Archive | September, 2012

Where My Girls At? (No, Seriously, Where Are They?)

25 Sep

Child Idol

When I was a little boy, my family members, especially mom, grandmas, and other female members, got in the habit of telling anyone who would listen (and those who wouldn’t) that I would one day become a ladykiller. “Look at those eyes,” they would say. “Why, he’ll be married before his older brother” (who is significantly older). And silly though their exuberant encomiums were to my precocious ears, they somehow persisted, even into the troubled teen years when the wheat is separated from the chaff with the jagged thresher of social order and reality slaps you around for fun.

Fast forward two decades, and their compliments now sound like feeble charity, if not downright fraudulent. You lied to me, Mom, you lied! On the eve of the holy day of Atonement, when the power of history and guilt compel even infidels like yours truly to refrain from casting aspersions on the ones we love, I cannot but look back on their pollyannish prophecies and shake my head. What the FUCK? Where are all those conquered hearts?

Here I am, thirty-two, somehow miraculously single, blogging about my online dating misadventures—the short victories and crushing defeats. Small bubbles of evanescent joy popping at the surface of a cauldron boiling up with disappointment. Has Cupid’s arrow missed so many times, piercing friends and foes alike in his eternal crossfire with fate? Where is that lothario spirit the parents had been hinting at for so many years? Am I to join the Hall of Shame along with the other legendary busts of my time—Greg Oden, Michael Olowokandi, and Darko Milicic? Where is that kavorka?  What empty curse is this? What unfulfilled promise?

No one has a way of accounting for the future. The child who hears his parents boast of wildly unrealistic feats must one day take responsibility for his own life and his own identity—warts and all—and accept what he is and what he is not. He must navigate the inimical terrain of dating and relationships and all the bullshit they introduce—personalities, awkwardness, infatuations, attraction, availability, rejection, chemistry, and not least of all, timing—without learning to hate everyone who doesn’t give him his way while gaining the confidence to push aside anything that gets into it. He must never forget how good it felt when it was really good and embrace it when it comes again. And he must keep going, because life does not stop for whiners.

Whatareyagonnado? I look back on my twenties, most of which were spent fretting about what was to come. And, you know what? Things aren’t too bad. As my brother once said, “You still haven’t made any major mistakes.” Sometimes that seems hard to believe, but then I’ll wake up, find a tray full of peanut shells on my bed, and don’t feel the least bit guilty about it. Sure, in the back of my mind, I keep hoping my scot-free days of singledom will one day soon be behind me, and I’ll suck up the last incriminating shreds of bacheloresque indiscretions with my cordless hand vac, but that won’t stop me from enjoying my freedom while I have it. One day soon I’ll happily hang the chains of coupledom on their familiar grooves and swing them as I whistle down the street. And then, suddenly, my parents won’t be liars anymore. After all, one mom’s ladykiller is another woman’s lovable dork.

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Death Cab for Cutie

10 Sep

After a Friday evening HAW date with a very pleasant lady who, despite sharing my interest in several areas, and being cute, just didn’t hit the right nerve with me, I got a hit on OkCupid Locals. Are you familiar with OkCupid Locals? It’s their mobile app’s raison d’être, allowing users to click faces (let’s face it, we all love clicking faces) of allegedly nearby Cupids, indicating that you want to meet up in the very, very near future without fuss or drawn-out written exchanges. Basically, it’s the Lazy Man/Woman’s online dating app. If someone clicks on you and you click back, a match occurs and you can then set up a rendezvous at a local Foursquare-indexed urban venue. (Local takes on a different meaning when you’re in a more remote location. In the Poconos [yes, I turned it on during vacation and damn you for judging] the pickings are slim; you’ll either be selecting between a Dunkin Donuts barista or a free spirited bisexual in rural PA an hour’s drive from your demands for instant first-date gratification.)

The girl who clicked on me seemed smart, grounded, and pleasant-looking, so I went for it. We met up for dim sum and had some interesting conversation. Even when the quick sting of face-to-face disappointment sets in, I can settle into the pleasure of just meeting another human being with a unique background, set of experiences, and outlook on all the interesting things—politics, sex, etc.—that are first date taboos. Sadly the dim sum, like the girl, did not live up to my expectations. When we walked out of the Chinatown dim summery, summer rain, despite the best prognostications, was coming down. I tried to help her find a cab to Williamsburg and, wouldn’t you know it, they all seemed to be somewhere else.

When we finally tracked one down on Bowery, she invited me to share it for the few blocks that would get me closer to home before the taxi turned unto Delancey and the Williamsburg Bridge. She asked him if he could drop me off at Delancey. The cabbie, squinting with a strange intensity, replied, “Why not?” almost throwing up his arms, off the wheel, as if we’d just asked him to jump out of an airplane with us on a whim. OK! I turned back to my date to make some pre-departure small talk.

“You want to jump? Then jump!” the cabbie continued. I looked at him in confusion. He was squinting even more severely than before, and moving his head with uncertainty, his hostile tone not matching the tentative body language.

“Umm, OK.”

“Where you going?” he asked.

“I’m going a different way, just let me out on Delancey.”

“Where you going?” he raised his voice, waving me off with the back of his right palm.

“Uh, can you just let me out on Delancey?” I said will less certainty, totally unprepared for this weird challenge.

“You want to get wet, man? Where are you going, tell me!” he howled.

I told him my cross streets, way west of there, and he quieted down with an “Oh.” He knew he couldn’t help me.

“Wow, this guy is really concerned with my dryness,” I quipped to my date. I looked at her face and she was as confused as I was. I was now a little bit suspicious that this guy might be drunk, crazy, or both, but I was also in a hurry to get home.

Attempting to convey my concern and bewilderment with arched eyebrows and a quizzical glance at her, I only seemed to put her off. “I’m just trying to help,” she murmured. We awkwardly asked him to stop at the F train stop on Delancey and he instructed me to make up my mind and be more decisive. I thanked him, hugged the girl, and jumped out of the cab.

I ran down the steps into the subway, wondering if, as a human being I had any moral responsibility to ensure the girl’s survival in this bizarre yellow cab and its officious driver despite having no interest in further interaction with the girl herself. I now also wonder if he wasn’t having a stroke, or at least a transient ischemic attack, when he picked us up. I didn’t even have her number since in this wonderful age of face-clicking catalog dating we set the whole thing up though the App. If I messaged her, she might think it was a casual follow-up perceive it as interest in another date. I might sleep slightly better at night, but now I might have to deal with subsequent exchanges. Calculating the odds of survival based on past cab rides, my conscience chose the “eccentric  cabbie” over “Travis Bickle.”

My moral quandary was soon dissolved in a sea of pixels as I started playing Slide Soccer on my iPhone while a guy on the opposite platform catcalled forcefully at a girl on the bench behind me. I lost to the computer on HARD, as usual. I’m sure she made it home safe and dry, fulfilling my parting wish, but I’m a little hesitant checking the local news this morning.