Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Words to Live By

My friends and I seem to have our romantic crises in sync with each other.  A dear friend of mine-we'll call her Juno-has found herself very unexpectedly knocked up following a romp (well, several romps but I'm assuming one in particular did the job) with an intriguing but oh-so-unavailable man.  She's still in the denial stage, I think, and therefore slightly giddy and unwilling to face up to any of the options before her.  Meanwhile, I am besotted with a married work colleague whose wit keeps me in stitches.  Our flirting is definitely the (sad) highlight of my day at the moment when I have too much work on my plate and not enough men.  

I only truly admitted the obsession today.  Now, it's not that I'm averse to having a thing with a married guy-I've been there and done that, a few times, with varying results-but this married guy-well, I don't want just a thing.  He's quality.  Therefore, nothing will happen due to any machinations on my part.    I will pine away at my desk and wait for the next email.  I confessed my deep dark thoughts to Juno today and sent her "sample" email exchanges from Quality Guy to get her opinion.   Her opinion was, "Oh, my!  You're in trouble, dear!  This could be fun, though."   Our exchange continued a little along these lines:

To: Juno
From: RCC
Sent: 12 Nov 2008 21:09

Subject: I TOLE YOU SO

He makes me laugh like no one has in a really long time...sigh...

To: RCC
From: Juno
Sent: 12 Nov 2008 21:11

Subject: Re: I TOLE YOU SO

Then keep him around...nothing wrong with an innocent giggle...kee hee
J.

To: Juno
From: RCC
Sent: 12 Nov 2008 21:12

Subject: RE: RE: I TOLE YOU SO

Like I'm going to take advice from YOU on this subject at this particular moment in time.  LOL.  And, you know if I had my way it would hardly be innocent.  I'm the homewrecker, 'member? 


To: RCC
From: Juno
Sent: 12 Nov 2008 21:15

Subject: RE: RE: RE: I TOLE YOU SO

Oh I 'member... OK, so it's not so innocent...nothing wrong with testing the strength of a marriage (ed's note: sez you)...you're doing them a favour.  Just don't get preggers (hee hee).  At least not yet.

To: Juno
From: RCC
Sent: 12 Nov 2008 21:17

SUBJECT: I RUVE HIM

I can't believe you just hee hee'd at that.  Your hormones must really be doing a number...

To: RCC
From: Juno
Sent: 12 Nov 2008 21:19

Subject: RE: I RUVE HIM

Maybe...or maybe I'm a freak of nature...both very plausible explanations.

To: Juno
From: RCC
Sent: 12 Nov 2008 21: 22

Subject: RE: RE: I RUVE HIM


True dat sista.

PS. I REALLY RUVE HIM.

PPS.  I think it would be really funny if, for the rest of our lives, every bit of life guidance you give me ends with the proviso, "Just don't get preggers!"

To: RCC
From: Juno
Sent: 12 Nov 2008 21:26

Subject: RE: RE: RE: I RUVE HIM

Done, done and done.  I think it is good sound advice...in ALL SITUATIONS.  There are no exceptions (unless you are trying to get preggers but even then I think my advice would be not get preggers).

Monday, June 2, 2008

Westside Workout Woes

So I've just moved to the West Side.  I don't know the area that well, and when I left the house tonight to go for my nightly run, it was a little too dark for me to be venturing down unfamiliar streets without feeling uncomfortable.   So, I opted to do a little Crossfit workout called "The Susan" (all Crossfit workouts are named after chicks): Run 300 metres, 10 squats, 10 pushups, 10 rounds.  I sprinted to the end of my block and back to my lawn for the squats and pushups. 

I had just finished a round of squats and was basically on all fours on the grass about to do my pushups when a cute guy, about my age, approached, with a box of cider under his arm.   

"Those are some good squats," he observed.  I laughed uncomfortably, and he hastily added, "No, no-I'm a Certified Personal Trainer.  Those really are good squats! You didn't let your knees get over your toes, that's good!  Most people do squats wrong."   I tried to be polite, and got up from all fours.  He introduced himself and I begrudgingly shook his hand.  I don't usually introduce myself to people while working out and clad from head to toe in running gear, with no makeup on and my hair pulled back, so I was a little reluctant to continue the conversation, but Trainer Guy would not be deterred.  

"Err, thanks," I said.  "I really have been working on them" (Which is true. I have).   "I'm doing a Crossfit workout at the moment," I added, hoping he'd get the metaphorical "do not disturb" sign I was hanging and vamoose.  

"Oh yeah, like interval training?  So what's next?"  He shifted his cider box under his other arm.  
I gave up at that point.  He wasn't going away.  

"Ummm, pushups," I said.  

Trainer Guy then proceeded to get down on the grass beside me and give me a lesson in keeping my wrists in the "neutral" position.   He also said that, as a recently certified trainer, he really wanted to "practice his client interaction" and would I be interested in doing a workout with him, no charge of course.  He just needed to practice with "real" clients.  Of course.  He just needed my phone number.  So he could call me.  To set up the workout time.   Of course. 

After winkling my number out of me, Trainer Guy insisted I do a couple of pushups for him before he left so he could comment on my technique.  At this point I was giggling uncontrollably out of sheer discomfort.  Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, it did.  

ANOTHER guy, cute, mid 30's, who had just parked his car and was walking into my building, stopped to see what all the laughing was about. 

"I just met this guy and he wants me to do pushups for him," I muttered.  

"Oh really?" said the Friendly Neighbour, intrigued.  "Well, let's see you do one!"

