Back by Request

A friend made a request of sorts, that I post again, because apparently my wrecked romantic life is so incredibly entertaining. Well, at least it is good for something. Nice to know, if nothing else, my love-lorn misadventures spark smiles and a bit of glee perhaps. Twisted, I know, but I can dig that. I like twisted. And let’s face it, I am a bit of whore for the attention. Speaking of which…. (does this even require a winking emoticon?)

First let me dispense with one woman who dispensed with me before anything really got started. We’ll call her — Lois. Yeah, I’m not particularly fond of that name either but for me it conjures up images of overly-tanned, chain-smoking retired snowbirds in Florida, which this woman is well on her way to being. I suppose that’s why I’m not very torn up over it not working out, or even getting started really. I don’t really want to date a smoker, and while I like the sun and the beach and a bit of color on my skin as well as a woman’s, I’m not all that interested in dating someone who bares a striking resemblance to an old baseball glove. Of course, that is an over exaggeration. She doesn’t look that bad…yet, or bad at all really. But it was clear that she thought I could use some color and preferred it, said she thought it “looked healthier.” Why do people think that? Seriously this looks healthy:

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Anyhoo… this woman does not look like that….again I stress yet.

We didn’t meet on a dating site. We connected via facebook. She was/is(?) an old childhood friend. Well, not even that. We sort of knew of each other in our youth, you know, but didn’t really know each other. It was one of those things — we friended each other because we knew each other’s names. Anyway, we went out for lunch when she was in town — she lives 2-hours a way, which presents a challenge but also perhaps an advantage in a way too, if you think about it — and texted and talked on the phone, and then I was supposed to visit her for the weekend, which she had originally suggested. Then the weekend came and she copped out. Good thing I made an effort to confirm otherwise I would might not have known it wasn’t going to happen. It was kind of annoying, but hey, what are you gonna do. She was apologetic and there was even the possibility of trying for another weekend, but it became clear that she was not interested and simply would not say so. Or perhaps she just wanted some attention, which is something I am finding a lot of women want, as much as they can get.

Which brings me to the mid- to late-twenty-something type who admits to seeking attention outside of her “relationship” and having Daddy issues and having a high sex-drive, so much so that she could never see herself being with only one man for the rest of her life, but yet her current man is so good to her and is willing to tolerate her that she could never leave him, but she just can’t help wanting more blah blah blah. I won’t even give her an alias, but I will give her a description. She is what Tyler Durden from Fight Club would call a “Predator posing as a house cat.”

But those were just two quick hits on the way to my most recent dalliance, this time with an exotic, international beauty with dark skin and a big dark eyes, and long lush black hair. And who had a knack for keeping me on the phone so long that my cell bill this month is going to kick my ass. I can forget about any road trip vacations for the near future dammit. I’ll call her Tia. Why not? It’s as good as any name. Meh

Here’s the difference this time. I copped out on her. It became clear that her,um, lack of relationship experience had her pining for some kind of mythical true love romance that couldn’t exist in the most syrupy of fairy tales. And her obsession with shopping and brand name labels was annoying as shit. She actually wanted to meet to go shopping. Ugh! Why don’t women get that men hate shopping. Stop making us go, dammit! Go. Buy your shit with your girlfriends and let us stay home and watch sports or whatever the fuck it is we do.

I attempted to let her down easy, saying I didn’t think we were compatible, to which she proceeded to lobby hard in favor that we were. I listened, doubtfully, counting the minutes that were costing me $0.49 per and finally, and stupidly agreed tocontinue, although in what form was unclear. What the point of all this was lost on me. Until the next day when she texted me that essentially she didn’t believe a romantic relationship was possible, which made it clear that her whole compaign the night before was so that she could then “reject” me. This was fine with me, since it was what I wanted anyway. So I proceeded to delete her contact info, including blocking her on facebook, which she did not like at all. She wanted to know why I would do that? To which I replied, Why not?

Now she continues to text me asking banal questions such as, How was your day? And, how was work? And, wasn’t the weather nice today? Until I wanted to fucking shoot myself! And when I am non-responsive she gets pouty, like a child.

Something I realized, though. And that is this: I may not really have an interest in a serious relationship right now. Before I was married I wasn’t really interested in one. That was a relationship born out of circumstances and manipulation. Maybe I’d be more comfortable just being on my own. Apparently more and more people are opting for this option. In fact, according to this new book entitled Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, by Eric Klineberg, the single person household is more prevalent in this country than the standard nuclear family.

It’s quite interesting. Check it out.

