line, then stuck all the others in BCC. Who really keeps track of what random-generated email address you get? Unless you’re measuring the success of multiple ads ... but even in that case, would you really remember which set of numbers is yours?!

And yet, on balance, the logic is so clear. Most efficient thing to do, right? You’re interested in eight women, you’re hoping for a little weekend action ... but you don’t want to write eight emails. So you craft a generic email — the e-dating equivalent of a stock pickup line. Hell, maybe you even recycle the same damn email every week you skim the ads! If you’re dating as many women as some guys are, it’s a pretty efficient strategy (some men I know of use spreadsheets to keep all the women straight).

But efficiency only goes so far. (Bangs head against laptop.) In this case it’s very likely to backfire.

I wish that someone, somewhere, could’ve taught these guys to just be themselves. Then again, that might be just what Looney Tune did. However, if he takes this kind of scripted, short-cut approach to merely meeting women, he probably takes the same route when talking to them. There were times when I was still sort of dating Sgt. Ex-sessories that I felt like he was saying whatever; I had no confidence he was being genuine. Rather, he seemed so terrified that Sgt. John wouldn’t get his fix that night, he’d say anything to the further the cause. Smile and nod. “Sure, honey, that sounds great!” Smile and nod ... remember to maintain eye contact! And now, maybe casually touch her thigh ... Smile and nod ... Sometimes I wanted to say to him, “Relax and be yourself! I’ll like you much better that way. I promise.”

Light at the end of the ... flashlight
On the upside, there are probably women out there just like him. Maybe one of these days, Looney Tune will happen to email Lady Loopy — along with five other women. And maybe she’ll have the heart to say:
Wow, that’s so sweet. You sound like a nice guy, Jim/Todd/Frank/Sam. Let’s get together real soon.

I Can't Believe I'm Buying This Book: A Commonsense Guide to Successful Internet Dating
I Can't Believe I'm Buying This Book: A Commonsense Guide to Successful Internet Dating

Online Dating For Dummies (For Dummies Series)
Online Dating For Dummies (For Dummies Series)

Once Upon a Blind Date
Once Upon a Blind Date


Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Stop, or he’ll go blind!

Subject: My eyes are bleeeeeeding..
Dear Anna,

So there I was, sitting on Craigslist (get place, occasionally) and I found the link. So .. I came over and tried to read. My eyes were savaged by the layout and the colours.. I fight my way past and try and read..

What is it about Girls, they are sooo over complex with deep analysis on subjects that don't deserve it…

Anyway … Where was I … on yes, erm, Chocolate Virgina errand was where I ended up. Now, don't get me wrong, your English is like 2000% better than mine, but the page layout killed me as I tried to read it! Nice story, if erm.. told from the Womans perspective. Why did I choose that one? Probably some latent stupid male thought process..

So I was thinking … what per chance the short hairy one did actually like you and was not merely trying to get in your knickers. Then I was pondering if you are judgmental, and I am on that short story kinda thinking you are.. Maybe that short guy liked you. You could still be dating ! How can you call the blog sexless IF it need not be. I'm confuddled, but also, male so there is no shock there..

You take great interest in the persons background, so money is important, as are looks. Hmmm. I like the last line ..
AB: hahaha ... but it's not like she gets opportunities with the men I've denied. It's more like their friends ....
AB: Weird.
Men you've denied … hmm, so the blog could be called, denial in NY, or sexless cos you prefer it that way ? :P

I mean… you live in NY, HOW can you lack sex if you want it …. You have to explain, I'll be watching :P

Bleeding-eyes Brit
Dear Bleeding Eyes:

First of all, I must commend you for your fortitude. Such visual … er, stamina in wading through all my words! Sorry the pink’s a bit too much. Maybe if I find another sugar daddy I can splurge on a spiffier site.

In the meantime, might I suggest glasses? It’s the whole “geek chic” thing, you know. In fact, I consider it a bold statement of confidence. On many people, the deliberate choice of nerdy, dare-I-say, ugly eyewear implies the owner has good looks to spare, so he or she can afford “downgrade” the sex appeal a little. But then … I’m a self-confessed closet looksist (and quite attached to the specs m’self), so I spend wayyyy too much timing thinking about this stuff (among other topics).

