Private Magazine

Category: Reviews

Waking up on Wednesday

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It’s a schitzo kind of morning in a hotel room on the outskirts of town. Despite how thick the blinds are, the sun manages to shoot across the unmade bed. Beside me lies a snoozing male companion. Um, what’s his name? No, seriously…what was his name?

I jump out of bed and tiptoe across the carpet, following an adult-Hansel and Gretel trail of various items: a leather slip-on loafer in mens size nine; crushed pack of Kools; plumping lip gloss in the shade “Inflamed Desire”; a clear green lighter; hotel-sized Neutrogena lotion, squeezed; a pink, lace thong by Jessica Simpson brand; one 50 ml bottle of Acqua di Gio; and a Trojan, still wrapped.  I open the door to the bathroom, examine my face in the mirror then splash water on it, leaning over the sink.

What’s-His-Name walks in the bathroom. He’s 5’ 9’’ and has a Matt Damon in Rounders vibe, or maybe it’s Christian Slater in Heathers. Either way, he’s got chest hair and clear blue eyes, and something tells me he’s not totally innocent. Something about What’s-His-Name and I sparked last night. It wasn’t just those Kools we smoked in front of the hotel at 5 a.m. If only I could remember…

When What’s-His-Name gets out of the shower, I’m face down on the couch.

“I’m a mess,” he says, buttoning a wrinkled dress shirt.

“So?” I sob, gasping for air. “What’s the point? I can’t believe I slept with a total stranger.” I blow my nose dramatically in a paper towel, and take a good look at What’s-His-Name. He’s cute.

“No offense,” I say.

“None taken,” he says. “I need to stop drinking. I need to take a break.”

We check out of the hotel and call a taxi. What’s-His-Name’s company paid for the room. He’s the boss and sells mortgages, from what I recall. But right now, we need to get back to our cars, back to his Cadillac and my Pontiac, abandoned last night outside the Batavia casino.

“Hey, how do you spell your name?” I say in the backseat of the cab. “So I can put it in my phone.”

“You already have it,” he says.

“Oh,”  I say, noticing a missed call from a (585) area code. It’s saved under the name Lawrence Jacobi.

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The cab grinds to a stop in front of the downtown bus station. Three skinny smokers are congealed in the threshold. Our driver is an old Italian guy in a leather newsboy cap. “$16.85,” he says.

“Thanks,” says Lawrence, handing him a twenty.

I push through a revolving glass door into the white noise of the bus station. Lawrence follows me, overflowing gym bag on his arm. A big group of Amish people are waiting at one of the gates. I scurry into the stainless steel bathroom to douse myself with Strawberries & Champagne body spray and pop a couple Excedrins.

“Gold chains, gold chains,” says a hyper black man outside the bathroom door in a camo print bucket hat with chains draped elegantly over his forearm.

I walk past him, towards Lawrence, who’s easy to spot since we’re the only non-Amish patrons in the bus station. We walk side-by-side up to the Greyhound counter with our sunglasses on.

“Two tickets to Batavia,” Lawrence says. He removes his Polo shades, squinting in the fluorescent light.  The woman at the counter is wearing dangly earrings with big gold triangles on them.

“The next bus leaves at 2:04,” she says. “$18.”

Lawrence pays for the tickets. We walk outside into the hot sun. It’s only 11:45.

“I guess we have some time to waste,” I say.

We sit on a bench on North Division. I drape my legs across Lawrence’s lap. He lights a cigarette.

“Change, change,” chants a woman with a shopping cart who looks like Whitney Houston.

“Let’s get out of here,” I say, giving Lawrence a seductive glance.

We walk down Ellicott Street towards a daytime watering hole. I hear Seabar is open this time of day. When we get there, we sit at the bar. Businessmen on lunch breaks eye my attire: black shorts, huge Rage Against the Machine tee, snakeskin strappy heels. Lawrence seems to be in the same boat: wrinkled dress shirt, leather slip-on loafers, and sunglasses totally askew. I have a dirty thong and half-smoked joint in my overpacked tote, and Lawrence reeks of Tanguaray. This is what an extended walk of shame looks like. This is what it looks like to be approaching age 30. Or in Lawrence’s case, age 35, from what I recall.

“So, Lawrence,” I take a dainty sip of Bloody Mary. ”You live in Batavia?”

“Yes,” he says, drawing a straight line in the condensation of his Corona. “That’s where I’m  from.”

“You don’t look like any country boy I’ve ever met.”

He grabs my hand under the bar, and gives it a squeeze. The businessmen are watching us, since we’re obviously more interesting than the news on TV.

“To the couple at the end of the bar,” slurs a drunken white collar-type, raising his tumbler of scotch in the air. His tie is loosened, and it’s just past noon.

“Thanks, guy,” says Lawrence, with a twinkle in his eye.

“A shot!” says the white collar-type. “Let me buy you two a shot. What are we having?”

“How about Patron,” I say.

The unfazed bartender pours three Patrons, with limes on the side.

“Cheers!” we all say.

Before I know it, my cell phone says it’s 1:45 and we need to go back to the bus station.

“Ciao,” I say to the white collar-type, taking Lawrence’s hand as we make our tipsy exit from Seabar, which I’m sure won’t be our last.

Outside, the sun is hot, hotter than before. Lawrence lights two Kools. We reach the bus station, dripping with sweat. The bus to Batavia is boarding. The Amish are nowhere to be found. We sit in the back of the bus. Lawrence gives me the window seat. We lean against each other, and take a nap.

Memories of Last Weekend

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I’m a nymphomaniac courtesan at Motel 6 on Niagara Falls Boulevard making predictions about love. There’s no better place to write about romance than a seedy motel. It’s where you can spark up some pcp, listen to the night’s heavy breathing, dip into the ink and sink into your thoughts. My adventures in the name of love are hot, but extinguish rapidly. It’s a tough gig, being a romance columnist, but I’m opening my diary to you.

My weekend began with a call from Mick, my jealous friend/sugar daddy. We went to Mickey Rats, the watering hole for the overtan and over-50.  I picked him up, since his car’s AC is broken, but I didn’t mind. I spread my NY Times and Lacoste towels on the sand. Mick returned with a pinot grigio in one hand and what turned out to be his fourth scotch in the other.

“I can’t listen to you go on about Jerome,” Mick said. “You have been talking about him all day.”

“We went out for drinks,” I said. “What’s the ordeal?”

Mick’s face turned red. He said he was moving on with another woman. Ok fine, I said. What did I care? I’ve told him numerous times that this wasn’t going anywhere.

“I need someone who is serious,” he said.

I started crying, then whacked Mick over the head with an empty Styrofoam container from Hot Mama’s Canteen. He charged at me like the tragic lead in a Shakespearean play.  I splashed my entire pinot grigio across his face and power-walked away.

“Leave me alone,” I said. “Leave me alone!”

“I can get home on my own,” Mick’s voice echoed behind me. “I don’t need you. Go blow Jerome!”

I left Mick on the beach. He had to pay $200 for a cab back to Lancaster. When I got home, I sought refuge in the form of an older man’s sympathetic ear. Call it what you will, daddy issues maybe, but I called “Esquire” – a married, way-too-old for me man. I was baked from the beach, in more ways than one.

“Meet me at Bennigan’s in 30 minutes,” he said. “I’m not in driving form.”

Even though Esquire is by most accounts a professional man, whenever I hang with him he’s drunk and kind of smelly. I can’t really explain my desire. Is there ever an explanation for matters of the heart? I found Esquire lurking outside Bennigan’s in a deteriorating flannel.

“Bennigan’’s is closed. It’s closed, man,” he said.

“Hmm. I know a place.”

We drove a half mile to a dive on my side of the tracks, which means patrons knock each other over the head with pool cues and play “Stan”-era Eminem. We had one drink then got cozy in my car.

“My dick doesn’t work,” Esquire said dismally.

“Can’t you score Viagra at Chophouse?”

“That’s not the point. I’m married. And old. How old are you, anyway?”

