The User’s Manual

I recently had a friend tell me it was too much asking a man over for chinese food and a basketball game.  Watching, not playing.  This is a guy, the intended victim not Dear Abbey, who I’ve known for 2 plus years, who we’ve played flirty, after drinking kissy stuff off and on for 2 years. This guy is who I go to the movies with, the occasional dinner, in short just pals with attraction. But the last time I saw him was hand holding and arms around each other so it sort-of, maybe, possibly shifted from just silly attraction to something sweet, and therefore, now, the invite for food and couch potatoing was too much.  And  then, this other guy, Ann Landers, said in the same breath, maybe you’re not emotionally available, putting yourself out there so a guy knows you’re interested.  Well which is it? Too much or not enough?  Threatening or cold? Coldly threatening? 

I’m totally lost.   I need a user’s manual and I think each guy should come with one. Just a piece of parchment taped to his chest or tattooed onto his back.  I used to work for a recreational industry (no, I wasn’t a hooker….the pay would have been better though) and you got always the same questions. “where you from”,  “where’ve you been…” etc. I thought I’d make up a tee-shirt with the 10 top answers and just wear it, and I think guys need to elucidate their 10 top issues and then just wear them; would save so much time.  Women, they would probably need a bigger shirt and use the front and the back and possibly need to continue onto their skirts, so I’m not sure that works both ways, but men – they are self admittedly – so simple.

Take for example the whole who’s paying thing.  It used to be so simple, men paid.  Was it fair? Well, back in the day when they made the salaries, yes it was. Then women had to come along and start to earn their own wages (albeit less pay for the same work, but let’s not go there right now) so the whole paying thing got murky. 

I base my observations below partly on a 60 year old, sexy Latino man who, in a woman’s seminar, said if a woman ever paid for the first meeting drink he’d assume she never wanted to see him again.  It just wasn’t done.  Except that it is.

I will, of course, provide examples:

I once met a guy, walked 2 blocks in a driving sleet, snowy, slush up to your ankles kind of day, for a drink.  At the end of  it we split the tab for the $5 happy hour martinis and as he got into his car parked right outside he waved goodbye as I walked into a slush puddle on my way home.  I thought, wow, in all that fascinating talk about how he trained his dog with a clicker, I must have said something offensive. (And I swear at the time I wasn’t making killing my dog jokes, for those of you who just said, ’Yeah I’ll bet’.) But no, he called a few days later to go out again. I mean a woman who pays her own way AND doesn’t mind soaking wet feet, she’s gotta be a keeper!

Or the guy who as he’s breaking up with you after2 drinks and 1 dinner date says, well you never offered to pay for dinner.  What? When you said, can I take you to dinner I didn’t realise that meant choking up 10$ for the chicken pad thai.  I gladly would but I thought you’d be put off.  Or if I’d have known you wanted me to pay I would have ordered something I really wanted instead of trying to be price-considerate. (Like ordering spaghetti when you’re eating with a stranger, ordering anything pricey has always been on my no-no list.) Where’s your shirt with the instructions on it?

Of course, there’s the flip side of that. I was once talking to a guy on the phone, meet and greet pre-lim, and he said, look after 3 dates I’ve paid for the information I want, who you are and if we click and then I want to know if we’re going to be compatible in bed, so if after that if you don’t want to sleep with me, that’s fine but those dates are on you.  I’ve paid for the information I want. 

What?

Really? Do you work for the CIA?

I guess you might as well put that out there on the first phone call and save yourself that $10 on some pad thai because if I’m going to be selling my “information” it’s going to be the tasting menu at Per Se, buck-o. 

The same goes for etiquette. I like when a man opens a door for me, or holds a chair or my coat.  I like that some men like to walk on the street side of the sidewalk.  It’s not necessary. We both know I can open my own door, but it’s a nice gesture and it makes them feel good so why would I not? I had to learn that about 2 years ago, so for you younger readers, trust me on this one. I don’t need a man to buckle my seatbelt, as one tried to, I mean I’m not a complete drooling child, but opening a door is nice.  (To clarify: He was European, I won’t mention the country because it would lead to unnecessary jokes and even he admitted that was probably over the top.)

