Monthly Archives: January 2012

Ooh, Pretty!

It occurred to me that I complain too much about the scary old men who visit my profiles. So I thought I’d take a more positive approach and mention the gorgeous young men who also appear to be attracted to me. If only to call me “mommy.” Hah. Okay, sorry.

This delectable little morsel is from Stockholm, Sweden. Which is lucky for him, because if he were closer, my resolve might…dissolve. He visits my profile on a regular basis. He is…20.

This somewhat moody-looking young man lives in Oslo, Norway. He is 28, though he looks more like 12. He makes me think…bad things. Again, lucky for him he’s far, far away!

This gentleman is considerably closer, both in age (47) and location (New York, NY). I felt compelled to include him here because the photo is…pretty. This guy is in danger of actually getting a date!

Day 20, January 30
1. No meditating.
2. 30 minutes of working out.
3. Blogged.
4. News.
5. Brought up the last few items from my storage space: ancient art, a few bags of stuffed animals that were destined to be a wacky costume project, a piece of stained glass. Mission accomplished. Now, to tackle the big storage locker!
6. Socializing: Jamye and I wrote and edited together, only partially in silence. Then I went on a date. When he had to go home and I had a buzz, I went to Double Down. None of this was all that social, in actuality.

Socially Awkward

Day 18, January 28
1. 20 minutes of meditating. I think.
2. 90 minutes of working out.
3. I wrote that last post.
4. Not much TV. Enough to find out about the weather. I actually listened to music.
5. Did some box tetrissing…and tidying…in anticipation of my houseguest. Brought up my old portfolios. They’ll be garbage soon.
6. Socializing: A friend came by for a few hours and we hung out. Jamye arrived and we went to dinner with her parents. Then we ventured into Brooklyn for a birthday party, where elegant people in fancy dresses and designer shirts acted like grownups. I felt uncomfortable and awkward. I don’t think I’m normal.

Okay, I know I’m not normal. I have a soft spot in my heart for the bizarre and the broken. A passion for difficult people. Most of my friends are far from what anyone might call “easy” in any sense of the word. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that in addition to attracting the weirdos, I have what seems like infinite patience with them. My friend Karen says, “You’re a writer! You can’t help but keep the conversation going!” Indeed. I egg people on, encourage them, hoping they’ll eventually”come around,” not in the “sane” definition but more as in “come to a realization.” I don’t just do it for this blog, though it may seem like I do. But when I wind up in a long-winded dialogue with someone it often makes for high hilarity.

Here’s an encounter I had on OKCupid that began back in November. We made a date. He was late. He got lost on the subway and came up to call for directions. Twice. He gave up on the subway and jumped in a cab. He called, still blocks from the destination, and jumped in another cab. When he texted “I’m here” I asked, “Where?” His response? “In front of the bar.” Which wasn’t the case because I was in front of the bar. The guy clearly has a problem with directions.

The date wasn’t a total disaster. But it wasn’t a match made in heaven, either. I figured we could be friends. It appeared he could use one.  After our date, he began emailing and texting me.

Dec. 1
Nobody truely understands me. 
That’s what all the freaks say!
Yes but I am pretty sure that you dont either
If you say so.
Considering yourself as “misunderstood” is a choice.
I kinda just did
Up to you!
Not sure if you noticed by I didn’t fuck anyone else, either.
True
And to be honest, sorry for stupid drunk texting. I just dont know anthything. I only hope you dont fuckin hate me
I don’t. Seriously. You’ve found just the right person. (people)
Spins cant read
FWD:About to head out. I come back Sunday night. I will ping you then.
Ok! Safe travels!

Over the next 48 hours he sent a whole slew of texts and emails, “including but not limited to” [HAH! These dashes indicate separate emails or texts.]:

Dec. 2
You are HOT!

Dec. 3
You have to tell me why you picked a dating site called Senior People Meet. I am sorry but I find that fucking hilarious, you are anything but senior!
————–

You have to tell me why you picked a dating site called Senior People Meet. I am sorry but I find that fucking hilarious, you are anything but senior!
————–
If you keep going on dates with these guys from Senior People Meet, you are going to get an email from a 10 year old kid about how you killed his grampa!
————–
Have fun tomorrow, interesting reading your blog tonight.

