History Class

the Unusual

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To Be, or Not To Be [In Love]

What a question!

Oh buddy, am I in trouble.

It has now been six months since I last wrote [refresher: Luck of the Irish]– eep! Yes, I’m still alive, kicking ass, and taking names [i.e. job applications]. Sorry about that. I could blame work, friends, job hunting, or Martian invasions, but we all know the reason: a boy. [Man?] Isn’t that always the reason! But I had half-finished this article, and it stays true. So let’s jump back to the end of the summer, and roughly two months into our relationship.

Two months: my most common expiration date. I’ve only ever dated someone for longer once before, my only titled ‘boyfriend’. But just that week, my Mick was goofing with my hand, gave me a look, and told me my claddagh was facing the wrong way.

thCA848KEZSide note: the claddagh, commonly called the Irish Love ring, is our symbol for true love. I prefer not to call it the Wedding ring, because my grandma told me all good Irish girls wear one; I have since age 16. It is fashioned of a pure heart clasped in the hands of friendship and crowned with loyalty. There are four ways to wear the ring, each with its own meaning. On your right hand, the heart facing out [so others can see the shape properly] tells others you are unattached; facing in means your heart is taken in a committed relationship. The left hand out says engaged, and in is married. Only supposed to be worn on the ring finger. [Duh.] The choice of metal and stone used mean anything from sterling strength, heart of gold, or diamond in the rough. Personally, I go for silver with a heart of green. The color of passion, strength, and Ireland. A perfect claddagh.

Which is now turned in. I’d said it only turns for monogamous relationships, and I’m clearly dating a dozen other guys. Right? [Circle: false.] I later turned it in, quietly beaming. Last night, he noticed again, “It looks like a much better fit this way.”

So that’s that. A subtle answer from a simple man.

Only actually accomplished.  Not fake-accomplished.

Only actually accomplished.
Not fake-accomplished.

When I say ‘simple’, it is meant as the most genuine admiration possible. It is difficult to finish this description of Mick from that earlier perspective, with six months more experience now. But I’ll tell you, I was absolutely starred. He is the kind of strong, good person you don’t meet often. He is a five-year Army veteran of both wars, medically discharged and half-homesick for his military life. We initially met only six months after he got out, he was still adjusting to civilian life when he started working at my Bar. He deserves a medal for being the first coworker I’ve dated; should I have said for ‘War Hero’? Well, the valiant effort succeeded. Mission Accomplished.

The effort was mine. True to form, I do believe I seduced him. He was new, an unusual novelty. Tall, broad, attractive in that solid Irish way. A real man. Maybe a bit withdrawn, a little quiet. I don’t hear it often anymore, but when he did speak up, it was with a slight lisp. Being me, I’d call him out in the kitchen for his silence. Finally, he joked that he was quiet to start, but won’t shut up once he gets going. Nearly a year later, I can vouch for that.

I was a goner from the start.

I was a goner from the start.

So I always had this running Hangman game with the sous chef during slow times at the Bar. It helped keep me from sticking my hand in boiling oil out of boredom. Trying to be inclusive, I pulled Mick into the game, only to find out he is seriously dyslexic. I haven’t figured out if the lisp is from the dyslexia, his severe war injuries, or a combination of all three. All I know is that from a cute, withdrawn veteran… it was rather endearing. So I’d invite him out with the Teambuilders to find trouble. Sometimes it worked; it was hard for him, living out in the boonies without a car. Then one night, I offered the couch instead of his trek home.

I have never been so caught up in a whirlwind. Though we kept it professional at work, all I wanted to do was grab him. After a month, everyone knew. After two, we were exclusive. He called me his best friend, the best thing to hear from your boyfriend. After three, we met the families. A bit early for the judgment, but still another first for me. The first night I met one of his best friends, he told me he had never seen Mick like this. The teasing over him loving me was received with mixed emotions, and made me blush to my Irish roots. After that, we essentially lived together. He bought me a new claddagh for Christmas.

Word-for-word what I wrote six months ago:

“So in the weirdest progression possible, I’m pretty sure I’m falling in love with him. Which is terrifying. I’ve never said that about anyone before. And definitely haven’t said it to anyone. He’s so uninhibited and honest, it makes me shy sometimes. But I’m working on the nerve to say it first. I think. Oh, lordy.”

