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.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Taking a risk on jazz

For how particular I can be about music, you’d think it’s the last thing I’d take risks on. But somehow, most times I buy something yet unheard or make a similar gamble, I make out just fine. When, for instance, a friend offered to take me to hear this new singer called Norah, it turned out my girlfriends’ insistence I should go was dead on.

A similar thing happened maybe two or three weeks ago, at the post office. I know, doesn’t; sound like a glam meeting place, right? And the catchiest soundtrack you’re likely to hear is the ring tone of someone who’s secretly fond of salsa. But that night I was in luck.

I’d stopped by after hours to mail a CD from my barter bin swap, but someone was already stationed at the AutoPost center. Not until he offered to let me go ahead did I realize how much he was mailing. Piles and piles of Uline bags, all strangely close in shape to mine. And when I saw he was mailing some to people in Palo Alto, it was all I could do not to swoon right there on the spot (fond memories of falling down stairs, and all that).

Somehow or other, I managed to dredge up an opening line. Yes, he was in a band.

I rattled on about band friends about of mine — none of whom he’d heard of.

Then something inspired me to drop another kind of name — my editor friend at Paste magazine. “I’d be happy to send your CD to him,” I offered. Which, truthfully, was not the pick-up line it might have sounded like — despite the chance to hand off one of my business cards. Even that sometime, sorta-prospect Tall Drink o’ Water ain’t made it out of reply-to hell yet. He emailed me two months ago, but I still haven’t written back though he now brings it up every Sunday. (Can a girl tastefully mention she’s trying to break her habit of simply using men for attention?)

This time, however, my motives were strictly generous — and dependent on a stranger’s uncertain promise to send me his album. When you’ve been under- or unemployed nearly two years and mingle in several different social scenes, you give out a lot of business cards. But unless you email the people you meet yourself, the response rate is usually pretty dismal.

Off I went, Band Guy soon forgotten, and my card probably fated much the same. Or so I thought.

But then a few days later, what should I find in my mail but a package with two CDs — one for me, one for Friend-at-Paste. Band Guy had better follow-through than I’d figured on. So what about the music?

He’d said it was some kind of “boogaloo” jazz, which could be good or mean nothing. His band isn’t with any label, but the CD jacket had a snazzy design. And if phone voices tend to indicate looks, I like to think product design can sometimes portend well of the contents. Flip open the jacket. Nothing much inside the one-fold card, but a picture of the band, somewhat badly photographed on a staircase. Huh. Guess boogaloo takes lots of folks to make!

But just as I’m starting to refold the liner, I notice a female face in the crowd. Wait a minute ... Is that ... Flip to backside again.

And that’s when I notice a credit for El Madmo. While I can’t promise you said “punk” act will show up at the CD release party, which is tomorrow night at Detour ($5 cover), I can tell you the CD is great. Check out several tracks on MySpace, or just risk it and buy the dang album. Or come out to Detour and give the band a listen live! You won’t be disappointed.