“28.”

“And I’m married,” Esquire continued. “But I…love you. I do.”

What happens in my Pontiac stays in my Pontiac, where Esquire and I are concerned.  I dropped him off at the corner of his street.

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The next day I found NY Times and Lacoste towels folded neatly on my porch. I had all these emails from Mick, since I blocked his number.  But I had zero time to deal with him. That day, I was to have a “normal” date with a hopefully “normal” man. Actually, JJ was probably just my thirtysomething flavor of the week. Even though all he talked about was baby mama drama and the diamonds he’s got on layaway, I thought maybe – just maybe – he was worth a shot.

I met him last summer, when I was office assistant at an auto garage. My job was to literally buy Busch Light at the gas station on Military. JJ does body work. I liked his glasses.

The plan was to hit the beach – a different beach. I drove, since JJ’s license was revoked. Fist pumping techno boomed from the beach club.

“If we go in there, I’d come out in handcuffs,” JJ said as we walked by. “I hate guido fucking douchebags.”

“We can, um, avoid that,” I said.

We settled beneath an umbrella at Cabana Jims. I slurped a marg on the rocks. JJ threw back ten shots of “Jamo”.  After this booze smorgasbord, our food arrived. The waitress placed my cobb salad and JJ’s dinner of choice – a $15 girlie drink served in a giant coconut – on the table.

“Damn,” I said, eyeing the coconut, which bore some kind of tiki smile face expression.

After the beach, as the sun went down, we walked around the Japanese Garden. I decided I’d make out with JJ, then call it quits. We weren’t a match. He seemed like a hot mess.

“Why don’t we make out on this log?” I said, taking JJ’s hand.

“Make out?” JJ drawled in a drunken stupor. “That reminds me of fourth grade.”

I stared at JJ through the leaves. He was wearing patriotic shorts. Ugh.

“Look, look, I’ll just walk home,” JJ said, wandering away. “There’s like, moms and kids over there.”

“What?” I said. “So?” I guess JJ wasn’t an exhibitionist like me.

“I’m going to go blow some lines,” he said. “Peace out.”

I went back to the Pontiac, cackling like a witch, relieved to be rid of JJ. The truth is that a writer sleeps alone.

WTF R U TALKING ABOUT: VOL. 1

 

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Thank you to all the men who send me messages on Facebook. Please don’t stop! Whether it’s to discuss their relationships, sex lives, or secretive forays into bisexuality, I had no idea my blog would resonate so well with men. I’m blessed to learn what I have about the male mind, which is… that they don’t know what the FUCK women want! That’s no fault of their own. Women don’t know much about men either, it seems.  Or rather, they do, but many don’t care. Women are the new men. Either way, there are serious, stage-five miscommunications going on.

Honestly, I’m blessed as fuck to know the things that I know. It’s a writer thing. Which leaves me… just as hard up as all of you guys. Knowledge is power until it all goes sour. I don’t have love, romance, or even so much as a recent dick pic to speak of. Ok, that’s a lie. I received a dick pic yesterday. But it wasn’t the dick that I wanted a pic of. So typical. Sad emoji. C’est la vie. The best I can do is watch August Alsina music videos, because apparently that’s what aspirational true love looks like in this day and age.

I’ve noticed communication gaps between men and women around here, and I’d like to talk about them. Let’s not allow technological fuck-ups to ruin our love lives.

Any romance queries can be directed to factorygirl1987@gmail.com and our panel of experts will reply shortly.

DICK PICS

A source for building sexual energy between two people, the Dick Pic is my favorite relationship enhancer, besides wine. While I called this section “Dick Pic,” I’m intending this to mean any “sexts” between two people including X-rated pictures and/or text messages. For two consenting adults over 18 who have filed a privacy protection contract through their respective attorneys to hold them accountable should said Dick Pic wind up on the Internet, (wouldn’t that be a good idea?) the Dick Pic is a faster, cheaper sex tape. I grew up admiring Pam Anderson and Tommy Lee and their brazen exhibitionism. You’ve seen how far that’s gotten me. But it’s okay to love one’s body so much that you want to share it with the world. That’s the Kim Kardashian Wave of Feminism, and it’s taking over Instagram. If you are in a relationship (or just hooking up) with someone and the Federal Government hasn’t tapped your phone due to a pending felony, there’s no harm in shooting off a sext. Just make sure the recipient is the one you intended.

Here’s some practical tips on making your sexts look great. 1) Take them when you aren’t sober. They come out better, for some scientifically-undetermined reason. 2) Don’t use a filter. You are going for Terry Richardson/American Apparel ad/I-woke-up-like this, in-the-heat-of-the moment aesthetic. 3) For a great picture of your own butt, you are going to need a mirror that’s either full length, or a wide mirror like you’d find in a public bathroom. There’s nothing better than shameless sexts from a public location. 4) A long-distance relationship without regular sexting isn’t a relationship. 5) There’s money to be made by sending pics of your feet to weirdos from Craigslist. 6) A sex tape won’t turn you into a superstar anymore. The best you can hope for is Stassi from Vanderpump Rules level (If you’re asking, Who? I rest my case).

BLOCK PARTY

It’s never been easier to meet people. With online dating, I can easily Skype (and sext) with a beau who lives in Hong Kong and works for a Fortune 500 company. Hell yes! However, this works both ways. Technology has made it easier to cut ties and theoretically erase ex-lovers from our lives. I’m jaded and have no patience, so I’ll admit I’ve felt a surge of contentment after blocking a guy that I was just on a date with five minutes before.  One guy made me pay for my own chicken parmesan, so I blocked him. Another man flaked on a date the morning of, so I blocked him. That’s not to say the legitimately psychopathic ex-con I had to block didn’t deserve it. But damn, he was sexy! And that’s not to say, there are some men who have me blocked. Yes, lil ol’ innocent moi. Besides, I’ve seen the blockers and blockees in person since. We’ve gotten along courteously enough. It was eerie. It was as if the Internet world was a completely separate reality.

Recently, I ran into the previously-mentioned flake at Gypsy Parlor. I was out with a new man. It was cordial between all of us. So that little hit of satisfaction over clicking “Block” is a passing high. It feels like you are getting back at the person, since they probably will notice that you’ve blocked them. But I doubt they’ll lose sleep. Plus, you will run into them soon enough around town, anyway, and just act like nothing happened. So, out of experience I’d recommend not blocking someone unless it comes down to personal safety. You look immature. It’s more enjoyable to let your jilted lovers see all the fun you are having.

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DRUNK DIALS

We all have our Achilles heel. Mine is the Drunk Dial. Back when I was having an affair with a married man, I’d LOVE to get boozed up at the club and call him late at night. It was on my top five favorite things to do, right between watching Steve Wilkos and drinking pickle juice straight from the jar.  The man was a lush himself, so we’d have some seriously heartfelt late-night chats (if I remember correctly).

But not everyone is keen on receiving Drunk Dials. Those are the people I tend to avoid, and they avoid me right back. Drunk Dials are a polarizing subject. For the most part, the men I’ve discussed them with enjoy being on the receiving end of a genuinely heartfelt Drunk Dial. It means, ‘Wow, she got drunk and had me on her mind. Flattering!’ I used to have a Friends With Benefits who would Drunk Dial me semi-regularly. He worked at a bar and would get out of work at 5 a.m. (He appears on the blog as “Dan” in The Sex Drive).  The best Drunk Dial I ever received was from “Dan” at about 2 a.m.  I was asleep in my loft downtown when my phone rang and Dan told me that he was outside. Literally the dude took a cab from Cheektowaga to Gates Circle to apologize for something he did a month before. A little belated, but I accepted his apology but made him sleep on the floor. There was something endearing about Dan’s stupid Drunk Dials. Of course, now that I think of it, he got stuck in FWB territory, and wasn’t exactly known as boyfriend material. Which leads me to…

TIMING IS EVERYTHING

It’s 2016. All the single ladies and all the single men seem to be ships passing in the night. We are all obsessed with ourselves and if the other person doesn’t like it, we tell them to go away forever. It’s all or nothing nowadays. We don’t compromise. We don’t exchange pleasantries. We don’t make sacrifices. I’m convinced that sometimes our soulmate is right in front of us, but we are too preoccupied with looking at our own image on social media to notice them across the room.