Though it was rough, I did say it first. And it scared him. A little [lot] tipsy [drunk], it sort of slipped out. He said to not say that word; everything goes to shit after it happens. I was in shock; it was jumping off a cliff and not knowing if I’d be caught when the fall ended. I had never said ‘I love you’ to anyone before. I told him so. It was important for me to say it, even if he couldn’t. I only speak what I mean, so I couldn’t fault him for not saying something he didn’t feel.

The first time he did, a week later, drunk and still scared, I almost cried.

So here I am, ten months later, and I love him. In the immortal words of one of my favorite artists, in my absolute favorite song…. he’s got a hold on me.

)

An Epic Tale: Brunch with the Yuppie Gang

url“Your’re drunk,” said Amused Jules, to the four guys at the table next to us.

“Yea, and after brunch, we’re going to get group tattoos of our crew’s name!” Hipster Flirt responded.

“What the hell is a ‘crew’? Is that the yuppie version of a gang?” Confused Jules asks.

True story. Sunday afternoon, my girlfriend Adina and I went for brunch at The Red Derby. Hands-down one of my favorite dives in general; they also sport one of the best brunches around. We’re talking $2 Bloody Marys, mimosas, and Screw Drivers. I chose the latter; Adina had mimosas. These boys were several buckets of bubbly in, and clearly still drunk from the night before.

One of the things I love most about brunch up in our neighborhood bars is how eventful they can be. This past weekend, I either was either bartender or customer for brunch– and both days saw some crazy things.

Saturday morning, I was bartending brunch at My Bar. For those of you unaware of the epic proportions of awesomeness this entails, I highly recommend figuring out where I work and hopping over. We have bottomless mimosas and a full Bloody Mary bar. We have multiple Benedict options, and one of the best chicken and waffles around. Plus, you get to bask in my hangover-curing presence. Can’t get much better than that. It’s priceless, and served with love.

The Three Musketeers, after I'm done with them. Job well done.

The Three Musketeers, after I’m done with them.
Job well done.

And that’s what my new favorite regulars believe, too. The Three Musketeers have been in a few times, but none more memorable than last weekend. Each a cool 20-30-something woman, the three of them together create a damn funny trio. They stumbled in around 2pm, stated they would likely be drinking their calories, and ordered bottomless mimosas in every flavor. Overhearing and joining conversations about everything from family politics and religion to sexuality and male alter-egos, they definitely made my day. [The pint-sized Birthday Girl described how she has an inner frat boy alter-ego, despite clearly not knowing what a frat boy looks and acts like. We eventually settled on a name, and Preston was born.] They stayed until 5, when Preston’s mom called asking when she would be arriving for her birthday dinner; well-intoxicated, she had to leave to sober up before facing her Mormon family. I believe I have a total girl crush on the lot of them, and look forward to our next brunch date. Also, on top of a healthy pile of bills, they tipped me with a huge heart-shaped pink cookie. It was DELICIOUS.

Sunday dawned a glorious morning in Petworth.

It started with me getting off on the mildly tipsy side of the bed, after a long, late Saturday night. I was awoken by a loud text noise from Adina, “BRUNCH TIME. WAKE UP, I’M HUNGRY AND THIRSTY.” Who could say no to that? Especially since I live a very few blocks from the Derby. So I pulled on some clothes and stumbled over to wait for her with a book and a quickly served, very stiff Screw Driver. [Seriously– I’m talking yellow-colored vodka. I’m in love with the Derby bartender for oh-so-many reasons…] By the time she arrived, I was emotionally attached to the idea of Derby’s morning burger, served with all the fixin’s and a fried egg, tots on the side.

By the time we had finished most of our food and were nearing double-digit drinks, the table next to use was reseated. Four guys and a bucket of mimosas plopped down, and quickly grew rowdy. I’m talking “asking for the last of our tots and feeding them suggestively to each other” crazy. It was damn funny. One guy’s opening line was to tell me he loved my curls [we’ll call him Curly], because they looked like they had a crazy night last night and were all disheveled now. [Which is exactly what they were; aptly described, sir.] Another simply exclaimed that Adina was the cutest girl he’d ever seen. He is the aforementioned Flirty Hipster. The tattoos were his idea.

Speaking of: after they’d eaten, we started to overhear talk of tattoo shops in the area. Curly leaned forward and asked if I had any. When I said no, I’ve played with ideas, but haven’t taken the plunge, Flirty Hipster had something to say. “What? No. You totally look like the kind of girl who would have tattoos.”

