One of those myths was that people actually married after meeting online. Everyone talks about knowing someone—his or her sister’s best friend’s brother’s second cousin met his spouse through online dating, sort of thing.
BUT, it was my contention that nobody actually knew someone—and then my friend Jeanne took my theory and tore it to pieces.
She met and planned to marry Tom—a man she met on Match.com.
Well, we all know how those things can seem brilliant when one is caught up in that “new love thingamajig” but with the passage of time the desire to make that kind of commitment often wanes.
On December 16th with a little over one hundred friends and family members present, Jeanne and Tom tied the knot!
Jeanne was absolutely stunning in her wedding gown and I’m going to go out on a limb here and confirm that you don’t have to be a virgin to wear white as was once required.
When she couldn’t find the exact shoes she was looking for, my talented friend made these:
They wrote their vows and I loved what Tom had to say about their union:
“On this day, I give you my heart, my promise that I will walk with you hand and hand wherever our journey leads us. I love you for your beauty, your kindness, your intelligence and the way you make me feel so special. You are my lover, companion, and best friend. I promise to help shoulder our challenges for there is nothing we cannot face if we stand together. I promise to be your partner in all things, not possessing you, but working with you as a part of the whole. From the moment we met, you’ve surprised me, distracted me, captivated me, and challenged me in a way that no human being ever has. I’ve fallen in love with you again and again and I still can’t believe that today I get to marry my best friend. I promise to be true to you, to uplift and support you, to frustrate and to challenge you, and to share with you the beautiful moments of life. Someday if the stars align, I might even let you win an argument. No matter what trials we encounter together or how much time has passed, I know that our love will never fade, that we will always find strength in one another, and that we will continue to grow side by side. I believe in the truth of what we are, and I will love you always with every beat of my heart.”
There weren’t many dry eyes in the church when he finished.
Then it was time to party!
Jeanne’s sister, Ali, had us up and working on the morning of the wedding to get the room set up for the reception.
Lots of strong-willed (and organized) women there to help and when Ali cracked the whip a bit too much, Jennifer made us laugh with her reply:
“All right, Sargent.” (Please say that with a heavy Boston accent)
Jennifer and I were two of Jeanne’s bridesmaids in her first wedding, by the way.
Jeanne’s handsome boys (my godsons) were thrilled for their mother.
The eldest, Cole, gave a beautiful toast. “My mom has the biggest heart of anyone I know, and she put her life on hold for my brother and me. She deserves all the happiness that Tom gives her,” he said.
The DJ played OUR music (none of that bullshit techno nonsense) and let me tell you, the dance floor was filled with those who understand the true genius of songs like:
Who can sit still with music like that? Go ahead, click on those song titles and try not to move.
The next morning my dogs were barking from dancing in those platform pumps, but you shouldn’t fight the groove just because you’re fifty-one.
Jeanne and Tom honeymooned in Laguna Beach for a few days and then moved on to Disneyland. I have no doubt that the “Happiest Place on Earth” for the two of them will be wherever they happen to be standing.
Congratulations, you crazy kids!
“You are the frosting on my biscotti.” Jeanne’s last sentence in her vows to Tom.
It’s been written that French women don’t get fat or sleep alone, but I’d like to add another to that list.
French Women Don’t Hesitate to Give Their Opinion.
I love almost everything about France. I’ve visited twice. The most memorable was with Neal on our honeymoon. He’d been many times, but for me it was a first–those ten glorious days.
Now, Neal was quite proper—at least in public.
I’m, um, a bit more “who gives a shit?” and let’s just say that after a little cajoling on my part we said “Vive la France” on our flight to Paris by joining the Mile High Club.
You have no idea the joie de vivre I feel just saying I’ve done that.
Neal had prepared me for many of the experiences we would have, but he wanted me to be especially ready for the French disdain of Americans.
Nope, not my experience.
“I don’t know what it is, but they love you.” He said, shaking his head in disbelief as yet another Parisian was warm and welcoming.
AND I loved them.
I think they took to me quickly because I tried to speak the language. I didn’t assume that they spoke English. AND, I always smiled and waited patiently for my turn. Naw, wasn’t going to be the ugly American.
I could easily live in Paris. Just put a thickly buttered baguette and a café au lait in front of me and I’ll even smile in the morning.
Don’t get me started on the stylish appearance of every single woman I passed on the streets—day or night.
Makes me ashamed of what I wore to walk the dogs this morning—you’d never see that in the City of Light.
I guess my first experience is why I have a soft spot for all that is French—especially the people—so back to my story now.
Just before Thanksgiving I went to one of those gatherings that many online dating sites offer. I wrote about the first one I attended in the post, “Belles of the Ball,” and this was my second event.
For two reasons.
First, the place, Macao, a bar/restaurant on Church Street, was crowded and hot, the vibe was odd and there wasn’t anywhere to hang my coat. Seriously, I’ve got to carry my bulky coat around all night long? Who doesn’t have a coat check or at least a rack during winter in NYC? The staff wasn’t exactly welcoming, either, but I decided to get a drink and my bearings and I slid into a spot at the bar.
Now here’s the second reason. As I stood waiting for my drink a man approached me. I was not the slightest bit attracted and it was annoying that the first thing he said was, “What are you looking for?” I pretended I didn’t understand the question and said, “A drink,” but he persisted and repeated the question that I chose to ignore the first time. I stood at the bar, looked around and took a couple of sips of my cocktail, hoping he’d get the hint and go away, but when that pushy pain in the ass asked what I was looking for—A THIRD TIME–I weighed my options, took one last sip of my drink, set it on the bar and answered.
And I was off.
A fifteen-minute evening that had me regretting I’d taken the time to painstakingly put on eyeliner—maybe even deodorant.
BUT, every cloud and all that…….