But back to your query. Ad Weasel’s not such a bad bloke entirely — you’re right. His offense at my assumption he was offering money for sex seemed quite real. Then again, there is that one time when he offered lotsa cash to peek up my skirt. Really. A whole wad. I guess he had to blow it elsewhere ...

Some women would take the money. Others would say “fuck off” and never speak to him again. I just said “fuck off.”

No man deserves to be reduced to the sum of his actions (or his features). So … when some guy (or gal) acts stupid, I shake my head, maybe shelter my heart a wee bit, and remember that I can be quite the fuckwit as well sometimes. But we’d all like to think we’re still decent chaps or chicks, right? Just miserably broken ones at times.

Anyhow, re: your confuddlement … I guess you’ll just have to keep reading. ;) But thanks for the alternate-name tips!


PS: If you think I overanalyze, you should read Alain de Botton sometime! He's even one of your countryman — emphasis on the “man,” there. ;)


On Love
On Love

Kiss and Tell
Kiss and Tell

The Romantic Movement: Sex, Shopping, and the Novel
The Romantic Movement: Sex, Shopping, and the Novel

You want the one who’s ‘open to persuasion’

Some of you have asked why I’m so damn analytical. To which I say, “You think that’s bad?” Check out this letter I wrote to my brother while he was at National Guard training … (Yes, I’m the only Broadway child who’s not signed up for a service. I prefer to date military men.)
What, me, obsessive?
Yesterday, I decided to run up A mountain, thinking I was in good-enough shape to handle it. That was slightly true, but by the time I got to the lookout point midway up I was panting like none other. Tried jogging up the remaining steps, but I was breathing so hard, I had to walk. Then I just sat at the top a little, catching my breath and waiting for my legs to stop shaking enough to go down again. On the way back (since I was running back to the park), I ran by the Irish Pub, that is to say, the “Authentic Guinness Concept Pub.” The O-Zone King and Bartender #2 and this other guy were standing out on the patio, and somebody (I think it was O-Zone King, although maybe that’s wishful thinking) was like, “Hey Anna!” So I ran in and asked to use their bathroom. “What are you doing?” the guys ask. “Running,” I say — but don’t stop to talk or anything on my way out; I didn’t want to lose my momentum or have the muscles tighten up.

More evidence that romance novels really fuck you up
But the whole O-Zone King thing … Maybe I’m just a complete, obsessive idiot-freak, but I think he’s been a little friendlier to me in the last week — maybe his interest has even been piqued a little again (although I’m told that a guy doesn’t necessarily stop finding you sexually attractive just because things don’t work out). A week or so ago, there was this weird exchange where he was pretty flirty, I thought. Then the following Saturday he was serving, and I chatted with him a bit in the course of getting change — but he was nice, you know? Even told me a story — which was totally putting more into the conversation than it required (the last time I’d seen him before I left for Albuquerque, he was in a bad mood and totally aloof when I said hi to him). Then Wednesday of this week, I went to the bar to study, but ended up talking to this guy Ballplayer #1 I’d met at IP before. We were sitting right by the end of the bar where O-Zone King was bartending, and when I asked him for a glass of water, he actually asked me how I was doing! With all the other people who work there, that would probably just be common social courtesy, but O-Zone King is kind of weird; it hasn’t been possible to fall into the kind of easy friendship with him that I have with Guy Friend #3, for example (although Guy Friend #3 is probably pretty unique in that sense).

So … yeah. Part of me just totally wants that male attention and interest, for some reason — especially from him. I mean, I totally know that nothing could happen, should he actually initiate something like hanging out again … (God, I’m such a freak — eh? Man….)

When it stops raining men
But I’m starting to think this man-drought has a point. I’ve been thinking more about what I seek in my relationships — how much I have tried to make myself into this person who is charming and quirky and a good friend and all — so that people will love me and want to be my friend. Not that I haven’t cared genuinely about them, and been concerned about what goes on in their lives — but that needy self-interest has been back there, you know?

