Tag Archives: Facebook

Maternal Mortality Anxieties

A few days ago I went to Lady Mendl’s for High Tea. It was a celebration of a friend’s mother, who passed away five years ago, and a new-ish tradition. My friend gets depressed every year at this time; not only is it the anniversary of her mother’s death, she died the day after birthday: a double whammy. Remembering life. Remembering death. When we first became close friends, I suggested that instead of dreading these two days, why not celebrate her mother’s life? What did her mother enjoy? We decided on a trip to the Met and High Tea and we’ve been celebrating with tea ever since.

On the anniversary of her mother’s death, she posted photos of candles on Facebook with an homage. That same day, I was struck by how many other friends were posting similar images: their mothers as young women, heartfelt sentiments about parents who had passed, the marking of anniversaries of both births and deaths. Social media provides us with the proverbial bully pulpit, something ordinary people haven’t had in the past: an opportunity to broadcast our innermost thoughts to dozens — or thousands. These postings raised my current level of anxiety a few notches. My mother is 79. She obviously isn’t going to live forever.

10521173_10152767506041004_90295807251692475_nMy mom isn’t infirm. She’s in fairly good health and, for her age, pretty active. She plays competitive bridge every day. This past August she even joined me out in the desert for 48 hours of Burning Man! But one day she won’t be here. I can grasp this in the abstract; children are supposed to outlive their parents. But the actual fact? It’s too awful to even think about.

I talk to my mom often. Not every day, but almost. I call her when I get a really good bargain at a thrift store or flea market, every time Wheel of Fortune is particularly exciting or when I experience one of life’s little victories. Mind you, I don’t share any of my defeats. Joan doesn’t do sad. Crying pisses her off, no doubt because it makes her feel helpless, a feeling she doesn’t like one bit. She also doesn’t do sick. Which is probably one of the reasons I’m so healthy: it just isn’t in the family script to be ill. My mom has survived three different cancers — THREE! — and each time it was like she had a hangnail.

Somewhere out there, perhaps cancer number four is looming. Or merely old age. Whatever it is I hope it isn’t protracted. I’ve been enlisted as chief plug-puller. Ack. I can’t imagine not being able to pick up the phone and call her. There isn’t anyone else I call just to say hello. I don’t even want to think about saying goodbye.

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!


Here’s a change: I’m writing this as the object of obsession, as opposed to me being obsessed. I wish this story had a fairy tale ending (or even beginning), because it could’ve been very romantic, had the obsessed individual been, well, a totally different individual! If he were tall, dark and handsome, or somehow just slightly more prince-like. Perhaps less frog-like? Maybe it’s me that needs to be different…I dunno… I don’t have a “shopping list” of must-have attributes but this sort of behavior being rewarded only happens in fiction. Now I have an inkling how movie stars feel when their fans act, uhh…fan-like.

One day, December 12, to be exact, I read on Facebook about “emails you might not be receiving” or some-such. I checked out what appeared to be their version of a spam folder and — lo and behold — I had, like, hundreds of unread emails I never knew I’d received. They included the following (increasingly desperate) communiqués from a man named Steve. (Feel free to scroll through them quickly and get right to my cutting barbs!)

Facebook Correspondence:

October 24
4 days of Halloween and no mention of Rubulad …. got a clue ?? Suggestions for other events ??? ( so demanding … I like your work )

Also October 24
embarassed …. rubalad event is always special … but your ev party …. hope there are still tix …

October 29
o shit !! stupid touchpad mouse … just composed an irresistable invitation and it went poof !! …. essentially …. u don’t need to mess with fast cupid … maybe season is passed … but since end of summer lots of friendly souls here in gotham … and what about you and @steveXXXX … your loss … so pissed no Rubilad … last year on Union St. sickest !! what’s on your agenda for tonite ???

