Tag Archives: Romance

The One That Got Away

For some reason this phrase has been on my mind lately. Not for any sensible reason. I don’t feel that it defines me at all to anyone and I can’t think of an ex I let “get away.” I’ve also never heard anyone I know personally use these words. The only place they seem to come up is in fiction, most specifically romantic comedies. And fairy tales. (Probably in romance novels as well, but I’ve never really read any.) Is it a construct? An overly romanticized concept that might move a plot line along but never actually happens in reality?

Along with the absence of the phrase in my friends’ love lives, I can’t recall any of them even referring to an ex in any sort of overly-regretful way. It seems most exes are exes for good (if there is such a thing) or at least sensible reasons. When the topic comes up onscreen, however, the characters converse; they discuss “the one who got away” in glowing terms: “Cindy was so amazing. Why did you let her go?” Or “Max was so great. What happened to him?”

With the somewhat current usage of (reliance on?) the vaguely annoying (and oddly powerless) “Everything happens for a reason,” we can all write off the ending of any relationship as the best for both people. As was recently pointed out to me by one of my detractors (critics?), I never refer to any of my past, less than successful (failed?) relationships. (Well, the possible exception could be “Scared Sexless,” from ages ago. I ‘m sure my detractors will hate that post, too, and find some way to twist my words into misandry.) I’m not much of a regretter. While I don’t subscribe to the “everything happens for a reason” school of thought, I do believe that my relationships ended in a rather mutual fashion. In other words, both of us reached the conclusion that things weren’t working at more or less the same time. So while there were varying degrees of heartache and angst, feelings of love on the part of both parties slipped away as opposed to being abruptly cut off. (Obviously these exes may disagree. You are all free to contact them and ask.) So none of my friends have ever wondered how I let any of these guys “get away.” And I doubt any of their friends have harassed them by saying “I can’t believe you let Abby ‘get away’.” Of course, no one says this to the dumped one, only to the (perceived) dumper. It would be callous to ask “Why the hell did you accept that breakup?” And I can’t imagine anyone saying “You deserved to be dumped.”

But man, in the movies, we’re always pulling for our protagonist as his/her exes’ friends give him/her hell for letting said protagonist “get away.” They work behind the scenes to ensure that the star-crossed lovers will ultimately be reunited. And we know that, in the end, our underdog will eventually get his/her girl/guy. Unfortunately life is far messier and, while there are plenty of happy endings, they usually don’t come about in a tidy, 90-minute way.

Yet I find myself fantasizing about my exes’ friends asking them,  “Why did you let Abby get away?” I can’t realistically believe that being reunited with any of my past “protagonists” would be a good idea. Or that the relationship would be any more successful now than it was previously. Could it be because if life were a romantic comedy, everything would be resolved in a neat 90 minutes? And that I’d be guaranteed my happily ever after? Maybe if I grow my hair long enough I can drop it out the window and a handsome prince will climb up and rescue me…

Recollecting Love

The exercise to determine if my past loves had anything in common was a real eye-opener. I couldn’t believe how few memories I was able to conjure, particularly about the sex. Obviously the more recent the encounters were, the more clear the recollections. And those that were unusual in some way — location, circumstances, etc. — had a better chance of being indelibly seared onto my grey matter. Yet although it was tough accessing what the sex was like, just thinking about each of these men brought back the way I felt about them. Vividly.

I can clearly recall the particular brand of passion I felt for each individual person. In other words, while the loins may not recall the lovemaking, the heart most certainly remembers the love. In the book “On Love,” the general takeaway was that falling in love requires a certain suspension of disbelief. Among other things. Including an involuntary loss of control. Even now, I can still almost feel each loss of control that was required to fall in love with each of these men. I remember the heartaches, too. And all the songs that made me cry once I’d broken up with them. It’s bizarre how much emotion is trapped in our psyches. Perhaps it’s time for some psychic spring cleaning to make way for new emotions! (Okay, sorry. Didn’t mean to get all “om shanti” on you guys! It just felt sorta poetic…) And now, for a little listen to my musical psychic memories:

J1: Almost anything by Elton John, plus Led Zeppelin II, Ziggy Stardust and Dark Side of the Moon…
J2: Yes: Time and a Word
B: Phil Collins: Against All Odds
M: I can’t remember any for him! : ( I’m sure it was something awful and early 90s…
E: Soul Asylum: Somebody to Shove
J3: Praise Cats featuring Andrea Love: Shined On Me
J4: The Flaming Lips:  Do You Realize

Facts on Past Loves

Alec Baldwin is engaged. The man is 54. His fiancée is 28. Uh-huh.