Interestingly enough, another realization came in my conversation with this guy Ballplayer #1, Wednesday night. I’d only met him once before, one Saturday night when he and his friend Ballplayer #2 met me and Girlfriend #4 at Irish Pub. We’d all gone to the diner afterward, and had a perfectly nice conversation with Ballplayer #1 (Ballplayer #2 sat mostly silent though he’d been the one arrange the post-bar hook-up. When we got ready to leave, Ballplayer #2 asked for our phone number, in the most pathetic, hilarious way possible. We gave him Girlfriend #4’s number, and he apparently called her at like 2 a.m. one night, but things never really came of it. Girlfriend #4’s dating Guy Friend #3, and besides, Ballplayer #1 was really the charismatic one of the two. (They’re both in town trying out for some baseball thing.)

All this happened toward the beginning of the semester. That seemed to be the last of it until Wednesday night. Suddenly there they were in the bar, and they recognized me. Ballplayer #1 and I get into this conversation about me being in religious studies that leads inevitably to my own religious life and my relationship with God. For whatever reason, I ended up talking a lot about this whole love thing — how the way I see God making a difference in my life is by the changes He makes in my heart. I was trying to explain how that happened in terms of my relationship with Former Roommate and striving to be more than just polite to her. The diff between politeness and kindness is a huge thing, you know? I was trying to explain that this really wasn’t the kind of thing a person could just force into their heart — why I really thought God had something to do with it. And I was talking about the whole seeking-something-back-from-other-people thing, too.

Then he said something about conditions — that I was talking about trying to love without conditions — even though that’s usually how all of us operate in our relationships all the time, and generally we don’t even think about it. Even though he’s this guy without much of a religious background at all, he stuck his finger right on this concept that had been there all the time — only I’d forgotten it.

‘Open to persuasion’
Of course, the funny thing about all of it was that I think Ballplayer #1 was kind of interested in me. I was kind of getting that vibe, you know, because we were facing each other on these stools by the bar, and toward the end our knees were starting to brush a little in that way. He totally wanted to get my number — because he was expressing regret about the conversation having to end — but I just couldn’t bring myself to bail him out, even though I knew what he wanted.

He’s a nice guy. I’m realizing that there’s this thing that happens a lot with guys I meet, where I’m not out-and-out interested in them (sexually/romantically) from the beginning, but neither am I vehemently not interested in them in that way. I wouldn’t start the encounter by being flirty and so on, but if the guy should express interest, I’m not opposed to letting things go that way, and see if he might persuade my interest to become more sexually/romantically oriented rather than just “Oh, he’s a cool person.” That’s how it was with Sgt. Ex-sessories and Slobberguy, the two I went out with last semester. The O-Zone King, however, was one of those cases where I did like him right off the bat, and obviously we can see where that’s gotten me! (sigh)

Anyway — Ballplayer #1’s cool; and he’s one of those guys where I’m like “open-to-persuasion,” right? Only I just couldn’t bring myself to encourage anything somehow, even though I might come to like him more in the end, than I did either Sgt. Ex-sessories or Slobberguy (I apologize if this is starting to get a little confusing! J). I guess I’ve just felt like I shouldn’t rush into anything with a guy right now, even if it’s a casual date or two …

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Anna responds to readers

Since a giant electric wasp hovered directly over my building for more than an hour this morning, I thought I’d use this untimely wakefulness to answers emails from you, my readers. Starting with the insults.
what would a 52-year old buddhist artist find that
could possibly be attractive about such solypsism
posing as integrity and art?
Dear Yecch:
What would a 52-year-old Buddhist artist expect from a post titled “What women want — a man who’s small, quick and hairy”?? You shoulda steered clear at the pop-cult reference. Mel Gibson, for God’s sake! Not much art happening there (although his dance scene is rather nice). Now had I made a reference to Amelie... OK. You might’ve had me there.

But don’t lose heart. I’m sure there are other, more-serious women half your age out there.