I walk down the street every day and always say ‘Hi’ to strangers, and only get a “hi” back maybe 50 percent of the time. Hipster men with glasses and beards are the hardest to talk to. They really have a wall up. I think I’m known around town as the doped-up girl with the vacant stare always saying hi to strangers, but that’s better than being known as a raging asshole.

Perhaps the best part of dating and the Internet is being able to save articles related to ex-flames’ arrests and police reports. I have a whole folder saved on my Web browser – DWIs, weapons charges, even a date rapist I met at The Bend! This technological age of dating allows us to get to know the object of our infatuation faster. But is this always a good thing? If my mom got to know everything about my dad the first month of dating him, would I ever have been born? The question remains as to whether ignorance is bliss. But typically, yeah, it is.

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Working the Corner in Niagara Falls

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It’s 11:40 a.m. and four old men are collected, like a clump of fungus, in the parking lot of the corner 7-11. They hold 40 oz. Ballentine’s Ales in dirty, gloved grips and discuss an impending “disability check.” When I walk by, coughs and groans bubble from their raspy throats. It’s been a long time since these men have uttered sounds of passion – for life or for anything which life has to offer. Theirs is the blissed-out fog of the forgotten.

It’s 12:01 p.m. and Jennifer and I are opening the Niagara Falls watering hole to the morning crowd. Come to find out, there is a “morning crowd” and by all appearances, they are ready to get their groove on. A flanneled gentleman known as “Skip” drags his body through the entrance in clunky, steel-toe boots. Clomp. Clomp. Clomp. His lips open slightly into a preposterous grin. I notice one of his front teeth is missing. Gone. This is my third day working here, at this landfill of a bar known only as “The Third Hole.” Skip’s been here every single time. I’m sure all the times that I haven’t been here, Skip has been here, and he will be here in the days after I’m gone.

It’s 12:30 p.m  and every bar stool is occupied by a member of the male gender. Coolers are stocked with domestic bottles plus cans of Schmidt’s and Stroh’s. First in line down the L-shaped bar is Ricky, a walking type-2 diabetes, high-blood pressure situation. Despite being a ticking time bomb, Ricky requires three ever-present beverages in front of him – double well vodka and water; tumbler of Mohawk blackberry brandy; and a plastic cup of ice. If any of these get low, you will endure wails of exasperation. Next to him sits Canadian Stu in a half-unbuttoned dress shirt. The level of his Molson doesn’t currently require attention. Then there’s Chester, the most elderly of the bunch, slurpin’ a Schmidt’s along with what’s apparently known as a “Polish Bloody Mary” – a shot of vodka with tomato juice on the side.

“Does anyone want a shot of Patron?” I ask. “Does anyone want to try something new?”

Nothing new is ever on the menu inside “The Third Hole.” Everyone here sticks to a daily routine. Ricky grunts, scratches his stomach. This city, and many of its inhabitants, appear to be lost in the sauce.  An angry-looking fortysomething in a baseball hat glares at me from the end of the bar.

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“Can I get you another?” I say, removing his empty bottle. “Bud Light?”

I bring a fresh beer to this bozo but he’s still glaring and not saying a word.

“$2.25,” I say. His eyes pierce through mine. “I said, $2.25!” An utterly-futile staring contest continues for a few seconds, until I’ve had enough.

“The dude at the end of the bar is giving me a hard time,” I say to Jennifer. “He won’t give me the damn $2.25!”

“Oh, he has a tab,” she says. “He didn’t tell you?”

I run to the side of the bar featuring Canadian Stu, who is pretty chill. He’s been knocking back shots of Old Grandad. A biker with glasses declares he wants to buy everyone a round. I place plastic shot cups in front of every man – currency for their next libation. All the drunks are stacked up with shot cups, guaranteeing many rounds to come.

Sometime around 1 p.m., two younger guys walk in. They are probably around 30 and look tired. Sliding onto bar stools, they casually look around and wave to Jennifer. She already knows what they want – a couple Heinekens.

“I haven’t seen you before,” I say to the one with brown, spiky hair who looks like a cross between Shia LeBoeuf and John Belushi. “What do you guys do?”

“We work at the casino,” he says.

“What’s your name?” I ask.

“Scotty.”

“What do you guys do at the casino?”

“We’re pit bosses,” Scotty says. “We sit at the card games and make sure nobody cheats.”

“That’s hot,” I say. “Really hot. Like Rounders starring Matt Damon. You are Edward Norton.”

He doesn’t seem amused. Scotty and his homeboy take their beers to a corner table and start dealing out cards.

“I thought we’d have a shot of Patron?” I say as they’re walking away. Ricky, et. al. start hollering for beer while I’m staring into space.

“Hey, we’re waiting here,” he bellows. A rough-looking Falls chick in a Luke Bryan tee is also vowing for my attention.

“God, thank you,” she says sarcastically. I hand her a basic bottle of Budweiser.

A handsome professional is in the seat where Scotty was. His hair is black with a few grays. He’s mellowing out and doesn’t seem in a rush.

“How about that shot of Patron?” he says.

“I thought you’d never ask,” I say.

The mysterious professional and I stare into one another’s eyes. We sip Patron until he gives me $5 and continues on his way. Ricky, et. al. start hollering for beer again.

“Hey!” Scotty shouts. “Over here!”

“I’m almost done with my shift,” I say. “I’ll come hang with you in a bit, Scotty.”

“No, we need beer,” he says.

The afternoon drags on….

“Barmaid, barmaid,” shouts Chester while rattling his empty Schmidt’s.

Around 6 p.m, Scotty’s girlfriend shows up. Great, I’m thinking. Just what I need. She starts giving me the stink eye. I didn’t realize this place would bring more enemies than friends. It can be hostile when you’re not a Falls chick. If I’m ever found in a barrel at the foot of the Falls, now you know why.

I pop open bottles with a flick of the wrist. I’m not talking as much, lest the drunks get annoyed I take too long delivering their fix. Led Zeppelin drifts around the smelly bar like a missing cat. A sliver of sun manages to cut through the grimy windows. It’s a depressing scene.

These are the men who have washed ashore. The ones society forgot.  Sweat-soaked alcoholics and veterans and lonely widowers, the incapacitated and disabled, the racists and homophobes and misogynists, all paying for beer with plastic cups and loose change. An empty beer with a shot cup over it signifies that person wants another. It’s a secret language spoken by the braindead and the downtrodden. I decide to ride the wave back home, back to Erie County, forever.

Valentine’s Day: What’s Love Got to Do With It?

February is said to be the most romantic month of the year.  It’s a time to bask in a sea of sexuality without shame. We spend weeks, sometimes months out of the year, shooting Cupid’s arrows at the objects of our affection. Valentine’s Day should be for reaping the benefits of these efforts. But this isn’t a perfect world. The laws of physics tell us each action brings with it an equal and opposite reaction. Sometimes you wind up shooting yourself in the face.  Your intentions (or theirs) fall flat. You can wind up Facebook blocked before you know each other’s middle names. Maybe it’s a Millennial thing.

All I know is men are full of surprises. If the past month is any indication, romance occurs at unexpected times.

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Sleep-Humped in Seattle

Jo Jo, Eleanor, and I met up at Gramma Mora’s expecting a girl’s night. It was getting off to a great start. The bartender was one of our co-worker’s nephews, and he presented us with a round of complimentary margaritas. We sipped them gratefully, and started to let our hair down. We began to divulge our innermost thoughts.  That’s right about when Jo-Jo’s boyfriend Manny and his friend Jerome showed up.

