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Dating In New York: Anatomy of a Hook-up

bed

bed (Photo credit: Quiet Here)

I have been meaning to write this one for months now.  So please don’t anyone get concerned, I am doing fine.  I just wanted to capture in a slightly different writing style than my usual.  Also this is not in reference to any one specific person.  This is a piece of fiction based on my life…the incident that inspired it actually happened several months ago.  So please don’t anyone think I am writing about them again…for the love of Pete! 

I always tell myself – I’m never going to do it again.  It is a poor substitute for what I really need.  I go for months without physical contact from another human – skin touching skin, the warmth of another body, the sound of another heartbeat.  When I was younger it seemed so much easier.  Everyone was so willing to fall so quickly.  Now every man I meet is so jaded, too guarded to let anyone in.  I’m skittish myself, no matter how hard I try it’s difficult to feeling anything.  The men become little more than a body.

I keep hoping that I will find another partner and become entwined with them in every way possible.  The wait lasts forever and nothing seems to change.  When I finally succumb to my carnal desires, not so much desires as a basic human need, I know I am not going to find anything more than a fleeting moment.  All of the bottled up longing and loneliness suddenly explodes.  My body unable to stand it one day longer.

This one seems harmless I think to myself.  I doubt this guy will give me a hard time, stalk me, make my life difficult, hate me or curse my name into infinity, send me hateful emails, dramatically kick me off his Facebook profile or dump me from his twitter,  so I give in.  What is normally a fortress – difficult for most to enter, the lucky devil is given the key to the front door.  I get so sick of always saying no. I am not interested.  You’re too young.  You’re just a player.  I have trust issues.  I don’t do casual things well.

I finally connect and let someone close but it always feels like a faded facsimile of the real thing.  Memories swirl in my head of the last time it meant so much more.  The last time this actually felt real.

As we go through the motions I can still see his face, and smell his skin.  I hear his voice with words so sweet they were like a million sugar cubes dissolving in my mouth all at once dripping down my throat and filling me up in an instant.   Were they lies or was it the truth?  Does it matter? I believed them.

Don’t make me look at you, don’t make me look into your eyes, that’s asking too much.  I’ll do nearly anything you’ll ask, I’ll put up with your sexual theatrics, but don’t ask that of me.  Reenact your pornos, turn me into your sexual doll, but don’t make me try to care about you.  I’m not your true love, I’m not your dream girl, I’m just a hit of drug you so desperately need.  Tomorrow another woman will soothe your demons, calm your soul and get your rocks off.

Your hands replace his hands, your eyes his eyes, your breath his breath.  The ghost of what I once had wraps itself around me, while I kid myself with a stranger.  I wonder who do you think of as you kiss my lips, stokes my hair, and hold the small of my back?  Who is the one still burned in your brain?  I know it’s not me, but I grind away anyway hoping for a savior, or at least a release.

Please don’t cuddle up to me afterward.  Please don’t go on about you day, or tell me your troubles, and by all means don’t tell me about your other women.  Whatever you do just tell me anything about her.  Don’t remind me how insignificant I am.  She doesn’t want you, she has moved on and she is so cruel she shoves it right in your face, yet you can’t let go of her.  You’re a slave to a dead dream.

I get so tired of playing this same game over and over again.  My defenses come back.   I teach myself to become numb again.  Give him no ammunition – I tell myself.  Give him no reason to reject you, reject him first, blow him off, cut them off, do not care or at least pretend to not care.  It is not that he doesn’t  want you.   You don’t want him.

The euphoria lasts sometimes for a few minutes and sometimes hours.  Maybe if I am lucky I get a day or two.  The indifference returns.  In an instant the spaces between hundreds of bricks built on disappointments and broken promises fill with defensive mortar and solidify around me.  The great wall of self-protection is back.   Until the next time when I just can’t take it anymore, and what seems like a bad idea, what I know is a mistake, suddenly has to happen.

I remember when it was so different, when a sigh or touch could melt away the fears and pain.   The glimpse of someone’s eyes could warm my heart and for a moment I could feel something.  I don’t know if I will ever get back there, or if this is the new normal.