PS: It might help your dating strategy if you don’t send emails twice. Especially when 20 minutes have elapsed in between. It just looks weird, ya know?
someone (most likely you??) posted a link to your blog on craigslist in san francisco. since i have a job that allows me pretty much to read whatever i want on the net, i clicked on your link to pass some time. just writing to say thanks for the effort and it helped me pass a few minutes of my life. if i choose a name the same way you did i would be Dale Thirty-second Avenue.
Dear Dale:
It was me, yes. Thanks for reading! You have my sympathies re: the job. Totally been there. Check back next time you have more time to kill...
You are quite funny...small, quick and got me pegged. It sounds like you have been around the internet dating block a few times. I have just discovered this craigs list thing and have been obsessed with it. I responded to a few, not too seriously, but received no response. WTF. At least a thanks would be nice. Is the sarcasm not obvious?
This is to a lady who left no name but said she was professional:

Professional Intelligent Lady-

YES, I think your expectations are way to should date a guy who still lives at home at 30 or are unfaithful jerks or drinks too much and gets mean or loves sports more than you or is really nice but also ugly...LOL...the good guys are gone, ALL of them!
Anyway, I am looking for an “attractive” girls refined opinion on cologne. I started wearing it everyday and I am running low. So I went to the cologne counter and got sprayed down with like 30 and really couldn’t smell the difference after 3. I liked Marc Jacobs for men and a couple I wanted a cute girls opinion, since ultimately, that is why guys wear cologne.
As for me, I am just working to finish my thesis, 5’10” with dark brown hair and a half goatee (this changes a lot). I swam for 11 years so I have the swimmers bod thing going but whatever. I have nice teeth, a good relationship with my mom, floss daily, and have nice shoes. lol. Unfortunately, I am not around your area but O well, I rarely let women take me out unless they really have their s#$% together, and a attractive (a very rare combo). If you are a good looking girl I am sure if you step out for a few hours, you will have several dumb guys offering to buy you dinner just to spend some time with you. Got to get back to my work.

Sounds of Silence
Dear Sounds of Silence:
Sarcasm can be a highly refined art. And like much art, it is not always appreciated by the masses. Bear in mind, it tends to work better as performative art (i.e., banter during drinks) than written in the first email sales-pitch of yourself.

In general, the ideal email should be, well, short — at least in the beginning. I like what you’re doing with the cologne bit, but it’s kinda like the killer umpteenth phone call in Swingers: TMI. Or at least, too many words. And not carefully chosen words. You’re an intelligent man. You use sarcasm ... finished a thesis ... but your writing-style doesn’t really tell me that. I hate to say it, but you have to look at personal-ad response emails like the cover letter in a job ap. It’s all about the sell. So re-read your stuff a couple times. Try to use conventional capitalization and so forth and go easy on the IMspeak ("lol,"etc.). Some folks are still internet newbies who don’t “get” that mode of speech. (Especially since she calls herself “professional”; maybe a business-letter tone would have worked?)
Dear Madam:
I would like to request a moment of your attention in response to a recent advertisement on Craiglist, posted by the holder of this email. As you will see from the attached resume, I am an eminently dateable man, and eager to make you feel appreciated as the beauty that you are.

While we’re on the topic of you, perhaps I can offer a few words of professional (that is to say, male) advice. With all due respect, I fear your dating strategy may fail to adequately suss out the men worth your time. Clearly your looks should be enough to garner interest, however ...
But back to you. In addition to keeping it brief and editing what you write, be careful how you talk about a) a woman’s looks, and b) your approach to dating. Talking about too much stuff upfront tends to weird people out. Internet-dating exchanges are like a tennis match in which the ad is the opening serve. Hopefully the person serves well, giving you something to respond to. So you return serve, giving one or two options for her response. But don’t slip in an extra ball on the return volley so she’s not sure which one to hit. You probably would’ve been better off stopping with the cologne conundrum. That gives her something a little offbeat, a topic for her response.

But all that stuff about dumb guys being willing to take her out ... that really doesn’t supply a come-back. In the interest of encouraging responses, I’d also avoid phrases like “if you are a good looking girl” and “I’m looking for an ‘attractive’ girls refined opinion.” Effective flattery calls for some degree of subtlety, if not wit. But so I don’t break Anna’s rule #1 (keep it short): I’ll close with what I would send as your ghost-writer:
Dear Professional:
YES, I think your expectations are way to should date a guy who still lives at home at 30 or are unfaithful jerks or drinks too much and gets mean or loves sports more than you or is really nice but also ugly...Just kidding. ;)
Sometimes it feels like all the good ones are gone, eh?
Anyway, I am looking for a “refined” (read: female) opinion on cologne. You look [or seem, if she didn’t have a picture] like the kind of woman I’d want to be attractive to, so I was wondering if you’d offer some feedback. I started wearing it everyday and I am running low. When I went to the cologne counter I got sprayed down with like 30 but really couldn’t smell the difference after 3. I liked Marc Jacobs for men and a couple others...but I wanted a cute girls opinion, since ultimately, that is why guys wear cologne. Any thoughts?
PS: Props on the flossing. Just make sure you don’t do it in public, like The Captain sometimes does!

