A day on the nude beach

my first experience of naturism is more, a lot more, than I expected

naturistI like my body. It has its curves, it looks good in a dress, and I have no fear of being naked in the locker room at the gym. But while I’m ok with being nude, I have never seen the appeal of ‘naturism’ until my day on a nude beach last week.

I’m not much of sun worshipper these days, but when I decided to scope out some more idyllic beaches on vacation, was thrilled to hike to a ‘South Pacific’ setting with miles of sparsely populated sand. Plonking down my towel/Kindle/30 different factors of lotion/snacks/phone/water, I lay back, relaxed and thought of England. Perfection!

Except perfection really got even more awesome when a naked surfer type calmly walked from his towel to the ocean, tan as a nut and as shredded as coconut. After leaning back and stretching his not inconsiderable shoulders, he dived in..the last thing to disappear his pert, brown ass. I looked around expecting someone to ask for money, or perhaps a film crew but nope.. 2 minutes later another surf god headed in. Jaw.. in sand.

Feigning disinterest I waited for the glorious exit and wasn’t disappointed. Screw Daniel Craig’s Ursula Andress moment..these guys really could have charged money for those 60 seconds of full frontal. I couldn’t stop giggling to myself that this was ok, free, and oh-so-the-best decision of my life to date. I’m not ashamed to say that I grabbed my glasses for the next one. Unfortunately she was a woman… but hey, still glorious viewing. I always wanted tiny tanned tits.

A word of advice: if there’s going to be one nude beach you visit in your life, make it on an island where the only thing to do is surf. The bodies are insane.

After ogling a not inconsiderable amount of nekked hotness I started to realize what I perv I was being and not wanting to appear prudish, I took off my top.  Suddenly putting on sun cream felt all porny, and I made the executive decision to keep my bottoms firmly attached to my ass. Who needs a brown beaver?? Plus I didn’t think I had sun cream strong enough to prevent an extremely painful burn.

It was a glorious 5 hours. I swam, chatted, observed (a lot) and finally got used to all the bodies. It all seemed so normal, I even took off my bottoms then nodded off. Just as I was starting to gather my things to head home I thought ‘I sorta get the nude thing’. Its freeing, swimming feels amazing and for the ladies, its refreshing to ogle back after years of being the ogled. Wow.. I felt a a whole new perspective opened up.

Then a huge old hairy man with balls half way to his knees ambled over and plonked his towel down right next to me, staring at my tits as he rearranged his balls.

There are some things you really just don’t need to see. Even my glorious location couldn’t improve the sight of grey pubes, a saggy man sac, and bigger tits than mine.

A week later, when I think of my day, my mind doesn’t turn to the glistening hard bodies, the tanned pert butts or enviable tiny tits. Nope, I’m stuck with hairy old brown balls.

Naturism. It’s (unfortunately) for everyone.

Fuck first impressions

insultI’ve always considered myself more of a grower than a show-er. I’m an acquired taste. People like me… after a while. I’m someone who tends to be more highly appreciated over time. Like wine, I taste pretty foul the first time, but after a while, you start looking forward to that glass at the end of the day. But you sort of need to stick at it to get there.

(I’ve also been likened to being hit over the head by a 2 x 4. You can get used to anything if you do it long enough. But I digress.)

First impressions of me (years later when inebriated, most friends and lovers have confessed), range from ‘cold’ and ‘harsh’ to ‘awkward’ and most often ‘rude’. I’m also ‘over confident’ and ‘shy’, ‘chatty’ and ‘dull’, ‘overly smart’ and on one occasion ‘bore-ish’.

Lets just conclude that I don’t make a great first impression. What can I say, I find social interaction outside of work sorta challenging.  Especially around men I don’t know. I don’t know shit about football, I don’t have kids and I certainly can’t ‘small talk’.

Could be one of the reasons I’ve often ended up dating my boss.

Once I get to know a guy – say, 3 or 4 months in – I can relax and my true colors shine through. I’m actually a bit soppy, ridiculously romantic, a very caring person and fairly articulate.. but from the moment I first meet someone of the opposite sex, I become the worst version of everyone. Think of the worse date you’ve ever been on… ever… I got them beat if you’re a cute guy and I don’t know you.

Cue the sweaty palms and inarticulate ‘uhuhs’

If you’re my boss, I will – obviously – insult you upon our first meeting. I’ve told bosses that their shirt was ‘a bit gay’, that they’re ‘overdoing the product’ on their hair, their ‘pants are waaaaay too tight’ and on one occasion I introduced myself to my boss by telling him that ‘I’ve heard you’re something special but I don’t see it’.

Frankly its amazing I have a job at all sometimes. It’s not that I set out to be a bit of git, it’s just what comes out of my mouth.

(my current boss learned to tolerate me when I ordered a martini during our first meeting (it was an early dinner) and I swore joyfully ‘fucccccck me’ into my drink.)

(I wasn’t aware he was a devote Mormon.)

(he was clearly desperate for someone to fill the role)

In lieu of polite conversation about the local football team, the weather or family (my small talk consists of swearing about Obama’s ineptitude and the latest num nuts platitudes coming from the far right), I just seem to resort to whatever comes into my head. Which inevitably insults those in the immediate vicinity.. including the person I’m trying to relate to.

Thankfully over the years my coworkers and bosses have learned to tolerate my shortcomings, (slightly worrying in the face of my profession), due to my excessive productivity and willingness to send emails at 10pm.. but when it comes to dates.. romantic prospects… well frankly I’m still in second grade. (if they needed more emails sent, maybe I’d be married by now?)

If a guy is car-crashingly ugly, dull, rude or totally unappealing, I have no problem. I become supremely confident in my attractiveness, relax and let the verbal banter run rings around the poor sod. I actually enjoy dates where I know there isn’t going to be another.  But if he’s  in anyway attractive, if I feel even the faintest glimmer of a spark that could potentially be nurtured into some kind of flame, if I immediately mentally checking the match-iness of my underwear, well I’m fucked. I may as well leave the location and just go home. Its going to save everyone a lot of embarrassment.

I’m so terrified of what might come out of my mouth that my brain freezes. I say nothing. When something does eek out, I spend the next 15 minutes questioning whether I sounded stupid, desperate, too keen or not keen enough. Largely I sound retarded or overly obsessive (I talked to one poor cute guy for an HOUR about a bike race.. which he hadn’t even watched.. in fact I don’t think he even owned a bike).  So largely about 30 minutes into a date, the guy is wondering how to make a non rude exit from the chick who’s muttering to herself and chewing her cuticles. As first impressions go, its a miracle that I ever get the chance to make a second.

(I put it down to good boobs and a sterling resume)

It seems that throughout my single 30s and 40s, the only way I get through my extreme nervousness in the face of an eligible man, is to get naked. Thankfully my coworkers are a fairly unappealing bunch or I’d have been fired long, long ago.

But this ‘confident when naked/ illiterate when clothed’ thing has made dating quite a challenge, especially as I hit my 40s. After all, you can’t get naked on a first date at 42… (what was cute at 25 or 35 indicates mental illness in your 40s) and getting naked on a first date tends to be somewhat terminal in the minds of most American men. (who conveniently forget that while they don’t want to be with someone who “does that”, they themselves also just ‘did that’).