I met Jerome last summer, when we all went to the beach. His pot brownies caused a grown man to call an ambulance on himself (he was fine). But other than that, Jerome didn’t stand out much to me. Throughout dinner at Gramma Mora’s, Jerome and Manny kept going to the bathroom together. Whether it was a bromance thing, or a “blow-mance” thing, we couldn’t tell.

After dinner, we went to Gecko’s. The bar had 90s techno music blaring and strobe lights flashing.  DJ X-Treme was behind a table in the center of the room. We waited for the dart board to vacate, but it never did. So Jo Jo, Eleanor and I went to Sidebar. Our male escorts disappeared around the corner to “let Jerome’s dogs out” and were gone 25 minutes.  Us three girls drank cosmos at the bar.

“Do you need a drink?” Jerome asked upon his return. Behind him, Eleanor was giving me a knowing look.

“Sure, thanks,” I said.

We had been discussing whether or not Jerome has a girlfriend. Jo Jo wasn’t sure. Apparently he’s enmeshed in an “on again/off again” situation. But Jerome ordered me a glass of wine and we all went to play shuffleboard. Jerome was my partner. We lost.

I went off to the ladies room. Jerome’s bald head suddenly poked into the bathroom while I was at the sink. “Do you party?” he said.

“Um, come in,” I said.

I won’t go into excruciating detail, but Jerome and I kissed in the bathroom. I don’t tend to go for baldies, but when you are presented with an opportunity you just have to take it.

Jerome pranced out of the bathroom with an energetic strut. I put on lipstick. After finishing up at Sidebar, we all went back to Jerome’s crib.

“Listen, Jerome,” I said. “I’m just going to sleep on your couch. Can I?” I was cuddling up to Jerome’s bassett hound.

“Sure,” Jerome said, with a twinkle in his eye.

Jo Jo, Manny, and Eleanor left right around that time. I noticed a deck of cards on the coffee table, and proposed a game of strip rummy (a retirement home favorite). Jerome totally lost by quite a few articles of clothing, but didn’t seem to mind sitting there naked. It’s not like I was going to touch his ding-a-ling. I have a blasé attitude about that kind of thing. (See: Dicks, Diners, and Drives).

My phone told me it was after 3 a.m. so I seized an afghan, laid down on the couch, and closed my eyes.

“I guess it’s time to turn in for the night,” I said.

“I’ve got a couple people coming over,” Jerome stated.

“But, who?” I said, opening one eye.

“Pauly and Stan, from Tonawanda,” Jerome said. “They should be here in a few minutes.”

“Oh, all right,” I said. “I’ll just snooze in your room.”

Jerome was pacing around, smoking cigarettes into the early morning hours. I know this because around 7 a.m. I was awoken by someone humping me from behind.

“Um, Jerome?” I opened one eye. “I’m, like, asleep.” For some reason, I had no sexual desire for Jerome and was completely unapologetic about it. I mean,  what did I really know about him, anyway?

“I can drive you home now if you want,” he said.

“Jerome,” I sat up in bed. “My car is on Hertel and it’s the crack of dawn.”

Jerome continued to pace the room, smoking cigarettes and grinding his teeth as the sun rose over Hertel Avenue. I literally left him high and dry and didn’t feel bad about it.  Of course, that was the last time I heard from Jerome.

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Poetic Justice

A couple weeks after the Jerome situation, I met Pete in a way described in countless paperbacks, “Out of nowhere, we locked eyes while waiting for our drinks at a local café, and fell in love.”

Actually, I didn’t know if the scheduled hangout session which followed was even a date. It was a coffee date. On a Monday.  I hadn’t been on a coffee date in a really long time. Aren’t coffee dates strictly reserved for side chicks and people you meet online? A coffee date on a Monday struck me as lame. But since this was a first date with a new man (someone I met in a hipster café, after all), I gave it the benefit of the doubt.

I got to Public Espresso in the Hotel Lafayette and spotted Pete from behind. He was waiting in line wearing a salmon hoodie. I chalked this up to, undeniably, Pete must have a big dick. Who else would wear a salmon hoodie on a first date? I guess Pete doesn’t have to compensate.

What followed was par for the coffee-date-on-a-Monday course: Pete interviewing me about my life, and me asking the requisite follow-up questions. After I told him about writing for Hustler and frequenting Video Liquidators, Pete suggested we take our ‘date’ to Acropolis for a half-off bottle of wine.

We drank wine, and Pete bought me dinner. So this was a date, then? I still couldn’t tell, until Pete walked with me down the street and kissed me goodbye.

The next day, I called Pete and invited him to take a walk with me. He met me at the park. We strolled for an hour. Suddenly, Pete said he had to go to work. He absconded back to his car on the other side of the park. There was no kiss that day. I wasn’t sure what to make of the Pete situation. We made tentative plans for Saturday. I decided to see what happened naturally.

Pete didn’t talk to me the entire rest of the week. He cancelled our tentative plan at 8:30 am on Saturday, via some way-rehearsed text. All I said was “K”. He didn’t reply. I blocked him on Facebook, because I found his behavior rude. That was the last time I heard from Pete.

What’s Love Got to Do With It??

Today, for Valentine’s Day, I’m going out with a man who constantly confesses his love for me. I tell him all the time he’s just a friend, and that I won’t put up with him getting over-emotional and attached. Still, he takes me to dinner and the movies. We even might go to Puerto Rico. Why the hell not? I guess it’s a pretty good situation.

There is a new man on the horizon. There is romantic potential there. I have a new bartending job in Niagara Falls, NY and that place is crawling with men. I’m able to get my flirt on. A tatted up muscular guy wants to take me for a ride on his motorcycle. And why the hell not? I’m back in the game. I’m not really much of a gambler, but this year I am taking a chance on true love and betting against the odds that I find a loveable man. It is time for me to move to Round Two.

Splitting the Bill in a Post-Feminist World

BDs

First dates are like fire drills – sometimes they are real, but most of the time they are false alarms, but we are still lucky to get out of them alive. I’m moving up from not introducing my boyfriends to my parents to completely not telling anyone I’m going on a date at all. I don’t even tell my mom when I’m going on a first date. If I did, she would likely ask, “How did it go?” And I don’t always want to recount whatever sick, twisted ordeal I’ve been through this time.

I’m not choosing men based on how “wild” or, God forbid, “crazy” they are. I did that when I was 19 years old. But just the other day, I had a date within the confines of my old, eerily-small college town. It was a revisitation to my 19-year-old stomping grounds, so perhaps the craziness which ensued should come as no surprise.

The “datee” in question was a man whose age I didn’t really know.  He used to teach entry-level photography at school and take pictures at shows. If I remember correctly, I think he had been “hanging out” with one of my suitemates. Who knows, who cares. I’m older now, wiser now, and something was telling me this chap and I might get along. I did what any Millennial, post-collegiate gal would do. We chatted on social media. That Saturday, I drove down to the infamous town. The plan was to go to the Salvation Army then eat at DeJohn’s – an Italian joint with $1.99 margaritas.

sandy

The first thing I notice about “Juan” is his spotlessly-clean apartment. It is very clean, and VERY quiet in there. (Eerily enough, one of my college frenemies lived in the exact same apartment).  Juan is an artist. He has paintings, photographs, and illustrated skateboard decks on the walls. All of his tee shirts are hanging in the closet, color organized, along with a shelf of thousands of CDs, alphabetized. I spot a lovingly-framed photo of Juan and his parents, just the three of them. There’s a desk with a landline phone. Juan picks up the receiver, dials a number, and says “Dad, my friend is here and we are going out, so I won’t be home the rest of the day.”

We set off for Salvation in Juan’s car.  He is a quiet man with the body of a telephone pole. The shy, hyper-organized nerd hasn’t yet, up until this point, been on my dating repertoire – but I love trying new things. Juan buys a green tee shirt that says “Camp MooShu” and a belt (he is really skinny, and practical too, I guess – you have to keep those pants from falling down somehow).  I buy some practically impractical clip-on earrings left over from a wedding in 1988.

bike

After the shopping trip, we stroll through town. I’m growing nostalgic with these familiar streets and the old “Party Houses”: 25 Central, 7 Forest, 140 Temple, etc. It’s bringing me back – way back.

