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.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Anna tempted by an apple-tech

Gracious! Apparently my little office flirty-flirty (if it can even be called that) has readers worried. Reader David opines “you may be flirting with danger ... but in this case ... danger looks like fun!”

Danger? Hm. Well, yes, probably true. I mean I could :
  • accidentally scald myself with hot coffee.
  • have my hair get stuck in flirt mode such that I can’t switch it back (always a problem when seeking to avoid unwanted attention from skeevy subway men).
  • get charged with sexual harassment ... naw, I think that’s unlikely. Besides, he - that is to say, Bearded One - was the one who asked if I’d be making an appearance at the booze-a-thon pre-office mixer Friday.
I did not make such inquiries of his social calendar, oh no. But I did show up at said mixer, and hang around a good 90 minutes ... which he did not do. For my trouble I got two drinks for free and won a swank George Thoroughgood CD. Think I’ll be trading it in to the local CD shop for something more my style ...

One major score from the office mixer, however, was making the acquaintance of ... are you ready for this, readers? ... a Mac tech. (Anna fans self dramatically, briefly swoons against office chair, then recovers as faintly pink apple-shaped thought bubbles drift lazily upward) I mean - hello! - can you say, Anna’s fantasy man?!! Finally a local techie I make nice with! He’s even blond.

Today’s a busy day for him, it turns out, but word of my iBook woes - combined with the endearing quality of my glasses (he has them too) - may yet succeed in the key securement of a little of his time today. Which is important, since my temp assignment ends today.

What can I say? Sometimes the ability to simultaneously simper, geek out with computer-love, and project total helplessness really pays off. :D And to think I thought it would take the Silicon Valley to get help for my poor baby!

Wow ... to think Microsoft Word might actually operate without crashing!!!! That I might cease having to cope with Mozilla errors!!!

Please let him be a Jesus freak, please let him be a Jesus freak ... but wait. I don’t need to date a Mac tech ... just bat my eyes long enough to get remedial repairs done. Too bad I forgot the mascara again today ... but I’m sure my over-the-top Mac love will suffice. I mean, I may not have gotten the barbed-wire apple tat the techie recently did, but I had one word for him at news of this body modification: “Respect.” And luckily I’m wearing my hair in pigtails today. Always a strong look.

Friday, February 25, 2005

‘I wanna shake your hand’

In the ongoing adventures of semi-working girl (that is to say, me), I’ve decided there may be other sites of repression beyond just the overheated space of Christian social circles. My source of this insight? A little interoffice intrigue that began with a Starbucks trip on Wednesday.

A fashion soap, pt. 2
Tuesday was my first day on the job at this assignment, so I played it safe with conservative pantsuit, boring blouse, etc., etc. But once there it was swiftly established that on this 5-day gig I could safely funk it up a lot and have some real fun with my wardrobe (though not - yet - to the extent of red pants). So Wednesday I wear a fun ensemble that Best Friend has dubbed my “BoHo” look. On top: the lacy dark-turquoise sweater I recently finished, from the yarn of a Land’s End sweater I finally ripped out after shrinking the sleeves eight years ago. Bottom: Funky brown skirt in a nubby material, over these awesome suede boots from Urban Outfitter, which I got 90 percent off - yes, 90 for only $10.

Which such a general vibe of hip frugality about the ensemble, I was in a good mood as I traipsed out the door and over to Starbucks Wednesday morning. Hair was in a high ponytail, that spilled out over the fuzzy hood lining of my faintly militaresque green Urban Outfitters jacket. With gold eyeliner to complete the picture, Anna was almost all of her feisty, spunky self (albeit still fighting this crazy cold/fever/insanity that has ailed me since last weekend).

Basically, it was one of those days when it’s fun to be a girl - in the most youthful connotations of that word. That kind of energy, I suspect, tends naturally to draw the attention of men - especially when you waltz into an otherwise fairly empty Starbucks. And as I bounced in and up to the counter Wednesday morning, I was aware of being noticed by one of two men waiting for their drinks: one gray-haired and bespectacled, one tall, sturdy and youngish with a neatly groomed dark beard. It wasn’t a lecherous kind of noticing, of course, but there was a sense of my presence registering in ... well ... a different way than the entrance of a stout, windblown frumpy-looking woman would have.