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Dating in New York: A Reformed Man Whore

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42-17843858 (Photo credit: kedai-lelaki)

A good friend of mine recently confided in me his frustration with his man whore lifestyle.  It seems he was now back with his on and off again girlfriend of several years.  I don’t want to reveal his identity so I will leave out a lot of specifics.  After a little back and forth he basically said,  “I really have to get over being a man-whore, I am trying to work things out.”

To which I replied, “Look you aren’t 25 years old, there is only so long you are going to be able to pull off the man whore thing.  You don’t make a ton of money, you aren’t drop dead gorgeous and even if you were, your looks will fade anyway.  Don’t be an idiot.  Try to make this work.  You don’t know until you have lived without it, how painful it is to live without love.  You guys obviously care for each other or you wouldn’t end up back together all the time.  For me it has been over three years, and it feels like I am slowly dying.”

Sex is easy.  Love is hard.  Part of the reason I don’t really get into the hook-up culture is that for most women having casual sexual affairs is like shooting fish in a barrel.  It is simply too easy.  If I want no-strings attached sex from a man I can get it, any night of the week.  The sex might be dull, and the partners unexceptional, but if I just want sex, it is never a problem.  Sexual dynamics have never been equal for men and women.  There are some rare men that are so physically beautiful, charming or wealthy that they have a high success rate with the opposite sex but for the vast majority of men, the hook-up game is much more difficult.

But even when getting sex is easy, it doesn’t always work out.  My last hook-up was a total comedy routine.  It should have been fine.  The man aggressively pursued me at a bar.  He was much younger, didn’t live in New York City and once I relented we both had clear cut expectations.  But he also didn’t realize he was allergic to cats…and since I live with two gorgeous felines…it was all over before it really began.  So much for my New York wild single life.  I tried to warn him before we got here…anyway.

Every time I try these scenarios, I am left wanting more.  It feels kind of like eating a cookie when I am really famished for a meal.  The decadent treat might temporarily satisfy but it does nothing for my deeper hunger.  Plus none of us can survive on a diet of just sweets.   As I tried to point out to my friend, his man whore lifestyle is only sustainable for so many years.  An aging millionaire rock star can still get a 25-year-old when he is in his sixties, a wealthy banker might have a trophy wife and a bevy of mistresses on the side.  For most of us, we get old, we don’t look as hot and we don’t have the economic resources to attract as many partners.  Before we know it we are at the age where we might end up permanently alone.  As I told my friend in my usual overly blunt way,

“Look dude do you want to end up with the kind of woman who would date a poor musician who screwed around for most of his life?  Or do you want to be a man and work at a relationship with a woman who you love, and who loves you.  She doesn’t care that you are don’t make a lot of money, she loves you anyway as you are now…don’t be an idiot.”

Fear of being alone shouldn’t be the primary factor in any relationship, but like I pointed out these two actually do have a strong emotional connection.   My friend is just being neurotic that somehow he might be happier if he is chasing every woman in New York City.  He knows it isn’t true, but being self-destructive leaves him torn between what is good for him, and what feels good in the moment.

I have had to condition myself to live without a partner in my life, and it has been extremely difficult for me.  Even before my marriage I was always a serial monogamist.   Casually dating multiple partners feels like another game entirely and one that I am not very good at playing.  I have dreadful dating skills.  I am nervous, insecure, blather on and reveal way too much.  Avoiding discussing my divorce is especially difficult since my marriage was such a huge part of my adult life.  I simply don’t have the skill set, I was just half of a couple for too long.   I can live by myself and be perfectly happy, but I don’t want to live like this forever.

I honestly hope my would be reformed man whore heeds my advice.  From my perspective he is incredibly lucky to have a woman who will keep trying to make something work with him.  Chasing the next best thing could lead him down a dead-end path with no way out.