Hope makes us do crazy things.  And I fervently hoped that if I did a couple of pushups, both Trainer Guy and the Friendly Neighbour would be satisfied.   I really, deep down, in the bottom of my heart, wished for this.  So I got down on all fours again to attempt another few pushups, Trainer Guy barking instructions on wrist placement at me and lecturing on the perils of stress fractures.  Friendly Neighbour stood and watched and said, "Oh, good for you! Way to go!"  After about three pushups, I snapped.  

"This is really weird, guys, I don't know you and you're sitting here watching me do pushups!  I need you to let me get back to my workout now!"  Trainer Guy backed off immediately, but not before handing me a cold cider from his case, for "after the workout."

Friendly Neighbour continued to be friendly.  

"I'm going to work out now," he said.  "At Fitness World.  You should come with me.  We should workout together.  If your boyfriend or husband doesn't mind.  Did you just move into the building? What's your name? What floor are you living on?  How do you like it so far?"

At this point, I'd really had enough.  

"I have to get back to my workout," I said firmly, and ran down the block.  I literally ran away from the man.  

It's don't know whether it's alarming or satisfying to say I actually had to run away to fend off gentleman callers.  All I know is maybe I should do pushups in public more often.  

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Adventures of Tall & Short

On Saturday night I attended a very spiffy black tie event, for which I cracked out my very tiny gold sequined dress and my shiniest black patent leather high heels.  My friends and I, after a long night of canapes and cocktails, found ourselves dancing at a club, along with several of my colleagues, including the office's new interns.  Fuelled with vodka and confidence, I felt it was my duty to take advantage of the situation and assert my seniority over two particularly cute interns.

"Which one should I go for," I remember shouting over the music to a friend.  I was squinty-eyed with drink at this point.  "The Tall One," she shouted back.  Thus, the interns were christened Tall & Short.  

Luckily I got too drunk to do much more than criticize Short's shoes and do a lil' dirty dancing with Tall.  The night ended alone, at home, thank god.  

However, on Monday morning, I got an email from Short:  

Subject: Hey

Some of us are organizing a boat cruise this weekend.  Five hours or so, we'll have some drinks, listen to some music, enjoy the sunshine.  You in?
-Short

Re: Hey

Sure, that sounds good, I'd definitely be into that?  Who's coming?
-RCC

Re: Re: Hey

Um, so far it's me, you, and Tall.
-S

Re: Re: Re: Hey

Um, actually, I think I'm busy this weekend.
-RCC.

I mean, I'm up for alot of things, but on a boat, alone, for several hours, with Tall AND Short, who both clearly read the very obvious "I'm easy AND drunk" signs on Saturday night? I just don't think it looks or sounds good.  Although Ginger, who is RCC's new roommate, remarked, without batting an eyelash:

 "Well, I won't be home late that night, so feel free to bring both of them home."

That might be a little more seniority than I'm willing to exert.



Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The One That Got Away

Raincoast Confidential is about to move location, for good.  We're relocating to the Rainy City on the Thames.  You'd think this would be good for business: "I'd like to date you, but I'm leaving in three weeks.  So, uh, can we play until then?"  Surprisingly, several of the regulars who have appeared here before have seen it as kind of a turn-off.  They're looking for cuddles and romance that RCC will shortly no longer be able to provide.  Le sigh.  Who knew?  Not to stroke my own ego or anything, but maybe for one of these guys, I'll be The One Who Got Away.  I have one.  His name is Winston.

A street in Montreal, some time in the spring.  The snow was gone, and I was happy, heading over to L's house for John Cusack Night.  JCN always involves making Pillsbury chocolate chip cookies, filing our nails, and wistfully sighing over High Fidelity, Say Anything, and/or Grosse Pointe Blank.  Anyways, I was listening to some music on headphones, and smiling, in my own little oblivious music bubble as I walked to L's apartment on Rue Sainte Famille.  As I approached her building, I saw the. most. gorgeous. man.  He was ambling up the sidewalk towards me.

Young (25 or so), black, absolutely stunningly beautiful.  He was wearing a beautiful corduroy blazer with leather patches on the sleeves, that on anyone else would have looked contrived, but on him, looked just right.  He had a well-loved leather courier bag slung over one shoulder, and was carrying the New York Times (I shit you not.  The New York Times) under one arm.  He looked like he'd just finished working as an extra on Dead Poet's Society.  Ivy League, into poetry, handsome.  In short, uh, my dream man.  Although this didn't register with me, still firmly in my music bubble.  As he walked past me, I smiled, actually at the music I was listening to, but he thought it was for him, and he stopped dead.   

I have to say I don't think I'm all that, and I certainly didn't think so then, so I was a little astonished when he appeared a little dumbstruck, and so I didn't stop.  I kept going, a few paces, and turned in to L's building and pressed her buzzer.  As I waited for her answer, I noticed he was still standing in the sidewalk, staring at me and smiling this very dazed smile that said that he couldn't understand why he had stopped dead in the street either. 

I smiled up the street at him a little nervously, shuffling my feet, trying to look ultra-casual as I waited for L to buzz me up.   Before she could buzz, he was coming back down the street towards me.  My stomach dropped.  I took a deep breath, smiled, and turned around to face him.  He stopped in front of me and took my right hand in his, staring into my eyes. 

"I'm Winston," he said.  "What's your name?"

Stammering, I told him.  He replied that it was a beautiful name.  I said thank you.  I had nothing else to say.  Neither did he.  The buzzer on L's door was now buzzing behind me, and I took a half step back, said it was nice to meet him, and reached for the door handle.

"Wait," he said, putting a hand on my shoulder to stop me.  I turned again to face him.  