Okaaaay…. I don’t know what that means, but thanks? I’ll take it as a compliment. I love ink.

frankThe interactions became more outrageous and more frequent. The Hipster decided Adina was the love [lust?] of his life, and Curly thought the same of me. We switched to beer. A round of shots were ordered. The four rearranged so the two were sitting next to their supposed soul mates. I had no problem with it; I wasn’t interested in any of them, but they were amusing as hell. Adina was laughing along and enjoying the attention, but quickly growing uneasy. Because she has a long-dedicated boyfriend. And the Hipster didn’t like the sound of that. He said it was okay, because he had a girlfriend, too. Then two seconds later, moved on to suggesting a double-date with Curly and I after they got their tattoos. Adina went to the bathroom, and the other friends had had enough of the tattoo talk. So our exponentially-drunk Hipster decided, “Either I’m going home with that girl, or we’re getting fucking tattoos.”

I think beer went up my nose then. So I smiled at the others and told them to get drunker, to help with pain tolerance; the tattoos were definitely happening. Because it wouldn’t be with my girl. Hipster didn’t like that idea either, so he bet me $50 he’d sleep with her by the end of the night, and I wasn’t allowed to cock-block. We shook on it, and she came back from the bathroom. In the long-drawn-out farewells, Hipster wanted a goodbye kiss. Adina declined. He wasn’t having it. So he climbed on to her lap, straddled her, and held her head to his chest. Repeating vows of love for her, he kept asking for one kiss to keep him going. The entire bar watched. It was surreal. Lap dances, at brunch. Who knew?

Naturally, I couldn’t stop laughing and was no help at all. He never got his kiss, though I think several were awkwardly showered on her cheeks. The boys eventually left, after insistently obtaining our phone numbers and “promises” to meet up later that night [clearly not going to happen, even if I didn’t already have Downton Abbey plans]. We each received texts, ranging from persuasive to downright dirty, for the rest of the night. And when I told her about the bet, she lost it laughing. “We’re going halvsies on that, right?”

So, dear greater DC area: tell Don I’m looking for him. He owes me $50, and his friend Ken visiting from Connecticut witnessed that I have every right to mug him next time our paths cross. And maybe, next time he’s drunk at 11a.m., he won’t make outrageous brunch bets with savvy girls out to shark him.

Late– for a Very Important Date!

Hint: never leave a girl waiting at the bar.

Hint: never leave a girl waiting at the bar.

Or at least it could have been.

Waiting for a date at Jack Rose, I learned more about Notre Dame basketball than I care to remember (my F’in Irish friends would be so proud). By the time he arrived, I had already turned one attractive guy down and had been chatted up by the charismatic bartender for a solid fifteen minutes.

Here’s the thing about being late: it’s not just what it says about your priorities on meeting me. It’s not just my time you waste. It’s about the interest you lose to the hotter, more ambitious men at the bar who are not only approaching me– they’re present. Too bad this kid struck out before he even arrived.

I swear, I gave him a chance. He was as tall as advertised. Definitely as smart. But just not as cute, and his lack of punctuality cost him. Time is money, no? This is why, when I give advice to guy friends, I tell them to get there early. That way, they don’t leave opportunity for this to occur. And bonus: they have time to down a Scotch to calm any nerves. [Or just to enjoy in solitude.] Honestly, that’s why I don’t mind arriving first. Just sucks for the guy when the unfortunate happens…

He shoots! He misses...

He shoots! He misses…

The dating collateral lost by running late creates a sub- or fully-conscious predisposition to judge any further dealings with you at that level. Before you even take your seat, I’ve seen cute guys. I’ve been hit on by cute guys. And now, I expect you to match or improve on my night so far. No matter how cute some of you are, these memories will remain. If, at the beginning, I think, “this bartender is hot”– at the end, I will still think, “this bartender is hot”. With the addition of “and my date is not”.

Sorry, but the truth’s a bitch. If he had shown up on time, I wouldn’t have had attractive experiences to get me all charged up for disappointment. I still wouldn’t have been attracted enough for a second date either way [probably not]. But it might’ve been a more successful date [maybe]. He at least might have had the chance to ask to meet up again [unlikely]. Instead, we had interesting conversation while I internally had to block myself from scoping out the bartender too often.

The night would've gone so differently if the bartender had been wearing that awful turtleneck...