Yes, I’m obsessed. Obsessed with AGE. Ageism. My age. Old age. The ages of the men who cruise me online who are my age but look so, so much older. And the men who’ve visited me at the bar, parking their asses in the punk rock surroundings and looking incredibly out of place. Oh. And my fear. My fear that there is simply no one out there who will save me from a lonely dotage.

But I refuse to succumb to this fate. I will continue to delude myself that there is, indeed, someone out there, regardless of age, who will appeal to me. Who I will appeal to. Someone with whom I’ll click. And fuck.

I’ve been trying to figure out if there are any similar traits in the many men I’ve managed to fall in love with. Height? Weight? Cock size? Hair color? I say I love great teeth but have any of these guys actually had great teeth? What really matters? Let’s have a look, shall we?

J1:
Age: Two years older than me.
Height: 5’11”
Build: Slender
Looks? Okay. Could be cute at moments.
Cock Size: Average, I guess…it was my first!
Hair Color: Dark Brown
Eye Color: Brown
Great Teeth? No
Most apparent personality trait: Somewhat nondescript.
What, if anything, did we have in common? Not much. He came from “the wrong side of the tracks” and didn’t have much ambition.
Circumstances of initial sexual encounter? I lost my virginity to him and he gave me my first orgasm.
Comments: He stayed in pretty much the same place his whole life and is still there now. He has more money (and property) than I do. Not sure if he’s still married. We were more a couple of convenience; since friends of ours got together it made sense for us to couple up as well.

J2:
Age: Same age as me.
Height: 6″1″
Build: Slender
Looks? Really cute.
Cock Size: Slightly above average, if I recall correctly, and also “slender.”
Hair Color: Dark Brown. And curly!
Eye Color: Blue
Great Teeth? Yes, if not perfect. A great smile!
Most apparent personality trait: Extremely gregarious. A male version of me.
What, if anything, did we have in common? At the time, everything. We lived in the same dorm, both born in May, same ages. Probably equal IQs and quick wits. Adventurous, partiers, loved to dress up, all around fun.
Circumstances of initial sexual encounter? I don’t really remember. We were both slutting around like crazy those first few months of college and were friends, first. After much note writing on each other’s white boards, we decided to take the relationship a step further. It was good, as I recall…
Comments: As is most of college, it’s a blur of booze and drugs and music and roommates and messy fights about stupid shit. But it was most definitely passionate.

B:
Age: Two years younger? Three? Maybe even four…
Height: 5’8″
Build: Leaning toward future pudge but probably best described as average.
Looks? Model adorable!
Cock Size: Average
Hair Color: Light brown-to-blond
Eye Color: Blue-green
Great Teeth? Yes
Most apparent personality trait: Shy, studious, polite, a very “nice” guy.
What, if anything, did we have in common? Not much. He was friends with the guys who lived downstairs from me when I moved to Newport Beach. He slept with my sister first, surprisingly… He was still in college and I was working for Times Mirror Videotext, a totally 9-to-5’er and wanna be yuppie. We had a lot of romance.
Circumstances of initial sexual encounter? I think I seduced him! Seriously, he was so cute…and available.
Comments: We were really in two different places in our lives but we managed to make it work for a short while. He’s now a family counselor and happily married. Still a very nice guy.

M:
Age: Four years younger, I think.
Height: 5’8″
Build: Average
Looks? Kinda cute.
Cock Size: Average
Hair Color: Dark Brown and Curly
Eye Color: Brown
Great Teeth? Definitely not.
Most apparent personality trait: Chatty, friendly.
What, if anything, did we have in common? Just about nothing. He worked nights in a local club, I worked days at NYPress (I think) and bartended two nights a week; we didn’t have all that much time together.
Circumstances of initial sexual encounter? I thought it was gonna be a one-night stand. Brought him home from the club and then…he called. We lived together for about two years. And went on some fun vacations.
Comments: This was definitely a case of taking what came along. Looking back, I can’t believe we lasted as long as we did. We really weren’t a very good match.

E:
Age: Four years younger. Definitely.
Height: 5’9″
Build: Slender
Looks? Cute in ways.
Cock Size: Above average.
Hair Color: When I met him, he was dying it black and it was long. Natural color was a pale brown and curly once it got long-ish.
Eye Color: Pale blue
Great Teeth? Not perfect, but a great smile.
Most apparent personality trait: Shy, quiet. He had a very nice “way.” Serious. Very “German” in a work ethic-type way.
What, if anything, did we have in common? We had a lot in common. We were both writers, pornographers, fans and consumers of peculiar things…
Circumstances of initial sexual encounter? He was initially a one-night stand and that first night was…great. He called and we fucked like bandits for a long while, long past when we got married. The passion faded, as it often does, and attempts to rekindle it were largely unsuccessful.
Comments: Though the first seven years (?!?!) were wonderful, communication eventually deteriorated… It still makes me sad to think about it because he was the closest I’d ever come to a true “soul mate.” We were married, in the end, for 16 years, even if those last few were somewhat estranged. He is a great guy and I miss him.