"Can I kiss you?" he asked.

I laughed nervously and said no.

"Why not?" he said.  

"Because I don't know you," I said.  

"So?" he said, smiling.

"Sooooo, I don't kiss boys I don't know," I said, for reasons still unbeknownst to me.  I totally kiss boys I don't know.  I did then and I still do now.   For some reason I thought this would make him think less of me.  He sized me up for a moment, both of us saying nothing, staring at each other.  

"OK then," he said sadly.  "It was nice to meet you."  He turned and walked down the steps of L's building back to the sidewalk.  Stunned, I scuttered up to L's apartment, breathlessly told her the whole story, and proceeded to spend the rest of the evening pounding my head against the wall and wailing, "Why didn't I just KISS him?"  I actually paced for much of the evening.

Why didn't he ask for my number? Why didn't I give it to him of my own volition?  Why didn't I kiss him?  Why did he just walk away?  Why did he have to be so cute?  Why why why why why? 

Well, it's 4 years later and I'm still mourning the loss of Winston.  My friends and I placed one of those "I saw you" ads in the Montreal Hour with an email address, saying, "Winston: you asked to kiss me on the street.  I owe you one, anywhere, anytime."  

Nothing.  I'm still waiting to repay the man.  Sigh.

So, yeah, Winston, if you're out there, and you remember me, drop me a line:  you're officially The One That Got Away.  


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Street Smut

I was walking home from the office yesterday, and standing on the corner of Burrard and Smithe when I was approached by whom I can only describe as Amy Winehouse on rollerskates: black beehive, heavy black kohl eyeliner, satin short-shorts, and knee socks.  Her rollerskates were the classic retro white, with rainbow laces.  She had a blond, non-roller side-kick, wearing much the same slutty uniform, with the classy additions of a gold bomber jacket with "Jimmy" embroidered on the left breast, pink leg warmers, and a side ponytail.  The three of us stood on the corner, waiting for the light to change.  

Jimmy was checking her cell phone.  "Ugh," she muttered, flipping her phone shut and turning to Roller Amy.  "Psycho French guy called AGAIN.  Go AWAY, crazy!"  She rolled her eyes.  "We HATE him."

"Yeah, but you let him eat your pussy," pointed out Roller Amy.  At that, I couldn't help but laugh, and they both turned to me.  I smiled sheepishly; I'd clearly been listening, but then, Roller Amy hadn't been exactly discreet.   There was an awkward silence.  I was afraid Roller Amy would misinterpret my laugh as one of disdain rather than amusement, and slam a skate into my face. "Well, I think it might entitle him to ONE phone call," I offered.  The girls hooted with laughter, clearly relieved that I hadn't said something scathing.

The light changed, and we all walked (or rolled, as the case may be) across the street.  Jimmy sized me up:  "You look really cute, hon.  I looove your boots," she gushed.  No, I wasn't wearing my awesome turquoise leather boots which have been the subject of much blogging; I was wearing my "Gossip Girl" boots...blue suede stiletto ankle booties I bought after seeing Serena van der Woodsen rock them with a leopard dress (go ahead and mock me for liking Gossip Girl, but the boots are fierce).  "They make you look like a REAL LADY," Jimmy said.  "Umm, thanks...." I said.  I've never heard stiletto ankle boots described as lady-like, but I guess if you think satin short-shorts are appropriate Wednesday afternoon attire, my boots probably would seem a little sedate.  

Just then, two guys in a circa 1990s red Mustang convertible which had clearly seen better days, turning left on Burrard and into our crosswalk, started hooting out the window at us.  "Hey laaaadies," they shouted. "Looking goood."

This disturbed me for a couple of reasons, not least of all because White Trash Boys assumed that Roller Amy, Jimmy and I were a trio, despite my lack of rollerskates, beehive, or booty shorts.  It made me seriously re-think whether my choice of outfits was office appropriate.   Also...who not only drives a red circa 1990s Mustang convertible without shame, but actually thinks this entitles them to catcall?  Tackiness.

Cardio Workout Extraordinaire

So I'm recovering from some health problems (nothing major, not to worry, Raincoast Readers), and my doctor gave me a list of "approved exercise activities."

Halfway down the list:

"Healthy, vigorous sex (monogamous)"

Snort.

Funny, but the Y doesn't have that slotted in between Urban Gladiator and Dancefit.  Too bad.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

"What Are We?"

Or some variation of that. I heard the words coming out of my mouth and I felt sick. And yet I couldn't help myself.

And I'd played it so cool until then. I never called. I didn't ask to see him. I regaled him with stories of my exploits in a carefree, "ohmygosh, my life is just too too busy to care just about you, don't you see, dahling?" kind of way.

I'll admit I was ignoring the symptoms for awhile. I felt vaguely uneasy when we'd say goodbye and I'd want to call after him and say, "Come back! I'm not done with you yet!" I refused to give in to the impulse, but I should have known when my brain was even contemplating such action that I was due for a relapse. When resisting initiating public displays of affection became superhuman, I knew it was too late to do anything about it. It was back. She was back. The return of Needy Girl.

I thought maybe recognizing I had a problem was the first step towards rehabilitation. More dates! More men! I counselled myself. "I am fabulous. I am successful. I don't have TIME to fall for someone right now and I'm having way more fun playing the field." Ginger counselled me. "Look at your shoes. They are beauteous. Their wonder must be shared with the world. More. Men." Our work husband (yes he has multiple work-wives, welcome to the office equivalent of Bountiful, BC) was firm with me: "Don't. Ask. What. You. Are."