So over the years I’ve regulated my ‘getting naked’ significantly and generally removed myself from the dating populace since I know I’m about as suave as a goat when it comes to meeting strangers.  Instead I hold out hope that someone I know in a platonic way, someone I meet while I’m temporarily blind (or they are), someone I work with or someone who’s been previously burned by my harsh tongue or bad behavior… will one day wake up and think ‘you know… maybe I didn’t give her enough of a chance’. Maybe, just maybe that guy will look past the insults, the nakedness, the chewed cuticles and wonder ‘I wonder what she’s really like’.

I know.. I know.. its a long shot. But after the most recently ineptitude which involved me drinking my body weight in wine, seducing a fairly willing man and then STILL finding insults coming out of my mouth… well.. I’m not holding my breath.

Or maybe I’m just a ‘7th impression’ girl? Now the trick finding someone willing to keep coming back to get to that version of me… nail gun anyone???

Lies I’ve been told: The Beauty Edition

pink-bad-haircutContinuing on the theme of lying, this week I found myself besieged by people wanting to add to my list of lies.. with the people responsible for making you pretty – hairdressers, dentists, manicurists and ‘beauticians’ named as the most skillful of liars.

Not surprising. If your mortgage was dependent on convincing some poor schmo that a product, service or treatment could turn them from Honey Boo Boo’s mom to Jennifer Aniston.. well I guess even I’d start fibbing a bit. Plus women, bombarded by images of airbrushed perfection via every newstand, gossip site or tv show, well we’re eager for anything which will make us look a little less blotchy, more youthful and less, well, poochy. You never know.. maybe this thing – cream, facial, makeup or procedure – just might make our next Facebook photo something we won’t rush to untag. So here are the some of the lies we listen to and nod along with.. all in the name of hope and ‘beauty’.

Waxing.. it gets easier and less painful overtime

Bullshit. I’ve been waxing my lip since I was 22 and it still brings tears to my eyes with every strip, leaving me red and puffy for the rest of the day. I used to get bikini waxes, but after my third Brazilian, when I wailed like a newborn and brought the shop owner running, it was suggested that maybe, just maybe, Brazilians weren’t for me.  As for that hogwash about your hair growing in thinner when you wax regularly – forget that lie. Lets just say Phil Spector’s fro has nothing on what’s between my thighs these days. I think waxing prompted some kind of challenge mentality down there and its winning.

We can dye your hair from black to blond

Yes. Yes you can. Should you? No. No no no no no. Anything that takes over 4 hours in  a hairdressing salon isn’t to be recommended as ‘a good thing’. And no-one, not even your bimbo-est LA vanity case needs to spend 4 hours with bleach on her scalp. I seriously think my IQ was permanently damaged from that experience and my hair… well….lets just say the experience unsurprisingly led to the next lie I’ve been told….

“You can totally ‘get away with’ short hair”

Just because you’re bored doing blond highlights and 1/4 inch trims day after day, does not give you – my hairdresser – license to lie to me. Because while I am instantly morphing my self image into Andrey Hepburn, my hairdressing is just thrilled at the opportunity to try out a new style they saw at some trade show in Cleveland. Whether this microfringe/mullet combination will actually suit me (and make me appealing to the opposite sex) isn’t a consideration when your hairdresser starts lying. No, I cannot get away with short hair – unless ‘get away with’ actually means ‘resemble Dorothy Hamill’.

Long lasting lipstick/eyeliner/mascara

This one is usually one of two lies. The first is where long lasting actually translates to ‘it will remain on your face until you the leave the bathroom’ .. at which point the makeup will instantly move from where you originally put it to a brand new location of its own choosing. My eyeliner has never even made it out of the house on my actual eyes.. never mind to a date or evening out. It migrates under my eyes as soon as I breath out, rendering me an exact double for Uncle Fester and that face powder I applied so liberally? I’m shining like a freshly waxed shoe before I’ve even made it downstairs. The only times I’ve ever actually found an actual ‘long lasting’ make up product it apparently needs to be lasered off because no soap and water, cream or even pure alcohol seems to work. That ‘waterproof mascara’ I applied in 2005? Well its still there. I’m just waiting for my lashes to slowly fall out… it seems to be the only way I’m getting rid of it.

They’ll stretch out really fast/ shrink in the wash

Oh boy, have I fallen for this lie. See that chick walking tentatively, as wobbly as a newborn foal? Yes, that’s me.. waiting for my patent boots to ‘stretch out’ as promised. I’ve had those suckers for 8 years, worn them with ski socks, stuffed them with wet newspaper and taken them to at least 3 cobblers and nada. Still function as my own personal foot binding machine.  Meanwhile, those cashmere leggings I paid an arm and a leg for (mimosas + shopping = bad decisions galore) and which the assistant assured me ‘would shrink to nothing’ in the wash.. well to this day, I’ve boiled those suckers at 140 degrees and the crotch is still sitting somewhere mid thigh. I’m in danger of losing them entirely every time I stand up and the only way I can wear them is safety pinned to an extremely large pair of granny panties. Which, I assure you, makes for a very interesting conversation if you ever get lucky. Which you won’t..  because saggy, baggy, beigy wool leggings aren’t attractive to anyone, no matter how ‘awesome’ the sales assistant said they were.

Which leads us to the biggest lie of all…

That dress/skirt/jeans/cashmere leggings totally work

Yes, they probably do… just only in the dressing room. As you’re standing in front of the mirror marveling at your skinny legs and tiny waist, check your arms in the mirror. Amazing isn’t it – how skinny and long they look. And wow.. are you sporting new hollows where your cheeks used to be? And damn.. have you noticed how long your neck suddenly looks? Yes.. we all look amazing in the changing room (Neimans, Saks, Nordstroms we’re on to you). Just wait until you get home to your non tilted mirror and plain old lighting before you take those tags off.  I’ve gained about 15lbs between the mall and my home some days… but until you leave the store..hey, you’re totally making those skinny jeans work girlfriend!

Wondering if where you’re going to wear that gingham shirtdress,  if faux leather jeans are really you or whether that turtleneck  makes you look a little squat.. don’t worry. You’re totally making that look work. That 60’s large print mini-dress – just too cute. Platform boots – amaze-balls! And PVC jerkin? Cray-cray how good it looks.

Ladies, if your sales assistant is using words you don’t understand, if you know your mother would approve of it -or your hairdresser-step away from the rack. You’re not rocking it. You’re rocking her commission. Now go buy some sensible black pants like the rest of us.

What’s that smell?

What’s that smell?

 I’ve always had a thing about ‘smell’. From the first boyfriend (Drakkar Noir) through my college years (Cool Water), to my first serious boyfriend (Polo) to my last (Armani Code)..I can remember smells almost more than actual events. Growing up on a continent where cologne is de rigeur, Old Spice will forever be my Dad, and watching a man slap on some cologne,  always one of the most intimate things to enjoy.   

When I first moved to the US I found it weird that men didn’t ‘do’ cologne and that those who did were generally regarded as ‘hiding something’ or ‘gay’ (their quotes not mine). What had historically seemed as much a part of shaving as foam and a razor, was entirely missing amongst men in the States.
When I mentioned it to the few guys I dated early on, I was met with jeers of ridicule and protestations that ‘that’s a black guy thing’.
Seriously.. only black men and gay men wear cologne? Where did that leave my Dad and every guy I’d ever dated? But 17 years on, I’ve got to say, black American men – to a one – smell delicious and I’ve never met a gay guy who wasn’t rocking some kind of cologne. Straight guys? Well I’ve stumbled across a few anomalies, but they’re few and far between. Generally, (and having not smelled 99% of America, I have to generalize), American men don’t seem to do much other than soap. Maybe sunscreen.
Which is fine… but kind of a big missed opportunity. Big.