November 10
??? how many times …. before you respond ???? your online dating incident diary …. so sad … My sched is so slammed and my residual queue of sometimes available WomenToDate is keeping me from giving Nerve or FastCupid or whatever it is now a creditcard payment ….. but howcomeyouDon’tRespond to my apparent interest …. I’m thinking about applying to a grad program in Antropology to do a thesis on sexual politics and interaction patterns between urban adults in the 21st century …. where would you like to meet for a drink … or go for a walk … do you bike ???

November 24
??? $50 on Craigs List [In referent, I’ll assume, to the semi-joke ad I posted offering Online Dating Coaching.] …. You haven’t said stop bugging me … saddens me to know that you’re enjoying being solo so much … what about a place for me on your dance card ? just say no ! …. or let me know about coming with me to a party Sat Nite in east village
edit this … “saddens me to know that you’re enjoying being solo so much …” cool to be solo .. but I’m not a bad lay …. come to party with me on Sat.

Again, November 24
ok .. what will we tell our friends when they ask how we met ??? Abby … I am going to stop … but just let me know that you’ve seen my messages and just don’t see the fit …

November 26
party starts early tonite … I’ll be there around 9 …. today .. biking in Central Park bet 2 & 4 … surprise me one way or antother … hit my cell 917 XXX XXXX voice / txt

December 2
gong cruising now …. txt me if you decide to make an appearance … the Frank Ghery bldg …. Barry Diller’s IAC Headquarters …. on West Side Hiway near Chelsea ( same block as the kitchen) starts now

December 4
just saw post about your performance in the slope …. oy ! hope I keep busy enough so I dont start stalking you ….. I hooked up with someione I met at a party last week in EV …. think I might have even tried to entice you to contact me with an invite …. she was all over me at the party but said … you can’t fuck me … over and over again … but we went home together and agin it was no, no, no … while we were both tasting each other all over …. She was even wearing a tampon … but I wonder if that was to just re enforce her firewall [GAAAAAH! Talk about TMI!] …. anyway AE … passions prevailed and we both enjoyed a very blissed out Sunday … I’m too much of a gentleman … need to be met … maybe not half way but at least a 3rd of the way ….. ( but really like it the best when I get a surpries attack ) …. anyway again … dont understand your no’s …. tho the custoary just ignore protocol … hard to get used to after being in a semi ltr for several months …. just wondering if your nos might become yesses sooner or later

December 11
hey … tonite … Sunday 12/11 ,,, come here ….. La Vie
64 E. First Street did you delte my earlier message with my cell ? Ill lbe there around 10:30 … a birthday party for photographer friend … so if you happen to be interested either text me or I’ll look back here … birthday boy is Colin …

December 12
[This was the day I discovered the aforementioned Facebook spam folder. My response, on Facebook.]
Wow. I just now found ALL these emails after reading about “messages Facebook is hiding from you.” Wow. Next time try emailing me at my real email address: editrixabby@gmail.com. Cause Facebook sucks.
Mea culpa because, yes, emails immediately began arriving in my Gmail box:

Also on December 12
Subj.: (not) stalking you
ooh … a little encouragement from you re: my litany of fanmail and flirts to you on FB.
any room on your dance card for this guy ?

Who are you and how did you find me? Your emails on FB were all in my spam folder. I know nothing about you except that you come off, yes, like a stalker.

… I ran across you while I was googling to find out about a Rubilad Haloween party in October
Checked out your blog and became empathic/got the impression we could enjoy each other’s company  after reading about your adventures with online dating and your other adventures / perspectives on things.
So since you seemed open to encounters with “blind dates” I decided to contact you directly..
Now … how can I intererest you enough to start out on your B-List ?? …. you can friend me/check me out on FB and hopefully lose concerns about me being too flaky … I’m also on LinkedIn FWIW …. But my notes to you on FB were geared to revealing interesting things about myself … a  50-something tecchie … long time Soho resident …. divorced since early 90’s ( my ex was/is a writer / editor )  — No kids.
Sending you an invite for the dating.nerve.com beta.  My profile on the old Nerve site (now fast cupid) is stevenXXXX
Let’s kill a bottle of wine together and have a few laughs / insightful discussions.  Or if you’re going to be at a holiday party that I can attend … let me know and we can have an initial meeting that way. 
I like the bottle of wine / nightcap idea … but as a first step will send you an invite to something I will be going to next Sunday / Monday … also have the Basquiat show in Harlem on my to do list ….
Need more ?? … let me know … or just say NO …. You never did .. so I persisted.  A woman like you seems to be just my type and might be a precious find.
Take care,