The night would’ve gone so differently if the bartender had been wearing that awful turtleneck…

So while you’re banging you head against the metro door, cursing yourself for running late [or just not giving a shit, because you’re an asshole], just remember this: all those thoughts of the girl you’re meeting being stolen by some charming stranger at the bar? It isn’t paranoia. It’s actually happening.

Because while my date was struggling with the Red Line, I had a bourbon bought by the bartender who then introduced himself, asked again where I mentioned I work, and talked about returning the favor by coming to visit my bar sometime.

Guess who had my number in their pocket by the end of the night.

Confessions of a Raging Biblioholic

“If you go home with somebody and they don’t have any books, don’t fuck ’em!”

-John Waters

Learn it, love it, live it. You hear me, readers? I know you agree with me, because your idea of procrastination is to read this blog, and not more inane pop-culture, like watching President Obama singing ‘Call Me Maybe’ on YouTube for what is probably the 36th time (don’t lie, you know you’ve watched it).

The esteemed and ever-wise Mr. Waters also said, “Being rich is not about how much money you have, or how many homes you own; it’s the freedom to buy any book you want without looking at the price and wondering if you can afford it.” With that wisdom in mind, I can tell you right now, I’m tired of being broke. I can’t really afford proper groceries most weeks, let alone something as luxurious as a new book with that delicious, musty smell. But thank Seuss, the internet goes above and beyond altruistic leanings by granting me the intellectual riches of potentially illegal e-books [via onread.com].

I’m Grace O’Malley, and “X” marks a mountain of leaked manuscripts

A part of me feels a bit rotten over reading online for free, manifested via the angel on my left side scolding that I’m stealing away countless authors’ just desserts. [When I’m finally published, I damn well better get my royalties, since I bank on them paying off the debt I’m currently accruing while writing in the first place.] But then the sneaky literature ninja on my other shoulder pipes up about the potential hell of not having anything to read if I stop. The debate promptly fizzles out. All parties console themselves with digging up something new to read, and dig our collective moral grave a few books deeper. It doesn’t weigh too heavy when the voices all “ARRR” like the literature pirates they are, and continue consuming volumes like barrels of written rum at an alarming rate. Does that make me a raging biblioholic, rather your general library-variety bibliophile? Discuss.

Anyway, I tend to embody Waters’ attitude quite thoroughly. I understand that not everyone likes to read, and certainly not all the same genres. But I’m an equal-opportunity biblioholic, as well as dater, so I should have something in common to discuss with most random strangers on the street.

This makes the warm-fuzzies in my tummy explode like a well-shaken bottle of champagne.

Case in point: I was waiting for the bus two months ago, and one of the older men that hang around Columbia Heights came over to wait near me. After discussing my ancestral background, because he and his buddies had a running debate every time they saw me and evidently liked how pale my skin is compared to their varied shades of brown [they had narrowed it down to Ireland, Scotland, and, oddly, Ukraine], he got really excited. Apparently his bet had correctly been on Ireland, and he asked, “So, do you like to read? Since you’re Irish, you must like James Joyce! He is one of my favorites.”

I have to admit now that I recognized the gentleman from outside the health clinic on 14th, and in his ratty clothes and a seeming lack of income, I figured he was unemployed and/or homeless. And asked me if I like James Joyce. What?? After an astonishing discussion of how much more he liked Dubliners than Ulysses, my bus came to take me away. I told him that I usually keep a book on me, so he should come up next time he sees me go by and I’ll lend whatever I have to him. I would gladly play the mobile library for someone like him. I haven’t seen him since, but it’s still one of my favorite DC stories.

So I take literature as a pretty serious part of my identity. Ever since I was a wee munchkin and exhausted my elementary school library’s collection on mythology and practically everything else, I’ve been titled the family bookworm. Doesn’t matter that my two sisters read nearly-if-as-much. My aunts and uncles know they can still fall back on an Amazon gift card, and I’ll be a happy camper. My idea of an ideal afternoon date would be going to a bookstore. Seriously. One of my To-Do List Dates is to spend a few hours in Second Story Books in Dupont and salivate over all the rare tomes I could never afford. [A girl’s gotta dream, right?]

And here in DC? Everyone is well-read. I’m in heaven. It’s gotten to the point where stating that you love Douglas Adams, Robert Caro, and Gabriel Garcia Marques is just redundant. You’re in Washington: of course you’ve read Life of Pi. So, being the absurdly ambitious Washingtonians most of us are, it becomes a competition. “Well, if you like him, then you’ve gotta love *name drop stupidly obscure title here*… Oh, you don’t know that one? Yea, it’s twelve times better, I swear. I’ll bet you an *equally uncommon beer* on it.”