A girl’s guide to keeping coy with boys
I took a peculiar enjoyment in totally ignoring the men and making almost no eye contact, although I fancied I felt the slightest frisson* of something from the one who looked like he had once played football or could be a cop. Latte in hand, I sashayed out the door without any effort at making a dramatic exit.

This admittedly small moment was completely forgotten until later in the day, when the infamous graphic-design boss stopped by to have a chat with my boss-o’-the-week about some projects for an event we’re having today. G-D Boss is a gregarious Cuban who promptly delighted in making jokes about my last name. And at his side was a young, tall, dark assistant who would be working directly with me on one of the projects.

Oh yes ... It was the Bearded One from Starbucks. I shook his hand briefly, barely met his eyes, and essentially gave him the cold-shoulder routine I often save for Christian men (more on this later). I don’t know why, but for some reason in instances where I’m guarded with men, I pull out the almost-shy, professional self, and banish spunky shock-n-awe Anna to the off-hours until I start to relax a bit.

Anna gets brave with non-blonds
In this case, it took about 24 hours for me to loosen up. But as I kept on interacting with the Bearded One (though Starbucks was never mentioned), I started to let him in a little. Shared a Winona Ryder anecdote from a previous job. Actually met his eyes occasionally.

None of this was anything like the high-octane dialogue with boss-o’-the-week, but then, that’s a completely safe situation. Here, though ... the revelation that I’m a temp possibly leaves things more open-ended. And even though there has been nothing inappropriate or even really flirty, I still have this feeling that if we’d both been at the same bar one night, as strangers, he would come up and try to get to know me. It’s well-disguised ... but something I just feel in my gut.

Something that might have been confirmed yesterday afternoon, when I came down to tell him that he actually had more time on our one main project. This was clearly a major relief. “Gimme five,” he said, as we were standing in a dimly lit hallway. But somehow when I reached out, it was not so much a high-five as shaking hands ... or was it holding hands, oh-so briefly? Then we continued talking, discussing when we would touch base today, and how we would work around my inability to check voice-mail messages.

It almost felt like the conversation between a couple that’s just exchanged numbers, about when the guy will call and how he will reach her. “I’ll call at 10:30.” “Well if I’m not there, don’t leave a message.” “Well, I’ll reach you.”And though he wasn’t as close as space-invader close, there was certainly no more than 12-18 inches between us. Which is close, in professional terms. But then, we were in the hallway. Away from the non-romantic glare of fluorescent lights.

Today, of course, I think he’s ready to kill me because of how I keep checking up on things, and last-minute changes on these poster boards he did for us ... But maybe he’s just figured out that acting mildly aggrieved gets me to briefly put a hand to his shoulder in thanks for all the hard work he’s doing.

’Cuz I’m just a hands-on kinda gal, when you get down to it ...

*Now there’s a classic romance-novel word!

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Vivre, la difference?

The chills and Fevah have abated some; now I think I’m just sick. While my brain recuperates, here’s a funny email from a friend:
Remember the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus? Well, here’s a prime example offered by an English professor at a U.S. University.

“Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting to his or her immediate right. One of you will then write the first paragraph of a short story. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story. The first person will then add a third paragraph, and so on back and forth. Remember to reread
what has been written each time in order to keep the story coherent. There is to be absolutely NO talking and anything you wish to say must be written on the paper. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached.”

The following was actually turned in by two of the English students: Rebecca and Gary.

first paragraph by Rebecca

At first, Laurie couldn’t decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. But she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl. His possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.

Second paragraph by Gary
Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago. “A.S. Harris to Geostation 17,” he said into his transgalactic communicator. “Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far...” But before he could sign off a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship’s cargo bay. The jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.

He bumped his head and died almost immediately but not before he felt one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4. “Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel,” Laurie read in her newspaper one morning. The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She stared out the window, dreaming of her youth, when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no newspapers to read, no television to distract her from her sense of innocent wonder at all the beautiful things round her. “Why must one lose one’s innocence to become a woman?” she pondered wistfully.

Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live. Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu’udrian mothership launched the first of its lithium fusion missiles. The dimwitted wimpy peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race. Within two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu’udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret Mobile submarine headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive explosion, which vaporized poor, stupid, Laurie and 85 million other Americans. The President slammed his fist on the conference table. “We can’t allow this! I'm going to veto that treaty! Let’s blow ’em out of the sky!”

This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic semiliterate adolescent.

Yeah? Well, youre a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing are the literary equivalent of Valium. “Shall I have chamomile tea? Or shall I have some other sort of #$%^& TEA??? Oh no, I’m such an air headed bimbo who reads too many Danielle Steele novels.”





A+: I really liked this one.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Saturday night, Sunday night, Monday night fever

Oh, you thought I meant dancing, John Travolta and polyester tighty-whities? Well, shucks, ya’ll, I meant the physiological kind! Not sure what the devil’s got into me, but I been right sick this holiday weekend. :( Sick enough that, Saturday, I didn’t have a drop of caffeine. Word.

Well anyway. What I can say? My brain’s still addled. Clearly. But seeing as how I’ve got a whole five-day temp assignment beginning today, the gray bits are a little overtaxed already. Which hopefully will not describe the state of my finances when I commence the dreaded e-file!!!! (Shudders) Anyone with tips on how a freelancer does the 1040, feel to weigh in.

But gracious - what have I turned into?!!! Fevers and taxes?!! Such terrible Tuesday-morning prattle. You see I’m trying not to make yet another excuse for not blogging but, um, well .... (trails desperately for red herring)
I’m thrilled to note that the lady in question in Reader Frasier’s dubious but non-winning photo has actually weighed in. And she’s gracious, folks, as well as very funny. So reread up on our Blog Reader World Series judging party and get a load of Lilith’s comment. You remember the show, right? Frasier ... Lilith ... It took me a few hours - but then, I have the Fevah.

While you wait for me to recover, finish work, and get back to my home computah ... check out Blogfather’s latest feature in his ongoing Nondating Life Series. And phew, it’s a steamy one! ;) Maybe he’s got the Fevah too ... Ta for now! I’d kiss bye, but then you might get what I’ve got. ;)

Don’t forget to enter this month’s contest! Now that the Valentine’s haze is over, what kind of relationship does your job resemble? Ponder, describe ... email!!!


Friday, February 18, 2005

Money, money ...

Well, you know the song. I got a one-day temp assignment today! Very good for the end-of-month bill cycle, not so good for blogging. But check back over the long weekend, if ya get bored. I’ll probably be inspired to post Stages of Broadway, pt. 4 — or if not that, something equally exciting!!!. To, um, people who care about that sort of thing. ;)

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Before the makeup

I realize we may not have known each other “long enough” to merit this ... but there comes a stage in every relationship where all that makes the other person sexy goes away for a spell and you’re left with just him or her. It’s like that MTV “Unplugged” series, except less commercially successful. ;)

And so for today’s teaser (which really should be followed by an entry), Anna Unfunny.

You see, there’s a reason (well, actually, a few) why I’ve been such a flake lately. And it’s not ’cause I’m getting past the new-blogger honeymoon. It’s more like the unemployment honeymoon has ended — which is to say, the checks. They’re all paid out. And since I’m still making up my mind whether to move to the West Coast later this year, that leaves me scrambling to get by with temp or freelance work. And since this blog neither pays nor is a communique I’m willing to profane with Google ads (at least so far) ... I’m afraid juggling the bills comes before blogging sometimes. Which, for a klutz like me, is, well ... you can imagine.

So let’s see: where am I in this sob story? Oh yes: Part 1, life without money. Part 2 might be called foolish ambition. Namely that, last Friday, I met with a literary agent about whether or not this blog could be turned into a book. I know, I know, that may be narcissistic hubrous ... but what can I say? I had a chance to meet him, and I took it.

Not that it proved very helpful. Apparently though I am getting on to my 30s, I should nonetheless switch over to that well-trod path whereby 99.5% of all published authors make their start: as an editorial assistant at Conde Nast!!! Whew, I can smell the nail polish from here. But as that’s not my favorite scent, I’ve decided to fight it out with all the others trying to squeeze into the .5% who publish books without the folks at Conde (said like the media’s fave nickname for our new Sec. of State).

