Over a year ago, I thought I was ready to date again; actually there was no thought about it. I had to date again. Any time I spent without concrete plans was wasted. Tick tock. I had to move on, and that meant meeting someone new. (I wish I had the strength then that I do now to just be alone) I sorted through match.com profiles with a very open mind. So he looked like Al Borland from Tool Time… so that could be cute in a “lets cuddle in matching flannel” kind of way. I was done with hot. I was married to hot. Hot was 28-years-old and lied to me, running around town without his wedding band, pretending to be single, with a much older women while I was pregnant. I had hot, and it didn’t take. I was looking for the perfect man for me, someone just good looking enough to get me aroused. Excess leads to torment. The date was set. We talked on the phone for hours, and I of course conjured up the wrong image of this cuddly man. He would “fix” things. I wasn’t shy about my recent past. Details were shared with a stranger; a stranger who I hoped would be a replacement. He was emotionally available, compassionate; he seemed evolved and to possess excellent communication skills. He had feelings beyond anger because the ref made a bad call. I was beautiful in my new cream coat and cashmere wrap. I waited in the cold with anticipation. As he approached, all I could think was “uncle.” He was not my uncle, but he was asexual in an uncle sort of way. My shoulders fell, I smiled harder to conceal my disappointment. This guy was cold milk. We exchanged an awkward kiss on the cheek and walked to High Life Bar & Grille. I downed two glasses of wine in a hurry. That’s better. Okay, let me make the most of this. He did go to Columbia, was a banker and a film critic writer. There were things to say. I hadn’t anticipated what happened next. “So Stephanie, thanks for meeting me. I’ve been sad lately… tomorrow is my birthday and I have no one to go out with. Will you please have dinner with me.” Okay, so freeze frame there for a sec. I’m on a pseudo-date with him right then, and I’m not feeling him. And now, in my emotionally tender state, I have to commit to another date? No way, right, I have plans, would love to, sorry. Wrong. “Of course I will.” Oh dear lord. Okay, so the man knows I’m into sushi, so he promises a spectacular sushi dinner. He says he’s going to pick me up in his car and take us there. I keep a car in Manhattan, too, but what a hassle to drive to dinner. What’s the point–parking, drinking. Maybe he just wants to show off his car. Yup. So he picks me up on the Upper East Side, then we’re buzzing over to the West Side of Manhattan in his Ferrari. Where can he be taking me, Fujiyama-Mama? My mind is reeling through Zagat pages, Haru? There’s a Haru on the East Side. Then it becomes clear. We’re approaching the West side highway. “Are we going to New Jersey?” Okay, so if he were cute, the gesture of bad sushi with a great Manhattan view would have been romantic, “How creative is he? He put so much thought into our date. What effort.” Friends would have swooned. When you’re not into the guy it’s “can you even believe he took me to NEW JERSEY for sushi?!?” Friends shake their heads. AND TO READ WHAT HAPPENS NEXT, please buy my memoir, Straight Up & Dirty >>
The ever-beautiful Jennifer turned 26, and to celebrate we, well, we bowled. An inner soundtrack to Grease 2 played in my head. Nicked manicures, entrusting the “bowling man” behind the counter (the dude with the comb-over who hangs out at OTB on his off nights) with my Manolo’s for the ever-fashionable bowling shoes. Don’t you just adore it when they spray the insides of the shoes before they hand them over for you to wiggle your feet into? Delish. Lysol for your toes. Pinky’s Nail Salon would certainly have something to say about that. My day began, of course, shopping with the ever-beautiful Jennifer in the AM hours. New York Look. Expensive Diva Digs. Hence leather and lace skirt (see photos of B-day girl), times 2. Yes, we both got the same skirt. Thank you Jen. It’s HOT. The lovely Kimberly got a fantastic cake from Crumb’s Bakery… okay, people still wipe their names with their pinky and put the icing on their nose for luck. Mr. Marius’ luck is certainly getting to lick our sweet Jennifer clean. Okay, tie. They’re both Lucky. They would both score high on “Are You Hot?” Big thanks to Marius for the evening. Lots of love to all my girls… so good seeing you all. I wish we could have brunches and catch up all the time… though I guess then we wouldn’t HAVE to catch up. Nonetheless, who’s coming over to watch the Globes with me? Come on, I’ll cook! Or at least I’ll make martinis. Dirty. Snow shmo. See the pics from the party in my photo albums.
