Hey You: A Soliloquy

30 Apr

I hadn’t been at the bar ten minutes when a brash bag of wind swooped in and hit me with this monologue.  He had patchy blonde facial hair and a rusty jacket that looked like it was straight out of a Dickens novel.  Upon his departure, I remained frozen in time, reduced to a stone statue for the next hundred years until the curse could be reversed.

“Hey you.  What are you thinking about?  Don’t worry… I promise I’m not hitting on you.  I’m just here to look for friends.  But you are too cute to be sitting all by yourself.  Have you ever been in love?  Like, REAL love?  I was once.  But who’s to say what’s real and what is not?  Guess what?  Next week I’m off to a Peruvian jungle to do hallucinogenic drugs and eat nothing but ants in a Shamanistic rite of passage ceremony.  I’ve already done peyote in the New Mexican desert and that worked out really well for me sooooo.  Oh, I’m MUCH more confident now.  I mean, you didn’t know me before, but don’t you think?  By the way, do you like war?  I have a theory that anyone who watches football is actually pro-war.  It is, after all, just glorified battle, isn’t it?  Take the Super Bowl, for example.  We wait all year to cheer as two opposing sides violently crash into each other for a few hours.  If that doesn’t symbolize war, I don’t know what does.  What was your New Years resolution?  Did you follow it?  I don’t believe in resolutions.  That’s a nice handbag you have there.  Pretty basic, though.  I care a lot about fashion… but I don’t go too high end.  What I REALLY love is a good airplane carry-on.  Mine is vintage.  It’s from the 1940s, which is coincidentally the time period I was actually meant to be alive during.  Well, nice talking with you, but I have to be up early.  I have to go check out some dunes in Jamaica Bay tomorrow morning.  You know, Hurricane Sandy and all.”

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A Man Called Goat

23 Apr

I spent the past week in Austin where, as you can imagine, I encountered many colorful cowboys.  I received two marriage proposals while I was there– the first from a one-legged homeless man, and another from a flirtatious two-stepper who proposed marriage to me and then followed my male friend into the men’s room and asked him if his pubic hair was straight or curly.  But perhaps my favorite of all the Texan characters I met while I was here was a 44-year-old metalhead named Goat.

My friend and I happened upon a bar on Sixth Street that was playing softcore torture porn on their big screen TVs.  We were about to close our tab and journey onward when an assortment of aging metalheads blew into the bar like a warm spring breeze.  We looked at each other and agreed that we needed to stick around for a couple more rounds at this point.  Minutes later, a particularly amusing Metallica fan who had been playing the worst game of pool I’ve ever seen came over to me and introduced himself as “Goat.”  I asked him what happened with his game and he replied in a smooth Southern accent “I lost by sinking the eight ball in the wrong hole.  Although I don’t believe in wrong holes.”  Oh my.  Goat was wearing a red bandana tied around a full head of salt and pepper hair that went down to his waist, a full beard, pants that were tight in the butt and loose in the legs, a red shirt, and the essential denim vest covered in various band buttons.

Goat and his sidekick, Freddie, invited us to play pool with them and Freddie was no better at hitting balls with sticks than Goat was.  Each time it was my turn, Goat would tell me which ball to aim for and from which angle to hit it.  I kindly reminded him that he had lost every game up to this point in record time.  While playing, I learned that Goat was in a metal band called Pain Through Fate.  I looked it up on Facebook and found a photo of the band which depicted five forty-year-olds posing under a ceiling fan in someone’s living room.  The band’s description reads “Conveying the insane fucked up hurdles of life through the intensity of Metal.”  After telling him I live in New York, he informed me that he will be playing a solo show there in the next few weeks at some venue where the opening acts include a girl who covers herself in fake blood and a guy who gets naked onstage and eats cat food.

After losing the most embarrassing game in the history of billiards, I noticed that Freddie had suddenly disappeared into thin air.  Goat made little attempt to locate his comrade, but ample attempts to cop a feel.  It was time for me to depart.

The next day, I was telling the story at my friend’s bar and several of her regulars expressed that they were familiar with Goat.  “Well I guess with a name like ‘Goat,’ you’re bound to have a reputation around town” I said.  “That’s nothin!” a man in a giant lonestar flag shirt bellowed at me, “I also know a Hog, a Catfish, a Lunchbox, and a Juicebox.”