The next morning I had a message in my Inbox from Hugh, a man who was at the event. He saw me during the “drive by” and set out to find me in the crowd but I’d already exited stage left.
Did he give up?
He found me on the site and sent a lovely message.
I clicked on his profile.
The best I’ve ever read. Seriously. It was so good that I showed it to a couple of friends for confirmation. They agreed. It was the dream profile and his photos weren’t too shabby, either.
I responded and he asked me out. We met for a glass of wine (or three) and it was a good date. I told him about the blog and gave him my card with the website address. He escorted me to my building and kissed me goodnight. A day or so later I got this text:
Hey Melani, how is your week going? Love your blog (you write as well as you kiss).
Compliment me on my kissing and I’m smiling. Praise my writing? I’m stripping.
We met for a second date last Saturday night for drinks at the Metropolitan Museum Balcony Bar. We sipped a glass of wine, had some cheese and listened to live classical music. Such a beautiful setting.
Sometimes I do things that are SO New York, that I feel like a character in a movie about this city.
After an hour it was time to head to dinner. Hugh made reservations at a Mexican restaurant, Toloache 82, within walking distance of the museum and we made our way down the large staircase towards the exit.
Halfway down, Hugh stopped and pointed out some of the striking architectural features of the museum. Then he kissed me, which came as a surprise but was exciting nonetheless.
Was it of the French variety?
We finished the kiss and were going to continue our descent when a beautifully dressed and very attractive woman in her late sixties or early seventies approached.
“So in love, you two. He’s about to give you a ring,” she said, with a French accent.
“So obviously in love, I hate you both,” she added, with a girlish laugh. Then strolled away holding the arm of a younger man that I doubt was her son.
As I stood in the lobby and waited for Hugh to gather his jacket from the coatroom, she approached me again.
“So, did he give you a ring?”
“Hardly, it’s only our second date,” I said, laughing.
“It’s coming,” she replied, over her shoulder as she left with her beau.
I think it goes without saying that after two dates she’s a bit premature. I’m just hoping for a third. I haven’t had many of those since starting this process.
Perhaps it’s simply that no matter the age, everyone loves a love story. Maybe this is something she says to any kissing couple as a way to amuse herself or her companion? Or could be that she’d had a bit too much to drink.
The reason is irrelevant.
It was a wonderful reminder of the Parisians I’d met during my honeymoon–so confident, definite, self-assured and unapologetic.
So, hmmm, what’s the word I’m looking for? Oh, yes, “French.”
Kate: Do you speak English? French Concierge: Of course, Madam. This is the Georges V, not some backpacker’s hovel. French Kiss
I’m not sure if it’s the season or the cynic but I’m not that interested in online dating these days. I’ve reached the burnout phase (again) that seems to come in waves with this undertaking.
I don’t have the energy or enthusiasm for the process. It’s probably good that the year is almost over.
I look forward to writing about other things beyond online dating. You have probably noticed I’ve drifted off subject a bit more than usual lately.
Recently, the only men who’ve contacted me are either newly separated or have no picture—so I assume they’re still married. Of course, they could be a celebrity, but I’m fairly confident that Liam Neeson is not hiding behind that anonymous profile.
I’ve also had a rash of men who’ve completely ignored or haven’t acknowledged the things I’ve written in my profile. One guy repeatedly “winked” and then sent me a message asking me why I hadn’t at the very least winked back.
I haven’t winked because I think they are a wimpy way to show you’re interested. If you find me intriguing, you can do better than a wink. Also, you’ve obviously not read my profile because I state: I hope you won’t wink. It just feels a tad creepy.
I’ve gotten very good at identifying things within a profile that are code for something else.
When a profile opens with:
My divorce was final a month ago and I’m ready to find REAL love.
It’s code for:
I just got divorced, I don’t know how fucked up I am but don’t cha want to be my transitional person? PS-The “REAL love” part is a dig at my ex.
I’m looking for someone with no drama.
I’m a drama magnet and have had plenty.
I want a woman who will always cuddle.
I want a strong independent woman.
You’ll be paying your share of dinner.
Maybe I’m wrong or perhaps I’m a little battle scarred. I’m beginning to think that online dating on the isle of Manhattan is rather like the Island of Misfit Toys. Remember that holiday cartoon? There was something seriously wrong with every single toy.
But, then again, what does that say about me?
Am I being too picky, too cynical, too, well, much of a goddamn bitch?
Am I destined to end up alone, drinking wine straight from the bottle in my PJs and Uggs while watching romantic comedies with the only man who’ll ever truly get me?
OR, is this my White Knight moment?
If this blog were a work of fiction, now would be the perfect time for the hero to show up–just before my year is over and when the readers (and the writer) have lost hope. If this were fiction I would create this perfect man. He’d be smart, funny, handsome, and tenacious. He’d need to be an intrepid soul since I’m convinced there’s something wrong with everyone. He’d wear me down, make me laugh and then we’d plan the rest of our lives together.
Alas, I am a fiction-loving woman grounded in the reality of a nonfiction world. I have five weeks or so left and it’s doubtful that he’ll arrive.
BUT, this sort of thing did happen to me once—when all hope was gone, and it could happen again.
In the meantime, I’ve got this Christmas spirit thingy for the first time since my husband died. I’m excited to get a tree and decorate the house. I’ll have to borrow the ornaments from my daughters. I didn’t think I’d ever again have any use for mine and divided them up between the girls. I might even hang lights on my terrace—step aside, Martha Stewart.
We’re in the home stretch now. He’s got a month.
“I’ve always supported myself. I like the sense of knowing where I stand financially, but there is a side of me that longs for a knight in shining armor.” Barbara Feldon
You can now subscribe to my personal FB page and stay in the loop as to what comes next once this year is over. That is, if you’re not too sick of me. I just added some photos of the fam.
Today I will make my grandmother Aili’s (pronounced, I-Lee) yeast rolls.
