Tag Archives: New York City

A “Real” Date

I went on a date. And no, it wasn’t an OKCupid date. I actually met the guy in person when he came into the bar for Burning Man Happy Hour on the 4th of July. He’d seen my post about it and we’d corresponded. He was visiting from California. Did New York City have a CORE Project?

He came in with a friend who had his young son in tow. They were drunk…and got drunker, hanging out at the bar all afternoon. I enjoyed their company. He stayed way later than his friend and even after I hurried off to a friend’s rooftop to see the fireworks. I should’ve invited him along.

But he emailed me when he got back home, thanking me for a good time and offering to reciprocate if I’d be passing through California on my way up to Gerlach. He also complimented me: “You are smokin’ hot when you throw the post x 2.” I was flattered. And I responded that yes, indeed, I would be in Marin between NYC and NV.

So when I got to San Rafael I let him know I was local and we made plans. I showed up at his house at 8 and we had a few beers, chatting like mad. We walked into town to see some live music; I don’t think we even looked at the band much less listened to it, but we had a few more beers. Then we strolled back to his place where I drank water. (This being California, I didn’t want to drive too drunk.) He asked if I wanted to spend the night and offered the couch, but I demurred.

As we stood in his driveway, saying goodnight, I wasn’t sure if the date had been a romantic date or a, you know, hang out kinda date. He hugged me goodbye and I think he might’ve tried to give me a kiss but, again, I couldn’t be sure. It has been so long since someone’s been interested in me I couldn’t tell! My flirtometer is broken!

I followed up on our “date” with an effusive thank you, telling him I hadn’t enjoyed the company of another human being quite that much in a very long time! We both said we hoped to see each other out on the playa. And we exchanged camp locations.

Fast forward a few weeks and we both made a few attempts to find each other. I stopped by his camp and asked if he was around. I came home to a note from him in my trailer. I dropped off some stickers I made for him. He asked about me at the DPW Fuel Station. But, sadly, our playa rendezvous was not to be.

So when I moved back into town I emailed him, asking if he wanted to get together before I headed back to Manhattan. He responded almost immediately. Yay, a good sign! So after returning to San Rafael I let him know I was local again. And…nothin’. I was kinda bummed. But then he showed up at the DPW BBQ at SF Decom. Big hug. Good to see you. All that. And then he had to go work. He emailed me later in the evening but I’d already disappeared.

So more days went by and eventually we made plans. I met him at a bar in the city, where he was seeing a friend’s band. We had a few beers and lasted long after the band had left. We wound up wingin’ drink coasters at the bar staff and laughing with a random handful of patrons, eventually bumbling out the door a few moments before 2am. Not wanting the evening to end (I guess) he said we should get something to eat, so I followed him to Grub Stake. After gravy fries (for me) and eggs (for him) we were standing in the street. And this time there was no “almost” or question about whether there was any romance. He went right in for the kiss. And we stood there, making out, with a light rain falling.

So yeah. Not just one real date but TWO real dates. With a real guy. Who I met in real life. Let’s see what happens next! Cause he’s in NYC quite a bit. And I’m often out west. Sooooo…..

I’m (Almost) Back!

Hello, out there in the blogosphere! Yes, it’s been months. I’ve been out in the Nevada desert working for Burning Man. It was an awesome year, which was totally unexpected. I’ll elaborate once I’m back at my laptop in NYC. At the moment I’m still in California, in a state of semi-limbo, but I’ll be back at this soon.

Some topics I’ve been mulling over that you can look forward to:

• The AWESOME time I had out in the desert! Of course!
• Other Exes
• Something about how the season went with, well, if you were reading pre-July, you know…
• Yes, MORE online dating! High hilarity continues!
• “Is 52 Too Old For…?” Musings about being 52 and wondering if I’m too old for…stuff. It will be an ongoing conversation (with myself).
• Money (between my sister and how much she spends and all the current news and Facebook postings about Occupy Wall Street, it’s been on my mind even more than usual)
• Enlightenment…Spirituality…Motivation…Procrastination

So stay tuned. I get back to NYC on the 24th and will be frantically unpacking, cleaning, seeing friends and prepping for GHOSTLIGHT, the Halloween event I’m co-producing with Chi Chi Valenti. So I’ll see you in November! I can’t wait!