At 9am the next Sunday, after I spent one helluva fuckin’ drunk Saturday on the SantaCon walk-through, I received another text. Yup, 9am on Sunday. I responded:
Okay, please stop texting me.
Ok
————–
You could have said something earlier, your not as honest and direct as you say you are!
I’m saying it now because you woke me up. 15 texts in one day is too much. That’s honest and direct.
Sorry!
I told you to text me when you were back in town, not all day every day. We barely know each other.
True
And now we never will.
Up to you.
Maybe I should wait to read about myself in your blog, before making a decision on that.
Well the more you push it the more likely that will be. I’ve offered my friendship. You’re pushing my boundaries. I’ve politely asked you to stop pushing. You can choose to be offended.
I am not offended. I am not even sure I really care enough to feel anything.
Then WHY are you still texting me? Sheesh. Thanks for starting MY day off with an argument.
Sorry, I did not start this argument. I acted stupidly.
————–
I am definitely not the party who is offended.
————–
Have a nice day!
——————-
Sorry.
————–
Wouldn’t have been easier just to fucking ignore me, roll over and go back to sleep?
Are you seriously gunning to be a topic of my blog? Or would you rather be my friend? It is YOUR choice.
It isn’t a question of ignoring. When the chime chimes, I hear it. I’m SO sorry I didn’t mute my phone…
WHY, if you don’t mind my asking, are you being so aggressive about this? If you were my friend, I would’ve said the same thing. Give it a rest. If you “don’t care” WHY are you still harping about this?
We can be friends. FRIENDS. And NO ONE I KNOW texts me 15 times a day.
The ball is in your court. Either continue this “debate” or get a grip and act like a friend.
A
Not really gunning to be a topic of your ridicule. I am agressive about everything, probably my biggest asset and flaw. I doubt I would be working in NYC if I was not agressive. I am probably just bored at the moment. My father is also an attorney, so I grew up with argument as a form of communication. Your a good writer, something I am surely not, I do not know why you waste your talent and time on some of the things you do.
B
————–
Sorry, if that last bit was rude, it is YOUR time to do with what you want.
————–
The question for me is, do you want me as a friend or just another of your many acquaintances?
————–
Don’t worry your not the only person I have managed to fucking piss off today? Is Mercury still in retrograde?
————–
Yes I could use a friend  

Dec. 4
I guess your not intersted.
God forbid I should be busy with, you know, all my acquaintances.
Ok you want to grab a beer I am buying. Just landed Newark.
I’m iny pajamas. Yesterday did me in.
OK 😦
————–
Iny pajamas it must have! 

Dec. 5
I apologize!
Thank you. And if you don’t mind my saying so, it seems that you must find yourself apologizing a lot.
Why are you texting and emailing me so often? Are you bored? Lonely? On the receiving end it is very odd.
Just curious.
Right now, I am busy…but usually just bored.
You must not be all that busy if you responded within a minute.
A word of advice: never contact a woman you’ve just met more that once or twice within 24 hours of meeting her, or within each 24 hour period.
I hear what your are saying.
Excellent. Here is a friendly challenge: don’t text or email me again till tomorrow after 12 noon!
And that includes an “okay” response to this email!

Believe it or not, I saw this guy again. He came by Double Down when I was working the door, the night before I left for Christmas in California, and we chatted for hours. Since then we’ve been occasionally emailing and texting, trying to arrange another meet-up. Until tonight. When he pushed my boundaries — again! — and I asked him to stop — again! — and he freaked out. AGAIN! He started on OKCupid:

Jan. 29
Hi!
Hi!
[In a new email, separate thread.] How are you?
Good. Why are you emailing me on here?
Old bad habits.
[Switching to texting.]
Jan. 30 12:06am
Maybe we can grab some beers this week.
Okay, at this hour? Better to use okcupid.
Jeez!
[Switching back to email, using Gmail this time.]
Jeez who pissed on your parade!
————– 
Crabby Abby!
Look.
We are hardly even friends at this point. We’ve spent, what, a few
hours together?
You often try my patience.
PLEASE don’t text me unless we have plans and you’re late. Or
whatever. I keep weird hours. You’ve woken me up on more than one
occasion.
Just use THIS email address. Not OKC.
If you think I’m bring crabby, that’s fine.
I’m just trying to communicate my boundaries.
Do you understand?
What an ass

What an ass, indeed. And so it ends. With him getting what appeared to be his wish: to become the topic of my blog. Okay, dude, YOU WIN! The sad thing is, this guy could definitely have used a friend. He even said so. I think I’m a pretty good friend. I’ve invited him to do all sorts of things, which you’d think would be welcome to someone who works in Manhattan four or five days a week, then flies home to New Mexico every weekend. That’s right, New Mexico. What a lonely way to live. Beyond merely needing a friend here, he is what many might call “socially awkward” — “many” including the often equally socially awkward burners who met him at happy hour. My guess would be he doesn’t have many friends, either here or in New Mexico. I would also bet that he had a tough childhood. Now he gets to be “right” about people treating him poorly. Is that any way to go through life? Angry and alone?

You may be thinking I’m angry and alone. That isn’t the case. I vent my anger here often. But I’m not perpetually angry. And I am alone only when I choose to be. I feel very fortunate to live such a blessed life. Which may be why, in all my “abnormality,” I have the patience to coddle people like this. And why, instead of finding this hilarious, it just makes me sad. : (

Day 19, January 29
1. 20 minutes of meditating. In bed. Okay, you’re right. I was just trying to fall back asleep.
2. Didn’t have time to work out.
3. Writing? I’m sitting here now, writing this. Just wrote that. I think this — and that — are taking up too much of my time!
4. No TV, just a movie.
5. Nothin’. Dusty portfolios taunt me!
6. Socializing: While sitting around waiting to be shot on video talking about orgasms, I suppose I socialized a little bit. Mostly it was subway riding and movie watching with Miss Jamye. So, uh, all day, in other words.

