Monthly Archives: February 2014

50 shades of awkward

So, when you’re getting to know someone, there’s this magical point where they tell you that they’re “kinky.”

And then you have a horrible problem: how do you figure out what the hell that means without offending, scaring, mocking or patronizing your new paramour? Are we talking “50-Shades-of-Grey-I-like-some-light-bondage” kinky, or “I want to wear a llama costume and  bleat while you play Appalachian farmer with me”?

One way or the other – but particularly if you tend more towards the latter scenario – you really should have this discussion before you are involved in sex acts. I can see it might be a difficult conversation to start — “Mmm! These lamb chops are delicious. Speaking of farm animals…” — but it’s probably better than letting out a roaring “BAAAAAAAH!” at orgasm and then having to explain yourself before she calls the ASPCA.

This brings me to a story about a friend who lived in a large and very posh apartment/condo tower. On New Year’s Eve, if he didn’t have actual plans, he would grab a bottle of champagne and party-hop in the building. I’m gonna let him tell the story, because really, I can’t improve on it. Enjoy…..
“I once crashed a party where they had hired a DJ and belly dancer. Everyone at the party was wearing a mask. I walked in and everything seemed to stop. People stared at me and I said I’m sorry I was late. They asked where my mask was and I told them I forgot. They told me it was no problem and that there was a pile of extra masks over by the booze. I put one on and the party resumed.

Now, I’ve found the secret to crashing a party is to remove yourself by 2 people with common names. “Who do you know here?” “Jeff told me to come.” “Oh, Jeff right over there?” “No, not that Jeff. The one Mary knows.” At this point, people are too interested in having a good time to continue to feign interest about your story; besides, at this point, we’re all wearing masks. (It also helps if you are mildly personable and not a raging asshole.) At most of these parties the single people are looking to end the night with someone, because somehow meaningless sex with a stranger somehow translates to hopefulness that they won’t be relationship-less in the new year.

At this party I met Karen. This is a pseudonym, not so much to protect Karen, but because I can’t remember her real name. Karen was an African-American twenty-something with a butterfly tattoo on her hip and a serious princess complex. She had grown up privileged, and wanted to stay that way. Despite the fact that she was getting her MBA at Northwestern, she needed someone else to pay her way. Currently it was her daddy (her actual father, although that is how she referred to him), but, hey, it could be you. She had a coach bag she treated like a pet and a sexy baby voice to match. I should have steered clear of Karen. I did not. Towards the end of the festivities we excused ourselves to go to my unit to “see if the view was different.” As my unit was the same style in the same position on the same side of the building a few floors up, the view was exactly the same. This wasn’t my line, though, it was hers. In my place one thing led to the inevitable, slightly drunken, mildly awkward first-sex-of-the-new-year.

Things were following the normal sexual progression including moaning, groaning, and exclamations to a higher power. Halfway through, though, things took an unexpected turn. At this point in my life, I had never engaged in role play in the bedroom. (I’m still not a huge fan. I have nothing against it, but chances are that if I’m fucking you, it’s because I want to fuck YOU. Not someone else. Not the head cheerleader, or a naughty student, or a naughty teacher.) I get that role play is a safe way to indulge in certain fantasies. I also understand that it is something usually set up beforehand, and not sprung on the person you don’t know mid-coitus.

This is why I was taken off guard when she asked me to call her my “little camper.” My first thought was, “Um…OK…so, this is happening…” What followed immediately was my actor’s instinct to get the scene right. What kind of camp did this girl go to? I had gone to a survival camp where we hiked through a river and had eaten boiled dandelions. No…It probably wasn’t that. Space camp? Computer camp? Girl Scout camp? I do love those little green uniforms… Oh, God — it wasn’t fat camp, was it? She didn’t used to be a fat kid, and now to get off she had to have someone yelling at her to do calisthenics, Biggest-Loser style? Probably not.