Dating in NYC – A city of SLUTS

New York City

New York City (Photo credit: kaysha)

 

This is the earlier version of a post that I submitted to the Huffington Post.  So it might seem familiar to you if you read the shorter more streamlined version.  I just wanted to point that out in case anyone was confused.  Basically after I wrote this one, and got overwhelmingly positive feedback from it I was encouraged to submit to HuffPo.  Although I have posted in the comedy section before the divorce editor did not know me from Adam, and I didn’t even know if they would publish me much less feature me.  So to any bloggers out there who want more traffic and a larger audience, just do what I did, and you might get lucky.  I love how the internet has a level of democratization to it.   You don’t have to go to an expensive Ivy league school or know the right people…anyone can self-publish!  So do it!  I had to cut this post in half, as the Huffington Post suggests 500-800 words, this was something like 1600.  🙂

 

It seems since I left my husband I have been unable to do a number of things, I won’t list them all here, but the most frustrating lost skill is the ability to date.  That is, date anyone for any significant length of time.   Admittedly it is a bit of a problem because I am out of practice as I was with my husband for a total of nine years.  And after nine years together in a committed relationship I have extreme difficulty navigating the nuanced dance that is dating.    One can not be too direct, overly eager, needy, desperate, clingy, emotional, commitment pressuring, or baby daddy seeking.  And at the same time not be too cold, aloof, bitchy, mean, shallow, negative or distant.  And never shit talk an ex in front of anyone, or even talk about an ex in any capacity, even if the past nine years of your life was living and working with him!!!!   Then there are the crazy games of when to text, email or call, when not to get back to a person and when to answer immediately, when to act interested and disinterested and when to completely blow them off in the hopes that they will come running back after you have ignored them a while.  The last tactic being one I absolutely loathe as it goes against everything about me.   As a person who is by nature very direct and to the point, dating is a mystery wrapped in an enigma to me.

 

I am also straight edge in that I don’t drink alcohol often and I do absolutely no drugs.  Now mind you I hang out with a bunch of artistic types so this can really make life difficult for me, as the majority of my friends use at least one if not more substances on a regular basis.   I am not judging anyone, and I have no problem with my friends that are regular pot users or heavy drinkers.  I am perfectly comfortable for the most part hanging with my friends, but it can make me a less than attractive partner in some eyes because of my drug and alcohol-free lifestyle.  Add to that my vegetarian diet of over 20 years and my two cats, and for some that is just too many deal breakers to handle for many men.

 

But the most distressing behavior that I really can’t justify or figure out in New York is the casual sex hook up mating habits that I frankly have no desire to engage in.  Yes, I know I get on stage and joke and tell a blue streak of obscenities and adult themed humor, but in my personal life I am a committed relationship type of gal.  I make no illusions to being anything but this, and I do not judge others for their behavior.  If a poly amorous life of multiple lovers works for a person, then I say go for it.   Or if a string of emotionally detached one-night stands with perfect strangers is what makes a person happy then great.  But I know there are others like me that aren’t wired this way, and seek something more substantial and with some level of greater commitment both emotionally and sexually.  I have a myriad of friends who complain all the time

 

“I am not slutty enough for this city”. 

 

And I can relate.

 

I have made failed attempts at living a Sex in the City style life of hooking up with partners for something casual, and every time I have tried it the results have been disastrous.   I either am disgusted by the man, or the man won’t stop calling.  I had one man who kept calling me for months afterward, another who rudely told me about his other women, and yes there is a polite way to handle this, and yet another who had what I would call a mild breakdown in my apartment about how he couldn’t handle the “gray area”.  So I realized, I am not this person, I need to be true to myself so I went back to my serious relationship commitment roots.   But no matter how much I keep trying to go for a traditional path, the hook-up scenario keeps rearing its ugly head.

 

Just the other night an attractive man was coming on to me HARD.  He was so obnoxious and obvious about it that a bunch of my friends noticed and even some of his friends were trying to set us up.  But I had never met this man in my life and to be quite honest his overly aggressive approach was off-putting.  He was also over a decade younger than me and was a bit of a jock.  Not exactly the brainy nerdy guys that I normally find much more compelling.  I like a man who can intellectually stimulate me, plus pretty boy jocks tend to get women easily, and as I always say….

 

He who gets the pussy easily, does not treat the pussy well.

