Tuesday, March 29, 2011


To satisfy a work requirement, I spent last week at a four-day, forty-five hour insurance class in the financial district. 

I can sense your jealousy from here, readers.

Though my week-long banishment would include a sterile, white classroom; a stuffy, monotone professor; and “fiduciaries” up my “unilaterals;” I was determined to embrace the positive.  In addition to my potential raise, perhaps this experience just might lead me to a handsome man in a nice suit.

Among the thirty-or-so people in my class, only one struck my fancy.  I first noticed his strong masculine face, followed by his athletic body, and finally his surprising grasp of the material.  Just when I was ready to issue this boy a “contract of adhesion,” I observed an unfortunate “pre-existing condition”:  A wedding ring. 

Oh well.  Mr. Marriage would have to remain a mystery to myself and the rest of my female classmates.

That was until the next day.  Mr. Marriage decided he would move up to be my desk buddy.  While this seemed normal enough, things took a creepy turn when he admitted to stealing my name off the class roster and Googling all of my YouTube videos.

Mr. Marriage:  “Bet you’re glad to get that test over with.”
Me:  “Oh yeah… it’s a weight off for sure.”
Mr. Marriage:  “Kind of like… that play you did in your underwear.
Me:  “…”

Even Nice Alex couldn't redeem this disturbing exchange.  As I backed away slowly, I had a thought:  People should need a license to date!

Take Guacamole Guy for example.  Had he taken a pre-licensing date class, he might’ve faired a little better on our outing last Thursday.  Sadly, he violated some serious regulations:

Faux pas #1:  Choice of Transportation

Maintaining multiple jobs is admirable.  However, when you’re a part-time dog walker (in addition to your burrito duties), it may put your date off to pick her up in a hair covered vehicle with the word “Scoops” sprawled across the passenger door.  Helpful hint:  if your car is somehow associated with animal excrement, it may be best to meet your date at the restaurant.

Faux pas #2:    The Dutch Treatment

Yes, women offer to split the tab.  However, we’re just being polite.  Gentlemen, when you hear the words “let’s split it” on a first date, that is your cue to smile and say “No no, I’ve got it.”

...Dating 101.

Faux Pas #3:  The Dutch Treatment (...continued)

When you consent to splitting the tab, it would be helpful to have some money on you.

If after you agree to pay for your share of the meal, you backtrack by saying “actually… would you mind…” stop right there.  Yes.  Yes, I do mind.  I ordered a Shirley Temple to be gentle your wallet, and now I have to put your $13 Margarita on my debit card? 

Not Good.

The tragedy is that sweet, funny guys are passed up every day just because they don’t know basic protocol.  And ladies, we’re not innocent either:  Bringing up past relationships, prematurely discussing serious commitment, leading with our insecurities as opposed to our strengths.  All these things will land us right by the phone with a chick-flick and a carton of Haagan Dazs every time.  

Wouldn't it be nice if we ALL had a text book to strategically, dispassionately tell us what to do?

Until such a resource arrives, readers… I press on.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


This past Thursday I arrived home from rehearsal and remembered--I should probably eat something.  I decided to set out for a veggie burger at my local tavern, but mid-walk [to my HORROR] I realized it was St. Patty’s Day.  “Oh no,” I thought!  All the local, single youths would surely be out and about, quaffed to the nines, getting hammered; while I [no make-up, in baggy sweatpants, beat-up sneakers, and a purple pajama top] slink out alone for a late night dinner.


I stopped dead in the middle of the side-walk.  Had anyone seen me?  Was there time to turn back?  Maybe I could run home, throw on my face and then go out.  Suddenly, my stomach growled angrily as if to say “I’m not waiting another hour while you make yourself beautiful, Alex.  Suck it up and get some friggin food!” 

I took a deep breath and decided to own it.  I was what I was, and it wasn’t so bad.

As expected the tavern was packed, so I kept walking to the burrito place on the corner.  Ordinarily, I’d allow my bare face to define me, shyly approaching the servers and avoiding eye contact.  But not tonight!  No, tonight I would march right up there, tighten the draw string on my sweat pants and say “One chipotle shrimp quesadilla, extra guacamole!”        