Excelling At…Social Interaction

Day 16, January 26
1. 20 minutes of meditating.
2. 90 minutes of working out.
3. Writing? I’m not sure. I don’t think so…
4. Gah. More droning.
5. Nope.
6. Socializing: Is this really a job? Or even an accomplishment? I’m beginning to think it’s more of an impediment. I dragged my ass out in the rain, all dressed up, to attend a networking event. Yeah, that one sponsored by Sparkology.com. Other than the satisfaction of telling the people running the site — one handsome Arian-looking (and sounding) young man and two skinny blonde 20-somethings — that young professionals don’t need another dating site and asking if the women were screened as well as the men or if they could just be strippers, the event was a waste of my (our?) time. The promoter introduced us to a few of his friends but only Karen spoke to anyone. The bar was so loud I had to shout to be heard, which is fine when you’re flirting and less so when you’re trying to have a conversation with a friend. From there I shlepped to the Delancey to see Hungry March Band. I’ve always hated that downstairs room, with its low ceilings and lousy acoustics. There were more people on the stage than in the audience. I left after the first set. Evidently more people showed up but…

So yeah, the evening was a waste of a nice outfit. And glitter eyeliner. Which is why I often opt to stay home. Or venture out looking less-than-glam. I keep telling myself “This might be the night/event/place/time I’ll meet someone.” Someone who’ll give me a job. Someone who’ll ask me out. Someone new to hang out with, even. It sure gets tough, time after time, to keep convincing myself. Fortunately, I’m not alone in this.

A friend called to rant and relate, cry and commiserate. It is this sort of social interaction that keeps me sane. Not just knowing that I’m not alone but being able to help. Or at least offer a sympathetic ear. We’re almost the same age (ancient!) and about the same height (gargantuan!) so we share many of the same problems: a scarcity of people who want to hire us, men who want (or are tall enough) to date us, how to cope with being such young “women of a certain age.” It ain’t easy! She is also doing the online dating thing and having just about as much luck. She decided to try the tactic many of the men use: sending out a few dozen flirts to up her response quotient. Mind you, I’m not a fan of those brief little blips but it seemed like a good idea. Here’s a response she received to a “wink”:

Geez, Louise,,,,(and yeah, more commas and dots)…………………….……………..and fuck it if you don’t like it……………….,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,…….. 
This is not the the 3D world, this is a dating site, and you clearly don’t know the extreme differences between the two…. 
And, BTW, I’m a many times over publised writer…………………..peeps in the know know, butt no way for you……………… [Yeah, I can tell what a talented “writer” this guy is by how well he spells! Obviously a gifted wordsmith.]
And know, I don’t give a flying fuck about what you think about anything….. 
Frankly, your face is so scary, I feel like I’m lookin””””” at the Addams Family or a horror movie from hell…..
So, with a wink and a NOT, get lost back into your grave…………………….….,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,….…..and do not DARE ever contact me again…..don’t need a nightmare about your scary face from hell…. and BTW two, I’ve been a pro photig for 30 years as well… and your pic tells twenty million too many words for me, and all about words and pics………………. seen, heard and wrote it all, butt ypu’re drom A beyond I’ve never imagined before………,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,maybe time to write a new story for th New Yorker, altough you would do better in a Roz Chast cartoon………….,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,…….
P.S. …….,,, are you Patty Hearst, or whomever the fuck her name was who sliced and diced for Charlie Manson…..??? … I thought she’d gone legit…….,,,,,,,,,,
Okay. Aside from the obvious bile behind this hideous little piece of correspondence, I’ve gotta ask: WHY on EARTH would anyone take THAT MUCH TIME and burn that many calories to be so mean? To a fucking STRANGER! To someone who is putting themselves out there, the same as this hateful fucking asshole. GAH! If the wink offended in any way, why not just ignore it? Was it necessary to be so nasty? I’m stunned. Anyway. Onward.
Day 17, January 27
1. 20 minutes of meditating. In bed. WHAT?
2. 30 minutes of working out.
3. Writing? I think I blogged…gah! I’m behind! I wrote this. It’s just taken me a few days to put it online…and catch up. Needless to say, even this appears to be more than I can handle!
4. There must’ve been some TV watching in there somewhere…
5. I didn’t bring up any boxes but I did tidy up and throw stuff away. That storage space is almost empty!
6. Socializing: I went to a hotel bar with a friend, all dressed up in an attempt to expand our horizons. From there we stopped for a drink with my cousin before heading to a friend’s book party, which was really fun. Total? About 7 hours. See? This is truly the only thing I excel at! Hah!

I think…

…I think too much.
That is all.

Day 15, January 25
1. No meditating.
2. No work out.
3. No writing.
4. No TV. (Well, except for NY1’s weather report.)
5. I lugged a box full of stuff to give away to the bar, where there was much…
6. Socializing: People started to show up around 3:00 and I stayed on after my shift ended at 8:00. Got home around 1:00. So it was a great day for socializing. Everything else? A total wash. But worth it!

Asshole ISO “Take Charge” Woman

Oh, for truth in advertising. Or at least online profiles…

One of my major complaints with internet dating is the inability to divine sexual chemistry through the ether. Thankfully, it is something that can often be discerned within the first few minutes I spend with someone. On my one semi-successful date last fall, I had a good feeling about the guy based solely on his photo. But when I sat down across from him at the outdoor table I could tell we would be compatible sexually, if not socially. And sure enough, when we started making out — right at that outdoor table — it was great.

