Thursday, August 26, 2010

At the Cirque

My friend Slinky had to cancel our long-planned date to see Cirque du Soleil this week, so with her ticket available, I invited Dreamy instead. I was sad Slinky couldn't make it, but it DID make for a pretty awesome second date. I haven't been to see Cirque in quite a few years, and I had forgotten what a childlike pleasure one takes in watching their stunning costumes and antics. It's impossible to stop smiling during their shows. Dreamy is enthusiastic and positive, and he was a great person to watch them with.

Before the show, we grabbed a cocktail and a bite to eat at Drink. We both got there late (this seems to be a chronic problem -- we're both so laid back), and were short on time. We ate quickly and then headed out, but by the time we got to the show they were announcing that the curtains were about to close and we wouldn't be allowed in for five more minutes. As we were racing, umbrella in hand, a couple racing in the opposite direction dropped something small and kept going. I paused for half a second and looked down; it was a case. The couple was already far away. Had they still been nearby, I would have called to them, but I wasn't even sure I could find them. I decided it wasn't my problem and kept going.

Dreamy wouldn't have noticed anything, but when I paused he looked down too and caught sight of the case. He didn't pause at all; he scooped it up, glanced inside, exclaimed "Oh my god! It's a pair of glasses," and took off after the couple. A minute later he was back, having successfully restored the glasses. As we got to our entrance the usher was in the process of shutting the curtain, but she smiled kindly and held it open for us. Clearly, if this was some sort of test of character, Dreamy passed with flying colors and I failed miserably. I chose five minutes of Cirque du Soleil over restoring a valuable possession to someone! I'd like to think that if I had had a bit more time I would have made a better choice, but still, it's nice to know that Dreamy's instincts are in the right place.

At the subway entrance at the end of the night he asked politely if he could kiss me (he's by far the most chivalrous person I've ever dated -- holding umbrellas for me, spreading salmon on my toasts for me, etc.) and we stood on the damp street and kissed for a long time. Then I got on the subway and went back to freaking out over the incredible mountain of work I need to complete before school starts in T minus 6 days, pausing occasionally to smile and think of Dreamy.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I told Slinky yesterday that in an ideal world Dreamy would get in touch with me within 48 hours, but 72 would also be acceptable. He must have read my mind, because exactly 48 hours after our date -- midnight on Saturday -- I got a message from him:

Hey Heathen,

I had a really nice time on Thursday at the museum and in that cute courtyard. I wasn't really sure at the end of the night how you were feeling about things and if you'd want to hang out again. But I know I'd enjoy seeing you again if you're up for it. If not, no worries!

Have a great Sunday...and enjoy Mad Men! (I can't wait...)


I like it when men aren't afraid to email a girl on a Saturday night. Given that I spent much of our five-hour marathon date on Thursday thinking, "I like this guy a LOT. I think he really could be my husband," I was a bit taken aback that he was unsure of my feelings toward him. Why would I have spent five hours with him if I didn't like him? I've certainly never had a five-hour first date before.

Then again, I had the same doubts. At first I felt certain that we had a strong connection. Then, I started to wonder: did I talk too much? Should I not have told him that I had a horrible breakup last fall? Maybe I went overboard when I told him about my frustration that men are often bad communicators. I felt so comfortable with him -- TOO comfortable? Perhaps I should have been more careful about what I told him about myself. Did he really mean it when he said he had fun and was happy to meet me? Or was he just saying that because he's so nice?

It was a relief to hear that my initial reaction was correct and he wasn't turned off. I know you're not supposed to put all your eggs in one basket, but let's face it, all my eggs have been in Dreamy's basket since I first read his profile a month ago. So I decided to go for it and put myself out there, and see if he meets me halfway. I wrote him back right away, at 1 a.m. Saturday night. I told him about my fish taco party that I had just gotten back from, and how I spent the day making tomatillo salsa and 52 tortillas in preparation for it. I told him about my trip to Cape Cod on Friday. Then, I told him that I would really like to see him again, and I apologized if I sent mixed signals at the end of our date. I asked if he'd be available to get together sometime this week. I hesitated for a moment and wondered if I should wait till morning to send it, then hit send.

Eek! Can't wait for our next date!

Friday, August 20, 2010

My life, the Seinfeld episode

I got home late last night from my date with Dreamy, and fell asleep immediately when my head hit the pillow. Half an hour later I was wide awake, brimming with excitement and utterly incapable of slumber, thinking back over what a great date I had. Eventually I took a sleeping pill and drifted off, drowsy and happy.

