tales of a girl in the city

novembre 29, 2004

Now That I Finished Writing About It, I Still Can't Believe It Actually Happened

"So are you attracted to women?" he asks me.

I'm drunk and it's Halloween, otherwise I would've dodged the question. He and I had just met, afterall. That's information I usually don't flaunt. But the burlesque girl on stage was gyrating prettily. The room was dark. Her skin was pale. And my martini glass was runnething over.

"I am," I replied.

"Have you ever hooked up with a woman?" was his next question.

"Yes," I answered, my tone clearly stating that no details would follow.

"Yeah," he said. "I've been trying to hook up with a guy for a long time now. I even met one on-line and set up a meeting. But when it came time to kiss him at the end of the night, I felt all weird. I'll probably keep trying, though. I don't think I'll feel really whole until I've had sex with another man. By the way, wanna go out to dinner sometime?"



I know.

So. Welcome to today's entry, in which I will investigate my feelings about gay men who want to date me.

Call it a double standard. Tell me I'm closed-minded. Lecture me on sexuality, gray areas and the definition of "queer." But--and I'll try to use euphemisms so as to avoid disturbing any young children who may have stumbled onto this site--if you're a man who likes dick, you can't touch my boobs.

Some things you can do with me if (again--thinking of the children) you're a man who likes cock:

1) Brunch with me on Sundays and say mean things about the people we did musicals with in high school.

2) Lounge in outdoor cafes, wearing our sunglasses no matter how dark it gets, so people will think that we're famous.

3) Describe your new bathroom decor using color names normally found only on Crayons.

4) Be my best friend forever.

Things you can't do (a brief review):

1) Touch my boobs.

I feel this way, in part at least, because I have already had my boobs touched by a boy who would later decide he was gay.

You should understand "later" to mean "while he was going down on me." (Kids, ask your mommies what that is.)

The time? Summer. The place? Italy. The boy? An opera singer from California. One of those guitar playing, faded jeans wearing, writes his own music and worships Dave Matthews boys. Who also happened to be super religious. Frequently quotes Bible verses kind of religious. Yeah. Well, now we all see where this is going, but at the time, I was nineteen. So fuck off.

Anyway, he and I were attracted to one another immediately. After all, we had tons in common. He sang songs about Jesus. I liked kissing boys who looked like Jesus. (Hmm. I see now we may have had more in common than I originally knew.)

Anyway, we made out all the time.

And every time we made out, as we were frantically groping and rubbing up against each other (it was much sexier than it sounds--we made out once on church steps), he would reach a point where he would stop and say, "It feels like God is watching."


What's awesome about me at nineteen, is that I in no way felt this to be a red flag. What's awesome about me at twenty-six is that I probably still wouldn't. Tough call. Depends.

What was awesome about him at nineteen was that he would always forget that he felt like God was watching and want to make out with me again the next day. I have no idea what is awesome about him at twenty-six. But you know who might? His boyfriend.

So. Time for a side story.

The side story is that we were in Italy to sing opera with a bunch of other American opera singers. That means, essentially, that we were hanging out every day with a group of gay tenors, gay baritones, gay basses, and fat women. We were also hanging out with a ton of Italian men. Everywhere you looked there was a Lucca or a Stefano waiting to take us out for drinks in the Amphitheatre, in hopes that they'd end up making out with an American soprano before the summer was through.

By the end of the summer, however, a few of the Cristoforo's and Davide's had become more tenor/baritone/bass-oriented. In a big way.

It was an amazing thing to witness, and it made a lot of sense. Take an extremely Catholic country in which men often live with their mothers well into their twenties. Take a city, like the one where we were, where there is no openly gay culture--just mothers and churches everywhere you look. Add prejudice and a hearty dose of Catholic guilt. Then add about thirty handsome gay male opera singers from The Bay Area who are comfortable with their own sexuality and out to have a good time.

The result was a lot of uomo-on-uomo love action. (For the kids, that means that all the daddies were kissing.)

End brilliant, illuminating side story.

Back to me and Mister "God Is Watching."

Well it must have been quite a summer for him. He's out of the U.S. for the first time. Away from his mother--who he lived with. Away from his church. Away from his friends and family. Away from his girlfriend, who he hadn't yet kissed. And in the constant company of me, my boobs, and a lot of gay men.

Sin. Was. Everywhere.

And he kind of liked it. Kind of loved it in fact. His new gay friends were hilarious. He sat in the piazza, listening, for the first time in his life, to their stories. They fawned on him, complimented is hair and his tight abs. And--sooner than he expected--he started enjoying the attention. They were, after all, nothing like he had been told. They were kind and thoughtful and wise. And, he noticed more and more, they were handsome.

