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:

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.......

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.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Facebook-the new social scene

One of my prospective clients is in the social networking space. I have learned that unlike many of the other sites out there, Facebook is geared toward White and Asian MBA yuppie types that interact with the program mostly while listening to dull conference calls in the board room. Oh. So that's why I am on it all the time.

Facebook has revolutionized our world. Many special features include:

1. The ability to stalk people....via status updates we all know what our ex boyfriends and girlfriends are doing every few hours. No need for drivebys or long hours spent with binoculars outside their window. Ahem. Not that I would ever do that.

2. The ability to pretend you have more friends than you really do. Every time you go to a BBQ or Happy Hour and meet new people you can almost instantly become intimately connected to them. The most exciting part of meeting them is actually rushing home to see if they are on Facebook so that you can add them as a friend. The best 'friends' to add or those that have lots of photos (so that they can 'tag' you in them, making you look more popular) and lots of other friends. A good number is over 100. There are some FB social pariahs out there that only have 15 friends. Don't add them.

3. The ability to have half the world know when your birthday is. FB reminds everyone in your friend network of your special day. I just had one and received about 200 messages...some from people I only met once at a BBQ. My wall was a wall of love. My self esteem rose 50 points.

4. The ability to let everyone know how cool you are by posting pictures of your exotic trips. Everyone will see how well traveled you are when you post sunset pictures of Bali. Don't post your family reunion pictures of Orlando though...that would take down your cool factor.

5. Dating. I am last boyfriend (the first American one in ten years) actually asked me out on Facebook. Seriously. Once you are in a relationship you can also let the world know this by changing your status from 'single' to "in a relationship with..." You can also add interesting comments about the nature of the relationship like "it's complicated." Well....really aren't they all?

Ahhh yes Facebook is changing the way we interact with one another. However sometimes it can bring stress along as well. I recently noticed that one of my ex boyfriends (the French one) "de-friended" me! Can you believe it!? And after all this talk of trying to remain friends! Mais c'est pas possible! He said it was too hard to see me in photos all over the world. I became very puffy chested about it. And now I can no longer stalk him.....guess I'll have to go old school binoculars again.

In addition, some people find it a conflict of interest to add someone they are newly dating. Alexis hemmed and hawed about adding one of her datees. For now he can stalk her including seeing photos of her grinding with other men (or more likely me) at a dance party. And if things don't work out between them, may have to "de-friend" the other and that is never pleasant.

To Facebook or not to Facebook. That is the new question.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Women On Top--Us Girls Just Wanna Have...

Fun? Sex? Tickets to the three day outdoor concert in Golden Gate Park? Whatever it is, it ISN'T the house with the white picket fence. At least not in this city.

The woman of today's San Francisco is redefining the rules. We are not demure, we do not wait around, and we do not mind making the first move.

Now I am using the "Royal We" here as I am still on datus hiatus. No men on record but I have been eating a lot of chocolate. My girlfriends, however, having been doing more than their fair share of rule defining legwork.

Mazz (formally Mimi--she hated this online name) first called the traditional men and women roles into question. Maz, after six or so dates, decided that the normal after dinner make out session was ready to go one step further. She decided to take matters into her own hands, looked coyly into her datee's eyes and suggested the bedroom. Her datee's response? "Well I think we should wait. You mean too much too me." What?!

LZ, another girl had a similar response---"Honestly I really want this to be special.....we have all the time in the world." Special? Why?!

And now Alexis had to deal with the same situation. After being dropped off home after another fun filled amazing date (number 12 it seemed) she invited datee upstairs. It was three am, so really how could he refuse? His response? 'Ummm....I think I'll drive home." Drive home??!

What is happening? It's not like these men are uninterested...all the requests for follow on dates still happen...they are more twitterpated than Bambi in Springtime.

Why do women want to be more casual then men? After some stealth polling I discovered that many men are intimidated by the new women of today and are even more protective of their fragile ego.

"Women choose the restaurants now..they are more plugged in," said one discouraged male.

"My girlfriend makes more money then me. It's cool. I guess..."

"This girl is top notch! I have to ace everything tonight or I am out."

Are men turning down the bedroom because their #1 safe place is now also in jeopardy? Are they afraid of not meeting the alpha female's needs?
Do they feel like they are the ones that could be potentially used?

A very interesting turn of events indeed. I wonder what type of category these men fall into? They can't all be the sensitive ponytail type. Likely not the arrogant wealthy dot -commer triathlete either...but who knows, perhaps they will fall too. And that would be one huge victory for womankind.