“We have to go to BJ’s,” I say. “We just have to.”

BJ’s, where do I begin? BJ’s feels like being inside of a Dinosaur Jr. album on infinite replay. It’s a place where you can get blackout drunk with laundry quarters. It’s a music venue with plenty of shows, where my friends’ bands always played. It’s the top spot for every artsy person in town, at a college where “artsy” people are the A-list and the miniscule“bro” and/or “jock” population gets ostracized to shitty bars on Water St.

“Ok,” Juan says. “They open at five.”

We go to DeJohn’s first. I’m hungry. We are the only ones in the restaurant. A mid-30s guy with glasses and a shaved head shows us to a booth. The booth is red vinyl and has string lights around it, plus there’s “Gilligan’s Island” playing from a television right on the table. He hands us menus and a remote.

“Can I get you some drinks?” the waiter says.

“Yes, I’ll have a margarita on the rocks with salt,” I say.

“I’ll just have a Blue,” Juan says.

Our waiter leaves so Juan and I peruse the menu. Juan decides on lasagna and I order the chicken parm. We begin a pleasant conversation about this and that. Juan is very hard to read.

“Do you have anything else to, like, do today?” I say.

“No, this is it,” he says.

“What else do you do around here?” I say. “It seems like it could get lonely.”

“When I’m not working, I’ll read the paper,” he says.

“Do you have Netflix?”

“No,” he says. “ I don’t have Internet in my apartment.”

“Oh, wow,”  I say. “What’s your astrological sign?”

“I’m a Taurus,” Juan says.

“I’m a Virgo,” I say. “I think we’re supposed to get along…”

We finish eating and our waiter drops off the check.  It sits there, upside down, collecting dust almost, so I poke at it. Juan hasn’t noticed. I pick up the damn check and it’s $37.00. Juan doesn’t say anything.

“Um, ok…mine was, what…like, $17?” I say.

Juan pulls a few 20’s out of his pocket and puts one of them with the check.

“Um, uh, ok… here’s 20?” I hand him a $20 bill.

“I’ll give this to him and you can keep the change,” he says, leaving.

“Gee, thanks,” I say.

After a minute, Juan comes back. He hands me $3. I look at him somewhat oddly, but not obnoxiously so. “Gilligan’s Island” was the only “old school” thing about this meal, I guess. Juan leaves the tip, we exit DeJohn’s, and go across the street to BJ’s.

blackOut

The two of us are alone in the bar, save for a long-haired bearded dude sipping a pint. Our bartender comes – a college girl in a knit hat. Juan orders another fucking “Blue”. I go with vodka, pay for my own shit, again, and give the bartender a look that says “keep them coming.” The sky has darkened significantly.

“Can I sleep on your couch?” I ask. “It’s sort of, like, a far drive.”

“Yeah, sure,” he says.

Just then, tons of young, really hot and athletically-built guys start filtering into BJ’s. They are accompanied by older men – their dads presumably – who all fall into the Silver Fox and D.I.L.F. category.

“The hockey team is here,” the bartender says. “There was a tournament today.”

In no time at all, BJ’s is packed full of the hockey team, their dads, and a few moms, too.

“We need to go to the strip club after this,” I say to Juan. “I’m going to invite the hockey team, and the dads too!”

Juan doesn’t flinch at this, but says, “I don’t know….”

“I just thought, when in Rome,” I say. “Are you uncomfortable with nudity?”

“No, I, uh…” he says.

“Can we play it by ear?” I say.

“Yeah, sure, play it by ear,” Juan says, with some trepidation.

Maybe I was misguided into thinking this was, indeed, a date. It could’ve been a date, but it ain’t. Not anymore. At least the hockey team is here. I turn to the hot dad next to me wearing a cashmere sweater.

“We’re going to the strip club after this,” I say. “If you all want to come.”

“There’s one of those around here?” he says, drinking a tumbler of vodka. “I had no idea. Ha ha.”

I look around BJs, at the black wall festooned with lewd scribbles, and the collection of rock band paraphernalia behind the bar. It is the same as it was so many years ago. My ”date” with Juan turned out to be a marvelous flop. Sure, I’m a spoiled bitch when it comes to going out to dinner. It’s too late to change that. Who would I be if I make out with a guy who won’t pay for dinner? Not myself, that’s who.

This story ends with me kissing a stripper at the nudie bar instead of Juan. Will Juan ever find love? Who knows. Who cares. But it’s not going to be with me.

All Dogs Go to Heaven, All Cats Go to Hell

catvictim

Be my victim

 

Monogamy bores me. I prefer to keep it casual. My “official relationships” last anywhere from three to five months. After that, I can’t take it anymore. I resort to the quick n’ easy break up – via phone, text, or just out of nowhere one day. This doesn’t make me a bad person –  I just don’t have time for broken down bozos.

A few weeks ago, I broke up with Drew through text message. I figured we could be friends or something. We’d only dated three months. I couldn’t deal with his erratic behavior. I have my whole life to live. Something told me, “run away.”

Turns out, Drew is prone to psycho behavior more than I even knew. I heard my story Dick Fuzz got back to him, so he dressed up as a cat and posted a “Revenge Selfie.” Yes, we are talking about a full-length cat suit and fuzzy hat- that I didn’t know he even owned.  Is that not disturbing or what?

I’m going to tell you a story. It’s about trust issues, jealousy, and the time Drew looked through my phone.

Predator

My friend Maurice, a total social butterfly, and I are inside Just Vino. We are sampling some pinots and cabs, nothing major.  It’s just one of those kinds of nights when the world seems at your fingertips – late September, crisp and stimulating. The kind of night where anything could happen, especially on the corner of Main and Virginia.

“It’s Gypsy Parlor karaoke tonight,” says Maurice.

“No way,” I say. It’s been my short-term goal to perform “Whiskey in a Jar.”

“Yeah, it’s Thursday,” he says.

“Well let’s go,” I say.

I get into Maurice’s petite Toyota, and we jet off in the direction of Gypsy. I’m buzzed, and just now beginning to realize it.

“I’m going to have to sleep at Drew’s,” I say, “if I continue drinking wine like I’ve been drinking it.”

“Yeah, ok, why not invite Drew?” Maurice says.

“He is at some arts and crafts party,” I say. “I think. It’s at his friend’s house, this guy who’s randomly a millionaire.”

“Really?” says Maurice.

“Yeah, yeah, it’s right over here actually, on Linwood,” I say.  Maurice does a U-turn on West Ferry, so that we’re heading towards Linwood. “Should we just pick his ass up? We can go get Drew, and maybe have a drink there.”

Maurice and I pull behind Drew’s friend’s stately mansion. I mean, how sketchy is that, some random mansion? Anyway, Maurice and I knock on the back door. The middle-aged guests are all exiting through it, even though it’s barely ten. I peek into the kitchen. It appears all the booze is gone.

“Drew?” I say, walking through the kitchen. “Drew?”

Drew emerges, rosy-cheeked and presumably, two beers deep. He has a low alcohol threshold.

“Is there any vodka here?” I say.

“Actually, we should go to Gypsy,” Maurice says. “It looks as though the party is over.”

“Damn,” I say. “Oh well, want to go to karaoke with us?” I say.

“Yeah, sure,” says Drew.

Drew jams himself in the back seat of the petite Toyota, and once again, we jet off to Gypsy. He pulls out a brown paper gift bag packed with green tissue paper.

“Here you go,” Drew says.

I reach down into the bag, wondering what the fuck this could be. I pull out a crown, one that someone has made.

“It’s from the party,” Drew says.  “I had to buy something from Desiree.”

I look at Maurice, my fashion consultant, after putting the crown on my head. His mouth becomes a toad-esque frown of disapproval. The crown has three glittery white stalagmites jutting out, with a plastic lion’s head in the middle.