For example, did you know that our sense of smell is the first of our senses to develop when we’re ‘in utero’? Before we’re even born, this sense is full formed and functioning (a weird fact that explains why the smell of cocoa butter is so soothing to me.. my mother practically bathed in it during pregnancy). In fact not only is it one of the most developed of our senses, it actually renews itself every 28 days (taste wins out with renewal every 24 hours). We smell (and taste), better than we will ever see or hear. 

And while 50% of us can’t remember a face after 3 months, your odor recall remains at 65% a whole year after you last were exposed to someone’s smell. Which means while you might not recognize that dude you dated in May, you’re sure as hell going to remember his smell long into next year. Which I guess explains why the faintest trace of Armani Code always makes me smile and I can’t remember much about many of the men who I’ve dated since I got to the US.

While you might like how someone looks, you’d probably be better off smelling and tasting them. It’ll last longer.

In fact 75% of our emotions are triggered by smell, which I guess is something they should factor in to that future dating profile. If only we could smell the guy.. there would probably short cut a whole lot of that time consuming weeding out process. In fact, some personality traits actually affect how a person smells, from extroversion and neuroticism to dominance. Can you imagine if you could scratch and sniff your Match.com profile? Scary.

And women, with our superpower noses, can literally sniff out nut jobs. Due to our ancestral need to mate with a healthy male, we can smell diseases from diabetes to viral infection to schizophrenia. So if you’re turned off by a guys smell.. there might actually be a real reason why.

Note to self.. sniff harder next time.

Of course ‘odor driven dating’ would only work for women, because men’s sense of smell is roughly 50% less effective than our’s (no surprise) which itself peaks right around ovulation. Apparently when we’re ready to mate, smell is actually more of a determining factor than what we see (makes you want to rethink that cologne aversion, doesn’t it?). Guys.. if you want to get it on with your lady.. you might want to take that shower and break out the ‘Sex Panther’.  After all, “it works 60% of the time, all the time”.

But since you’re only smelling 50% of what you’re putting on.. you might want to dial it down a little. If you can smell it on yourself, we’re probably going to be gasping for breath in the car.

But its not just cologne or soap, pheromones, those much maligned compounds from the 80’s, mean that even if you’re an unscented type of a guy who slavishly showers three times a day.. you’re still putting out a smell. I know an ‘unscented’ guy who smells like olive oil, one who smells like grass and I once dated someone who smelled like buttered toast. Whether you want it or not, you smell.

But its just a smell, right?  As long as its not nasty, it doesn’t matter really does it?
Actually, it matters much more than you’d think. As most of us who’ve ever had a cold know, your sense of smell accounts for 75-95% of the impact a flavor has… which means if he smells good, we know he’s going to taste even better (and vice versa). And rarely are you going to get to ‘taste’ us, if you don’t smell good. Which might explain why men without any sense of smell at all, have fewer sexual partners that anyone else. 

Ok. A lot of interesting facts, but what does this smelly stuff actually mean? Really?
For me, no matter how much I find someone attractive and smart, develop rapport and genuinely enjoy their company.. sometimes … you just don’t like the way they smell and that’s that. Game over.
You think that’s high maintenance?  Dan Savage once said ‘I knew I loved Terry when I realized I liked the taste of his spit.’ Apparently a good match is someone with ‘tasty spit’.
I think I need to rethink this online dating thing.

Top 10 Lady Boner Killers


 Top 10 Lady Boner Killers

Crushes, or the early stages of dating someone, are fragile times and it doesn’t take much to seriously rock the boat from ‘I want to eat you with a spoon’ to ‘yikes, really? him? that?’

As one who’s nurturing a few crushes at the moment, I have to admit that I’m as fickle as the next person, maybe even more so given my extensive experience with the opposite sex.
Example? I was chatting on the phone with a potential suitor about where we should meet for our first date. He asked me what kind of food I liked, to which I joked ‘Anything as long as its not Olive Garden!’. To which I was met with a extended pause…. apparently Olive Garden was on his list.

Really?

You’re a 40 something guy who’s single, no kids and you race bikes. And the Olive Garden is on your first date list?

No, not for him a funky neighborhood bar or an intimate locally owned restaurant but a true, soul crushing, every house is identical, land of strip malls and gated communities… suburban chain restaurant. Located in suburbia. 15 miles from my house. Where he apparently lives. As a single guy. With no kids. 20 miles from all the single people.

Needless to say, his suggestion of a chain restaurant for our first date was an instant ‘boner killer’ and I found myself mentally cuing up my DVR viewing schedule for the evening. Call me fickle, call me picky, and yes, certainly call me judgmental but one of the few joys in life is food which is not found at the Olive Garden. And I don’t care ‘if you’re here, you’re family’.

As women we may not have the equipment, but gentlemen, it doesn’t exclude us from encountering the ‘boner killer’ when dating. Jezebel’s Madeline Davis posted this question to the world earlier this week, which got my friends and I talking about our worst ‘boner killer’ moments over the years. Here are some of our favorites;

1. Simple spelling and correct use of grammar
We don’t care if you can’t spell discombobulated or antidisestablishmentarianism (hey, I had to look it up), but we really really can’t fuck you if you can’t differential ‘hair’ from ‘heir’, ‘they’re’ from ‘there’ or you use the word ‘specially’ or ‘pacifically’ in a sentence.  I’m not an English major and it really doesn’t say anything about you (who knows, maybe Edward Norton says ‘pacifically’ – though I doubt it)..but for us… instant boner killer. We instantly assume you haven’t picked up a book since 8th grade and that at some point, we’ll need to explain the menu to you. Not hot.

2. Ed Hardy T shirts and ‘fake tattoo’ shirts
I really don’t think anyone should have to mention this, but no. Just no. It doesn’t make you a rocker or a bad ass, its not mandatory for riding a motorcycle and they scream ‘I have gel in my hair and a tiny penis’. And I don’t know if men have noticed, but a disproportionate number of those shirts feature angels and hearts. Grow a pair and buy yourself some Ben Shermans, or go all the way gay  with a unicorn T shirt. We’ll be laughing less, I promise you.

3. The bathroom selfie
If you are posting a photo on a dating website, please don’t post a topless selfie. Nothing says desperation and lack of depth than a man who thinks we want to date his abs. Selfies say ‘I don’t have any friends’ and frankly unless you’re featured on the cover of this months ‘Mens Health’, its probably going to be a boner killer anyway. No, moobs aren’t just really big pecs. They’re moobs. And we’ve already got a better pair to play with. No boner.

4. Text messages featuring ‘R’ ‘U’ or ‘4’ instead of words
Are you 9? Can you not spell? The only person who can get away with replacing words with numbers and letters is Prince circa 1988. Are you Prince? Is it 1988? I didn’t think so. Type the actual word numb-nuts. And don’t get us started on ‘LOL’. Reading it doesn’t make us laugh and we frankly don’t care if you’re laughing at your own jokes.  Most guys do. See that woman rolling her eyes… ? Yes, that’s us. The ones who suddenly don’t find you that attractive any more.