The problem is some do, some don’t.  I went out with a guy for a while who always opened doors for me.  It was nice. I got used to it. Then I was out with someone else and I got to the door and just paused.  The guy nearly plowed into me from behind (because they like to walk behind not to be polite but so they can check out your behind, but ok, no system is perfect). So there I am standing at the door and feeling like a moron, but quickly recovered and opened it myself.  At least in a car you can let the guy get out first and then pretend to drop something (like your IQ) and if by the time you haven’t “picked it up” he hasn’t opened the door, you’re good to go without looking like a high maintenance moron. Or a girl who’s used to men opening doors for her.  Or making them feel like they’ve come up short on something.  Yes, that’s the best spin. You can just let yourself out without sitting there looking like my dog does when she sees you in the room but she’s behind her gate and is just waiting to be let out. At least when the door is sprung I don’t run around in circles excitedly and rub my face on the pavement (and what IS that all about with dogs?)

If anyone has any guidelines or owns a tee-shirt factory….call me.

And gentlemen, if your confused, so are we. General Tso’s chicken and the Knicks be damned.  

 

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Driving Like Crazy

I have a theory, well it’s not a theory it’s an observation.  Well it’s not really an observation it’s a parable, no that’s not it either.  It’s an analogy.  Yeah, that’s it, an analogy and it has to do with men.  I know, I know.  Look, have you seen the url? Get with it.

Without expounding on all aspects of my sex life, suffice to say I have been single for a while now and I date a lot and not every date ends up in the hay but once you’ve decided to date someone for a while, part of the process is finding out what your chemical compatibility is and I don’t mean H2O. Barring sending a canary into the coal mine (see prior entry) sometimes you have to actually put your toes in the water to feel the temperature and there’s no way to do that without getting water on your feet.

That’s not the analogy.  There’s more.

I have found in my travels – I decline to use the words sexual exploits, it’s tawdry – that one comes across different people with different tastes and styles and that’s all fine.  Here comes the analogy part.

All guys like cars. Some like them more and some like them less but I had a snazzy car once and even little 2 year old boys would stop and watch as I passed so one has to think that’s somehow genetically programmed although hard to say how since most genetic programs began in the cave man days, pre-Lexus shall we say, so I’m hard pressed to know how fast shiny objects got into their DNA because hunting a woolly mammoth is neither fast nor shiny, but as usual, I digress.

Back to the cars.  Men like them.  Some like jeeps and some like jaguars, some like low to the ground and some like fast, some like red, some like large engines but I think it’s safe to say most men like cars.

Now I’ll start with the men who don’t know how to drive cars. They never learned, they have no interest, they walk.  Walking is good exercise and for the purpose of this story, they do not exist. Only for this purpose.  Personally I love walkers, I think they should be able to marry.

Beyond them are guys who think they know how to drive but they are pushing the car from behind and it is rolling. They think this is driving.  It’s like watching small children who are ‘swimming’ by sort of crawling through the water, pulling their arms over their heads and landing their palms on the sand under the water and thinking you will not notice, scream “Look at me, I’m swimming” and you both know they are lying but in order not to break their little hearts you respond “Oh yes dear, that’s nice.” I think that’s enough said about that. The bright side is these guys are pushing it from behind and not pulling it up the hill, but that’s really taking lemons and making lemonade.  The unsweetened kind.

The next level up is guys who know how to drive cars.  You put in the key, you press the gas, it goes.  Once in a while you take it for a tune up, you throw around words like carburetor and spark plugs because you know them and you hope today’s cars still have those parts so you don’t sound like an idiot but those are pretty much safe words to use so that the mechanic thinks you know a little bit about what those parts do although both you and he know you don’t, but you both play the game.  The car runs. It’s functional; it gets you to where you want to go.  These men have been married to some poor woman who didn’t have a lot of driving experience herself and she thinks this guy knows how to drive because while the car goes forward it never revs but if you tell someone you’re revving the engine and they never heard one before they can believe it. They think, oh, that’s what revving the engine sounds like. Poor things. Just don’t let them watch NASCAR and you’re probably home free.

Then there are the guys who know the difference between the parts of the engine.  They actually understand how the car runs and they can drive a stick. Stick shift, that is. They can capably drive in traffic, weave in and out without you biting your nails or white knuckling the dashboard. These guys don’t speed and don’t get road rage but they’re competent and once in a while they rev the engine, by mistakenly hitting the gas a little too hard and everyone goes “whoa” and smiles a little, how’d THAT happen? This is most guys.

