a whole separate owner’s manual

It was 11pm when I received the call.  Then the begging began.  I was cozy in bed with The Lineman (he was beaning); I was reading Barrel Fever in a tank top and sweatpants. I was comfortable.  The cell rang; I ignored it.  Then the home phone rang.  Ignore.  Then in with the cell phone again.  So I picked up; they meant business.  This wasn’t some, "oh I said I’d call" call.  This was heartfelt, "get your ass out of bed.  We’re sending a car to get your ass and won’t take no for an answer."  So I put on eyeliner, jeans, and a smile.

Then I walked into a club, and I hate clubs.  For me to connect with someone, I like good conversation laden with stories and good questions.  I like connecting to brains before bodies.  I leave a club smelling like smoke and feeling tired.  It’s a waste of my time.  Not because I don’t meet anyone, but because I’d have prefered spending that time seeing live music.  I digress.  Thankfully, we had a table, so I didn’t have to get bumped all night by men who think they can move you along by taking charge of your hips. 

I used to say, "I don’t go out to meet guys," but I didn’t mean it.  Then I’d continue, "I’d never meet a good guy at a place like this."  I meant that, and I still do (I genuinely wasn’t there to meet anyone other than my friends).  But I would get arguments flung at me about how any person I would meet would have an uphill battle having to explain why he was also dragged there.  And that’s about right.  I am sorry.  I don’t want some ONE going, velvet rope, I don’t wait on lines guy.  I want a baseball capped barn jacket banker.

There, I said it. 

I want an American looking preppy who is good in bed.  And he has to make as much money, or more, as I do.  You know why?  Because I already put someone through medical school.  Know why else?  I want what I want.  I want to be able to go to a nice restaurant and not worry that my taste is too expensive.  I don’t want to compromise my lifestyle; there are enough compromises in relationships.  I don’t want to give up the things I like just because I’m in a relationship; I’d rather be single.  And I’m not paying someone’s way again.  There, vent is now open.  I’m not going to clubs anymore unless it’s someone’s birthday.

I’m not saying I wouldn’t live in a cabin near a lake married to a professor, as long as he looked good in white tee-shirts and didn’t mind my cold feet.  I like the idea of it.  A house with sounds and planks and breath.  Potholders, leftovers, a sliced apple on a wooden cutting board, a bathtub we’d share, a wet bathmat we’d argue over, and a porch, from which we’d watch the rain as it graced our vegetable garden—okay, my vegetable garden.  At night, he’d tell me bedtime stories about the kitchen we would be building, and he’d walk me through all the gadgets, describing my espresso station, and the separate area reserved just for baking and rolling dough (God, I love the kitchen).  Then he’d whisper, "Goodnight Savannah."  ‘Cause he’d know I always loved the idea of the south.  I grew up wishing I could have a coming out party with petticoats and ribbons and banana curls.  I’d drink sweet tea instead of espresso.  I’d wear yellow and sunhats, and there would be a lake, just like then.  And I’d have smiled when he asked if we could live near a lake.  I’d name the house something southern, even if we lived up north.  I want all those things, and I won’t meet a him like that in a place full of silicone and Prada.

Anyway, as I was saying… I get to ONE, and I see a photographer friend of mine who works for JoonBug.  So I give her some HTML tips, and then, like that, I can’t find my friends.  Hey, if you’re lost, don’t make any moves.  So I stood alone in the club for a good 15 minutes thinking about my life.  I’m not lost; I can make all the moves I want.

Then, a European guy hit on me.  Then another.  What’s my deal with all the foreign dudes?  Nothing scares me more than foreskin.



  1. Foreskin – eeew. Not a good thing. I want all the things you want in a man. And I want him to be Jewish.

  2. imagine the poor lad that meets stephanie and then reads this website of hers? he'll be running faster than you can say 'psycho'

  3. I hear you. I finally settled down with a barn jacket wearing, preppy former-banker-but-now-a-consultant. He suits me and my lifestyle perfectly. You'll find him. You're right though, you probably won't find him in a club.

  4. I've done the foreign foreskin thing; quite an interesting adjustment, and honestly a whole level of health issues that I never imagined. Ew.


    While I've never put anyone through medical school, I came dangerously close to being the major breadwinner until I bailed on that relationship. I wouldn't have minded the financial dynamic so much as I minded the attitude of complacency shown by my ex. "I don't mind that you are always going to make more than me." Of course *you* don't. The one whose lifestyle could change for the worse is the one who cares! So now I'm happy that I found my Eddie Bauer windbreaker-wearing attorney; we live in the same sphere, thank God. And no… I didn't meet him in a club, either.

  5. steph, i know that the women above who found the dream guy will argue, as will every other women that subsequently posts, but your requirements for your future mate are unrealistic. you want the rich banker that usually acts like a conceited asshole and treats his significant other like shit (including cheating on them every chance they get), but you want him to have the personality/character of the starving artist who is thoughtful, caring, generous, and worships the ground you walk on.

