Friday, December 26, 2008

Single for the holidays

I love the holidays….I love the songs, the food, the décor. I like being able to walk around in a Santa hat and shout out 'ho ho ho' with good reason. I like being naughy AND nice. I enjoy the bustle of holiday shopping, trying to pick out the perfect gift for the perfect person. This year however, I had many less presents to purchase. And it wasn’t because my family turned Grinch. It was because... this year I was single.

I have no idea how I managed to snare boyfriends all the prior holiday seasons past….but I always had someone to wrap for, someone to snuggle up to, someone who knew exactly how I liked my eggnog spiked….if you know what I mean.

Part of me found my brazen singleness liberating…why, I could kiss whomever I wanted….bring on the mistletoe! In fact I could walk around with a permanent mistletoe swig attached to the top of my head! Fa la la la la…….

But then I remembered…There weren’t many available kissing options where I was going for the holidays----I was going to a small town in the great arctic north….where the odds are good, but the goods are odd.

So instead of doing what most women do, and try to score a date before New Years, I decided stay single rather than getting cozy with a grizzled one tooth wonder. I would use the time to reflect on my many months of singledom, and take the lessons learned into the New Year……with hope and aspiration for a better dating future.

2008 Dating Lessons Learned
1. Datus Hiatus is overrated. It does sound really cool to say that you are PURPOSELY choosing not to date and er…uh…“work on things” but really….how much celibacy can one take? It’s a cop-out. We all know it. No one wants a hiatus. Not from sex anyway.

2. Be bold. From Brazil we learned that if we want it, we can have it. Rashly kissing men is the way of the future. Initiating the first move is not only warranted, it’s being asked for! Being afraid of rejection is soooo 2008….in 2009 it time to seize the bull by the horns. What do we have to lose?

3. Try not to drink too much on a first date.
Especially if you are like me and get chatty. Remember the escapade with Dr Love? Too many wines had me drunk driving him home…AFTER he heard my entire life saga complete with details from orchestra camp. There never was a second date.

4. Do not strive for stability at the expense of passion. You will undoubtedly get bored. Remember when Alexis was caught between two men, the stable planner and the crazy band boy? Well, let’s just say that stability is nice and all, but wears thin after missionary position #2,043. Get a guy to throw you up against a fence, please.

5. Learn to flirt. Don’t waste time on men you don’t like, but when a prince charming comes your way don’t stare at your toes. Look into his eyes. And wink. Or grab him. Whatever works.

And most importantly, when you know what you want go after it. Dec 31, 2008……find that someone you want to kiss. Kick off the new year right.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Bringing Brazil Bold to San Francisco

Coming back to San Francisco after being in the mecca of men was not easy.
And it wasn’t just the bronzed bodies that we missed….it was the brazen attitudes, the alpha male confidence, the apparent sexual desire, and the courage to do whatever it took to approach a woman. I don’t think I have uttered “damn, boy!” so many times.

Now, we have spoken about alpha males before. Yes they DO exist in San Francisco…but not only are they hard to some by, the few alluring ones are so focused on their own alpha male activities (corporate ladders and iron man titles) that we don’t see them out on the dance floor that often. In fact last time I went out on the SF dance floor I felt I had more balls than the entire male contingent.
Sadly, compared to Brazil, most of San Francisco’s male population is well…..just wimpy.

Luckily, I have a solution. What American men need to become bold is what Brazilian men are naturally equipped with….and no I don’t just mean an impressive banana hammock. What I mean is unbelievable confidence.

Yup, that’s right ladies…we need to do a little ego stoking. True, men do enjoy the hunt….but I think in this day and age they are so lost we need to give them a GPS, binoculars, and even some ammunition.

This means we must make the first move without um, making it look like we are making the first move. Tricky yes….but better than being stuck on the planet of wimps! Let’s transform them! Even if it means pushing a sock down their pants! Trust me, the world will be a much better place.

From Wimp To Alpha—Make the Man Bold Tactics:
Below are a few ideas….with a few options (SF bold or Brazil Bold). Choose the right method for the situation and man.

Touching:
As humans we are programmed to respond positively to touch. It makes us happy, hopeful, and yes, even horny.
San Francisco Bold: Graceful touches on the arm, the thigh, any body part while in a conversation gives a man the signal he needs to take things a step further.
Brazil Bold: Go beyond a simple pat and stroke his thigh….and the pair the stroke with a smile or a wink.

Phone numbers: Give it first. What do you have to lose? Men forget to ask half the time. (remember my highly unscientific poll from before?—75% of men are grateful when a woman leads the charge). Next time you chat up a hottie, don’t leave without providing him a way to connect with you.
San Francisco Bold: make sure to always have enough cards on hand to doll one out. Even the skinniest of clutches should have room for a couple.
Brazil Bold: Write your digits on his arm. Offer him a special “incentive” if he calls you the next day. Better yet tell him you will fast forward that incentive to tonight if he programs your number in his blackberry and makes a date on the spot.

Leading the charge: Grab his hand. Seriously. Take his hand and lead him somewhere….
San Francisco Bold: Lead him to a quieter place to talk. Then talk.
Brazil Bold: Lead him to a quieter place….then kiss him. Ask his name afterward. (If the kiss warrants it, that is). A free kiss—unless you have a harelip, what man would refuse that?

Wear less clothes: Duh-no wonder Brazilian men approach women so fervently—Brazilian women don’t wear much. Like a deer caught in headlights the man can’t look away. Unless you are in an office environment, if you’ve got it flaunt it.
San Francisco bold: Figure out what your best feature is (legs, breasts, waist, etc). Design your wardrobe to show this body part off EVERY time you go out on the town….this best feature will become emblazoned in the mind of men. They’ll dream about it at night, they’ll discuss it with their friends. They’ll have to get to know it better.
Brazil Bold: Show off every body part. Let your breasts rub up against the chest of the man you are talking to. Bat your eyes frequently. Make excuses to bend over. Make the men crazy until they HAVE to make a move or they’ll split their pants. As Marvio (a very alpha Brazilian) told me….”Women are ruled by their heart, men by the dicks. If you want to control a man, learn how to manipulate that thing in his pants.”

Now to put my money where my mouth is….off to enjoy the weekend and attempt to Brazilify my town.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Pursuit of Passion: Bold in Brazil


In efforts to shred all hesitation and be bold, Mazz and I skipped the usual turkey dinner and headed south. South America that is.

As we boarded the plane we stripped ourselves of prudish thoughts, work anxiety, American mores, and anything thing else that would hinder us in our hedonistic quest. We were going to Brazil and we were going to embrace oily tanners (risking skin cancer), thong bikinis (risking exposed cellulite), samba steps (risking humiliation) and a new-found lust for life.

Thong bikinis on overweight men are indeed noteworthy, but the thing that amazes me the most about Brazil is the smiles. Everyone is ecstatic to be alive...from the children playing soccer in the favela streets, to the 90 year old wrinkly grandmothers dancing samba, to the Brazilian models strutting their stuff down the sandy boardwalk. No one there worries about work deadlines, the economy or if their next date makes proper dinner reservations.

I realized the main reason behind the smiles…..sex. Sex and lots of it. No one waits until the third date here…oh no, they don’t even wait until they know your name. In fact, names are not really important at all.....

Getting to "know one another"


In brazil the process is beautifully simple. You walk across a dance floor in a club and two strong hands grab your waist from behind. You flip around and there before you know it, you are given the "Brazilian handshake," the typical male-female greeting of a tongue heartily thrust down your throat. Well hello there, mister. After a quick “is he is hot enough" check, you handshake him back. Depending on the handshake initiation angle, sometimes it is impossible to really see their face. Therefore many times a friend must be recruited to give you a hand signal indicating if you should go in or not. For Mazz and I, pulling the ear meant "oh yes, baby" and touching the nose meant "get the hell away from that dwarf."

If you are lucky and landed a hot one, after a dance or two you are thrown up against the club wall for the next step in "getting to know one another." Within one hour, you are asked if you want to go ‘down by the lake,’ code word for make dirty jungle love in the backseat of a tiny Fiat with no power steering. Sadly, Mazz and I have lived in the U.S. for too long. Going "Fiat" just wasn’t going to happen.

I tried to explain this to my stallion-like suitor. “But I do not understand you Americans," he said in his meshed Portuguese-Spanglish. “Us beautiful. Sex beautiful. Feels good. What’s the problem?”

What WAS the problem? Why can we be make-out whores but refuse to go much further?

In the age of condoms, birth control, and dental dams, what was stopping us? Do numbers on the bed posts really mean that much? Are we afraid of falling in love with our one night encounter? Or are we basically OCD with cleanliness?

Pushed up against a wall, Georgi and I were enjoying the Brazilian process for getting to know one another. As a hand crept up my skirt I was infused with passion and wildness…..but as the hand crept further up I couldn’t stop the American mind. "Where else has his hand been tonight?” “How many hoos has the hand ‘hooed’?” “Has he even washed it?” Dear lord where was the Purell when you needed it?

I had to escape….. I hastily gave out an illegible phone number and headed to the bar destined for vodka. Mazz was talking to an attractive stranger and all of a sudden captured in a mouth cleaning embrace (the Brazilians are not shy kissers). Ho hum….what should I do…I scanned the crowd not wanting to be left out. EVERYONE was making out! Seriously once the clock strikes 2:00 a.m. the entire dance floor is paired off. Thankfully a solo attractive approached me—the brother of Mazz’s new friend. And there we go: round two make out for the evening. It’s a stay-put lip gloss paradise. But once again unwilling to "Fiat," Mazz and I headed home….amazed at how much fun kissing was. We decided: we are bringing back making out to San Francisco! Full-on tongue at the local dance floor.