Do I HAVE to go back to New York?

Small World

27 Mar

I must confess: I have a favorite pick up line.  Not that I parade around town trying to pick people up all the time, but it’s nice to know I have it in my back pocket in case of emergency.

Imagine you have spied a pleasing prospect sitting near you at your local watering hole.  Casually do a double-take at him and say "You look really familiar, but I can’t place how I know you… is your name Bill?”  Or whatever name pops into your head at the moment.  The worst he can do is say "No sorry, you have the wrong person” and walk away.  But that usually doesn’t happen.  Usually there will be some sort of cute exchange, followed by an exchanging of real names, and the next thing you know you’re exchanging phone numbers.  My success rate with this method has been high and I was very confident in my execution… until one night when I encountered a small error.

On this particular evening, my coworker and I were out at a bar and she was on the prowl.  After several rounds of tequila, she expressed her interest in a tall, Nordic-looking individual a few seats down.  She thought he was cute, but didn’t know how to start a conversation.  I told her to watch and learn.

“Hey!  Is your name Mike?”
“Yeah it is… do I know you?”
“Oh shit.”

I saved face by “figuring out” that he was NOT the same Mike who was a mutual friend of my imaginary boyfriend’s half-sister whom I had met at a party.  Oops, silly me!  Despite my awkwardly spot-on name guessing, it still worked out for my friend because they soon began dancing and eventually pinning each other against the wall in a sensual embrace.  Meanwhile, his nerdy friend had started talking to me and, although he kind of looked like the offspring of Mr. Bean and an extraterrestrial, I felt left out so I danced with him.  Both guys were comedians (who isn’t these days), and they were both very peculiar dancers.  The guy I was with moved like he was attempting a deep gyration atop the highest of crow’s nests on the most blustery day at sea.  But I still let him kiss me before we left as Mike and my friend were exchanging numbers.

A week later, my coworker texted me before work saying that she had to tell me something.  All of the terrible possibilities of what it could be ran through my head.  Was I in trouble for something at work?  Did something bad happen to her?

“Remember that twenty-four year old comedian you made out with last week?” was how I was greeted upon arrival.  "Vaguely.”  She went on to tell me that it turns out he is some sort of comedic sensation on the internet with a substantial fan base… and one of those fans happens to be another one of our coworkers.  Apparently this other coworker divulged to my friend that she had gone to see her favorite comedian do stand up, and they had gotten drinks afterwards then gone back to her place.  She was upset because she hadn’t heard from him in weeks and, to make matters worse, he made a YouTube video about how her cat watched them have sex.  My friend had figured out that it was the same person when the other coworker showed her one of his videos online.

UH OH.

We agreed to pretend that never happened and try harder to steer clear from comedians in the future.  They really are nothing but trouble.

The 1973 Cuddler

7 Nov

When you realize that someone dressed like a cast member from That 70s Show has followed you home from the bar, there are a variety of actions that can be taken.  Speaking from personal experience, my recommendation is as follows:

The second the flame of that candle you just lit reflects off of his groovy belt buckle, illuminating his lava lamp printed shirt tucked a little too far into a ladies bootcut jean– an escape plan must be set into motion.

Excuse yourself for a moment and hastily evaluate whether your acting skills are in tact enough to execute a believable onset of nausea and vomiting.  If not, receive an emergency email that a 6am meeting has been scheduled at work and if you oversleep you will surely be fired… so he really must leave at once!  Do not attempt both, or your credibility may be weakened.  And don’t try to take the easy way out– sitting on the floor in the middle of the room, eating a slice of cold pizza with your eyes closed, hoping he will simply disappear (I’ve tried it, it doesn’t work).

The polite thing to do is to take a raincheck and offer your number to Wavy Gravy on his way out the door.  But do not be alarmed when you wake up the next morning to several text messages expressing his disdain that the two of you didn’t get a chance to “cuddle” because you kicked him out after a hot five minutes of candlelit pizza eating and fake barfing.