I’ve been waiting for a repeat of that feeling of sexual chemistry. Thus far, no luck. Yes, I’ve met some pretty amazing guys. Just none that I’m interested in ravaging. Yet I press onward. And in my online spelunking, it won’t come as any surprise to you that I am somewhat of a freak magnet on these sites. As in live, offline life, I attract people who fall outside the mainstream, in a number of ways. It seems all the men who are seeking something that might be termed “non-traditional” find me. On OKCupid, our “match” percentages are usually over 90. This puts me in an awkward position, to say the least. In one case, it almost got me kicked off the site. Evidently mentioning, even obliquely, that indulging a man in his particular proclivity might, uh, “cost” him is verbotten.

I almost had a “date” this past Monday to entertain the fantasy of one young man who had seen a few photos on my web site featuring my panty drawer. We had taken our conversation off of OKC so that I could explain that while I completely understood his fetish, I didn’t share it, and that if he would like me to “catch him” rifling through my panties and jerking off, it would need to be a business transaction. When I suggested that this encounter would probably run about an hour, he admitted, “Ha, well, based on how hard just reading these emails has made me, it might be more like 20 minutes of our time.” He didn’t respond to my email confirming our appointment and hasn’t communicated since.

Beyond fetishes in the strict sense of the word, I also appealed to men who express a preference for “women who take charge in the bedroom.” Now, as I’ve previously stated, it’s damn nigh impossible to tell what things would be like in the bedroom from an online profile. Even knowing whether or not you want to kiss someone is really something that requires a face-to-face encounter. So how to make the leap from “Could I tolerate more than 30 minutes with this person?” all the way to precisely what our sex life might be like is beyond unreasonable.

While I have a fairly deep understanding — and empathy for — men with offbeat sexual needs, even entertaining the topic is pointless — for me — until we’ve met in person. Here is my most recent example of how this attitude can crash and burn.

Initially, I saw that this guy had checked out my profile. I liked his photo so I emailed him. He thanked me for “taking charge” and making the first move, or something to that effect. I mistakenly deleted those communiqués, which included only the most obtuse reference to  his proclivity, but you’ll get the gist.

Hey beauty.. hope youre well.. ım back next week should you hve use of me for tea or a chat or a walk or omethıng else.. Been thınkıng about you… :}

Hmm, I can think of a few uses I might have for you!
; )
Drop me a note when you’re back in this time zone and I’ll figure something out!
A

F L A T T E R’ E R . lol
Im sure you already have a stable of boys to enjoy at your whim.. But i AM very curious …
william
Thank you btw for emailing. I appreciate it. really. [His second “thank you” for my being “take charge.”]

Your profile keeps disappearing. Is that your doing or this crazy site?
Anyway, I’m curious as well, to see if there’s any chemistry.
Safe travels!
A

Im Home already…
just got home last night..

Oh?
I’ll be bartending tomorrow, noon till 8, if you’d like to stop by and say hi.

where do you work?

I’m just filling in (so far) at Double Down, 14 Avenue A.

oh okay. well I certainly appreciate the invitation, and although Im unlikely to make it ( i just got home and have client stuff to do, and havent had a drink in 12 years both) I would love to still meet you outside of work if possible. If I may, can I leave it up to you to take controll and set something up? I would really appreciate it. Honestly 🙂 [Another oblique reference to me “taking control.”]

Sure. The invitation was less to drink, more to say hey in person with less “date” pressure. Would you be interested in taking me to dinner?

absolutely… but would love a chance to talk offline as well and get a sense of you and have you get a sense of me if possible.. 🙂

I prefer meeting in person, which was why I suggested the work drive-by. Coffee would also be fine. Talking on the phone creates a sense of intimacy which only adds to the pressure when we meet live.
Sorry if that comes off sounding nutty.

Thanks abbey for the emails. I appreciate them. Though its not a match I wish you the very best..
Thanks again
[WHAT the motherfuck?]

Can you tell me why it’s not a match?

Sure
Im hoping for someone that wants to swap a few emails, talk offline on the phone and get a sense of one another and then go on a date. Hopefully the person I date will have the time and the interest in me to make our date a personal one and not have it be at her job, or not have it be a cold call date.
I realize you have your choice of men wanting to make you happy, and I also realize that as an assertive Woman that calls the shots so to speak you are used to getting your way. You deserve it, Youre awesome.. But I also know what works for me and what I need in order to not feel like a role call boy..
Does that make sense? I want to feel special because I think I am.

Role call boy? I’m afraid I don’t understand.
You certainly deserve to be treated as special. We all do.
My aversion to phone calls is that it builds up more expectations and causes (or can cause) additional disappointment.
If meeting for coffee without talking on the phone first is out of the question, we can do two things: part ways or pick up the phone.
I’m fine with either. But be aware that now YOU are calling the shots, something you had said you preferred women do. Again, I’m fine either way. I don’t need to “get my way,” as you put it. And often don’t. My dabblings in domination have been brief. I prefer a more even dynamic.
Anyway, best of luck to you!
Abby

I think I understand you a bit better now Abby. I think youre wonderful. One of the things Im trying to learn is how to let others call the shots so to speak. So.. yes Ill meet you offline without talking on the phone first. Coffee sounds great..
🙂

Yay!
So should I say where and when?
Or let you?
; )
Seriously, where do you work? (Neighborhood, not a name…)
Or…how do you feel about flea markets?