The next day Georgi called me asking me if I wanted to hang out again and perhaps resume our "getting to you know you." However, kissing Georgi seemed like ages ago…..and why commit to one when I was in hot surfer paradise? Time for another evening of boldness….

Friday, November 14, 2008

BE BOLD

Bold is the new black. It’s time to stop caring, take risks, and do whatever the hell feels right in the moment. Dating books are going in the trash, friends' advice on mute. For once let’s stop listening to our heart (too hurt from the past), our brain (far too analytical), and heed our gut.
Before, we worried so much about our flirting techniques we became paralyzed. We refused to look men in the eyes and stammered in conversation making sexual innuendos come across as knock-knock jokes. Our cool and “easy breezy” emails took four hours to compose (at least mine did). We over-thought the perfect balance of passion and stability and let ourselves become confused, wracked with indecision over what it was we really wanted. There. In the moment. We nervously wrought our hands as a man leaned in for a kiss, wondering how soft or how aggressive to be….or minds raced with “is he the one” “Is my lipstick rubbing off” and “what the hell does he think that tongue maneuver is” while we lost our sense of spontaneity and any essence of seduction.

Thinking too much is a bad thing. In our 20s we leapt into action and embraced NOT thinking. Drugged on cheap beers and youth we let guys sweep us off our feet with a mere accent or wink. I remember a younger me when my Spanish lover, Javier, and I rode up the elevator in an old building after a date. Javier suddenly stopped the elevator mid floor and asked me if I had ever made love in one. I said “Uh no…” He then asked “Pues, quieres ahora…Well do you want to now?” Ahh yes, back then romance moved too quickly for any second guessing. What are we so fearful of now? My friends and I decided to forget the past haunts and live life like we were 22 again. Bold and sinfully beautiful.

Tuesday night: Alexis, feeling too peppy to head home after a work cocktail hour, decides to step into a local brasserie for a nightcap. Yes, solo. It was filled with men. At first she wonders if she just should give up, go home and watch a Lifetime movie. But daring to be bold, walks up the bar and orders something dark red. She introduces herself to all the men, heartily shaking their hands and instantly becomes their best friend. All of a sudden the brasserie announces it was hosting the Top Chef Challenge. Alexis had managed to gracefully walk into one of the best culinary events of the year. Free chef-prepared concoctions for everyone! Alexis meets the men behind the masterpiece and dances on the tables with a plate of fois grois and her new friends. She left the brasserie 7 business cards lighter.

Wednesday night: Holly heads out on a date with a boring banker she is decidedly uninterested in. But inspired by a wave of boldness, she decides to change the course of the evening. Instead of making small talk about stock portfolios, she doubled the martini order and asked her date to dance. To Snoop Dog. She reports later, “I have no idea if I even like this guy but when the smooch time came I went into full force.” She certainly liked him après kiss. Apparently the boring banker was a rockstar with his lips. Who knew?


Thursday Night:
Mazz's friend TK, on a flight from NYC to the midwest, engineered a more demure version of the mile-high manuever. As she was boarding the plane she noticed the young, handsome pilot. After a quick wedding ring scan (none, check), she strategized her move. The drink cart came by and TK tentatively held out her business card and asked the flight attendant if the pilot was single. "Jimmy?!?! I'll find out!" The attendant grabbed the business card, abandoned the cart and raced up to the phone to communicate with the cockpit. Just as TK was regretting her move the cockpit door swung open and the flight attendant rushed back with a note: 'Drink after we land?' A few cocktails later she and Jimmy officially became members of the "club." Well... if the Red airport lounge bathroom counts.

And what have I done, you may ask? Well, datus hiatus is dead, and I decided that since I am miserable at flirting (see prior posts) I’ll just skip that step. Tuesday: After chatting up an English man in a bar I realize I must leave for a dinner engagement. I give him my card and ask if we can ‘continue later.’ We are ‘continuing’ tomorrow. Wednesday: Out with an old friend for 1 am commissary cocktails he asks to kiss me. What the hell, I think. The whole friends-can’t-kiss rule is stupid. Thursday: Inspired by that logic I accept a dinner invitation by another friend (of a friend). Going in with no expectations or thoughts beyond the menu, I ended up having a wonderful time. Friends ask me if I worry about the friend dynamic and the 'group' and what will this mean. Why does everything have to ‘mean’ something besides the moment it is in? And yes, I know the cleverly named rule ‘don’t shit in the pool’, but hell, life is short. Keeping things clean, ironed and separated is boring. Time to get a little messy.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Knowing What to Do and When to Judge

I know when you are cozily settled into a relationship like a down comforter it’s easy to judge the frenzied singles around you. Why watch train wreck reality TV when you have single 30 something girlfriends? Instead of letting ‘Rock of Love' make you feel better about your life, just let us. Our drunken standups, our midnight maulings, our infamous “yes-no” dances to men that are blatantly wrong for us…..ahhh yes…..isn’t it all entertaining?

Laugh with us, advise with us, but please hold the judgment.

I have been accused of not giving guys enough of a chance. Mazz gets directed to give guys LESS of a chance. And Alexis is told she is discriminatory because she turned down a paraplegic.

C’mon people. It’s hard to figure out what the best course of action is. Give too much of a chance and you risk ending up in a long term dead end relationship. (i.e. the relationship with a truly ‘nice guy’ that you can’t have sex with unless you pretend he is Peirce Bronson). Give too little and you may too quickly neglect a potential diamond in the rough (i.e. sometimes all it takes is a new haircut!).

How much of a chance do you give? When do you really know?


In these delicate situations each woman needs to decide the best course of action for herself. I know one woman, Louisa, who told me that she seriously knows in two dates. Another friend of mine needs to give it two months. Men reveal themselves differently and women decide things differently. I, myself, have been rather impulsive and once moved to Europe for a man I knew for mere weeks. Was this stupid? Perhaps, but I certainly learned a lot from it (including a new language).

Deciding how traditional to be is also a personal choice without a right answer. My (lovely old fashioned) brother tells me to let the man make the first move on all occasions. One of my ('new' fashioned) gay friends thinks I should walk on over to a cute guy at a bar and give him a hearty crotch grab to indicate my love. I think letting things unfold naturally and traditionally is nice but I also think you have to give it a kickstart every once and a while and take risks. Crotch grab or maybe even a wink? In a totally unscientific poll we have found that for every time a woman initiates giving a man her number at least 50% results in a date. (less if number was given out while shooting tequila). In another very unscientific poll I asked my guy friends if they would appreciate it if a girl kickstarted the phone number game. It was about 75% and one guy even said ‘sometimes I just forget to ask and kick myself later.”

So coupled women…don’t judge us…let us be! I run marathons---I’ll probably never fall for a chain smokin’ guy who flunked gum class. And single gals…..get out there and start playing around with your own rules and kickstart a thing or two. Nothing ventured nothing gained....especially when no one is judging!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Keepin' it Casual

In the age where we video conference to avoid having to go to the office early and navigate driving directions on our small iPhone screen because we can't handle printing (it's sooo 2002), why would dating be any less lazy? Why would we ever think of making an extra effort to communicate with one another? Men have been known throughout history to do the bare minimum it takes to generate a positive response. And now with technology on their side they are doing less and less when it comes to pursuing a woman. When was the last time you had a moonlit serenade at your window? I see. Now, when was the last time you had an entire relationship based on text messages?

Yes, yes, so called technological "advances" are really setbacks when it comes to communication. It has sadly become socially acceptable to avoid any sense of personal connection and use only the short cut keys when engaging with one another.
For example, the old date necessity, the phone call, is dead. It has been replaced with texting, emails, and Facebook wall comments. And if you are so lucky as to recieve a bonafide email to your personal account (i.e., NOT a message on a social networking site saying "hot outfit"), it is likely less than one paragraph. I have not had a proper letter since my college boyfriend wrote me from overseas. Internet cafes hadn't quite made it yet.

COPY PASTE ME

In my short stint of internet dating I realized that many emails men sent me were form letters. Yes...men would actually write a generic email saying something like "you seem great, nice smile" and blast it out to a hundred women. Is it really that difficult to actually read a profile and comment on something you find intriguing? Apparently. Copy paste mentality goes beyond cyber dating. When men find a formula that works they seem to use it again and again. Says B, a male friend of mine, "I always take my first dates to the same place. The last thing I want to do is think about something special..."

But isn't thinking about something special half the fun?

FACEBOOK MY DATE

I have been asked out a few times on Facebook. No, not by those random Italian men in Speedos with small dogs who request to be my "friend" but rather by new confirmed "friends." When a guy likes you apparently it is easier to add you as a Facebook friend than ask for your phone number. Once you are confirmed "friends" he will then comment on some of your profile pictures before sending you a message like "we should hang out sometime." This Facebook banter will occur for a few weeks before an actual date is decided upon.


TEXT SEX


The last date I had (last night actually, but the whiskey-driven topic is for another blog post) was preempted by TWO WEEKS of texting. There was never a phone call or email between us.

Now, texting does have its upside:
-Messages are clear and concise as you only have 160 characters.
-You can text from any scenario, even from the bathroom while on another date.