5. Shaved everything
Sure they rock that look in porn but guess what? You’re not in a porno. And I don’t need to see every single centimeter of your body without hair. Let me share a secret. Women actually like men with body hair. Its sexy. Sure, feel free to trim that back mat or delineate between your eyebrows, shave those legs and rock your Lycra… but please, please, please don’t shave your balls. I don’t want to have sex with a chicken and frankly if they’re shaved, I don’t know whether to lick, suck or baste them.

6. The Frat House
I know I’m a little bit of a neat freak and I adore a fellow tidy nut, but nothing says boner killer faster than the guy who lives in a place that still looks like a frat house.  Sure you love Led Zepplin, but maybe you could frame that poster you’ve taped to the wall? That sofa you rescued from the dumpster may be cool… but if you’re expecting me to get naked on it? Um… no thanks, not without Lysol. Bongos? Um no. Old pizza boxes on the living room floor? No.
Be an adult. Live like an adult. Which doesn’t need to mean matching towels and embroidered tablecloths but does mean that the futon has to go. No adult is getting freaky on a futon.

7. Server Rudeness
Many, if not most of us, have been servers, waitresses, bar tenders or retail jockeys at some point in our time so we know that people can be ass hats for no reason. The guy who stiffs you a tip, the chick who deliberately leaves  the dressing room without regard for hangers, and yes, even you Miss. Is This Really Diet Coke? Its horribly demeaning to be on the end of server rudeness – people treating you like you’re scum just because you happen to be wearing a name badge. Don’t join the parade of jackasses. Tip your server, don’t ever cop a feel, and be polite. It doesn’t cost anything and it a big tip to the waitress sometimes gives us a boner. Which you’d going to need if you’re wearing that Ed Hardy t shirt.

8.  Therapy Obsession
I’m amazed that I have to write this, but starting the sentence with the words, ‘My therapist says..’.is not a path to hot sex. It doesn’t say ‘look how deep and introspective I am’, it simply reminds us that you, like us, are kinda broken. We know to keep that shit hidden until we’ve hypnotized you with our genitals. Sadly the most you can do with yours, is pee standing up. Whoop-dee-do.

9. Brown teeth
Yes, I know I grew up in England, the land of bad teeth and therefore I have no right to point this out, but dudes.. really.. put down the Toms of Maine. As my dentist said, ‘ you’re better off blowing on your teeth than using that shit’. Your teeth are meant to be white, off white or some shade close. Not brown, not beige and definitely not taupe. Your teeth should not remind us of mushrooms, tree bark or moss. I think its admirable that you prefer ‘natural’ stuff, but no woman wants to get close to your  herbal infused teeth. Dead boner.

10. The bad kisser
Oh I could write about this for days…. as could most women. The guy who tried to choke you with his tongue, the guy who has no tongue apparently, the guy who puts his tongue in your mouth and lets it lie there like a slug, the dude who has no tension in his lips and so ends up wiping his drool around your chin.. and that’s before we even consider the guy who purses his lips like grandma, the sucker face (who leaves you with bruises) or the guy who won’t open his mouth not even a tiny bit. Women really read into kisses. Great kiss, likely to be great in bed. Bad kiss, boner killer. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.

Looks daunting? Well know that as with all things, women can be a fickle bunch. What turns us off today, can drive us into a frenzy with a different guy tomorrow. But this list… boner killers always.

Boners. They’re not just for guys you know.

Sexy Ugly

Sexy Ugly

I’ve never been a fan of pretty boys.

Give me a clean cut symmetrical face, a perfect jawline and blond hair, I give you the man who has already bored me out of bed. Every woman worth her salt knows that pretty boys suck. They don’t have to try, so they don’t.

Give me sexy ugly every time.

In fact, ugly ugly also works.. just give him confidence, (see Adam Driver, the sadistic narcissist sex bomb of Girls, Lyle Lovett and yes, even Iggy Pop).

Sexy ugly is that unique combination of certainty, confidence and something weirdly imperfect. Maybe the forehead is too large, the nose outsize, the chin in another zip code and the ears tracking jets, but add in some confidence, a motormouth and suddenly wow! Almost like a continuum that goes, ugly, uglier, ugliest, mmm ugly sexy. Delicious.

My obsession started young when I found myself inexcusably attracted to Woody Allen, Mick Jagger and, god help me, Mick Hucknall (Simply Red). None of whom would be romantic leading man material ever, but all of them made me feel a little squiffy. Why? They just seemed way more interesting.

My first boyfriend was 6 ft 6 with long hair and a nose like a pig. Ug-lee but oh so hotly unaware of it. His feet were like flippers and he had a forehead you could show a movie on, but wow, he was a charmer and thought he was awesome.. And therefore so did I.
The imprint was made. From the age of 16 it was sexy ugly, all the time.

I’ve spent most of my dating life in search of the weirdly unconventional. Skinny, awkward, big nose, huge forehead, no shoulders, but all incredibly confident and therefore total sex pots. I’ve lusted after ginger midgets, giant stick man and yes, if Jim Parson’s wasn’t gay, I’d be lusting after that too.

I know my friends have been bemused at my obsession and I can’t explain it. I’ve had lots of ‘really?’ comments about latest crushes and I can somewhat see their point. But not one ugly guy has actively chased me and man, I do love a challenge. In fact it almost seemed like the more unattractive a guy is, the harder they are to snag.  How is it that a guy who hasn’t won the hotness lottery is way more discerning?

Of course some have been awful mistakes (you have no idea how dreadful some people can look first thing in the morning), and some actually turn out just to be ugly ugly (skipping sexy and going straight to ‘yikes’). There was the guy who will forever been known as ‘Beaker’ (yes, as in ‘The Muppets’), the one who looked like Mr.Bean and one who was nicknamed after a rodent. All were sexy, but wow… terrifying when sober.

So why sexy ugly? Why not just equate it to ‘you date at your level’..?

Yes I’ve had major facial surgery and I still can’t get into a club without showing major cleavage so maybe that’s why I like unconventionally attractive people. Or maybe its just growing up in a country where bad teeth and lumpiness are handed out as gifts to our gene pool so its what I’m used to. Either way, 16 years into US residency and I still can’t get comfortable with beauty. Its just not for me.

Here’s to the ugly sexy.  Better conversations, greater sense of humor, better in bed and of course, you both look equally shit in the morning with or without your glasses on. May I count myself amongst them.

The new things which matter

I recently went round to a new friends house and realized I may have met my ideal. 
Not his personality, his looks, his astonishing nose or his predilection for slightly baggy assed Levis. Nope. I was smitten by his house. And specifically the cleanliness and order within his house.

I know. Its terrible what appeals as you get older.

As someone who grew up in a very small house populated by a father who saw every surface as a resting place for his clothes, keys, newspaper, ironing, screws, empty toilet rolls, plastic bags he was saving etc.- I loathe mess. It literally makes me itchy. The result? I grew up in love with the minimalist ideal. Give me a bare white room with minimal furniture, bare clean floors, everything tucked away out of sight and I was am practically orgasmic.
The reality of growing up – jackets hung on the back of chairs; mail unopened and unsorted; books opened flat with a cracking spine, piles of ironing on dining room chairs, CDs outside of their covers were all nails on a chalkboard to me. Add in a collection of mugs strewn around the house, 6 pairs of shoes and used tissues tucked everywhere and, well, I spent my childhood developing some serious anxiety issues. I can’t help it. I’m not OCD, I just can’t rest if there is mess. I can deal with unclean, but untidy makes me Nic Cage crazy.

And this guys house…. oh man…I think I came the moment I walked in the door.