In retrospect, I'm fairly certain that my boobs were his Last Bastion of Straightness. (Which, truth be told, and now that it's years later, we're all kind of thrilled about. To this day, Southern Belle Boob talks about it whenever I'm trying to sleep. And British Boob, I think, is still hoping for some sort of honorary title. If anyone cares to design him a commemorative medal, I think it'd be a lovely gesture. Also a rather interesting creative exercise. And Christmas is almost here. I'm just saying.)

Anyway, the three of us have decided that his actions bespoke a kind of "Hell, if I can't find THESE attractive, I MUST be gay" sentiment which makes us find the whole Boobs As Last Bastion of Straightness Situation quite flattering.

But, we couldn't hold him.

That became undeniably clear one day in Nice.

The trip to Nice was spur-of-the-moment and quick. Long train ride. Arrival at hotel room that he and I were to share with two other girls, both of whom decided to go to the beach the minute we dropped off our stuff.

Leaving the two of us alone. Indoors. With a bed.

Apparently our man thought it was time to give God a show.

Well, shirts, pants...all off before you had time to remember who begat Aminadab. I'm on my back, on the bed. He's shirtless and on top of me. There's kind of a frantic desperation to his kisses, and soon--to my great surprise--we're naked and he's going down on me.

Huh, I think, He's never done this before. I guess he must've go--

Just then, he looks up and says the three sentences no woman ever wants a man whose head is between her legs to say:

I might be sick.

I feel like Judas.

I think I'm gay.









Arm-hair caroling and talking boobs aside, I swear to God, I couldn't make this shit up.

So THAT'S why I won't ever date a man who's attracted to other men.

I can't go through that again.

I'm sure you'll agree, no further explanation is needed.

novembre 14, 2004

On Not Calling and Non-Prizes

I did not call David when he was in town.

It was myself against...well, mostly my recently waxed nether regions and my lonely, lonely heart. Worthy adversaries.

But, I won.

And remember when you were little, and your mom would ask you to do something awful, like call your Weird Great Aunt Helen to thank her for the ugly sweater she sent you? And if you were feeling saucy, you might reply, "If I do it, what will you give me?"

And your mom would say something super mom-like, like, "The satisfaction of knowing you've done a good thing."

And GOD, wasn't that annoying?

Because what the fuck kind of reward was that? You wanted money, or a pony, not some sort of shitty abstract moral non-prize.

Well, not calling David was a non-prize if I ever saw one. Like winning one of those "Made in Taiwan" stuffed animals at the county fair--the ones that are stiff instead of soft, and so weirdly bright that you can't sleep next to them because the color keeps you awake.

But I never won one anyway, because I suck at all competitive sports. Even the ones that involve beating plastic gophers on the head with a mallet.

All of you non-American readers are probably very confused now.


So, here I am at the Sunday morning finish line, with my non-laurel non-prizes.

I am left with...the satisfaction of knowing I did it (Non-prize). friends are all proud of me (Non-Prize).

BUT, I am also fairly certain that I have made it abundantly clear...that I am not going to be at his beckon call whenever he decides to pop into MY city for a long weekend.

AND that...He needs to make some very grand gestures and put forth a herculean effort if he would like to spend time with me in the future.

And those, at least, smack of "Actual Prize." Like million dollar checks for a lifetime.

Of course we will never know for sure if David has, indeed, gotten the point.

Because he didn't call me either.

Which, when you review the part I just wrote about "herculean efforts," doesn't really seem to....



Non-prizes all around then.

novembre 12, 2004

Rental Agents Are Spawned, Not Made

Once a week I cover rental buildings for my office. Uptown, Downtown, Eastside, Westside; three to four buildings, at least five superintendents, about sixty-some keys--forty percent of which are NOT labeled, and seventy-five percent of which do NOT work. Two tired feet. And three ringing cell phones.

That's three. Ringing. Cell phones.

Like this:

"Hello lea--can you hold on?"

*cell phone #2 rings*

Answering cell #2, "Hi l--hang on..."

*cell phone #2 registers call waiting, and cell phone #3 begins to ring as well*

Answering call waiting on cell #2, "Hi. Hold ple--"

Answering cell #3, "Hel--SHIT!!"

*drops cell phones #1 and #2 on the wet sidewalk. While leaning over to pick up dropped cell phones with neck still crammed to shoulder trying to keep cell #3 against ear, entire contents of purse dumps out onto pavement. Pens, change, tampons, and of course, all sixty keys fall in great, jangling heap onto wet pavement. Somewhere beneath now soggy tampons, cell phones #1 and #2 begin to ring again. Meanwhile, cell #3 beeps, indicating new voicemails.*

It is like that for eight hours, at the end of which, I am a bruised, cunty, sweaty, frazzled shell of my former self.

I'm not even cute.



People always ask me if I meet a lot of men doing rentals, and it makes me laugh.