Finally, Part 3 in tragic, excuse-filled teaser: death and the maiden. In two senses. First off, for some time now major changes have been quietly rumbling along in my perspective on relationships (and you thought that was just a train going by underground!). If I ever chug my way through the rest of Stages of Broadway all that rumbling will be deciphered. But as I’m also coping with yesterday’s news of a death affecting someone close to me, this blog is chugging along like that A-train after that fire started in a control room.

But enough of the pathos. I don’t do it well, do I? So with that conceded, I’m off for the morning latte, which will hopefully re-calcify my funny bone enough to finish Stages of Broadway, pt. 3!!!!!!! Meanwhile, don’t forget we still have a contest to enter this month.

xoxoxo ...

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

I think you know where this is going...

By now. (Yawn)

So, let’s just say that sleep didn’t come until nearly 5 a.m. last night — er, this morning! And no, a man was not involved ... except, well, actually yes, sorta ... but that’s a very long off-blog story.

In any case, between that and a 2 p.m. interview for a promising long-term temp assignment, ’fraid Stages of Broadway, pt. 3 may be a prime-time, not a day-time feature today.

What would you really rather read, though (yawn) — some namby-pamby crap not deserving the name of Anna Broadway ... or waiting for the full Broadway? I thought so.

Back in a few dahlings. Don’t hate me ’cause I’m sleepy; hate me ’cause I got to sleep in. ;)

Sunday, February 13, 2005

How not to romance your lovah

Much off-blog activity the last few days, so I’m delaying Stages of Broadway, pt. 3 until Tuesday. Yes, I know you’re crushed.

But just to keep the laughs rolling ... what a friend’s email claimed “are entries to a Washington Post competition asking for a rhyme with the most romantic first line but the least romantic second line”:
Love may be beautiful, love may be bliss
But I slept with you because I was pissed.

I thought that I could love no other
Until, that is, I met your brother.

Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet, and so are you.
But the roses are wilting, the violets are dead, the sugar bowl’s empty, and so is your head.

Kind, intelligent, loving, and hot.
This describes everything you’re not.

I want to feel your sweet embrace
But don’t take that bag from off your face.

I love your smile, your face, your eyes.
Damn, I’m good at telling lies!

My darling, my lover, my beautiful wife,
Marrying you screwed up my life.

I see your face when I am dreaming.
That’s why I always wake up screaming.

My love, you take my breath away.
What have you stepped in to smell this way?

What inspired this amorous rhyme?
Two parts vodka, one part lime.
Happy Valentine’s Day, dahlings!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Basically, I lied

I teased a post, wrote it, posted it, then had some second thoughts. It’s presently languishing in draft-land. The thing is, lately I’ve gotten pickier about what I’m willing to post, I guess. The Broadway name will not be shamed! ;)

Not that any blogger can be a real perfectionist ... but I do try to check stuff against my gut. In terms of “artistic” integrity, quality of humor ... and general benefit to you. If a piece is too silly or worthless ... well that’s why there’s nothing new (of substance) today.

Hopefully I’ll dig my way out of stupid solipsism and bring ya something fresh ’n funny tomorrow. Thanks for your patience in the meantime! ;)

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Regifting and recrushing

It pays to keep wits about you, I find, and Sunday after church one such wit was very sharp indeed. The Captain had come over to say his “howdy”-and-then-some as promised, and we wound up bantering over muffins with a friend who actually calls him “Captain.”

Now that we are buds, I’m free to grouse about my love life without him feeling he’s the solution. In fact, he’s very full of advice. Discussing my growing restlessness in the city, I confessed: a lack of dating prospects probably was at fault. “Where else would you be more likely to meet interesting Christians?!” he demanded.

But it’s not just interesting that’s the key, I explained. I want a man who “likes his booze and is passionate about talking to people ’bout Jesus.” “Well, I’m passionate about my booze and I like talking to people ’bout Jesus,” he quipped.

“Yeah, but you’re not interested.”