No piles. No mess. Order reigned. Screw the personality, looks, character and sex appeal…with a house this tidy…I could get over the rest. 

It was a thing of beauty. From the living room to the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom (you know, just nosing around). Everything at the right angles, no fingerprints on the appliances, not a rice grain on the floor. Nothing askew. Cushions plumped. LPs organized. Art work level.

I could have laid down and taken a nap right there. In the appointed place of course.

Now I have friends who I know are neatfreaks. I even once knew a guy who folded his TP to a point and laid out his magazines in an arc, but he was a virgin at 34 and the whole thing smacked of too much time on his hands. I know this guy has many passions which take up his time, but his clear love of precision, order and balance in his home, his castle, were as comforting as a hug. Something tells me no plates get thrown in that house and you know for sure that nobody is picking up clothes from the floor first thing in the morning. He probably irons and folds them mid coitus.

Of course what this says about the man…who knows. He’s probably a fussy nut job who needs to shower before and after sex, wears a protective body condom and requires absolute silence in the sack.. but I say its a small price to pay for the anti mess. Ladies… I have his number.

And me? I’m sure that this points to some very strange psychosis that my therapist has yet to explore, but I just put it down to a history of living small and therefore needing to be tidy.
Or a love of discipline.
..but that’s a whole other issue.

Learning to flirt

I always thought of myself as a good flirt. I had no shortage of guy friends growing up and I made them laugh. Some even kissed me in-between chuckles. Wasn’t that flirting?

Apparently no.

I didn’t learn that I was a horrible flirt (as in ‘bad’, ‘not good’ and ‘are you trying to actively scare men away?’) until I was back in the dating pool at age 35. I assumed that since I’d had several long term boyfriends (and an ex husband), that I must be doing something right. It wasn’t until I casually talked about flirting with a friend that I learned that I’d been doing it all wrong.  She laughed;

‘oh no, you’re horrible at flirting’

‘you mean I over do it?’

‘No…Its like you are trying to convince men that you’re mentally retarded..’

‘…or you’re trying to physically hurt them’

Really??? I always thought I was quite flirtatious’

(…raucous laughter)

Apparently flirting is not;
– Fake punching a guy in the chin and accidentally breaking his jaw
– Poking him in the genitals
– Matching him drink for drink then puking all over his car
– Twirling him on the dance floor so hard that he spins into the DJ booth and cracks his head open
– Leaning in for the long shot on the pool table and seductively sliding your cue through the green stuff
– Avoiding his eyes because you’re so nervous you want to laugh hysterically and then pee your pants
– Jokily insulting his wardrobe, grammar, hair, car, career, sexual prowess or penis in a crowded bar
– Arm wrestling him and actively trying to win
– Telling him that he looked so good, he made me ‘slide off my seat’
– Sucking your finger and then starting to bite a hangnail

Yes. I know. I’m dying inside too.

I thought it was cute in the moment. I now know I seemed psychotic.

To be honest, after I learned what flirting actually is, I was amazed I’d even been kissed at all. Thankfully I have nice boobs.

Luckily I now have friends who have helped explain that physical feats of strength and verbal abuse don’t count in the ‘attracting a mate’ game. More hair twirling and lip licking, less humiliation. Cute smiles at strangers, and whispered ‘hi’s, maybe some casual physical contact and definitely no punching.

I was game. I decided to take my new knowledge out for a spin.

Here’s the thing. Like dancing, learning a new skill takes time and you tend to be a bit ‘jerky’ at first. It doesn’t feel or look natural, and as pragmatic ‘can do’ woman, I sort of missed the casual nature of the thing.

The result? My hair twirling looked like I was infected with lice or was suffering with trichotillomania. When I  smiled broadly at guys standing in line at Whole Foods, I felt like The Joker and from the looks on the guys faces, I suspect they were inwardly chanting ‘stranger danger’. My hair flips resulted in me having to peel a chunk stuck in my lip gloss, and don’t get me started on the lip licking… I think even my dog thought I was about to eat him with a nice bottle of Chianti. When I wanted to casually touch my latest crush, I wound up grabbing his watch and complementing him on the time. Yes. I complemented him on the time.

I guess I have some work to do. So if you happen to see a woman with a chunk of hair stuck in her lip gloss and a fixed grin on her face, please be nice to her. Just duck if you see a fist coming and know that she really really likes you.

Questions we’re still asking at 40ish…Does he like me?

 Interestingly if you Google this phrase, the number of responses is about 70 trillion, mostly aimed at 13 year olds whose gummy smiles and braces are locked up wondering if the reason their lab partner set them on fire is because they ‘like’ them. Sadly, I’m apparently still that girl since I Googled this phrase this afternoon actually looking for an answer.

For those of us over 40 who still haven’t figured it out, there’s not really much guidance on answering this question when it comes to romance. The married friends just roll their eyes with faux sympathy and coo about ‘Oh I remember worrying about that’ as they still look for reassurance from the husband of 10 yrs. The singletons can analyze the crap out of text message, but do you really want guidance from someone who’s as clueless as yourself?  (after all, you are all single). Which leaves your own judgement (or a very very patient therapist). Wondering if he was really interested in your tattoo or just trying to touch you? Was he really concerned about walking me home, or just working up the courage to ask for another date? Do his repeated text messages mean anything other than ‘I’m bored and I know you’re sitting at your desk Googling ‘how to meet men”). Who’s to know. I guess if you have to ask, the answers probably no. But then the evidence is kind of blurry on all fronts.

The last guy I enjoyed a first date with apparently died (or so I like to think), since 3 months into dating he asked me my ring size, my wedding ceremony preference and then disappeared from this earth. He seemed interested right up to his apparent death (hopefully slow and painfully).

The guy before that charmer waited 262 days between date 1 and asking for date 2 (yes, you can wait too long) but when, after abject apologies and no small amount of begging, we went out.. yep..he disappeared again. Its been 2 years now so I’m guessing we’re about due for date 3.  Was he interested? He sure seemed interested during those 121 emails he sent before the date. But apparently not that much.

The same goes for a guy who lived in my neighborhood. Over the course of 3 or 4 years he engaged in flirtatious conversations, sent me late night drunken Facebook messages and even offered the odd invitation for drinks.. and yet it never quite happened. Because he only did those things when he was dating someone. Once he was single he disappeared. So apparently not that interested.

Am I missing something? Do I have ‘interim romantic interest’ tattooed on my forehead or am I just the least effective booty call in history? Because maybe its my advancing age, but these days I just can’t tell. I’m not repulsive and I do date.. but why do the guys I date, act so strange? Is it just me or are they all like that? I’m sure chicks are just as bad.. but lord, I didn’t expect to be Googling this question 25 years after I first asked it.

And the answer? Well Google talks a lot about eye dilation, sweating and raised pulse rates, but unless I can whip out my torch, a magnifying glass and a stethoscope every time I meet a guy.. I guess I’ll just have to keep guessing.

Meeting men: Location, location, location

According to my mum, my friends, every Sex in the City episode ever screened and, sadly, even my boss.. ‘men are everywhere’. Yes, why yes, they are. However meeting one or developing a friendship with one to the point where you’d like exchange more than witty banter is downright hard after 40. It not like rocking up to the bar on a Thursday night like you used to. If I hang out at a bar everyone wonders whether I’m nursing an alcohol addiction. Trying to meet new people  is more tricky than you’d imagine. Its the only reason behind why so many of us resort to match.com.