But the pros stop there. It took 300 messages to actually agree upon a venue and time. Potential humor was lost in desperation to fit in wit with my 160 character limit. In addition I felt unimportant. Shouldn’t a date require more effort that "lol" (laughing out loud), nagi (not a good idea) and wtfait (why the fuck am I texting). A text makes everything seem so casual and in turn, unromantic. Flirting by text can work….but also easily backfire. I once sent a spicy sexual innuendo to my then boyfriend. Or so I thought. Texting (albeit carelessly) makes it easy to accidentally type in the wrong address. Like many, I have too many names in my phone and boyfriend B got mixed up with boss B. There was no more text sex after that.

Ahhh...communication. What I would give for an old fashioned love letter. But for now I must go—my message light on my Blackberry is blinking.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Filling the Pipeline

When I first started my "datus hiatus" I felt powerful. I felt I was in control of my happiness. Celibacy was a comfortable state of being. After all, in a pinch a sit-up or two will work to satisfy those uh...urges... Being standoffish and date free was almost fun...

Well, that "comfortable, fun" feeling has ended. My external body may be strong from yoga but my internals feel the tumbleweeds blowing around. Sit-ups or a sad quivering piece of rubber/plastic just won't cut it anymore. And instead spending Saturday nights sorting through my moldy chevre selection while reading 'overcoming overeating' or 'why being alone is powerful,' I would give my left kneecap AND a case of cherished vino to have a engaging dinner date with someone who, well, I found engaging. My socks want to be knocked off, and perhaps even my pants too! Enough failures--it's time to seriously tackle the pipeline.

Easier said than done. In some cities filling the man pipeline with decent specimens is easy for marathon-running, Manolo-savvy, and wine-literate gals like my female entourage. Not the case in San Francisco. Not only do most men stubbornly insist on staying in one of three categories: sensitive ponytail birkenstock man, overly-conceited triathlete guy, or gay (hey, love you guys but a girl needs some action!), but we seem to also mess up when the few good ones appear.

Task Number 1-Finding the good one. (you know, the straddle-worthy pipeline filler)
Task Number 2-Reeling him in (i.e., flirting: ensuring your cold shoulder bitch or dwarf lover tendencies don't scare him off)


Situation A: Task 1- Successful. Task 2- A bust.
Last week after deciding to have just "one more" glass of wine at a posh neighborhood bar, Alexis and I spotted a hot stranger sitting by himself. The 'stranger alone at a upscale bar' find! Woo hoo! "One more glass" turned into oh..."twelve more" as we delightedly made it our mission to keep the man company. However, much to my dismay, the wine took over my brain and I once again found myself overly chatty and talking Mr. Hot Man's ear off about orchestra camp and the desperate plight of 30 year old women in San Francisco. Alexis, alarmed even through her wine haze, hit me a few times on my left arm to make me realize I should stop talking. Now. Ouch. Getting hit by a martial arts black belt isn't fun. Mazz later heard the tale and told me that I am no longer allowed alcohol on first dates or first man encounters.....but I am sorry...how do you meet a man without alcohol?


Sitation B: Task 1- A failure, Task 2-Passed but wish it didn't
I decided to listen to Mazz and agreed that my next date would be tea after a hatha yoga class. Mr. Earthy (AKA 'Mr. I'm OK with no alcohol as I am on a cleanse') and I chatted about vegetarianism and politics and hiking. Interesting but *yawn* no sex appeal. Well for me. Oddly, this man seemed to have fallen in love with my random spouting off. I actually got propositioned for marriage. Truth be told, he needed to extend his visa to stay in the country. But he also wanted to see me every day for the next week. Yikes. I'm back to alcohol...at least it eases the pain.

So how do we execute both tasks....and remain (relatively) sober?

Besides that shady match.com site, where can we meet wonderful men that are educated, aren't afraid of alcohol (or afraid of me with alcohol), and like to hike, bike and paint? And then how do we reel them in?

A few ideas Alexis, Mazz and I are going to try out:

1. College sports game venues: Alcohol lovin' real guys that eat meat. Who cares which team they root for! We will wow them with our cheerleading abilities.
2. Art openings: The sophisticated intellectual or the poser who at least likes to look sophisticated and intellectual...we will brush up on the artists beforehand as to come across "learned."
3. Mingling at Whole Foods: At 'Whole Paycheck' you will find a man with a wallet who is produce savvy....I'll offer to help him pick out the 'ripe ones.'
4. This year's Halloween party: The only time when looking as slutty as possible works in our favor.
5. The line to vote at the polls: He must be politically savvy to understand all of SF's propositions...and I intend to ask everyone in line about them.

Once again I'll be practicing flirting. It's no longer a side hobby, it's a necessity for survival.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Flirting Take Two: Flirting Without Mauling

There is a fine line between acting unattainably mysterious and flirtatious. Apparently there is also a fine line between letting a man know you are interested (i.e. flirting) and flat out mauling him.
For some reason I have no idea where any of these lines are and just seem to make mistake after mistake. On my attempts to be flirty I have tried out different maneuvers and lines with new men. Sadly, they either come out 1)too standoffish or 2)freakishly stalker-like (alas my attempts to overcompensate for my "cold shoulder bitch" syndrome is not working). Below I have recreated snippets of conversations that detail both my pathetic attempts at wit as well as the lines I should have said. (you know the ones I think of the next day while in the shower). Read on and learn from my mistakes.

Topic #1: Hobbies

For some reason my hobby of writing has come up numerous times (second to the fact I played the cello in orchestra camp). However, I am unable to present this hobby well.

Unattainable: “Oh writing? Well, currently I write a dating blog that discusses how random ALL my dates are. Will you be featured on it? Perhaps….but there are just so MANY to write about.”
Plain Mauling: “I wrote a poem about you last night. I rhymed your last name with the Algerian term for love.”
Flirtatious would have been: ‘Yes, I do write on the side….maybe someday I’ll write about you. “(wink, wink).

Topic #2: Sports
Another topic that has come up is athletic hobbies. We all love our exercise...some more than others.

Unattainable: “I thoroughly love the San Francisco tendency to get into triathlons…in fact I know a lot of men that have done an iron man. Plain biking just seems wimpy now, doesn’t it? “
Plain Mauling: “I had a dream that we were on the same relay team for the Wildflower triathlon together. We had matching outfits……” (go into dream details…..)
Flirtatious would have been: “You like to bike? Well you DO seem fit….I bet you could do an iron man if you wanted!” (light touch on bicep)

Topic #3: Wine

And lastly the wonderful topic of wine…for no conversation in San Francisco would be complete without it.

Unattainable: (after going to bar solo) “ Ok—I have two glasses of wine for us…one a Syrah and one a Zin. If you guess which is which you get 10 points. If not….well….hmmmm….”
Plain Mauling: “Oh I’d love a second pour…..but I seem to have a low tolerance these days and may grope you if I have another….so in that case…..” (odd laugh)
Flirtatious would have been: “I adore deep seductive reds. Why don’t you pick out a good one for us?”

As indicated the “flirtatious would have been” lines were concocted in my head the next day. In real life, I either uttered the unattainable ones or the mauling ones or some terrible combination of both. It’s a mystery why I do this. When I leave the house in pearls and heels to meet my date I FEEL mysterious. I feel sexy. Then upon enterting the date venue, my confidence runs away (to the chocolate store for safety, no doubt) and I am left alone and helpless to utter ridiculous things.

How do we combat this? How do we become more appealing? Do we downplay our talents? Do we need to up play theirs? Or do we just need to make more seductive sighs and arm touches? And most importantly how do we gain the COURAGE to do all this? Is flirting really a confidence play or an art form? I think I know what flirting is when I see it, but I cannot seem to do it myself. For some reason I freeze up and cannot so much as touch the outer sleeve of a man's jacket to save my life. It is likely due to a fear of intimacy, the fact that my confidence is at the chocolate store, and my plain retarded-ness in speaking to another human being. No longer am I Juliet, who with “any other name would remain just as sweet.” Sadly no, I have transformed into the female Steve Erkle.

But practice makes perfect…..I have just ordered some dating books for outside help on the matter. Stay tuned for their learnings and more attempts to be coy and alluring. Of course, dear readers, any tips are welcome on the comment form here too!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

In the Waiting Room, Learning to Flirt

So... it's been three days since my first date w/ 'Dr. Luv.' AKA- the date gone awry. Awry aside, by now I still would have expected the usual invite for the second date, so I was becoming a bit unnerved after three days of radio silence. I debated my potential courses of action.

1. I could send a nice message with a thank you for the evening.
2. I could expand upon the thank you with explanations of why my friend Eva randomly appeared there and why I felt compelled to overdose on vino and stories about my childhood trips to Orchestra Camp.
3. I could do nothing…following the guidance of the bible “He’s just not that into you.”


I decided upon course of action number three. Mainly because this poor man is likely scared of me. But also because as is typical with most men, I am not really into them unless it is safely apparent that they are not into me…so even if option one or two provided a decent response I would likely find a way to self sabotage again. And with my current work schedule a second date wouldn’t be able to happen for another two weeks anyway. Sigh.