“Thanks Drew,” I say. “I’ll wear it to a Christmas party.”

Maurice, Drew, and I pour into Gypsy. A man is onstage singing “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” by Celine Dion. There were things we’d never do again, but then they’d always seemed right. Drew sits in the corner. Maurice and I stand next to him.

“You got this?” Drew says, slouching against the wall.

“No, I don’t,” I say. I look at him like he’s crazy.

“I’ll get you a drink,” says Maurice.

Drew sits there, unflinched.

“Thanks Maurice,” I say.

I leave to put my name on the list to perform “Whiskey in a Jar”. Once I’m back at the bar, I end up talking mainly with Maurice. Drew hasn’t said much. Some metalhead-looking dude is staring me down from four feet away.  Maurice and I are having fun, like we were at Just Vino. Maybe I shouldn’t have brought Drew along.

Forty minutes later, I check with the emcee about my position on the karaoke list. He tells me that I’m next.

“Wow! Thanks,” I say.

I rush over to Maurice and Drew.

“i’m next!” I say, “Let’s do whiskey shots! Maker’s Mark!”

“I don’t want a shot,” Drew says.

“Ok fine, two then,” Maurice says.

“Why is he being a buzz kill?” I whisper to Maurice.

The emcee in a bowler hat calls out that it’s my turn. I rush up to the stage and seize the microphone. The resounding intro of “Whiskey in a Jar” begins.

“I took all of his money, and it was a pretty penny,”  I sing in my most deep-throated voice.  I kneel on the ground and fall back. “Yeah, and I brought it home to Molly.”

During the instrumental interlude, I walk down to floor-level.

“How are you doing tonight, sir?” i say, raising my microphone towards a middle-aged chubby guy. Before he says anything, I turn and strut away.

Before I know it, the song is over. There’s a brief smatter of applause.

“Thank you dear, what a beautiful mess you are, that was really something,”  the emcee says.

I take that as a compliment, as I was channeling Courtney Love.

Glover

Back at Drew’s apartment, he puts on Aliens (his choice again, obviously) and I pass out on the couch. I don’t know how much time has passed when I’m woken up, the living room light still on, and my heels and vintage Dooney shoulder bag being thrown in my direction.

“Get out,” Drew’s at the end of the hallway. “I looked through your phone.”

“You what?” I say, in a sobered-up, half asleep slur. “That’s an invasion of privacy.”

“Ok, so who’s Jared Newton?”

Drew looks stricken, overemotional, and vengeful.

“A guy I was texting, obviously,” I say. “What the fuck is your problem?”

“Who is he then?”

“None your business, but someone I met last year,” I say. “He texted me first. What’s the big deal?”

“What about that metalhead guy at Gypsy Parlor, huh?” Drew shrieks like a banshee.  “You were all flirting with him, buying him drinks -”

Drew starts stuttering and stammering.

“You are not making any sense,” I say. “I didn’t buy drinks for anybody, not even myself.”

“You were talking to everyone there but me,” Drew says. “And now I find you’re texting with this Jared Newton, and other men -”

“Hey!” I yell. “I don’t believe you had a search warrant for my phone, or my purse, you dick.”

Drew continues to stutter and stammer.

“The next time you touch my stuff, and if you throw anything at me again,” I say, leaning into Drew’s face. “I’ll smack the shit out of you.”

I collect every one of my belongings from his room, and go back to the couch.

CocaineBook

That’s just one of the reasons I broke up with Drew. He has issues – more issues than a newsstand, yo. More baggage than Charles de Gaulle. There’s not much that can be done for him this late in his life. I’d categorize him as a lost cause.

Like every horror movie come to life, his considerable baggage is a ticking time bomb waiting to detonate and destroy the entire female population. He’s single now and already casting shadows upon the Buffalo dating scene. Be careful out there. This confession is a cautionary tale.

Great Expectations

dead

This weekend, my maniacally reclusive BFF/fellow writer/ex-boyfriend, Eddie, is setting me up on a blind date.

Eddie gets me. We’ve shared many treasured moments. We used to have this thing where we’d get drunk at Hutch’s. We consumed their entire Fall/Winter 2013 cocktail menu. One time Eddie wore overalls there. Not really sure why, but I’m going to let him set me up on a date.

The man Eddie’s setting me up with is Kevin. Kevin’s the brother of a married man I know – one that I would have a scandalous affair with, given the opportunity.  In lieu of that, I guess his brother could suffice. The married guy never sealed the deal.

Eddie told me that Kevin is in desperate need of a woman. He’s allegedly “handsome” and a “talented musician.” Kevin is ten years younger than his married brother, aka in his forties.

Eddie arranged it so I’m supposed to show up at Kevin’s house this Friday night. I just got out of a strenuous three month relationship – it’s time to let my wild side back out.

andre1

Friday rears it’s head, like the Lockness Monster ready to party. I scroll through Kevin’s Facebook photos again. He seems fuckable. I apply scandalous perfume, Elizabeth & James Black, which has a similar effect on men as Calvin Klein Euphoria did in 2009. Men love that shit.

Then I realize something. I can’t show up at Kevin’s empty handed. I mean, I wasn’t planning to get tipsy at a stranger’s house. But bringing a bottle of wine is the polite thing to do. Luckily my favorite store, Liquors, is on the way.

It’s seven on the dot when I pull up to Kevin’s crib. He lives on Englewood. I think this is his house, anyway, or near it at least. It’s hard to see numbers this time of night. A tall, lean-bordering-on-skeletal figure is walking towards me. He’s coming from the driveway next door. Whoever it is, they’re concealed by shadows.

“Hey!” I say. “Kevin? I brought this, um, wine.”

The presence gets closer, until he’s standing next to me. Kevin has skinny legs clad in black denim. Thin, straight locks of hair brush against his sharp jaw. I zoom in on the outline of his lips parting through the night air.

“That’s great,” he says. “Well, let’s go inside”.

Kevin leads the way towards a house that’s kind of Frank-Lloyd-Wright at below-sea-level. He pushes the screen door wide. There are two lit stairways. One is ascending towards light, and the second is basement-bound.

We descend the basement steps. A thin veil of light slowly envelops us. I was told (warned?) by Eddie that Kevin lives in a basement.  It’s ok, though, because he owns the house and rents it out.

The basement is bare, not the cozy Man Cave I was expecting. There’s no couch. It doesn’t smell like weed. There’s not even a poster of Chris Cornell on the wall. My fantasy totally implodes. Kevin awkwardly pats at his midsection, like he’s broken out in a rash. Maybe female DNA hasn’t yet been introduced to this domicile.

There’s a mattress on the floor, computer desk, and tiny makeshift kitchen. Kevin heads towards an open bottle of Barefoot Refresh, sitting on the counter. I hear something…. the flaccid, jingling sounds of a song I haven’t heard since college. It can’t be. Is that the fucking Shins on the stereo?

I’m confused. Eddie told me that Kevin is “aggressive.” But Barefoot Refresh and The Shins are telling me otherwise. I pour myself a glass of the real shit I brought.

“So!” I say, “What did you want to do tonight?”

“Stay here I guess,” Kevin says. He sits at the computer desk. There is a guitar on the floor.

“Hey, play me a song! What kind of music do you like? Wait – is this Elliott Smith?” I pause. “A Fond Farewell” is on.

“Yes, yes it is,” he says.

“I’m a fan,” I say, “Do you think he was murdered?”

“I’m actually very into that idea,” Kevin says. “Yes, yes I do.”

I sit across from him in a shabby chic armchair with a hand-dyed tapestry flung across it. I have to say, Kevin could be sexy. He just needs self confidence. There could be a makeout session on tonight’s horizon. Especially since, let’s be honest, I’ll probably drink all of this wine.

My phone rings. It’s my friend Maurice. He’s a total social butterfly. I’m sure he knows what’s going on tonight.

“Hey, what are you doing?” Maurice says.