Guacamole Guy met my confident order with a smile.  “Coming right up!” he replied enthusiastically.

Much to my surprise, this confidence rouse was working.  In fact, Guacamole Guy actually engaged me in conversation while I awaited my food.  I soon learned that he had recently graduated from SUNY Purchase and was waiting to hear back from NYU regarding grad school admissions.  He seemed smart, funny, and oddly handsome—but I knew not to get my hopes up:  I was in sweat pants, and he was just being friendly.

Unfortunately, my suspicions were confirmed when he allowed me walk out without even the slightest come on.      

“Oh well,” I thought as I walked away.

Just then, over the sound of bag pipes and loud tavern patrons I heard a distinct “excuse me, miss” echoing from behind.  I turned around to see one of the servers, running after me. 

“Oh, I’m sorry, did I forget something?” I asked, double checking my purse.
“No, actually the cashier wanted you to have this.”  He handed me a napkin.  On it was Guacamole Guy’s number.  “Have a good night!”

Was this the luck of the Irish?  Had something magical occurred?  I looked down:  The same baggy sweatpants, the same beat up sneakers, the same purple pajama top.  No, I had not been transformed, this man was simply attracted to me—bare faced, poorly dressed me. 

...And this little scrub strutted confidently all the way home!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


If at first you don’t succeed---try not to binge drink. 

…I think that’s how it goes.

In any event, I seem to be sticking to this adage relatively well.  Though romance has thrown me a few curve balls [i.e. a Napoleonic blind date, a retired runner and an irrational fear of Starbucks], I’m still out there kissing frogs, readers.  I may be tiny, but my resilience stands tall!

I must admit, however, that I sometimes find myself blindsided by the unmistakable pangs of SGG. 

SGG (or Single Girl’s Guilt) refers to the feeling of shame a [non-bitchy] woman will experience after rejecting a man who’s competing for her affection.  She may also suffer a similar remorse when talking to multiple men at once, secretly hating her married friends, and/or thinking about sex.

Take Saturday night for example.  Even at the peak of my Marathon Man certainty, I still felt terrible when I received his “Good Night” text.  Suddenly, my brain rewound the memory of the night; calculating the amount of money that evening must cost this boy.  Our itinerary had to have set him back at least three digits, and he was still ready for more.

But despite the fact that we were in the preliminary dating round, he made the decision to plan an extravagant outing.  As evidenced by my last post, I had plenty of reasons to doubt our compatibility.  So the question remains---why do I feel bad?

Society seems to have set up certain dating rules for men and women. 

First date:  ‘drink.’  This is strategically designed by men to be laid back, casual, but most of all---cheap.  This way if there’s no spark, he’s only out the ten bucks it cost to purchase your fruity feminine libation. 

Second date:  ‘dinner/kiss.’  Congrats ladies, if you’ve made it this far, it means the man is willing to feed you; always a good sign.  But be careful---if you haven’t locked lips yet, he’s hoping your full tummy will render you smitten enough to throw him a bone.

Third date:  ‘Plans and…’ Someone somewhere designated this the date to cut loose.  Though three dates isn’t enough for me, it’s fairly well known by men and women alike that the third date is supposed to be somewhat intimate.  Date suggestions will often be ambiguous and open-ended.  Maybe he’ll want to cook for you and watch a movie… so long as it’s in close proximity to a bed.

So if a man deviates from the rules and pulls out all the stops on date one, it seems natural to suspect an ulterior motive.   Is it because he’s expecting more?  Is it because he really likes you?  Is it because he’s showing off?  Or is this all in our heads?  Maybe our own unfamiliarity with the process of courtship makes everything thoughtful seem difficult to believe.  But whatever it is, premature extravagance increases the guilt factor when the chemistry isn’t there.

SGG aside---it’s time to get back in the saddle and line up some more dates.  Don’t give up on me readers!

Sunday, March 13, 2011


When the 11:40 local train to Stamford jerked forward, the inertia sent me stumbling into a seated young man.
“Long night?” he asked, sensing my frustration.
“Yeah, a bit,” I chuckled.  “You?”
“Very” He said.  “What brings you to New York City?”
“A second date” I sighed as I searched for my Metro-North ticket.  The boy laughed.
“Will there be a third?”