"There's nothing that'll send a guy running for the hills more than asking what you are. Just go with the flow, RCC. It is what it is."

OK. It is what it is. It is what it is. I repeated it like a mantra. And yet, the other night, my resolve crumbled. It was like having an out-of-body experience as I heard myself start the Conversation, not wanting to but feeling absolutely compelled to make the effort. Horrified on the inside. Giggly and insecure on the outside.

And guess what? He ran for the hills. Well, not really. But I waved enough Needy Girl flags and danced around the "What Are We?" subject for just long enough that if he knows what's good for him he'll stay away for awhile. As for my part I'll have to be extra-ultra-casual to overcompensate. "What? Tommorrow? Sorry, honey, I've got plans! How about next Wednesday?" I'll need to put myself into serious training mode (perhaps we'll have to go back to the three-dates-in-one-day obstacle course) to get myself back in shape. I am NOT Needy Girl. I do not fall for one guy, certainly not this quickly and certainly not without a few trips to Italy thrown in to sweeten the deal. I play the field. I am fabulous. I get what I want, when I want it, from who I want. I don't ask what we are, I DEFINE what we are.

I was commiserating with a guy friend last night. Ranting to him, actually. Appalled at how quickly one guy out of many great guys had me acting like Needy Girl, as if my fabulous turquoise leather boots were just, like, not anything at all. "I am chased, I don't chase," I babbled. "I lay the ground rules. I play the field. I am strong. I am the hunter. I'm not soft, and I don't. fall." There was much sympathetic silence, followed by the following gem of an observation:

"Face up to who you are, Cookie, " he said. "You're mostly mermaid. And maybe, 1/20th wolf."

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Unbloggables.

So, I'm struggling. Have had several interesting encounters with the menfolk in past weeks, but somehow feel that I'd be wrong to blog them.

Why?

What makes someone, or some incident, unbloggable?

It certainly ain't a matter of ratings...I've blogged R rated and worse.

Is it a matter of...emotional attachment? Or that I care if they read it, and feel betrayed, that I've shared something that was meant to be secret, between us? Or that I'm afraid there was nothing romantic in the encounter for them, and that if I blog it I'm showing my hand, so to speak, showing that I felt that there definitely was something romantic about it, for me? And somehow make myself vulnerable?

Le sigh.

I'm supposed to be hell on high heels. Why do I feel like the men are doing all the walking?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Perverse Pleasures of the Single Girl: #1

Visiting your ex-boyfriend's wedding registry online to see what people haven't bought him and his new wife.

Problem: when someone buys him that fucking $500 KitchenAid mixer that you basically HAVE to get married to get, the one that you just can't justify for your little galley kitchen in your studio apartment. You know. The Couples Mixer.
Bitches.

Dirty Bruises

So I have a friend who tells me she enjoys a little nip now and then. Not like, a-little-swig-from-a-bottle-of-Smirnoff nip, but an "ooh, you bit me, how saucy!" type nip. Actually, more like, a "please bite me, I really like it" nip. After enjoying a little weekend romp in which some lust-more-than-love-biting may or may not have taken place, our friend had a visit to the doctor for her regular checkup and her annual EKG, which required her to get semi-naked, which she did, without thinking about some of the more interesting, purply-blue bruises she might have, with and without teethmarks, as a souvenir of the weekend's festivities. Here's how it went down. Try not to laugh as much as I did:

The nurse is somewhat quiet as she attaches electrodes to my friend's chest, except there is some heavy sighing and worried lip biting. My friend thought maybe the nurse was just having a hard time connecting all the electrical wires. Then, the nurse says abruptly, "Will you excuse me for a minute?!" My friend doesn't think anything of it and lies there lazily staring at the fluorescent light tube in the ceiling and the various birth control posters on the wall, waiting for the nurse to come back, trying to pretend she isn't in the least bit uncomfortable to be wearing a paper dress.

The nurse arrives back with the doctor in tow, and in a low voice, starts pointing out some of the naughty bruises. The doctor takes my friend's hand, and she stares down intently and determinedly into her face.

"Now, I'm concerned about some of these bruises," the doctor said. "Are you...are you...self-harming?"

My friend was mortified. She hadn't even thought about what her little habit might look like to an outsider. And she was also kind of appalled that she seemed like the type of person that both the nurse and the doctor thought MIGHT self-harm. But what was she supposed to say?! "No, no, I just like it when my lovers bite me?" Probably that's what she should have said, but somehow, she couldn't bring herself to disclose this to her doctor. I mean, the doctor has already seen her vagina on a pretty regular basis, so you'd think she'd be okay with discussing a little bruising, but no. She just couldn't do it.

"Um...NO...I...um, no, no self-harming," my friend said lamely, staring at the doctor with eyes that were simply begging the doctor not to ask the next natural question. Please, please, just let it go.

"So...someone else did this to you?" the doctor asked, even more concerned.

My friend was now beet red AND black and blue. "Yes," she mumbled.

She and the doctor stared at each other for another minute or so. No words passed, but woman-to-woman, the doctor got the idea.

"And," she said, trying to think of what to say next, "...you...WANTED them to?"

"Yes," said my friend, feeling a wild desire to laugh and cover her face with her paper dress at the same time.

"OKAAAAAY, then!" said the doctor cheerfully. "I guess we should think about getting you some iron if you're bruising that easily! Carry on, nurse!"