Best to go with generic camp scenario #1. She’s a camper out after lights-out. I find her by the canoes. What comes out of my mouth is, “Yeah, you’re my little camper.” She follows up with, “Yeah! Fuck me in the arts and crafts room!” Shit! Arts and crafts, not canoes! This is why people work the scenario out beforehand. I try to remember my improvisation training: Don’t deny, say “Yes, and…” Here we go: “Yeah, I’m fucking you on top of the wallets!” Wallets? Was this a camp or a sweatshop? Despite my lack of preparation I must have been at least a passable counselor, or played well into whatever elaborate sleepaway camp drama she’d already worked out, and mercifully, orgasms soon followed.

We spent the rest of our wakeful minutes passing the small talk of two people who don’t know each other and have shared something more intimate than either had intended. I remember thinking that it wasn’t the strangest sex I had, but it was up there. It wasn’t the girl who had a thing about licking my armpit (sidenote: it’s only fair – I will kiss you after a blowjob – but you lick my armpit and I point you to the Listerine before your lips come anywhere near my face. I also ask you bring me a damn hand towel to wipe my now-slobbery pit dry.), but it was surprising. I think, “Thanks for making sure I never contact you again.” She may have thought the same thing. Neither of us say it. It would have ruined the role play that we were both willingly engaged in, using each other as a proxy for the relationships of the past year and those to come in the next. It has always stayed with me, though, and probably always will.”


Two and Out: How Not to Get a Third Date

(…and thus, not get laid.)

I had dinner with a friend last night. He’s 40-something but could convincingly pass for mid-30s, even before a roofied cocktail or two; he’s an employed teacher of non-inmates, never married or sent to pray-the-gay-away camp, no kids (legitimate or otherwise), no felony record, all of his teeth (or excellent implants), tall/athletic, has most of his original hair and usually maintains it in non-mullet fashion (although he slips occasionally), no super-invasive mommy issues (particularly since her recent death), no intravenous drug problems, non-smoker, active lifestyle (distance biking, trail running, hiking, etc., you know, standard-issue Northwesterner), no weird food things (eats meat, eats gluten, eats bacon like a proper human), non-religious, progressively liberal, pro-choice, generally well-rounded, looking for a committed (mostly) monogamous relationship with a woman he could have fun and raise a family with. He doesn’t drink coffee, though, which could mean that he’s lying about absolutely everything, because he can’t possibly actually be a Washington State native.

So………why can’t this guy get a third date? He’s a two-hit wonder. His last three dating experiences have followed the same pattern:  meet pretty girl; have good first date at a bar or restaurant, followed by light kissing; have more-involved second date doing something nature-y, followed by decent making-out (second base, let’s say); text girl the follow-up message/third date request….then….radio silence. I got to inspect his phone to find out, as I suspected he was going horribly wrong in the “follow-up message” step.

Admittedly this is a better place to be in than a gentleman I knew a while back, who would go out on first dates — and believe they went well and would lead to a second date — while revealing things like the girl told him she had to go home and turn off the oven. Because she might have left it on. And her roommate apparently couldn’t be trusted to perform this very delicate electrical maneuver (“No!!! COUNTER-clockwise!!! DAMMIT! That’s the seventh explosion this month!!!”). I initially thought this was a pretty excellent ploy to cut the evening short and head back to her house, you know, so she didn’t look easy (and I thought I would totally steal this, until I remembered that I don’t care if I look like a slut). But he wasn’t invited to come over and play with her knobs! She was just cutting the evening short! And he was super surprised when the second date they arranged mysteriously conflicted with a previous commitment (washing her merkins? feeding the neighborhood feral cats?) and she cancelled.