And again on December 12
Subj.: ?? safe venue for rendevouz …. was — Reminder! ITP, NYU Winter Show 2011! Dec 18 & 19.
If you are interested in getting together and we can’t figure anything out before next Sunday ..

Best !
[This was accompanied by an e-flier for an photography exhibit.]

December 15
Subj.: potentially spellbound … [WAS …. (not) stalking u …]

Broken date tonite … will be in chelsea … surprise me with a check-in — . did they want $$ for the nerve dating offer I sent u ??  Big deal to respond to my FB friend request ???
In case you havent seen this … kinda cute .. a bit long …. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsE5mysfZsY
Need to go check your blog to see what youve been up to …. not a good stalker … may set up rss reader  ( u know I am a tech nerd too, right ??? ) to keep current with you until you throw cold water on this  ….

happy holidays !

Again on December 15
Subj.: ” …. and they will go away …. “

“just ignore them ?”
follow your tweets … me — @steveXXXX
ok so you joined Nerve ( need to see if I got credit for you joining )
and you are playing there but have not reached out to virtualmoi …..
no urge to explore more with me ?
‘cmon …

December 17
Subj.: crossing paths ….
not the least bit curious ???   more concerned that my interest is perverse ?????
c’mon …
Lots going on next week …. u be around nyu and solo tomorrow afternoon ???
May do it Monday nite, too ….

ps … of course open to your suggestions …..

December 19
Firstly, I never said NO because I never got those emails. As I
stated, they all wound up in Facebook’s version of a spam folder.
After that, my first contact to you was to find out who you are and
how you found me. Thank you for your response. It does seem a bit
creepy. But I suppose I could go the “I’m flattered” route. Which I
usually do.
Then you ask me to surprise you with a check-in? We are still
strangers. As for responding to FB friend requests, I don’t “friend”
people I haven’t met.
You send me suggestions of places to meet you with pretty much NO
regard to my schedule. If you are actually interested in me, perhaps
asking me out on a date might’ve worked. If I were vaguely interested
in you. But why — or HOW — would I be?
Sorry to be rude but wow, you have been conducting yourself as though
we are already friends. I can appreciate that you may be experiencing
some sort of familiarity if you’ve been reading my blog but it isn’t a
substitute for reality.

hey … all this might go away if we did get to face time …  one way or other and I think positive ….
re: spontaneous invites … we’re all busy this time of year …. and you seem like independent spirit …. and able to welcome a bit of friendly chaos ….
FB invite was to give you a peek into a bit more of myself ….
So since you seemed open to encounters with “blind dates” I decided to
contact you directly.
Now … how can I intererest you enough to start out on your B-List ?? ….

you can friend me/check me out on FB and hopefully lose concerns about me
being too flaky … I’m also on LinkedIn FWIW …. But my notes to you on FB were geared to revealing interesting things about myself … a  50-something tecchie … long time Soho resident …. divorced since early 90’s ( my ex was/is a writer / editor )  — No kids.

but I guess I got that NO I asked for …. u can always re-consider . I’m the 59 yo looking at the Pollock on Nerve ….. XXXXXX
Will cease and desist .. but betting our orbits will collide and we will have a good laugh about this bad start !
Best !