I would’ve gotten laid a lot more in college if you’d been allowed to dress like that in the library.

It’s all a factor of DC’s special brand of geek chic. And while the Preening Peacock Syndrome (PPS) typically pissed me off, it manages to make the cut when exercised in reference to literary endeavors. Want to talk about the brilliance of Dante’s Inferno? It’s going to be done over martinis, because we’re going out. You had to prioritize books over clothes on your cross-country move to DC and decided wardrobe replacements would be cheaper? Better cancel any plans for the night, we’re going to be here awhile. The best proof of this is in my current dating interest.

The Classicist is one well-read guy, and it’s totally suckered me. On our first date, we ended up in a discussion on how the mistranslations of the Bible have fucked up the world. The chemistry was explosive. Date two consisted of trading our favorite poets and how we want to read them in their original language. It was even better than date one. We’ve been seeing each other for about a month now, and our version of pillow-talk is arguing over the proper usage of transliteration and how much we adore Michael Moore’s Lamb. He leant me a Tom Robbins, and I’ve been laughing like I’m crazy on the bus for the past week. He gets it when I make some dork reference to Dune in casual conversation, and makes me light up with his plans to recreate classics for the modern-day.

Bottom line: he fascinates me. And that ain’t easy, folks. We all know about my RADD lifestyle, and how most love interests have a rapidly approaching expiration date. But this one– my Classicist– he’s an intriguing individual, and potentially my intellectual counterpart. We’ve a solid shared foundation, and complement each other elsewhere. I know Socrates and Plato, but his Master’s-level knowledge of the Greeks offers whole new avenues of thought. He understands the Middle East and developing world as much as any average Washingtonian, but still has questions to ask me. We never run out of something to talk about. My Classicist and I trade book titles like baseball cards, and are still mutually captivated. It’s fantastic; there’s still so much to share. We’re open books, but are enjoying the process of taking our time to read each chapter thoroughly.

And his bedroom is chock-full of books, so you know what that means.

Shit Charming Guys Say

I’ll admit, the “shit people say” trend is cracking me up. I’ve ignored most of them, but a few snuck by and stole a few giggles. What I’d love to see one for, though? Pick-up lines. They’ve been on my mind lately.

Who am I kidding? That’s always on my mind. I’m what you’d call a pick-up line connoisseur. I blame Night at the Roxbury; those SNL goobers instilled a love of the ridiculous in me at a very young age, and I’ve never recovered.

For me, the more absurd the line, the better is works. My theory is that a guy with the guts to walk up to a girl he thinks is pretty and knowingly make a fool out of himself deserves at least a drink. (Note: key word being ‘knowingly’; guys that pull those lines thinking they’re smooth are just gross. It’s a fine line to walk, so please know you can pull it off before opening your mouth.)

Last Saturday, my group was out in Dupont Circle. We like to start the night at a sushi-place-turned-nightclub because some friends work there and great cocktails should be enjoyed while still sober. We ended up befriending two men that had been at the end of the bar and looking our way awhile. The attractive Lebanese one seems to take to one of my friends pretty well, and joined us for our night of club-hopping. [This eventually led, once the other guys went home, to me spending the later part of the night with two couples.]

At one point, though, the new guy told me that I looked like ‘someone he used to know’. I could tell by his look that he was genuinely being appreciative, but I still replied with a raised eyebrow and “I’m not really sure how to take that. Who?”

“Don’t worry about it. But it’s a good thing.”

Look, guys, if a girl looks like an ex- and you want to compliment her appearance, just tell her she looks pretty and leave it at that. Don’t try to be clever– because ‘someone I used to know’ makes me feel like I look like I’m your high school girlfriend. No woman wants to be a walking reminder of teenagehood– it was all pimples, hormones, and angsty confusion. At least I don’t; but maybe because it’s still in my semi-recent past? Weigh in on this, ladies.

A friend at work says that his approach is simple: if he’s out and thinks a woman is beautiful, he walks right up to say hello and ask if he can buy her a drink. (Full disclosure: working at a Middle Eastern restaurant means that my ‘friends from work’ are foreign, charismatic, and possessing those great accents that trip over the English language in an adorable way. This man is no exception.)