A little lesson for all of us out there. If you're into any kind of nastiness that could be disfiguring, best be taking your supplements.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Return of High Bids

Very relieved to report that I just had coffee date #2 with Sound Guy.  I had literally wrote off Sound Guy THIS MORNING; last Sunday (read: 3 days post our first coffee date and attempted Inukshuk ascent) I had talked to him on the phone, he appeared to have put up his wall of reserve again, and shot me down when I kind of hinted that perhaps we should hang out that night...maybe my hints were too oblique, but I'm not good at the direct asking-guys-out thing yet. Following the Sunday Night Shootdown, I had talked to him a couple times on MSN, always at my instigation, to lacklustre response.  This morning he came online and I wished him a happy Bunny Day (it's Easter Sunday), and after a brief chat which involved me asking him questions and him providing terse replies, he signed off.  

"Oh, that is IT," I grumbled to myself.  "If HE wants to talk to me, he can CALL me."  I resolved at that point not to initiate any further contact with Sound Guy.  I admit I was feeling a little bruised about it, because I had thought we had hit it off so well the last time we met, and I was more than a little freaked out that my date-perception was so off that here I was thinking I'd hear from him the next day and he really wasn't interested in talking to me again.  

Anyways, went out and about and got home around 3:30, when, wouldn't you know it, Sound Guy signs in to MSN and immediately sends me a link to a You Tube video he thought I would find funny.  I casually asked him what time he was going to an Easter dinner he had mentioned earlier, and then, boom! He was asking me if I wanted to do coffee and was at my house in 20 minutes.  Yay.  Vindication.  My date-radar isn't as wonky as I had come to accept it might be. 

Anyways, coffee again, good chat again.  I said I was happy he had gotten back in touch and revealed that I had felt a little bit rejected the last few times we talked so he got the message that he needed to make a little bit more of an effort if he was interested (and I think it made it clear that I was interested?)   When Sound Guy dropped me off at home, we were still talking a mile a minute, and he made a point of saying he had a funny story that he would tell me "the next time I call you, or see you in person" which totally commits him to seeing me again now.   Wizard. 

When is Lunch More than a Lunch?

Here's one from my Lunch Buddy:

So L.B. was at a conference a few weeks ago and sat next to a delightful woman who he hit it off with right away.  He thought she was fun and smart but tells me she was immediately written off in a romantic sense because: a) L.B.'s girlfriend was moving in that week, and b) she was too tall.  Being 5 foot nothing myself, I took great delight in that last reason.  "But was she cute?" I persisted.  "Totally irrelevant," said L.B. "I couldn't even TELL you if she was.  She was just tall."   Hee.   Because she totally didn't register on the dating radar, L.B. kind of, sort of neglected to mention that he had a girlfriend.  

At the end of the conference L.B. and Tall Girl exchanged business cards, and L.B. suggested they do lunch sometime.  Tall Girl agreed, and sure enough, the next week, she called L.B. and they made lunch plans.  

Now, Lunch went fine.  Tall Girl and L.B. still had lots to talk about, it was a good lunch, they split the bill, and they left.  As far as Lunches go, it was a good one.  I resisted from being a jealous lunch buddy at this point and asking if she Lunched better than I did.  

However, L.B. was now panicking.  When he got back to the office, there was a "thanks for lunch, I had a really good time" email from Tall Girl.    "We SPLIT the bill," he said to me worriedly.  "I didn't even pay.  Do you think she wants to date me?"

Sadly, L.B. has indeed gotten himself into quite a predicament.  You don't sit next to, laugh-and-joke-for-hours, then lunch with, a girl, and not mention that, oh yeah, you have a girlfriend.  It may be that Tall Girl isn't interested in him all in this sense, but he hasn't been fully forthcoming, so the issue hasn't even been, uh, tabled.  Now we had to decide how to bring it up at this late juncture without L.B. seeming like he thought he was the shit and of course she wanted to date him, or that the initial lunch invitation had been a date at all.   He still wanted to Lunch with Tall Girl, just not date her. 

"I'm just going to phone her and tell her," he said.   "Noooo," I countered.  "That makes you seem arrogant, and her answer, no matter what, will be 'How dare you, who said I was interested in dating you?'"   And it DOES seem arrogant.  She may really only be interested in Lunch.  L.B. wasn't so sure.   He suggested perhaps making another lunch date and gratuitously "we"-ing her with girlfriend comments until she got the picture.  I also felt this was out of line, as while this sends the immediate message to Tall Girl that she is being shot down on the dating front, it could again provoke the overly defensive "fuck you, who said I wanted to date you?" reaction.  She needed to be able to recover from the rejection, whether necessary or not, in private.  No, I decided.  It had to be the offhand mention of the girlfriend in a friendly, "we should do lunch again" email, so that Tall Girl could lick any rejection wounds in private, and have time to muster her "of course, we're just Lunch Buddies, that's totally what I was after anyway" face before the next Lunch.  

But I'm feeling L.B. on the "when is lunch just lunch" front?  It's so easy to know when there's an immediate disclosure of, oh, I don't know, a marriage, for example.  So lesson learned: please casually (it has to be casual) reveal your status way before Lunch, but don't make too too big a deal about it, okay? Sometimes Lunch is just lunch.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Adventures in Blind Dating: Ginger and George

Here is a story recounted from friend and comrade-at-arms in the dating game, Ginger:

George seemed like a nice guy, on the phone. He said he was educated; he was talkative and engaging, a little odd at times, but nothing that sent up red flags, and Ginger and George agreed to meet for a semi-blind date.

George came to Ginger's house to 'pick' her up. When he arrived he was covered from head to toe, was absolutely dripping, in sweat. He explained that he didn't have a car, so he had walked from Richmond to downtown Vancouver. George was afraid he was going to be late, so he ran the last few kilometers. Interesting, Ginger mused; she thought there were buses from Richmond... but she was willing to overlook George's obvious lack of public transport savvy.