Super Gay Weekend

This past weekend was a whirlwind of GAY! What began Friday night as drinks on the roof deck (but was more like drinks in my living room) wound up being an ebullient celebration of legalized gay marriage in front of The Stonewall Inn. A group of us traipsed over from my apartment and merged with the joyous crowds in the Village. It was an amazing night! And I made it onto TV via the AP reporter who was crammed in with us. My friends and I sang an a capella version of “Goin’ to the Chapel” and joined the whole mass of people for “New York, New York.” The streets were filled with proud New Yorkers, both gay and straight. It was exciting to be part of history in the making.

Saturday I went out to Governors Island in the afternoon to affix the final Figment signage: three art and mini golf maps of Figment (at Liggett) Terrace. After a few quick staplegunnings, I enjoyed a chai latte by the water and waited to meet Jess, who’d finagled tickets to the Governors Island Gay Pride Show at Water Taxi Beach. We had a few drinks and watched the sunset, surrounded by hundreds of sexy, shirtless gay boys, danced to house music and then saw Olivia Newton John. She only sang three songs but she was worth the wait!

Sunday morning I woke up early and got my glitter on in anticipation of the Pride Parade. I met up with Christopher and Bradford and we cabbed it up to 38th and 5th to rendezvous with the rest of our posse. We were a motley group of burners, with more joining us as we marched down Fifth Avenue. It was the perfect day to be decked out in my rainbow sequin cloak with black feather boa trim, but it did get a bit warm while dancing beside the Callen-Lorde float. They had a great DJ and Lynda Carter!

We made it all the way to the end of the parade route, where it became crucial for everyone to get a drink. I couldn’t continue on with the gaiety because I had house guests arriving so I reluctantly crossed town in my sparkles.

The extended weekend festivities made me reflect upon peoples’ politics. While being gay is not a choice, politics are, and unfortunately who you sleep with can be a political statement, whether you want it to be or not. Sadly, there are plenty of people who choose to hate based solely on a person’s sexual preference. I have what I’ll refer to as “a newly minted lesbian” in the family now though I doubt she’d refer to herself in that fashion. I’ve hung around with the freaks for so long that there’s no question where my politics lie (or get laid). It will be interesting to see how — or if — her beliefs change over time. For now, I’ll provide enough gay pride for the both of us!

Super Fun Saturday!

Following the emotional roller coaster of Friday, I was ready for some fun! And, thankfully, Saturday delivered!

The day started early with The Burner Lab Meet & Greet. I’d booked The Delancey’s lush roof deck from noon til 5pm, complete with BBQ grill. Corona was on special and I held off as long as I could, until 1:15. From there it was beer after beer, a parade of bright-eyed newbies and enough grizzled veterans to answer all their eager questions. Kat and Jesse Green were running a crafty corner, letting people decorate leaves for NYC’s CORE tree. Oman, Cinemagirl and Nickname were manning — and womaning — the grill, serving up hot dogs and burgers. I was in such a great mood I was actually nice. To everyone. ALL DAY! I know! Not a smidge of snark! I was like the proverbial burner welcome wagon!

The event really picked up when the Rangers arrived, fresh from their Ranger Training. It was gonna be tough to leave! But I eventually did, with one hell of a buzz, bound for home and a quick change from my DPW Playa Restoration t-shirt (represent!) to a corset and suede high-heeled boots. I brought a PBR in the cab with me en route to Paddles and the memorial for The Hellfire’s eminence gris, Lenny Waller. The place was packed as friend after friend took the mic to reminisce about the man who was the glue that held New York City’s fetish community together for over two decades. He truly was a great humanitarian.

I ran into a lot of familiar faces, many of whom mentioned “the old guard” when they greeted me. Who’d’ve thought that I’d be considered a member of the old guard in a community that I found so late? It was great to see those old friends, people I used to see on almost a weekly basis and hadn’t seen in years. When Porno Jim wrapped up the homages, it was time for me to jump into another cab, headed back downtown.