There will not be a third.  And I’m very disappointed. 

As you may remember, Marathon Man’s debut showed great promise.  Though he left his 'macho' at home, I was still very excited to see what would come of our next date.

This evening, we planned to grab sushi at Nobu and see a jazz show at the famous Village Vanguard.  He claimed to have the night timed to perfection!  In fact, he texted several times to stress the importance of my punctuality.  So, as to not jeopardize our reservations, I got ready early and hopped the 5:54.

He was late.

Our greeting was awkward:  He came in for the big kiss and I offered my cheek instead.   Embarrassed, I fumbled for a smooth recovery.

“So where are we headed?” I asked.

He didn’t know.

Several moments later, we were still waiting for his tele-nav to kick in.  In the interest of time however, we eventually decided to cab it. 

We were finally Nobu-bound!  I just knew this date would improve once all the transit nonsense was behind us.

“Welcome to Nobu, do you have a reservation?”

We didn’t.

Luckily, we were able to get a table relatively quickly.  Okay, so here we go… cue the chemistry, right?

“So, what do you think of Jersey City?” he asked.
“Um, oh… I’ve never been there.”
“Yeah, but what do you THINK of it?” he asked again.
“Uhh, I… I really don’t know.”
“Because you know, people have some pre-conceived notions about Jersey City” he said, his face begging for a response. 
“…Well, I don’t.  I’m sure it’s nice.” I said, smiling.

I felt terrible.  I mean, this race had just started and already Marathon Man was losing steam.  Was I making him nervous?  What was going on here?  Nice Alex quickly appeared over my right shoulder and told me to try harder.

So for the next hour, I ignored his frequent watch glancing, laughed at his jokes, and pretended not to notice that he was repeating all the questions from date number one.  By the time we left for the Vanguard, I was exhausted!
“Sir, why didn’t you just take 7th?” asked Marathon Man with a twinge of condescension.
“How could we have taken 7th when it’s a one way going the wrong way??” the cabby shot back.
“It’s not a one way going the wrong way” he whispered to me.

It was.

But it didn't matter, we had arrived!  I was finally going to see a show at the Vanguard---the place where over 100 live albums had been recorded by such artists as Wynton Marsalis, John Coltrane, Dexter Gordon, Barbra Streisand, Brad Mehldau…etc.  Surely nothing could go wrong here, the sacred home of a musical genre we both claimed to love!

 “I’m so bored” he said, leaning in half-way through The Paul Motian Trio’s first set.


 “Wow,” my train buddy interjected. “That’s a bad date.”
 “I know,” I wept.  “And I had such high hopes!”

It was just then that I noticed this boy’s broad shoulders, his deep voice, his blue eyes, his law books, his sense of humor, his straight teeth…

“I’m Alex by the way.”
“Devon” he replied, shaking my hand.

And just before I could inquire further, it was my stop.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Plucked, concealed, lined, gelled, glossed, styled and approved by my gay husband, I left for Grand Central Station to meet Marathon Man.  I already knew I liked what the cross-country running investment banker had to say online, so now it was time to see if we had any chemistry in person. 

I was delighted to find he showed up(!), was slightly taller than me(!), and planned quite a lovely evening.  We were to start with drinks at Pegu Club, (a fabulous mixology lounge on West Houston); and continue onto a posh Asian speakeasy named Angel’s Share.  Tasty drinks, amazing food, and wonderful company---what more could a girl ask for?

Well… I’ll tell ya…

The first thing that struck me about Marathon Man was how young he looked.  His baby, shaved face combined with his slight stature and slender running body made him look all of seventeen.  This contributed to one experience that left me feeling like a “Daddy’s Girl” more than I ever have in my life.

The bar stool to my left seemed to be the drunk seat.  The first man who sat there actually fell asleep, covering the bar in his long Asian hair and drool.  He began to tilt in my direction like a chopped tree, but luckily I was saved… by the bartender.  Noticing the apparent intoxication of my woozy next-door neighbor, the servers propped him up and removed him before he could topple into me. 

Relieved that Drunky was gone, Marathon Man and I had a chuckle and continued on with our great conversation.  That was until a belligerent, incoherently mumbling man replaced him.