On Friday night my group male and female friends ordered a round of $2 beers and discussed why women self sabotage and the various self sabotage types:

The Cold Shoulder Bitch
This woman uses the cold shoulder as a defense mechanism. Even if she has been pining away for a man, reading Pablo Neruda poetry for months in his honor, she will appear about as interested in him as a girl in a orthopedic shoe store. God forbid he ever have the slightest clue that she may fancy him for more than a doormat. The cold shoulder bitch NEVER initiates conversation. But once in one, she may even go so far as to disdainfully make comments that highlight her indifference or even contempt. “Oh you graduated first in your class. Hmm…likely didn’t have a social life did you?” Or “So you think you are sporty? Well I bet you haven’t done an iron man like most of the men I know.” In conversations she may make a point to stare at her watch or out the window, anywhere but into the man’s soft brown eyes. Why, if she did that, she would lose all composure.

The Pathetic Introvert
The Pathetic Introvert is actually quite gregarious in other settings. But when approached by a man she likes she simply cannot stop staring at her shoes. When asked a question by her dream man she may mumble, stutter, and say, “Ack I am so sorry…..I am just such a word klutz today” and then dismiss herself to go to the bathroom where she will try to give herself self affirmations in the mirror before bursting into tears. IF she manages will wipe clean her mascara tracks and reappear she will be tempted to talk about the weather rather than anything cool, feeling it may be safer. ‘Soo…..it’s been really humid hasn’t it?”

The Dwarf Lover
The Dwarf Lover prevents herself from talking to normal decent men by getting engaged in conversations with dwarfs—or unattractive Lord of The Ring Enthusiasts — just because it seems a safe bet. The Dwarf Lover doesn’t want to appear rude and extract herself from the conversation, so she sits talking to them for hours rather then be whisked away by a shining knight. Oh yes, she will patiently listen to the dwarf's latest video game championship tales and fondness for Vienna sausages while trying to find something remarkable about her current predicament. If a non-dwarf (i.e., shiny knight) tries to rescue her, she won’t allow it, thinking that she will go to hell unless she engages in her fair quota of dwarf conversations for the week.

The Show Off
The Show Off masks her feelings of inadequacy by feeling a compulsive need to let her current flame know ALL her achievements. Oh no, there is no gradual ‘unfolding of the blossom’ in this case. On a first date the show off will let a suitor know her SAT scores, marathon time, favorite winery in Napa where they know her by name, as well as her fondness for daredevil stunts. She hopes to woo a man by intimidation and will never let it be known that she has two left feet on the dance floor or that it took her three years to be potty trained (well actually no one really does need to know that).

To figure out what type I was, my lovely friends (male and female) put me to the test. We picked out a cute guy in the bar and I was to “go get ‘em.” I thought I was having a great time with witty banter until my friends pulled me away.

“What on earth are you doing?!”
“You looked like you were at a funeral”
"Your hands were clenching the bar in distress"
“You made no effort to do anything flirty and did that annoying haughty laugh thing”

Oh. I thought that “haughty laugh thing” WAS flirting.

It was time for flirt remedial school. I was taught how to give light touches on the arm, stroke my neck, and look into eyes seductively. This was all done in a dive bar over Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. I was feeling ridiculous….but then again I have been single for a long time. If it takes dive bar flirt training to once again make my bedroom fit for two, then so be it.
I will put my lessons to good use this week. Touch, stare, laugh non-haughtily. Got it. Now how to multi-task? Hopefully I manage to find a few places to practice my 'come hither' moves inbetween my hectic work schedule, spin class, and of course blog writing! Boys, watch out!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

An Overdue Unveiling

In response to reader request to identify the persona behind Shoe Girl, I have decided to reveal myself. If you do not need the intro feel free to skip down to my latest dating encounter "Too Much Wine"

My name is Juliet Webb. I am a native San Franciscan that has spent enough time in New York to appreciate designer labels, yet also enough time in the mountains to ditch them for hiking boots when the need arises. With a heart for adventure I have explored ashrams in India, basket weaving co-ops in Africa, and now this crazy dating scene in my home city. By day, I act as a consultant to San Francisco technology start ups. By night I "moonlight" as a consultant/field researcher in the dating battleground of SF. I do not wistfully sigh at my window Friday evenings waiting for my Romeo to suddenly appear, but rather proactively explore different options to find him, from speed dating to social hiking clubs. It's not easy! Too short, too cocky, too gay....I feel like Goldilocks! Plus dating is time consuming! In between business meetings, wine bar outings, triathlon training runs and sleep, it's hard to find energy to meet a decent guy. Luckily for me, I am equipped with a sassy entourage of women who indulge me in this quest.

Mazz,
a New York transplant, is a fashion diva who looks for the creme de la creme in everything from organic restaurants to designer dog leashes. She can accessorize a man, a bulldog, and a motorcycle helmet with her outfit.

Alexis, is a type A adrenaline junkie who has a black belt in karate and a list of savvy titles on her resume. Although passion is the main prerequisite, Alexis also needs a man that is able to take her on in an arm wrestling competition.

Eva, my childhood friend, is happily married yet loves the single gossip and mishaps. Eva, having successfully secured the love of her life, provides solid advice and saves me from sending out yet another photo collage of myself to a man of interest.

Holly
is a single mother of one who surprisingly has more sex drive than the four of us combined. Holly's new weakness is the bartenders of our favorite watering holes. Her nanny is about to intervene.

And now, with the introductions in place, I can tell you about my latest adventure....

Too Much Wine


It was time to meet my over-concocted fantasy man and turn him into reality. As much as I wanted to Google, Facebook, and sleuth him to death over the internet I decided to actually wait and see what he was like in person. Well, ok maybe I did a tiny bit of internet research (and sent my findings immediately to Mazz for her opinion) but I was much better behaved than in my past stalking endeavors.

8.55pm: I went out to meet John, the surgeon found on match.com, at my favorite winebar/restaurant/art gallery. For some reason it is very trendy to have eateries double as art shows these days.

8:58 pm: I ignored all text messages from Mazz and Alexis taunting me about meeting Dr. Luv. Please!

9:01: I arrived, safely one minute late (I just cannot do that fashionably late thing) and gave John a hug. John was "good looking in a nice guy way" as was later described to me, and an engaging conversationalist. Now just because John graduated Ivy League with honors and solved infectious disease crises in Sub Saharan Africa doesn't mean I was about to be intimidated. Or that I would feel like a sell-out because I decided to pursue a career that would guarantee me a shoe collection (soles) rather than anything altruistic (a soul).

9:03: Well, forget about what I wasn't going let happen. I realized that the only way to solve intimidation was to drink heavily. Alcohol is lovely, isn't it? My date gets better looking, I become funnier, and the world rearranges itself in harmonious order. I promptly ordered a large glass of red.

9:30: After downing the first glass of wine and failing to keep the conversation about current events (as recommended by 'The Rules'), I remembered that alcohol ALSO tends to make us talk nonstop about ourselves ("While in Orchestra Camp in the 9th grade...."), become overly emotional at the cheese plate selection, and suddenly have a soft spot for Sarah Palin.

10:00: After the second glass, I also noticed that wine also inhibited my ability to walk in a straight line to the bar for round number three. I wouldn't have needed a round three had the following not occurred:

9:45: Just as I was starting to get comfortable talking to John without nervously flipping my hair three times per sentence, my friend Eva strides into the bar with her husband. "Jules! How fabulous to see you! And who is this?!?" she asks with a wink.

"This is John."

"Oh John, I have heard all about you. Let's see...you are from New Jersey, you love jazz, and weren't you just in Senegal...." Eva stops abruptly as I purposely kick her.

I had no idea Eva was going to come to the winebar turned art gallery. I mean, if I had WANTED my friends to spy I would have sat them in the back and given them speakers to my microphone set up like any normal first date experience.

Sigh. So yes, I felt this deserved a third round. I told John I had an amazing tolerance, praying he didn't note my signature trip on the way to get more vino.

10:15: I came back with new wine confidence and decided to finish telling John my life story. When Eva interrupted us I was only up to the part where I ran for election in college....

11:00: It was time to go. In between my life story tales, John and I DID have a lot to talk about including favorite steak frites venues, why mountains are cool, his medical emergencies in the jungle, and my personal emergencies in fashion. I THOUGHT we were having a good conversation??

But I was praying my tipsyness wasn't obvious. That's when John asked me if I would mind giving him a lift home to a neighborhood close by. Oh dear.

11:10: After a walk to my 'not cleaned in three years' car, I started the engine and prepared to drive. I shouldn't have driven....I was high DUI material. I ground the gears, did some interesting U-turns navigating the city, and almost went the wrong way down a one way street. Upon finally finding John's house, he gave me a quick hug, LEAPED out of the car (it may have been still moving), and ran away.

Realizing I could not just go home to ponder the evening alone, I drove back to the wine bar, and discussed the date with a microscopic lens with Eva and hubby. "Well....you are a terrible driver anyway so driving a man around even sober is probably a deal breaker. And as far as talking too much, Juliet, that's you! And so is drinking too much wine! If he likes YOU, he'll love the sequence of events. And if not, well, move on to the next. That whole hospital gown fantasy was creepy anyway."

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Men We Dream Up

I was about to throw in the towel for online dating and cancel my subscription to once again hit up the bars, clubs, and other cheesy groping spots of San Francisco. As I was on hold for a match.com "end my subscription now before another 50 year old hairy man contacts me” representative, I got an interesting ping in my inbox. A seemingly normal, well-traveled man wrote me. He was in my age category, had ski racks on his car, spoke French, and what’s this…was a surgeon who had volunteered across the world in international medicine brigades? I immediately hung up the phone.