Some of the places you might think as fruitful for future lovers…um… not so much.

At Work. Since I work from home, my ‘at work’ chance encounters are limited to the UPS guy, the Fed Ex guy and anyone I meet in Chipotle at lunchtime. Limited doesn’t even begin to describe it for me. But for most chicks, work can be a great place to meet guys as long as your company hires men under the age of 50 and you don’t work in the prison system.  Be aware that the hottest guys work in marketing and sales, HR is always bitches and gays, IT is always married or basement dwellers, and operations people work too hard to date. Best chances for a date are on the manufacturing floor or the visiting consultants. Dress accordingly. Rating B

Running Errands.  Now is not the time for you to meet anyone. Any man who finds the typical errand running ‘look’ attractive is probably rocking a grey sweat-pant and likes to hang out in Walgreens.  Not anyone’s key demographic. On TV the grocery store might be a hot bed of glances and flirtation, but for you, treat it as a military operation – get in, get out, get on to something more interesting. And no, yoga pants don’t make any difference. Rating C-
 
Cycling: No. If your varicose veins don’t keep them away, the sight of your damp crotch and bright red face will finish off any lustful dude you might encounter on the road. Even my ex thought I was hideous on a bike and he liked me. Unless you one of those blessed people who ‘glow’ or you stand regularly on a podium, wait until after you ride. Rating D

Walking the dog: Now this actually has potential. You’re fully clothed, your dog likes people and you’re rarely moving at warp speed so you can actually see who you are talking too. I tend to chat with complete strangers every day when I’m out with my dog and I’ve had the first date ‘interview’ on at least a few occasions. Of course you will be judged on what your dogs appearance says about you, which means most guys think I’m slightly retarded, but if you have a pretty dog, go for it. Rating A- 

Church: I can’t really speak to this from personal experience, but I’ve heard that this works for a lot of people. The exit from my local church does somewhat resemble a sit-com audition so maybe if you chose your church carefully, its a possibility to get down in the pews and exchange meaningful glances. Since the last church I went too was populated exclusively by 70yr old grey haired ladies, not for me, but if you like sanctified meat.. they are held captive for 90 minutes every Sunday. I recommend Lutheran if you’re into blonds who will appreciate your womanly hips and Episcopalian if you’re into WASPs who like the missionary position.    Rating B-

Charity events: My friend Hope assures me that this can be a lucrative place to meet guys of a certain age and income. Those who attend who aren’t married or gay, tend to be aggressively hunting. Bachelor auctions, wine tastings and anything around running marathons attracts the young and healthy. Avoid terminal disease functions or anything hosted by someone called Muffy unless your demographic is octogenarian. Oh and be aware, silent auctions while drunk may result in you carting $2500 worth of wine home on the bus. Leave the credit card at home next time. Rating A-

House and Dinner Parties. If you regularly attend either of these events as a couple, you are  probably under the impression that this is how single people meet these days. Yes it is. We meet married people. The only time a single person is invited to a dinner party is to even up numbers, replace a late drop out or as part of the floor show. House parties run in a similar vein. Every host can be confident that your single person is getting blotto drunk and dancing hysterically as the evening wears on. Plus your average single person always has good stories, doesn’t expect anyone to take them home and sends great apology gifts.  On the rare chance that you do meet another single person at either of these functions know that this is the only other single person the host knows and they’ve not been especially selected for you. Be cautious. He’s likely a shut in depressive recent divorcee.. and you don’t need yet another one of those.  Rating C.

Chance meeting. This might include the guy you hit with your car, the guy who ran you down in the parking garage or even the guy who tipped his Starbucks over you. The commonality? You’re not in your apartment and some pain and embarrassment is involved (typically yours). I’ve met an assortment of guys by chance. Cycling into a river, being hit in the face by a ski and during an endoscopy. Don’t rule out the chance meeting.. the ‘meet cute’. Of course you’re probably bleeding or sedated, but hey, as long as you have clean underwear on and you can remember your phone number, go for it! Rating A+

So there you have it. The typical ways someone over 40 meets guys.
Now do you understand why we’re all on Match.com?

New year, a new dating process


 After watching my painful dating progress over the last 6 years, a close friend of mine with excellent judgement suggested a new process by which I should select dates. Since I’m a fan of process improvement and efficiency, not to mention leveraging others core competencies (can you tell I’ve been consulting today?).. I’m thinking of adopting it.

All future dates will meet and ‘pseudo date’ her. She will cover all first date type material and hit the areas I typically don’t consider until I’m tied up in the trunk/ running from a bear/ looking at an engagement ring in an outstretched hand.

You know, little things like ‘ do you have a job?’ ‘ do you live with your parents?’  ‘how long should you date someone before its considered long term’ oh and my personal favorite, ‘ do you like sleeping with men?’  (yes, 3 so far, and apparently I’m still not learning). She’ll go through the boring crap (siblings, parental relationship, childhood traumas) and screen out the messes. Aided by a complete lack of interest in them herself (our tastes couldn’t be more disparate), she can actually assess the candidates rationally, instead of mooning them across the bar as I tend to after the second martini.
They don’t actually get to meet me of course, not until she deems them 1) sane 2) not looking for mommy 3) smart 4) not gay and 5) not hideous. Any men expressing a desire for marriage and kids before the end of the year, job hunting assistance or who possess eyes bigger than baseballs should not apply. Oh, and albinos are definitely out (that one she’ll never let me forget). She’ll also screen out fuckwits, commitment-phobes, psychopaths and idiots. All of which I tend to adore, especially if they look good in Levis.  All successful candidates will receive a ‘certification’. From these I get to choose a lover, a partner or even just a dinner date, and I get to skip the ‘is he normal?’ question which usually only hits me when I sober up or I’m in a car with him 1100 miles from Denver.
I love it. Efficient, practical and by adding a middle man, instead of a bottleneck its kind of like my own quality control team. Plus it hits the key gap in my process (I prefer to dwell on someonesforearms or how well they make risotto).

Now she just needs to move to Colorado to start the process. Or I’m going to be waiting a fucking long time for a date

The 40ish guide to dating a cyclist: The reality

So you’ve considered the upside, decided that yes, you want to find your very own Armstrong and have considered the downsides without pause. A final snapshot before you start amending your Match.com profile or hanging out at the local bike store. The reality of dating a cyclist might be that cold shower you need. 

David was a cyclist of the racing variety, who resided in Boulder with no discernible source of income, a garage full of high end bikes and the body of a Greek god. What he lacked in career motivation and intelligence became irrelevant as soon as I checked out his butt on our first date.
Lord thank you Jesus Christ amen…. my one and only religious experience arose the first time we fooled around and I got the entire David naked experience. An ex-Israeli solider, David didn’t subscribe to the ‘waifish upperbody’ of the typical racer and liked to work out because ‘guns are heavy’. Did I mention that cyclists are all psychotic sadists? Nothing like rolling around with a guy who kept his guns armed and available at the bedside. (though with hindsight, David’s questionable intelligence did lead to some spectacularly bad decision making, including leaving ammo next to the dogs bed. Poor Coen). Regardless, he was beautiful. A breathtakingly beautiful, slightly psychotic man.

After helping stop a former boyfriend from stealing my car (don’t ask), he decided that I needed a man in my life and he was it. After lessons on shooting, how to kill a man with a Bic pen and how to have sex on a yoga ball (not sure how that was part of the military training, but hey…it was fun), David cemented his role as boyfriend by asking me to ‘go steady’.  He liked his women strong, fierce and apparently, from the 50s.

