Monday, September 28, 2009
I start the Chronicles with a rule for wingmen to remember: If you force things, the condom breaks.
Wait, wait, that’s not right. Well, technically it is right, but it’s not the point I want to make.
Ah, I remember now...ahem: Always go with the flow. Chose good copilots, and go with the flow.
For night one of wingmanning, I chose my copilot carefully. Back on the singles scene after five years with an emo crybaby (one with bangs and a bizarre germ issue that meant he didn’t perform oral), Red is 5’9” of lithe, ginger-maned lioness. She’s got an encyclopedic knowledge of music, unfairly perfect porcelain skin and feminine ease with a pint glass. She is, in flirting style and visual “type,” pretty much my opposite, making her an excellent yin to my yang--and we’re different enough that we rarely aim for the same target. Except hot targets with full sleeves of well-drawn tattoos and/or accents, in which case it’s every goddamned woman for herself and Red’ll tell you that herself.
Red and I spent Night One in a downtown music hole with only one purpose: go with the flow. Hear music, have good time. We grabbed a drink and did some catching up. Then, fifteen minutes in, he took the stage.
Young, wild-haired and working angular, fox-like eyes, The Vagabond (the name of the song he was singing, of course) opened his mouth from behind the mic and let out a soulful riff, riding the back end of a blues growl until every vagina in the room was pissing cerulean. Red’s pheromones blew out the front of her dress and knocked my drink out of my hand en route to the stage.
“Dibs on--,” she started moaning.
“Yours. Got it,” I concurred.
I know, it’s an obnoxious cliche: Brooklynite she-bitches, gunning for the dirty-cute-hipster-rockstar. Whatever. I’m not ashamed.
Anyway, flash forward to midnight. Through a set of mutual friends, we ended up at the same Lower East Side (ugh, of course it was the LES. Maybe I am ashamed...) watering hole as The Vagabond and his band-mates. We weren’t there solely for the boy. The company was laid back and warm, the Guinness pints only $5 and the flowing spirit of the weekend Gods had delivered us there.
But the boy didn’t hurt.
The ensuing mission was smooth and organic--no planning, just an on-the-fly series of non-verbal cues and tactical maneuvering.
At some point, The Vagabond separated from his pack of buddies and headed to the corner of a deserted smoking patio outside the bar’s open windows. Red saw, wordlessly pulling out her cigarettes and following outside to a position near, but not facing, her target. I stayed seated inside, watching for his reaction. He checked her out once from behind the cigarette, then again on the exhale. Roger, we have confirmation of interest.
Behind me, three busty blondes noticed The Vagabond’s vulnerable position and furtively began plotting their own move. (He's the lead singer. Tough life.) Outside, Red was striking up conversation like a seasoned pro, and he was going for it...but she’d be out-gunned against three. Having confirmed mutual interest, I immediately commenced defensive activity.
I bolted (casually) to the patio, smiling and bumming a cigarette off Red before faking the death of her lighter. I turned to Vagabond for a light, introducing myself while cutting off his line of sight with the incoming trio of big-breasted bogies, now on the patio and closing in quick. Red, sensing the threat, turned her body perpendicular while I stepped toward her, effectively penning the Vagabond in his corner while still giving him ample personal space. Shut out, the bogies eventually finished their Newports and left.
With the patio cleared, Red eyed Vagabond’s almost empty pint glass, gave me the look and exited. Vagabond pulled out another cigarette (chain-smoking blues singers. It’s a veritable storm of cliches today, folks), and I bummed from him (and smoked the damned thing. Right after the one I’d just had. The things we do for friends....), playing the mutual acquaintance card to keep him in position for a few minutes longer. (“No way, you know Mike too?)
Red returned with two icy beers, one for her, one for him, and we all toasted his stellar performance. I then excused myself back to the bar, watching through the windows again while Red skillfully wrapped their chat, gave him a solid piece of body contact (the classic “I’m-laughing-and-touching-your-arm”) and rolled off to come “find” me. The seed has been planted.
An hour of random socializing later, I spotted one of the blonde bogies from earlier making her move. Houston, we have a problem. Vagabond look uncomfortable, eyes all over the bar, looking for something. With Red MIA I did a slow fly-by in, listening for the opportunity to cock block. (Is it still cock blocking if you do it to a girl?) Vagabond and Bogey were playfully arguing over which of two bands I don’t give a shit about were better. Bingo.
“I’m sorry, I don’t mean to eavesdrop.” Except of course I do. “But I couldn’t help hearing your argument and I totally have to take her side,” I told Vagabond.