When I got to my apartment, Douggie, Natasha and Dirtbag were already on my stoop, bags of beer in hand. Soon my apartment was full of folks prepping for the Animus Slumber Party. I stepped out of my high-heeled boots and into a pair of penguin feety pajamas. Numerous PBRs were consumed. Hilarity ensued. And then we tried to get into cabs. Hahahah!

Upon arrival at Santos Party House, we were dismayed to find a giant line. “I can’t stand outside in the rain,” I wailed, “I’m in feety pajamas!” And I was gonna work those feety pajamas! We pled our case with Squire, the party’s co-producer and weasled our way in. The joint was jumpin’ with pajama-clad revelers, some actually playing Spin-the-Bottle on the floor! The DJ on the decks when we showed up wasn’t my favorite but the guy who followed him had me. I was a feety flannel frenzy!

At about 3:30 I hit my wall, realizing that I’d been drinking for 14 straight hours. Not a bad showing, thankyouverymuch, but definitely time to go home. I bleerily hailed a cab and was soon happy to be in bed, sandwiched between my two foster dogs. Before getting into bed, however, I inexplicably found myself on my knees, praying. Yes, praying. I prayed for the strength to get through the summer and seeing my ex every day…for his happiness and my release from whatever sick, hypnotic spell I’ve been under for the past five years… (Because even today I’m still struggling with the stories, both Friday’s and one contained in a heartfelt email from yet another woman who was mesmerized by this man. What is it about narcissists?) Anyway, I called upon the universe — or anyone else who might’ve been listening — to give me a hand, show me the way and, eventually, help me to find love again. With someone who is capable of loving me back. Pray for me, too, won’t you?

Cheating Penises

Ashley Madison is providing me with non-stop high hilarity! If it isn’t some shlub in suburbia trying to convince me that he can really show me a good time, it’s yet another unhappily married 20-something charming me with the tired line “age is just a number.” Far-flung frustrated husbands who are planning a trip to New York City “in the future” attempt to book my oh-so-in-demand time months in advance. Illiterate military men and mono-syllabic muscle heads actually believe we have something in common. Guys with screen names like “slowhand,” “loveto69” and “meontop” let me know that “I have an admirer” in between winks and hearts and virtual emerald necklaces. It’s more amusing than a sitcom!

But probably the best thing about the site is its never-ending parade of penises! They don’t just pop up, unexpected or unannounced. Oh no! You’ve gotta work for them! Most men on AM don’t even post their pathetic, pixelated likenesses. You’ve got to be given cyber-key access to their private albums. Some guys are so shy that clicking on their key brings up…yes, pathetic pixelated shots, usually taken from 50 paces, rendering them…unrecognizable. Guess that’s for the best if their wives suspect they’re trolling the internet for “discreet affairs!”

The bolder guys show you their faces right up front. Their keys might lead you to the dreaded “check out my ripped abs” self portraits. (Or their not-so-ripped abs! Hah!) But the really “ballsy” dudes have additional “rated” photos that require an extra click beyond their secret key. Guess what’s usually in there? That’s right! Hard cock!

Now you, my dear readers, know that I am far from being a prude! You also know that I personally prefer a little mystery. What the hell are these guys thinking? Do they believe that one glimpse of their magical love wands will so enchant me that I won’t be able to resist a rendezvous with them at the first possible moment? That I’ll be on my knees, salivating at the idea of unzipping their flies, mere seconds after we’ve met?

As one might expect, there aren’t too many embarrassing members on display. If you’re less-than-well-endowed, you probably aren’t eager to advertise the fact. (Unless you’re like my new friend Little Dick!) So yes, all these online erections are certainly impressive. And perhaps there are, indeed, women out there who only want to see what might be the eventual “goods.” Though I would also assume that along with their enthusiasm for these guys’ goods, they’re equally eager to get into their wallets. I’ve already heard tales of women who make no “bones” about their desire to be someone’s sugar baby, expressing interest in the regular ol’ quid pro quo arrangement of “You take care of me and I’ll take care of you!” Yeah, you and your GIANT COCK! Hahahahahah!