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Summer of the Zombie Novel

My daughter has been working on a zombie novel. She is very excited about it. It’s a about a kid named TJ and begins with him day-dreaming in school about this girl, Debbie, that he kind of likes. After that the structure gets a bit fuzzy, but still it sounds cool.

Anyway, it got me to thinking that maybe it is time I started work on my own zombie novel. I’ve been kicking one around in my head for awhile now.

Here is the opening:

For the past thirty-seven hours I have been trapped in my ex-wife’s attic. And I can still  hear them down there. By them I don’t mean my ex-wife, Carolyn, or her new husband, Roger, or my daughter, Melanie.

No. I mean the zombies. That’s right — zombies, undead, walkers,  biters, ghouls, legends of the undead. Whatever the fuck you want to call them. They are down there.

It happened. The dead came back to life. I don’t how it happened or why. I just know that it did. And I don’t know where my daughter is. I need to find her and make sure that she’s safe.

What do you think? Does it grab you?

I thought this could be a project for the summer, for my daughter and I — we could work on our stories together.

Emotional Vibrator

Emotional vibrator is a phrase I used in my last post in regards to Gigi, the most recent lady of the online night to take her leave of me. And really, who can blame her, right?

I thought it quite clever myself, although I’m not sure I coined the phrase. In any case, it seemed to me what Gigi wanted me to be for her, an emotional affirmation machine to help soothe her through her most recent break-up blah blah blah. But of course I was unwilling to do that because it seemed a one-sided and ultimately losing proposition for me. I don’t expect a sure thing – although I did like that 80s movie with John Cusack;

but let’s face it I dig any movie with John Cusack in it (and a chick like Nicollette Sheriedan), man I can’t wait to see the new movie with him about Edgar Allen Poe….wait, what was I talking about.

Oh yeah, vibrators, of the emotional variety.

Of course, this is not just a woman thing. Men do it too (though in a slightly different way I suppose), they seek out women to soothe them emotionally, and when they are done being soothed, they clean up, dispose of their emotional self-healing toy and move on.

I’ve been called out for doing something like this, being told – no, not just told but literally chastised: “I can’t fix you!” All for expressing the fact that I was feeling sad and missed my family. I didn’t expect this particular woman to fix me. In fact, the very notion was laughable; she was so fucked up herself.

That’s part of why my date the other night was so cool. I could actually talk about my ex – good and bad – and was not punished for it – some women will come right  out and tell you they are not interested in hearing about it, others will simply glaze over and check out, others will get an irritated look on their face, still others will pretend to listen and simply disappear later. But that was not the case. My date spoke of her ex, in both good and bad terms. And really that should be allowed, up to a point. And I think because I was allowed to express a few things it was easy to simply shut up about it…more or less.

But that is not where I was planning on going with this. No. My intention was to bring up the phrase Emotional Vibrator (you know, even though  I may not have coined it, I wonder if I could still copyright it? Is that possible?) because it gave me an idea for an App.

The App would of course be called: Emotional Vibrator. Or perhaps even better  Your Emotional Vibrator. And it would work like Siri on the iPhone 4. You could lament and complain and bitch and piss and moan and whine an gripe to it all you wanted and all it would ever do is offer you positive affirmation and support, agree with you, soothe you. And it would never get tired of your pathetic bullshit like everyone has.

There could even be a PlusVersion of it that has an actual vibrator attachment that you can…..

In which I cast into the past and snag a barracuda

So last weekend and early this week was a whirlwind of online dating drama, but things have since mellowed, which is cool only it doesn’t provide much in the way of fodder for this here blog.

To remedy that allow me to turn back the clock, to when I first started online dating, signing up pretty much on a whim and plopping down a whole year’s subscription on eHarmony — why not just a six months, or only three even, just to test the waters? Why? Ah, well. Matters not now. Nothing to be done about it.

This particular cast into the past lands us firmly at the end of October, just before Halloween, the most Generation X of all the holidays in my humble but masterfully astute opinion — do not question my author-a-tie! In fact, it was exactly the 30th of the month, when I was first matched with the first woman I would ever date via any online service — I was on yahoo singles (or whatever it is) briefly during my separation but had no luck with it, unlike my ex but that’s a whole other gripe. Anyhoo… back to my online first, the woman who popped my online dating cherry. Let’s call her, oh, say ….Lydia.

Lydia was anything but a tatooed lady — trust me I had ample access and time to investigate — but she was very cool all the same. Or so I thought. What snagged me was how much we had in common in terms of movies and a penchant for reading and TV. Also, she was quite witty, at least at first. Plenty of witty banter  via eHarmony email, which Lydia suggested we abandoned for regular email since being eHarmony wasn’t very, in her words, “work friendly,” by which I now understand her to mean that she was at least slightly embarrassed to be utilizing. I wonder, is she still? Meh. Hardly matters now, does it.