Dating a beautiful man was new to me, I’ve typically been more attracted to skinny geeks than Greek gods, but I was smitten. As a historically successful dater of cyclists, I figured I had that part down pat, but nothing had prepared me for David’s level of 2 wheeled obsession. 

David didn’t have a job, (something that mystified me but was later explained as the US version of ‘landed gentry’), and therefore his entire life revolved around his amateur racing status. He rode. And rode. And rode. And recovered from riding. And rode some more. My role, as girlfriend, was to support these efforts including;

  • Coming over to his house to provide him with post ride massages (gladly done and armed with warm oil and camera…why?….are you kidding me?)
  • Ensuring his diet included the optimum balance of low GI, high protein, high energy grains and proteins (factoring in his Jewish aversion to all things non kosher, diary or anything with taste)
  • Joining him in nursing his single Monday evening beer (the reward for his 250 mile week), and a rehashing of his performance and bike stats
  • Standing on the sidelines of every local and regional racing event through the spring, summer and fall months to watch him fly by for a single second
  • Watching old VHS tapes of TdF, Giro and all one day classics from 1982-1998, complete with his assessment on team strategy, bike components and individual racer stats
  • Providing morale and physical support during race crashes, pulled muscles, snatched victories and slightly elevated temperatures

Why you might ask? What kind of idiot is such as doormat? Well I was 29 and obsessed by the sight of him naked, and yes, I did like cycling (plus I was getting to be a really good shot with his Ruger). David also spent his entire life on a bike or in bed, so it kind of was a win win for me..that is, until the day ‘it’ stopped working. Yes, the one downside of spending his days on a carbon seatpost, burning 10,000 calories at a time was a huge tailing off of desire and ability to… well.. exercise with me.

‘Yeah.. it sometimes happen mid season.. when I’m riding a lot’

‘for how long?’

‘oh.. the rest of the season’

‘which ends……?’

‘….in 3 months’

‘….!?’

‘.. but then its time for cyclecross so it doesn’t bother me…’

‘…@#$#%&**’

I can take obsessiveness, masochism, high maintenance diets and yes, even freezing my ovaries off on the sideline of the local crit in a snowstorm…but in the words of Meatloaf, ‘..but I won’t do that’.
Plus now I knew how to kill a man with a Bic, I was ready to get back on Match.com.

He’s not quite what he seemed in his profile

mole
The mole
I snagged my first Match.com date based on a slightly blurry photo of him and his chocolate Lab. Kneeling beside a smiling dog, the trail ablaze with autumn color, Mark looked my type- tall, skinny, dark haired and from what I could make out, big nosed. My Jewish man fetish doesn’t extend to tefilin or beards, but glasses and a big nose is a must. The invention and adoption of Lasik was a sad period in my life; the increasing absence of beau’s in glasses can only be mitigated by a working knowledge of Woody Allen comedies of the 70s and a full head of thick black hair. The photos were somewhat blurry, but Mark seemed to have the physical profile down. We exchanged winks, tentative emails and then discovered the immediate gratification of IM. Within a week I was excitedly pouring out my heart while I looked at photos, typing like a crazed person and sucking up every smart comment, every quip as fast as he laid them down. 
Finally I couldn’t take it any longer. Three weeks of intense emailing and IM had resulted in carpal tunnel in my wrist and a permanent state of arousal which nothing could curb. I had to see him, move past the smiley icons and suck him up for real. Since he didn’t seem to be pushing to break free of our online infatuation I asked, well begged, him to meet me more wine and ‘maybe more’. What can I say, I was out of practice and horny as hell.
 
I practically sprinted into the bar and spotted a tall, dark stranger sitting alone at a dim and intimate table with a bottle of wine and 2 glasses. It couldn’t be anyone else but him. I practically shouted ‘Hi Baby!!!!!’ and dodged chairs to get to our table. As I slide into my seat, my winning smile froze.
Have you ever seen a truly cross eyed person? Both eyes, completely detached from each other?
It’s truly quite alarming.
Eye #1 was completely at war with Eye #2. As Eye #1 swung wildly towards my ear, Eye #2 was off examining the wall art. I grabbed the bottle and poured a slug trying to generate an appropriate ‘non reaction’.
Looking up and asking him how his day was, I tried to follow Eye #1 thinking – ‘it’s looking in my approximate vicinity, maybe he’s actually looking right at me?’ But Eye #1 had other ideas and took off around the circumference of my head. Eye #2 meanwhile was fixed on my chest. Well that’s not unusual except it was getting really hard to decide where to look and frankly, I was starting to develop a bit of a headache, chasing his eyes around, trying to make contact.
As Mark started to regale me with a story about his drive, I decided to settle my gaze on his nose. Middle of the face, doesn’t move. And I do love myself a big nose. Only then did his true blessing become apparently. A mole. A mole to end all moles, sitting smack in the middle of his nose.

Wow, his karma really must have been shot in a previous life.

Mark’s mole had not 1 or 2 hairs, but a positive rainforest sprouting from its depths, (and there was texture to it – waffled and crustaceous this thing was more than three dimensional). I swear you could have found Jimmy Hoffa in that mole. It was mesmerizing. It was hideous. And I couldn’t look away.

As Mark continued to ramble (who knew a 25 minute drive would take 25 minutes to recount), I sipped my wine and took stock of the situation; 

On the ‘con’ side, he’s cross eyed – unfortunate and a little hard on the concentration – but not a killer.  His mole, while decidedly scary, is removable. On the ‘pro’ side, he is tall, he’s skinny and on the basis of our emails, he COULD be my destiny.
Maybe, because of his unfortunate physical ‘challenges’ Mark was an unpolished gem. Someone overlooked by shallow women that had recoiled from the moon pie on his nose or skittered away from his detached retinas. Maybe I would be the first to fall in love with his inner perfection. After all, someone who’s had to fight hard in life to be taken seriously, to be respected, has to have strength of character, a winning personality, the smarts to take him outside of the realm of the physical. He HAD to be the nicest person in the world. 
I’ve never drunk so much, so fast, in my life.
I figured that fortification would only help bring to light the delights of my new love. So he wasn’t perfect, but Mark GOT me, his intellectual sparring had kept me in front of my computer until 2am and we had so many things in common. Music, art, movies, eating out, dogs…