George and Ginger walked to Cactus Club. On the way, George informed Ginger that he was currently between jobs. He was an actor but hadn't had a job for 3 years - no problem though, because he was going to school. Higher education. That is why he lives at home. With his parents.

George also let Ginger know that he never graduated from high school, and that the "higher education" he is currently engaged in is to obtain his high school equivalency. Any red flags yet, Ginger?!

George and Ginger arrived at at Cactus Club and George decided he didn't like the table they were at, so he asked to be moved. Then George wanted to talk about previous relationships. Ginger gave him the short version of hers, at which time she asked for his. Interesting - he has none - in fact he has never dated a girl for more than 2 weeks.

George wanted some food. He wanted it now. In fact, George beckoned for the waitress (by snapping his fingers), ordered for Ginger as well....then told the waitress he would be timing her and each minute it took represented a dollar off her tip. He then slapped her on the ass... yes slapped her on the ass, and told her to go.

So George pissed off the Cactus Club manager. The manager came over to the table to deal with George and George wasn't going to stand down. In fact, George thought this was an opportune moment to take a swing at the Cactus Club manager. Within seconds, all male staff members at Cactus were swarming George. George was thrown out (literally) from Cactus Club....

So Ginger grabbed his jacket and went outside to tell him to &*%# off. When Ginger passed him his jacket he said, "I am sorry that happened.... they really are ^&%$s here. But I think we have a real connection and it would be awful to let these &*%^$ ruin it". At that point, George saw a side of Ginger that she didn't even know existed...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Handshakes.

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Foreign Film Director, in town shooting a feature, which is currently in pre-production, leaving FFD with a little too much time on his hands and I guess bored and looking for trouble with some local girls. Didn't really have any magnetism in his first messages, but I played the classic "this is what I'm into" game with FFD to get him warmed up. As Rob Gordon says in "High Fidelity," who you are isn't nearly as important and who and what you're into. I sufficiently impressed FFD with my name-dropping of movies and directors (thank you arty ex-boyfriends!) that he suggested we meet up for a pre-date...if we liked each other on pre-date, well, we'd go see a film or something. FFD doesn't see films with just anybody, you see.

FFD was almost half an hour late and I was left reading the Georgia Straight at the coffeehouse waiting for him...but he is to be forgiven, being, of course, an FFD. To meet FFD I decided to play it sufficiently arty, in skinny jeans and a vintage-ish rocker tee that says "Love Sucks." Oooh. Indie. It turned out that FFD was really just lost. He called looking for directions and I ended up having to go out onto the street to wave him in.

I learned pretty quickly that FFD doesn't really care to talk about much but: a) his movie, b) his last movie, and c) his career. But you know what? That's kind of OK when talking about that stuff means talking about the celebrities he knows, (because we all know I love to talk celebrity trash) and when he is totally admiring of my savant-like knowledge of celebrities, movie trivia, and the like. We managed to make it through a good hour just playing the "Have you seen?"/"You should see"/"I just saw" game. I told him I'd almost brought him this DVD of a great Argentine heist flick that I love, but assumed he would have seen it. He hadn't and I was choked that I hadn't brought it and made his head explode with my cool quirkiness.

During a lull in the conversation, I suggested FFD and I visit Independent Flixx, a great local vid shop, and that he "educate me." Pick three films I just HAVE to see, I said. So we perused the aisles of Independent Flixx for a good half hour, picking up titles to show each other. FFD found it a little hard to stump me (what can I say? I HAVE seen alot of films), but we settled on three: "Chopper," "Mean Creek," and "Junebug." Then I commanded that FFD walk me home, and we strolled in that direction, laughing and chattering (well, ME chattering, him making sarcastic quips when necessary) the whole way.

I mentioned that I was dying to go to Vegas and get married to someone, ANYone, just for the story. He agreed to do it pretty quickly, and was totally sold when I promised him a free divorce (when your best buddy is a divorce lawyer, this is a perk). I was debating whether I was going to ask him up, and informed him when we got to my place that I was going to give him a couple of the DVDs we'd been talking about. He played it cool, and agreed.

FFD loved my apartment, asking jokingly for the tour: "Cool kitchen." Couple of steps. "Cool living room." A few more. "Cool bathroom." He beelined for my bookshelves, agreed with my assessment that I have some shit DVDs in my collection, but deferred to my pretty great collection of books. "Cool books." "Thanks." "Cool T-shirt." "Thanks."

"You're really cool," he said admiringly (yes, he really said "cool" this many times), straightening up from the shelf and walking towards me. "Thanks," I said. "We could be friends," he pronounced. "We COULD," I agreed. "We should have a secret handshake," he suggested.

"Cool," I said, with a sense of irony which was totally lost on FFD. He immediately began devising one, like those Schoolhouse Rock handshakes that involve 10-15 complicated steps. I was laughing as he tried to teach me each step: high five, the slide, the palm slap, etc. It became more and more convoluted and impossible to remember. As we neared the end, he threw in some new aspects.

"Now we hug," he commanded. We hugged.

"We kiss like the French do," he said, and kissed me on each cheek.

Well, you can see where this is going, I think.

Pretty soon our handshake had turned into alot more than a handshake. On the couch.

"I hadn't really planned on this, " I confessed to FFD at one point as we came up for air. "Really." And I hadn't. I figured we'd trade DVDs and leave the, uh, handshakes to another date. "I'm not usually this easy," I said. Clearly I was lying, but whatever.

"Neither am I," he said, laughing. "But it feels right, somehow."

