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.
UPDATE: October 29th. The segment has been postponed due to Hurricane Sandy. I’ll let you know when it is rescheduled. Damn you, Sandy!
In case you’re bored on Monday, October 29th around 5 pm (EST)–trying to decide between organizing your sock drawer or flossing–there’s a third choice.
I will be on Huffpost Live!!!
OK, not really on there, on there, but via web chat.
Go ahead, give me a cyber fist bump.
The subject is: Dating Younger Men (Oh my).
My Huffington Post piece, “Being Mrs. Robinson” will be included in the discussion. If you feel like checking it out just click on the title.
I think you may be able to tweet questions. I hope they won’t be, “Is that a pimple on your chin?” Really, I swear I could feel one starting the moment I got the email asking if I would like to participate.
I promise not to use the term I absolutely hate, (I agree with Ms. Pfeiffer).
I’m a little bit nervous and a whole lot excited.
Thought you might like to know.
“I can’t wait for that word to go out of fashion, I just think it’s … I’m so over it. Not that I was ever really into it. Where did that start, anyway? How did that evolve?”- Michelle Pfeiffer on the word Cougar.
There’s something disconcerting about a man with a ring. I can’t put my finger on it (yep, that’s a pun), but it bugs me. I’m not talking about the wedding variety. I celebrate those and find it quite, um, illuminating when a man attempts to pick me up while wearing one. No, what I mean is the conclusions one might draw from that circular piece of jewelry.
For instance, my grandfather wore this ring on the index finger of his right hand.
My grandmother gave it to me after he died and I had it made smaller. It always seemed a little pretentious. My grandfather wasn’t a snobbish man but he did take pride in the fact that he was college educated, well versed and well-read. I think his ring made that statement.
Then there are the rings of my youth—the pinky variety.
These were worn by lots of men in Las Vegas and all worked in casinos. The bigger the diamond, the more likely the wearer held a coveted position such as pit boss or showroom maître d’ in one of the bigger joints—maybe they were even “connected.”
The larger the stone the more the scent of Aramis seemed to waft from every pore. And they didn’t quit with one body adornment. Under that shiny suit you could count on a thick gold chain with a large Italian horn nestled in an abundance of chest hair.
Then there are these sorts of rings.
I automatically label the wearer, a retro hippie or surfer dude. I expect he smokes weed, annually reads, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and listens to Bob Dylan—on vinyl. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against these guys. I’d sell my soul for one morning of Jack Johnson making me banana pancakes.
Yeah, one morning with Jack, but when you’re as blunt as I am there’s something grating about too much peace and love. I’ve gone to a few meditation retreats and although I’ve tried to be all earthy, I reach my limit after a few days.
What can I say? Even, Eat, Pray, Love, quickly got on my nerves.
You might be wondering why I’m dwelling on rings, so here’s the story.
Well, if you read the post “The Belles of the Ball” you remember it was about real life events that some online dating sites are offering, and my friend Chloe and I went to one such soiree. I met several men and handed out quite a few cards. It was rather exhilarating.
AND one of those men was Seth.
Chloe and I were sipping our drinks and talking to a couple of guys when I noticed Seth a few feet away. He was, by a mile, the best looking man at the event. Dark hair (on the longer side), great smile, tall and slim.
Just like I like ‘em.
We made eye contact and within a few minutes he made his way towards us and started a conversation. He was H-O-T and I was definitely interested. He told me he lived in Manhattan on the Upper East Side, but I didn’t think he was originally from the Big Apple. He had that Midwestern kindness—a wholesome innocence that is a rarity in this city of jaded residents. He was instantly likeable and I was intrigued.
Then he took a sip of his cocktail.
Then I saw it.
It looked something like this:
OK, I’ll admit it, I’m one of those jaded folks and I immediately thought, what’s up with that ring, Jackson Browne?
I was wrong about Seth’s origins. He told me he was born and raised in the City. He worked in marketing but said his true passion was throwing theme parties. He had one of those bashes coming up. He asked if I would like to attend and I said it sounded like fun. This was a jungle-themed shindig (trying not to judge).
Here’s what I pictured:
Now, as much as I was attracted to him physically, his almost too nice niceness was a bit much. When you’ve got a drop or two of bitchy you want a man who’ll give it back to you once in a while.
We exchanged business cards, I told Seth that I was going to mingle a bit and we separated.
Later, the music was SOOOOO from our generation and I was moving a little. Seth was nearby, he noticed and he did the same except there was lots more enthusiasm. I honestly thought he might yell, “Free Bird!” I decided Seth was not quite odd, but quirky, for sure.
I didn’t see him again that night because Chloe and I were too busy beating the men off with sticks. Alright, maybe that’s a tiny exaggeration, but we were workin’ the room.
