As I leaned forward and sent my 10-pound ball careening down the center of the lane, I could feel Blondie staring at my butt. Normally, this is a thing I love, but tonight, all I felt was supremely uncomfortable. The pins flew in the air in a jumble, but it was hard to be too excited about the strike. I was on a bad date. And not the kind of bad date where both of you recognize the badness and mutually agree to get out of there as quickly as possible with no hard feelings. It was the kind of date where, while I was repulsed, he was feeling it. Keep reading »
Profile for Dater X
Last year, the night before Thanksgiving, I had a glorious third date with The Architect. Partly because of our easy rapport and partly because so many people leave New York City for the holidays, everywhere we went, it felt like we were the only two people that existed. At the movie theater, rather than fighting people for seats and sitting elbow-to-elbow with strangers, we got the two seats smack-dab in the middle of the theater with no one in a six-foot radius. I remember that he put his arm around me midway through the movie and pulled me close. Later at dinner, rather than the usual 30-minute wait at my favorite restaurant, we were seated instantly at a booth. I remember us making fun of the bizarre turkey centerpiece on the table. Later that night, I remember our first kiss. I described it in my column then as “one of the slowest, softest, hottest kisses of my life.” I stand by that a year later. Keep reading »
“Your allure is at an all-time high,” my horoscope told me Thursday morning. “Be bold. No one will be able to resist you this week and daring actions will be rewarded.”
The words echoed through my head all the day. As I dug through my closet to pick what to wear, I felt compelled to select a va-va-voom pencil skirt and ’50s-style top. At work, I finally eked up the courage to have a meeting with my boss that I’d been wanting to have for weeks. And later that night, as I walked into my apartment building, I didn’t feel quite ready to call it a night. I took out my phone and dialed Tall Guy, someone I dated over the summer. We hadn’t hung out in ages, but had exchanged emails a few days before. Keep reading »
A wise woman—OK, Sharon Stone—once said, “Love is like the ocean. Sometimes the tide is in and sometimes the tide is out, and sometimes it’s like the frigging Mojave. Fortunately, I like the desert. I’m a desert flower.”
Will being a non-smoker further kill my game?This status update was from a friend from high school, someone who’s 31 years old—just like me. I couldn’t believe that anyone our age would be dealing with anything as scary as tumors and precautionary lung removal. I feel terrible for him and for his family. After writing him a note, I resolved: it was time for me to finally quit smoking.
Sadly, cigarettes have been a big part of my life. I started smoking as a teenager—my first was a Benson and Hedges Ultra Light that my middle school best friend and I procured from a vending machine at the arcade in the mall. From the very first puff, I loved the way smoking momentarily loosened the grip on my always-spinning brain. By college, I was smoking a pack a day with my roommate in the dorm room our friends had nicknamed “The Smoky Chamber.” At my first job, I remember the joy of meeting my co-workers downstairs for a smoke break and gossip session. Cigarettes have seen me through many a breakup and given me a mental release from stress of all kinds.
But I also know just how horrible cigarettes are. I remember the blackened lung pictures projected on a screen to look four times their actual size in health class. I’ve seen all the articles about the insane numbers of chemicals in a single cigarette. I’ve read all the surgeon general’s warnings as I unwrapped packs. I always vowed to myself that I would quit by age 30—the age I’ve heard that if you can quit by, you can virtually eliminate your risk of lung cancer. But my 30th birthday came and went with my lighting up outside my party, while flirting with a cute guy. My 31st birthday passed, too.
But last week, after reading that Facebook message, I knew I was really ready. I threw away the pack of cigarettes in my purse. (At this point, I smoke about a pack a week—a notable improvement from my younger years, but still pretty terrible.) I ditched the backup pack in my desk drawer. As I walked to the drug store to pick up Nicorette, just in case, a bizarre thought ran through my head: How will being a non-smoker affect my dating life?
Of all the things that could have popped into my mind at that moment, I was shocked that dating and guys were the foremost on my mind. It was a connection I’d never noticed before—that smoking for me has always been social. (Notice that none of the scenarios above where I fondly remember cigarettes involve me smoking on my own.) As I thought about it more and more throughout the day, I realized that smoking is, insanely, something I associate with bonding with men.
Remember Dan, who I told you about last week? Our second conversation was over a cigarette in my high school’s parking lot. Brown Eyes? When we first met at that party two years ago, we were both holding cigarettes in our hand, and taking smoke breaks together has been a part of our friendship ever since. Crazy Dude? We cheesily shared a cigarette after having sex for the first time. The Juggler? We used to banter about what it meant that he was a Marlboro Man while I preferred Parliament Lights. Honestly, it would be hard to count all the hot hookups in my life that began with the lines “Got a light?” or “Can I bum a cigarette?”