And it did. And it was.

FFD wasn't big on sticking around, post-handshake, though, which surprised me. He seemed like a much more cuddly, let-me-stay-the-night type guy. Pillow talk consisted of (surprise!) talk about his movie, which I patiently accepted, and then he was out. I fully expected to see him again.

It's been a week now, though, and no sign of the FFD, other than a response to my morning-after email when I said I'd enjoyed meeting him...and the other stuff. He responded with "Ditto-don't work too hard..." I've sent him an email since, to update him on something in MY life that we had talked about, but I didn't get a response-probably because it wasn't related to his casting problems, or location scouting, or script re-writes. Do I sound bitter? I'm not, just shaking my head at how FFD totally played to the stereotype of the self-involved film industry insider.

So-an intriguing mis-read of FFD on my part. I didn't pass the pre-date audition to attend a film, I guess. I had thought he was into me for more than a handshake-he DID say he thought we could be friends. Further, I didn't think that he'd be the type to feel sheepish about things maybe going a little too far for a first date, (although we're adults, so who cares about these things really) but that might be what's going on, too? Oh well. I'm hardly devastated. His work would always come first. But the handshake was smooth.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

High Bids

Met Sound Guy for coffee tonight. Sound Guy works on various movies and TV shows in...surprise, sound! I have an image of him in my head with microphones in holsters, like a cowboy. After some promising email chats on LL (Sound Guy knows good grammar), we connected by phone last week and had some good talks after a terrible warm-up call where we were both to shy to really think of things to say. Our conversations have run the gamut from high school friends, to views on marriage, to weird work stories. Sound Guy is definitely a good listener-after a really bad day at work two days ago, the only person I wanted to tell was him, and found myself picking up the phone to call him...maybe because he sounds kind. However, he is a little more shy and reserved than me, which can make for some awkward silences when I finally run out of things to say. I was a little worried that it would be the same in person.

Hadn't planned on going out tonight at all...in fact, I cancelled a date with Main Street Hipster (Sorry MSH-I still want to meet you and your Helmut Lang jeans) because I just wasn't feeling it. However, got home and logged on to MSN and Sound Guy was online and into meeting up. I agreed on the condition that I could have a nap first (it was a long day) and we arranged for him to come downtown and meet me. No dress-up as per Funny Boy this time: jeans, t-shirt and Cons were the order of the day. This was going to be ultra casual.

We met on the corner of my street, and walked down to a coffee house on Denman. I bought; he had been nice enough to drive in from East Van so I wouldn't have to take a bus to meet him somewhere. Sound Guy played it real cool when I offered to buy, which girls always appreciate. He was ready to pay, but didn't fight me when I insisted. That's always the sign of a self-assured guy.

Right away, we were able to make easy conversation; Sound Guy is much more gregarious and articulate in person, and told me a surreal story about working on a movie set with a chimp named Bernie who took a shine to him and his feet. His slang runs along the same lines as mine, which made us laugh: both of us pepper our conversation with alot of "rad," "totally," and "good times." We probably called each other "dude" more than we addressed each other by name. Sound Guy said his new favorite is "wizard," which is curiously used in a derogatory manner (ie, "stop being so wizardly, dude"), and "high bids." I needed an in-depth lesson in high bids, which Sound Guy gave me post-coffee, when we went for a walk down to English Bay to pay our regards to the Inukshuk. Apparently, high bids can be used in the context of "that's cool." For instance:

Friend: Hey, RCC, what are you up to tonight?

Me: Oh, you know. Going out with Johnny Depp and Colin Farrell. They're in town, saw them at Villa de Lupo last night, we're hitting the scene.

Friend: High bids!

Or, alternatively, Friend could say approvingly, "That's a high bid."

I'm still not sure how this one really works in practice, but I'll report back.

We walked in the dark and talked, about music, favorite live shows we'd both been to (Radiohead and Coldplay numbering among our favorites), music we've been listening to (Sia!), random tidbits about work and life, and Spiderman Underoos (don't ask). Sound Guy has a great sense of humour and seems game for anything. I jokingly offered him two bucks to have a shower at 10:00 at night at one of those outdoor showers in English Bay, and he seriously considered it, as long as he could wear his jacket and put the hood up. I also offered him two bucks to try and climb the Inukshuk...which seemed like an easier sell until we realized it was covered with all sorts of slimy anti-graffiti stuff to stop people like us from climbing it.

After a stroll, lots of laughter, and easy chat, found myself back at my door with Sound Guy, at which Sound Guy told me I was "pretty rad." I blushed and said, "Awww, thanks-you're not so bad yourself!" I hope he knows I meant "You're rad, too."

Sound Guy happens to love cats (bonus) and I tried unsuccessfully to get my Raincoast Kitty to come to the window to say hello, but she wouldn't, which gave me the excuse to ask him up...however, this guy was quality and I wasn't going to let him get away too easily by asking him in too fast (he seemed like a guy who would be put off by that) so it was a quick hello and Raincoast Kitty and I walked him to the door, where we had a big hug and I told him how much I enjoyed hanging out. He said he'd had fun too, and we called it a night. Hope to see him again soon. That'd be a high bid.


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Magnetism Will Get You Everywhere

Last weekend I met Funny Boy for a drink.  He approached me via IM on LavaLife saying, "Sweet Jesus, it's true! I heard your kind existed-the quirky, arty, smart girl-but have never encountered one in person!"

Well.