And now I’ll throw it out to our readers. Any thoughts on the man’s cologne dilemma? Feel free to comment here.

Movies ♣ What Women WantAmelieSwingers

Monday, July 19, 2004

Return of the Nerd

In the pre-IM days of last summer one of my favorite ways to check out on the job was writing letters to my sister (then suffering through some kind of Marine boot camp) about my love life. She needed an escape, right?

Last summer, you see, I was restless. Thanks to a new job I was making more cash and indulging myself. I kept buying cute clothes and lamenting that no one was there to admire them. (Perhaps I should instead have bought Narcissism for Dummies.) So, I browsed Craigslist — even posting a recurring ad in search of intellectual grease monkeys (hey, I missed my car, “the Eunuch,” ’K?)

By the way, if it seems harsh to dub my friend “The Nerd,” consider I am one myself and own an “I (heart) nerds” t-shirt (thank you, Charlotte Russe!). Don’t forget: as that ever-wise sex game revealed, Anna is all about looks (in fact, a closet looksist). Cute nerds only need apply! Well, cute intellectual grease monkeys. Doesn’t the heroine always get the hot man? I mean … um … the hot pants?

Summary from a summer letter to Sis…

personal ads
So, out of boredom, I was browsing the personal (i.e., men-for-women) ads on Craigslist, a local Internet message board. Dumb idea, I know, but sometimes I just don’t know what to do with myself. Most of the ads are really lame — guys describing the sexual acts they’re willing to perform, describing themselves in arrogant terms, or generally demonstrating a lack of intelligence. A few creative types often throw in random poems with no reference to themselves, but I’m never sure how to respond to those either; it’s a little weird. The key to a good personal ad, in my book, is giving people a “hook” they can use for conversational purposes in that initial email (I’ve enclosed a copy of my recent personal ad as example ;)).

Anyway, maybe 1 out of 100 ads is semi-decent. If a guy actually demonstrates some creativity or wit (e.g., “Fat, bald and ugly” for his “headline”), I feel he deserves at least a brief congratulatory email lauding him for the effort. One of the ads recently — maybe 100 or 200 in — was titled, “Looking for a nerd.” The guy also ranted about hipsters in his post, which gave me something to respond to. I send him a brief email, and it turns out he’s this guy I used to email back in high school! Nerd was one of my first e-pen-pals, back in the dark ages of the Internet. Hadn’t had contact with him in at least 6 years. We exchanged a couple emails, and then he left a message for me Saturday night.

phone voices
I have this theory about phone voices that’s probably very prejudicial, but generally hasn’t failed me yet. Nerdy phone voices generally tend to go with less-well socially adapted people. Good phone voices often go with reasonably attractive people. Middle-aged man phone voices often go with old-beyond-their-years men — and so on. Last fall, I responded to an ad posted by this guy just looking for a very casual, almost-platonic dinner-and-movie thing. Talked on the phone, and he just sounded flaky; stupid conversation and strained humor (he probably writes a blog now!). Against my better judgment, I agreed to see him anyway. Got all the way down there, and he completely stood me up — but not, mind you, because he chickened out. He just didn’t allow for likely delays (considering a major event in the area was likely to slow train access) and didn’t wait around long, though I was only 15 minutes late! That’s the short version, but the whole thing was just totally absurd.

Likewise, my “friend” the Ad Weasel, with whom I went out once. We transitioned to phone conversations pretty early in the friendship. Ad Weasel was cool and had an OK phone voice, but it was a tad on the old end for a 31-year-old (considering The Captain is also 31 and seems remarkably youthful). Sure enough, in person Ad Weasel was prematurely middle-aged in manner, and starting to lose his hair (though that didn’t stop him from getting serious grope-age later in the evening).