First thing in the morning, I headed out to join Cousine, one of my two French cousins, for a day trip to the Cape. Upon arrival, we meandered over to the beach and I told her all about my date. Then I started giving instructions to my phone, asking it politely to please ring, beep, anything. The downside to a good first date: day-after contact anxiety. (I did get a nice goodnight, I-had-a-good-time text message last night, but still.)

My phone remained stubbornly silent while we swam, read, chatted, and napped. Finally we went to buy sandwiches, and as we sat and ate them, it rang -- a number I didn't recognize. I answered and a male voice said, "Hey, Heathen!" My heart leapt: Dreamy! He continued: "I just got tickets to the Sox game. Are you interested in going?" "Wow!" I exclaimed. "That's so nice. I wish I could, but I'm on the Cape. I don't think I can get back in time." I thanked him for inviting me, and we hung up.

I excitedly filled Cousine in as soon as I hung up. "He must really like me!" I told her.

"You should go meet him!" she responded. "It's not too late. Text him and ask if you can get there a bit after the game starts."

I followed Cousine's instructions and sent off a quick text to Dreamy. Seconds later, his reply came though: "Hey there Heathen! I don't think you meant to send this to me."

Oh. My. Goodness. He was not the one who called. I thought back rapidly over the phone call: Didn't recognize the number. He didn't identify himself. The only reason I assumed it was him was that I was waiting for his call.

Anyway, it's not the end of the world. He just thought I sent a text message to the wrong person; thankfully, I didn't put his name in it. Still, it was pretty disappointing. I had to go buy an ice cream cone to recuperate.

All of this leaves one lingering unanswered question: WHO IS THE MYSTERY MAN WHO INVITED ME TO A SOX GAME TONIGHT?? And what kind of weirdo doesn't identify themselves on the phone?

Waxing philosophical

Hmm, I wonder how many double-entendre titles I can come up with about waxing?

I went to see my Wise Waxer yesterday in preparation for one last trip to the beach with my cousin today. I probably won't be seeing her again until waxing season resumes in the spring, so I had to soak up every last bit of her wisdom while I could (I would totally pay the $35 waxing fee for it, even if she neglected to remove any hairs).

I talked to her a bit about my breakups, telling her two-minute versions of both my La Moustache and l'Artista relationships. Then I mentioned my upcoming date that I'm uber-excited for, and reflected, "I think he's a good one. He isn't drop-dead gorgeous, which I think is a good sign."

She looked at me sagely and nodded her head slowly. "It can be a good thing when men are less attractive than women," she replied, "but you never know. I thought my first husband would never cheat on me. He was chubby and unattractive. But when I was 28 with two kids, a four-year-old and a two-month-old, he came home one day and told me he was leaving. I didn't see him again for a year." When she went out to buy diapers a few days later their joint bank account, consisting mainly of the earnings from stores she owned, had been closed. The stores were in her husband's name.

"You're making my breakup story sound like a walk in the park!" I cried, shocked. "That must have been horrible. How did you survive?"

"It was the best thing that ever happened to me," she answered. "I found out how strong I am. It gave me such a boost to my self-esteem -- after that I can do anything. I started my businesses up again. I was so resourceful. I had to raise my kids and I had to make money, so I just went on with my life."

A few months later, she met her second husband. "I didn't want anything to do with him," she explained. "He was so good-looking, he had this beautiful body. I told my brother (who had introduced them), 'What would I want with this guy? I date men who are ugly and have money. Get him away from me!' He told me okay, but he had a feeling he'd be good in bed." So she started dating him, telling him that she wanted nothing from him, didn't want to ever get married again, didn't want any money from him. He didn't want to marry either. Fourteen years later they finally got married, and they've been married ever since. "You just never know about a person," she said, "but don't trust them in the meantime. Men are selfish." She spit the last word out furiously, seconds after talking affectionately and tenderly about her husband.

So, I guess there are no generalizations to be made about good-looking versus not good-looking men. Some of both are good; some of both are bad. I think it can be nice when beautiful women date less attractive men, and the men dote on them. Unfortunately, not all unattractive men realize how lucky they are to have a beautiful woman.