I work on the upper east side.. I build gardens for a living so Im not working much now. So.. you pick a time and place and If it works Ill meet you 🙂

Hmmm, I could meet before I work tomorrow, but that would need to be near me. On Thursday, I’m free all day. Would noon work for you? I’ll try and think of a place that’s scenic even in the rain…

Tommrow is Perfect and Thursday would work as well. Btw.. Part of the reason I wanted to talk offline is to find out if were looking for the same type of thing. I know youre more switch so to speak and I understand that you want an equil relationship… but the truth is.. Id like to be with an assertive take charge Woman that can be the leader.. [And if I wasn’t already AWARE that he wanted a TAKE CHARGE WOMAN he spells it out for me. Ya don’t need to hit ME over the head!]

You know, it’s interesting. I seem to keep attracting men who are looking for something less…conventional. And because online dating allows us to “screen” our “applicants,” these things tend to be mentioned sooner rather than later. I find that (my) life is a palette of gradations, not black and white, and I therefore tend to shy away from absolutes.
That said, I understand your interest in being specific about your desires.
Yet my (fairly extensive) experience in the world of deviant desires, if you’ll pardon the terminology, has taught me that much of it is best when it happens organically. Which leaves us (many) in a catch 22 situation.
Let’s just say we have coffee as friends and see what happens? I think Thursday would be better so we don’t feel rushed.

I think Im going to pass.

Are you kidding me?

No not at all.. youre wonderfull and sexy and smart and seemingly together and warm spirited and a great catch.. BUT.. Im hoping for someone that is interested in a Female Led relationship or at the very least enjoys that dynamic. Its why I put that part in my profile.
Like you Ive led a colorfull life( cancer survivor/ex addict/combat vet) and along the way Ive become a bit tightly wound and pushy so to speak. My experiences have moulded me into someone that is a bit rough and self interested. So.. when Im in a relationship or dating someone thatis able to make her needs known and that will take charge it helps me to be a better humna being and to view the world in a more compassionate way
I hope this makes sense to you.. Im not judging you at all and Im not rejecting you.. But I dont want a traditional relationship..

So you aren’t even willing to meet up and see what OUR dynamic would be?
You are, indeed, pushy.
Who’s to say we wouldn’t have a dynamic in which I take control?
Guess we’ll never know.
Again, best of luck to you.
A

Thanks. you too Doll 🙂
After our chat I edited my ad.. hopefully it better reflects what Im hoping for.. I hope you find what youre after..

Uh, yeah, your editing still doesn’t make it clear what you’re looking for. Why not just ask for a dominatrix? Or at least say “dominant.” Do you want to be tied up? Bossed around? SAY SO. Sheesh.
And for the record, it could be said that I was the “take control” type “in the bedroom” with my (now ex-) husband. As I tried to communicate, this sort of thing is practically impossible to discern without meeting in person. Or even outside the bedroom. Even BEYOND the usual inability to discern chemistry and dynamics that online dating creates.
Gah. This is a total waste of time.Sorry you feel Im wasting your time. im NOT looking for a Dominatrix.
and its not about sex. in fact it has nothing to do with sex at all.

I am well aware that it is not about sex.
Have you googled me?
And we can now stop wasting EACH OTHERS time.no i didnt google you..
and sorry if you feel like im wasting your time.

Truly, I don’t know why I bother. This guy strung me along for WEEKS! What an asshole.

Day 14, January 24
1. 20 minutes of meditating.
2. 30 minutes of working out.
3. Finished last night’s blog post.
4. The TV was droning on in the background again. Maybe I’d listen to more music if I had a stereo instead of the interwebs…
5. I brought up two more boxes but I haven’t opened them yet. They contain all the “work” from all the issues of Porn Free and Extreme Fetish.
6. Socializing: Coffee with Chi, movies with Karen.

Dead Letters & Other Heartwrenching Ephemera

So, ya know those boxes I’ve been talking about bringing up? The ones full of books that I’ve been giving away or lady head vases that I’ve been putting back onto their shelves? I mentioned one box that took hours to go through. It was labeled “My life in a box. Heavy. Both literally and figuratively.” (Yes, that is how I label my boxes!) It contained paperwork from the past few years. Well today, in my continuing effort to clear out one of my two storage spaces, I brought up another box, this one labeled “Lots of old shit I should probably throw away, but…” This box took an even bigger chunk out of my day.

The psychic baggage inside this box was weighty. I sorted through things dating back to the ’80s, if not earlier: my college graduation announcement, wedding invitations from people who are divorced, cards from people who are dead, congratulations notes on landing jobs I lost ages ago. And letters. Dozens and dozens of letters. They seem like relics from another century. Well, actually, they are. Handwriting a note was so personal. Mistakes couldn’t be backspaced over and corrected. A card could be filled, then over-filled, the words winding upside down and onto the back. Scrawled exclamations or doodled hearts conveyed emotion. And they were meant only for the recipient, not the potential thousands of eyes on Facebook.

Even more heartwrenching than the letters from friends — and dead folks — are the notes from my parents. They reveal their hopes and dreams for me, notes sent with checks “to tide me over” or encouraging words as I sought my way in the big city. And here I sit, single (again), unemployed (again) and falling short of so many dreams.

