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 06, 2006

Ogling not quite unwelcome

Trying to return to my Friday blog schedule, dahlings, so today’s post will be a little shorter. (No, I’m not recovering from any parties last night — just a general pity party over losing Ad Co. as client. Sniff. Darn budgets ...) In the meantime, if you like the newer, more-earnest Anna Broadway, this will be a temporary relapse to the days of Sidewalk Tawk and all such insubstantial levity. What can I say? Schizophrenia’s harder to kick* than you might think.

At times I even wonder if I should still wear the latest of my “Chaste Party Girl” shirts. But I do — including to a Super Bowl party I dropped by last night (after church, though, so I missed the Rolling Stones half-time show; anyone know where you can find the footage online??). While the first edition (see MySpace profile) has nicely distressed lettering, the second comes in a striking red one chap had the taste to compliment last night. He was sure he was not alone in admiring the most unusual shade of my shirt — was that not its most remarkable feature?

Surprisingly the red T was not remarked upon ... in the ogling incident ... for either its color or its slogan, but its shortness. I had gone downstairs to depart the party, and briefly lingered in the foyer to cover all my extremities. The uniformed doorman inquired if it was really that cold outside.

“It was sposed to get below freezing tonight. I think they said 24.” (By this winter’s standards, that’s cold, though last winter it might have been the high on our bleakest days!)

I finished tucking the scarf ends into my much-loved red suede jacket (bought for $18.50 in Austin, thanks very much), donned the stocking hat my grandmother made, and tugged on my less-storied gloves. As I was preparing to go, the doorman helpfully noted that I needed to pull my shirt down. Kind of him to think of my midriff. I tugged at the sweater remade from a Lands End cardigan I shrank years ago.

“And the shirt underneath,” he instructed, referring to Chaste Party Girl. But just as I was thinking how observant and considerate he was, the doorman revealed a different motive. “Don’t let anyone see that; it’s mine, now,” he joked. My friend’s doorman was getting proprietary about his brief glimpse of belly? A glimpse far less than the skin I flashed on New Year’s Eve when showing why I could not serve tequila shots from my navel?

I guess I’d make a very bad feminist, for his words did not affront me as they should have. Instead they stayed with me all the home like a pleasant little warmth between the toes of one foot. I don’t know if it is indeed my madness or withdrawals from male attention, but there was something nice about a man staking claim to me — however much presumption this betrayed. Perhaps I should have run back there to follow up: “Do you love Jesus? Is heaven your greatest hope?”

Later on the subway platform, I pondered this tragic irony — that men are most attracted when you’re trying for nothing at all. And that all those times I tried to provoke some jealousy or protectiveness — evidence of more interest than just ambiguous, offhand flirtation — I got nowhere. Just joking warnings about other dates — “Don’t make out with him” — that said almost nothing at all. I guess it’s just more evidence that manipulation isn’t just wrong, it’s ineffective. You can’t compel attraction; it’s either there or it isn’t.

More on why I’m trying to quit manipulating, coming shortly. Ta for now! Don’t forget to cast your vote at the Love > Revenge Fund if you haven’t yet. Eight days left.

*The illness I’ve been told afflicts my writing. Considering the “doc” in question once diagnosed me as merely nuts, I’d say we’re making progress. Then again, it took him nearly seven years to pin down the ailment more clearly. Will it take seven more for his prescription?