Once bitten, twice inclined?
Once there was a time when I would have hoped all this talk about singleness (a state T.C. claims to now receive contentedly) might be happily resolved: “Well you can’t find a Christian who’s up to snuff ... and I can’t find a Christian who’s up to snuff ... we’ve both dated freaked-by-Jesus types. Hmmmmm. You think there’s a chance ...”

But no. That logic has never followed, in my experience. My church guy friends just kept doing the bar and Craigslist thing, and mostly I did too. You see, of course, while we were probably restless with Christians for the same reason, we had also set our standards so high that we’d never settle for someone as inconsistent as ourselves.

Except that now both the Captain and I are actually trying to walk the walk we’d expect a potential spouse to walk. And we’re friendly. Sometimes friends even end up dating — so I hear.

But that would require ... recrushing.

Crushing the distance
Which I’ve been thinking about in light of all the regifting that has been this monthly prize mailing. Well, in the case of non-edible prizes anyway. Take the purity massager — now on its way to Palo Alto. Classic instance of regifting. My aunt insists I help her clean out the house, I accept the least-breakable item in the bag, and voila! — instant Blog Reader World Series prize.

But recrushing ... that’s like when you’ve been regifted with the sweater you gave your sister for her birthday, only she forgot she got it from you, stuck it in a drawer somewhere, and then turned to it in last-minute gift desperation.

On the face of it, it’s not so strange, the concept of recrushing. People break up and re-connect all the time! I have a friend, in fact (now married and with child), who must have dated and dumped her man at least five or six times. And, well, most breakups (from what I’ve seen) aren’t like the workplace blow-out where you have a shout with the boss, collect your things, and leave for good. It’s a back-and-forth shuffle getting unstuck from someone — like peeling open an envelope after it’s been sealed more than 60 seconds.

As to date, so it is to like?
So are crushes the same way? Is one even predisposed to recrush? Not necessarily. After all, most crushes are the classic case of mushy-eyed crusher and crushee, who sees the former about as fondly as a piece of gum in his hair. With any luck, the crush (as in, the feelings of the crusher for crushee) will die a timely death and leave the couple be. A hotter prospect comes along, one person moves away or leaves the job, or the object of obsession goes offline to the world of relationships (assuming he/she was single to begin with).

In any case, crushes are all about hope. Hope fed through repeated contact, through replayed memories of contact, and through retellings of contact to avidly attentive girlfriends (in the female case). But as the hope goes, so goes the crush. Your crush gets engaged ... in cases of high sanity levels, the crush goes away. In cases of low sanity levels, the crusher crashes the wedding and makes a drunken scene in trashy dress — or so I hear.

But the other way a crush dies is disillusionment. Usually the nature of the affection is liking someone from a relative distance. Hence it is really not the man or woman that friends and roommates and parents see — who leaves the door open while peeing, points out others’s grammatical gaffes, and showers biweekly — but the imagined Crushee of fantasy. You know, like that big balloon the wizard had, to fool all the folks in Oz. That’s what you’re usually stuck on.

When something comes along to pull down the wind machine and screen and you’re left with someone on the toilet, smelly and fragile, the hope in a beauty or love that will somehow fix you swiftly dies. The crushee of imagination withers, and you move on swiftly to reality, post-crush.

Yeah, I guess that doesn’t leave much room for recrushing. Unless the person you once liked gets better, or you more tolerant of his reality. Sometimes certain eyes never lose that fuse connection to your insides. And there’s always hope you could finally find the plug to spark him back. It is after all the nature of hope to thrive upon the stingiest of soils.

Related reading
  • The masochist’s refrain” from the Sexless archive. Why pining is like kegels for your heart!
  • The Nondating Life as described by our own BRWS judge, the Blogfather.
  • Priceless note from the archives

    ... I’ll let you guess the year.

    Was flipping through an old journal last night, and this funny blurb — about a man of whom you’ve heard — jumped out to tease me:
    I ended up being able to hang out with [friend of crush and crush and others] last night. Which was very cool. It irritates me that [crush] insists on this cookie cutter view of women. I was trying to disabuse him of it at Blockbuster — and was doing well with the “I haven’t seen Titanic and I’m proud of it” thing, but then my ownership of Sound of Music lost me all that ground.