What is it about doctors that bring women to their knees? Even hedge fund gurus cannot compete. There is something alluring about a man that is not only intelligent, but also does something positive for the world. Perhaps it is because I really don’t…unless you count making peanut butter cookies for a barbeque as a good deed. Although you can bet that in my response email I am going to mention how I volunteered with troubled youth in the slums of Guatemala back in ’99. (This is a true story...kind of...I also spent a lot of time in Guatemala salsa dancing, which can also be considered being a good Samaritan depending on whom you dance with).

I am doing what I advise women to never do which is extrapolate one tiny first contact into a full blown relationship. I cannot wait to bring my new doctor boyfriend to cocktail parties. "Marcia, you know that sore throat you have been complaining of? Well, you should let my doctor boyfriend look at it. He is an expert. In fact he treated village dwellers with the random Morlionopoliosicko virus in southeast Asia for two years.” “George, is that a paper cut on your right hand? Let’s let my boyfriend doctor look at it to ensure it is not infected. You never know these days…while my doctor boyfriend was in the remote island of Hunu Hunu, he saved thousands of lives by merely disinfecting common injuries.” "Yes, Portia, my new doctor boyfriend not only saves lives but he also is on the ski patrol, writes a column for the New Yorker, and didn't invest in any funds with mortgage-backed loans."

Okay, I know this is ridiculous. Not only am I sketching out annoying ways to present (i.e., brag about) this potential guy to my friends, I have not even met this man and I already deem him perfect. Time to cancel my dating subscription now before this daydreaming gets the better of me.

Why is it that when women first meet a man (or in my case, read a two paragraph email), they immediately take one tidbit of information and concoct a perfect man out if it? Why can’t we wait patiently and let things develop (or not)?

As usual I poll the peanut gallery.

Mazz (single with multiple crushes herself): After being out in the dating cesspool for a few months, it’s easy to get excited about someone halfway normal. As long as the fantasy stays in your head (no more writing the new man poetry, Shoe Girl) there is no harm done. Crushes are a good thing—it is what motivates us to keep putting ourselves out there. Remember my fantasy with Gabriel, the bartender in NYC? It didn’t go anywhere but it did keep me excited to wear Manolos every time I went to The Modern.

Eva (married and concerned about my dating future): Yes, Shoe Girl, you do really need to stop writing poetry to men who you barely know. I am not sure letting your fantasies get the better of you is a good thing. Stay focused on your life, your two thousand sports and let the man slowly reveal himself to you before you plan your wedding theme song. Think of him as a flower unfolding…isn't reality more exciting? It certainly is more sustainable.

C.B. (single, male): Why do women do this? Men don’t. In fact after we send you an email we don’t think about you until we hear back from you. The we spend four minutes picturing you naked and another two minutes writing you back or calling. That’s it. Perhaps you should start a fantasy football league. Now there is a fantasy worth spending time on.

Sigh…okay okay. I’ll pace myself. No extrapolating. No fantasies. Although the one with the hospital gown is pretty darn good…

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Online Dating Show


We buy our groceries online, we pay our bills online, why wouldn’t select a mate online while we are at it?

Ahhh…remember the days when everyone wrote paper checks and online dating carried a stigma? During the 90s the only people who found love via their computer monitor were cyberdorks with tape on their glasses. Well those cyberdorks were light years ahead of us in terms of the new dating scene (not to mention everything else involving the internet). They are also now Silicon Valley millionaires.…but I digress.

Yes, the online dating industry has passed the ‘early adopter’ stages and gone to the masses. Match.com is about as mainstream as Starbucks, Facebook and Gardenburgers (soy based burgers are mainstream in California anyway).
Even if we don’t publically admit to have browsed the match.com site, we all secretly have while in the privacy of our own home. Most of us have free profiles posted. And about a solid third of us have actually made the leap and paid for a subscription, showing our cheesy smiling profile picture and “love to laugh” headline to the world.

So what exactly happens on these sites? Can true love be found in cyberspace or is it still reserved for the cyberdorks? I decided to find out.

After a few weeks online, I have made a few noteworthy observations that may serve to assist other men and women out there.

1.Cancel your weekend plans to devote to time to profile writing. Setting up the profile is a bitch. Be prepared to labor over text and multiple editing sessions from your pals. And when it comes to pictures, just select a few good ones (not the one of you in a Sombrero kissing a pinanta, no matter how ‘fun’ it makes you look)

My first attempts at writing a profile were attacked mercilessly . ‘Shoegirl,” Holly chided me, “you cannot say you are fluent in five languages. Number one, it’s too intimidating. And number two, ordering sushi in Tokyo doesn’t really count as speaking Japanese!” (Hmm…what about making love in French then? ) Alexis then found fault with my attempts to be humorous ‘Writing limericks may be witty, but I do not think rhyming ‘anatomical’ with ‘economical’ is going to get you a date “ And Mazz didn’t like my Mad Lib approach when I let the reader fill in blanks how he wished. “But I am a chameleon! I can be and do anything!” I protested. After hours of edits, the final profile was specific enough to describe me, yet vague enough to have them wanting more. I gave a few examples of my hobbies, (must sound active and literate), my job (must appear to have one), and a descriptions of places I like to go. (If you are not well -traveled, don’t bother posting a profile or just lie—everyone on this site seems to be Rick Steves).

2. Winks are for wimps. Hold out for an email. I have heard from male friends that they cannot be bothered to write everyone, so they just give an easy wink to women they don’t care as much about. In fact, they may wink at as many as 25 women during one session. So if you get a wink you are not special. You aren’t special either if you get a cut and paste email that could easily be sent to 25 women. ‘You seem cool. Nice smile!” If a guy likes you, he will actually *gasp* read your profile and write you an email that references things about you in it. “I like that you speak 5 languages, I myself speak 4. Let’s make love in French.” These are the guys worth writing back. Mais, bien sur!

3. Weeding them out takes patience. For every halfway decent man that writes you, about 50 not-so-decent men will. They are either 56 and bald or 35 and four feet tall or are 23 and have had “some college” and misspell the word ‘college’ (A ‘collage’ is a collection of photos, dummy). I don’t think people bother to read what you are looking for before they contact you. There are also just some plain weirdoes out there left over from the chat room days. I recently got an email from some man in Idaho (geographically undesirable) with this message ”Look into my eyes! I have been telepathically willing you to respond to me.” Along with the other match.com pariahs, I ignored him. When a good one writes you, take the time to write back. Don’t become a winker yourself.

4. As women lie about their weight, so do men lie about their height. I do not know if men seriously all believe they are 6 feet tall or they know they have a higher chance of a write-back if they pretend to be. It really works against them. I once was excited to finally meet an engaging 6 footer out. However, when we shook hands for that important first hello I realized that he was actually my height (in flats)! He was a cool enough guy that I could have gotten over the tall thing had he not lied! Was he lying about his Ivy League education as well? Guys—be honest. And women too—do not say you are 115 llbs when that was your weight when you were in junior high. From body stats to incomes….unless we stay in a virtual relationship we’ll find out sooner or later.

5.Casual please. Although most men behave casually, some men are REALLY READY to get married and have kids and see match.com as their last chance. I am not a baby machine. If a man asks me about kids on date numero uno, he’s out. I mean yes, someday I hope to be a mother….but please we met ONLINE…isn’t talking about daycare options a bit premature for the first outing? I think that everyone who goes on an online induced date should go thinking of friendship only. Anything more than that needs to develop from in-person encounters. Chemistry is the one thing that the internet cannot predict nor control.


After about 6 weeks online, I really did meet some amazing men. I had enjoyable drinks and dinner dates on Tuesdays when I would have normally been in my PJs watching ‘Love Actually’ for the 14th time. However, I can’t say I found anything resembling true love...or even mild interest for a fling. To be honest, I find online dating daunting and quite time consuming. I know many men and women have had much luck on this site and I would love to hear from them. (In fact I know two married couples that met on one of these things!). There is also a new site that has gotten press from Forbes---millionairematch.com. You don’t actually have to be a millionaire (I obviously am not), but I do think it weeds out the “some ‘collage’” educated and high school janitors. Apparently Charlie Sheen met someone on it. And we all know what good taste he has in mates. I may try it out and meet a movie star or just throw in the towel on cyberdating. Perhaps I am old fashioned but something in me prefers the good ol’ sleazy pick up bars. I guess I’d rather have a hearty ass grope and ‘yes no’ dance than a string of “so you rock climb too?” emails

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I Wish I Were a Power Lesbian

Oh, just another Friday night in San Francisco.....wearing the cashmere "it" scarf in the middle of summer, pairing wine with sopressata sausage, and debating being set up with one of the city's new power lesbians.

Yes, you heard that right. I ate pork and debated dating women on the same night.

Mazz and I went to a fabulous new wine, cheese and salumi paradise last Friday. While waiting to be seated, we met two amazing women-Bonique and Lisa. The two well dressed ladies knew their wine better than the sommelier at Gary Danko. Mazz swooned as Lisa hand picked the perfect matches to our upcoming plate of aged chevre and fenneled fancy pork bits.

We assumed Bonique and Lisa were like us, fashionable females out for a friendly dinner and hoping to meet some (male) eye candy toward the end of the evening. After laughing over city tales, we decided to join the ladies for dinner. Four girls is always better than two, right? During the first course we chatted about B&L's shared hobbies, shared art collections, and shared Sonoma real estate. Shared? It finally dawned on us that Bonique and Lisa were much more friendly than friends...