I’ll also say that if this man walked up to me at a bar and asked to buy me a drink like that, I’d find myself in a deep conversation about the beauties of Morocco before I could blink twice. He’s confident, naturally charming, and very comfortable in his own skin. Chalk it up to age, but he’s grown out of the younger-man’s conviction that having game involves complex approaches. You don’t need battle tactics, boys, we aren’t a football game. It’s tennis: volley an opening our way and wait for a response. Simplicity! And this is the advice of an anything-but-simple girl.

Don’t get me wrong, ingenuity has its rewards, too. If you have a unique way to make contact, then go for it. After migrating to our favorite DJ-established vinyl-and-bands lounge and then spending enough time with the two couples, I grew tired of 5th wheeling it and went to the dance floor to listen to the jazz band.

I could tell that a guy nearby was looking, but wanted to see what he’d do. What can I say? I’m a curious girl. To his credit, it wasn’t a long wait. A guy in front of us was blatantly taking up too much room, flailing about like an idiot, and kept knocking into me. I was happy enough listening to a great band, so it was more amusing than anything. In this guy’s favor, it made me back up several times, and the last one that almost knocked my Manhattan from my hand was the last straw. Cute boy went from a smile to busting out laughing and leaned closer to my ear to suggest I fight back.

Threaten my whiskey at your own risk, buddy.

Sure, such romantic comedy opportunities are rare enough outside of Hollywood, but it’s extra-special when a guy is clever enough to take advantage of it. We went on to have a great conversation over jazz, music, and eventually the fact that he claimed to know how to dance. Naturally, I asked him to prove it. I was far from disappointed.

So sure, sometimes things that would otherwise seem trite actually do work– if you can back them up. And the absurd might pan out, if you’ve the humor to play to the right audience. But the best way to go really is the easiest.

Because in the end, the most charming guys aren’t the ones with the most interesting pick-up lines, which take a deal of contrived forethought and are likely recycled. No, you want to know the shit charming guys say?

They say, “Hello.”

Big D and the Kids Table got it right in their stroll song, A Kiss A Week:

Look, but Don’t Touch

It’s a simple guideline to follow, fellas. When you’re out at a club or local watering hole, you can appreciate a lady’s appearance without invading her personal space. It’s cute that toddlers have to touch anything they can get their hands on, but at our age, it’s more like grounds for harassment.

Take this past Friday, for example. A girlfriend and I had a singles’ night out in the Adams Morgan neighborhood (you will soon understand why this is an ‘oh, lordy’ detail), and experienced a variety of pick-ups. Most were at least amusing, an attractive handful entirely encouraged… but there are always those few that cross a line.

There are the guys on the dancefloor that walk right up behind and grind against you, like it’s perfectly acceptable behavior. I’m pretty sure that even monkeys like to know who is forcibly assaulting them, and violent rejection is A-okay in the primate kingdom. Turn on Animal Planet– you’ll quickly see a female chimpanzee knock an unwanted suitor out of a tree. At the clubs, I particularly like it when they look put out, or even offended, when I turn around and tell them to keep it moving if they want to stay intact.

Apparently, the simple act of going out in public on a weekend sets up a neon sign over your head that screams “Anything goes!” There are also the slightly less bold/felonious types that think it’s a great idea to run their hands down your arm or the small of your back to get your attention, as if we love it when strangers stroke our bodies. Of course it is, that’s why we were all raised to be prostitutes.

Oh wait, my mother taught me to NOT sell my body when I grow up? That’s RIGHT… So don’t touch me.

Don’t get me wrong, I have a pretty high threshold for bullshit-tolerance. I know I’m in a nightclub, and I know alcohol is flowing like the Potomac, but give me a break. I have no problem with pick-up lines. [They’re actually welcome, because I think they’re absolutely hysterical. If you can make me laugh with just one sentence, I’ll probably be up for having a drink.] I can even handle questionable flattery most of the time, like a complete stranger telling me I have a great ass/rack/whatever floats your boat. It’s just the touching without even putting in the effort to try and woo that bothers me. If it helps to have something to relate me to, think of me like the Smithsonian– look, but don’t touch. Because if you DO try to touch, you’ll be tackled by a security guard. And it will probably hurt.

Among the myriad of come-ons we experienced Friday, there was one that stands out. I split from my friend while she was dancing to go get a new drink. The dancefloor bar at this club is a more confined spot, and as I walked up the stairs, I noticed I’d be the only female in the area. Oh, lordy. While waiting for the bartender to finish pulling a pint, a guy next to me leans over a little and tells me pretty loudly that I’m the finest girl he’s seen all night.