J3:
Age; Eight years younger, I think…
Height: 6’1″
Build: Slender
Looks? Handsome
Cock Size: Above average, also “slender”?
Hair Color: Light Brown
Eye Color: Green/Grey/Hazel
Great Teeth? Yes
Most apparent personality trait: Gregarious, fun, partier, political, serious at times.
What, if anything, did we have in common? Well, we had (and still have) Burning Man in common, and often that’s enough.
Circumstances of initial sexual encounter? Oh my…there was just sooo much making out before any sex at all. SO MUCH making out! And the best ever. The sex, when it finally happened, was pretty damned great. Though the “forbidden” aspect probably contributed to that quite a bit.
Comments: Out of all these guys, he’s the only one I’m still close with. I sure do wish I could recapture the passion I had for him because he’s certainly handy!

J4:
Age: Twelve years younger. Fer sure.
Height: 6′
Build: Stocky
Looks? Handsome, in an odd way.
Cock Size: Above average, especially girth-wise.
Hair Color: Dark Brown
Eye Color: Brown
Great Teeth? Nope.
Most apparent personality trait: Quiet, brooding, cultivated an air of mystery. Smart.
What, if anything, did we have in common? We were both working DPW so it was Burning Man to the nth degree. It’s like a secret society or cult; once you’re a member, there’s a blood bond.
Circumstances of initial sexual encounter? We were wandering around during the event, dropped E and I dragged him back to my tent for a blowjob. Subsequent encounters were fucking amazing…to the degree that I found myself painfully obsessed. We would break up and be apart, only to re-couple. It was brutal. And unfortunately the best sex of my life. I’ll attribute much of that to experience…
Comments: Since the guy is a pathological liar it’s tough to say nice things from my current perspective. It was most definitely not a healthy relationship. But I loved him more than anyone ever will. Getting over him has been a horror. Thank heavens I feel mostly healed!

So what can I glean from this exercise? That great teeth aren’t a necessity. That the guy doesn’t need to be taller than me. Dark hair more than light…shy or serious, sorta inconsequential. And apparently it doesn’t even matter if we have anything in common. So what is it that makes for romance? Oh, if only I knew! If only anyone knew! There’d be no need for online dating sites or matchmakers or any of that crap! Collectively, we stumble blindly toward the light.

“On Love”

I just finished reading “On Love,” a novel by Alain de Botton. He’s supposedly famous for “How Proust Can Change Your Life” but I’d never heard of him; this was his first novel. I found this book in my building’s “free box” and thought it sounded…interesting. Well, imagine a text book about love. With numbered paragraphs, the process of falling in love is carefully and logically explained by the protagonist who finds himself, quite suddenly, immersed in that process. It is, in ways, as logical and clinical as say, a treatise on Sociology (or any other -ology). However, being about love, which is anything but logical or clinical (or even explicable), the poor guy struggles with understanding his irrationality.

Sigh. That sounds like academic gobbledygook and doesn’t do the book justice. It was both interesting and charming, as in I felt “charmed” by the man’s words and emotions. As he desperately attempts to deconstruct love, his miserable failure to do so captures the way we all feel as we fall. And “falling” is the ideal word: that helpless experience of losing control.

There were a few passages I dog-eared because they were so great:

“In the oasis complex, the thirsty man imagines he sees water, palm trees, and shade not because he has the evidence for the belief, but because he has a need for it. Desperate needs bring about a hallucination of their solution. Thirst hallucinates water, the need for love hallucinates the ideal man or woman. The oasis complex is never a complete delusion; the man in the desert does see something on the horizon. It is just that the palms have withered, the well is dry, and the place is infected with locusts.”

How true this seems to me. It explains how someone who is a single, free-spirited dominatrix one day can become a happily married 9-to-5’er the next. She merely hallucinated her need for love and — voila! — the perfect man presented himself. Thus explains my inability to find “the perfect man”: I have not yet hallucinated the need for love. Perhaps next week…

“Dr. Saavedra had diagnosed a case of anhedonia, a disease defined by the British Medical Association as a reaction remarkably close to mountain sickness resulting from the sudden terror brought on by the threat of happiness. It was a common disease among tourists in this region of Spain, faced in these idyllic surroundings with the sudden realization that earthly happiness might be within their grasp, and who therefore became prey to a violent physiological  reaction designed to counteract such a possibility.”