Ace of Spades

10 Sep

The other day I was watching a reality TV show about frog-catching at a neighborhood bar.  My friend had abandoned me and my beverage was long gone but I couldn’t unglue my eyes from the duo of old men on the screen hurling accusations of amphibian sabotage at one another.  Suddenly, a bar patron who sounded like a Tickle-Me-Elmo in mid-tickle straddled the barstool next to mine and asked if he could buy me a drink.  I was hesitant– the last guy I’d taken up on that offer at this particular venue had turned out to be a crawfish-obsessed carny.

My new friend’s name was Brant.  I’d never met such a giggly individual and couldn’t decide if I was more confused by what drug he must be on, or why he was wearing sunglasses and a baseball cap inside a bar at night.  He asked what I did for a living and I told him that I work in a store… which prompted an eruption of high-pitched giggles.  When I returned the question, he looked around before responding in a lowered voice “I play poker.”  That’s right– Brant was a part-time poker player, full-time party animal.  I could see a reflection of my facial expression in his dark lenses and quickly altered it to appear more impressed.  I don’t remember anything that was said between “I play poker” and “Let’s go to Atlantic City and get married next Wednesday” because my brain was still stuck trying to process that there is an entire reality series dedicated to frog-catching.  But it was just one of those situations where you agree to go to Atlantic City with someone you just met to get married next Wednesday.  Why not?

Sadly, my schedule that Wednesday ended up being full to the brim, so my fiancé had to go to Atlantic City alone.  He sent me a text saying what a great time he was having but how it would be much more fun if I were there.  How romantic!  Did he even remember what I look like?  Because I didn’t have any clue, thanks in part to his unabomber disguise.  I recall a sort of mushroomy nose and distressing thumbs… but I only remember the thumbs because he sent me a picture of them fanning out five crisp $100 bills.

A few evenings later, he asked if he could use his plentiful winnings to buy me some beers.  I declined his offer because I didn’t want to go out after work, and he texted back “Ok then send me a pic if u in ur PJs.”  ENGAGEMENT OFF.  What a creep.  My disgust quickly dissipated, however, when I realized how hilarious his typo was.  He wanted me to send him a sexy selfie… but only IF I was wearing my PJs– no nudity or underwear, please.  I started to text him back “you first,” but was afraid he would actually follow through.  A vision crossed my mind of Brant cackling into the night sky, wearing sunglasses, a cap, and onesie pajamas– with the rear-end flap unbuttoned to reveal a strategically-placed Ace of Spades.

What had I gotten myself into?  A pending engagement with a professional gambler who wears criminal disguises and has a pajama fetish.  This is precisely why you don’t encourage people in a biker bar.

Planet Lars

4 Sep

I’m going to get the moral of the story out of the way now in case you’re pressed for time.  Here it is, my friends:  Do not get a tattoo on an OKCupid date.  I repeat, DO NOT GET A TATTOO ON AN OKCUPID DATE.

Last November, I met a wealthy Texas oil tycoon named Lars.  Well, actually his parents were wealthy– he was on a monthly allowance, livin’ in the big city in the name of a most noble accolade: a doctorate in philosophy.  I don’t remember much about our first date.  It was at Art Bar, my former go-to blind date spot (when I used to date).  That night, I recall being pleasantly surprised by the fellow before me– he was cute, well-dressed, and insanely smart.  A little on the skinny side, but you can’t have it all.  He had a charming gap between his front teeth, which I saw a lot of… because he talked a mile a minute the entire evening.  When I would attempt to interject, he would freeze for a polite nanosecond, then pick right back up where he had left off, as if restarting his paused cassette tape.  I gleaned that he didn’t take social cues very well.

Acute Asperger’s aside, I was enthralled by this strange specimen of mankind.  His stories were detailed and funny– prior to our first date he had come from a city-wide scavenger hunt for pig-related merchandise with a clan of fellow Texan trust fund babies who, during which, had somehow gotten themselves mixed up in an illicit exchange gone awry between two moving train cars.  Who does that before a first date?  I was further intrigued by him after a little innocent cyber-stalking turned up some eyebrow-raising results.  First, I found a seemingly dormant Facebook page with an all-American relationship picture of him and a cute blonde girl.  It seemed he had also been in the Navy (which fit with the blonde girl)… then in rehab for a spell… then Rose McGowan’s personal assistant in LA– before she publicly and scathingly fired him for putting her in the wrong car at Chateau Marmot (seriously, it’s on YouTube).  He had mentioned in his compatibility questions on OKCupid that he had had a homosexual encounter in the past, and joked to me about a male colleague attempting to touch him in an very un-collegiate manner.  So I was a little on the fence about his sexuality AND his sanity at this point… but fascinated nonetheless.

