Thursday, June 16, 2011


Obviously, someone has declared this the week of cyber incrimination.  It’s true! Over the past seven days, we were all inundated with tales of "abducted" bloggersbackfiring Facebook traps and yes… even Weiners.  In the face of all this stupidity, it’s difficult not to judge.  “How could she have fallen for that?” we wonder.  “How could he have been so dumb?” we ask.  “How can I be such a hypocrite?!” I quake.

For those of you playing catch-up, allow me to rewind.

On the last episode of “Alex is a Train-Wreck,” we bid farewell to a semi-beloved character---Mr. Wonderful.  Seemingly compatible he was, but ultimately on a much different track than your protagonist:  I asked him to slow down and he didn’t.  While he was anxious to speed the dating process (among other things), I was tapping the breaks.  Unfortunately, the result was a slight emotional collision. 

As I always do, I sat down to blog of my adventure; only this time, I was met with a very alarming comment:

You do realize that your date has probably Googled you by now and is reading all your blog posts, right?”

Naturally, this has been a concern from the beginning.  However I thought with the right amount of poise and tact, I could somehow express my sarcastic views without crushing anyone.




Yeah… you’re right:  Naive. 

By now, Nice Alex was paranoid with worry.  “What if this anonymous blogger is Mr. Wonderful himself---disapproving incognito?” Though it was unlikely, it was possible---and it paralyzed me with Single Girl Guilt.  “Oh no!” thought Nice Alex, “now what?”

This blog brings me (and hopefully you) so much pleasure.  While it seems to have opened a dialog for other cynical daters, it simultaneously allows me to selfishly connect my own dots.  However, I am now faced with a very serious question:  Can an earnest search for love ever be conducted in the public eye?  Or, like Congressman Weiner, will my “over-exposure” eventually lead to an impromptu resignation?

Plagued by these questions, I went upstate for a family gathering.   The festivities eventually led us to a rinky-dink bar for some live music and drinks.  As the cute bartender mixed my usual vodka cranberry, he struck up a friendly conversation.  We exchanged names and basic information.

“What did you study in school?” he asked.

“English and Mass Communications.”

“English and Mass Communications.” He repeated, trailing off.

“Yeah… I guess I wanted to be a writer or something,” I said smiling.

“How’s that working for you?”

“I’m in finance.” I chuckled, raising my glass.

Laughing with me, he asked “So do you write at all?”

I had a choice.  I could allow this cute bartender to think I was just a girl who drank vodka cranberries, and lived in Westchester, and visited my family upstate on weekends, and worked in finance, and who maybe once wrote poetry…


“Yes, actually---I write a blog.”

After explaining a little bit more, I rejoined my family for a couple tunes.  I left prematurely to get a little sleep; and when the cute bartender didn’t ask for my number, I knew---the blog was too threatening.  Though it pained me to consider it, perhaps The LABOR of LOVE would simply have to go.

You have one message

“Hey Sissy!  Just wanna make sure you’re okay, give us a call when you get home.  Also… after you left that bartender guy followed us into the parking lot and asked us to give you his number.  He’s kinda cute, Ali… just sayin’!  Alright talk to you soon!!”

And so… I write.


  1. Alex, don't stop writing your blog because your future dates might be reading it. It's too much fun to read. Think outside the box. Why don't you start another one? I'm sure all your loyal readers won't mind switching over. In the new blog make sure you're anonymous in regard to your real name. That way you can date AND give us the "love" scoop without the next potential Mr. Wonderful eavesdropping. Some of us will know who you are but your dates won't be able to google you and find this blog. Just don't friend them on Facebook. But be ready to face the fact that any man that you wind up falling in love with will probably come across your blog eventually. Never say anything about your dates that you wouldn't say to them in person and you should be OK.

  2. Alex, If "Mr. Wonderful" does decide to read your blog...he will see all of the things you didn't like about the others and then he won't make the same mistakes...then he truly may be Mr. Wonderful and you will have trained him well.

  3. "you will have trained him well"? OMG. That is wrong on so many different levels. Even if you were joking.

  4. We have a skiddish reader ladies and gents! Wait 'til he/she gets to the grape stomping post... :-/.

    You're right...'Train' is a strong term which often conjures images of tricks and doggie treats. However, I don't think it's "wrong" to use that word.