“SEE, I TOLD you,” she crowed. Targeting Bogey...
“What is it with guys? They never appreciate the genius that is...um...that band,” I tried. Really lamely tried. That's right--come to Mama...
“Omigod, riyyyyght?” she said, shifting her body toward mine. “I saw them at the Bowery Ballroom last summer, and they were soooooo f-ing amazing, they came out and were....”
And then Red appeared. Vagabond grinned at her immediately, locked in. He'd clearly been looking around the bar for her. KABLOOEY, bitches.
Vagabond ended up following us home to my place, where one roommate was conveniently out of town for the weekend. He stayed for a 3am night cap, a 4am discussion of music and a 5am anatomical study of Red.
My co-pilot had to scoot out to a modeling shoot the following morning. (Of course. I should rename this post “Of-Fucking-Course.”)
I cooked The Vagabond breakfast from scratch (because he was genuinely cool) and listened for half an hour while he told me how amazing Red is (duh, I know dude). Then, I tossed him out into the bright world and stripped the sex sheets off roomie’s bed before he got back, informing him (as was right to do) that his room had been used for wingmanning purposes upon his return. He was proud of us both.
Red's not looking for anything serious, but she and the Vagabond have had several casual dates since that night.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Just how important is a good wingman in social and urban dating culture?
Important enough that the word "wingman," as used outside the world of aeronautics, has its own Wikipedia page.
Enough that socially awkward troglodytes now have their own Match.com to pair them with wingmen. (PS: Dudes? Hate to the the bearer of bad news, but if you need this service just to find a guy to hang out with, the entire cast of Ocean's Eleven and a fresh bottle of roofies won't be able to get you laid.)
Enough that even these rejects from your high school prom can toss on some guyliner, recycled carpeting from The Moonlight Bunny Ranch crafted into an oversized asshat and some Chanel nailcolor in LookHowEdgyIAm and make bank with their own television series.
And enough that, in using this Hitch List as a codependency cure/way to reprioritize my life, I had to come clean about being a shitty wingman and social participant in recent years. A recap from a post this past July :
Far worse is that I blow off friends as soon as the signing bonus on new relationship goes through. I’m nesting. I’m sexing. I’m entwined with my lover, happily absorbing their nuances like a sponge, purring and lolling about in togetherness like an overweight cat in a featherbed. I become defined by the relationship, which leads to monophobia outside of the relationship.
Think this all just a trite little blog subject from some former-fawning-girlfriend, something with no real social applications? Well, the Fulbe people of northern Cameroon don't (they appreciate me. So there.) To quote Marriage, a History again:
The Fulbe people do not see love as a legitimate emotion, especially within marriage. In many peasant and working-class communities, too much love between husband and wife is seen as disruptive, because it encourages the couple to withdraw from the wider web of dependence that makes the society work.
Now, I don't agree that love within marriage is an illegitimate emotion, but I do believe that living as broke twentysomethings in a recession world, plane flights away from most of our families and years away from reasonable salaries, our little social bubbles classify as "wide webs of dependence" where life is better when we're propping each other up as a group. (Go ahead. Call me a Socialist.)
And I don't know about the Fulbe, but one of the things that makes our little mini-societies work is getting laid. It keeps the women glowing, the men high-fiving, the gays fabulous and everyone from bitching about how horny, ugly and lonely they are.
With all that in mind, I've recently dedicated serious time to reconnecting with the social web and wingmanning, alternating the roles of Goose and Maverick with a select handful of seriously attractive, witty, formidable partners. I'll be spending the better part of the next few posts detailing the success of those missions, which include everything from an all expenses paid trip to the strip club to a doting Ivy Leaguer with a stable job(!) to a plate of midnight oysters.
As you go forth into this, the first wild weekend which feels and smells of Fall, I encourage you all to Goose and Maverick it up....and report back if any missions are accomplished.
Friday, September 25, 2009
You know those moments when the generation gap has opened so wide--so absurdly wide it can contain something as large as, for example, the amount of shit Tyler Perry has produced during his miraculous career--that you KNOW there's no point trying to convince your elder to see it your way?