I went to the blogger BASH last night, though it ought to have been called the Blogger BAN, since we were all but kicked out of AZ. Apparently our green wasn’t what they were looking for, so, we headed west to Siberia, to greener pastures… here I am prior to the ban: So I’m at Siberia, a bar with no name outside, desert. Downstairs, a guy sings in Aasics sneakers, a tee shirt and blazer–probably a lawyer or an analyst at JP Morgan. Watching him sing, his mouth open and crying into the microphone, I can suddenly see through the grunge-cool to the kid who shite himself in kindergarden. Joe Rogers Band. After his set, I introduce myself… his hands full with gear and a mailing list tucked beneath a winged arm, we don’t shake. “Hey, I appreciate what you do out there. You guys were good.” I sound like I’m in kindergarden. “Oh thanks man.” He says it, and something about the way his mouth moves, I think of a kid who was on the chess team and who probably had a pet Lizard. Social skills equal zero. Lips tight. I’m waiting for the awkward inhale of a laugh. I turn and walk. Okay, so hanging out in basement music establishments is a nod to my college years. Now, I usually hang out in wine bars, slurping oysters and pecking away at good Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. It just is. People think it’s upper crust, whatever. I’ve never been a beer drinker, not even Corona, even when it was the thing to do. You know, I can “do” basement. I actually liked the Joe Rogers Band. People are drinking in their hats–like 25 people, one woman–okay, no, two–in skullcaps. We’re inside people; you can remove your sunglasses too. That fashion statement went out with The Cars. In college, I met a man with a hat at The Raccoon Lodge. Obviously, not my type of place anymore, yet in college, they didn’t hassle us with IDs. We entered, played good tunes on the jukebox, and we let men buy us drinks. So, I meet this guy toward the end of the night, backwards baseball cap. I’m feeling seexy and drunk, warmth and a certain laziness has settled over me, and I smile. We talk it up about how much there is to do in New York, and how no one who lives here really takes advantage unless we’ve got to show it up to a friend from out of town. Neuyorkican Poetry Cafe used to be my favorite place to take people… typical dark (at the time smoky) spot, with a DJ, some adult beverages, and yes, poetry. How Jack. Back to the hats, so we talk, and he’s cute. He says he goes to the theatre all the time. “Oh yeah, so when are you taking me?” I’m bold, and it’s time to go home soon, my let’s-get-to-it-move. Numbers are exchanged. The next weekend, I’ve been manicured, waxed, and blown smooth. I approach the restaurant with nerves and adrenaline. My hands are damp. Then, I see him in the restaurant. Actually, that’s not true. I don’t see him at all. A man approaches me that I had never seen before, and says, “Did you find the place okay?” Could this bald man with a lazy eye be my baseball cap date? People, no more hats inside. It’s just not fair… it’s like chicks who wear padded bras.
Randomly I’ve been reunited in one form or another lately with ex-boyfriends. I was writing a story about my summers at camp, when suddenly the character on my page was an ex, and I realized I wanted to know about him now… realized I really always liked him for him, just as he is. So I pushed up my sleeves and called information. Turns out you can’t look up a number without giving a town or origin (the state isn’t quite do-able). I had to suck it up, throw back a sip of wine and, dare I say, call his father. It turned out to be a lovely idea. His father and I got on swimmingly. Kisses and hugs, exchanged even over the phone. Pointed in the direction of my ex friend and lover from high school. That’s right, high school. Adam James Lis and I always got on. Friends first… always connected, always real. And we picked up where we left off, baring our souls, sharing our most intimate secrets, as though no time at all had escaped us. Like me, he’s figuring out who he is, was, and wants to be. Change and the learning that comes with it is frightening, not sexy. Eric Fink, I ran into him, the boy I lost my virginity to when I was 15. I saw him as I was in the lobby at Pfizer. I work in advertising, ready to present my ideas for their web site… and there, as sudden as a snap, I saw him, without hesitation. I knew it was Eric. Eric broke up with me after our two years, of what I thought was committed dating. Monogamy. Ah, no. He hooked with my “friend” Carolyn Hiller. My family always said he looked mousy; they called him “twinkle toes.” I thought it was strange running into none other than Eric Fink two days after tracking down Adam Lis. Eric really was my first real love. Tonight I received a phone text message from my ex boyfriend from college. I’ll leave his name out of this, incase his girlfriend stumbles my way. That’s right. Girlfriend. He’s obviously confused. Who can blame him? I do rock. The last time I saw him, he kissed me. We were always friends, and we both wanted more, but we never got on in that way. I know we all tend to look back with rose glasses, and we try our hardest to remember why it didn’t work, and lately, I’ve been really good at remembering exactly why. Most of the men I was with, I was with them because of how much they loved me, because of how well they treated and adored me. It’s certainly nice, but it’s not a grown up reason as to why to choose to be in a relationship. It’s the act of an insecure child. Now, I’m looking for someone whole. Someone passionate who has things to teach. Didactic is seexy. I am seexy; I am didactic. Looking for same, I’d say affirmative and eventually.