Great line, buddy.

He and his friend are both pretty good-looking, even if he seems a bit older. Yes, I’ll specify that they were black, though that doesn’t impact me much. [I’m an equal-opportunity dater, and they were verrry good-looking.] No, I comment on it because the next thing he continues to praise is that along with an amazing figure, my ass looked damn perfect in my dress. Definitely not something I hear too often. As he kept going on and on about my various appearances that floored him [in the end, he decided I looked like a classy movie star], his friend kept shooting me apologetic looks. Hey, I’m peachy keen with compliments when they’re hands-off. As the guy took my thanks to mean encouragement, he tried to slide an arm around my waist. His friend checked that movement and shook his head smiling, “I don’t think that’s a good idea with this girl, man. She’s a knock-out that might knock you out.”

I laughed and shrugged off the comment, telling them to flirt with a girl a bit more before trying to touch her. Before leaving with my drink, I did tell the friend he seemed like a good guy, and I would have actually talked to him if it weren’t for his plastered friend. Maybe next time.

In short, gentlemen: Accost at your own risk, or just learn some damn manners.

For those new to DC, expect this in the Adams Morgan neighborhood:

Monoga-Me

I love it when I get to the point in dating when the guy asks “So what, are you looking for a boyfriend or something?” My response is an easy one.

“No, I’m looking for consistency, not monogamy.”

I love getting that question, though. Most of the time, it’s asked in a tone of voice that implies anything in the affirmative is a deal-breaker. Which, to me, means the guy is immature, has serious/recent baggage, or both. And THAT is a deal-breaker for me, so just move along until you grow up, Peter Pan.

It’s especially amusing when it’s in response to putting on the breaks. I’m not judging the One-Night Stand practice. It can be fantastic, fun, and just what someone needs for their emotional and social state. But at this point in my life, I’m not really interested in raising my number for that set-up. I don’t think your number is what matters in the end, per se, but the experiences it represents. Falling into bed within 24 hours of meeting doesn’t make the standards cut.

“But if the number doesn’t matter, I don’t understand why we can’t…” Well, you don’t have to understand, now do you? No, you don’t. You just have to respect that my clothes are staying on, and we can both deal with the frustration of PG-13 activities. Deal with it. If you stick around, then we’ll both find the other person actually worth the wait, now won’t we?

So no, I’m not looking for a relationship to disrupt my current routine or dedicate all my social time to. Then again, that’s probably because I haven’t met someone that piqued my interest long enough. I have to WANT to spend that time with someone; once you’re intrigued enough, the time seems to magically rearrange itself.

First, I have no problem with monogamy. I think it’s a beautiful thing, and in our deepest nature to crave someone to spend our lives with. Mankind doesn’t generally like to be left alone. We are social creatures, and are too dynamic to be able to amuse ourselves forever.

What I DO take issue with is the abuse of the institution. Serial Daters drive me nuts, and have society wound so tight that we all carry anti-commitment baggage that probably isn’t even ours. Guys are convinced every girl wants to settle down and tie the knot, even though the thought hasn’t even crossed some of our minds. Girls are defensive when asked if they’re looking for a relationship, scared it will spook whichever guy is asking.

A friend and I had an interesting conversation on polyamory vs. monogamy the other night, and he had some interesting additions to my general philosophy. He said that humans are meant to be monogamous in the end, but what if polyamory is just the time until then? I like that way of putting it.

I am not a polyamorous personality, but I am living the lifestyle for now. That’s the difference between people like me, and Serial Daters. I have no problem being on my own, until I find someone worth giving much of my time to, and getting to know multiple people until I do meet someone special. These guys I’m dating, they aren’t the only ones and I don’t expect to be the only one for them either. I like to multi-task, and social stimulation makes me happy.

If I get into a monogamous relationship, it doesn’t mean I want to marry that person. I think your youth should be spent experimenting, with both freedom and commitment. You learn a lot about yourself in both social states, and that’s necessary before you meet the rest of your life. I also think it’s important to try dating different types of people. You might be surprised by what turns you on, and which personalities mesh right with yours. This is the time to explore.

Life is pretty amazing when you practice monoga-me.