“I’m not sure. I’m on this date,” I say, sitting on Kevin’s lap. This surprises him.

“Ya, I’m not sure where I’m going, but I know I will be doing some dancing,” Maurice says, “There is a show at Dreamland, maybe Nietzsche’s.”

I put my hand over the receiver and ask Kevin, “Do you want to go out? To Dreamland?”

“Uh, I’ve never been there. Been wanting to, but haven’t,” he says.

I get back on the line with Maurice, stand up, pace around the basement in my black velour peep-toe pumps with metallic silver heel.

“I’m not sure what we are going to do, but if we venture out, I’ll call you,” I say to Maurice. “Ta-ta.”

Ciao,” says Maurice.

Spinning around, I see Kevin making himself cozy in the chair. I have a feeling we won’t be going out.

“I mean, we don’t have to go out,” I say. “We can watch a movie.”

“Yeah, uh, sure,” Kevin says.

Suddenly, he stands up and just kisses me out of nowhere. With his teeth. It lasts approximately seven seconds. His kissing style could be described as “Iguana-esque.”

“Oh, wow, ok,” I say.

He puts a movie on, “The Machinist” starring Christian Bale. We are watching on his laptop. The last time I watched a movie on a laptop with a guy was in my room at Hendrix Dorm. Who knew I could get nostalgic for my college days while hanging with a middle-aged dude?

Watching the movie is awkward because we are sitting in two different chairs. It’s not cozy. No couch, remember? The credits begin streaming down the laptop screen. I’ve had like four glasses of wine, and decide to teach this guy how to make out. Eddie’s words flash in my mind – “I think you could bring out his aggressive side.”

After forty minutes of intense, one-on-one makeout coaching, I consider him a lost cause, and pass out in his bed.

Sex40

The next day, I send Eddie a Facebook message depicting my date. I’ll have to wait another day for his reply, since he’s not back from Portland yet. He was there hanging with one of his Craigslist sugar mommas.

“I really don’t know, I’m confused,” Eddie says.

I tell Eddie about taking my shirt off and passing out in Kevin’s bed. I tell him how Saturday and Sunday have passed, but Kevin hasn’t called me. I tell Eddie that I feel like I’ve made a lackluster impression. But why?

“I was tipsy,” I say, “I couldn’t drive home. But I’m proud of myself for only being mildly-drunk-in-high school slutty. Not full-blown, hit-it-and quit it-on a-first date-slutty. I left him wanting more.”

“Well ok, dear,” Eddie says. “I’m sure you did. I’ll email Kevin and find out what he thought.”

I just have the gut feeling that I scared Kevin away. But how?

basement2

“Kevin told me that he doesn’t want ANY type of relationship at all,” Eddie says. “Not sure what that means. He said you’re pretty and cool, but thought you were going to have sex with him. That’s why he thought you went over there, and why he can’t talk to you anymore.”

“He doesn’t want to talk to me…because I didn’t have sex with him the day I met him?” I say.

“Yeah, I guess so, dear,” Eddie says. “He is a lost cause.”

“Yeah, I’ll say.”

I learned a valuable lesson from my date with Kevin – the answer to the age-old question of “Is there such a thing as hittin’ it too soon”? The answer is yes, obviously, but the conundrum doesn’t end there.

Whatever energy I project to the male species, I yield the equal and opposite reaction.  I wanted a noncommittal makeout session. Kevin seemed like a good possibility for someone I could go out with casually from time to time. Who knew a socially-awkward, romantically-inept basement dweller would diss me? For not having sex with him two hours after meeting him? Maybe humanity really is fucked.

It was silly of me to try and make Kevin a stand-in for his married brother, anyway. Now the married brother probably found out an exaggerated version of the story, and is all jealous and annoyed. But maybe he has no clue. I think I’ll just stick to that pursuit for now.

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The Silver Fox

ricks
I have a silver-haired suitor named Mick. He’s a fortysomething banker who proudly goes commando.

As Sunday morning turns into afternoon, light fog permeates the air. A misty gray sky hangs above downtown. It’s calm after last night’s drinking crowd. Mick is driving me around in his ‘01 Beamer, six-foot-two frame squished behind the wheel. He stickshifts around the Harbor Center, taking a meandering route to nowhere in particular.

We check out construction on the new ice rink, killing time before an afternoon Christmas party. This mysterious soiree – hosted by a priest – will contain local politicians. Or so I’m told by Mick. My hunger for adventure made me accept his invitation, which came along at just the right time. I’m going through a Jon Stewart phase.

“Thanks for the wine,” I say. Beringer Estates white zinfandel sits in a little wicker basket.

“I need that basket back though,” Mick says. He lets out a chuckle, peering at me sideways with crystal blue eyes.

This is the first time I’ve gone anywhere with Mick. I definitely didn’t expect a gift. We relax at the Main and Chippewa intersection. All is still. The street, vacant. As the light changes from red to green, Mick shifts the car into gear.

Instead of moving, the turn-of-the-century BMW just absently rolls forward and stalls out.

“There’s something wrong with my car,” Mick says, turning off the ignition and turning it back on again. The car does the exact same thing – nothing.

“This has never happened before,” he says. “Oh my God why is this happening?”

“Maybe you should take the keys out and let it rest,” I say, putting my hand on his thigh.

Mick swiftly exits the car and starts pushing.

“Do you want me to help? I really don’t mind.”

“No, absolutely not. It’s fine!”

Mick steers the car towards a parking lot 30 feet away. A random pedestrian in prison orange appears out of nowhere, and helps him push. I feel like Cleopatra being carried by two male attendants. We make it to the parking lot and I get out of the car.

The random pedestrian asks Mick for money.

“What? No! Get out of here!”

I’m shocked Mick doesn’t toss him a couple bucks, but then again, I don’t either.

“Whenever someone’s car dies, there’s always that random helper nearby, and they always ask for money. It’s a known hustle,” I say.

“That was the same guy?! I was too shaken up to notice.”

We are in a parking lot right by The Lodge. We go there to figure shit out. I left my car on Elmwood and Auburn. The party is around Nottingham Terrace/Parkside, at Father John’s crib.

We take a seat at the bar.

“Look, I have AAA,” I say. Mick orders a martini, straight up. He’s visibly frazzled.

“It’s going to be ok,” I reassure. “The party doesn’t start for like, two hours.”

Mick emits a deep exhale. “You’re sweet.”

The two of us hang out for a while, eventually abandoning the car. AAA would only tow it five miles with the policy I have, and what good would that do? We take a taxi to my car and head to the party.

uncork
At the party, the cozy kitchen is stuffed with middle-aged couples. A long table is lavishly spread with various canapes and hors d’oeuvres. The host, Father John, emerges from the crowd in a nubby Christmas tree sweater.

“Hello, very good to see you Mick,” Father John says, giving Mick a long, hard embrace.

Mick introduces me to Father John, who extends a polite handshake. The two of us head to the open bar. A couple older bartenders are mixing drinks in Father John’s cleared-out living room.

Mick and I stand against the wall, close together.

“Father John is in love with me,” Mick says.

“Oh come on,” I say, “In love?” I look over my shoulder. Father John is staring at us from across the room, with a twinkle in his eye.

Guests gradually fill up the kitchen, living and dining rooms. A state Senator who I spot around town all the time shows up. Mick points out another Senator rocking a hideous royal blue fleece in the kitchen. I force my tipsy self to not ask him questions about his latest controversy. They aren’t as attractive as Mick, anyway, and not just because they’re both Republican.

Mick and I make a few more trips to the bar. The martinis and wine are flowing. A carving station opens up, offering turkey and succulent roast beef sandwiches.

After we chow down, I lead Mick down a random carpeted hallway. We find an empty den with bowls of chips everywhere.

“Ugh, finally – we’re alone,” I lean into Mick.

“You are gorgeous and young,” Mick says. “Everyone here is looking at you.”

“No they’re not. I haven’t noticed, anyway.”

We sit down on the futon.