I do this twice a year—Thanksgiving and Christmas.
As a child I watched her make bread every week. Her skinny arms with rope-like muscles kneaded the dough, let it rise then punched it down to rise again. I loved coming home from school on the day she baked to the smell of it cooling in the kitchen.
I think of her often. She died within a year of the birth of my oldest daughter. I was glad she got to meet Morgan.
I wonder how she’d feel about my year of blogging about online dating? I think she’d get a kick out of it. She did like to laugh.
I know she’d be rooting for me to find love again.
She had a highly colorful vocabulary, which may explain my own. I’ve often wondered: Nature or nurture?
Here are some of my favorite Aili-isms:
Me: How’d you sleep last night, Gram?
Aili: I was up and down like a whore at a picnic.
Me: How’re you feeling?
Aili: Like I was shot at and missed and shit at and hit.
Slightly disheveled male neighbor in her senior apartment complex: You’re a good lookin’ gal. I’d like to take you out.
Aili: I wouldn’t go out with you if you had a diamond-studded asshole.
Man sitting next to her in a casino (she loved to play the slots): Are you married?
Aili: No, I’m gay.
Yeah, she was tough, but hilarious. She was also 100% Finnish. The Finns are genetically required to be a little bit morose.
I talk to her every time I bake her rolls.
“Gram, help me out here,” I say and hope that she’s watching over me up to my elbows in flour, praying that the yeast will be kind to me this time.
“Always use Gold Medal flour and don’t get the quick rising yeast. It’s shit,” she’d say.
She never measured anything—would dump the flour into the sifter straight from the package. When I faced that she wouldn’t be around forever I would take what she’d dumped and measure it so I could make her bread and rolls when she was no longer here. Each time it was a different amount, yet they always tasted the same.
I still have her sifter.
Her recipe book, too.
That’s her handwriting.
When she didn’t like something or someone she’d say, “Oh, pew.”
Just the other night I was on another one of those organized gatherings that the dating site arranges. Maybe it was because of the approaching holiday, which always brings thoughts of my grandmother, but I found myself walking through the crowd, checking out the men and repeating, “Oh, pew!”
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
“Here in Britain, of course, it’s Thank Fuck We Got Those Weird Jesus Bastards On The Boat Day” Warren Ellis
My daughters were with me on this trip. I’ve never used their names in any posts. Referring to them as “Firstborn,” “Baby,” “The Chronic Cramper of My Style,” or in one post by my youngest child’s middle name, Leigh.
Although they are both adults, I never wanted to let the (often) embarrassing nature of the blog spill over into their lives. Can you imagine some of the things I’ve written coming from your own mother?
All that has changed.
On Wednesday of last week I received a phone call and one I had been hoping for. The girls and I were invited to Chicago, Saturday through Tuesday.
We scrambled around rearranging our schedules, with my oldest daughter’s job obligations being the trickiest, but she did it.
My friend Kim (also known as the brilliant artist in my “Things I’m Crazy About”) was kind enough to stay at my apartment and watch all the doggies. No easy task walking those three mutts to Central Park every day. When Lola visits, my doorman Pedro calls them “The Triple Threat.”
I’ve not spent much time in Chicago and was looking forward to some sightseeing as we arrived and checked into the Amalfi Hotel.
Although we spent most of our time focused on “The Chicago Project” we did do some exploring.
Of course we did some shopping.
We saw The Bean.
AND we had some fantastic meals–you know how I love to eat.
We did what we always do when the three of us are together for an extended amount of time–laughed, cried, argued and pulled together as the crew we’ve always been.
I raised the girls alone.
I often worried that I wouldn’t be enough. Could one parent do a good job raising two kids with all the things they needed and while juggling job responsibilities? Money was always tight and like a lot of families we lived paycheck to paycheck. It is no wonder I was skinny as a rail for most of those years. Stress does wonders for one’s metabolism.
BUT, somehow they grew up with what seems to be the normal amount of “I’m never doing that to my children” and I am proud of the amazing young women they’ve become. I do believe that they are my gift to the planet.
Morgan, my firstborn.
Strong, responsible–a rule follower. Honor student, scholarship athlete who, at twenty-seven years old, has her M.B.A. I remember telling my father (a retired school principal) that each year during parent/teacher conferences I would hear, “Morgan is one of my all-time favorite students.” My dad didn’t think teachers said those kind of things until he came with me one year. I’ve always known what Morgan will do or say in any situation and that’s probably because she’s most like me in temperament and drive. That also means we tend to bicker more frequently than I do with her sister.
Chelsea, three years younger than Morgan and the family free spirit.
She chose her college (CU) based on the snowboarding. Chelsea’s the wild card. I’ve never been able to predict what she’s going to do or say so it has made for interesting and sometimes, um, surprising experiences. She is absolutely brilliant and can always crack me up with her irreverant sense of humor. She was the kid with the vivid imagination–at four she had an imaginary jungle with Mommy and Daddy Animal parents who’d let her do anything she wanted. That one sent Morgan over the edge. “There’s no such thing, Chelsea,” she’d tell her as an almost annoyingly grounded seven-year-old (some might say anal). Chelsea had a big belly laugh and the more Morgan disapproved, the louder she’d howl.
The three of us have always been a team and because of that:
Steve Harvey, although a brilliant comedian is also a relationship expert and has written the book, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man. I loved the book and if you’re looking for a way to understand men, this is the read for you.
One of his producers found the blog, enjoyed the chronicle of my year of online dating and loved the added dimension of my relationship with my daughters. I wasn’t certain that my offspring would want to be on the show, but they both gave me a definite:
I can’t tell you what the segment is about but I am CERTAIN you will enjoy watching. It will air within the next few weeks and once they give me a specific date, I’ll let you know. I will also do a more detailed post following the airing of the show but let me tell you, it was the experience of a lifetime. The girls and I needed to pinch ourselves–it was all so surreal. I can’t say enough good things about every person we worked with. What an amazing group of talented professionals and Steve Harvey was hilarious, real and kind.