From what I know so far it seems that Dreamy is a cute but not overly handsome good one. He did well on the five areas that my dating guru Li'l JC instructed me to take notes on:

1) Shoes -- I know I talk a lot about shoes, but in the end, the right guy can pull off any shoes. I think my opinions of people's shoes are really just a reflection of my thoughts about the person. It's all about being comfortable in your own shoes.
2) Manners -- impeccable. Paid for everything, walked me partway to the subway, texted me to tell me he had a good time and apologize for not walking me all the way to the subway.
3) Food -- he admits to being a terrible cook, but appreciates good food. That's cool with me. I've resigned myself to not finding another l'Artista.
4) Books -- I didn't ask what he read most recently, but we talked a bunch about Jonathan Kozol. He's read more Kozol books than I have, despite not being in the field of education. Pretty impressive.
5) Siblings -- he's the baby of the family, two older siblings. Seems to have a good relationship with both.

Let's hope he continues to do well.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Restraining myself

My first date with Dreamy is imminent; he is finally back in Boston, and we made plans to get together soon. We've been corresponding for close to a month, and I don't usually decide I'm going to marry someone before I meet them (just sometimes), so there are a lot of expectations.

I wanted our first date to be really fun. Then, I got inspired by this article about things to do in Boston, and I thought, what would be more adventurous and memorable than an afternoon of kayaking on the Charles? We're both starting new jobs on Monday, so we still have a few days free. It would be exciting and interesting, and would show him that I'm a fun person (though my description of puking 9 times into Miami's toilet after her bachelorette may have already demonstrated that, albeit in a different way).

I was ready to send an email proposing the idea, but thankfully, I stopped for a moment and thought very carefully about what it would actually be like, rather than my romantic vision of the two of us happily splashing around. I read the Community Boating website and realized that we'd get kicked off the river if we failed to wear life jackets (NOT flattering or romantic). I thought about my other attire, and realized that not only would I not be able to wear my American Apparel pencil skirt that I habitually wear on first dates, my feet would need to be ensconced in my child-size Keen water shoes rather than my Frye sandals. I'll give you a visual on that:

Keen water shoes -- ack! my pedicure is covered up!

Frye sandals -- ahh, much better.

Finally, I thought about how, when one kayaks, it looks like the lower half of one's body is a gigantic, brightly-colored piece of plastic. Kind of like a centaur, but half-plastic instead of half-horse. All together, it turns out that what I thought was an ingenious idea was in fact extremely foolhardy, possibly even worse than my Duck Tours debacle. Instead, I proposed a visit to a museum, followed by cocktails. It may not be as memorable as a kayak on the Charles, but that could be a good thing.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Beginnings and endings

I'm in New York for a couple of days to celebrate my dear friend Miami Nice's bachelorette party. I couldn't be happier for her or more excited for her wedding in Vermont in a few short weeks. After 12 years together, it is definitely time for them to tie the knot! When I broke up with La Moustache in a series of text messages from a beach in Queens where I was sunbathing with his aunt and uncle last September, I fled immediately to Miami and her fiance's apartment. The three of us sat on their slouchy beige couch that evening and wrote my first online dating profile together. They are amazing friends, and I feel so lucky to have them in my life, even if it's a bit harder these days to drop by for a bowl of ice cream and an hour or two of junky television like I used to do in the past.

Yesterday Miami and I decided to indulge ourselves, and we made appointments at Bumble and bumble for the most expensive haircut I've ever gotten (we do look great, though). As we were leaving the salon, a call came in from another dear friend of mine, Checkered Girl. She was in tears, calling to let me know that she wouldn't be making it to the bachelorette party after all. Her boyfriend of two years who she's living with broke up with her the night before.

This is not the first time it's felt that Checkered Girl and I are living parallel lives, except she's a year behind me. We both had l'Artista-type boyfriends, handsome and sexy and utterly commitment-phobic, that went on for WAY longer than they should have (mine was much nicer than hers, though). We both found inner reserves of strength and moved on. Then we both found boyfriends who seemed ready to take the next step with us. They wooed us, convincing us to be with them by telling us how dedicated they were to making a relationship work long-term. We both moved in with them fairly quickly, after 7 or 8 months. And then they both fell through. It is so sad and painful to watch it happen to a friend of mine, to know exactly what she's going through and not be able to do anything to help.

Her story may have a different ending than mine. In this case, her boyfriend is much nicer than La Moustache. I like him a lot, and I hope he will wake up and realize that he will never, ever find a better girlfriend, and do whatever it takes to get past his issues and work it out.