First of all, the ball of fury that burns in my belly, getting warmer with each subsequent telephone call and stupid question, makes my upper lip sweat as though it is--with all its lippy might--attempting to finish a marathon.

My lip does this while I'm talking to people.

Meaning that I have to wipe my lip all the time with the back of my hand, "subtly."

Which, I promise you, is absolutely as attractive as it sounds.

Secondly, when I say that I would rather spend a lifetime chained to the bed of Satan than date a New York City rental agent, I mean it. In fact, as I'm typing, my soul is actually reverberating a little from the sheer force of the truth of that statement. Hear it? It sounds a little like that Carly Simon song from "Working Girl."

If you're a rental agent, and you're reading this, you shouldn't even try to hear my soul reverberating to the tune of Carly Simon. (Anyone else, knock yourselves out.)

And why should all rental agents not try to hear my Reverberating Carly Simon Soul?

Because I'm pretty sure you have to have a soul in order to hear someone else's make noise. Also, no one who is made of pure evil could sit through "Working Girl" all the way til the end when the song I'm talking about comes on. Mostly because you'd have passed out in the first fifteen minutes from cruel-laughing at Melanie Griffith's bangs.


So the agents are soulless and mean, and they have a hard time taking down basic information like square footage, availability, apartment number and address. They cannot be bothered, after all, with such minor details. What they want to know, is "Can I see it?"

Me: "What do you mean, can you see it?"

Agent: "Can I see it? Today. Now."

Me: "But it's a studio."

Agent: "Yeah. Fine. How do I get access?"

Me: "But, Sir, your client is looking for a three bedroom."

Agent: "So, is the key with the super?"

Me: "A three bedroom near Columbia. This is in SoHo. And it's a sixth floor walk up."

Agent: "Sounds perfect, my guy's in a wheelchair. When can I get in to take a look?"

You think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not.

And then there are the clients.

"Gosh. Um. It's so tiny. It's also way more than I'm willing to spend. Do you have anything bigger, cheaper and in a better neighborhood?"


Female Client: "God. 5E was so much nicer. 5E had that storage thing and that extra little do-hicky in the kitchen. Bob, wasn't 5E nicer?"

Bob: *grunts, then goes back to talking on his BlackBerry*

Me: "Well, Ma'am. I don't know what to tell you. 5E is gone, as you know. It went two months ago, right after you saw it and decided to wait to put in an application. And the new tenants are now happily moved in."

FC: "I know. I know. I'm sure they love the place. Especially with the way that one light fixture was in the living room. This apartment doesn't have that light fixture, does it? That light fixture that 5E had."

Me: "No, Ma'am. No, it doesn't. But this apartment, 6E, does have this great big closet in the bedroom that is unlike any other in the building. And this apartment is available, whereas 5E--as you know--has been taken."

FC: "Oh, I know. You must think I'm crazy. It's just that I loved that kitchen thing, and that one extra shelf in the bathroom cabinet. It just made such a difference, you know? Ugh, and that fixture that 5E had. That fixture just did it for me. It haunts us, that fixture--doesn't it Bob?"

Me: "Well, this is 6E. And though, as you've pointed out, there are some minor differences, this is the exact same layout as 5E. The exact size. Just one floor higher. Which, actually, means you have a better view than you would've had downstairs. And, of course, this apartment is available."

FC: "Oh, I don't know. I do like it, but I just don't know. We'll have to think about it for a few days, won't we Bob. And you're sure 5E won't be coming back on the market?"

Then she will return to her home, where, I suspect, she will devour her young.


So this was my day today.

It is my day most Fridays.

Only today, because David is in town, it was particularly hard.

And because David hasn't called, my temper was especially short.

And when the young woman came to see 4A, chirping, "It's the first apartment my boyfriend and I are sharing, so I want it to be perfect..."

I swear to God I wanted to light the place on fire.

novembre 11, 2004

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

You know what has been awesome about this break-up?


Certainly not the fact that it happened right before my birthday.

Absolutely not the continued mixed signals transmitted by David. Like, for example, the package that arrived at my office on October 22. guessed it.

Not the reminders the box contained: the framed 8 x 10's of the two of us on our trip, wrapped in each other's arms and standing on a street in Dresden. The picture of me perched on a hill in Ireland, all wind-blown and in-love looking. (What is it with men and their so-predictable, post-relationship "Hey? Over here! Look at me! Don't forget me, okay? I don't want to date you, but for God's sake, don't move on!!!!" Boy Antics?)

And obviously not the fact that I now own several blown-up, framed pictures of myself hugging my ex-boyfriend.

*stabs eyes out with shards of broken picture-frame glass*

That, my friends, is all not-even-a-little-bit awesome.

But, though I wouldn't go so far as to call it "awesome," you know what two factors have saved my post-break-up experience from sucking completely?