It really is fitting that the three of us would have this experience together.
It’s how we’ve always rolled.
“All I know is that I carried you for nine months. I fed you, I clothed you, I paid for your college education. Friending me on Facebook seems like a small thing to ask in return.” Jodi Picoult, Sing You Home
Last night I weathered the storm (cliché appropriate) in what I call “The Cottage in the Sky.” I told you that I recently moved and now have outdoor space. Whew, do I.
I live on the roof in a place that I’ve coveted since moving into this building. It’s not fancy so penthouse is completely inappropriate. It is a small one-bedroom apartment that was an add-on to the building many decades ago. I don’t have the whole roof to myself as I also have a neighbor and we each have a terrace. Mine wraps around my abode and I can’t tell you the significance of an outdoor experience in NYC. In a place where there isn’t a moment of alone time while outside, being able to sit outdoors without strangers sharing a park bench is golden.
I’m from Las Vegas. Weather isn’t much of an issue. Sure, we have the occasional sandstorm and if it rains the city floods. Driving in the rain is indeed quite treacherous since the intense desert heat draws oil from the roads onto the surface so it’s rather like hydroplaning to your destination. Precipitation is rare (handful of days a year) so I avoided the streets and the newbies (it was once the fastest growing city in the nation, you know) who were clueless to the unique conditions and liked to skate into light poles, their neighbor’s front windows, or the entrance to businesses. Dipshits.
SO, extreme weather of any variety freaks me out.
Shut the hell up.
You might as well hook me up to an IV drip and pump gallons of anti-anxiety drugs into my system. Since moving here, there have been TWO.
With Irene I decided to evacuate. I was then on the fifteenth floor and had both of my dogs (Kate and Nigel) and was also babysitting Firstborn’s rotten pug, Lola. The building management sent out a notice that they would be shutting down the elevators during Irene. That meant I would be taking the dogs up and down fifteen flights to do their business—during a hurricane, mind you. Then the meteorologists began talking about an evil hurricane/tornado combo. Lola likes to torture me by refusing to go to the bathroom when it is barely sprinkling.
I imagined she’d need a kidney transplant (that I would be paying for) with the sort of weather that was headed our way. Before one might say, “I’m getting the fuck out of here,” I was in the Prius and headed to higher ground—The Poconos. We spent three lovely days in a Hampton Inn and returned once that bitch Irene blew out of town.
However, this time, I was facing my fears and hunkering down.
Alright, I guess I need to be honest. It wasn’t just a solitary middle-aged woman versus a hurricane. My younger daughter (Baby) and my friend (and neighbor) Karen were there, too. Karen’s husband Mark was out of town, which was probably a good thing.
Mark is a wee bit crisis phobic. He has a Disaster App on his phone—nuff said. Firstborn and Demon Pug were tucked away safely in her Midtown apartment.
So I prepared. I stocked up on food and filled containers with water. Baby secured the two storage units and patio furniture I have on the terrace.
Yep, we were ready.
Um, I thought we were and then the winds and rain hit. I have two skylights and it was just as I was feeling quite in control that they both began leaking.
I immediately called the doorman and he sent the facilities guy upstairs. He shared that he was “just a porter” and didn’t know how to fix leaky skylights.
OK, maybe I might’ve been slightly delusional but somehow I figured he’d be on roof with silicone or some other sealant plugging the leak. I mean, come on, dude. Rig some sort of Cirque du Solei-like hurricane harness and do your job!
Large black garbage bags on the floor had to suffice and I began questioning my executive decision to forgo plywood I had considered hammering to the windows. It was the subway transport from Midtown Home Depot to the apartment that had me questioning the necessity. The windows were actually bending inward. Did you know glass could bend?
It is probably about time that I share my plan. I know what you’re thinking. I located a safe window-free zone within the building for Baby, Karen, doggies and me, right?
Oh no, this crisis called for something far more superlative. It was time for Inspirational Quote, Fried Chicken and Wine disaster relief.
I’m an inspirational quote hater—until I’m not. Spare me the bullshit such as “it is better to have loved and lost” or “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team’” sort of crap. On occasion, though, I like to throw one around—even share and I had ordered one such quote for the wall in my kitchen. No better time than in the midst of a hurricane to stand on my counter and rub the decal onto my wall—precisely measuring the distance between letters, by the way.
Karen busied herself talking or texting with friends and family, but especially her hubby Mark who was in L.A. The Disaster App was unnecessary since the networks were providing plenty of drama for him to see.
Newscasters—live on the scene—had the perfect amount of frenzy in their voices and Mark was whipped up right along with them. Our cable was out. Karen, although she stated she didn’t want to worry him further, kept mentioning the glass-bending wind, the emergency announcements (quite scary texts filled with words like: SEEK SHELTER IMMEDIATELY) as an alarm blared from our cell phones, AND the fact that the building was shutting down the elevator at 8pm to prevent anyone from being stuck inside if the power went out.
The sound of the wind coming through the skylight coupled with something metal clanging on the roof was deafening. Once I had finished and properly admired my words to live by I began the next logical task.
It was time to make fried chicken. What? Isn’t the sort of food one prepares during a natural disaster?
Firstborn called to check in. She was watching the storm on TV. Seems her Time Warner cable was working fine. In between peeling potatoes, battering chicken and sipping a lovely Pinot Grigio, I decided that a dose of American capitalism was what my cable provider needed.
“Tweet those bastards at RCN and ask why our cable’s out when Time Warner’s is working just fine.” I said to Baby.
A logical move during a hurricane.
They tweeted back. Yep, they really did and asked for our account information. A call needed to be made (I really don’t hate RCN, btw).