Then there’s Non-profit Superhero — the one who apparently got away (sigh). Wrote back to the first version of my personal ad — a completely goofy, offbeat response. “Well this is reasonably clever,” I thought. Again, we fortunately transitioned to phone contact pretty quickly — and he had a good voice. Not super-deep and sexy or anything, but he just seemed like a cool person; I felt a decent vibe. Non-profit Superhero worked for the UN, but never said much about his job (then again, I probably never stopped to let him talk; whoops!). Mostly we made jokes about him being a super-hero, saving the world, and all the challenges this entailed. Sure enough, when I met Non-profit Superhero in person, he was very cool and reasonably attractive — in a blond, bespectacled way. I still pout at the apparent demise of that friendship/relationship — though I never even got to the point of saying “No sex” with him. He was completely not pushy, physically, on our two dates — so honestly I wasn’t even sure if he was thinking friends or more. But that’s neither here nor there…

Anyway, my phone-voice theory has tended to hold water — going even as far back as my first internet-suitor, Stalker #1 (the guy who showed up at my Fiddler on the Roof performance with a wilted rose). When I heard Nerd’s voice on the phone yesterday, I felt my heart sink a little. Not a completely bad voice, but definitely on the nerdy/socially isolated side of things (though his picture — if somewhat indistinct — hadn’t looked bad). When we met up later, he was more like The One Who Came Out — my ill-fated high-school Homecoming date — than the picture suggested. The party he’d invited me to was really cool, though — this amazing rooftop sangria competition organized by the residents of his building, a sprawling former-warehouse space converted into large loft-like living quarters. Amazingly, it’s the same building where my friend Hippie the Groper lives. In fact, the party was largely hosted by Hippie the Groper’s roommate Flamenco Man (whom I’d previously met while visiting Hippie the Groper), and Nerd has hung out with “Mr. Hippie the Groper” in the past! Totally crazy coincidences, or what?

hipster central
The thing that totally cracked me up about the party was the way everyone was dressed — very distinctive, edgy outfits on the most part — tons of vintage stuff and, well, hipster duds. It was so ironic given Nerd’s post. I mean, these people were further along the hipster end of the spectrum than those I normally hang with! They were cool, though. As Nerd commented, it totally seemed like my scene. In fact, I partied longer and harder (in a figurative sense) then Nerd. He tended to stand around a lot, whereas I floated from group to group, making friends and conversation. Nerd even went back downstairs to his apartment for a while — “to rest” — leaving me guilty that I had almost ditched him for the party-crowd in general. But he seemed OK with it… It’s not like I should have to baby-sit the person whose guest I am anyway — right? (Sigh) Such complicated social situations… Am I entertaining you yet? ;)
Music ♣ Dusty Springfield: Ultimate Collection

Sangria: 50 Festive Recipes
Sangria: 50 Festive Recipes

The Hipster Handbook
The Hipster Handbook

Friday, July 16, 2004

Pop sexology

Not to be confused with the academic discipline of the same name ...

My roommate, as we recently discovered, likes men who are “small, quick and furry.” We interpret this to mean hairy, since her boyfriend is — moderately. I can’t speak to “small” or “quick.” For my part, I seek sexual experiences “expansive but contained, turbulent and active.”

Our source of this insight? A little game I learned Wednesday night after an evening with a conservatively dressed flamenco dancer (she danced, we watched, and wondered if her clothes were typical). While it may be somewhat cheesy, our post-show game sure as hell beats those fortune-teller fold-ups from middle school, and those cheesy “don’t scroll down and cheat!” quizzes college friends used to forward. If nothing else, it’s less controversial than “Is it Mein Kampf or” a Valentine’s Day guessing game I played and won, earning two passes to the moderator-comedian’s show at Caroline’s. (This had nothing to do with my internet dating days, I swear!) Advantages of this game include:
  • the frequency of “wet” among players’ chosen adjectives
  • the ease of remembering how to interpret the answers when you try this game with friends.
We were four Wednesday night, three women and one man, informally celebrating my birthday and a lovely summer evening in Manhattan. Since not all of us knew each other well, one friend who often leads travel groups introduced us to her sexual-psyche game. It worked well since she didn’t call it more than just a “game.” What’s more innocuous than describing your favorite color?