It was a good opening.  After a few minutes of flirty online banter, he had asked for my phone number (rather quickly by LavaLife standards, I thought, but I wasn't put-off enough to refuse him), and informed me that he would be calling me in 15 minutes.  Very precise.  I was hopeless to resist.  Within a few minutes he had reduced me to Submissive Girl, strangely unfamiliar territory.  Sure enough, within 15 minutes he was on the phone, calling from his car.  

"I'm thinking Thursday after work," F.B. announced.  No "I'm-just-calling-to-get-to-know-you" facade, this man meant business.  "What time can you get off work? 6? Will you need to go home and shower first?"  Now, this may seem all to be the over-eagerness of a desperate man, happy to have reached a real woman.  But no.  The whole overtone of the conversation was this odd mix of two overly witty people trying to outshine each other...him giving the distinct impression that I should be so lucky that he would want to meet, and me trying desperately to regain my strong, independent woman foothold after being knocked out of my high heels by his ultra-confident, alpha-male attitude.  Grasping at straws, I said I'd have to check my office calendar and get back to him on Monday. "Fine, fine," he said.  "I'll talk to you then."  Click.  So not interested in chatter.

About two hours later, he phoned back.  "I wouldn't normally call again," he said.  "But my night tonight has just cleared up-do you want to do a drink tonight? Let's do a drink tonight."  I agreed (as much as I could agree as much as just accept), and we decided on a place in our neighbourhood, a somewhat trendy eurobar with sassy staff, and a comfortably cool vibe.   I put on my slinky-yet-indie American Apparel pencil skirt, flatironed the hell out of my bangs, and put on a cool pair of grey leather open-toe heels with a distinctly retro vibe.  F.B. had requested "No Uggs or Crocs, please."  As if.

I arrived earlier than F.B. and sat at that bar, ordering a bottle of Pellegrino.  "You look hot," said the bartender (a woman) admiringly.  "You're on a date, aren't you?"  I nodded.  "How did you know?"  "It's easy," she said.  "You look hot, and you ordered Pellegrino.  Dead giveaway."  I laughed.  At that point, F.B. came in and I got a chance to size him up in person.

I'm all for using whatever means possible to meet people in this stand-offish city, but the challenge of the online dating is that, much like buying a Jimmy Choo bag off Ebay, you don't know what you're buying until it shows up.  F.B. was slightly older, balder and slightly shorter than I had expected, but well put-together, which, being a fashion whore, I always appreciate.  Good pants, well fitting blazer, a pocket square, no less.  A little quirky, a little trendy.  Wire-rim glasses.  It was all good.  The bar was definitely his local, as the staff greeted him by name when he walked in the door.  We moved to a table and had a few drinks, and a rather one-track conversation.

You see, F.B. has a consulting business that revolves around telling women why they don't succeed in dating men...a single-man to single-woman interpreter or translator if you will.   And it was clear that dating, sex, men, and women are his passion (pardon the pun).  There have been lecture tours, talk of a reality show.  It became clear I was on a date with the Dating Doctor.  And he saw right through me.

He caught on pretty quickly that I was the independent, strong woman who was dying to be put in her place-tired of being the dominant, bossy decision-maker in my professional life and needing someone else to take control every once in a while.  And he was more than willing to play the gorilla, as he put it.  He drew some of my previous dating war stories out of me, and quickly deconstructed all of them, poking holes in my logic when I dismissed miserable experiences under the guise of "the guy was obviously crazy," and basically pulling the rug out from underneath me, in all respects.

After a couple of drinks and a good but unsettling chat that bordered on suggestive but never seemed flirty, there was a pause in the conversation.  F.B. reached for the bill, clearly drawing this portion of the evening to a close.  "We'll split it," I said.  "Good," said F.B., clearly in Gorilla mode.  "I get tired of paying."  Before I had time to digest this, he was looking at me intently.  

"I think you should come home with me now,"  he said simply.  Firmly.  Silence.  I didn't even really have time to think before I heard myself saying, "Okay."  Up until that point, I hadn't even decided whether I found F.B. attractive.  He certainly wasn't what I would normally be attracted to, but the Gorilla attitude was irresistible.  

Needless to say, F.B. got the girl.  And was definitely alpha-male all the way.   There was no battle of the sexes going on here-he was clearly the boss and I was to obey (kinky!).  But here's the lesson, guys:  alpha-male doesn't mean rude, and it doesn't mean horndog.  It means being assertive, being blunt, saying what you want, but being courteous, and being totally focused on your partner as much as on yourself.  F.B. was totally respectful, considerate, and made the classy day-after "I had a wonderful time" call.   Sure, he hasn't called again, and I don't expect him to-that's not what the night was about.  But the man had game, and you need to have the game if you expect to play.

Let the Blogging Begin.

It's a couples' city, Vancouver.  More than any city I've lived in, Vancouverites of un certain age seem to have a laser-like focus on settling down: couple up, buy a condo, buy a dog, buy a barbecue (necessarily in that order), make couple-y friends, have some kids, retire.

Yawn.

So what does the single girl do?  Wait for her girlfriends to benevolently bestow their presence upon her when their boyfriend's out of town for the weekend or hitting the golf course for the afternoon?  Hope the cute boy from the office elevator will finally speak to her today?  Nope. Elevator Boy suffers from Vancouver Syndrome: don't approach, don't be approachable, look down and mind your own business.  If you make eye contact, look away immediately, and never, ever, smile.

So, I'm embarking on a one-girl revolution.  I'm in my late twenties and refuse to submit to the pressure to couple up (yet).  I also refuse to accept the cool haughtiness of Vancouver singles.  I'm determined to date the hell out of this city.  I'm going to talk to Elevator Boy, whether he talks back or not.   Stay tuned to see how I get on...