Karen had begun pacing kind of like the polar bears in the zoo. The crashing sound from the roof had her jumpy and she kept repeating, “I’m not sure we’re safe.” She asked if she could peel the potatoes. Nope, never gonna happen. I simply wasn’t comfortable with my friend in her current state, wielding a potato peeler.
I suggested she sit down and drink a glass of wine as the dogs had started pacing alongside her.
I flipped the chicken and had a few minutes to make a call to RCN. I was placed on hold by the automated system and instead of music or a recording I heard this weird whispery devil voice on the line and did what any good mother would do. I told Baby to talk to Satan.
A RCN rep finally answered and talked us through the fix. Poof, we had cable! Baby thanked the woman, hung up and told me she was glad to be off the phone. She swore while she was on hold, Lucifer was telling her to drown a bag of kittens.
That Baby can be soooo inappropriate during a crisis.
Finally dinner was ready and it was just as the hurricane was about to hit Manhattan. Another text emergency message sounded on our cells, Karen hit the ceiling, came back down just in time for me to place a plate of chicken, green beans, and mashed potatoes and gravy in front of her.
Bring it on, Sandy. We’re kickin’ the cane Southern Style.
Then Sandra responded.
The noise was otherworldly but the three of us calmly ate the meal–our backs to the storm.
Nigel had been on strike all day. He refused to go to the bathroom on the roof and earlier I’d taken him downstairs and stood in the rain for twenty minutes while he went all terrier-stubborn on me and did nothing.
While I did the dishes he began showing signs that he needed to go—of course he did. It was still blowing like crazy outside but Baby said she’d take him just beyond the door. While there with Wonder Boy, she noticed pieces of my neighbor’s fence strewn on the roof and went to inspect further.
Part of the fence was in tatters and another large portion was just about to be uprooted.
With the direction of the wind it would be headed straight into one of my living room windows. My neighbor had a wicked cold and was holed up in the bathroom of her apartment since the noise was unbearable in any other area. How did I know that? Because Karen took her a plate of comfort food before we sat down to dinner.
Um, a broken window during a hurricane might pose a tiny little problem but Baby was on it. She grabbed a length of rope, her Leatherman and North Face jacket then ran outside—in her flannel PJs.
I stumbled into my Hunter rain boots and coat and ran after her.
What a sight it was when I finally got to her. It took me a while as the wind was blowing me around the roof.
Baby held one side of the fence that was swinging back and forth as she knotted the rope with the other hand. All she needed to complete the Hollywood heroine scene was the Leatherman between her teeth. It was in her pocket. I grabbed the fence and pushed as hard as I could as the gusts knocked the structure back into me.
“MOM, SAVE YOURSELF,” Baby screamed.
OK, she really didn’t scream that but it sounded good, right?
Here’s what she really yelled.
“MOM, THIS FENCE’LL TAKE YOU OUT. I’VE GOT IT. GET YOUR SKINNY ASS INSIDE.”
Had it been any other time I would’ve insisted she repeat those words. At least the “skinny ass” portion, but I took her advice. She followed a few minutes later, drenched to the bone, hair like Medusa and triumphant.
In the door she came, fists in the air and with mad laughter she proclaimed, “I was made for situations like this.”
Baby has a tender heart but she’s still a badass.
We settled in the living room and watched the storm coverage. An hour or so later Mayor Bloomberg announced that the worst of the hurricane was over. I didn’t hear what our nasally little dictator said at first because the woman standing next to Bloomie (go on, click that link) and signing for the hearing impaired was giving the performance of a lifetime. Only in New York City would you see such flair-filled nonverbal communication. This lady was Broadway bound and surely there’s a Tony in her future. Firstborn sent a text asking if I’d heard the good mayor speaking Spanish. That always cracks her up.
We were exhausted and it was time to hit the hay, but we needed just one more bite of comfort, something sweet. I quickly made a batch of peanut butter cookies—with the carbs we’d already consumed there was no need to count anymore.
Karen, Baby and I ate the warm cookies and talked about how fortunate we were to have come through the storm unscathed. Watching the television and those who weren’t as blessed was sobering and I pointed to my new inspirational quote and said, “Yeah, no kidding.”
UPDATE: November 3rd. Today I’ll be removing the quote from the wall. It gave me something to do during the hurricane, but after a couple of days it felt a little “folksy” for my taste. The yellow paint is going as well and will be replaced with a gray color that looks like this:
This is nothing new for me. I paint and repaint with impunity. You should’ve seen what I did in a previous place with a stencil. Frightening and my friends had to do an intervention.
I’m in the process of moving from one apartment to another in my building. I’m kind of a neat freak so this has me crazy. It’s not a horrible move—just up one floor and to a much better space—but the level of chaos makes me nuts.
For example, when I originally moved to NYC I shipped my furniture with what I thought was a reputable moving company.
OK, that’s a lie.
I sent my stuff with movers who gave me the best price—you get what you pay for.
Let’s just say when my belongings arrived (ten days late), and the seriously scary looking driver told me (menacingly) I needed to pay an additional $1000 or he was not unloading the big stuff, I possibly overreacted.
“Don’t fuck with me or you’ll regret it,” I said, through gritted teeth, my voice low and growly. My daughters will tell you that when the voice drops and the teeth grit, we’ve entered the psycho zone.
I should also mention that I happen to be unpacking my kitchen boxes when Thug Mover attempted extortion. Alright, I might’ve had a small paring knife in my hand (tiny, really and quite dull as are all my knives). Maybe I inadvertently pointed it in his general direction. We, um, reached an understanding after he made a phone call that involved nonstop screaming in Hebrew—or at least I think that was the language since earlier he’d shared he was Israeli and didn’t take shit from customers. I assume he was telling his boss that I was unwilling to negotiate. I didn’t need a translator to figure out he was describing me as “one crazy bitch”.
Listen, I watched enough episodes of Oz to understand that when dealing with a badass, a shank comes in handy.