1. Distance
2. Netflix

The "Distance" factor is kind of working in a way I had not anticipated. Usually, when I break up with someone, my normally entertaining, skipping, happy, pixie-like Imagination morphs into a giant Fran-Drescher-voiced harpy and rips the faces off of Logic and Reason, and then feeds them to Self-Love who, for several months at least, just sits, whimpering in a corner, raking at its thigh-fat with unmanicured fingernails.

The Fran-Drescher-Voiced Imagination Harpy, now left to her own devices, will then play cruel tricks on me. She will, for example, convince me that I see the Ex-Boyfriend on the subway platform as the train speeds by.

Every day.

At least three times.

Or maybe, she will make me spend hundreds of dollars on a new dress that I don't need, but that The FDVIH feels I should have juuuuust in case the Ex-Boyfriend calls and wants to, say, have dinner at Le Cirque.

And, in her most cruel maneuver, The FDVIH will conjour up images of me seeing my Ex with his new girlfriend, in a bar, on the street, en route to their honeymoon, or in the year 2032 when my turkey-baster conceived daughter is taken to Prom by their son, who they refer to in mushy voices as "the product of [their] loving union."

BUT, though The FDVIH is normally undeterred by any information related to, let's say, reality, for some unknown reason the phrase, "That's impossible, he lives in Washington DC," automatically makes The FDVIH go from menace to coo in .5 seconds.

And this is wonderful.

I cannot convey how wonderful this is.

I can walk trippingly to the supermarket, knowing that I will not see David. Because, "That's impossible, he lives in DC." I can go to the movies, and be sure I won't see him. Because, "That's impossible, David lives in DC." I can get ready to journey to the ocean floor, to live a hermetic life as a participant in an underwater NASA experiment, and pause, held briefly by The FDVIH's witchy warning that David and his new girlfriend will be waiting for me, looking perfect in their bathing suits.

But then I can laugh, and get into my diving gear. Because, "THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE, DAVID LIVES IN DC."

See? Even when it makes absolutely no sense, the phrase still works, freezing The FDVIH in her trax. Or hoof-prints. Or whatever harpies have. Anyway, it is a beautiful phrase, and I love it deeply.

*sighs blissfully*

Then there is Netflix.

Netflix is like a little bit of Christmas in my mailbox twice a week.

Netflix is my new boyfriend.

We laugh together.

We cry.

We fast forward to the hot sex scenes.

Weekends come, and we are thrilled with the chance to spend time learning more about one another. Netflix shares himself with me; I tell him--using our super-intimate 5-star system--how much I liked what he shared. Gas, Food, Lodging with Ione Skye? Blech. Two stars. He feels bad and tries to do better next time. Nip/Tuck: Season 1? That's more like it, horridly amusing. Four stars. Netflix and I are friends again.

And so on.

Netflix lives for my input. He strives for perfection. His only goal? To entertain.

David, Schmavid. I belong to Netflix now.

Until, that is, this weekend.

Because David is in town.

*collective gasp*

I know.

The FDVIH is on a rampage. You have no idea. I put on lip gloss to go to the bathroom today, on the off chance that David might be in the ladies room.


And, worse still, The Station Agent won't arrive 'til Saturday.

I am soooo going to call David.


novembre 05, 2004

Little Grown-Up

As I sat at a table filled with Ivy League educated, mid-twenty something guys, watching them fish around in their beers for the quarters they'd been drunkenly flipping into their glasses for the past several hours, I realized something pretty big.

I no longer want to visit households where women's lingerie--left-over from the weekend's sexcapades--is prominently displayed in fruit baskets above the kitchen counter.

Crazy talk, I know.

But, we've all gotta grow up sometime.

novembre 02, 2004

Proud Loser: A Toast

Here's to looking cute in an America Votes baseball cap.

Here's to trekking up a highway in Pennsylvania, past The Beef and Ale, where--God help me--I wish we'd had time to eat lunch.

Here's to trudging through fallen leaves, dodging barking dogs, and deciphering confusing subdivision addresses where, apparently, 400 comes after 700.

Here's to all the Democrats living in Reagan Court.

And to all the Bush/Cheney signs we left where they stood.

Here's to saying, "Thank you for voting" whether they answered Kerry or Bush.

To the people who answered, in perfect, but accented English, "I am not a Citizen. I don't have the right," here's to the next time around.

Here's to having a cute butt to walk behind while canvassing, thank you Sexy Hot Genius Boy from Vassar.

Here's to, after 14 hours of hard work, seeing Pennsylvania turn blue.

It's Genetic

We have learned this morning that voting makes me cry.

When I told my mom that, she said--in her cute Wisconsin accent--"Just like parades make me cry."

I wish my mom would run for President.