Lars and I continued to hang out in various dive bars around town and he certainly never lacked in the entertainment department.  Once, he said he had turned down a date with a sexually frustrated foreign exchange student who had suggested they meet for the first time in the bathroom of an all-you-can-eat buffet.  Another time, he showed up to a sports bar in Midtown wearing a tuxedo.  Then there was the time when he recollected a German stripclub he had recently visited where the performer "made an origami house out of a dollar bill, then wrote a postcard to her sister, then shot a banana into the air– all with her… well, you know.”  But my favorite story of all was the one about his stalker.  Apparently, someone who claimed to be a 19-year-old girl had been contacting him on OKCupid for months– bringing up personal information about him, trying to persuade him to email her naked pictures of himself, and sending him packs of his brand of cigarettes anonymously through campus mail.  Every time he attempted to meet this person, something would suddenly come up and she would have already left the bar/concert/etc by the time he arrived.  He thought it might be a lovestruck undergraduate in one of the classes he was TA’ing… I thought it was probably another man who wanted to probe his corduroys.

And then we got tattoos together.  I wish there was some sensational build-up to it, but I think we were simply out at a bar one night and someone suggested we get tattooed.  They don’t match– his is an anchor and mine is a flower– but it certainly was a bonding experience at the time.  Afterwards, we sat huddled together in a nearby pub, comparing our bandages and sharing all of our secrets.  A week or so later, he asked me to go out with him for Valentine’s Day… but I unfortunately blew him off to hang out with a much less entertaining Texan.  And then Lars seemed to disappear into thin air.  I recently checked in on him to make sure he was still with us on this Earth and he wrote back to say he was sorry that we’d lost touch, but that he’d been traveling the globe and didn’t have any time in his schedule right now.  Well.

Although much less exciting, my world has most definitely been a better place since I quit OKCupid.  This radical change in lifestyle has enabled me to start facing my troubles (like where I’m going to come up with two grand to get this damn tattoo removed) and my insecurities, rather than hiding them in a daze of wine and fleeting male affections.  I must say, however, that Lars was one of the most special snowflakes I met on OKCupid, and hopefully our friendship will find its way once again.

Perhaps over a nice cup of coffee rather than permanent ink this time.

Suitors of the Week 11

4 Jul

I haven’t posted a Suitors of the Week in awhile and I had a few gems left over from my last few weeks on OKCupid.  It’s true, I deleted my account… this time I think for good.  It was a fun year and half– I met a couple good friends, lots of people who made me laugh (usually unintentionally), and officially not one person I could actually see myself dating.  But thanks for the memories, OKCupid.  Here are some excerpts from my favorite final moments on the website:

Favorite Movies:  “Anything with a good twist at the end like Last of the Mohicans.”

What I’m Doing With My Life:  “I sell ovals.”

I’m Really Good At:  “Counting a lot of ants at one time.”

“Hey, Cute pics!  Crazy question maybe…are you into any kinky stuff? Having your feet worshiped perhaps??”

“Will u be my valintine?”  – A man named Eybal

“My duck breast from last night was a huge success and I even have a small bowl of rendered duck fat left over in my fridge!  What to do, what to do?” – 40 year old bald man whom I gave my number to and then he proceeded to text me about duck breasts for two days.

“What is it going to take for me to get you to go on another date with me?”  – The Law Blob.  We went out twice and struggled both times to have a lively conversation.  He was late, made zero eye contact, rarely smiled, and left after two drinks.  I wrote it off, assuming he was disinterested, but continued to receive texts from him about how I am “purty” and he wants to see me again.  I eventually admitted to him that I didn’t feel like we had anything in common and wasn’t interested in going out again… and then received the above text message two weeks later.