Also on December 19
Subj.: …. A.D.Disorder
sorry again …
Abby .. I did suggest meeting for drinks/proposed making a date
>Let’s kill a bottle of wine together and have a few laughs / insightful >discussions.  Or if you’re going to be at a holiday party that I can attend … >let me know and we can have an initial meeting that way.
[Okay, I’ll give him that, he had sort of suggested a meeting, but since when is “killing a bottle of wine” or inviting yourself to tag along to someone else’s holiday party asking someone out on a date? Am I living in another century or something?]
this week’s pretty crazy so I doubt if we can make that happen  …. but I’m hoping you’re insightful enough to have enough clarity to see that there might be a mis-understanding ….
now bye bye … yout move

ps … nice that you replied

Okay, here’s my move.
What was RUDE was that you kept sending me emails to meet you
spontaneously when we had had NO communication. I knew NOTHING about
you. Your Facebook page? Please. That isn’t even as “thorough” as a
profile on OKCupid. Usually, when people meet online there is some
sort of reciprocation. I never had an opportunity to reciprocate.
Other than respond to your volley of emails.
Anyway, I really don’t want to argue with you, a STRANGER.
I doubt our orbits will coincide, since I have over 1000 friends, none
of whom know you, so I’m not quite sure HOW we would coincide. I am
not attracted to you. I am not interested in you. Is that clear
I apologize for being so blunt but you really didn’t leave me with much choice.

regrettable … saw alot in you … prefer to cut to chase than be pen pals … but without mutual interest … cest tut ..
adios …

And again on December 19

sorry … I know I told you that earier message would be fini after you let me know I moved you to “Rude”-ness …. but just re-read following and don’t understand why you  took offense
…. Thurs nite .. maybe you would be in Chelsea doing galleries .. could have “surprised me with a check-in” email … saying yeah … meet me at this gallery ….
really good luck with your journalism and love life, Abby ….

December 22
Subj.: reggae
Rude Boys …… ok to be rude …. still relating to cartoon of you ( shadow boxing ) ….. surprised at your cautiousness ….. especially after reading some of your journal articles about cyber dates ….. I’ve been getting ready for the big spring cultural event …. the Wagner Ring Cycle …..  Imagine you as a Valkyrie ….. showing me your vulnerability … a bit …. sorry to victimize you so …. you actually sent my name out to 1000 people ????? [NO idea what this means.]
Cheers !

January 7
Subj.: dylan trumps adele …
Abby –

still difficult for me to shift into a more serious mode to gain your respect …. writing you now after running into your profile on Nerve …. are you in Marin now ????  Did you dig deep enough into my profile to notice that I spent time in bay area studying at Berkeley.
Go check out the shawn thackery winery in Bolinas http://www.wine-maker.net/  pick up a bottle for us to enjoy when u get back !!   ( guess u have to pay for a checked bag to bring it back on plane )  … just visit the winery ….. I can find a bottle of Pleides here in NY
Anyway .. was trying to think of a clever way to ask you to put the messy past behind us and re-consider ( will be pinging you on Nerve ) … and a line from a Dylan song wafted through my brain …. the line about ” …. acts like we never have met” ….. ( want you to forget your objections)
Well . I researched the lyrics and found the whole song ….  what a moving piece ….
Anyway, Ms. E …. really hard to belive that you find my spontaneous / free-associating attempts to get your attention to be offensive and inappropriate …. but I do realize “a girl’s gotta be careful” …..
Sharing these lyrics with you …. and continue to wonder why you don’t see possiblitites that we might explore.http://www.metrolyrics.com/i-dont-believe-you-she-acts-like-we-never-have-met-lyrics-bob-dylan.html

First off, I hate wine and don’t drink it.
I am not offended and I don’t find your (multiple) attempts at reaching out to me (in a WIDE variety of places…Etsy? Really?) to be “inappropriate.” What is and isn’t appropriate, when it comes to online contact? What I have been trying to tell you is that I AM NOT INTERESTED IN YOU. I do NOT find you attractive. In the least.
If you had made contact with me AS FRIENDS and not as a “romantic interest” there may have been a chance I would’ve met you for a beer or something. Given that is NOT the case, you’re out of luck. Sorry.
Have a wonderful 2012!

got it ! … not interested in uphill struggle …. the funky Thackery winery in Bolinas is quite a scene tho …
no clue about the Etsy thing …. wondering if you might be confusing me with somone else ….
anyway … best to you … your talents will be rewarded ….