For myself, I’m enough. My beau, DC, has given me plenty of fascinating guys to spend time with and explore myself. I carpe diem when- and whatever I want. I’d rather take advantage of that rather than get hung up on searching for The One. People miss out on life, rushing about the way they do. I’d rather mosey on about and enjoy whatever comes my way.

In the words of one of my favorite philosophers:

Want a [Smart] Cookie?

I’ve heard multiple guys here, when talking about the type of girl they like, state that they want to date someone smarter than themselves.

Is that a joke?

This just blows my mind. In a place where most people are highly ambitious, highly educated, and highly assertive, this is a tall order. Not because there aren’t women smarter than said guys– they have countless women to choose from here in Washington. The issue is for these guys to accept the fact when it looks them in the face. When they DO meet an intelligent woman, do they thank God for granting their wish? Or do they just find a flaw elsewhere that renders her impressive intellect void.

The second problem with this is on the female side: speaking as an intelligent woman, I don’t want to date a guy that’s dumber than me. Clear and simple. You want to date someone smarter? Well, I want to date someone just as smart as me. Not someone who thinks their brain is more capable than mine, nor one that puts me up on a pedestal in some Ivy Tower that I never attended. Intelligent women want someone who can be their match, their equal. We want to challenge each other, but in the end, see eye to eye on even ground.

I understand the sentiment, but it’s flawed. And I’m telling you right now, if a guy told me that he liked me because he wanted to date someone smarter than himself, he’d be deported to the friend zone faster than he could process his mistake. [I would later explain this error, once I adopted him and took him under my wing. I’m a fantastic wing-lady.]

I’ve been there, and it doesn’t work. I dated guys dumber than myself in high school and college– and I’m no longer in either of those places because I was smart enough to graduate.

I don’t think it’s too much to ask to find a guy that did the same.

Hold the phone– you’re straight?

There are enough things to be concerned about in the dating world without the question of ‘is he actually into women, or has he just set up camp in that closet?’ When it DOES come into play, it can quickly turn a rather confusing experience into a very sticky situation.

Issue #1: I am a very forward person, so my initial response is wanting to ask ‘but aren’t you gay?’ ATTENTION: DO NOT ASK. One of the first things my mama taught me when I was young is that boys are very fragile creatures, and their egos need to be handled with care. Normally, my bull-headed nature tends to ignore that and charges into whatever blunt idea I had in mind… but in this case, I have to agree.

If it is evident enough to make you wonder, you can be damn sure he’s been asked that before, and you don’t want to crush a guy’s soul. There are plenty of people still in the closet as adults, but that is their decision. What you need to decide is are you into the person they want to be at this moment, or does the possibility of them being someone else in the future bother you too much?

Issue #2: Attraction. I have many gay friends that are crazy hot and like to flaunt it. One of the best things about the gay guy-girl friend mix is being liberated from expectations. You can be sexual and flirty with the knowledge that it is just a game without an actual goal. The pressure’s off, because it isn’t legit. But when you’re on a date, and the guy is setting off your gaydar, there are conflicting emotions. Your habits are telling you to relax and have fun being as flirty as you like because there’s no harm in it, while your brain is screaming MAYDAY MAYDAY, HE THINKS YOU’RE INTO HIM. Danger, Will Robinson, danger.

I am not the type of girl to lead a guy on just because I want a plaything to amuse myself with. That’s a bitch thing to do, and not okay. The main conundrum is for first dates, I’m so used to just being myself at full steam ahead, I forget that they will be reading into every signal I send off.

Case-in-point: the other night on a date, I was busy trying to figure out in half of my head if the guy is paying mortgage on his closet or not, while the other half of my head was on auto pilot. Which, for me, is a rather charismatic flirt. Next thing I know, the guy I had nearly convinced myself deep down should get traded to the other team is leaning over and kissing me in a VERY determined take-charge kind of way. Well, THAT throws a wrench into my actually-gay theory.

The biggest dilemma of it all is that until that point, I figured gay or not, we were having a great night of conversation and banter and I’d probably found a new friend. He was intelligent, outgoing, and interesting, even with his ambiguous sexual preference. And then he had to lean over and solve that riddle by opening a can of very befuddled worms with their own confusing questions.

Talking to a girlfriend about it, I said that I don’t think I could date him legitimately. That I want a manly guy who would suddenly kiss me against a wall just because he wanted to, in that way that makes all other thoughts rush out of your head.

OH WAIT. Isn’t that what just happened?

So , what to do now…

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