The day after the meet up event, I got a phone call and email message from Seth. He was very kind in both. He sent me an invitation to his party, which included this link and he signed it:
Get ready to jungle boogie,
Yeah, Seth went from quirky to knocking on Weird’s door with that invite, but, you know, lately I’m all about new experiences AND I’ve never intentionally dated an odd duck, though lots have ended up that way.
The party was on Saturday night at his apartment. I asked how many of his friends would be attending and he told me around twenty.
On the day of Rumble in the Jungle, I mentioned to my oldest daughter (while having lunch at El Centro) what I was doing–might’ve slipped in the ring, too. She was horrified. “He’s a weirdo. Don’t you dare go.” I told her I’d take my pepper spray and promised to text her his address, cell number and employer.
Seth asked me to arrive promptly at 8:00 pm since the party would be in full swing by then.
I got ready and appropriately jungled-up. Have I told you I have a passion for leopard? Would you expect anything less of a chick from Vegas?
I was dressed and ready at 7:45 pm wearing black skinny jeans and a leopard print blouse. I started transferring my MetroCard, cash, and credit card from the big handbag to the evening bag when I realized my credit card was missing.
SHIT!!!!!!! LET THE PANIC BEGIN!!!
After frantically searching my apartment, it finally dawned on me that I must’ve left it at El Centro. I can hold my hand on a Bible and tell you that scenario never happens. I’m fairly neurotic about my cards since it’s loads of fun to cancel and then replace them. I called, and sure enough they had the card so I headed out to retrieve it.
As I rode in the taxi I looked at the time and realized I was already thirty minutes late. I called Seth and prepared to have to yell over the Tarzan wails that surely were reverberating from his apartment.
Except when he answered the phone there wasn’t a sound in the background.
“Soooooo, are you partying?” I asked, hoping he’d stepped outside.
“No, it’s just me and my friend Bob here now.”
Yep, I was strolling down Serial Killer Lane.
Sure, Seth was nice but I recall that’s what they said about Ted Bundy. My mind raced as I thought of all the creepy things that might’ve happened to me going to the home of a complete stranger for a “party” that didn’t exist.
I KNEW THAT FLIPPIN’ RING WAS THE SIGN OF A WHACK-JOB!
After retrieving my credit card I returned to the apartment and sent him an email message below:
I’m not coming to your party. I just got back from picking up my credit card and I don’t feel right. It just seemed odd that you would invite me to a party, ask me to be there by 8 pm and then when I called, you said it was just you and your friend. I expected to hear party noise in the background, people’s voices, etc.
Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I don’t know you. I’m going to a stranger’s apartment alone for a party that’s not going on. It didn’t feel right. I think you’re a very nice man but I don’t know you. I am already tense from looking for my card for an hour and so perhaps that’s why I have a bad feeling.
Please accept my apologies and I hope you understand.
I heard back from him the next day:
Thank you for your note. I was wondering what happened last night. I understand why you felt uncomfortable. Sorry if you got the wrong impression. My party did start at 8, but when you called ( around 8:30 or so?) only one of my friends had arrived. About 15 people came to the party but almost all of them didn’t arrive till 9:00 or after. Hope we can speak about this soon.
Sounded reasonable and perhaps I overreacted. I can take the neighborhood produce stand guy and turn him into The Central Park Rapist with simply the suspicious way he bags my fruit. Seth called a few days later and we talked. We even went to dinner (well lit, public place) and I’ll do a follow up on that date, but here’s a tidbit—he wore the ring.
“A man’s got two shots for jewelry: a wedding ring and a watch. The watch is a lot easier to get on and off than a wedding ring.” John Mayer
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)
I believe in calling it as I see it and there’s no doubt I deserve this one.
After several conversations, I agreed to meet William for our first date. I have recently been exploring the option of dating men outside of Manhattan. I’ve not changed my online profile so the “Manhattan only, please” is still in place but if a guy reaches out from distant lands like Hoboken, Long Island or even Poughkeepsie, I’m willing to consider a passport stamp.
William is from Long Island.
I noticed the longer we talked the more frequently he referred to himself as “Billy,” he also began signing his email messages with the nickname.
I struggle to grasp why any person past the age of seventeen would continue to use the child’s version of their given name. That applies to either gender: Susan or Sue, fifty years old and still going by Suzy or the godawful Suzy-Q?
Grow up, already.
William let me know he had a successful business—many times. I shared that although I thought success was a nice thing, I wanted to know more about him from a personal perspective. When he asked me out he said, “Oh, and I’ll come your way.” Now, I know that seems like a simple statement but it didn’t sit well with me. It implied that he was doing me a favor. I wanted to say, “No shit, you’ll come my way. I don’t want to commute to date.” I held my tongue and chastised myself for being bitchy. During our conversation we talked about why certain people were online. William shared that he had been on several dates since joining the site three weeks ago. He said the common theme he’d heard from his dates was that the guys were idiots. I agreed and told him I’d had my share of those. I then told him of something my friend Chloe told me. She said a male friend of hers felt that the majority of men online “have no game.” If they did they’d be able to get a date. His theory was that with the amount of available women outnumbering men (in the tri-state area), if a guy is online he couldn’t cut it in the real world. I’ve often thought the same thing. William said with the information he’d gotten from other women, he agreed.