And then, if all THAT wasn’t enough, he emailed me on Nerve.

wow … yes u are right …
from Esty …
“already tried you on Twitter and Facebook …. Google+ ??
too many synergies … keep playing with fast cupid or whatever, but just
push button and ring *my* bell …..
no mas … I’m persistent and resourceful, but not psycho stalker … just
need to follow the attraction …
not cool, probably … but whoIam
that was from after Halloween when I was trying to find out if there was going to be Rubilad party .. hard to understand .. but … digging deep into my journalism background

Okay, my dear readers, if you’ve made it to the end of all this back-and-forth-ing, I gotta ask: Is THIS how it’s done these days? Is finding someone you like the looks of online the same as actually MEETING them? If it’s outside the online dating realm? Should I have been flattered and agreed to meet this guy? Or was I appropriately creeped out? I believe myself to be a fairly forgiving sort and, if he hadn’t come across as SOOOO desperate, I might’ve actually met him. ‘Cause that’s how I roll. But, man! I was especially irked that he thought I was being “cautious.” I’m anything but! Am I closing off my options? We don’t have ONE friend in common. And given that this is one big city, it’s also one very small world. What would YOU do? I suppose I’ll be hearing what HE would do seconds after I hit “Publish.” Sigh…

Friendship & Gratitude, Updated

So it was my birthday weekend. I decided to go up to Camp D, essentially a plot of land where a bunch of people show up and camp. And drink. Mostly drink.

The ride up was on my birthday. We left the city hours later than I’d expected and I was vaguely annoyed to be spending it a car. I remedied it by drinking a six-pack I picked up at a bodega. But about half-way up, my friends Dede and Dre surprised me with a party. IN the minivan! Yup, they strung up twinkly lights, made a cheese, bread and salami platter, had wine and beer, and played “cool jazz.” Or was it smooth jazz? Teeny tiny cupcakes — one with a birthday candle — were dessert. It was awesome!

We arrived at our camp site too late to do much more than pass out. But the whole weekend was my celebration. I got another cake and a cupcake on Sunday night, after multitudinous beers and a beautiful day spent at a swimming hole with a waterfall.

There was an interesting dynamic among the somewhat fragmented campers. Some were old friends (of each other, of mine), some I’d never met before and, most peculiar, some seemed to have no interest in becoming friends with anyone they didn’t already know. I mean, I wasn’t expecting the Welcome Wagon — or even “Greeters,” who welcome you to Burning Man (and have, in the past, apparently, welcomed people to Camp D) — but introducing themselves might’ve been a nice gesture, me (and a few others, I’ll assume) being the newcomer. At least a couple people reached out and “friended” me on Facebook. It wasn’t the best bonding experience but it was a warm weekend of co-habitating in a cluster of tents. Right?

In the end, it just made me more grateful for my friends. For the people I love.

I just spent the past two hours thanking everyone who sent me birthday wishes on Facebook. I realize that the site makes us pretty lazy about these things; we can click on someone and instantly connect but there really doesn’t seem to be that much of a connection. So I wanted to close the communication loop. One friend actually wrote back, saying “Aw, a personal thank you? How un-Facebooky.” um, yep.

Which takes me back to…the people I love. There’s no possible way anyone can spend time with everyone they love if they love a LOT of people. Which I do. Many of them live far away. Some I haven’t seen in years. So I’m grateful for Facebook, as much as I hate it most of the time, for offering me an easy way to stay in touch with all my favorite people, peek into their lives, “like” their posts or wish them a happy birthday.

So I’m feeling grateful. But I’m not feeling very eloquent! I’m still dazed from the three-day drunk-fest. Oh, and the three hour Figment meeting. Ack! I just wanted to post, get back in the saddle, so to speak. I’d better get back to the blind date horror stories, though, or I’ll lose all my readers! We’ll see….