    You cant have your cake and eat it too…oh, and you want him to be hot, with a great body, but who doesnt care if his girlfriend is not so concerned with her figure and loves fast food (and that is not a comment about you specifically, as i think you are attractive, and i am not judging you physically or otherwise).

    I mean seriously, do you REALLY wonder why you havent met this guy yet? i tell you why, because that guy has the perfect woman in mind that he is searching for, and she is drop dead gorgeous, size 0 with a C cup, intelligent, worldly, and every other positive trait that one could envision when designing the dream girl.

    I dont view it as settling so much as being realistic, and having a realistic view of yourself. Again, this isnt specifically for you, as i encounter women who think the same way that you do all the time (including many of my close girl friends).

    I do enjoy your writing from a pure literary perspective, often laugh out loud while reading it, and am always entertained, BUT the content leaves me thinking "and she wonders why she is single".

    OK, let the droves of women aching to refute my post go wild (and your male readers will most likely chime in also, but most of the guys who post arent a realistic representation of the general male population, and i doubt any of them would meet (or actually even come close to) your stringent requirements for a mate).

    You seem to be one who likes things on the up and up, so i figured i would throw a dose of reality at you rather than the typical smoke blown up your ass "dont worry steph, you will find him, he's out there" speech.

  6. yes, i agree about chemistry. and i do really enjoy your writing, i just think some women (again, not necessarily you) want it all, and cant figure out why they dont get it. And the longer i go on in life, the more i realize there is a steep price to pay for looks (usually in the form of other character traits). and i go back to the old adage with regard to attractive women, every time i see a really "hot" woman, i know that there is some guy (or woman) some where who is sick of her (or his) shit.

  7. In my day, the theory was that foreign men loved American women because they stereotyped us as "easy." Fortunately, I've lived in Europe and sexual promiscuity is very much alive and well there so it blew that theory clear out of the water. The second school of thought was that foreign men liked American women because she could be their citizenship ticket into the United States, but not anymore since INS has become a lot stricter with their policies.

    I digress.

    In the story above, I think Stephanie is describing a perfect world with someone who will take care of her, love her, fulfill her dreams and be her friend for life. I mean, come on now, I have a few friends from the deep south and NO ONE wears their hair in banana curls, let alone petticoats. So it's obvious Stephanie knows the difference between a perfect world and reality.

    Character is an excellent trait, but a man can have character and not be a good storyteller. He can look good in a white tee shirt but could care less about what a kitchen looked like and leaves wet towels on the bathroom floor. It's not about settling for less or giving up. It's about two people coming together, being honest, sharing and wanting to live a lifetime together and along with that comes a little bit of giving some things up. Stephanie has had unpleasant experiences and has been hurt, we all have, some worse than others, but we all grow and learn things from the past that we dare not repeat.

    I'm probably a lot older than everyone who contributes their comments here, but I write from my own experiences. I once dreamed that my perfect world would consist of a man who would love me unconditionally, take care of me financially, worship the ground I walked on and went out of his way to please me and I would give him the world in return. I met my second husband when I wasn't looking and I stopped looking for that perfect man when I married him. A musician wasn't anything close to what I was looking for. He's good looking, yes. Financially set, no. He's not perfect. It was his wit, his laugh, his charm and most of all his way of thinking that got me. We are compatible in every sense, but we bicker and argue and have great debates and deep conversations. We've both struggled and taken care of each other, we've both gotten older and we've both grown. In my opinion, and we all have one, this is only a small part of what a relationship consists of.

  8. remember it's not a guys fault if they have a foreskin, it's okay if you really love them. They also have to be exceptionally clean and who doesnt want a clean guy anyway?

  9. Hey now, why all this foreskin bashing? I don't mind you making fun of poor people and non-whites like usual, but people with foreskins? Isn't that stooping a little low?

    I am happy with mine, it keeps me warm in the winter and means that even when I have taken off all my clothes, I still have a little extra surprise. I haven't heard any complaints. I wash my business regularly and I don't mind a little extra sensation a bajo.

    As for treating the little lady right – as a similarly 'au naturel' friend of mine used to say "ribbed condoms – those are for them".

    It's like saying I won't date a chick with small breasts. Wacky.

  10. circumcision is actually becoming less common in the US as well.

    And last time I checked, you could still get a green card by marrying a US citizen.

  11. ms,

    Yes, it is still a way of getting a green card, but it's not as easy as it once was. You could, at one time, marry, get the green card, not live with the spouse or consumate the marriage and divorce 3 months later. That's what I really meant to say. I should really go to bed at 3am instead of writing!

  12. Maria,

    it was never that simple. After you get married, you get a conditional green card. That is good for 2 years. After that time is up, you have to apply for your permanent one. The INS has always taken a dim view of people who aren't still married after the 2 year period.

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