So when Billy suggested we go on a city bus tour—you know, those double-decker, bright red machines, I wasn’t exactly jumping for joy. But with my new outlook I decided to roll with it.
Then he suggested we meet at 10 am so we could make it a daylong date since he was coming all that way into the city and he also said the it would be “his treat.”
Another No Shit Moment.
I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do is be stuck anywhere with someone I’m not enjoying–a first date is always a crapshoot. The 10 am start time only made it worse.
Have I told you I’m not a morning person? I’m always up early but try to avoid talking until noon.
On the day before our date I got the following message from Billy:
I got game and I’m bringing it!
Here’s the attachment:
Now here’s where I go to Assholeville. I sent the following message to my older daughter:
Here’s my date for tomorrow. First, the name, Billy. He started out as William. Second, he’s taking me on a NYC bus tour that starts at 10 am. Next, he told me, “It’s my treat” like I didn’t know he’d be paying. AND then lastly, the latest message below. Can I cancel now?
I hit send, felt a little better after my mini-rant and knew my girl would feel my pain.
Thirty minutes later I’d heard nothing from my daughter but I did have another message from Billy.
God, please don’t let it be another cyber flower, I thought, as I opened it.
Nope, here’s what it said:
My date, we shall call her Melanie or more recently Pompous.
Firstly, the name either Billy or William. My dear friends call me Billy and that’s what I thought we were becoming – was I so very wrong:
Second, I floated several ideas and she was supposed to proffer several as well, but never did. Something about “packing hell”.
In this day of equality and clarity a mention of “my treat” is erroneously considered to be some type of social fau paux.
Third, she mentioned time and again how men on the web have no GAME. Seems she forgot to mention that she has no sense of humor.
And then LASTLY, a romantic gesture of a digital rose between online professionals is ridiculed.
She is of course free to exercise her lady’s prerogative and coldly cancel via Email.
Melanie, I do so love the banter and my compliments on your having played “the game” and naive me so very well.
Guess who mistakenly replied instead of forwarding?
Just call me Ms. Tech-Savvy.
He was right. He did ask for my ideas and I was in packing hell with my youngest daughter. She just moved to Vermont with her girlfriend. I certainly could’ve suggested something else, but I didn’t.
I considered deleting the message but instead I had to own it. I sent Billy a message apologizing in as many ways possible in one paragraph. I explained that wasn’t my way of canceling the date, rather I had accidentally sent him the message intended for my daughter (I’m certain that revelation made it so much better), I wrote that I had no justification for my awful behavior and I told him that I’m an asshole.
He called immediately.
I didn’t want to answer, but then I would have to add coward to my list of despicable personality traits.
I answered with another apology and explained that although I did feel those things, I would’ve told him much more delicately if we continued to see each other.
He asked if I still wanted to go on the date.
Who was this guy, Ghandi?
I would’ve given him the boot. He actually stated that he was impressed with my ballsy message.
I was duly shamed.
So, the next morning, bright and early I met Billy at Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum on 42nd Street where the tour began. We climbed aboard the bus and headed out. Strange as it may sound, I actually enjoyed the tour. Here’s what I learned:
The Paris, a tavern in the Downtown district is said to be the place Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid planned their Bolivian escape.
The Fraunces Tavern, the place where General George Washington said goodbye to his officers at the end of the American Revolution and returned to his Mount Vernon home.
SoHo has the most cast-iron buildings in the world. If I’m completely honest, I never knew it had any.
When the tour ended we backtracked to the best pizza in NYC (according to our guide), John’s Pizza on Bleecker Street in the West Village.
We chatted over our food and Billy told me he doesn’t think he’ll be on the site much longer since he’s narrowed it down to two women.
I wasn’t one of them.
“Why am I here?” I asked, trying not to sound snotty since I’d already demonstrated proficiency in that area.
“Because I wanted to fulfill my obligation.”
The minute I hit “Send” and that doozy of a message went to Billy’s Inbox, his virtuous card should’ve expired. Depak Chopra would’ve called me a bitch.
“Out of all the women I’ve dated you look the most like your photos,” Billy said, so at least it wasn’t false advertising.
I offered to pay my share of the bill. He declined, I paid the tip then thanked Billy and wished him well.
During the cab ride home I decided my atonement would be two things: I would watch The Real Housewives episodes with acritical eye. With every catty, nasty, rotten thing they said or did I would tell myself, “See, that’s you.”
I also knew I must share my shame on the blog. Perhaps I should reconsider my lack of religion. Confessing to a priest would be far less humiliating.
“He took you on a bus tour? What’d he come in from Ohio?” My friend “Chloe”