The two were the dynamic duo of the 2000's. Sexy, wine savvy, and well invested even in the worst of financial crises. And they were gay. Gay, however, seems to evoke more clout these days than stigma. Today the word "lesbian" does not mean butch or jock or drab. Rather it means power, sophistication, and open mindedness. Svelte Bonique and Lisa could somehow reference art, politics, manolos, and stinky cheese in the same sentence. While chatting to B&L, we noticed another lesbian couple across the room giving each other a dainty kiss over a $200 bottle of wine. They were also wearing Chanel boots. Lesbian women rock.

Could I too enter the realm of the hip homosexuals?

Perhaps it was all the wine, but it appeared that this category of women had everything on my list. They could deliver where no man had been able to. Now could I just convince myself to be okay kissing a girl's cherry chapstick mouth?

Bonique read my tormented mind and offered to set me up with a friend of hers-Someone who was a 5 star restaurant regular, owned a yacht, and competed in biking. This person was also a woman; a tall blond-haired blue-eyed leggy woman.

My mind raced to the Sex and the City episode where Charlotte tried to get in with the city's power lesbians. It seemed such a beautiful world. I remember she was so ecstatic to be in a world where everyone had her same interests and dreams. The magical place where people talk Wall Street AND Vogue. But I also remember that in order to stay in this world, she had to be okay with a little beaver. And I do not mean the woodland creature. Could I beaver it without cringing?

I pondered Bonique's offer for a set up. Let's face it. While a yacht ride may be nice I don't think I can be more romantic with a woman than crying together during "Love Actually." For when it comes to a partner's sexual equipment, I sure am biased toward the male version. Sadly, I had to give Bonique and her entourage the "Let's just be friends" line. But unlike my statement deliveries to most men, I sincerely meant it. These women are too much fun to lose completely.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Damn the Hang Ups


Argh. Okay so I promised that I wouldn't let the "no ski rack on my car" statement deter me from a potential Mr. Right. But sadly I have found a new slew of hangups that keep me from falling for an otherwise perfect man.

Meet Stu--VC genius, dirt bike racer, tri-lingual with a summer house on the Italian Riveria. Trust me, there are very few of these types in the San Francisco Bay area. Over a plate of sinfully stinky cheese and decadent red wine, I wanted to swoon and promise to have his tri-lingual children. I couldn't wait to discuss our wedding plans. Sadly, Stu ruined the dream by standing up. He was 5'6". I knew if I dated him I would have to forever relinquish my collection of perfectly heeled Manolos.

Stu or high heels? Well, since I have had a long term relationship with the latter, it didn't seem seem right to abandon them for a mere romantic notion. And my shoes speak Italian too.

After we parted ways, I spent some time alone in my closet second guessing my choice of 'sole' mates. I wondered what on earth was wrong with me. Why do I need to date a jolly green giant? Smaller versions seem to have a lot more to offer on the checklist front (i.e. personality, European homes, etc). I knew Stu could make me happier than any larger versions if I could just be okay crouching....

I asked some other girlfriends what had prevented them from falling for a perfect man.

"Joe was balding. Our first date was outdoors as he looked adorable in a baseball hat. However, when we went out to dinner on date number two and the venue had a strict 'no baseball hat' policy, I saw more of his scalp than I cared to. It shouldn't matter...but I found myself overly focused on his extended forehead when I should have been enjoying my filet and our conversation. 'What's that? You took Rogaine to Las Vegas? Oh! A plane A plane. Got it.' Ridiculous I know....but I need hair! I need to run my fingers though it!"

Mazz reported on her too stable man that she recently dumped while on the phone in my living room..."Maybe it was that all around he was too stable...but the real clincher...the real hangup was that he kissed like a guppy! I don't want to train a 38 year old man to kiss! Kissing...honestly it makes or breaks them."

Another girl reported that she had a thing against stale breath. What exactly IS stale breath?? "It's not exactly bad...it's just....stale...like the smell in your grandparent's closet. Even though Charles was an accomplished and very sexy attorney, I didn't want to be close to him when he exhaled. He later met a girl that was an open mouth breather (she couldn't smell and I think was pretty stale herself) and they got engaged."

Eva told me that when she first met her husband he had a bad haircut. "I couldn't look at him straight on, let alone go on a date with him. A few years later he went to a new barber and drastically changed his appearance. I promptly talked him into a redo date...and now we are married. I do oversee his hair stylist appointment schedule though. Don't need to ruin the marriage over his hair."

Why do such silly shallow things keep us from true love? How much should trivial things matter when everything else rocks our world? And it's not just women....men complain of cankles, flapping upper arms, and women that always seem to get salad stuck in their front teeth. (Oh dear, I think this is me).....

As I dig into my stash of dark chocolate, the item that never lets me down, I question if we can ever get over all of our dating hangups....It certainly would widen the dating pool if we could.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Alpha Male


The elusive alpha male has repeatedly been mentioned in comments on this blog as well as in conversations out with the girls. It's time to dissect him. Online.
The alpha male--Everyone covets him, yet is made miserable by him.

How many times have you ordered the heart healthy fruit platter for dessert when the flourless chocolate cake was next on the list? I see. Than why would you rather pursue something simple and good for you than the attractive, thrilling, yet all together heart unhealthy alpha male?

Sigh. Even though we know we would likely be better off with a 'beta' male version that comes with a conscience, we remain stubbornly attracted to alpha model--dangerously high testosterone levels, confidence bordering on cocky, power that stems from said confidence, and career and car to back it all up.

Who is this unique species?


The Alpha Male's Natural Environment
The Alpha male, when not in important board room meetings, is found doing deals on the golf course, winning a race in some elite sport category, and frequenting trendy bars with beautiful women.

The Alpha male goes to these trendy bars for one sole purpose: hunting. The Alpha male is a supreme hunter and easily captures his target prey within minutes of buying them a glass of wine. "Easier" women fall victim to his charms instantly and are often confused as to how they ended up in his bedroom. Sadly, they really do believe he will call them the next day. Experienced women stay far away and monitor from a safe distance. They do not want to be pulled in by his charm.


The Alpha Male Psyche

The Alpha male cares first and foremost about himself. You certainly won't see him volunteering with one armed children in Uganda.....unless there are either major business connections to be made or a slew of Brazilian models on the same project. The Alpha male won't do anything unless there is some personal value to his world.

The Alpha male thrives in any setting that presents challenges and competition. Although he is pretty damn good at anything he chooses to do, he will still seek out the latest and greatest sport to keep his adrenaline levels high. If you want to hang out with the alpha male, you must be prepared to indulge his need for challenges on double black diamond ski slopes, high stakes tables at Vegas, and new miles per hour records in his car.

The Alpha Male in Relationships
The alpha male views everything in his world as a conquest--from ski slopes to business deals to the new hottest woman. However, sometimes the Alpha male gets confused either from accidentally watching 'When Harry Met Sally' or talking too long to his mother. He decides to try to form a relationship with the current women he has hunted....er...dated. For a while he does well, tries to make compromises, and may even replace his Saturday night boxed seat Giants game tickets with an outing to the ballet. But then sure enough the glitter of a relationship wears off and the alpha male becomes restless. He decides to let the girl go...and focus on himself again.

Many times the alpha male tries out a relationship for the sole purpose of re-creating himself...that is alpha male speak for having children. Many times this urge is so strong a marriage occurs. (In addition to creating children, a marriage is also positive for business--married men are deemed more successful). However some alphas still try to get around a life commitment. I once had an alpha male approach me about having his children. He promised lifetime child support check as long as he didn't have to stay faithful to me or deal with the gritty parts of child rearing. We stopped dating after that comment.


But why do we even date alphas in the first place? I ask around the city...


"We are drawn to testosterone. Pure and simple. We want the strongest and most powerful. That's what mattered in cave man days....not sensitivity or willingness to see a Sarah McLaughlin concert with us."

"Hey, we like the chase too! An alpha male is more of a challenge. He won't just do what we want how we want.....but trying to get him to on occasion sure is fun!"

"Power is sexy. Listening to our feelings isn't."

I wonder....and ask my readers....how much alpha do we need? Obviously not the 100% alpha male model...but is a hybrid version available? And is it possible to have an alpha male that has a chance of being a decent guy?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Day and Night Barbie


San Francisco women live two lives. By day they are savvy career powerhouses driving sales and thought leadership for their firms. By night they are dancing divas in fashionable heels.

The Day Woman Profile

The Day Woman appears not to have a social live as she answers her blackberry messages at all hours of the day and night. The Day Woman dresses smart, yet conservative enough as to not cause suspicion that her neckline got her the job. Sad but true...all the press on Sarah Palin confirms we still think women cannot have boobs and a brain at the same time. Knowing this, the Day Woman is sure to exude sophistication, organization, and some degree of prudeness. Day Woman does not shoot vodka...or know who Kanye West is.

However, once the sun goes down over the Pacific, the Day Woman transforms into another creature all together.

The Night Woman Transformation
Once she enters her home, throws down her laptop, gym bag, and those non noticeable 2.5 inch pumps, the Night Woman starts to emerge. The stiff white button down is replaced with a shimmy top. Dramatic 4 inch heels are pulled out of the closet. The Night Woman pours herself a dark sensual glass of wine, applies crimson Chanel lipgloss, and prepares to meet her friends. During the course of the evening, the Night Woman will still answer her blackberry as to protect the Day Woman's cover. But she will also throw back martinis and dance with unscrupulous men. Work Hard, Play Hard has taken on a whole new meaning.