So, I haven’t been in the right state of mind to deal with some of the more “interesting” messages I’ve received lately. Normally, I try to respond, but I’m afraid (given my history with moving mode) I might go all gangsta on their asses.
Here are three examples:
I have coined a new word which I’m hoping will catch on. The word is “fuv.” Fuv came about due to my frustration with the phrase, “making love,” specifically its inability to capture the wonderfully lusty, grunting nature of the act. I was also unsatisfied with the mono-syllabic Anglo-Saxon word commonly used to describe intercourse. That word failed miserably at describing the deep spiritual and emotional bonding that can occur during sex. But now with my new word, couples engaged in that most intimate of human activities can look into one another’s eyes (assuming they’re facing one another) and whisper the simple, all-encapsulating phrase, “I fuv you.” And yes, they can do all that while listening to my new album of remakes of classic pop hits, including, “If Fuving You Is Wrong, I Don’t Wanna Be Right,” “I Feel Like Making Fuv,” and the immortal, “Come Rain or Come Shine” featuring the lyric, “I’m gonna fuv you, like nobody’s fuved you.” So would you fused to meet? [redacted name]
I’d like to state for the record: I’ve never grunted.
I believe actions say more than words. I am passionate about life & my job, which gives me the freedom to live life as one adventure after another. We can travel the world together & enjoy my yacht.
I want to know everything about you; we have a lifetime to explore the world and each other. I would be honored if you will go on a date with me to talk about how great our future can be. Respect, trust, friendship and chivalry are words I live by. I am looking for a long term relationship, passion, love & devoting my life to making you happy & accomplish every one of your dreams… (The name of my yacht is “dreams come true”).
I hope you will get back to me soon; hopefully we can talk over the phone to learn a little about each other.
Is it me or does this scream: drugged, duct taped and waking up on a boat to Barbados?
How are you doing? hope you are fine and OK as for me am doing cool to write you this admiration message.
My name is [redacted],,i was going through the site when your wonderful profile caught my eyes then i the decide write you this message to say hi to you.i don’t know how you will feel but i know i don’t wanna cause any negativity that will make you think am here for game,but really your pic and your profile really captured my attention,so decent and responsible…i am looking for someone who i can share my time with for the rest of my life but im ready to take it one step at a time there is no rush because life is to short and i think that its time for me to find my soulmate, someone who can share love and like to cuddle and hold hands and like to take walks in the summer and love me for who i am .as i will do the same in return and have trust honesty and be very understanding and to be very communicated also and plus learn to respect each other and most of all help out each other because i think that things should go both ways in life.i do hope to here from you soon cos am really dieing to see your spunky reply..bye for now and always keep that gorgeous smile of yours that drives me crazy..
I’m gonna go out on a limb here, but he might regret the “dieing to see your spunky reply” portion.
I’ll respond to these guys when I’m feeling more settled—when my things are put away. Perhaps when I’ve returned from yoga or finished meditating and I don’t feel the yearning to open up a can.
“The difference between a house and a home is like the difference between a man and a woman–it might be embarrassing to explain, but it would be very unusual to get them confused.” Daniel Handler (as Lemony Snicket)
There’s a new twist to online dating that many sites are embracing. Real world meet ups between members who are selected specifically based on age and interests, for the occasion.
I was invited to one such event recently and I asked my friend Chloe to be my guest. It was a mixer held on the rooftop of the Sanctuary Hotel on 47th Street.
I arrived first and waited on the sidewalk in front of the hotel.
It was a little awkward since I wasn’t sure if those entering were all there for the same thing:
I was pretty pleased with the dress I wore and my hair and makeup turned out as good as it could, considering sometimes I don’t even recognize the face (sans makeup) staring back at me in the magnifying mirror. Chloe arrived and she looked great. She rocked that dress and boots she had on. Have I mentioned that Chloe has the most amazing arms? Perfectly toned limbs that a twenty-five year old would be lucky to have.
We made our way to the only elevator to the roof and chatted with the security guy while waiting for it to arrive. Several men joined us in the line and I recognized one of them. He reached out to me a while ago on the site. I wrote back and politely told him we weren’t a match and here’s why. I knew he was lying about his height. His profile stated he was 5’10” but his photos showed otherwise. This guy was 5’6” at most. Now, I am not a height-ist, but I want the option of wearing heels without towering over my date and if I’m going to date a man who’s shorter, I want him to own his stature not deny it.
Again, I ask, why the hell do you lie about the things that will be obvious on a first date?
I was absolutely right about this man’s height being much less than he stated. In fact, I was being generous with the 5’6” conclusion AND I don’t want to hear it in the Comments section about being too judgmental. I have a right to want what I want and it works both ways. When I see an interesting profile online but the guy has stated that he wants someone who’s slender or 5’8” or taller, or a woman who earns over $150K–I move on because I don’t qualify.
OK, so we rode up in the small elevator with Shorty (kidding, lighten up) and several other men. Chloe tried to alleviate the obvious tension, we, The Loser Brigade, were feeling, with some small talk but nobody could relax and thankfully the door opened, we stepped out onto the rooftop lounge and into an already crowded party.
I haven’t felt the sort of “being undressed with his eyes” vibe since using my fake ID to get into Paul Anka’s Jubilation disco in Las Vegas when I was seventeen. Even TGI Friday’s Happy Hour in the Nineties wasn’t that overt.
This, my friends, bellowed:
I kind of liked it.
AND, in this typical scenario, as the men were openly checking out the ladies, the women sized each other up. Now I don’t want to be egotistical but my friend and I didn’t have a ton of competition.
Screw it, here’s the truth, we got lucky that night, we had no rivals.
Now before you get all judge-y, this is not a familiar theme in my life. I live in a city filled with beautiful, stylish and YOUNG women. I’m never, ever the hottest chick in the room.