I’ll admit to the most shamefully lame excuse I’ve ever used. I was on the worst date of my life: the fella was lecturing me about what he did for a living (building websites for Amazon), and when I interrupted to ask questions (“How do you conclude that visitors browsing antique Russian nesting dolls would also be interested in viewing documentaries on competitive midget wrestling? Is that its own proprietary algorithm?”) he responded: “We’ll get to that later” and all I could think of was being tied to a chair for the rest of the evening and forced to watch powerpoints on website-design fundamentals while he tried on novelty underpants. So when my phone buzzed, and it was someone I actually had both a chance and a desire to hook up with, I fumbled for the first excuse I could land on: “That’s my sister. Our parents are getting divorced. I should stop by and make sure she’s OK.” For real. And for the record, I’d like to note that I’m ordinarily a fantastic liar/excuse-maker. Maybe I was shaken off my game by the algorithm of the night. For what it’s worth, although he gave me a pathetically-sad-but-sanctimoniously-amused look, I think he may also have been relieved, since I suspected the powerpoint wasn’t 100% ready for a living audience.

Anyway, the Non-Felonious Teacher (NFT) is doing something that gets him to date two, but fucking up something tremendously before he can secure date three. Forensic inspection of the phone reveals:

Ohhhhhhhhh my. It’s “just add water and we’re instant friends” guy. While there’s something arguably admirable about a guy who can be immediately open and emotionally intimate, and who’s apparently as comfortable with you as you are with your best friend of 20 years, it’s … weird. And off-putting. And overly intimate, like jailhouse toilets. Someone needs to teach NFT the manly art of being complimentary, slightly aloof, and a whole lot more reserved for the first few weeks of communicating with a lady. We don’t want to think you’re a raw, pulsating, hot buffet of understanding and openness — this makes us suspicious, and it’s not particularly sexy (although it’s TOTALLY what we want in our gay BFF, btw, which is why 1) so many women suspect he’s homosexual, and 2) the rest of them friend-zone him). At very worst, his follow-up texting descends into “jokester psychopath,” which is basically that scene in When Harry Met Sally where Harry lists all the reasons Sally might not be taking his phone calls (trapped under something heavy, etc.) without the benefit of the years of close friendship that Harry and Sally shared prior to that playfully desperate phone call. Translated to a text to a woman NFT’s been on two dates with, no matter how cute it was intended, it just smacks of “I want to eat your heart!” or “I have space on the shelf with the rest of the girl-heads, next to my stuffed mum!”

Here’s a script, NFT. First date you’re doing OK. Second date: no more than three hours. No talking about your childhood. No trips more than 60 miles away from civilization. No peeing in front of each other in the woods. No long discussion of your relationship history or what you want in a partner. Head towards topics that are more substantive than the first date (this is your opportunity to move from “Wow – Olympics, right?” to serious deal-breakers like “So…Cubs vs. White Sox?”) but for god’s sake if you want her to take you seriously, she has to feel like she has “uncovered” your intimate sensitive side, rather than being drowned in its radiant splendor. I don’t care how much of an empowered fella you are. You. Don’t. Actually. Know. This. Woman. She’s not your friend, yet. Treat your first few dates like a job interview. Be on your best behavior and don’t show your low pair of twos. And afterwards? “I had a great time with you today. Hope to see you again.” Three days later: “I am planning on doing [this neat-o thing that shows I’m fun and interesting and well-rounded] this Sunday and have [room in my landrover/an extra ticket/a need for a spotter] – would you like to join me?” And then LEAVE THAT SHIT ALONE.

If ladypants wants to go out with you again, she’ll answer. She’ll propose going to the movies if she can’t make your suggested adventure date or has broken her ribs sea-kayaking. She’ll get coffee with you on Friday afternoon if she’s taking her foster dogs on a meditation retreat for the long weekend. And if she doesn’t answer? Your cutely desperate text is going to be the basis of a restraining order… or her next blog post.


February 1 is a terrible, terrible time to activate an OK Cupid account, what with the-holiday-that-shall-not-be-named lurking around the corner. But the recent “Snowpocalypse” in the Portland area has forced the hands of many of my single friends, who would like to spend their snow days like all the ones who do have romantic partners:  inventing new Olympic drinking games, decorating all the parked cars in the neighborhood with giant snow cocks, and working enthusiastically through the Kama Sutra.