To prove my point, right in the middle of my writing this post, I checked my inbox and a somewhat homely gentleman whose advances I had gently turned down made his last “stab” with: “You need to be inspired? hmmm…I have a webcam…I think I can inspire you…I look MUCH better than pics…and I have certain qualities I’m confident you wouldn’t dislike too often…
so..you just never know…”

My response? “If you’re saying you have a huge cock, I’m currently blogging about how pathetic that is. It means nothing.
Seriously. Get a grip.
I am inspired by a lot of things. A hard-on isn’t one of them.”

The sad thing about all this is that I bet if these idiots emailed their wives pictures of their hard cocks, of them fervently masturbating in front of the bathroom mirror, it might actually spice up their supposedly dull married sex lives. But what the hell do I know?

I’ll leave you with this brief, blurry, almost flip-book like series of action shots that one gentlemen was thoughtful enough to share with me. Enjoy!


Is It True What They Say…About Ashley Madison Men?

So I’ve been on Ashley Madison for over a week now and the emails have been piling up. They are, quite literally, all over the map: 21-year-olds to 67-year-olds, San Diego to Ontario and everywhere in between. My initial observations still stand: most of the men are married, as one might expect, and most of those married men are both taller and better looking than the motley selection of single dudes on other dating sites. General behavior is markedly more paranoid and evasive, no doubt a symptom of sneaking.

The site goes back and forth on letting me respond to my admirers for free, either cutting me off completely while waiting for my profile to be “approved” or informing me that I need to purchase credits. I’m not sure if the site is buggy or if their tech is just crap. They extended 25 free credits after what I’m assuming was my complimentary grace period yet now I intermittently seem to have more. No notice of when or why I have more, just sometimes when I hit “reply” my message is magically delivered while other times it is sent “collect,” an embarrassing situation I’d prefer to avoid.

I’ve already managed to meet up with two men in person and neither of them are married. Of course, neither is technically single, either. I’ll change their names, to make it all seem more mysterious:

“Dave” is a tall, dark and handsome former professional athlete from suburban Long Island who is going through a divorce. He has a great sense of humor, seemed to be entertained by me and was generous to a fault: he not only treated me to a bunch of yummy purple margaritas, he bought rounds for my friends as well. (The plan was to meet him for a few cocktails before I was meeting my pals and he wound up hanging out. Don’t want anyone to think I invited him to a group gathering expecting him to carry all of us!) He wasn’t in the least bit sad-sack and genuinely enthused, “Abby, you are living!” which cracked me up. Yes, indeed, I am! He eventually bumbled off to dinner with a friend but neglected to follow up with a “nice meeting you” email or anything else. I sent one to him and he responded with a very brief and non-committal communiqué, so I’ll assume that I won’t be seeing him again. Either, upon sober reflection, my “living” life frightened him off or he’s not as deep into that divorce as he said he was. Who knows? I enjoyed his company and didn’t have to pay to get drunk! Huzzah!

“Jim” immediately struck my fancy. His profile listed him as “attached” but he didn’t seem over-eager to jump into bed, sounding more like a businessman stuck in the city in search of someone with whom to share dinner and perhaps a few laughs. Easy enough! We met at a new neighborhood restaurant and he was even better looking in person than he’d been online. Tall, dark, distinguished touch of grey at the temples and great teeth! Fantastic smile, too! His story turned out to be that he’s divorced but seeing someone and they’re both just…bored. Seems to be a common affliction. Surprise! Anyway…at least I wasn’t gonna be cast in the “other woman, dreaded home-wrecker” role… His sexual history was a hoot as well: Catholic schoolboy-cum-college student loses his virginity to a married 40-something Mrs. Robinson and they carry on a torrid four-year affair! She teaches him “things that still work!” Whoa, baby! Sounds good to me!