The bachelorette was great. There were 8 of us, and I ended up sitting next to a tiny girl who probably weights ten pounds less than I do (and I weigh under 100), across from two vegetarians. We ordered the Meat Lover's Meal for 6 at a delicious Korean/Japanese barbeque joint. The plates arrived two by two, one going to the side of the table where 4 hungry meat eaters sat (including one who's pregnant with twins), the other going to me and the tiny girl. Well, guess who ravenously managed to devour half of the beef -- that's right, the two girls who look like they're twelve! The other side of the table still had a number of beef chunks left by the time dinner was over, but our plates were empty except for little bloody pools.

It was a great time, and totally worth the hangover this morning (including the multiple times I had to run to the bathroom to puke -- not sure if it was the beef or the lychee martinis that didn't agree with me). Still, as I was out with Miami and her friends drinking girly drinks and painting the town red, I thought often of how Checkered Girl must be feeling now, and my eyes teared up a bit. At the same time, I feel so, so thankful that I am a year past that feeling myself. I know she'll get past it, too.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


I'm heading to New York City later this week, and am faced with the same dilemma I've been wrestling with for years: whether to go see my Wise Woman or get my nails done on.

My Wise Woman is only available to see me on Thursdays, and late -- when we don't run over our prescribed hour together (which is a rare occurrence) I get out after 8. But Thursday is also the evening that Dashing Diva offers their amazing mani and pedi with unlimited Cosmpolitans deal. That's right, you get as many cosmos as you can fit in while getting your nails done, for free! (Well, free with your ridiculously overpriced mani or pedi.) My record is 2, but if I ever get another opportunity I'd like to try for 3. It really doesn't get any better -- all other manis and pedis pale by comparison. And Dashing Diva closes at 9. I could go get my mani/pedi done early, but it's not really socially acceptable to drink before seeing one's Wise Woman. (Or is it? Maybe I should think more about this possibility.)

Anyway, it's not really that hard of a decision -- of COURSE I always choose my Wise Woman. But I really, really wish I didn't have to choose. A solution to all my woes would be if Dashing Diva would open a Boston store. Or perhaps my Wise Woman could be convinced to move to Boston.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Frittata all'Artista

I made myself an Italian omelette with fried zucchini for lunch the other day, the way l'Artista taught me, for the first time in ages. I was nineteen when he taught me how to make them, and I thought I'd died and gone to heaven when I first tasted it. He'd make a salad dressed with lemon and olive oil to go with it, and he told me to take simultaneous bites of the omelette and greens so that the taste of the lemon and fried zucchinis mingled. It was the first of many culinary (and life) lessons I received from l'Artista, from how to fry an egg to how best to clean your shower (his technique was to do it while showering). He was the most amazing cook I've ever met, and I would give a lot of money to be able to eat one of his meals.

Later, in college, I tasted my friend the Father of Capitalism's French-style omelettes, and fell in love with them. They are cheesy and buttery and runny and gooey, totally different from l'Artista's omelettes. I got F of C to give me omelette lessons, starting in his mother's apartment overlooking Jeanne-Mance Park in Montreal and continuing several years later in the tiny kitchen of my Brooklyn studio, where I had to crane my neck around the doorway of the kitchen to follow his instructions because we couldn't both stand in the kitchen. He taught me to use a wooden spoon to swirl the egg around a bit so it cooks for the absolute minimum time possible, quite different from the Italian strategy of cooking the hell out of the eggs. I've been making F of C's omelettes ever since and still love them, and gradually stopped making l'Artista's.

L'Artista's are pretty damn good too, though, and they popped into my mind today as I was pondering what to do with the copious zucchinis and lettuce from my farm share. I think of them as more lunch or dinner-appropriate, whereas Father of Capitalism's are clearly a breakfast item. L'Artista would start by thinly slicing a zucchini, then sautee it in olive oil. When it was nice and brown, he'd toss in the eggs thinned with a bit of milk and seasoned with salt and pepper. After they got nice and brown on the bottom, he'd flip the omelette and cook it on the other side. Personally, I think you can never go wrong with cheese, so at this point I threw some grated comte, but that is definitely NOT the Italian way. Finally, he'd serve it with a salad composed only of greens and dressed with salt, olive oil, and lemon.

Yummm. Or, to use one of l'Artista's favorite words, squisita.