Emotionally Trying Friday

I took the weekend off. I’ve been regarding this blog as my job, since I don’t really have one. And I needed a rest. It was a very peculiar and somewhat trying Friday, followed by a bunch of fun on Saturday. This is gonna be a long one…in fact, I’m gonna break it into two separate posts…I’ll start with my emotionally draining Friday the 13th.

I had lunch plans with The Poet. We’d been exchanging involved emails discussing complex issues that I thought would be best communicated about live, so I was looking forward to it. We dug into the deep stuff right away. I told him about my “date” the previous evening with another Ashley Madison man. Yeah, I’d “retired” from that but this guy was already “in the pipeline,” so I’d agreed to meet him. I shared with The Poet how this guy, still married, had already had a three-year relationship but remained with his wife. I was baffled. We covered a lot of difficult territory, most of which is so personal that there’s no point in sharing it here. We briefly touched on coincidences and the concept of “there are no accidents.” Strange… On our previous lunch date I was almost in tears a few times. This particular day it was The Poet whose eyes welled up. As we parted, he said I’d given him a lot to think about.

By the end of our lunch, and a conversation that continued in the park, I was pretty exhausted. But I had made plans to meet a DPW friend visiting NYC. I was a little leery about getting together with the guy because he works on the same crew as my ex. It makes me uncomfortable to let people into my life who might share information about me with him. Not that it matters, I suppose, since he’s let me know that he reads this blog. Which in itself is creepy. Anyway. You, dear readers, know what I’ve been going through, at least over these past few months I’ve been writing this…Bloggers don’t have too many secrets, I guess.

My friend Sandra came over around 6. “What does this ex-boyfriend of yours look like?” she asked, completely out of the blue. I have a few pix on my hard drive and showed those to her, then said, “Oh, there are some more recent ones on Facebook.” When I clicked on those I thought it odd that he was no longer “tagged” in the photos but figured he must’ve “un-tagged” himself. Whatever.

Sandra and I went to 2A, where my DPW friend joined us for drinks and popcorn. A few beers in, he flashed his phone at me: an email from my ex to their crew list. “Why are you showing me that?” I asked, puzzled. “I thought you guys were okay,” he said, quickly putting his phone back in his pocket when he saw the look on my face. “No, we aren’t okay,” I told him. He immediately apologized and generally felt lousy. Over the next few hours a rather ugly and disappointing story came out.

This man had been seeing a woman for over a year. She and my ex had been “hanging out” recently, but the ex assured my friend, “You’ve got nothing to worry about, dude,” and claiming, “There’s nothing going on.” A week before he left on this trip that brought him to NYC, he took this woman to a party attended by many of his crew friends, including my ex. She had spent the night before with my friend, at his place. Within an hour of arriving at the party, my friend wondered where his date had gone. The woman at whose house the party was being held said, “I’ll show you.” This guy followed her, along with a few other fellow crew members, as she opened a bedroom door to reveal my ex fucking this guy’s date. Apparently everyone found this to be most amusing, since they all laughed.

Okay. I know I’ve been asking this a lot lately, but WHAT THE FUCK IS THE MATTER WITH PEOPLE? How many horrible things are wrong with this picture? Aside from my personal feelings about it all — and, hey, I have NO claims on my ex….none — as one human to another, who would do such a shitty thing? Lie to a friend. Fuck his date. In the middle of a party. And the woman who led the guy to see this? What on earth was she thinking? Is humiliating a friend some new sort of sport? Everyone who laughed? Is the embarrassment of someone you care for funny? It all makes me ill.

Well, having received his news I was, surprisingly, not nearly as upset as I would’ve thought I’d be. I’m already staring down a summer where I’m assuming I’ll have to see this dreaded ex at three meals a day. It will now be easier. It made me wonder, though, about his photos being “un-tagged” so I checked Facebook. He is not only no longer my “friend,” he has “blocked” me. I feel like a 12-year-old even talking about this but Facebook seems to encourage junior high-like behavior. Blocking is a pretty aggressive move and, in this case, was totally unnecessary, as I began “hiding” his posts, so I wouldn’t see any of them, way back in November. I hadn’t looked at his page for months. Again, whatever.