     “Is everyone in here just like me…” he slurred “Fuckin… white and Jewish?” It appeared the man was addressing this question to me, and he kept repeating himself until I answered.
     “Um… I don’t know sir.  I didn’t take inventory.”
     “Well maybe you fuckin’ should!” he shot back.  Suddenly, the sleepy Asian wasn’t looking so bad.

Surprised, I turned to face my date and… nothing!  No offer to switch seats, no male bravado, no instinct to protect whatsoever.  I slowly began to realize that though Marathon Man is wonderful, he could probably never protect me in a volatile situation.

Now---don’t get me wrong, I’m not writing this guy off.  But there’s a small part of me that wants someone broad-shouldered; someone take-charge; someone… well, like my Dad.

My Dad is the kind of man who leaps out of bed when he hears a noise in the house.  My Dad is the kind of man who would throw himself in front of a gigantic, drugged-up delinquent to keep him from coming onto our property.  My Dad is the kind of man who intervenes when he sees a drunk 42-year-old hitting on me at a party.  He is not the kind of man who would sit passively as an intoxicated patron cussed at me.

No, I did not want Marathon Man to get into a fight; and no, I did not want him to make a scene; but perhaps a small acknowledgement of what had transpired might have been nice.

Overall however, I’m nit-picking.  The date was [easily] the best I’ve had with an Internet prospect and I do plan on going to a jazz club with him next week.  We have a ton in common and I’m willing to see if more sparks fly next time around.

But one question still nags me...  Do all women want a broad, protective man who will make them feel as safe as their Daddies do?  And if so, will Marathon Man fit the bill?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


I recently received some hilarious advice from a dear, dear friend:
“Men are like fine wine: They start out as grapes; and it's our job [as women] to stomp them and keep them in the dark until they mature into something you'd have dinner with.”

For every woman who is giggling and nodding her head right now, let's break this down:  

Man (Raw vine fruit) + Woman (diligent grape stomper) = Relationship (sophisticated alcoholic beverage). 

Now, the desire to refine, elevate and motivate a man feels very [natural, nurturing, maternal, feminine… in short] right.  But does this equation really add up?  And if so, are some men simply “unstompable?”

Following your advice readers, I did decide to give Barista Boy a chance.  Through a few short conversations I learned that his true passion is graphic design.  As it turns out he works free-lance doing projects for local businesses while barista-ing on the side for some extra cash. 

“Once I have enough saved up” he said “I’m goin’ back to school so I can really do it full time…  By the way, here’s your latte.”

Okay, okay… so maybe there is something deeper beneath the green apron.  But before you toast romantic optimism [Seymour!], keep reading…

We arranged to meet for a late Friday night drink.  As planned, I called him to confirm the details once my dinner let out.  But shortly after sending me to voicemail, Barista Boy informed me (via text) that he was in Connecticut.  Why?  Because that’s where “his ride” wanted to go.      

Nice Alex:  “Oh, huh… that’s happened to me.  I mean… not since high-school, but I can see it.”
Cynical Alex:  “I’m sorry---does your friend have a gun to your head?  WTF?”
My actual reply:  “No biggie, it’s getting late anyway.  I’m sure we’ll talk soon.”

I suppose he took that literally, because the following Monday…

Thirteen text messages?!   

“When R U coming to get coffee?”
“I reallu wanted to do something with you, I just have dumb friends.”
“R U mad @ me?”
“Come in to Starbux… im hear rite now”
“U can call me if u want”

Etc, etc, etc.

Is it possible that this wayward grape has the potential to become a liquid delicacy?  Sure, it’s possible… but I fear that (much like the coffee he prepares) Barista Boy may need to be ground, not stomped.

On the other side of the coin---I’ve been conversing with a 25-year-old investment banker from New Jersey.  He has a full-time job and is also up-starting his own business.  He was a runner in college and is now training for his third marathon.  He loves old music, plays jazz guitar, and isn’t too rough on the eyes either. 

This is the closest I’ve come to butterflies, readers!  Assuming he shows up for our date and is everything he says he is---this could actually be quite promising.

-BUT- if a man is already wine---does this upset the equation?  Must I be able to refine, elevate and motivate a man for the relationship to work?  Or is it possible for two people to just fit effortlessly?

We’ll see…