The next step up is guys who really get cars. They can really talk to the mechanic, know what the parts do and even can point them out under the hood, so long as there’s not a supercomputer sitting atop the whole thing.  Those kinds of brains can obfuscate the works. But this guy, he can weave in and out of traffic at high speeds. He knows when he is revving the engine and can do it pretty regularly at will. He makes your hair stand a little bit on end and yet you never really feel that he is reckless or dangerous although on occasion he does get pulled over for speeding. You remember what the love of driving is all about and even days when it’s just a normal car ride the pleasure of the simplicity is in itself a joy. You look forward to regularly driving with this guy because you get where you are going fast and in a fun fashion and after all, isn’t that what the joy of driving is all about? Percentage-wise I’m going to say this is about 8%.

Then there’s the one guy, and you only get one of these in a lifetime I’m pretty sure about that.  This guy was born driving. It’s in his blood. He doesn’t need to talk about the engine or even own a fancy car. He is one with the car. It purrs under his control. He can speed it up and bring it to the edge and then pull it back and speed it up again and pull it back again and you barely notice the ebb and flow on the speedometer but something inside you goes forward and backward and you don’t know where you’re going or how much time has passed but you never, I repeat NEVER want to leave that car. You just want to sail off into the sunset with that car.  He just smiles and says “yeah”.  Yeah.  This guy hasn’t even spoiled the other guys for you because you know only this guy knows how to drive like this. He belongs in the driver’s hall of fame and if you’re lucky you got to spend a few months out on the road with him.

Sigh.

Now most women are thinking I am not with the car pusher upper nor the guy who knows how to push the gas pedals. Most women think they are with the competent driver and most men think they are that guy or probably the guy who really gets cars. You can’t know because of a few variables. First is the passenger. You have to have a passenger who enjoys the ride you like to provide. A person who gets nervous when the car hits 65 in a 40 speed zone is not the right person for the guy who likes to push 70. That’s what the whole dating/mating/chemistry whatever thing is partly about.  But of course there are people who have never been in a car, or precious few, and really don’t know the difference. And driving is a funny thing. No one wants to tell someone they are a bad driver, back seat drivers get yelled at. Another variable of course is how you feel about the driver. Sometimes sitting back with the cruise control on and moseying about is just fine. You know what revving is but you adore the driver, the scenery is enough, the wind in your hair is nice, the sun on your skin. It’s all good. You forget you’re even in a car.  How great is that?

I like driving, I like men who drive. Driving skills can be taught and learned, passion though, while we all have it, needs to be found – you can’t learn it. It exists or not.  It’s a sense. It should be considered the 6th sense.

No moral , no parable.  End of story.

If It’s Yellow and It Tweets

You’re going to have to hang tight with me on this one for a while.

What I want to know is, how did anyone discover that invisible toxic gases kill a canary in a coal mine? I mean think about it.  Did a big burly coal guy say, I want to bring my pet canary to work with me today, he’s lonely at home.  And then after a few hours in the coal mine….oh shit!

Or did a canary think, where are all these people with lights between their eyes going? I should go check it out because maybe it’s somewhere cool…..oh shit!

Or did someone’s canary die too close to the family latrine and someone said, that’s interesting, I wonder what would happen if we put him in a coal mine….oh shit!

And even then.  Did one guy say, oh, the canary must have died from some invisible gas?  No.  First the canary went and then the guy next to him keeled over.  Was this a coincidence? I mean, I wouldn’t assume because there’s a dead bird that it’s related to the dead guy next to me. There are dead pigeons all over the city it doesn’t mean I expect I’m next.  Don’t you need some scientific testing, more than one example? So Joe brings his bird to work — dead — Tom thinks, I have a canary, I’ll bring HIM to work to cheer up Joe.   Oh shit.

I’m getting at this because I would like a canary.  I would like some sort of screaming life-or-death red flag that says…don’t go in this coal mine. Instead, in the ever so unscientific world of dating, you have to really go into the coal mine to see what gasses there are, and sometimes I mean that literally.  About the gasses that is. I mean there are certain indications I’ve learned or at least rules I’ve made up. a) If a man is a bad kisser, or lets say, more nicely, you’re incompatible kissing, then there’s no way he’s going to be good in bed, or more nicely, that you’re going to compatible in bed.  b) If a man is a good kisser there’s still a likelihood he’s going to be bad in bed, I’m going to skip the whole compatibility thing, but that’s no guarantee.  Still, the canary has a better chance of going home and having dinner that night, if we want to beat the analogy to death.  c) A man is a great kisser, and that’s a 2 way street for sure, then chances are no one will be chewing ice come the morning, at least not in an egregious fashion.

Chances are.

Chances.

For those of you who ever saw Sex in the City, there was an episode where Charlotte’s date is literally licking her face. She says, you’re a bad kisser. He’s shocked.  That was a one way street. It’s also a dead end street.  And I’ve been on that street. What do you do with that? You leave that canary at home because the only way off that road is, Oh shit.