“How could you not have noticed?”

I want to make out with Mick badly, but go figure – the damn door is clear glass. Not exactly the privacy I had in mind. Suddenly, a goofy-looking short guy with a crooked tie enters the room. He slumps in an armchair with a beer.

“Hey, I’m Jack. Sorry – mind if I sit in here? You weren’t trying to have a private moment – were you?”

Mick and I look at each other.

“Uh, it’s fine,” I say.

Jack starts carrying on about his public speaking job with the county.

“Oh you know, I give tours. Looking to retire soon. It’s been very rewarding….”

He carries on and on and neither Mick nor I say much in response. I’m waiting for this Jack creature to vamoose but then…a fiftysomething woman in one inch heels and candy cane socks comes in!

“Oh, this is my wife,” Jack says, rolling his eyes. Jack’s wife sits on the other side of the room. She looks tired and bored. Jack keeps talking about his job while his wife just sits there looking miserable.

After 25 minutes or so, Jack and his wife leave. Mick and I emerge, going back into the soiree. Father John rushes towards us.

“We’re gonna get going,” Mick tells him.

“Oh, Mick, so good seeing you. Merry Christmas.”
We go off into the night, stopping to make out in the Historical Society parking lot.

Later, I fall asleep while reading a text from Mick.

“See – listen to this. I told you Father John has a crush on me. He sent me an email saying he wishes I slept over and that he loves me! And that asshole Jack. I should have told him to give us some fucking privacy! They are so fucking nosy! And then his wife walks in. I should have told them to go away. You are beautiful and amazing. Let’s go to Rick’s on Main next weekend. Good night.”

Beat the Winter Blahs- Craigslist Style!

Combos

It’s a subdued night in the city, eerily silent and still. Everybody I know is asleep. I’m pacing around my room, twisting a strand of holiday tinsel, breaking in a new pair of heels. What can I say? There’s no saying no at a holiday shoe sale. I’m manic, medicated, and merry!

The Holiday Season – yes, the disingenuously jolly Holiday Season – has its pedal to the metal. I spend more than 40 hours a week under florescent light bulbs, and this has turned my eyes into narrow slits. I peer suspiciously, cautiously, at each overzealous shopper in my section.

“What? You don’t carry Louis Vuitton?”

“No, but they do in Toronto. Why are you asking me this?”

“Oh, SOOOURY, I’m Canadian.”

Later, I start my car with narrow slit eyes. I find my boxed Franzia and give it a loving stroke.

Whether you are a Mass Market Manipulated Retail Worker, Lonely Living Room Drunk, or Impoverished Individual Who Wishes They Could Give Really Dope Gifts, the holidays can be depressing. So what? Stop making excuses. This is your year to shine. You’re only as good as your last New Year’s resolution. I’m here to make all your holiday fantasies come true – The Ghost of Christmas Perversion.

If you like instant gratification and good fun, you simply must read Craigslist. Like Christmas, Craigslist is all about excess, momentary joy, and losing track of how everything began. I’m here to alleviate some holiday stress through a natural remedy known as Craigslist. I’ve done all the hard work, so hopefully you won’t have to – at least not as much.

Make Extra Holiday Cash

There are plenty of impressive entrepreneurs on Craigslist. As a journalist, I once investigated the Black Market Panty Trade. Some men out there are willing to pay top dollar for panties, I guess. Worn ones, obviously. Plenty has been written on the subject; it’s really not anything that unheard of.

Earlier in the year, I posted an ad in the Personals under Misc. Romance, Casual Encounters, and even the Clothing for Sale section. It was eventually flagged for removal on all of them (probably by competitors).

My ad read “Hot Woman Selling Panties – Do you crave the soft touch of women’s panties? I have hundreds of pairs waiting for you,” etc. I set up a new email account and waited for the stream of thirsty hounds to come.

And come they did. Well, virtually. After an incident which occurred in the parking lot of the Niagara Falls Blvd. Wegmans (the details of which I’ll save for another time), I refused to meet anyone for an in-person trade. Only one customer was okay with me shipping the items – a crossdresser in Oregon. And he didn’t even want panties. He bought an old pair of heels for 50 bucks.

For those thinking someone’s skivvies would make an apropos gift for Grandpa, there’s one current poster whose entrepreneurship impresses me. Just search “Panties.” She is offering each pair mailed with a handwritten note and perfume-sprayed Polaroid for $35. But something tells me the chick from Cheektowaga, with her $5 pairs and phone number readily available, is getting all the action.

Become the Hostess with the Most-est

Now that you’ve banked a cool $5,000 (or, um, $5) slingin’ your dirty laundry, you can host an epic soiree. Unplug that Crock Pot – what do you think this is?! The only pot you need is, well…

For $425, you can buy a light up stripper pole/stage on Craigslist. Please Santa – I’ve been a good girl this year!  This Craigslist purchase would definitely get any soiree off to a rockin’-around-the-Christmas tree start. If you launch your own subterranean basement club, it can be a tax write-off, too.

For the whipped cream on top, there’s the Toronto guys who need “practice” before they become “actual strippers,” and are looking for ladies. Like this post from November 16, “Hot str8 corporate white guy will strip for beer Weekdays – I have always had a fantasy of being a male stripper and am available weekdays. I am good looking 37, white, (bi-curious), athletic, slim, clean shaven and a total exhibitionist. You will take me to a gay bar, buy me a beer or two, and in return I’ll strip and get fully naked for you and give you several lap dances.” What a lush!

Now that you’ve got a tipsy Canadian on a hand-me-down stripper stage, you too can host the soiree of your dreams. Bonus points if you invite a bunch of couples you meet via Casual Encounters. This brings me to…

Find A Mistletoe Makeout

I never found love on Craigslist. Never made out with or held hands with anyone from Craigslist. I never met anyone on Craigslist, period (except Niagara Falls Blvd. panty guy) so I really wouldn’t know the success rate.

But from my research, it seems like those who cannot find love in real life, on Facebook, Instagram, Tinder, OKCupid, Christian Mingle, Our Time, FetLife, or eHarmony, can maybe meet their match on Craigslist. I am here to be the Craigslist Cupid’s arrow, and connect two lonely hearts who tragically have not yet met.

Pantyboy for Mistress is a 26-year-old waiting for his Cinderella in North Buffalo. Any takers? “I just bought some new panties and stockings, and I’m looking for a woman that is into this. I’m white, thin…we can Skype.”

If I can do any good deeds with this column, it would be with this post!  “Daddy/Daughter reunion – m4w. Searching for my daughter and hoping to find you soon! Still looking for you, submissive, obedient always trying your best to please and always a perfect little girl! If we meet and all goes well I know your uncle misses you too! I’d love to finally hear from you and hoping we could talk and meet as soon as possible! Wouldn’t that work for you too?”

Wait – do you think he’s really looking for his daughter?

Finally, “Lonely Man Seeks Lonely Lady, 45, Medina/Gasport,” is potentially the saddest post I’ve seen. He’s basically begging for a “warm body.” Don’t let him get ahold of your holiday turkey!

“Lonely, safe, sane white guy mid 40’s, looking for an attractive lonely lady to come and spend some time or a night with me. Struggling through some rough times, and tired of sleeping alone night after night. Would love to have someone to talk to, watch a movie, do some snuggling, and just having a warm body next to mine.”

His first mistake was using “attractive” and “lonely” to describe the same hypothetical lady. No attractive woman is ever lonely!

That is because if you are confident and fun, you can be your own best company. You can be alone, without being lonely.  In lieu of company, when the winter chill is just too strong, there is always Craigslist. The people out there, searching for their Missed Connection or a Casual Encounter? We’re all in this together. We walk the same streets, ride the same buses. Perhaps one was behind you in line at the Wegman’s on Niagara Falls Blvd., buying a quart of eggnog.

Happy Holidays everyone! Remember – stay cheerful, stay warm, and never think you are the craziest person on the planet. If you do, just log on to Craigslist. It will put everything in perspective.