My morning introspection had a catalyst. Barenaked Ladies’ new song ‘War On Drugs.’ The song verbalizes the exact changes I’m making in myself. Letting the tug-of-war relationships of my past go, ridding myself of the guilt and shame… saying goodbye to the demons haunting me, that kept me such company. Maybe it will be dull without all this drama, and maybe it will be odd to make myself happy, like I always thought I was supposed to feel, but never seemed to be. So one point for me. I’m listening to Coldplay’s The Sceintist as I write this. Any song where a man is starting his sentence with “I’m sorry” is a good one. A song about reconciliation. Well done. I like men who show up in the middle of the night if you’re fighting on the phone, or the guy who when you sneak out of his apartment, chases you into the street, finds you in a cab and pleads for you to please come back inside… “there are things that need to be said.” I guess I love people who can realize they’re making mistakes before they make them. Romantics who know what to do if they ever are in a relationship. Nobody said it was easy. It’s such a shame for us to part. Nobody said it was easy. No one ever said it would be this hard. I love reconciliation. I just always thought it would be with a boy; I never thought I’d be reconciling with myself.
If the best of all possible worlds were reality, I wouldn’t have to shave. My nails would be long and manicured. Polish wouldn’t chip. If the best of all possible worlds were reality, I would be a mother of healthy children, a wife, and a writer. I would live in a new house, with steam showers, full tubs, and dimmer light switches. I’d have land, a pool, a hot tub. I’d have a lovely SUV, and no one would ever suggest a minivan. I would be connected in a deep meaningful way to my husband, and we would keep our marriage a priority and a goal throughout our lives together. We would have trust, respect, and friendship. If the best of all possible worlds were reality, I could eat anything and as much of any foods and I would still be thin, look muscular, defined, and have my health. I would never have to exercise to keep fit and healthy. If the best of all possible worlds were reality, I would have close friends, as I do now, who I could grow old with, and live close to, counting on one another to be our memories. If the best of all possible worlds were reality, there would be no traffic, no slow people, no fear, no dead ends, no deadlines, no office politics or stress. There would be no disagreements or disappointments. Life would be fair. Karma would work. If the best of all possible worlds were reality, people I admired would adore me. I’d feel content and happy with my place in life–I would believe in and follow my purpose in life. I wouldn’t have questions. I’d have an inner therapist that would come out like a little angel who whispers to an ear in the cartoons. There would be no cartoon devil. The inner therapist would point things out to me, and make me aware. I would not act out of fear. I would be strong. I would not be needy. I would love myself–be proud, and I’d have no insecurity. If the best of all possible worlds were reality, my windows would keep out the cold air, and even on nights like these, I could sleep in silky nightgowns instead of socks, sweatpants, and a Duke sweatshirt from my past. If the best of all possible worlds were reality, I could plan menus, write selective restaurant reviews and preview all movies I wanted to see before they were released to theatres. If the best of all possible worlds were reality, Linus would always be tired when I was. If the best of all possible worlds were reality, I could have many rooms, beautifully decorated with charming, thoughful touches. Fresh flowers by the bed, lavender sachets in drawers, high thread count sheets, light switches by the headboard of a bed. Something akin to seat-heaters in a car, but for the house. I’d have company that I loved come to visit, and we’d sit indian-style by the fireplace, and drink sauvignon blanc from new zealand, and we’d laugh, and cling, and make savory memories. Aftertaste. There would be no dishes or cleaning to be done. I’d have a “royal packer” to pack and unpack my bags for travel. If the best of all possible worlds were reality, my space would be warm, comfortable, organized and clean. Bright, but dark where it needed it, like in my bedroom on the weekends only, and in the movie theatre I’d have in my home. If I were in Manhattan, as I am now, I would own stairs. I’d have built in bookshelves with a sliding ladder. I’d have enormous (well-insulated) windows with views. I’d have too many walk-in closets that even had space for a chaise. If the best of all possible worlds were reality, I’d have a husband who was intellectually stimulating, who supported me, who made me laugh until I cried, who would cherish me, who I would deeply cherish back. If the best of all possible worlds were reality, people wouldn’t lie or cheat. If the best of all possible worlds were reality, I would never have to say good-bye to the people or places or things that I loved. They would always be there, where I left them, like artifacts.