We immediately fell into an easy and engaging conversation — the perfect balance of banter — and agreed on beers, tapas and just about everything else! He interjected a few suggestive asides but, rather than being off-putting, they were wryly delivered and therefor surprisingly welcomed. He was animated and intelligent and earnestly seemed to find me “really interesting.” When he leaned in for a quick kiss, with the somewhat chestnut-ty “Sorry, I couldn’t resist any longer,” even that was perfectly timed. We had a couple of beers and a lot of laughs — the perfect date — and when he walked me home there were more than a few absolutely amazing kisses. I can’t really explain why I didn’t drag his ass upstairs into my apartment. Sigh. I blamed my reluctance on the messy foster dog situation but maybe the situation itself just felt a bit too…cliché. It’s really a horse I need to get back on and ride, if you’ll forgive the hackneyed phraseology. Next time I’ll force myself! Giddyup! Stay tuned!

Unique Theater Experience to Debut in West Chelsea

I wrote this for NearSay.com. Love them!

NearSay has just gotten word about an exciting new theatrical experience that will soon be taking place in West Chelsea. New York City-based production company, Emursive, is bringing the internationally acclaimed theatre team Punchdrunk’s premiere show, ‘Sleep No More’ to the Big Apple. Opening night is March 7th, 2011.

Their press release reveals a few tantalizing hints: “A legendary hotel… Shakespeare’s fallen hero… A film noir shadow of suspense… Punchdrunk’s ‘Sleep No More’ is an award-winning theatrical experience that tells Shakespeare’s classic tragedy.”

I was fortunate to be among a group that was given a preview tour of the recently re-appointed space. Formerly Twilo and Spirit nightclubs, as well as psychedelic artist Alex Grey‘s Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, over 300 into artisans have totally transformed the six-floor venue into “The McKittrick Hotel.” More than 100 rooms will amuse and confuse theatre guests, including a hotel lobby, lounges that will serve alcohol, trompe l’oeil extravagances and many other impressive feats of set-building. The sweeping installation is nothing short of incredible.

More from their press release that I can’t explain better myself: “Since 2000, Punchdrunk has pioneered a game-changing form of immersive theatre in which roaming audiences experience epic storytelling inside sensory theatrical worlds. The company’s infectious format rejects the passive obedience usually expected of audiences.”

In other words, the experience will be unlike anything you’ve ever attended on Broadway – or any other theatre. “Free to encounter the installed environment in an individual, imaginative journey, the choice of what to watch and where to go is theirs alone,” the producers invite you, adding that “audience members are encouraged to move freely through the epic world of the story at their own pace, choosing where to go and what to see.” This free-form format ensures that “everyone’s journey will be unique.” Guests wishing to view the entire production may need to return a number times or more and take a different route each visit. And perhaps even better than presenting a new and unique way to enjoy theater, the show will employ potentially dozens of actors!

Book in advance and be the first among your friends to experience all the surprises! Tickets and more information about the show can be found at their web site. And for more information about Punchdrunk theatre company:www.punchdrunk.org.uk.

Sleep No More
The McKittrick Hotel
530 West 27th Street

 

2010’s 10 Best New Things About the East Village

Everyone has their year-end wrap-ups and this one is strictly a matter of opinion! The subtitle should be “IMHO.” With that in mind, I present the 10 best new things to arrive in the East Village this year, in no particular order:

Ninth Ward
180 Second Avenue
212-979-9273
It seems as though there’s a new bar opening every other minute in the East Village (much to the consternation of many co-op owners and Community Board 3). I’m a fan; I’d rather have a bar open up than one more branch of one more bank. Or a Starbucks. I can’t say I’ve visited each new watering hole; to be honest, I tend to obsessively frequent, like, one or two favorites. But when I bumbled into Ninth Ward one frigid Saturday afternoon in late November, curious about this new bar with a New Orleans name, I was beyond impressed. The place is gorgeous! There are intimate booths with velvet curtains you can draw to make them even more so. The walls are shutters that replicate the blocking out of blazing sun. The bathrooms are labeled “Sex,” “Drugs” and “Rock & Roll.” Hah! There’s a beautifully designed back yard with a fountain. And the centerpiece is a real wood-burning fireplace! But don’t rely on just the décor! They have a two-for-one happy hour that rivals even the best dive bars. There’s a kitchen that serves up tasty Cajun-inspired dishes. They have a wide selection of Abita brews on tap. And a staff that manages to balance efficient and polite with hip and handsome. The only downside is that most nights the place is packed with annoying yupsters. Sigh. There’s simply no fighting it. So you’ll find me there on random weekend days or early evening Mondays. Because it’s my favorite new bar!