I lack the patience for online dating. My roommate, however, is still caught in the bright-eyed enthusiasm phase, so I’ve been helping to screen (and mock) the respondees. It’s depressing how many people think “Where was your profile picture taken?” is somehow a clever, charming, or in any way adequate opening line. But then again, I suppose it’s better than “nice tits!” …which she’s gotten twice.

This morning, however, saw a thankfully original message:

“I’m breaking up with you. Things aren’t working out. It’s not you, it’s me. I’m keeping the house, the car and the TV. You can keep the kids.”

Roommate responds:

“You can keep the kids, the house, and the car. I’m running off to Barcelona with my new lover.”

I think they’re off to a good start! Just like a country song in reverse, right? (Get the dog back, the house back, the truck back…..) If nothing else, at least they can kick right off with makeup sex.

When messaging someone on OKCupid, it is understandable to make the mistake of messaging them as if for the first time if you’ve messaged them before and have just forgotten, since nothing came of it. It is not acceptable, however, to message someone you’ve already been out with — and had sex with — as if you have never met her before. Oooooh, buddy. You should keep a list or something. That didn’t win you referral points.

In fact, it’s too bad there isn’t an OKCupid function along the lines of Facebook’s “friends in common,” allowing you to see which one of your girlfriends has also been out with messaging man. This would streamline the process tremendously. “Oh, Chuck? Yeah. Great cock; mommie issues.” “Doug? Funny guy, but lives with three D&D-obsessed roommates…go back to your place if you’re heading down that road.” “Adam? Oh, just…no. I mean, unless you’re into adult diapering…who am I to judge.” It could be right in the spirit of the Olympics: “Bob? 8.0 for technical points, but only 5.5 for style.”

There’s a surprisingly fine line between “charmingly direct” and “big bag of douche,” to wit, the finely-crafted word sonata my friend received entitled, “Ode to Pussy Eating,” which included the enticingly erotic phrase, “It’s not an ice pop we’re eating here, it won’t melt,” accompanied by some photos of the Wannabe-Licker in question riding ATVs and shooting guns. I’m actually most angry at this man for defiling my innocent memories of ice pops, and halfheartedly hoping that he accidentally walks into a bear trap the next time he’s noodling around the woods pondering the poetic nature of cunnilingus.

Also inappropriate, gentlemen: sharing your explicit BDSM fantasies in message number one, unless the lady’s profile shares her own appreciation of the hobby or her professional mistress/submissive status. On the other hand, it’s probably a good way for us to weed out the ones who might nestle you into the crawl space at the end of the night with the rest of the collection, or who are too socially inept to understand how to interact socially with ordinary muggles.

Some openers are fantastically nonsensical: “You’re do pretty. Did I have a good day”… “I was a musical director for a bit on the high seas. It was fun. I miss it sometimes.” … “Oh no, feeling shy? I don’t bite….”

And some indicate a level of stalking/intimacy that suggests they think they are in fact already in a friendship/relationship with you, or are potentially your grandmother: “Changed your profile picture, eh?” “Good morning, sweetie!” “How’s the online thing going? Have you met anyone nice?”

And some of them really, really should’ve given more thought to their screen name. I’m not sure how much of a silver tongue someone would need for me to overcome “Bluuballzz” as a handle, and “wizardboots” gives me more insight into your personality than you probably intended. “Possibly_useful” is, I suppose, possibly accurate, and I have to admit that “SmileyFunButter” is at least a little intriguing. And, of course, who wouldn’t love “dragonbacon!” It’s dragons! It’s bacon! (Is that vegan, because dragons are pretend?)

But, she’s off to a coffee-and-crepe date with “genuinefella24,” whom I totally hope is in fact 24 (with all the wide-eyed enthusiasm and energy of a 24-year-old) for her sake. Meanwhile, I’m curling up to watch highlights of the best Alpine ski crashes of the Olympics, figuring I’ll drink every time the announcers talk about the Sochi toilets — that should ensure I’m schnockered by midafternoon, at the latest, and I’ll be in fine form to snark on the figure skating for the rest of Snowpocalypse…no dragon bacon required.