On a brighter note, I have had a positive impact on more lives than I realize. Many cards — some from people I don’t even remember — thank me: “You’ve made my life happier.” That’s always nice to hear. And I’ve been loved by more people than I was aware of as well. Looking back, were some of these men interested in me romantically? Their letters certainly sound like that was the case. How did I not recognize it at the time?

But any box of memories is bound to be depressing, even if the contents is all sunshine and lollipops. I have the flier for my 30th birthday surprise party my sister threw me. That was 23 birthdays ago. I have my passenger card from a cruise I took with a boyfriend in February 1993. The miniature portfolio I sent out in my quest to become a copywriter. A promotional piece that, in retrospect, was completely off the mark. The copy I wrote that I heard over the airwaves, when I thought I’d finally “made it.” Ephemera from another life.

Day 13, January 23
1. No meditating. Again.
2. 90 minutes of working out.
3. Wrote yesterday’s blog post, started on this one.
4. The TV was droning on in the background but I don’t think I heard a word of it.
5. I brought up another box and actually opened it. That was as far as I got before feeling completely overwhelmed. See above.
6. Socializing: If Kaspur hadn’t dropped by, my entire contact with the outside world would’ve been a nod to another woman in the gym. I didn’t venture out of my building.

Gad Zoosks!

It seems there’s a neverending supply of dating sites. I found Zoosk.com while playing one of my iPhone games; I think by joining I earned Sudoku points or something. Zoosk isn’t doing anything better or different than any of the other sites. Why over 7 million people on Facebook actually “Like” them is beyond me. They call themselves the “world’s largest social dating community.” Maybe that’s why. And maybe it works better in Rabat.

The site won’t allow you to respond to emails without subscribing, which starts at $12.49 per month. However, the site responds for you if someone sends you one of their lame-ass “wink wink”s. These must be what men send when they obviously don’t know what to say or, as the gentleman who responded to a previous post here explained, they could be sending out numerous flirts to see if there’s a real human out there. On your behalf, Zoosk sends: Thanks for winking! How about sending me a short message and telling me a little about yourself instead? While I find it kind of nice that they save me time by essentially saying what I might, it gives these guys the impression that I am actually responding to them. When, in fact, I am not. Thus far, there hasn’t been anyone on here who I would consider. To say that these men take illiteracy to new heights would be an understatement. And if the question is, do they speak English, the answer is obvious when their profile is in Spanish.

The site also blocks the full email people send until you subscribe. On my laptop, I get “Become a subscriber to unlock all message.” But on my iPhone, I’m allowed a little peek at the first few words. And oh, how tantalizing they are!

His email to me:
Your mood to go in Night Club in Friday evening, [Truncated by the trick-you-into-subscribing site.] And on his profile, the caption beneath a photo of flowers:
would you like me flowers,you write,you say,you meet me

“Sam” says:
Butfol
I will assume that is some new cyberspeak for beautiful. Yes?

“krinster” says:
liveinNorthjersey withmydogs,semi-retired [Truncated by the trick-you-into-subscribing site. However, the lack of punctuation was all him.]

For some reason, I received a full note from this man. Perhaps he paid up front to make sure I got his message.
Hello. My name is Lou. Most of what I you may want to know about me is in my profile page. It describes who and what I am about. Please feel free to read it if you wish. Good luck in your search for a peaceful and happy life. Take care Be safe out there. Hope to here from you. Lou … 

And from another potential suitor:
I will like to be u frend & talk u on the phone in live voice !my name is frank I’m Italian my cell .914819XXXX.im hopping I will ear from u .thank u ciao

Perhaps Zoosk is running ads in classes teaching English as a Second Language. I can’t grasp how men who appear unable to even type find themselves both online and online dating. Match.com is the most famous. How do they wind up on all these other more obscure — and, one might assume, less effective — sites? Maybe they’re all playing Sudoku like I am!

Day 11, January 21
1. No meditating. Oops.
2. Didn’t work out. I had a vicious hangover and was just…lazy.
3. Blogged/wrote “Misled. Or Left Out.
4. I watched way too much TV while being a lump on the couch.
5. Nothin’.
6. Socializing: Brunch, which was about two hours…

Day 12, January 22
1. No meditating. I’ve been bad.
2. 30 minutes of working out.
3. No blogging or writing.
4. Watched the Giants beat The 49ers!
5. I brought up another box and actually opened it. That was as far as I got before feeling completely overwhelmed.
6. Socializing: 5 hours of football and beer.

Misled. Or Left Out.

Have you seen those ads for OurTime.com? The ones with the sappy, smitten senior citizens? Not another dating site, right? Especially one for oldsters! Well, it isn’t another dating site. It is, actually, SeniorPeopleMeet.com. This may be a better-looking home page with a slightly more attractive logo but once “inside,” it’s the exact same mausoleum of Santa fossils and embarrassing “Flirts.” Ack! In the fine print, it says “OurTime.com is part of People Media’s OurTime Community, which includes SeniorPeopleMeet.com and SeniorsMeet.com. As a member of OurTime, your profile will automatically be shown throughout the OurTime Community at no additional charge.” Woo-hoo! Too bad that doesn’t mean double the old dudes. It also tells you that they’re part of People Media, which includes Match.com, Chemistry.com, BlackPeopleMeet.com, LoveAndSeek.com and BabyBoomerPeopleMeet.com. Wow. That’s a lotta single people.