“Instead of naming an exact time to meet, why don’t you just go to the bar after work and maybe I’ll meet you if I end up being down there after dinner.”  – Tim the Buddhist.  He did end up materializing at the bar and texting me to ask where I was– which was back in Brooklyn because I wasn’t about to sit around a bar alone, waiting for a flaky Buddhist to decide to show up.

The Five-Minute Date

13 Jun

I’ve been feeling the whole independent thing lately and have thus been terribly negligent with my OKCupid account.  However, that does not mean that my fellow New Yorkers have abstained from awkward blind dates in my absence.  Everywhere I go, it seems there is a couple trying each other on for size in my close proximity.  In fact, just the other day I witnessed what could be entered into The Guinness Book of World Records for the quickest blind date ever.

I stopped into a Manhattan record store to see if they had the Pat Travers album on which he is legless and levitating in front of a fiery sunset.  While I was thumbing through the T’s… (lots of good T’s)… a seemingly mismatched couple entered the scene.  He was tall, dark, and reserved.  She was loud as can be, and moving at a pace that was about ten notches too rapid for the size of the room.  As they went from row to row, I gathered that they had just met for a blind date.  He looked extremely uncomfortable and she was doing her best “schtick”– touching every record, saying things in funny voices, and zooming around like a parrot on PCP.  I stood frozen in dismay, my fingers stopped between Tom Petty and T Rex, as I watched this girl who seemed to be in five places at once.  The guy she was on a date with looked first to me, then to the befuddled sales clerk for help, before attempting to herd her towards the door.

“I think I’m going to pass on the bar,” the guy said in a lowered voice, “this isn’t going to work.”
“Why?  What do you mean?” She replied, out of breath from her shenanigans.
“Well, I’m really not interested in a date with someone who is going to act like William Shatner all night.”

I felt as if I had been cast in a sitcom and a live studio audience was about to make a collective “Awww!” sound as the two of them walked out the door and went their separate ways.  But alas, I guess it was not meant to be for ReadrsDigest83 and IHeartImprov69.

What’s in the Bowl?

24 May

People often ask me “Do you go out with weird guys on purpose just so you can write about them?”  Most of the time, no.  Of course I knew what I was getting myself into with The Mime and The Hasid… but usually when I go on dates, I genuinely hope things go well.  Although, sometimes the men who seem the most appealing in their profile end up being the strangest in person.  Like “Ed,” a gentleman I went on a date with a couple weeks ago.

Ed was attractive, mature, and laid back.  He ran a cafe in Brooklyn specializing in local organics.  He biked everywhere.  He had a dog, swoopy hair, glasses, and tattoos.  We met at a bar in Fort Greene for drinks after work one evening and, although he was quiet, we had a nice conversation.  One beer turned into two, then three, and suddenly his speech began to slur.  I was a little confused because I had matched him beer-for-beer and was barely tipsy… but maybe he was a lightweight.  After our beers were finished, we discovered that we lived by each other and were walking the same route home.  "Lemme buy you one more drink at Black Swan” Ed proposed with a tipsy grin.  That bar is only a block and a half from my apartment– what harm could it do?

Ed bought me a glass of wine and procured a giant beer for himself.  I pretended not to notice when he stumbled a bit during the journey back to the stools where we were sitting.  His slurring increased as the conversation turned from typical to downright strange.  He brought up a DUI he had received a few years ago for falling asleep with his engine running, then switched topics to a family member who had lost a leg in Afghanistan.  Ed went into great detail about how, if this individual wants to utilize a certain male reproductive organ, he has to give himself a shot where the sun don’t shine.  I asked how he knew so much about this procedure and he responded that he had watched him do it.  EEK.

