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 apr├Ęs 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.