How Long Can a Dual Identity Last?
Sometimes however, the unthinkable happens. Someone from the office appears at the club noticing the Day Woman in her Night Woman form. It is as if Superman's true identity has been discovered. "My God---Day Woman is mortal!" "In fact.....is Day Woman a bit drunk?"

Night Woman cringes as her double identity has been detected. She fears her powerpoints will lose credibility now that she has been spotted rubbing her bum up against the bar to Justin Timberlake. Good thing she didn't make out with the hot young bartender. Her analysis of new growth markets would never be seen in the same light.


Why must women have a double life? Why do we feel a need to hide our urges for both wine and sex while men flaunt their vices blatantly in the office? And vice versa--why when we are out having fun, we never care to admit what we do for a living thinking it may scare off potential interests? Does Night Man want to date Day Woman? Likely Not!

Says one worker bee female "I like to have fun on weekends....being silly with friends cuts tension from my hectic week. However, I would be mortified is the office knew I love dancing the Roger Rabbit to 80s tunes. They would take photos and decorate my office with them."

Another successful women points out, "I just like keeping my lives separate. Work is work. Fun is Fun. The guys I meet out won't buy me a drink if they knew my title outranks theirs. Conversely, the career crowd prefers to assume I am a sober sod. If they knew my tolerance level, they'd assume vodka had erased all my analytical capabilities.


What's a girl to do? Well if it's a solid excuse for having two wardrobes, fine. But can't there be a way to let worlds collide? Can being mortal be a good thing in the office? Perhaps we will be more approachable if we are known to have fun every once in a while? (well...as long as we don't get so drunk we do face plants on the dance floor..not that this has ever happened to me). And as far as hiding our career savvy in order to meet men- I am not sure I would want to hang out with a guy didn't at least equal or outrank my professional level..... although it is pretty easy to outrank a blog writer.

Friday, August 29, 2008

How To Emergency Exit Unworthy Datees


If you read my “Hiding from the Exes” entry, you may recall that I was about as mature as a twelve year old when it came to ending relationships. Feigning illness, moving to Angola, and performing Houdini disappearing acts were not beneath me. Now, with (slightly) more maturity on my side I decided that I would much better in relationships—from start to finish. Because stepping out of Datus Hiatus would be risky, I decided to put some rules in place to mitigate my usual pitfalls.

Rule #1: Do not get involved unless there is clear cut potential (No more aspiring Italian movie stars)
Navigating my 19 fantasy crushes became much easier with Rule #1. Most of the men I safely had teenage crushes on were no more fit for a relationship than a pet hamster. I can now easily make crushes go away by having my men act in fake situations created in my head:

1.
Having dinner with my business associates. This safely nixes the screen print T shirt wearing bohemian artists. While they may be engaging at a CD release party, business dinners are a horror. You cannot invite someone who thinks the stock market is where you buy prosciutto.

2. Meeting my Grandmother. This safely ensures I don’t fall for the successful playboys that seem to dominate the city. This isn’t because my Granny is sweet….she’d insist they shoot whiskey and play cards with her…but she can sure see through any poker face. And a man that can rival my Granny's hand is a keeper.

3. Participating in a morning run. Now they don’t have to qualify for the Boston marathon…but if they wheeze and fall over after half a mile…well…what would that say for their cardiovascular ability for “other” types of marathons? Strength outdoors means strength indoors.

Rule #2 As soon as realize potential is waning exit gracefully with poise.
Exiting relationships is never easy…especially if guy is great but for some unknown reason not straddle worthy. If having sex with a stalk of celery is more appealing than it’s time to say Sayonara. Gracefully. This is easier said than done. Saying goodbye is painful and racked with guilt.

How to have the difficult conversation?
1. Phone from a friend’s house: Mazz came over to my house to make the “I cannot see you anymore” phone call. The guy was nice and witty, just about as passionate as a dead fish. It was time to cast him back into the ocean. Mazz at first wanted to avoid making the uncomfortable call, but I invited her over to do it chez moi while I poured her a drink. Making the call from a friend’s house has multiple advantages. Number one, your friend will ensure you step up and actually do it. (In fact I think I may have dialed the number). Number two, once it’s over you have friends to commiserate with and comfort you. Number three, calling from a place that is not your own makes the experience more surreal, and somehow easier….especially when said friends are pouring you cocktails and making funny faces at you from the other room while you deliver the news.

2. In person: If the relationship has lasted more than a month a conversation in person is warranted. I usually do this over dinner. I pick a casual spot, talk about the weather for the first course, and then somewhere between the main and dessert spill my guts about how I am not ready for a relationship, we seem to have different interests anyway and the ultimate line "it's actually you, not me." I then insist on picking up the tab. “No PLEASE allow me to get it.” For some reason this makes me feel better....and at least the guy gets a free meal out of the evening. It's far from perfect but much better than telling them I need to spend the next three weeks in the ER.

3. Fizzle/Ignore. This is reserved for the short term date encounters. Alexis had finally made her choice. Passion had edged ahead over stability. Band boy was in…Excel Man was out. Now how to let him know? Since Excel Man and Alexis hadn’t really made it past the text messaging stage it was easy to let a few “hey, how’s it going” texts go by….and then some more. I am of the mindset that texts never really deserve much of an answer anyway and they are so easy to accidentally erase. Death by delete.


Rule #3: If the shoe fits, wear it.


If you actually, lo and behold, like the man so much that you find yourself humming "It's a wonderful world" when it's raining out or feel an earthquake every time he steps into the room, then we need to safely monitor. No self sabotage. (This is my usual routine....'Hmmm I cannot date him because his car didn't have a ski rack.' OR 'I would date him again but he didn't know who Wilco was,' etc). No no, those days are over. For the rest of the year there will be no premature exits as a pre-caution from all the horrors from our past. Alexis, Mazz, and I determined to hold on once the roller coaster starts.....once we meet someone that passes the first two rules anyway.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Get Out of My Dreams, Get Into (the backseat of) My Car


Fantasies. Dreams. Crushes. We have all had them. They are an innocent way of letting our libido go on overdrive without suffering any negative consequence.

In my attempt to take risk full on and embrace love, I think I have had 20 crushes this week alone. I told my friend Holly, the ueber sexual diva (and divorced mother of one), my stories.

"Shoe girl," she replied, "we have to seize control of this. You cannot just go having simple "do nothing" crushes on men while you have orgasms doing situps at the gym. We need to find you a suitable specimen to have MORE than just a fake relationship with".

Orgasms at the gym?!!! I have no idea what Holly was talking about although I have noticed a new line for the leg raise / abdominal contraption in the Sportsclub LA. Apparently the secret was out. Women are choosing pleasure from the gym as opposed to
waiting around for the perfect man.

Do women prefer fantasy over reality? Is making up a man in your head better than the real deal?

I decided to poll the women waiting in line.

"Mr. Right doesn't exist. It's better to realize that now and find other ways of satisfying yourself. Personally, I like to think about men with British accents..."

"I think you can find the perfect balance of passion and stability in one man. But until it happens, what is wrong with a few extra situps each week? You are just preparing yourself for the future..."

" I HAVE found the perfect man. Jake and I are engaged. Why am I in this sit-up line do you ask? Well, I still have this fantasy about the Peets Coffee guy...I love Jake but I cannot get the coffee man out of my head. What's wrong with a casual fantasy?"

While sit ups seem a safe outlet for many women, Holly disagrees with the whole fantasy concept. 'What you need, Shoegirl, is the real deal. No situps. No toys. And NONE of that overactive imagination of yours."

While out at one of the three bars we frequent, Holly urged me to finally make a pass at the cute bartender that gives me free drinks every Friday night.

"He's obviously into you, thinks you are 27, and would be a stallion in the bedroom. We need to end your time in the Sahara dating desert with a bang. No pun intended, " Holly said coyly.

A fling with a bartender?! Sure he was cute but what on earth would we talk about? Top shelf vodka?

Holly retorted, "Why do you need to waste time talking anyway?"

Holly pushed me over the bar to talk to the young handsome cocktail maven. But I couldn't do more than the usual chitchat. In this case, I think fantasies are better reserved for the mind. Who wants to be disappointed in the morning sunlight? I would rather pretend that my Romanesque bartender was fluent in latin, knew how to tango and had a patent on a new version of ipod software than accept the obvious. And most importantly, when the fling ended, would he still offer me free drinks?

And the 19 other crushes? Soon enough reality will overtake fantasy. Most will fall out (ex. Jack Johnson-he's married), but cannot some men live up to the vision in my mind? Is it silly to still expect near perfection? (Although my definition of perfection has become more lax over the years. Right now it's a literate man who know what gnocchi is and can beat me arm wrestling). But I have cast a wide net, and if I have chosen my fishes wisely the reality for at least 2 of the 19 will be about as good as the dreams. Yes, that means that hopefully some will materialize into more than situps. Stay tuned.....

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Sniffing out the right one

The melancholic drizzle I wrote on Sunday haunts me. I must have been wearing flat shoes all week because there certainly wasn't much spring in my step. Sure, sure love hurts, but did I really pretend to be a mute Estonian to an attractive man? Sigh. Well, no matter. The sass in this lass is back. (Head toss).