New York Film Academy Café
51 Astor Place
347-829-6932
I have never actually been inside this coffee shop but I walk by it almost every day and the mere fact that it’s no longer (yet another) Starbucks is reason enough to love them. Nuff said.

Nordstrom Rack
1 Union Square South
212-220-2080
I’m a veteran bargain shopper. The less I pay for something the more triumphant I feel! I love clothing swaps and sales, thrift shops and freebies. So I welcomed the arrival of Nordstrom Rack with wide open, bargain-embracing arms. It’s a manageable size (as opposed to a regular department store) and impressively organized (as opposed to other bargain meccas like Century 21 and Loehmann’s) and the inventory moves along from fresh to marked down in a timely fashion. It’s pretty much my go-to store for just about anything I need clothing-wise. The fact that they carry shoes – both designer and not-so-designer – in my size (12!) makes me adore them even more.

NYC Icy
100 Avenue A
Yeah, so January isn’t the best time of year for an icy but that doesn’t mean they slip off my list of year-end awesomeness. When it’s 95 degrees out, with 95 percent humidity, there’s nothing like a frosty little cup of yummy! This tiny sidewalk stand is nestled between East Village Farm and Black Market and serves up scoops of exotically flavored ice. Just the thing to slurp while people watching in Tompkins Square Park!

PS 122 Renovation
150 First Avenue
212-477-5288
No, PS 122 isn’t new but their facelift sure is! For years, and I mean YEARS, I’ve walked past that lovely old building and thought to myself, “If I ever win the lottery, I’m gonna donate the money to fix that place up!” Well, I haven’t won the lottery but the renovation happened anyway and it looks great! Now, if only they’d do something about that unsightly black grating, it would look like it did the day it was built. Yes, there was a day when it the heavy bars might’ve been necessary to keep the bums from pissing in the doorway. That day is pretty much over.

South Brooklyn Pizza
122 First Avenue
212-533-2879
Their window displays a giant wheel of cheese in a chilly fridge. My friend installed the kick-ass sound system. And it’s pizza, fer crissakes. But those aren’t the reasons this place is on my list. Nope, it’s because any movement from hipsterville, to our east, back in the western direction of Manhattan is fine by me! That’s right, I’m a borough snob. Whaddayagonnadoboudit?

Good Beer NYC
422 East 9th street
212-677-4836
Um, do I even need to say why this shop made my short list? It sells nothing but beer! Admittedly, fancy beer, and I’m really more of a PBR kinda gal. But it’s at least a nose-thumbing at all those damn East Village wine joints that cater to people who, ya know, like WINE! Burp!

Dang Lai Palace
180 Third Avenue
212-505-2000
Yup, this is another place I’ve never actually been to. Because I order in, beaotch! I love me some skinny, slippery mai fun noodles and this place delivers! Literally! Their serving of edamame is generous and suitably snappy and I am a recent convert to their spicy seafood tom yum soup. Their menu says “formerly Happy Palace” and I’m sure they’re formerly a whole lotta other similar establishments. As long as their phone number remains the same, I’ll be calling them when I need my noodle fix!