I’ll recount a little story:

It was the eve of a holiday and we had been out before. A guy a little younger than me but nice and we hadn’t really did the whole making out thing on either date one or date 2 two but a little bit. But this was an eve holiday and the expectations were running high. Despite the choice of a bad movie and being late and then suggesting Shake Shack for dinner (that’s my equivalent of MacDonalds and I don’t care what anyone says) I still held out hope that the evening could be rescued because after all something about holidays makes normal people delusional.  So after a digestif of tea…sigh…it was sort of now or never as to where the rest of the evening would go.  That’s when I entered that cul-de-sac of kissing and the night came to an abrupt end.  Festivities or not.  It was too extreme. On the other side, I once kissed a guy, who leaned into me and then was closed-lip like an interrogated spy – before being “enhanced” – it was like making out with a wall.  A wall with a nose.  That was the other extreme.  That came to an abrupt end too.  Does this sound judgmental and ass-holian? Perhaps. I don’t go out with people who only speak Slavic either.  It’s a communication problem. Same thing.

So that’s the only canary one has and it is, at best, unscientific.  I didn’t used to listen to its song but over time it’s saved what I can only imagine are a whole lot of moments which end with “Oh shit.”

I’ve Never Run a Marathon

When did sex become a marathon? I don’t remember in my youth that it was an endurance exercise. Is this me getting old (yes) or is it guys with bigger head trips about ‘ending’ (yes) or is it the viagra at work and work and work (yes yes yes).

Now I take direction as well as the next person (lie) but I do try to please my partner and instruction is a useful thing, especially at the outset because let’s face it we all have our, “this works for me”, type things and how would someone know unless you tell them or you’ve been married for 20 years [and even then]. By the time you hit 50 your list is pretty well set and sometimes extremely long so it’s useful to all parties to just say what works and cut to the chase. Saves time and a lot of post coital ice chewing. I had a lover once taught me the value of that and I also had to learn when he said I need this, he meant NOW. It wasn’t like walking past a jewelry store and saying to someone, gosh I like rubies, in the hopes that they would store that information away and get you some in 3 months for Christmas. In sex it means “buy me those THIS VERY SECOND”. So ok, an old dog can learn new tricks and I’m all over that. So armed with that information it’s nice to – well you know – put your arm there, move your hand here, touch my …..well you get the idea. But after a solid 45 minutes of instruction because the viagra is preventing anything from really working, it gets a little, I don’t know, I hate to use the adjective ‘old’ here, but maybe a more apt word is, exhausting. Think a back seat driver on cocaine.

Sometimes, after a while, it’s, ok, are we done here yet? I will not only do and say anything you want I will pay you to finish off so I can go to sleep with a clear conscience and my parts still intact. Do you take credit cards?

I was recently with someone who was kind of in the hard to please category and at one point looked over onto the night table and on it there was a yellow iphone. I was thinking, is that my iphone? I have a yellow iphone. I think mine is downstairs. Could he also have a yellow iphone? What man has a yellow iphone? I mean I bought my yellow cover because it was the last one in the store – I wouldn’t have CHOSEN yellow. I have a white car for the same reason, although white is fine. But were there chances that he also took the last case from the store and it was yellow? I guess yellow gets picked last because really it’s kind of banana looking and who wants that? Sometimes you see those banana yellow cars go by and you think, boy that’s unfortunate. Did they win it on a game show? But what are the chances 2 iphones same garish color? Still, I’m pretty sure mine is downstairs.

Oh, I’m sorry, were you saying something? You want what? Are we not done here yet? How is that possible? Did you take a viagra and by the way, who thought purple was a good color for that? I guess the thought was one wouldn’t mix them up with something else because there probably aren’t too many antibiotics that are purple. Imagine, you think you’ve got a big night ahead and all you end up with is a very bacteria free system.
What? You need me to what? Again?

I think your phone is ringing. Or maybe my phone is ringing. Someone is dropping by. We should stop because someone is coming. No one in this room but, what do you say?

“Sticks & Stones May Break My Bones but Whips & Chains Excite Me..”

Ok so I had lunch with a terrorist today. I’m pretty sure that’s going to top the list
but of course I’ve said that before. He wasn’t a blow people up terrorist, he was on the wrong side of a political party in the wrong country terrorist, but still when you’re sitting across from someone and that comes out, it causes pause. Of course, that wasn’t the most shocking part of that date, because really….are you not keeping up with these blogs?