Will being a non-smoker further kill my game?
I got a chance to test it out a few days later on Halloween Eve. I met up with a group of friends at a bar in the city. We gathered around a table on an outdoor patio and as the smell of cigarette smoke wafted past my nose, I was more disgusted than titillated by it. I went to the bar to order another vodka and soda, and a hot guy in a pirate costume, complete with a faux parrot on his shoulder, started talking to me. “Excellent costume,” he said, admiring my Little Red Riding Hood get-up. (I wouldn’t see that Kim Kardashian had dressed as the same thing until a few days later.)
“Did you have to steal the parrot from a small child?” I asked. “Or did you purchase him specially for the occasion?”
He laughed. “I cheated,” he said. “I’ve worn the same costume for three years in a row.”
We talked for a few minutes. While I missed some of what he said over the loud music, I picked up that he is a web designer who loves to play darts. Just my style.
“Want to go smoke a cigarette?” he asked.
The wheels in my head began to spin. On the one hand, I was aching for that quiet, intimate, five-minute conversation a cigarette provides. But on the other hand, I really didn’t want to smoke. “No thank you,” I said. “When you get back, I’ll be waiting with another round of drinks.”
I ordered two drinks. As I waited by the bar, I had a moment of neurotic panic. What if he starts talking to someone else outside? I thought. What if her costume is better than mine? What if he thinks I’m an uptight priss for not smoking with him? What if …
Faux Parrot reappeared and smiled at me from the door. He tossed his coat on a nearby chair, and walked toward me. We chatted for another half hour. As I left, he gave me a kiss on the cheek and punched my number into his iPhone.
It’s been a week now, and I still haven’t had a cigarette. But my game has far from been extinguished. Bring on the non-smokers.
I remember watching Dan stroll into Chemistry 101. He had on a blue hoodie and was dancing to the DiscMan he held in his right hand. He sat down at a table across the room from me, not bothering to put his music away, even though the bell was about to ring. He turned around and scanned the room, and we made eye contact. I was instantly drawn to his gorgeous turquoise eyes and devil-may-care attitude. I realized I only had a second to make a move. Even though I’d been in my seat for more than five minutes, I jammed my binder in my backpack and high-tailed it across the room, lest anyone beat me to the seat next to him.
“Hey,” I said, slipping into the chair just as the bell sounded. “Want to be my lab partner?”
“Cool,” he replied.
A week later, he gave me a Smiths mix CD and asked if I’d be his girlfriend. We lasted for a month—which is the equivalent of a year in high school time. Keep reading »
Last week, I came at you with the most depressing “Dater X” ever. I was feeling sad, and lonely, not to mention disappointed after realizing that Brown Eyes and I don’t have relationship potential after all. As I pressed send on that last column, I asked myself a question: Would you rather have met someone a few months after your last long-term relationship ended, and not have done the dating life for the past few years?
My first answer was: Duh, of course! But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that wasn’t actually true. I’ve learned a whole freaking lot in the past few years as a single woman—about myself, about people, and about the nature of relationships. I wouldn’t give that up. Keep reading »
I spotted Brown Eyes across the street, leaning against a wall outside the restaurant. He looked adorable in his thick scarf, fiddling with his iPod. As I walked up, he smiled and greeted me with a sweet kiss on the lips. It was the kind of hello we’ve never given each other before—after all, for the past two years we’ve been just friends. “This date is gonna be good,” I thought.
Cut to an hour and a half later. Keep reading »
I looked at his profile before I read the email he sent—a rookie online dating mistake. The guy in the photos looked highly attractive—green eyes, a shaved head, a strong, square jaw line, and an impeccable sense of style. In his answers to the cheesy profile questions, he managed to seem funny and charming. I had a good feeling as I finally opened the email he’d sent me.
“Hey gorgeous. Ran across your profile, and you are so my type it’s scary. Hope you don’t mind that I am picturing you naked. You into something casual? Think we’d have mind blowing sex.”
Last Wednesday morning, at approximately 10 a.m., I typed an email to my friend, Brown Eyes. I noticed as I was writing that it was taking me an unusually long amount of time to compose a four-sentence email to a friend I talk to at least a few times a week. I also noticed that I was deleting an awful lot of sentences and rewriting them from scratch, trying to make each line just that much more clever.
I hit send, and immediately felt anxious. Five minutes later, I logged back into Gmail, hoping to see a bold line in my inbox highlighted with his response. Naturally, there was only spam.
I checked my email again at 10:10. And again at 10:12. And then it dawned on me: do I have a crush on Brown Eyes? Keep reading »