Dr. Brendan
8 St. Marks Place
917-544-5949
Apple owners rejoice! Finally, there is an emergency room for your Mac! And you don’t need to take a number and wait for…hours. Yes, I love those folks up at Tekserve but, even though there’s loads to look at while you wait…and wait and wait…to be waited on, it’s still a huge inconvenience, if only because it’s such a haul from my house. Enter Dr. Brendan’s. I’m not sure exactly who Brendan is but when I popped in the other day there were a couple totally casual dudes who greeted me warmly, answered my questions as though I were standing in their living room and offered to give my MacBook’s ailing DVD drive a free diagnostic evaluation. Woohoo! (In defense of the two dudes, they used far more regular-guy terminology which, oddly, I can’t recall to accurately quote them…thusly did I descend into stilted tech-speak!) Plus they accept electronics to be recycled. I dropped off my old 3G tower and told them I’d be back with more business for them. Hopefully they won’t get so much business that they’ll start making us take numbers!

This Little Piggy Had Roast Beef
149 First Avenue
212-253-1500
Yes, this meaty gem is part of a restaurant “trio” that includes Artichoke Basille and Led Zeppole, also located in the East Village, but thank gawd they’re not another chain! The reason I loved Manhattan when I moved here is because it wasn’t like everywhere else and the homogenization of the city can get depressing. So kudos to every new eatery that isn’t a Chipotle or selling us FIVE DOLLAR FOOTLONGS! Sigh. Better to buy a drippy sandwich of sizzling beef slathered in squeezey cheese! Huzzah!

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!

Couchsurfing Social

So my friend Brooke Allen, the “pizza interview dude,” as I keep referring to him, recommended that I join Couchsurfing. I may seem mobile, but I don’t really travel all that much. And when I do, I usually have somewhere to stay. So I don’t necessarily need to couchsurf. And when I’m “home,” as in my “own” apartment, there isn’t much space. I’m happy to share what little space I have with friends but I don’t quite know how I feel about opening up my home to strangers. That said, I’m not totally opposed to the idea, either. But Brooke thinks it’s a great site, a great way to meet interesting new people and a great way to network — all wonderful things. So I signed up.

It is, yes, one more social networking site in that it requires upkeep: put up a photo, fill out a profile, link to people you know and…keep doing that shit over and over, just like MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Etsy and…oh! This BLOG! Sigh. Where’s the log cabin that’s off the motherfucking grid? Anyway!

So I signed up for the site and then joined a few of their groups: New York City, Writers, Burning Man, etc. They each send out group posts and I chose to receive the weekly digest. I used to be on the weekly digest for the NYC Burning Man email list and wound up switching the individual emails. It means dozens of emails a day, sometimes, but it’s better than missing out on stuff!

It came to my attention pretty quickly that the New York City Couchsurfers meet up once a week and I thought I should check out one of those meet-ups. It took me a few weeks but I ventured out last night. I started at a pre-“Revival Meeting” dinner, where the people I met explained that that’s what the meet-ups are called. Revival was the venue the meet-ups were held in the past; now they’re somewhere different every week. Hmm, makes sense… The group at the Thai restaurant was very international and a mix of New York residents and visitors: French, Ukrainian, Brazilian, Thai. It was an interesting collection! And they were trading stories of nightmarish or hilarious Couchsurfing experiences: Bed bugs! Dog shit! Toilets that don’t flush! Nude men you have to share a bed with! Mandatory ménage a trois!

After everyone finished their dinners, we strolled across town to Affair on Eighth. I ordered a pint of Stella that only cost $4, so I was instantly enamored of the establishment! The group seemed somehow more homogenous, perhaps because I didn’t speak with everyone. The age range was also homogenous, primarily 20- to 30-somethings. I wasn’t feeling especially gregarious or even all that motivated to meet people so I mostly observed, except for the guy who I overheard describing Spa Castle. I told him I’d been there and that it was awesome. But that was the extent of our interaction. Then a musician started singing and strumming his guitar; live music is not all that conducive to conversation.

One young man asked someone something about Burning Man, so I chatted him up a bit. He said he was a recent resident and not even yet official, that he was waiting to take an apartment until he got a job. Even though he’s fresh out of college, he seemed to be the only person I related to much…

I left after only two beers and those two brief conversations, not quite sure that Couchsurfing is for me. But we’ll see. Maybe next time I write about it, it’ll be after I’ve hosted the world’s most interesting house guest!