How do I love thee? Let me count the whiffs....
And with sass intact I am putting my Datus Hiatus on its own sabbatical to get down and dirty. It's time to take a few risks. However, before I start the arduous task of dating again, how do I know which type of man to pursue? A friend forwarded me an article on how the birth control pill messes with our sense of smell and thus makes us women actually CHOOSE the wrong type of man! The article states that for some reason the pill disables some type of "smell receptor" that usually makes us select a man that is uniquely compatible with our smell. Selecting a mate based on smell pheromones is a bizarre concept to begin with....Love at first whiff?? But according to scientific proof, it's sound. And also according to science, women on the pill usually pick a man whose smell is WRONG for them. What? So this has been my issue for the past 10 years? I knew something always smelled funny.......

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26180187/

But what ARE the right types of men anyway? Besides a musky odor to get our blood pumping, what should we be looking for? Quiet and intellectual? Gregarious and worldly? And most importantly, in looking for a relationship, do we need more passion or stability? For some odd reason, they rarely seem to come together. I wonder what my olfactory system has to say.

What smells better: Passion vs. Stability
As you may recall, Alexis still had her two men in the palm of her hand. The band boy/tech start up /Mister Spontaneous AND the banker/professional/plans out dates in an excel spreadsheet guy.

In terms of the stability quotient of the two men, Excel man clearly wins. He is established in his career and social scene. As far as long term relationship material, he has stated (yes, outloud) that he longs for 'something serious.' He wrote the book on chivalrous dating (It's on Amazon), and has a bank account that can afford one if not two houses with white picket fences.

Band Boy, on the other hand, is just starting out. His company and band make him work unpredictable hours. Dates are often planned two minutes beforehand if at all. He may or may not be seeing other people. He's more fun than you can shake a stick at but you just never know when that shake is coming.

However, when it comes to the passion quotient, Band Boy takes the lead. 'I can barely sit across the dinner table without jumping over and ripping off his clothes." says Alexis. Their first make out session? "Hot Hot HOT." The first make out session with Excel guy? "Umm, it was nice."

So what's a girl to do? Since our smell receptors are out of whack, is there an obvious choice? Do we go for stability and hope that passion develops? Perhaps after two years of stable dating, Excel man will turn into a caballo de sucio amor (dirty love horse). I can see it already. On their usual drive to Sonoma while listening to NPR, Excel man feels fire overcome his loins. He abruptly pulls the car over to the side of the road, changes the channel to D'Angelo, and makes wild love to Alexis in the car by the Sonoma mini mart in front of surprised tourists. Passion will be ignited for the remainder of their years and Alexis will be fulfilled.

Or perhaps Passion in the better choice to start with. Alexis just has to endure two years while Band boy figures out his place in life. Of course, she'll be assured of a lot of fun, laughs, and orgasms until that happens. And then during a typical passionate interlude up against a chain link fence, Band boy will spontaneously drop that he wants to work less, settle down, get a dog, and start being passionate in 800 count sheets in a house in the suburbs. He'll declare 'Let's move in together!'

It's a tough call. I personally like chain link fences. But waiting for seriousness can also take the fun out of fun. At least at this age. If only we could trust our noses........

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Recovering from time in the Heartbreak Hotel


My posts to the blog so far have been somewhere in-between fun spirited sass and hot blooded energy. Today's will be different.

It's foggy in the city, my body is exhausted from too much exercise, and all I can do is sink into my sea of blankets to do my ritualistic monthly philosophizing. P.M.S. Premeditated Melancholy Sunday.

Someone once told me that love is never predictable or certain. If it was, we would probably crave it much less.

Do we crave love? Or do we fear it? And once it hurts us in unpredictable ways, do we ever fully recover?

Two of my good friends Layla and Raphael are going through the growing pains of their relationship. It's painful to watch. I know oh too well that love isn't always enough to keep us together when the world tempts us in so many other directions. It's timing, not strength of heart that dictates the future. Remember the one 'perfect' relationship in your past that somehow ripped down the middle as the two of you chose different directions in life (i.e. "I must study in South America")? Or different people ("she just was less complicated")? If Layla and Raphael part ways, I wonder if the hurt they endure will change their outlook on life. How well will they recover?

Ahhhhh....the pains of amore...just like sports injuries, getting back to 100% is challenging. There is always some lingering ache.

In all the heartbreaks of my past, there was only one that was truly mine. Two years of amour a la folie. And then it ended. Abruptly. Probably the only time I was able to throw something with perfect aim. After I dislocated my shoulder from said throw and spent a good year recovering in all the typical ways---bottles of wine, packs of cigarettes, and flings with men named Fabio, I re-emerged. But I am not sure my shoulder or my heart were ever the same.

Once our hearts are broken, are we more fearful than excited about new prospects? Is casual preferred because anything more intimate puts us in jeopardy all over again? I worry that even though yes yes yes we crave love, we fear the risk of pain too much to let ourselves ever get there.

Downtown in the city smoky jazz plays. In the dark room I swoon over my martini and the throaty voice of the blues. I see a familiar dark handsome stranger across the room. I bat my eyes. But once he comes over...somehow something on my right shoe becomes really really interesting. I keep my head down and refuse to look up. As he walks by I can smell the scent of passion and its intoxication terrifies me. I like control too much to risk the exhilarating fall.

Okay so perhaps this exact situation exists solely in my head...but similar encounters have happened countless times over the years. From jazz clubs to karaoke stages. And last night it was a wine bar. As soon as my eye flirting partner came over to talk I pretended I was Estonian and didn't understand English. The perfect tall banker/biker man left confused. Mazz, who was with me, told me that if it were up to my dating savvy, I didn't deserve to live. But after l'amour de ma vie, the men I have chosen have either been too dead end to worry about being safe, or too safe I knew they'd be dead end. No risk. And no reward.

Career changes. Relocations. New sports. New languages (although strangely not Estonian). Every risk in life I took was worth it. I just wish I had it in me to switch out of datus hiatus and let myself risk the greatest thing of all.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The One You Straddle


J, my spin class instructor, had encouraged me to purchase the best bike possible for my upcoming triathlon. "Hey, you don't want to skimp on anything you'll be straddling in between your legs for a few hours."

How true.

This straddling logic obviously applies to dating as well. I know in a previous post I mentioned that women were becoming more casual about relationships. This is true. But we also have become much pickier about who we are casual (or not) with. In terms of 'straddle potential', the bar has been raised. As we become older not only do our disposable incomes go up, so do our expectations of what we want out of the opposite sex. The 20s were a time for skimping and making those grave mistakes (like dropping everything to move to Europe to share a studio apt with a sexy PhD student, ahem). The 30s are a time for learning from them and stepping up the ante.

Alexis, the juggling diva, had narrowed her selection down to two eligible bachelors. Both successful men with biceps. But one was the young boy band guitarist who makes her laugh with spontaneous gestures and suggested smoking out on the second date. The other was the older more chivalrous 'got it together' guy who practically had their date itinerary mapped out in an excel spreadsheet. Not that we want MS office in romance, but some plans are nice, no? Spontaneity of Bachelor #1 is intriguing. But we are not 25 anymore. As we get older the whole "What dinner reservations? I thought we'd just grab something" is less compelling.

Unlike most men, women (the women on top) don't just sleep with someone because they think they are sexy. (Ok, ok, except maybe on surf vacations with men with accents....but that's IT!) There has to be a bit more going on to convince us it's all worth it.

My girlfriends and I decided to list out a few of the top 'Straddle Potential' areas. Male readers--read up. It could make the difference in where you spend next Saturday night.

So You Want to be Straddled?


1. If you are going to be spontaneous be good at it. I personally would swoon for someone who took me to the local Taqueria after we got random tickets to the Elbo Room on a whim. However I would not be cool with walking from restaurant to restaurant to see which one had the shortest wait list. After 4 stops my ravenous stomach would rather have me straddle the Maitre D than you.

2. Decent shoes. It's so true. Women have 200 pairs. Men have 4. You can afford to spend a bit of money on them. It doesn't necessarily mean you are cheap if you don't.....but why run the risk. Invest in a fashion consultant if necessary. Square toed Kenneth Coles with that lucky Irish buckle thing are not going to get you straddled.

3. Games are so 2002. When you wait exactly three days to call it seems as if you have been reading 'the rules'. If you like us, shoot us an email the next day. We liked to be liked. And the more you show you are into us in between dates, the higher your chance of being straddled on the next one. We may be so excited to see you that we won't even wait until that infamous date #3 (also part of the rules). Otherwise we'll move on to the next guy.

4. Wheels. 'Do the wheels make you lucky' is an eternal debate. I, myself, am not a car person. My own has dents and a decaying surf rack on top. As long as it's clean, maintained (oh and ideally has seat warmers on the passenger side) I could care less. But some girls care more. Mazz was once picked up for a date by a guy on a bicycle (as in Schwinn) with a basket. This traumatized her to the point of near cancellation. Another guy took her to Napa on a BMW motorcycle. He scored. Literally.

5. Talk about cool things that inspire us. Usually we like to talk about ourselves. But if you want to be straddled you have to let a few cool things slip about you too. We want to be intrigued. "Ohhhh I never knew that this successful businessman once volunteered in Uganda with one armed children..." Or that perhaps you are a sommelier on the side. Or sing a really good rendition of the Backstreet Boys to Karaoke. After all, if we are adding another notch to our bedpost it might as well be an interesting one.

Female readers, if you have more straddle criteria to add, by all means please do so. Let's help them in order to help us....obviously it's been a while since I have found anything decent to straddle outside of my road bike.