    Let's not forget how much social conditioning actually goes into a relationship. Men and women alike are "trained" to make their partners happy. When you think about it, what is a relationship but a prolonged moment filled with experimental actions and reactions?

    A silly [and potentially offensive] example:

    ACTION: Here are some flowers, darling.
    REACTION: Here are my panties, sweetheart.

    Which one is the doggie treat? Ha... you decide.

    Now... I sincerely worry that someone might be hurt or offended by what I write. But, sometimes I wish the men I date would write a blog. It could at least help clear up some of the mixed messages. You'd have to look at it very rationally to see it that way... but I think there might be an argument for it.

  5. Alex, too many times I see men being portrayed as idiots and sex fiends in sit-coms and in movies. Women often put them down when they get together and they laugh at men. Not all women do this of course but many do. And along these same lines of societal conditioning men have been "trained" to make self-deprecating remarks about themselves. I often hear males say something along these lines: "Today is our 20th wedding anniversary. I don't know how she put up with me all these years". Those types of remarks are both pervasive and perverse. You never hear a woman say anything like that about themselves. Woman are too busy "empowering" themselves. Or channeling their inner Oprah. Well maybe if they stopped "empowering" themselves long enough to just be who they really are we might all get along better.

    I didn't see the word "train" as one that conjured up visions of doggie treats or tricks. I simply saw it as a demeaning word in the context which it was used. It may have been an off handed remark or an attempt at humor. But it wasn't funny. You wouldn't find it funny if I jokingly told you to stop blogging and get in the kitchen to make my supper would you? Men will rise to the level of expectations women have of them. As long as we continue to kowtow to societal dating conditioning that is outdated, dis-empowering and demeaning we will labor with love.

    You wish the men you date would write a blog to clear up some mixed messages? That gives me an idea. Maybe you can write this blog or a different blog with a guy. Maybe in tandem with him. You blog, he responds. He blogs, you respond. Sort of like what I just did with you here. Hey wait....that gives me another idea! Maybe we can do it together. Wait....never mind. Bad idea. I don't know how you'd be able to put up with me. I guess I'll go watch sports and read a porn magazine. I wouldn't want to disappoint anyone.

  6. Dear Mr. Anonymous,

    Thank you for your comments. You're right about societal projections of gender roles---they're one-dimensional and unfair. Those same sitcoms you mentioned routinely portray women as either the nurturing housewife with all the answers -or- the slutty sex-object. Nothing in between.

    This sets up unrealistic gender roles on both sides of the sexual spectrum; and (as I've previously written) I am equally as frustrated by that.

    Getting back to the subject at hand---I honestly don't believe the comment in question was an expression of that gender bias. I write a blog about what I like and don't like in the dating arena. If someone were to benefit from that knowledge and apply it to a relationship with me, we'd all be winners. That's all that comment meant.

    That said...I find the idea of a joint-blog about gender roles fascinating. But I couldn't see writing it with someone who is so angry and biased himself. Using quotes around the word "empowering" for example is demeaning towards women.

    In regard to your "self-deprecating" argument, it is up to each individual to draw their own boundaries in a relationship. If a man decides to rise only to their partner's expectations... that's a shame. Maybe it's time for those men to "empower" themselves by having an honest conversation about how *they'd* like to be treated. A good, confident woman will listen... no matter how much "Family Matters" she's watched.

    I am not threatened by a strong, male voice---in fact I welcome the counter opinion...but let's keep it topic appropriate. This post was about my choice to publicly reflect on my love life. If you'd like to further debate the place of men and women in society, I'd be happy to continue in some other forum.

    - Alex

  7. I am not biased or angry. And putting quotes around the word empowering is not demeaning towards women. It was simply my knock on the current concept that women needs to be empowered more than men.

  8. You imply that "being who you really are" and "empowered" are mutually exclusive for women. You also publicly mock a rich, successful female and criticize women who aspire to be like her. Is that what you meant to say? Because sir... that's precisely what you wrote.

  9. When I say that women should be who they really are it is my take on how much women struggle needlessly to become what certain segments of society are now calling an "empowered woman". It's an overused and often abused phrase. All men, all women , all children need to be "empowered" as it were. It's just another way of saying we all need to grow as humans. I'll alert the media. This is breaking news.

