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, March 28, 2008

Friday morning morality play

First off: a few announcements. The book is due out in less than three weeks, so if you haven’t yet pre-ordered your copy, it will be in bookstores soon. And if you live in the Oakland area, I too will be in a bookstore, at least the night of April 18. Tell a friend and then come down and join us at A Great Good Place for Books, in the heart of Montclair. (If you would be interested in helping set up a reading or other event in your city, email me about getting involved with my street team. We have a limited number of free copies of the book as a thank-you to those who get involved.)

Secondly, if you’d like a break from my voice, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer ran a column today that mentions the blog: “Sex rules are best laughed at.” Check it out if you’re looking for a funny read and a breezy digest of several recent sex studies.

In a study of a different kind, we did an interesting exercise in a training session yesterday that I thought I would share. I know: sounds dorky, right? But actually, I found that it provided an interesting barometer of the character traits we value. If you want to “play along,” find a piece of scratch paper and make a list with the names Ivan, Abigail, Gregory, Sinbad and Slug and prepare to rank the five characters on a scale of 1 to 5, least to most reprehensible.

The story: ‘Alligator River’
Once upon a time there was a woman named Abigail who was in love with a man named Gregory. Gregory lived on the shore of the river. Abigail lived on thee opposite shore of the river. The river that separated the two lovers was teeming with man-eating alligators. Abigail wanted to cross the river to be with Gregory. Unfortunately, the bridge was washed out. So she went to Sinbad, a riverboat captain, to take her across. He said he would be glad to if she would consent to go to bed with him preceding a voyage. She promptly refused and went to a friend named Ivan to explain her plight. Ivan did not want to be involved at all in the situation. Abigail felt her only alternative was to accept Sinbad’s terms. Sinbad fulfilled his promise to Abigail and delivered her into the arms of Gregory.

When she told Gregory of her escapade in order to cross the river, Gregory cast her aside with disdain. Heartsick and dejected, Abigail turned to Slug with her tale of woe. Slug, feeling compassion for Abigail, sought out Greogry and beat him severly.
Abigail was overjoyed at the sight of Gregory getting his due. As the sun sets on the horizon, we hear Abigail laughing at Gregory.

I know, I know: it’s not exactly up to the standard of Hemingway, but still it led to an interesting discussion. The assignment, you see, was for each of us to individually rank the characters from best to worst, after which we were put in groups to develop a group ranking. This was where the differences really emerged, however.

Whereas I thought Ivan’s hands-off approach was probably the healthiest of all of them, the rest of the folks in my group deemed him worst because of his passivity and lack of compassion. And whereas they all thought Gregory was cruel for spurning Abigail, I found little evidence of his love for or interest in her. To me, she seemed like a desperate, aggressive woman, unwilling to let anything thwart her efforts to get the fulfillment of her desire. Gregory certainly should have made it clear to her what his standards were, but it doesn’t exactly sound like he encouraged her to go so lengths for them to be together.

Another point of disagreement was the character of Sinbad. Once each group had reached their collective ranking, all of us compared our results. While my team agreed that Sinbad was rather mercenary, we did give him props for consistency and being very upfront about his ethical standards (perhaps this is why I liked 3:10 to Yuma). The other groups tended to rate him as the worst, however, because of his willingness to abuse power and take advantage of Abigail’s neediness.

Your thoughts?

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

More on girlspeak/guyspeak translation woes and what marriage does for your health

I don’t plan to make recommended reads the substance of this blog, but when making chowder collides with finishing a bottle of Chimay and putting the final touches on yet another op-ed draft (as it did last night), I’m left with just the latest interesting headlines to share. (Besides, as I think Andrew Sullivan once said, bloggers are the “sherpas of the internet.”)

Today’s reads:

And as an unrelated announcement ...

Have any new, unused makeup or jewelry you don’t need?
A friend of mine is collecting donations of these and other items girls love -- all new, of course -- for a gift bag project. Donations need to be mailed by April 3; contact me for more details if you’re interested. No excuses, now; I know you must have at least some gift-with-purchase you’re never going to use ...

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Monday, March 17, 2008

First reading April 18

Those of you in the Bay area, rejoice: you’ve finally got a chance to heckle or meet me, or ask those questions you somehow never got around to emailing. To RSVP so the bookstore has enough copies, view the evite. If you’d prefer to stay mysteriously noncommittal, details are as follows:

Sexless in the City Reading & Signing
April 18 7 p.m.
A Great Good Place for Books
6127 La Salle Avenue Oakland

And of course, if you can’t make it, pre-order from Amazon for an additional 5 percent discount off the current sale price. I’ll also be launching a soundtrack of sorts, so stay tuned for further details.

Want to get a free copy of the book? Email me for more on joining the Sexless in the City street team or arranging a signing or other event in your area. Ways you can help:

  • If you’re local, spread the word about the April 18 reading on your blog, website, FaceBook page, MySpace ... well, you get the idea.
  • Post a text or product link to the book on your blog or website. Promote however you please, but if you’re an affiliate with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or another bookstore, you’ll earn a percent of every book sold!
  • If you’re feeling especially motivated, you might use the book as the basis of a contest on your blog (encouraging readers to submit stories, photos, videos, puns or whatever suits your fancy). Let me know what you have in mind, and we can send you an additional free book to give away as the prize.

Whatever you have in mind, just send me an email -- the sooner the better, as we only have a limited supply of free books for street team members. Thanks in advance for your help!

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Coming soon ...

Dahlings, I promise, I see your hits checking back for more, but sadly all the most promising phrases and post ideas to drift through my brain come only at the most inappropriate (read: laptopless) moments. Gearing up for a weekend trip to New York and DC isn’t helping either. I did at least manage to fix one problem with sidebar links, so if the “Recent Post” list has been lately spurning your click-throughs, try again.

In the meantime, read, marvel and be scared — very scared — by this fabulous, funny example of girl brain, from Emily Giffin’s novel Baby Proof, in which the heroine ponders a proper response to invite she knows her ex has gotten as well:

I suddenly wonder exactly why I’m going out of my way to avoid Annie and Ray. I … don’t want to be around anyone or anything that reminds me of Ben, period, and I’m afraid that Annie will offer up unsolicited details of Ben’s new life. Details I most certainly don’t want to hear. Unless those details include that he’s single and miserable. And there’s no way that’s the case. After all, I saw him yucking it up with Tucker. He may not be in love with her, or even with her at all, but by no means did he appear to be a broken man.

Of course I could always tell Annie that I don’t want to hear anything about Ben, but I don’t want to come across as the big relationship loser, and I would appear to be emotionally unstable if I ruled out conversation about the most significant thing to happen to me, ever. Then Annie would pass this along to Ray who, as a man, would not have the good sense and tact to keep it to himself, and would instead tell Ben what a pitiful case I am. Moreover, if Annie obliges my request to avoid mention of Ben, I inevitably will read all sorts of things into her ensuing silence. I will wind up thinking that, yes, I told Annie I didn’t want to discuss Ben, but if the report were favorable to me (unfavorable for Ben) she’d somehow find a way to sneak it into the
conversation, as in, I know you didn’t want to hear anything about Ben, but he asks about you every time we see him and he seems desperately lonely without you.

In any event, this invitation forces my hand.

And that, in a nutshell, neatly sums up the sort of hyperanalytical lunacy women are constantly processing, at the drop of a hat (or invite, in this case). Back soon!

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