I have a mouthful of sushi–cool avocado explodes on my cheek. Beads of rice tucked under my upper lip, the sting of ginger on my tongue, toasted sesame seeds, the bounce of raw salmon. I’m sitting on a red stool in Rice Bowl surrounded by loud-talking girls. Yum, cucumber too. A cell phone rings, a gust of cold air as delivery man exists, fistful of bags, hat drawn down covering his eyebrows. Gloves thick. A black-haired Drew Barrymore type wipes down fake wooden tables with a square rag, pushing in chairs, a red bandana on her head, almost a nurse hat, saving the floors from crumbs. Her pants are too long, dragging on the long wooden floors. Her walk is a shuffle. When does her shift end? Does she only clean and serve, or is she learning to cut razor thin slices of ginger, pink and translucent like the insides of ears. Tempura shrimp in a metal tin beneath heat lamps, lined up like rows of gondalas in Venice, stuck in the light, waiting to be chosen. Too bad he’s married, mister black cashmere overcoat, designer glasses, cute smile, dimples. I saw his ring when he pointed to the brown rice. He takes his meal to a nook, in the front, stooling it facing out onto the street, at the wall of glass. The steam from his tea fogs up the window. I see his reflection. I love this about New York. How I can find a space and make it mine, in my head, it’s safe and I’m suddenly an observer, and I can see families and friends, and the guy eating alone, facing the street with the taxis and the woman running in next door for her quick pick ticket. Even the ugly girl sitting under me, on a regular chair, slurping her noodle soup, telling the ugly man she is wild about the new man she is dating. Even ugly people date. And it’s New York, and I’ll be having tea soon, and suddenly, it’s okay. None of us are alone in this. A daughter sits with her divorced father. Braces, clean-faced, green knitted hoodie, she eats chicken off a thin stick. Dad rubs his hands clean with a napkin, like he’s removing a stain from the carpet. Perhaps she’s telling him about school, asking if she is old enough to date or shave her legs. I’m too far away to hear, but they look happy, even though they’re not at home, at a kitchen table with a mother, even though they are broken. I’m getting full. Beneath the “Salads & Sushi Here” sign is a make your own salad bar, except it’s not make your own, it’s pick your own, and they make it for you. Toss. Toss. A cafeteria lineup. Metal tongs, appear to be floating wishbones, are plunged into bins of shredded carrots, diced celery, quartered beets, marinated tofu squares. I love avocado. I want to go home, nurture my inner compass, make myself a cup of tea, call it a spot, crawl under the covers in my cashmere socks and write. Time for the gloves, the scarf and the coat. Time to leave Rice Bowl, and go to my home, to make dinner for Linus, to let him lick up my nose. Time to go home.