I had one of those yesterday, while riding the N. We get to 42nd and a very pleasant, very affluent looking yenta of 60ish boards with her friend. Their conversation, which continued in raging stereotyple all they way to 5th Ave (surprise surprise), went like this:
"I know it's not PC or whateva, Barb, but I think it's disgusting. [Barbara nods in sympathetic agreement] Behind closed doors, fine. But outside of that--have some shame! Gay marriage will be the last nail in the coffin for marriage. Getting married doesn't mean anything anymore! It’s supposed to be sacred, but its not. Young people, the sluts, gays, MTV, all of it, they're ruining it, they don't respect it. It'll be like Sodom and Gomorrah soon. "
[Note: No cliched dialogue was added to this transcript. Some stereotypes exist for a reason]
Okay, she's right: Traditional marriage is in trouble. (Clearly). But I wanted to start screaming paraphrased sections of a recent dialogue between blogger Wades the Tides and myself:
50% of AMERICAN marriages fail NOT because of "the gays," or MTV (who even WATCHES MTV anymore?), but because our current approach to it is all wrong. "Young people" should not be lumped in with what you see on reality TV--and it's mainly the "middle aged" or "old people" doing the divorcing in the first place.
We have to change our expectations about what a realistic marriage--a partnership by definition--IS. (And PS: Marriage is not the wedding day itself. It's what comes after. And "young people" know what.)
In other cultures, various people form a team to fulfill you, some members covering you emotionally, some sexually, some psychologically, some intimately, some creatively...you get the point.
Now, I'm not saying we should have a team of individuals assigned to each category of neediness. What I am saying is that today, many people (not everyone) expect our mate to be everything: they must be our lover (and the best sex ever), friend (besties!), soul mate (the one God himself crafted from clay for us specifically), muse (who inspires us), the validator who understands the complex souls we are (hey baby, I get you); they must be good with finances, juggling social circles, cleaning, cooking, child rearing and all other household tasks; they must listen to our every gripe and know the right thing to say, challenge us intellectually but never make us feel stupid, never think of doing the nasty with anything but us and never make mistakes beyond forgetting the dry-cleaning.
Women must come home from a 12 hour day at work and cook risotto from scratch in an apron and four inch stilettos while teaching the children SAT words and maintaining a 24-inch-waist. Men must maintain our chosen lifestyle, surprise wives with gifts and gestures and monologues of love stolen from films like Jerry Maguire and 10 Things I Hate About You (but Heath singing on those stadium stairs? Whoo-boy, come to momma...) and keep all the hair they had when we started dating. They must make our friends laugh, our wingmen jealous, our parents proud...
...and do ALL of this (it's a package deal) happily, as if energy and patience were as abundant as bad Tyler Perry movies (I'm sorry, I just HATE him so much). If they violate these items (and these are just a FEW of the things we require), we divorce.
When you heap all that crap on one individual, they're going to disappoint you--because no one is that perfect. THAT PERFECT PERSON DOES NOT EXSIST. You will fight, disagree, make mistakes, hit rough patches. But fewer people are willing to weather the real BULLSHIT. Illness, job loss, career disappointments, epic mistakes...it's all coming. And it's going to suck.
Until we start balancing realism with desire (and peppering desire with realism) we're screwed. And don't even get me started on “traditional,” ball and chain monogamy...that's a post of a different color.
That was a rant and a half. I apologize.
But I believe it's time to propose a new business model for marriage. Like iPods, the 1950s standard must be revamped and clunky features discontinued. Or else Yenta and her Barbara will be right...and no one wearing acrylic bangles and that much tarantula mascara should be allowed to be an authority on human unions.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
You only clicked on this because it said South American Pregnant Sex, right? Filthy, dirty minds, all of you........I like it.
I'm only a chapter in to Marriage, A History...and already I'm seeing a theme, which is that our traditional, modern-Anglo definition of marriage
- Has little to no bearing outside of our hemisphere, and
- Has only existed for about 200 years (meaning the Conservatives who want to "protect the sacred institution of marriage" by keeping gays from marrying really just want to protect the questionably sacred, relatively new institutions of their great-grandaddy's marriages...guaranteeing another generation of Republican women who’ll end up like Anne Coulter because no one cares if they orgasm. But I digress...).
One of the most interesting factoids so far hailed from South America, where some cultures allow and encourage women to take multiple lovers during pregnancy, believing the sexual contributions of the men will manifest themselves in a healthy, happy child with all of the males' best qualities (this is what I believe they they were trying to achieve in the immortal film Twins, a la the scientists' “sperm milkshake”). Allow Stephanie Coontz to explain:
"In these groups, people believe any man who has sex with a woman during her pregnancy contributes part of his biological substance to the child. The husband is recognized as the primary father, but the woman's lover or lovers also have paternal responsibilities, including the obligation to share food with the woman and her child in the future. During the 1900s researchers taking life histories of Bari women in Venuzuela found that most had taken lovers during at least one of their pregnancies. Their husbands were usually aware and did not object.