    I said women are too busy channeling their inner Oprah. It's a magical leap of logic to infer that is mocking someone. I just don't believe woman need to be empowered nor do they need Oprah's help any more than a man does. At this point you are nitpicking and it's become more about semantics than basic ideas.

    I don't want to distract from your great blog. I just wanted to make a few comments and your responses left me feeling like you totally misunderstood them and I felt compelled to respond.

  10. The well adjusted man would not feel emasculated by a woman being empowered.

    I wish to know the age, and ethnicity of the gentleman writer. I ask this because you sound jaded, scorned or Italian (LOL).

    Tell us about your last date...I bet Oprah and I would have a lot to say!

    Not Anonymous Anna

  11. Anna, who said anything about feeling emasculated? I mean besides you. I've never had that feeling in my entire life.

    You want to know about my last date? That's strange? Why? You literally would not believe me if I told you the details about that night so I will not say. And it's irrelevant. Anecdotal stories or evidence do not help in this type of discussion. Suffice to say I am so NOT jaded that I went out that night with the type of girl I usual don't date. And I did so with high hopes of a good date.

    Since you seem so interested let me tell you a little about myself in regard to dating. On a date I am the most wonderful gentleman a woman would ever want to be with. And I have been told so many times. Scouts honor. I treat a woman like a lady. I adore woman. I honor them. I listen well and I talk often enough so that she can learn a little about me too. I am honest, sensitive and I am never looking to separate a woman from her panties on the first second or even the third date. Like Alex I want a serious commitment first. I am so NOT jaded that hope springs eternal for me on every date. I expect a great date to happen. I do my best to make it a great experience even if Cupid doesn't shoot any arrows that evening. Maybe I'll make a new friend at the very least.

    Alex thinks I am angry and biased. You think I sound jaded. I should be angry and jaded after some of my experiences but I am too patient, forgiving and optimistic. After one particularly optimistic sentiment expressed by moi my last girlfriend looked at me incredulously and asked (in total exasperation): "Are you always this optimistic?". Yep. I certainly am.

    I know my love is out there. And she is trying hard, so very hard, to reach me. I must not stop trying to reach her. For if I do she might grow weary and give up just before we were to meet! That's why I love reading about Alex and her dating experiences. She too is looking for her love. I can so relate.

    Anonymous Mr. Anonymous

  12. Mr. A,

    I thought so, you are a nice guy...Bravo!

    (Mrs) Anna

  13. Mr. Anonymous,

    I want you to know that I do hear you. As a writer and former English major, I have been taught to interpret sentences a number of different ways. As someone who is also interested in literary sexually overtones, my alarms went off when reading some of your points. If your comments were reviewed in a woman's lit class, you best be believing a hefty debate would occur; and novice or professional, we must all take responsibility for what we write. For this reason, I constantly and compulsively comb through my posts, searching for unintentional connotations to avoid just such a misunderstanding.

    That said, I think I understand what you were trying to say. While I still stand firm that your wording may straddle the line of insensitivity, I can now see that this probably does not reflect your views as a person. I apologize for implying otherwise.

    In your latter comments I can see that we are BOTH on a similar journey on which we're BOTH facing some frustrating social expectations; social expectations which generate inflamed, knee-jerk reactions to blog comments (and I'm not letting myself off the hook on that score either).


    Keep looking Mr. A. I'm pretty sure we're both going find what we're looking for.

  14. (JS)

    While I imagine that this it is unlikely to be avoidable by everyone who comments on this blog (only for the reason that I don't expect everyone to read this very comment), I feel that the word "train" is probably just a word that needs to be dropped from the blog. While Alex clearly can say whatever she chooses to and can express whatever she feels, and since she has explained what her definition of "train" is on multiple accounts, it is a word that often implies dominance of one sex over the other. Granted, I can't think of a word or term that would appropriately represent the meaning that "train" has taken, but there seems to be too much unnecessary controversy over the one word when it is not meant to be harmful. I also say that with myself having been offended before getting the correct explanation.

  15. Roget's

    Train...To impart knowledge or skill:coach, discipline,educate,instruct,school,teach,tutor.

    Strengthen, or condition.

    Whip...To punish with blows or lashes

    I would much rather be trained then whipped!