My friends are in agreement that this news — and the ex’s rather douchebaggy behavior — was a gift, a first step down the road toward finally falling out of love with him. I’ve repeatedly tried to be his friend, only to be shown, sadly, how lousy he is at being a friend. This skeezy scenario only reinforces my opinion. It won’t be pretty having to see the guy but at least being able to hold that tableau in my mind any time I think I still have feelings for him will be a big help. Onward!

You’ve Got Cock!

In a moment only a whimsical writer such as myself could script, I sat down this morning to write about the disembodied dicks phenomenon and, turning on the TV for background noise, wound up watching “You’ve Got Mail.” As with the previously wept-overMust Love Dogs,” I’d never seen the movie. But man, have things changed since the uber-innocent Meg Ryan and handsomely earnest Tom Hanks exchanged zeros and ones through the ether! Remember those bleeps and buzzes as your dial-up connection connected? It seems like decades ago!

The world wide web has always been an arena for X-rated antics, so the whole here’s-my-penis thing isn’t exactly news. But sending a stranger a shot of your cock in hopes of romancing her has moved from the daring, swinging, “desperate hopes of a semi-immediate hook-up” Craigslist realm to the positively commonplace. It seems like everyone is zapping their prick around the internet. Politicians can’t seem to keep their dicks in their pants or off their iPhones! Sports figures and movie stars are compelled to over-share. Even last night’s Saturday Night Live had a skit about it: a service that will photograph and then enhance your less-than-impressive penis before you click send. It was hilarious! And not all that far-fetched.

Maybe it’s because I’ve recently been writing about it but it seems like internet genitalia has suddenly become a meme. Many of my friends have been Facebooking about them, there’s the aforementioned Saturday Night Live skit and the many public figures, plus, well, all the press about Ashley Madison has upped the buzz-quotient about online affair-arranging and the resulting profusion of online penises.

To further explore this phenomenon I’m planning to conduct some “hard” research. I want to know why! And if it actually works! So I’m gonna have to keep inspiring men to send me their “packages” and ask a lot of “probing” questions. Guffaw. But first let’s address what thought processes may explain the male inclination to email their members.

I’ll begin with the sweeping generalization that females are not “visual.” There are dozens of profitable men’s porn magazines and practically zero for women; the bulk of adult movies are viewed by men; fetishists with ultra-specific fixations are primarily men; and despite the short-lived success of  Chippendales, or the humor of “The Full Monty,” usually when there’s an audience watching a naked body onstage, it’s primarily comprised of males. So it could be that men think “I like to see sexy, therefore she will enjoy seeing sexy.” Of course, sexy is in the eye of the beholder.

Which logically leads to the question: what about the basic aesthetic appeal of men’s genitalia? If you visit a museum just about anywhere in the world, you’ll find dozens of representations of the fine female form. Men, not so much. Yes, there’s David, by both Donatello and Michaelangelo, plus a few slightly less-famous penises like Apollo Crowning Himself. But for the most part, the beauty of a naked woman is historically accepted while men’s “junk” is, well, junk.

My initial distaste for the dissemination of cyber-dick stems mostly from its anonymity. Usually those cock shots are headless. Body-less. And faceless. If we’re ever gonna end up in bed, I’ll need to see your face, for starters, and then find out if you can kiss. How you smell will matter. (I’ve wound up in bed with — and, in one instance, married to — men I’d previously considered totally out of the question just because they smelled good!) And then there’s how you make me feel while we’re just sitting side by side. Once we’ve progressed beyond all those preliminaries, and probably many more, for the most part I can appreciate the beauty of a cock. But it really needs to be once I’m acquainted with it. Seeing a familiar photo, seductively sent, can cause me to recall previously pleasurable encounters. So I’m not saying that a penis picture will never work! I’ll even admit to being “visual” enough to find myself aroused by some of these inbox cocks. Though all that leads to is masturbation. (More on this at another time!) I mean, chances are if you’ve sent me your cyber-shlong, I’m here, you’re there and I don’t even know your name yet!