My curls were separate and soft when I was younger. I remember my childhood as if all I ever wore were blue overalls. I traveled in strollers, a cushy blue and white polka-dot stroller some days and ordinary cotton sack strollers on more casual days. Asleep in a stroller holding one of those shiny plastic balls sold in steel bins at the supermarket. An apple juice box nestled in the crack of space between the side of my leg and the stroller. Right there, in that moment, that was my childhood. That’s how I remember it, asleep, calm, just peace. Now, men look at me on the street. Yell things like “Hey Red, boy would I like a piece of that.” And I cannot find the kind of peace I used to have when people paid no attention to me, or rather, I was able to pay no attention to them. On warm summer evenings, I remember lying upstairs, with a sheet for a blanket, the window open, listening to the crickets, the muffled television from down the hall, and Mother’s company laughing downstairs. When the air-conditioner was in the shop for servicing, we had to soak our white cotton sheets in a basin of water, wring them out, and stretch them across our mattresses; they would help us keep cool. Lemon water, dining beneath awnings, dog runs, jam jars filled with wild flowers, fireflies, scribbles of cloud, light sweaters, kites, capri pants with paten leather J.P. Todds, Jersey tomatoes, sunflowers, freckles and sticky Solarcain skin, blond highlights, cherries, sprinklers, lemonade stands. At least there are winter coats, and boots, gloves, muffs. Something to hide me. Stop looking. Sat in the bathroom stall at work today and cried. I didn’t go to the bathroom to cry; I went to pee. But as I relaxed, tears just came flooding out, bleeding into the gray cracks of the tiles at my feet. I was not meant to do this with my life. I should be following my dreams. I saw a woman who was settling for less, and I didn’t like what I saw. My dream is to write, and I’m going to do it.
Long before my sister Lea and I began to bicker over the rules of calling “Shotgun,” we were comfortable in the back seat of our Mother’s cars. Just about every year it was a different car. A rental. Neglected looking, used, maroon or pale blue, cars that Mother called “jalopies.” I believe a factor in my parents’ divorce were all of those National Car Rental heaps. My father always had the latest model two-door Cadillac; they smelled like leather. Our mother was stuck with a four-door station wagon, or even worse, a Pinto with bucket seats and torn “pleather” patched with duct tape colored to match. Lea and I liked the station wagons. We’d fold down the middle seat and sprawl out on our backs, putting our bare feet against the cool glass trunk door. Watching the heat from our feet make disappearing prints on the glass. On long car rides, after the excitement of grooming and playing with our Barbies wore off, after making obscene gestures at the passengers in other cars, and once the string for Cats & Cradles became knotted, Lea and I would fight. At first it was playful. When my mother would turn the car up a ramp or along the sway of a road, I’d exaggerate gravity and shove Lea against the door. She’d do it, too, but she was smaller and didn’t weigh as much as I did. We laughed and shoved until it got painful. Lea would begin to moan, scream, and laugh again. This went on for a while punctuated with our mother’s occasional warnings that she was going to drop us off on the side of the road if we didn’t “Cut it out!” One day, I remember finally yelling at her to go ahead and do it. I must have done something to really get to her because I remember not wanting to get out of the car as soon as she stopped it short. She actually got out of the car and tried to rip me out of it. I was screaming, red, and trying to grip onto the roof of the car from the inside as I kicked at her. She finally did rip me out onto the ground, slammed the car door, and left me sitting there on the hot tar road, tiny pebbles sticking to my thighs. Lea was screaming, hair in her mouth, and I remember looking down at the ground when she drove the car off. An ant crawled over my fingernail.
Witches always had a mean black cat that hissed and was too skinny. A cackle. A dark cloak and a straw broom. A pointed hat with a wide brim, a crooked hook nose, and of course a fat wart with long hairs growing out of it. That’s what witches were when I was small… creatures that with their green tinted skin appeared on All Hallow’s Eve, in movies, cartoons, and bedtime stories. Now, they appear to us in our everyday lives, waiting for the bus, sitting beside us in a movie theatre, even in the hospital waiting room. The woman at the bank, in a rush, sighing and squinting behind me on line, tapping her foot as I rummage through my handbag for a pen to sign the withdrawal slip. The mother at the diner, who ground out her cigarette on her teenage daughter’s plate and told her she has, “eaten enough, just look at your thighs spreading as you eat.” We all from time to time posses a bit of witch in us, but thankfully, when we were young we learned of good witches, too. The idea that when everything around us seemed cold and gray, and that when even our favorite blankets weren’t big enough to keep us safe, there was always someone, something, looking after us. It works both ways.