When a woman gave birth, she would name all the men she had slept with [and you thought airing dirty laundry on a blog was edgy...] since learning she was pregnant, and a woman attending the birth would tell each of these men: 'You have a child.'"
(That last section is Maury Povich's wet dream. Can't you see it? Beautiful Sorjuana has birthed an equally beautiful baby, now suckling at her sexy teat. At the other end of the room stands Sorjuana's husband, five other men, and a studio audience of people who voted for Sarah Palin. An envelope-toting Povich is in front of them. Maury clears his throat. "Juan, Mao, George, Roberto, Santino and Alexjandro: In the case of 5-minute-old Jose....you ARE the father." Studio audience goes nuts.)
This is an interesting piece of sociological maneuvering. The woman, body throwing off pheromones like manic perfume spritzer at Macy's, attracts lovers with her glow and the assurance his seed lives on in her baby. The lovers, in turn, feed and protect the woman and her child, increasing the survival rate of both--who are usually the first to fall ill and die in poorer cultures--during tough times. The husbands are cool with it, because it takes the pressure off him as lone provider.
Clearly this wouldn't fly so well in the States. We’re quick to look down our noses patronizingly and go, “Tsk, tsk. I took biology and sex ed. Don't you know throwing a lover’s load on an already fertilized egg is like throwing more sauce on a finished plate of penne vodka--it’s fun and tasty, but you’re not adding anything special to that entree.”
BUT...and this is a stretch, I know...when you think about it, lovers (the standard kind, not the ones you bang while pregnant) do leave a piece of their substance with us after sex, even if its not absorbed by our unborn babies.
Whether its an emotional scar, a song that stupid makes you think of them (damn you, Coltrane), a new bias against a certain kind of guy, or the knowledge of where your G-spot is, lovers leave things behind. And these things stay with us. They fill our baggage, for good or bad. What lingering pieces have your lovers left behind?
PS: We do eventually pass that baggage/bias/song/book (not the G-spot--that’d be weird) down to our children through the naturalistic practical joke which is parenthood. Go figure.
I don’t have kids. But in the spirit of the Bari, I’d say there’s at least a few lovers out there who owe me some food. So get cooking--I think I'm in the mood for grilled cheese...with tomato and bacon...yeah. Bacon.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
#17 on my Hitch List, aka "Restock entire underwear drawer with new inventory," is done. Nothing sucks more than reading a literal laundry list of other peoples' undies, so I'll spare you itemized details. What I will say is that, after much arguing, the Victoria's Secret salesdemon inadvertently helped me bang out another Hitch List item, #12, aka "Break one personal beauty law." For me, that law was no leopard or cheetah print, EVER. It has been a personal fashion maxim since 2000. Here's just a few reasons why:
Saturday, September 19, 2009
This week’s post about the second-first date with former-almost-fiance Alex raised a lot of questions with both you brilliant bloggers and myself. The big ones were: Is the drug high “pitter-patter” of hearts a sign you’ve found THE ONE, or a short-term side effect of infatuation, i.e. limerence? Since you always hear adorable old couples talking about “feeling the same today as the day they met,” does that mean limerence can be sustainable? If one does not feel that pitter-patter, does that mean they aren’t really in love? And where the Hell do you meet an Asian woman with a goatee trying to sell you a turtle (answer: on the streets of Brooklyn, near a farmer’s market by the M train)?
I’ve always assumed that TRUE love (or, for Princess Bride fans, “TWOO wuuv”) is exclusionary, meaning that when you’ve found the real thing, nothing else can encroach (for long) on its glowing, sweet-smelling chunk of emotional real estate. If you’re honestly IN LOVE with THE ONE, nothing--not the advances of a sexy renegade suitor, not the cancerous influence of doubt, not the opinions of outsiders, nada--can pull up in a U-haul and gentrify the ‘hood you, your lover and your shared passion have created, right? (Right? Buehler?)
This thesis was taken directly from The Disney School of Love and Relationships. It has been the compass of my, and many peoples, relationships for years. It’s a black and white doctrine to live by, and therefore appealing, because you can self-righteously use it to solve almost any love equation in .5 seconds when employing it as your North Star.
- You are a frog. I am a princess. If you are THE ONE, you will turn into a prince when I kiss you. (I will then bear you many non-amphibious children.) If you do not change into a prince, you are not THE ONE.
- We are in love. We hit a snag. If you are THE ONE, you will stand outside my window blasting Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” (on cassette) through a boom box or perform some equal demonstration of your love to win me back. If you are not motivated to violate residential sound ordinances in the name of our love, you are not THE ONE.