What was concerning was in an email just before meeting where he said, bring your whips
and chains you promised a fun date. I had promised a fun date, I’m pretty sure I hadn’t said anything about whips or chains. Now the reason this made my eyebrows go up and not the terrorist comment is while you never know when someone is kidding, you do have to run the odds. Email has a funny way of being wry and not wry and you have to use your powers of ESP and intuition and some other things the aliens who abducted you may have left behind to ascertain what’s what so it’s a fine line.

So the reason the whips comment made me pause is this: not the first time.

Someone had once sent me a profile she had seen for a guy who was into spanking but you had to bring your own brush. I found this curious. Not the spanking fetish, the equipment requirement. I mean, I’m a horse person, I have my own reins and saddle. I’m into golf, I have my own clubs. It seems if your fetish is spanking you would have your own plus a few to spare. Come on, $2.99 at Duane Reade! Is there some sanitary consideration I am missing? For instance, bring your own vibrator – that I understand. Does one need a special brush? I would guess using the same one on your hair as on your ….. well wherever, there might be an ick factor. But honestly I don’t know, it’s not my thing.

But I digress.

So I had once met a guy who was salt and pepper hair, a little extra weight, lived upstate in the country, was a crunchy granola type nice guy, mild mannered, belt a little too high on the pants. You get the idea. He was into S & M, kind of in a big time way. Parties with capes and masks and the obligatory whips and chains. You’d NEVER have guessed. At least I wouldn’t have (didn’t).

It reminded me of the first time I saw porn. Now I was no wilting wallflower, shocking I know, but I hadn’t see porn until I was about 25. I was living in Italy and the opportunity came up and I thought, sure, why not. Something new. The movie opened up with a long shot of a country scene, pastures, meadows, chirping birds and it narrows in towards a barn – you probably see where this is going but I had no idea – and then comes up on the barn, into the stables, onto a horse….let’s just say the horse wasn’t alone and he wasn’t with other horses and about 5 minutes later he was smoking a Gauloise….do you follow?

Well this guy was like this movie. A beautiful pastoral meadow and then bam….something more insidious in the barn. I don’t judge, if everyone’s consulting adults, that’s cool. Not my thiing but cool. He assured me he could do ‘vanilla sex’ also (so, let me see you’re calling the sex we haven’t even had yet, vanilla aka the most boring thing ever? How long is THAT
relationship going to last?)

So point being, the whips and chains comment, not taken from nowhere sets one a-
wondering. Turns out that part WAS a joke. The terrorist thing, not so much.

So back to lunch.

Then of course, there’s the who are you (I’m taking notes because google here I come as soon as I get home) and now that you’ve fessed up this thing to me are you going to see me again? Am I going to wake up with a Men In Black flashy thing in my face? (Oh….. wishful thinking that I only COULD erase half of what happens to me.) I mean he joked about the second date, on several occasions and even said, whether or not this works out I want to cook for you. (I mean if that’s not a basis for love I really don’t know what is.) But while I used to take men at their word that they had a good time and would call, I’ve learned that where this is concerned … Toto, we’re not in Kansas any more and this comes from experience, not self-doubt.

I once dated a guy, actually dated, (as in saw each other, called, texted, dinners) for a while, and we had plans to go to the US Open and the Monday before that have dinner, and a sexy night with candles and a bath, the whole shabbang. Sunday I emailed, so what
time tomorrow?

Nothing.

Monday, are we good for later?

Nothing.

I had a friend email his business requesting work (he had his own business).

Nothing.

So he became “my boyfriend who got hit by a bus.” Just vaporised. What else could possibly be the explanation?

From then on guys who I met, spoke to after, texted, emailed and then disappeared
became the B:HBAB Boyfriend: Hit by a bus. Pronouced: BeeHuhBob. It’s a new acronym. Feel free to use it.

So I liked this guy, Mr. Revolutionary. We even talked about people who said they
would call and didn’t. And we laughed about it. (Then I punched him in the mouth [go look up Woody Allen does the borscht belt] I didn’t really.) I emailed him, “that was fun, look
forward to seeing you again.”

Nothing. 

Sent him some business info we had discussed.

Nothing.

New acronym – B:TIP BeeTip. Boyfriend: Thrown in Prison. I hope he doesn’t make any whips and chains jokes in there.

[Teaser: I actually did have a boyfriend thrown in the clink, but he called. From prison. On Bubba’s phone … ah ..but that my friends..is another story for another day.]