In a relationship I try to follow these rules: • I will try my hardest not to overreact, as I tend to do in life. • I will only deal with one issue at a time, without introducing topics or incidents from the past, as hard as it might seem. • I will never attack any of his vulnerabilities, or hurt him in order to have the last word by being sarcastic or calling him names. • I will always respect and keep the trust with which he has entrusted me. • I will try to avoid sweeping generalizations like “you always” and “you never.” • Before I start in I will ask myself what exactly is bothering me and what do I expect and want him to do about it. I will offer compromise and think about possible outcomes that would be acceptable. I will try to remember that the idea is not to “win” but to be kind and come to a solution we can both live with. • Most of all, I will try to improve my listening skills. I will try to be careful not to interrupt him and to genuinely hear his concerns and feelings. • I will accept responsibility for a problem that I might have with him, realizing that “we” have a problem, not just “you” have a problem. • I will always be loyal to him and our relationship first and foremost. • I will always make sure that his needs are being met as long as they are communicated to me. • I will continually work on letting go of the past to heal my heart and mind. • I will never, ever, fight with him in front of our children (god-willing) • Instead of telling him that I am pissed or angry, I will replace it with the more telling emotions of fear, hurt, or frustration. In the meanwhile, since I’m not in a relationship right now, I’ll try to work on my issue of Insecurity. My issue, the need to feel love. The addiction to adoration as my drug of choice. I wasn’t daddy’s little girl, and to compensate, I became seexually active very young, became a serial monogamist. Needy for adoration. When I date it’s not a problem. My whole life I’ve measured my self-worth with men loving me. Tripping over themselves to tell me how fabulous I am. I guess I’m lucky that way. It’s also a curse because I never learned to feel great about myself without a man… I guess I did… I made myself feel great through other men when my father didn’t make me feel that way. Still it was never me on my own. In my relationships I’ve been very independent yet dependent. I have my own friends. I’m active with them. I have a support network of family and friends who are always available to listen. I’ve got my own interests of photography, my work, anything creative, and when that all falls short, I use the energy to take care of the person I’m with. Look up recipes they might like, plan fun dates, or fun surprise gift ideas. I’m nurturing and understanding, sensitive and emotionally available. I get dependent (or needy) when I feel insecure. If we’re fighting or not having seex, I get so crazed to fix things… I think because I’m not getting my way, and I end up acting out to try to get my way. Or I try to make him feel bad, punish him so he feels as frustrated as I do, because then I think I might get the love and adoration I’m seeking, but through fear. I wanted to be my ex’s sole attention… even when he wasn’t with me, I wanted him to miss me and think of me often. I hated when he would say he wanted to do something else like go play golf. Me me me. I wanted adoration. And I punished him when he didn’t give it enough. And it was never enough, eventually. And we know how that turned out. And now, I see myself repeating the same thing. Less so though because I trust him. I don’t get jealous if he wants to hang with his friends. I do care though that he doesn’t necessarily want alone time with me as much as I do. I have a problem with “recency.” Only focusing on the past 3 days, fixate on that, and then try to run instead of looking at the universal picture, the us we have been, the he that he has been… and I’m ready to throw it away.
More people come to this site to learn what a cleveland steamer is than those searching for a seexy New York City blogger. Well I tell you what. You can have both. A Cleveland Steamer: when someone takes a dump on your chest. A dirty Sanchez: when an index finger is swiped along or inserted in the ass, then wiped across your partner’s top lip for a lovely whiff… leaving a mexican moustache… or a “Dirty Sanchez.” A Jersey Turnpike: a finger up the tush, then placing that finger in your partner’s mouth. (If you accidentaly pick your nose at some point with that abusive finger, it’s called, “Getting off at Newark.”) A Felcher: when cum is slurped from an asshole post anal seex (sometimes with a straw) The interesting bit here, is Reebok aired a Terry Tate Commercial using all these references. Now if you want to read a great real story click here. The Original not quite the clevaland steamer post read this way: Okay, so I stepped in a pile of dog shite today. Perhaps you’re thinking it happened on the street, and it’s akin to being shat on by a pigeon. What luck. Actually, more realistically, you’re probably sinisterly wringing your hands doing that evil graduated laugh as you twist your mustache. Okay, maybe not. In fact, it was a glob on my bedroom floor, beside my pristine bed, a good morning steaming present from the Lineman. I was barefoot. Apparently giving him milk past its expiration date doesn’t really make him retro after all.