‘So Mark, I loved that photo of you and your lab on the trail. How old is he?’
‘Actually he’s not mine. I can’t remember his name. I was just looking after him for the weekend and I thought girls like dogs, so I had someone take a photo for my profile’
‘Oh… (pause).. But you like dogs?’
‘Not really, dogs are too much hassle. I prefer birds’
‘Oh.’
In his profile, Mark had mentioned his passion for remodeling and we’d chatted online about the pain of Home Depot runs on the weekend. The curse of shower curtain rings and grout. I knew we’d connected over our desire to make a home…
‘So how’s the remodel coming?’
‘Well my Dad is being a real pain about the new toilets’
‘Toilets? How many bathrooms are you remodeling?’
‘All of them. And with 24 units that 48 toilets’
‘Oh you didn’t mention that you owned an apartment block. I thought you were remodeling your house?’
‘No. Its actually my Dad’s apartment block on Martin Luther King Avenue. I’m actually kind of the caretaker/ maintenance guy’
‘Oh wow… that’s… cool. So you are helping him remodel the whole thing? What a project!’
‘Actually he’s letting me live in one of the apartments rent free while I help him out. Plus he paid my bail so I owe him’
‘Your…. bail??????’
Evidently, one little omission from Mark’s romantic history was his 7 year relationship with a married woman, Cheryl. Whose husband filed a restraining order to keep him away from his wife. An order that he later broke – on Cheryl’s request of course – that eventually resulted in him having to leave the state of Ohio.
Booted from a state? I thought that was only possible in Westerns and mafia movies. It turns out that if you are a person of such sterling character and reputation, and you piss off a judge enough times, you can be banished from bars, cities and yes, in rare cases, even states. It seemed that Mark was quite the overachiever.
I kept drinking. It was the only way to close my gaping mouth.
I was on a date with a man who was not only a felon, but a felon of such character that he was evicted from a state. A whole state! All of the Woody Allen movies in the world hadn’t prepared me with any retort for this scenario. So I drank. 
I drank through his work challenges, his financial woes, his troubled relationship with his mother, his love of online gaming and pro life protests. I learned about how his father abused him, kept him tied to the apartment building by limiting his salary and therefore his drinking. I learned about how, even after the restraining order and the eviction from Ohio, he still loved Cheryl and believed they’d be together one day. And I learned that online profiles and 950 emails tells you absolutely nothing about someone. And that fuzzy profile pictures have a lot to answer for. 
A bottle of wine only contains 750ml and I consumed 90% of them in 35 minutes. As Mark excused himself to the restroom, I excused myself by necking the remaining 10% of the bottle and calling for the check.  Paying before his return and bolting for the door, it was abundantly clear that dating wasn’t going to be as simple as I thought. And love wasn’t going to be knocking any time soon for either of us.

Who orders Vanilla pudding?

I’ve been having an existential conversation with a former first date. We met, we chatted on line, we chatted on the phone and then finally met in person. He was, perfectly, vanilla pudding. Tasty, warm and sweet, but not anything you’d ever order off the menu deliberately. I felt like a heel for sending him the rejection email, not least because I had no specific reason.
Sure I could Seinfeld him to death – who wears a tie on a date to a bistro? do guys still use gel? – but he was nice, he was polite, he listened and he even called to let me know he’d be a little late. So what gives? Isn’t this what me and all of my single friends are lamenting the lack of? Decent guys who have their shit together, who are open, communicative, interesting and fit?
True, on paper its perfect. But that’s all. Paper isn’t three dimensional and it doesn’t give you any sense of your non verbal chemistry or even just your ‘sense’ about someone.
I sat down and my first thought was ‘no’.. even though he wasn’t bad looking, obese or rude. There just wasn’t any chemistry.. it was like looking at my dentist or my realtor…a certainty that this man is never going to see me without my clothes on, and I sure don’t want to see him without his.  Strange because I pretty much couldn’t stop staring at my prior boyfriend when I first met him (and vice versa). He was like looking at a baked Alaska – huge, interesting and ‘on fire’. I couldn’t wait to dig in.

So I wrote the rejection email to my vanilla pudding and, surprisingly, got a response. He said that he’d received the email on multiple occasions and wanted to know if he was a dog in person or what was actually wrong with him that he kept getting this same response. I had to give it to the guy – ballsy. Maybe less vanilla and more ‘butterscotch’. But I still didn’t want him anywhere near me, clothed or otherwise. Which got me thinking, and let to our existential conversation – where does chemistry actually rank when you’re trying to find a mate? Since we’re both single and had chemistry with our prior partners, clearly chemistry means ‘jack’ at some point. So, he postulated, wouldn’t it be worth putting ‘chemistry’ away for a while until you actually got to know the person?
It does make sense. But I could get run over by a bus tomorrow and I wouldn’t want my last day to have been spent eating vanilla pudding. No, I want chocolate walnut ganache with flambeed cherries and mountains of whipped cream.
I mean, I met a guy in my parking lot yesterday and we had chemistry after chatting for 2 minutes. In an underground parking lot, in sweats, in the dark, talking about motorcycles. No match profile, no date, no ‘here’s my resume, aren’t I awesome?’ Nope. Not even showered and he may have been wearing jean shorts.
But he got my number.
Chemistry might not find the love of your life, but it whittles down the number of vanilla puddings anyone ever has to eat.

Movember hotness

Movember is upon us and anything that gets guys – willingly- to a doctor is a good thing. Movember raises awareness for prostate cancer, and mens health in general as guys grow mustaches through the month. Here’s my secret admission of shame.
I suddenly discovered that I kind of like them.
What used to be frighteningly creepy and downright disgusting is starting to look kind of sexy. In a retro 70s, hip hugging, cocky strut type of way.
So while I join in with my coworkers, mocking the latest version of ‘neighborhood pedophile’ from the guy across the office, I find myself having to look away from his face. What was once a lily white pubescent grin  is suddenly dangerous, wild, confident and unbelievably sexy. He looks so damn confident and sure of himself. Its unbelievably weird, and I secretly think I’m not alone.

(no, this is not my coworker… I wish)

After a lot of self analysis and questioning – REALLY?- I discovered its not the ‘stach’ that I love. Its the confidence I see in the guys who are sporting it. They know its ridiculous. They know they’re creepy and weird looking.. and because everyone is doing it, they know its ok, manly even. Rocking the ‘stach seems to imbue them with a self confidence that few display the other 364 days of the year, and despite shouts of horror from men and women alike, those who adopt the Movember mustache, really revel in their repellant facial hair. And gain a fan from this corner. Rock that ‘stache’  bad boy. Swivel those hips. Take me for a ride.
Beards however, still creep me out.

I found it!!! but do I trust it?


A few months back I found myself deep in an unexpected relationship. From nowhere it came, swept me off my feet, took off my boots and massaged by toes while calling me Queen Bee. I couldn’t help help but question – is it love? or  is it merely the mirrored reflection of one who has sought love so so long and who has simply found someone else equally open and ready to be loved? Are we both just in love with the idea of love? 
And yet I found myself at home with this person. Truly myself and yet, slightly awed that someone would find me awesome. He is – well he is everything. Complicated, passionate, scattered, focused, equally smart and simple, loving and yet sometimes strangely distant. He makes me laugh, he makes me feel loved, I like spending time with him, and yet I’m perfectly content to be alone without him.. secure in the knowledge that he’ll return. Is this really what I’ve been seeking and am shrinking in its recognition? It seems so, yet based on life’s trajectories I can’t help wrestle with whether its really real. Is it meaningful? Does it need to be? Can it grow to be? And yet and yet.. all this good can’t be true. It’s an embarrassment of riches. I kept asking myself -Is it real? Will it blow itself out? Will we – as we have both done in the past – fuck it up? If I were younger I wouldn’t know enough to question it – I’d be madly thinking of all that I needed to be in order to make him love me. What I needed to change. How I could inure myself to him. Instead I am just me. And he keeps returning with a smile in his eyes and a warm touch. Maybe it will be a passing fancy. Maybe it really is the one I’ve wondered about and every crappy Disney song warbled about. He talks about rings and marriage, being together and walking the next 40 together. He plans trips and schedules our Thanksgiving, our Christmas together. I meet the parents. So I can only go with it and try to protect my heart a little as history has taught me. If it blows itself out, I will just have the knowledge that  light really can reach places never previously lit. 
Three weeks later he stopped returning my calls and I’ve not heard from him since. Goes to show. At 40, you’re still 15.