They’ve obviously blown quite a wad on that commercial, though, because it’s as slick as a Viagra ad. And it has the “look”of a spot for an expensive car or designer clothes. Unfortunately, the people who actually use the site are mostly dumpy, functional illiterate Luddites as opposed to sexy, savvy, stylish Ivy Leaguers. Perhaps there should be a more selective senior dating site.

Which leads me to Obliterati, an event I’m planning to attend this Thursday. Produced by my friend Nick, this “monthly event, held in NYC focused on new connections and networking between social circles in various media scenes” is where I met the folks behind NearSay.com. So when I saw the Facebook invite for the upcoming party, with its sparkly disco ball design and sponsorship by a new dating site, I was excited. Then I looked a little closer. Sparkology.com describes itself as “the invite-only, luxury online dating experience for young professionals.” Their home page copy promises Quality, Exclusivity, and Selectivity. Membership is by Invite Only. All Sparkology men are verified grads of top universities. So our women interact only with qualified men… while men message women who value their successful drive. Stop wasting time with the riff raff. Luxury? What the fuck? I was offended. On so many fronts! First of all, “young professionals” don’t need help finding dates! All they need to do is leave the house! But beyond age, since when does being a “verified grad” of a “top university” mean you’re a great guy? And, hello, what about the women? Do they have to be college graduates? Or can they just be models? Who does this “selectivity” benefit? Anyway, suffice it to say I won’t be putting a profile up on Sparkology!

Yet the revulsion I felt about their snooty exclusivity is exactly what I wish someone would institute for a seniors’ site. At least some sort of screening would sure be nice. Like can you spell? Speak English? Some of Sparkology’s policies sound smart: Men pay to start a conversation. Men who copy/paste the same message to every girl they see get penalized while men who send genuine messages get rewarded. Let the good guys win! And their appreciation of manners is also a big plus: Evolved. Chivalry is not dead. Be proud of being a gentleman. I sure wish that message had gotten through to the guy who sent me “I’d fuck you LOL”.

I’ve always been wary of snobbery. I understand the appeal of being “accepted” yet bristle at having to prove myself. Do I want to belong to a club that would have me as a member? Maybe I’ll chat up the Sparkology folks and convince them they need to start a site that will screen my senior suitors! I’ll let ya know.

Day 9, January 19
1. 20 minutes of meditating while lying in bed even before I got up again. This time I didn’t even set my clock…and wound up checking it after exactly 20 minutes. I think I need to be a bit more focused, though…
2. 30 minutes of working out.
3. Blogging/writing, yesterday’s “Flow.”
4. Oh yeah, there was some serious droning in the background, but I only really paid attention to the weather resport.
5. I stared at the latest box.
6. Socializing: 2 hours at dinner followed by my full 8-hour shift at the bar!

Day 10, January 20
1. No meditating.
2. 90 minutes of working out.
3. No blogging or writing.
4. I don’t think I was home much, so no TV.
5. I stared at the latest box. Again. And brought up another one.
6. Socializing: 3 hours on a date followed by an hour at Mr. LES and then chatting till 4:30am with friends in my apartment.

Flow

Yesterday, in the depths of my meltdown, “The Mayor” instructed me to show up at the bar even if I wasn’t working, since the emails had gone out and people would be expecting me. So I made myself presentable, in the previous day’s mostly un-seen cute ensemble, and walked the two blocks. When he overheard me apologizing for my screw-up, the bartender said I was welcome to join him behind the bar. So from 6 til 8 I worked. And it was awesome! Also while I was whining about my scrambled sense of time, the assistant manager asked, “Can you work tomorrow night?” So I picked up another shift! I’m so glad I was “forced” to get out of the house.

Walking home, I blurted to my friend Kaspur that I’d rather be tending bar than doing just about anything else. “Really?” he asked me. “I didn’t know you were so passionate about it.” And I realized that I rarely admit to my passions, probably out of fear that I won’t be able to fulfill them. Hmm. Sad face.

Every summer I get to bartend at The Black Rock Saloon, the bar in Gerlach that is, essentially, a private club for the DPW. As at Burning Man, no money changes hands, but serving up free beverages to my co-workers is gratifying enough. And behind “our” bar, I experience that elusive sense of “flow.”

I asked Kaspur, “Have you ever had that feeling of being in exactly the right place, doing exactly the right thing?” and described how when I’m working the bar in Gerlach, I feel as though every move I make has been choreographed, that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, doing just what I’m meant to be doing. I guess you could call it a feeling of “mastery,” though I’m nowhere near a “master bartender.” It is a sense of existential peacefulness that is often referenced when people experience déja vu. Behind the bar last night — even though I was just learning where everything was, the booze prices and the buttons to push — felt…right. I can’t tell you how excited I am about doing it again tonight!

Day 8, January 18
1. 20 minutes of meditating. I cheated again, doing it in bed even before I got up. What can I say? My bed is comfy and my doggy is snuggly!
2. 90 minutes of working out.
3. Blogging/writing. I wrote yesterday’s somewhat painful “Scary Senior Moment” post in the middle of a total meltdown.
4. I can’t remember what I watched on TV… I think I allowed it to drone in the background. Bah!
5. I brought up a box but was too lazy to unpack it. It’s one of two (the other is under my bed) that is full of shit I just tossed in, two years ago, random crap I couldn’t throw away yet wasn’t ready to part with. Perhaps I’ll open it today and be more prepared…
6. Socializing: 5 hours at the bar!

