Tag Archives: parents

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.

Advertisements

My Boozy Valentine’s: Keeping It in the Family

16 Feb

It Can Always Be Worse

Yesterday was post-Valentine’s Day, the aptly named Hump Day for those of you not occupying your local Wall Street! As you woke up from your chocolate/obligatory sex hangover (or that pitcher of loneliness and vodka punch you brewed after falling asleep in front of a Glee/New Girl double feature…or whatever you kids TiVo these days), I reflected on an epic Tuesday night spent with my greatest current love…my parents. In the spirit of cheese and alternative interpretations of Valentine’s (read: I don’t have a date and want to have a normal Tuesday, except everything I do will be interpreted as an attempt to compensate for not having a date and feigning indifference even though my soul is crying, but I really truly don’t care even though I can’t definitively prove it to the world and damn it there’s no winning here) …where was I? Oh yeah, so I decided to  invite my parents to the movies. For one, I felt bad about neglecting them of late (full disclosure: like any good Russian Jew, I live in the same county as Mom and Dad), plus my dad has had some tough medical issues to deal with in the short term, so I decided a little quality time was in order.

Of course, Tuesdays means Optimum Rewards Day for Mom and Dad (apparently Cablevision/Optimum entice customers by giving away movie tickets for Tuesday matinees), so I decided to take them up on a long-standing offer to use one and finally see The Descendants. I sprinted from my office, high atop MSG, while the latest episode of Linsanity  heroics was streaming live from Toronto, to Clearview Chelsea Cinemas. With only minutes until previews began, my dad was sweetly waiting by the ticket taker with my comp ticket. I grabbed it and advised him of the “will call” option. We entered a barely half-full theater (the beauty of an early-evening show on a random weeknight). My parents reserved two short rows (including a full row just to myself). I was told to sit in the corner with the boys (my dad and his friend Ed). My offer to go buy some popcorn was immediately waived off. Mom and Dad smiled slyly at each other.

“Trust me,” their faces said in unison.

I complied and sat down. As soon as the lights dimmed and the first trailer lit the screen bright green, an unidentified hand proffered a foil-wrapped package over my shoulder. I wasn’t there to ask questions, especially when starving. The package revealed a cheese sandwich. Next came a little squeeze bottle of Purell®. Wrong  sequence, I thought, bits of whole wheat and Danish cheese falling from my mouth, but again I dared not question it. I scarfed down the cheese sandwich and had my next question answered before I completed the thought as another foil package was extended to me—this time it was a delicious chicken cutlet with a sweet honey glaze. Then I heard Ed’s voice summoning me from behind:

“Cognac or vodka?”

Now, normally, this is a very welcome ritual, and a familiar one from several yacht outings I’ve been invited to by my dad and his friend. But I’d never expected him to bring a portable bar to the movies. Suddenly my mom’s guilty smiles and broken insinuations upon entering made sense. I refused but Ed wasn’t having it. I wondered if I’d been assigned to the men’s corner to normalize this behavior. Without hesitation, I took the rather elegant shot glass and downed what turned out to be a pretty damn rarefied and tasty cognac (and I’m no fiend). Ed was ready to pour another but I preempted him, prompted by visions of narcolepsy cutting short a movie I actually wanted to be awake for.

I’m not sure what happened behind me for the next 2 hours. Suffice it to say I’d be shocked if Dad and Ed had any intention to come home with cognac in their pockets. Toward the end of this somewhat underwhelming Alexander Payne flick, I heard some sobs from the back and thought they were coming from Ed. It turned out to be my poor dad. When we left, my mom was visibly upset and scolded both me and herself for bringing someone about to undergo neurosurgery to a movie whose plot surrounds a woman vegetating in a hospital. “At least it wasn’t a documentary about tumors,” I unhelpfully offered.

Complimenting the child actors’ performances, we walked out into another cold New York evening, and strolled leisurely toward the subway past half-empty restaurants, against a stream of rushing girls, faces glued to their smartphones, and dudes last-minute-shopping for sex-salvaging flowers.