But that, indeed, is the first question. We went round and answered in turn: red, pink, blue. Next came the twist: three adjectives why we liked the color. I said, “passionate, vibrant and cheerful.” The woman to my left, who liked pink, said “retro, nostalgic and pretty.” I’ve forgotten the blue-man’s words, except there was some curious pairing of “serene” and “energizing.”

Next we moved onto favorite animals. Mine, more by default than anything, was horse (perhaps a holdover from childhood fondness for the Morgan). Pink Lady chose a dog, Blue Man an owl. I was hard-pressed to defend my choice, lapsing into aesthetic terms: “elegant, graceful ... lithe” (this required some definition for the table; I struggled and came up with “muscular; the way you move”). Pink Lady’s reasons included “cuddly,” and Blue Man had a pairing of “wisdom” and beauty (possibly “elegant?” Maybe he mixed up “owl” with “falcon.”).

Our final “favorite thing” was body of water, although there was some discussion whether this referred to bodies of water seen or experienced (one might like to see the ocean but take a bath). Blue Man chose jacuzzi for reasons I can’t remember at all. Pink Lady chose a waterfall because it’s “wet, majestic and long.” I had a strangely clear image, to my surprise: the perfect thing was a bay. It gives you a bit of sea, but with the reassuring sight of land. So I said quickly, “expansive but contained,” and then, “turbulent ... active” after slight hesitation.

My friend, who was our ringleader, was laughing by this point because she knew all of us though we were strangers to each other. “That’s so perfect!” she kept saying.

Whether or not that always applies to the answers given is largely a matter of specificity. My roommate, who is an artist, chose pink as well when I played the game with her, upon arriving home. But she said because it’s “soft, reddish, quiet.” Your color is supposed to equal your self-image. While passionate, vibrant and cheerful seem reasonably accurate for me, I doubt my roommate primarily thinks of herself as “reddish”! Then again, she has sometimes opened our fridge and commented not on how much or little food it contains, but the color scheme of the produce, pasta and condiments inside (“We have so much orange and yellow!” I guess that’s better than ochre or magenta...).

Your animal (surprise, surprise) represents your ideal mate or lover. Mine is chiefly valued for his looks, apparently (and the way he moves; maybe I should just judge men on their dance ability!). Since neither Pink Lady nor I had said anything like “humor” or “intelligence,” we were quite disappointed by the animal = mate interpretation. My roommate’s choice of “prairie dog” was certainly the funniest — hence, “small, quick and furry.”

Finally, your favorite body of water, according to this view of things, represents the ideal sexual experience — or at least what you want in a fuck (Friend, the Ringleader’s explanation of this left something to be desired). Roommate chose the fairly dramatic “fjord” but was puzzled by her choice of “cold” in addition to “deep” and “mysterious” (maybe she meant “wet” along with Pink Lady). Clearly there is room for word-choice wiggle room.

But hey, it beats talking about the weather at the next stranger small-talk session. Or maybe it’s what to ask next time you speed-date.

In case you need a cheat sheet, once again that’s:
Favorite color: ________
Adjectives : 1. ______ 2. ______ 3. ______
Favorite animal: _________
Adjectives : 1. ______ 2. ______ 3. ______

Favorite body of water (e.g., ocean, lake, swimming pool, swamp, etc.): _______
Adjectives : 1. ______ 2. ______ 3. ______

Thursday, July 08, 2004

the beginning

It’s an inauspicious time to start a blog.

My 26th birthday nears (no signs of lover, hubby in the offing), my best friend harps on the “off-blog” nature of our convos (as if her sexual activity were the point of this!), and I just wasted several prime-REM sleep hours crafting yet another profile (gulp) for the beta version for Soulmatch — the ecumenical answer to eHarmony (imagine a UN for religions, with some Yenta at the head).

Worst of all, I can’t even decide how to organize my material, of which there is much. Do I proceed in chronological fashion? (Much delay will ensue, given my obsessive quest for “historical” accuracy.) Or do I introduce the men in a by-the-by fashion — as if telling stories to a new friend? I lean increasingly toward the latter, but have decided to put it first to a vote among you, dear readers.

(Yes, there will be occasional lapses into Victorian tones ... but have no fear. There’s lotsa masturbating and chocolate genitals yet to come — none of it even mine!)