Scary Senior Moment

Yesterday was a total wash. And it ended with the scariest “senior moment” I’ve ever experienced. It would be funny if it weren’t so…frightening.
After a relatively unproductive day, I took the subway to Chelsea to meet a friend for a movie, a free movie, since she has weekly free passes. It was sold out. No big deal. I’d wanted to hit the Figment Meet & Greet after the movie; I’d just show up earlier. “Let’s walk downtown,” I said. “It’s nice out.” We strolled the damp streets from Chelsea to Central Bar, where a piece of paper taped to the door read “Figment Meet & Greet Upstairs.” No one was upstairs. And no one ever showed. Because the Meet & Greet is on the 31st.  At least I saw one guy in the bar mirror’s reflection who’d made the same mistake. I didn’t get a chance to say hello, since he disappeared. No movie. No Meet & Greet. My friend and I had a couple of beers and chased them with roast beef from This Little Piggy. What a waste of a cute outfit.
My ridiculous day ended as I stood in the bathroom to take out my contacts. I blinked and blinked to get my left contact out and, damn it, it wasn’t working! Fine, I thought, I’ll take out the other one. I opened the case and there was already a contact sitting in there. I opened the other half and there it was, the contact I’d been unsuccessfully trying to blink out of my left eye. How had I managed to not know I’d already removed both of my contacts? Is my short-term memory already failing? I’ve often joked about having so much on my mind that I need to look in the toilet to see if I’ve peed. But is that really it? Do I have a lot on my mind? Or am I losing it?
I just spent the holidays with my dad, whose short-term memory is so shot that dinner out goes like this:
“What are we doing here?”
“We’re having dinner, dad.”
“Have we ordered?”
“Yes, we’ve already eaten.”
“Oh. What did I have?”
“You had the chicken, dad.”
“Yeah? Did I like it?”
“Yes, dad, you enjoyed the chicken.”
“Are we having dessert?”
“Yeah, dad, we’ve ordered dessert. It’s coming.”
“Oh good!”
So you can understand my concern.
I woke up this morning and got ready to bombard everyone I know with a plea to come visit me at Double Down, where I’d be bartending. When I texted the manager to see what time he wanted me to show up, he informed me that my shift is NEXT Wednesday, not today. Sigh. I madly scrambled to let the people I’d already begged to join me know that tonight wasn’t the night. Hmm, how to un-invite the thousands of NYC burning peeps who’ve been notified via the two emailing lists? And how did I not notice the fucking DATE on the text the guy had sent me asking me work Wednesday, January 25th?
There’s an event I want to attend with a few friends. I thought it was tomorrow night. Someone just pointed out that it’s next week. Am I living in the future? Why do I have all my dates so scrambled? I’m trying not to lose my shit, along with my mind. I should take consolation in the fact that at least one other person, if not two (since another friend I’d texted to see if he was going said no, also believing it was last night) as well as the bar, thought the damn Meet & Greet was last night. And of the friends I’d emailed about the (next) Thursday event, a few others also thought it was tomorrow. Can I blame social media? Is this all Facebook’s fault? Because believe me, there’s nothing I’d like better than passing this particular buck.
Are we so bombarded with information that it’s difficult to process it all? Somehow all events get compressed into almost immediately. I feel like, Don’t notify me about something that’s too far into the future because I’ll never remember. I can only process what’s going on in the next 48 hours.
To take it a step further, who remembers birthdays unless Facebook notifies them? Does anyone actually snail mail birthday cards anymore? Or at least cards that aren’t “belated?” Who else doesn’t rely on Gmail to fill in their friends’ addresses? And do we have anyone’s phone numbers memorized? What are the brain cells we once used for these tasks doing now? Besides fucking FORGETTING things?
Anyway… On a related note, I recently learned that forgetting what you went from one room to another for is a common problem and not related to old age or dementia. (Thank GAWD!) Apparently passing through a doorway signals your brain that it’s experiencing a new “episode.”
“The researchers say that when you pass through a doorway, your mind compartmentalizes your actions into separate episodes. Having moved into a new episode, the brain archives the previous one, making it less available for access. It’s as if you slam a mental door between what you knew and…what was I saying?”
I’ve gotta go get me some ginko biloba… Seriously.
Day 7, January 17
1. 20 minutes of meditating. Though it was kinda cheating, since I did it in bed even before I got up. At least I didn’t fall back asleep…
2. 30 minutes of working out.
3. Blogging/writing. Completed last night’s “Not-So-Old Men” post…
4. I can’t remember what I watched on TV… See above.
5. Still picking up after the last few boxes I brought up. Again. Again? Okay, that’s a bit of a stretch. I managed to mail off two very small items to get them out of my way. I chucked one shattered head vase in the trash instead of desperately gluing it back together. “$40 Reno” said the slip of paper inside. Goodbye, $40! Sigh.
6. Socializing: 4 hours of not seeing a movie, not being at the Figment Meet & Greet and eating roast beef. Hah!