The best I can hope for these days is, “You look good, for your age.”
Chloe and I pushed through the crowd to the bar for a drink. I needed a cocktail to cowgirl up for this soirée. Slightly shell shocked, we waited our turn to be served. Chloe, perpetually friendly, began talking to a matronly woman behind us who seemed overwhelmed. She had come to the event alone and my friend wanted to make her feel comfortable. Chloe shared that it was our first time and we were a little nervous. She also told the woman that she could hang out with us for the evening.
A look of superiority crossed her face and in a patronizing tone she said, “Oh, you’ll be alright, don’t you worry. You look, um, fine and I’m sure some men will want to meet you.”
She actually patted our arms in a “there, there” sort of way with the hope of making us feel more insecure.
Did Frumpalina just Mean Girl us?
“Oh, we don’t think meeting men will be a problem tonight.” I told her, and turned away.
“What I was thinking was, Listen, Mrs. Cunningham, we’ve got this one.
“You might wanna rethink that ‘inviting strangers to be our friends’ thingy until we know them better,” I told Mother Teresa, er, I mean Chloe as we walked away with our drinks. She concurred.
After that it was party time. The music was great, we weren’t without male attention for long and it was seriously fun. There was one awkward moment when a man approached to let me know I’d rejected him on the site. I didn’t recall doing that, but he seemed certain I had. Not sure what he wanted me to say, but I think it involved some sort of admission that I’d made a mistake.
I met lots of men but also talked to many women. I shared that I blogged about online dating with everyone I met. One woman (who’d had a few too many) kept repeating, “It’s hard, it’s so hard, it’s really hard to be single.” She also shared that she was in her mid forties, never married and hoping for children. A much tougher end game than mine, for sure.
There wasn’t exactly a love connection with anyone, although two retired firemen did make me laugh when I handed them my card with the blog information.
They told me it looked like a discount card that one attaches to a keychain. They poked fun at me in a friendly and confident way. What is it about firemen and their self-assurance? Love that.
One of them even escorted me to the ladies room. I asked Chloe to come along and once we were inside she said he was getting territorial. Yep, he might as well have just lifted his leg and marked me. He wasn’t going to let any other man to have an opportunity to introduce himself. Funny thing about it is I haven’t heard from him since that night.
The bartenders announced, “Last call,” so Chloe and I headed towards the exit and on the way, we noticed the man from the elevator. It was hard to miss him as he’d met a lovely and height-appropriate woman whose neck he was devouring. He had one hand around her waist as the other cupped her ass.
It was fun, I’d do it again and I think this is a great addition given the lack of human contact one experiences through online dating.
Plus, it was ego nourishing for Chloe and me. At our age there aren’t many opportunities to be the Belle of the Ball.
“I am not afraid of aging, but more afraid of people’s reactions to my aging.” Barbara Hershey
Mark contacted me with a charming message—well written, interesting and it was obvious he’d read my entire profile. He was also very handsome.
His profile was great—except for two things. He was separated, not divorced and he lived in Connecticut. Two of my deal breakers when I first started this quest, but a situation I’m now willing (albeit, grudgingly) to set aside.
After a couple of email exchanges and several phone calls he asked if I would like to go to dinner or see a Yankees game. Easy choice.
Have I told you I’m a Yankees fan?
Now, this isn’t the sort of blind love of sports that many people have. Oh, no. I’d rather poke a fork in my eye than watch a football game—either live or on TV. My first marriage can be summed up like this:
We had one day off a week together and he spent it in front of the television watching one game after another, football, basketball, baseball, even golf. The requisite bucket of KFC was the pièce de résistance.
No, my love of the Yankees comes from a very different place. My oldest daughter adores the team–all the players but one in particular, Derek Jeter. She decided that simply being in New York City would be all that was necessary to meet and then marry the perennial bachelor. She’s quite serious and has been since middle school. I’m a believer. She even ran into him one day while walking her dog. Here’s our text conversation of that encounter:
Don’t judge. She’s twenty-seven and I’d never text the F-word if she were, like, twenty-six.
Listen, I think number two would be lucky to be with my firstborn. Not even sure he’s worthy, but I’m her mom and may be a teensy biased.
OK, back to my date.
Mark and I met on the corner of my street and Broadway and took the subway to Yankee Stadium. He did not disappoint. He was tall, well-built, boyishly good looking AND a sharp dresser. He had on great shoes. I love a man with stylish feet.
“Put that away,” he said, when I pulled out my MetroCard to pay for the train.
When we got to the stadium he suggested we locate our seats first and then get drinks and food. Well, that’s when it got very interesting. We found our aisle but were sent to a VIP booth for an ID check and wristbands.
Hmm, that’s never happened before, I thought as we went down, down, down the steps to our seats.
No way, Jose Canseco! We were seven rows back from the field, first base line, with the dugout twenty yards away, max. Then it got even better. Mark told me our seats came with food and beverages that we could get in a private area, the Legends Suites. Ours was the Ketel One Lounge. This grub wasn’t just your basic hot dogs and burgers—nope. The offerings were upscale and unlimited.
I’m kind of a foodie.
So is Mark, but he was very careful not to eat any carbs and I noticed.
He was also a bit of a feeder, encouraging me to load up.
I asked him if he had a weight problem at any point in his life. He’d stressed that his daily workouts were a requirement. He confirmed that he’d recently lost weight and was working hard to maintain his svelte build.
I’m an eater, or I used to be until this fucked up aging process cramped my style. Now I eat half of what I did and workout twice as hard to maintain a size that is greater than I’ve ever been. The last thing I need is a person vicariously eating all the forbidden foods with MY middle-age metabolism.
With very little encouragement I could eat myself onto The Biggest Loser.
The game was great; Mark was hilarious, smart, and a staunch Democrat with clever political stories. He even got me to do the YMCA. He was also a gentleman and the moment my drink was finished he ordered another. Did I mention we also had concierge service?