This “illness,” anhedonia, made me curious. Was it a real illness? Sure enough, I looked it up and it was defined as “Loss of the capacity to experience pleasure. The inability to gain pleasure from normally pleasurable experiences,” and was a symptom of depression or schizophrenia. Hmm. The route being “hedonism” this was the opposite  and one might recognize the copy from antidepressant commercials. How odd — and sad — that there’s a medical definition for the inability to be happy. Having experienced depression I can say that yes, it happens. Thankfully I’ve come out the other side and now find myself often feeling inexplicably gleeful over the most mundane things: my coffee mugs lined up in my cupboard, a clean basket of laundry, the way a new sweater perfectly matches an old skirt. Even literally “stopping to smell the roses” can bring about a burst of joy.

But enough about all that happiness. I know my stats on here are always far higher when I’m cunty and grumbling. I’ll be back to discuss “On Cunty” soon!

Is Romance in the Air?

I recently hosted another one of my singles’ mixers. It seemed like a success; a few people exchanged numbers. One of my friends opted not to attend, feeling somewhat crestfallen after a less than pleasant blind date. But she called me today to let me know that she met someone last night. This guy sounds promising and my fingers are crossed for her. Another friend opted out as well, still smarting from a short-lived relationship, but attended a party over the weekend and met someone he’s excited to see again.

It may seem overly optimistic to predict a trend based on only two instances but I’m calling it! Perhaps it’s the planets or maybe it’s the holiday season. Whatever the reasons, I sense romance is in the air!

Yesterday I received a mysterious email.:

it was quite by chance that lost in key food I found myself recognizing you in the spice aisle on black Friday. As I later (vanilla extract in basket) stood behind you in the self checkout queue my thoughts danced betwixt, wow her red hair is so long, impressive, nice figure, should I thank her for the mention in the NY mag piece about being razzed floral bouquet in hand or invite her to play some pinball at Manitoba’s, be told off for being so fresh in person. If you’d like to have a beer or play some pinball on a quiet night, let me know.

I responded: Wow. I feel like I’m in a Nora Ephron movie! Or looking on Craigslist at those “Missed Connections” ads! 
If you saw me in Key Food, chances are I wasn’t at my most glamorous, so I appreciate your kind words! Hah! Er, HO HO HO! My long hair is in desperate need of a trim; I’m waiting for my friend who does hair to visit from Marseille! 
Umm…I would be up for pinball and a beer at Manitoba’s any time. (Well, ALMOST any time…my tendency to over schedule myself goes against my ability to be spontaneous…) 

Way back in the springtime I wrote a “Sex Diary.” It was more like a “no sex diary.” The New York Magazine feature is a week-long diary chronicling the sexual activities — or in my case, the lack thereof — of the writers. I felt compelled to contribute my non-sex week mostly to drive home the point that not everyone is getting laid every fucking minute and that those of us who are 50-plus and single experience even less action. Not like that’s new to you, my dear readers! Anyway, the “assignment” is to write down not only sex acts but include masturbation and flirtation. I found myself really “reaching” and, at one point, mentioned receiving an email on OKCupid from a handsome man I’d passed on the street. His email:

I am (insert high percentage point here) sure I saw you and made eye contact with a smirk on my face last thursday or friday, I had a bouquet of flowers it was 1st and 5th street and the cops had just razzed me, so the smirk was a combo of them and my fixation on your body….hello.

I wrote back: Hah! I actually recall seeing you! I wondered who you were taking the flowers to, thinking she was a lucky woman!

As I wrote in the Sex Diary, I was flattered that the guy not only was fixated on my body but that he was able to find me amidst the thousands of women on OkCupid and recognize me by my kooky photo! Miraculously, he spotted me again. And it sounds like he’s still inspired by my body. Nice!

As I wrote in my response to him yesterday, it really was like one of those “Missed Connections” ads on Craigslist: “You were on line at Key Food, I was buying vanilla extract.” I’ve often wondered if any of those people ever find each other. I’ve been really working at “focusing outward” lately yet have resisted simply striking up a conversation with someone I found attractive, only to regret it later. I’m afraid to come across as crazy…or desperate. Why do we hold ourselves back this way? In New York City, it could be because who has time to talk to every person they pass? (Or find attractive, for that matter!) So striking up conversations with strangers is frowned upon. But it happens all the time. I bet in all those “how to pick up chicks” books, casual conversation is the rule of thumb. I could always ask for the time…or directions. It is a means to an end. So although it may feel contrived or, like those books may be, insincere, in the pursuit of meeting more of my fellow man, I’m going to strive to speak to more strangers. Handsome strangers!

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!