Apparently all of this elegant first-date discourse had worked up his appetite because he announced that he was going to order some food.  Black Swan has a dish called “Camden, 7am” (supposedly John Lennon’s favorite) which is a big bowl of french fries topped with baked beans and a fried egg.  By the time his food arrived he was having trouble maintaining his balance atop his barstool and kept steadying himself with his hands on either side of the table.  He offered me some fries, which I accepted, stabbing a couple with a fork.  The second my fork vacated the area, he went to town on his meal like nothing I’ve ever seen before in my life.  He positioned his face two inches over the bowl and shoveled fries, beans, and egg in like a ravenous beast, sucking it all up like a cartoon character devouring a bowl of hot spaghetti.  Fries, forks, knives, and napkins all plummeted to the floor as he demolished his dinner.  I tried to look away.  But I couldn’t.  Halfway through his race to the finish line with his Camden 7am, he lost his precarious balance on that pesky barstool and, I shit you not, fell face-first into the bowl.  He looked up, blinked, and wiped the beans and yolk off his face as I dug my fingernails into my arm to keep from laughing.  I could feel all surrounding eyes and open mouths aimed in our direction.

“Oh, they didn’t want me to” he responded to a question that had not, to my knowledge, been asked.  "Sorry guys,” he continued as he scooped some beans.  "Who are you talking to… the beans?” I asked him, my concern for his mental health growing.  "No, I’m sorry, I was talking to these guys ABOUT the beans.”  WHAT GUYS?  I sat quietly while Ed continued talking to himself (or his invisible friend as the case may be) in sentences that made absolutely no sense.  "It came off the ledge!” he exclaimed to no one in particular as I asked for the check.  That’s for damn sure, I thought to myself.  He signed the bill with a illegible squiggle and we walked outside, where Ed managed to get out “I’mmmgonna walk you home now mmmmk?”  I told him that would not be necessary and if anyone needed assistance getting home it was probably him. But he had made up what was left of his mind, so he staggered alongside me for a block and a half.  "Bye!  Thanks for a lovely evening!” I blurted out as I raced up the steps and shut the door behind me.  Once safely inside, I watched from my window to make sure he was walking on the sidewalk and not in the middle of the street.  An hour or so later, as I was starting to fall asleep, I received a text from Ed that read “Are you still at the bar?”  I guess he had forgotten the romantic walk we had shared after the bar, but I figured it was easiest not to confuse him further.  I haven’t heard from him since.

Who would’ve thought I’d start the night with a quiet, normal-seeming guy with a cool job, and end it with him talking to himself, putting his face in a bowl of beans and losing his damn mind?  You just never know what you’re going to get… hence one of the reasons for my blog title.  This time a crazy person was in the box.

Cool Your Jets!

14 May

A friend of mine recently dated a man who makes a substantial living teaching men how to be pick-up artists.  Apparently he receives over three grand per disciple–  to occupy various bars around Manhattan and coach these men on how to get women to go home with them.  After discovering his profession, things were short-lived between my friend and this cunning philanthropist.  But it got me thinking.  How is this corny lad making several thousand dollars every night by teaching men how to lure women with their charisma and to read our cryptic signs?  I could do that!

Here, my first lesson is free.  Last night I was out on a date when I received a text message from “Rick,” a guy I have known a year or two through a mutual friend.  We had recently run into each other on OKCupid and he texted me about how funny that was, blah blah blah.  I had also seen Rick a few nights ago at my friend’s birthday party.  He barely acknowledged me and was there with a new girlfriend whom I assume he acquired from everyone’s favorite dating website.  Now, back to last night.  I was finishing up a gourmet beef frank with my date when I received this text message from Rick:

Rick:  Is it weird if I told you I thought you looked amazing on Friday night?

Me:  Well thank you!  But you barely even spoke to me.

Rick:  Meet me.

Me:  What happened to your girlfriend?

Rick:  She dumped me :-;

Rick:  Do we have a Chance of loving eAch other?

Me:  You are wasted.

Rick:  Not wasted.  Meet me for a drink?

Rick:  Dont be weird…

Rick:  :/(?/?//?

It doesn’t take a stack of tarot cards and a crystal ball to figure out what was going on here.  Rick wasn’t even attempting to conceal his desperation– and even his slickest move of all, when he complimented me, was transparent.  Wooing a lady takes patience and finesse.  You can’t expect me to leap into your bedchambers the minute things go south with your girlfriend of the week.  Especially after that odd part about loving each other, which only reveals the fact that he was flailing about the city in a boozy frenzy, flinging careless capital Cs and As in his wake.

In my professional opinion, Rick needs to cool his jets.