Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Body of a Woman/The Heart of a Man


Lexi and I have recently discovered a good place to meet men: the neighborhood sports bar. I've always enjoyed beer and even the occasional football game, but I've come to love the latter surrounded by pigskin fueled, trash talking men. I'm not there scoping for dates (not much anyway), but sometimes just hanging out with a group of guys can give you that touch of testosterone you need in your life. They might buy you some drinks or offer you a seat, but they will also without mercy or regret ridicule you, your team, and your mother if necessary.

Over the last few weeks, my ex (I know, I know but he's also a genuine friend) and I have kept up a pretty steady email correspondence of your mother's so ... jokes and hits on each other's lazy eyes and roach ridden apartments. When one joke actually stung and I emailed back my hurt feelings rather than a cut about the ugliness of his sister, he was disappointed and maligned my "guilt trip." So, I let it go and went back to talking about his mother, much to his relief.

The men in the sports bar would no doubt have understood his argument. Men prize thick skin. If someone talks about how badly your team sucks, take the hit and then hit back even harder. There is no place for wussies in a sports bar, and even less place in a relationship. Love is after all a full contact sport (or a battlefield as Pat Benatar would surely remind me). Those insults thrown at us and rapidly around us were men being men. They are also good preparation for our next relationships, so that, unlike my past ones, I won't take cracks about back fat and crooked toes to heart.

But is this really what my ex (or any man) wants: a woman who is one of the boys? Women should wear high heels and pretty underwear, but also be able to belch the alphabet. I have to take the crass jokes and cutting remarks, but still be soft enough to hug, kiss, and comfort him when he wants to talk about his feelings or something else too embarrassing to share with his boys. How can I possibly be everything in one? Then again, isn't this what we usually want of them only flipped inside out? He can share his feelings but not weep when Bette Midler sings The Wind Beneath My Wings in Beaches. Fantastic if he kills the roach, but please don't mourn its passing. I want the body of a man but the heart of a woman who will understand that even jokes that combine the words fat and my name are never okay and that sadness doesn't equal weakness.

Maybe we're never satisfied, but while I search for the guy who has the right balance I'll keep going to the sports bar wearing armor and cute steel toed boots.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Optimistic Me!


So Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away. Next thing you know, Christmas, then New Years, and then... Valentines Day! So Valentines Day is pretty much right around the corner and so far, no serious prospects. A situation like this would usually get me down. Thankfully I have family and friends to see me through, if it did. But the truth is that I don't really feel down. In fact, I feel pretty optimistic about it all. Maybe it's the crispness of the air - maybe plain old holiday cheer. Or... maybe it's due, in part, to a blind date I went on Monday.

I met this guy (we'll call him Darrell) for the first time after I had been corresponding with him for a few weeks online, followed by a few conversations over the phone. We met up after work at this jazz spot in downtown New York, the Blue Note. The night was filled with good music, good conversation... I had a really good time. Darrell's a creative soul - like myself - which I can only appreciate. He's a photographer by profession and he also writes when he has the time. He's attractive... reminds me a bit of an uncle of mine, whom I love dearly. I tend to like guys that remind me of him... tall, skinny and just a bit nerdy, but in a charming, cool sorta way.

So where will all this lead? Who knows. But I'm enjoying it while it lasts. We've already talked about hanging out again this weekend. I'll make sure to keep you posted. This could get interesting (crossing fingers)!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Ex-Factor


Sometimes, I love my exes. They remember my birthday and send me articles they think I might like. One who lives in a different city is good for drinks and dinner when I'm in his town. All of them to different degrees are also pretty good for an ego boost. I, of course, try to do my part by looking my very best: hair in place, skin as clear as nature will allow, clothes, shoes, and handbags chosen by my scarce but occasionally accessible inner fashion magazine editor. They do their part by proclaiming how good I look and with a well placed (slightly) inappropriate memory whispered between my cheek and my ear. Sometimes, an ex can do a good impersonation of what he is no longer: my man.

I have in the last year or so tapped a power I never knew I had: the ability to be friends with these men. They know things about me others couldn't and, at least at some point, cared about me in a way my girlfriends can't. Over the last few months, I've had an avalanche of exes or those who were almost but not quite. Each I've been genuinely happy to see or talk to, but no matter how good a friend I may think he is "we" will always be different. It's a friendship unlike others one that can veer into nostalgia (he's so funny or so smart) with tinges of bitterness (why does he always bring that up?). No matter the distance from the relationship, I can't imagine not feeling a twinge of jealousy when he talks to another woman and he may always ask if I'm dating anyone.

But, an ex is an ex for a reason. Familiar is nice and easy, but nice and easy doesn't mean right, doesn't mean best. These exes are reminders of my singleness, an aspect of myself that is both frightening and damned liberating. So, I'll take the compliments and the birthday wishes, but then I need to take their hand, give a warm smile, tell them it was nice to see them, and walk. away.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Where is He?


Sometimes I feel like Charlotte on Sex and the City, lamenting, in vain it feels, about my long wait for Mr. Right. Like Charlotte I am in my thirties, and though I was never like Charlotte strategizing about getting married, I do wonder why I've been dating for almost 20 years without finding my Mr. Right.

I get asked many times, and as I age the questions increased, Why isn't a smart, beautiful woman like you married? Hmm, yeah, why am I still single?

I've definitely enjoyed my single life, but it's been like eating ice cream; sometimes too much of a good thing can start to make you sick. A few weeks ago, I got sick of being single. I was going on a number of dates and not connecting to anyone. All the rapid turnover started to make me feel dizzy. Hey God, I want off this merry-go-round!

Of course I've started asking myself the hard questions, Is it me? Am I too picky? Well, yes and no. Okay, alright, I can be picky. I admit I'm prejudiced against short men, i.e., men that are shorter than me. There I said it.

I didn't realize the full extent of my prejudice until I moved to New York where it seems the cold air makes men shrink. Hey it's possible cold water has a shrinking effect too. ;-)

Am I too romantic? Is my vision of meeting the perfect guy getting in the way of meeting the guy who could be great for me? One of my girlfriends always seems to have a boyfriend. She'd meet a guy and say to herself, I can work with this. Maybe I'm not good at working with men.

Or maybe I just haven't met him yet? Looking over the men I've dated, I've wondered if I missed the boat with any of them. But I don't think so. I could've been happy, but I couldn't have been me with them. Hmm, when I look at it that way, the wait doesn't feel like its in vain. I'd rather wait for the right one then have to divorce the wrong one.