Well, dear readers, I appear to be veering a bit off topic; this is a big, thick, sticky subject (snicker) that will obviously require hours of in-depth investigation and follow-up blog posts featuring my results. Check back in to see what these anonymous, disembodied dick deliverers have to say — if anything — and how women feel about being on the receiving end of all this “I can’t un-see that!” imagery. Obviously, I would appreciate your feedback! If you’re a man, let me know what would motivate you to email someone your cyber-member. And if you’re a woman, weigh in with your opinion on these “you’ve got cock” overtures. My research starts NOW!

A Different Take on Dating

Last night I threw a party. It was a “singles mixer.” Yes, that sounds very swingin’ sixties but the inspiration behind my event was definitely 21st Century.

Over the past month I’ve been spending a lot of time on OkCupid and gone on a few dozen dates. Each time I made contact with a man — or he made contact with me and I responded — I did my best to be realistic about romance. Love at first sight is a lot to expect. At the very least an in-person encounter would be interesting; I love meeting new people. I wanted to be open to the possibilities but the blind date dynamic isn’t consistently a recipe for relationship success.

The truth is, not one romance in my past would’ve happened if I had relied on the internet. None of my eventual boyfriends would’ve looked good “on paper” and I don’t think I would have been attracted to any of them if they’d been just snapshots on a web site. You simply cannot replicate the chemistry that happens between two people in person.

Resulting from many of my events in years past, people have fallen in love, met a new roommate, found a job. As clichéd as it sounds, it really is all about who you know. Our over-scheduled day-to-day lives often confine us to socializing with the same folks, rarely stepping beyond our circle of friends and acquaintances, whether that circle is 30 people or 300. Chances are, if you haven’t already found romance within your circle, you probably won’t.

So how to expand our social horizons? There are hundreds of activities to engage in and clubs you can join. Dating advice and relationship gurus tells us to do volunteer work, take a ballroom dance class, join the church choir. Not to sound like a snob, but I feel I’m a little too cosmopolitan for all that. Those suggestions sound like clues for a loser. Pas moi!

I prefer the idea of combining the optimism of a matchmaker with the pragmatism of a headhunter and, rather than “fixing up” one person with another, curate a world of intersecting lives, mix and match the personalities, try new combinations of singles. And don’t leave any of it to an algorithm. Because even with tools like OkCupid or Facebook, the internet isn’t the most efficient way to meet new people. If I see you’re “friends” with someone who interests me, am I really going to ask you to introduce me to them? If I “friend” that intriguing contact of yours, will we ever meet in person? Again, you can’t replace the face to face. I believe it’s necessary to shift the impetus from the ether to the here and now.

My vision for this “service,” if that’s what I wind up calling it, is to put a select group of interesting people into a room together and hope for that magical alchemy. Best case scenario, someone finds true love. Even if no one goes home with a phone number, they’ll most certainly enjoy an entertaining evening. Most importantly, everyone meets a few new folks. And, voila!, social circles expanded!

Last night’s party was the first step and, I have to say, I do believe it was a success. My initial goal was to have everyone meet someone new. Out of the 20 guests, I’ve only known four of them for more than a month. So the goal of “new” was achieved — for me, at least! Male or female, people found new friends.

Going forward, I’m hoping to hold one of these cocktail mixers each month and expand into organizing “field trips” as well, taking my select singles shooting at the Westside Pistol & Rifle Range, ice skating in Central Park or to arc welding lessons at the Madagascar Institute.

If you’re interested in joining us, email me! And if you have suggestions — about a field trip destination, other ways of incorporating new faces, whatever — let me know!