 

And that tends to be true.   So I was mildly deflecting his advances when a much younger and age appropriate woman arrived on the scene.  Eventually Mr. Meathead instantly moved on to her, I had no idea if she knew the show he was putting on in front of me or how aggressive he had been.  Would it have mattered to her?  I doubt it.  She was young, she hadn’t learned some basics about men yet.  That any guy who is that attractive and that aggressive towards women is not what you would call relationship material.  And maybe to her credit that wasn’t what she was looking for anyway.  I couldn’t care less.  I knew I wasn’t going to sleep with him or do anything else with him that evening so if she wanted the pretty boy jock she could have him.  And part of my ego was stroked anyway in that he approached me first, and I was 16 years her senior.  So for bragging rights, at least I have that!  She went up to him.  He went up to me!  I have to take what I can get!  HA!  The same girl was chatting up another male friend of mine earlier in the night.  So much so that I thought they might be dating.  Little did I know, it seemed she may have been looking for whatever was the best option available that evening.  Or maybe she just met her future husband last night.  I don’t really care.   Whatever works for her!!

 

I find this all the time when dating.  It is just sort of expected by many that you start the physical part of the relationship first, and then see if either partner wants to continue after you have had sex.  Sort of a try before you buy situation.  Sex before emotional attachment, sex before any form of relationship, sex before everything.  Or  what I like to call how to be treated like something in between a booty call and a girlfriend.   And as a person who doesn’t like being treated poorly, these setups are not usually to my liking.

 

  • The guy will call or text when he wants to hookup but that is about it.
  • You are supposed to be on call to wait for the opportunity and then run to see him
  • Don’t reveal too much about yourself, but listen to him complain about his trials and tribulations
  • Don’t expect commitment, or exclusivity
  • Don’t expect any emotional bonding
  • Don’t expect much effort on his part to impress you, or make you feel like you are important in his life.

 

Not exactly what I call fun, but again everyone is different and for some people this situation is ideal.   What I find frustrating is that if you really want to get to know a guy first before having sex with him, it seems like there is no end to the women who will jump into bed with them.   And this isn’t to say that only men do this, as women engage in the same behavior.  But I didn’t think that in order to try to have a healthy sustained relationship with a person I am supposed to have sex with them hours or even minutes after meeting them.  It seems more like long-term relationship suicide.   Sure the sexual relationship might be great at first, but sex doesn’t really hold much together as far as compatibility in concerned.  Sex is usually the mortar between the bricks but the bricks have to line up or the whole thing collapses.

 

I know there a plenty of men and women who are frustrated like myself out there.   I hear it all the time from my friends, sometimes they think the fast life of hookups and one-night stands, friends-with-benefits, or fuck-buddies is working for them.  But they soon grow tired of it and want something steady with one person.  But what are we supposed to do when everyone around us seems to be whoring it up?   If a guy can so easily get no-strings attached sex, and then never see the woman again if he chooses, then why would they try for anything else?  And when a man is tired of the hook-ups himself, how does he then make the transition to getting to know a woman when he has been hooking-up for years?  Of course the same goes for women, and people of all sexual orientations and persuasions.    When do you decide to stop and settle down?  And when you do settle down, then what?

 

And in the online dating field, I will occasionally get a man from out-of-town send me an email announcing he will be in New York city in a couple of weeks and would love to “have coffee” with me.  As if “having coffee” has turned into the ultimate euphemism for anonymous sex with a stranger.  Funny how drinking a hot caffeinated beverage is somehow the equivalent of sex with no strings.    Again I am sure some women will go for it, but what kind of women? How likely are they to look like their actual photo? Or not be a total psycho?  Or not be a scam artist?  I bet some men have tried these arrangements only to wake up in a strange hotel room hours later missing their computer, their wallet and anything else of value.

 

Is it survival of the sluttiest?  I have friends that are in committed relationships and seem happy and most of them didn’t meet by having sex with total strangers.   There are no real rules with relationships and sometimes sleeping with a someone you barely know leads to years of coupled bliss.  This city doesn’t make things easy and I have trust issues on top of everything due to my divorce.  I ask myself this question almost daily…

 

Do I have to change who I fundamentally am as a person in order to survive the dating scene in New York city?

 

I keep answering, no, but I am not so sure how much longer I can live like this.