- We are in love. The blinding light of our atomic love burns so brightly it makes the glow of those two amateurs from Nicholas Sparks’ "The Notebook” look like a car’s cigarette lighter by comparison. It's so fulfilling that I will never want to have sexual or emotional intercourse with anyone else but you for all eternity, no matter how sexy, interesting or complimentary he/she might be. If I (or you) can even think of probing someone else in body or mind, you are not THE ONE.
- You are THE ONE. We are so stupid, butt-crazy in love that after 80 years, I can look at the hairy, wrinkled prune your once noble nutsack has become (and you at my originally perky pair of funbags, now hanging like flesh-colored windsocks on a quiet morning) and still be so aroused by the pitter-pat of our everlasting attraction that we will ravage each other like opposing viking armies. If I do not look at you and have the urge to bang you like a plywood door in a hurricane, you are not THE ONE and I must move on.
See? Easy, right? I’ll bet at least 90% of you have based a least ONE major relationship decision on this logic in the past.
Except, DUH, love isn’t black and white. It is definitively grey, with an LSD trip’s worth of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet throwing a goddamned rave in the foreground.
Look, I know--the revelation that love is more like a Timothy Leary hallucination than an Oreo cookie on a plate isn’t groundbreaking. But the science and nature of love fascinates me, and since half of my Hitch List and its purpose is rooted in The Disney School of Love and Relationships, I feel obligated to do the research and adjust my personal thesis accordingly. Otherwise, who knows what stupid bullshit I’ll pull in the future.
Also, as per my original itemized list, I must:
“#14: Do a postmortem on past relationships for evidence of MY insanity [read: ignorance] at work.”
“#47: Read at least two books on the world history of marriage,” in order to better understand that thing which I fear so entirely.
So doing some research on the nature of love, limerence, infatuation and long term relationships can only help my cause (and life), knocking a few items off the list in the process.
Thus, I’m adding a new number onto the active Hitch List, with a little inspiration from 90s-club-and-roller-skating-rink-divo Haddaway:
#52: Answer Haddaway’s iconic question, “What is love?”
I currently have historian Stephanie Coontz’s succinctly-titled book “Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage,” a brilliant analysis of the checkered past of marriage and the history of human relationships, in my hands as a jump-off. I’ve also got about 50 pages of research and criticisms surrounding Dorothy Tennov’s theory of limerence to go through as well.
I’ll be periodically posting highlights from my research--also, if anyone has strong feelings or information about any of this, I’m seeking guest-bloggers, as well as opinions, to feature here, since this topic and conversation is far bigger than myself. Drop me a comment or email at email@example.com, and I’ll make sure your voice is heard.
In the meantime, click that Haddaway link if you haven’t already, because it's a real trip down memory lane.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
- 9:00PM: Alex arrives with bouquet of roses and daises (all healthy, price tag removed), and sweaty palms (Yay, you're nervous too. We'll both suffer). He looks good. (He's lost 15lbs since we split? How did I miss that? Are those---yes, those are abs under that thermal! Carmel-colored, 100% Spanish abs leading down to----) I get a grip. Focus! Chest out, flirty eyes. I mention he looks "healthy." He mentions he's taken up running. (Running? Really, Forrest Gump? Followed by, Stop being a cunt, you cunt.) I try not to look at the abs, because I am not shallow.
- 9:05PM: Awkward moment where we habitually go to hold hands. (Mayday! WHY DIDN'T YOU WEAR THE DRESS WITH POCKETS!?!?!) Hands sort of clasp, then fumble and let go. Hang from our arms like dead raccoons.
- 9:06PM: Awkward moment deflected with "I'm not that kind of girl" joke. We walk on.
- 9:07-9:10PM: Awkward silence. (Oh god, this was such a bad idea...)
- 9:11PM: Small, strange Asian lady with goatee (Holy shit, yes, this woman DOES have a goatee!) approaches us and produces...a turtle. After several weird hand gestures, we realize she is asking us to buy said turtle. More hand gestures ensue. We use international sign for "Thanks for the offer, but I'm fresh out of turtle cash." She offers to trade the turtle for my purse. (Back off, TurtleBitch...) We decline. She yells a string of obscenities, totters off.
- 9:13PM: We stand watching Turtle-Lady totter off in stunned silence. Then, the laughing starts. First a nervous, "Wow, that was weird, how do I react" chuckle, followed by real, genuine belly laughs, that one-hand-on-the-hip-one-hand-raised-to-Jesus laughter that makes you wheeze like an old-fashioned bellows before dying out with a "whooooooooo."