I sent my daughter a text and told her about my experience. I also said I would do this with her. Just call me “Ms. Big Time.”
Kevin Costner attended the game and was on the Jumbotron. As the game ended we went back to the lounge for one last drink and there he was. He’s tall and I don’t know why I thought he was short? Later I did a Google search and learned he’s 6’1”. I could’ve walked right up to him; he was with friends but no entourage. If there had been music I might’ve asked him to dance. One of my fantasies since watching him boogie in Bull Durham with Susan Sarandon.
OK, the bathtub scene, too.
Yeah, the toenail polish one, as well.
After the game we headed back to my neighborhood and stopped for a nightcap at Café Luxembourg.
That’s where the conversation took a more serious turn. I did that and it was probably inappropriate for a first date.
Mark said it was like having a drink with Oprah.
Here’s the truth. Mark is the whole package, with one issue. He’s only been separated a few months and he’s at that place. If you’ve gone through a divorce you will recognize this locale. He’s completely screwed up but thinks he’s fine. He doesn’t know what’s ahead. He’s in shock; his life has been turned upside down. He’s just starting and it’s going to be a battle (from the information I was able to glean). His wife is angry, his almost adult children are devastated, and yet he still thinks it will all be OK.
It will all work out eventually, but he’s got a rough and complicated ride ahead. The last thing he needs right now is a new person to add to the mess and frankly, I wouldn’t consider it.
In about a year, Mark is going to be at a very different place. He’ll be beat up by the battle, but ready to move on and create a new life. He’ll be a great partner to some lucky woman. In my humble opinion, of course.
After our date we exchanged a few text messages but they tapered off. I’m not sure if it was my lack of enthusiasm or maybe I just asked too much stuff that was none of my business. Perhaps he’s in the midst of divorce drama—his new normal for the time. Maybe when the dust lands he’ll contact me again and I will gladly go out with him. Mark is amazing.
Oh, and those seats that I told my girl we would experience? Yeah, that won’t be happening. I sat at my computer one morning soon after the date, ready to buy. I choked on my coffee when I saw the price–$500.00 each.
“Well, I believe in the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman’s back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap. I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft-core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.” Crash Davis (Kevin Costner, Bull Durham)
When I was a teenager my father pointedly told me, “You will not date a boy with a motorcycle. Ever.” He was also the guy who made me ride my ten-speed on the sidewalk (I was officially a dork) and instructed me to always RUN when I crossed the street even if I had the Walk sign.
My safety was paramount.
On a side note: there was an add-on to the Guys You Can’t Date list which happened when my dad was driving and we pulled up to a red light. The bumper sticker on the vehicle in front of us said:
A boyfriend with a van was out of the question.
I actually feared motorcycles well into my adult life. I wouldn’t dream of riding on the back of a bike until something happened. I wrote about it in my post, The Bad Boy Experience, and once I felt the freedom of riding in the wind, I was hooked.
Many years after my first bike experience, I briefly dated a cop. He was a high-ranking guy in Metro, but started as a motorcycle officer.
He was kind. I was a single parent and just about as stressed as anyone could be with an intense job, raising my girls alone, and the dreaded monthly bills that always left me with less than I needed. I didn’t have much time for dating so we talked on the phone many evenings when my teenage daughters had gone to sleep.
On a few occasions (late at night) when I was at the breaking point he’d show up at my house on his Harley and take me for a ride. We’d go from Las Vegas to Boulder City and then he’d bring me home. My brain was finally quieted and I slept soundly on those nights.
Two months ago, my doorman, Frank, took me for a ride on his Harley after he’d finished his shift.
I was struggling with something I was writing; my brain on overload and I asked if he wouldn’t mind helping me out. We rode along West Side Highway, the Hudson River in our sights, and when he brought me back to the building I was able to finish the piece I was working on. He told me his beautiful wife loved to ride on the bike with him and he was one lucky guy.
I don’t want my own motorcycle. They still seem a little scary.
BUT, I’m now considering another option.
MN has a Vespa. Yep, told ya he was fun.
Click here if you don’t know about MN (Mr. Normal).
We’ve been on two more dates and at my request, he’s picked me up. We’ve ridden around the city, scooting in and out of traffic with ease. One evening he took me for a ride on his side of the Hudson and the view of the city was spectacular.
I’d also like to mention something I learned:
A Vespa is cool.
When stopped at traffic lights in Hoboken we were told, “Great Vespa!” and “I want one of those,” by two different carloads of hipsters.
Given the average hipster’s lack of enthusiasm for almost everything it was impressive. Although, now that I’m thinking, it could’ve been sarcasm (dreadful human beings).
Nonetheless, I’m considering getting rid of my car and Vespa-ing up.
I’m still having massive fun with MN, that hasn’t changed. We’ve gotten to know each other better–shared lots of stuff. I’ve talked about what I plan to do once my year of blogging about online dating is over. I’ve been brainstorming about ways to use these experiences to do something bigger.
On our last date he told me, “You’re moving at the speed of light and I’m at the speed of sound. We’re at two different places in our lives and I don’t know if this can work.”
It was disappointing. I didn’t see our different paths as an issue. Sure, he’s twelve years older and retired. But I’m not exactly dewy. I know, I’m just getting started with this encore career and there’s no doubt I’m crazy-driven. With the profession he had, he was once equally focused, except he’s not in the midst of that anymore.
I’m not sure what the outcome will be. Maybe we’ll keep seeing each other and it will play out, as it should or we’ll just be friends. Maybe if I get my own Vespa we can go for rides together once in a while. Who knows? I don’t feel the need to make any big decisions.
Instead I’ll roll with it.
PS-Dad, I know you’re reading this post. Don’t worry.
“You see, I don’t know how to ride a motorcycle, actually.” Henry Winkler