What followed was a barrage of emails, at first, and then chatting via gmail chat. The more we communicated the more we seemed to click. Finally, Lydia suggested we meet. I was all for that. I suggested either Royal Oak or Ferndale as there is much to do  in both places. She put the kibosh on both. “No Royal Oak. No Ferndale,” she insisted. Fine by me although I was more than a bit curious as to why. What was wrong with these places? I supposed I would find out in time. Instead, we met at a bar in Troy, little neighborhood place. We had  drink and talked, and were comfortable enough to order some food. We talked some more. And it seemed to me that the more we talked the more we seemed to click. I was excited to hit it off with someone so quickly. I had been more than tad skeptical of the whole process, and not willing to get my hopes up. But I was wrong. This chick was cool.

And then… Well, apparently for our second date I was not nearly Johnny-on-the-spot enough for her likingI was chastized via chat for not asking her out in the right way, in the right time. Would we have ever gone out had she not suggested it? Fuck if I knew. I was instructed that I needed to ask her out early in the week so that she could properly plan her week and weekends. And fuck me if I didn’t agree. Anyone I told this too insisted it was a red flag. And I did not deny it but for some reason I ignored the warnings.

So we went out on a few more dates through November, leading up to her birthday, for which I decided to get her something. Nothing serious, something fun. I got her days of the week underpants because we both liked the movie “When Harry Met Sally”. I did not expect her to ever even wear them. Also, I got her Reese’s Peanutbutter Cups because chocolate and peanutbutter are her favorite. And a little convertible Hot Wheels car because we’d had a joke — she’d asked me what I was getting her for her bday, and I said, nothing big, just a car. She requested a convertible. There was also a card and a collection of short stories that I hoped she might like, “Bad Behavior”, by Mary Gaitskill. She seemed to like the gifts all around.

Things progressed into December and we actually spent part of Christmas Day together. I introduced her to my brother and his partner. They seemed to like her. My birthday came up and she got me two seasons of SCRUBS on DVD. And we made plans to spend New Year’s Eve together, which we did. I made her dinner, homemade pasta and meatballs, a salad, some wine, a dessert. By New Year’s Day she was done with me. It was clear. She just wouldn’t or couldn’t say it. And for some reason I hung around. Still not sure why.

There were plenty of other red flags and drama and gipes I’d love to expound upon. But I’ll get into those next time. I’m tired.

Which came first, the batshit crazy woman or me? …and other scotch-induced reflections

A jumble of blog post ideas clanking around in my head tonight. Plus, been sipping the Johnny Walker Red again, so look out.

Where to begin…?

Well, first today it was pointed out to me by several people that I seem to have a penchant for attracting batshit crazy chicks. This was pointed out me by someone I’ve known for only 6 months, a woman I work with, as well as an old college friend whom I’ve known for years. And upon scotch-induced reflection I have to say they have a point. It was true in college. It was true before college. It was true after college. It was true in grad school. And after grad school. And now. Apparently.

The question one has to ask is, do I attract batshit crazy women or are batshit crazy women drawn to me? Or are they normal (and by normal I mean just regular crazy) until they mix it up with me and then go batshit crazy? Who knows? Maybe I am the catalyst? Maybe I am the final straw, the missing factor that really sends them over the edge? Or maybe I’m the one who is batshit crazy? Only the shadow knows. …Muh ha ha ha ha ha. Come on shadow, tell already…..you dick!

On the upside it seems to be raining women for me as of late. Sure, a date cancelled on me on Saturday (and thank God for that too, eh), but I managed to find another date that same night. And I met another woman online Sunday morning. We were going to hang Sunday but it never happened. We made plans to meet tonight but she had an accident, fell and hurt herself, and swore it wasn’t cold feet or her pulling a Peter Brady. I guess I believe her. In the end, it doesn’t matter. Cancelled dates are par for the course, I’m learning. Get over it. What are you gonna do? Fucking cry about it? Yeah that’ll work wonders for you.

Anyway, it didn’t phase me because I’d spent the day chatting online with another woman that I’d met on eHarmony, which suddenly is producing for me. In addition, I had email messages from two other women. Although one lives in Ontario, Canada, which is of course within my 25 mile range, but I can’t help wondering how that would work — dating someone from another country? Granted it’s not China or Brazil but still. What would happen if it got serious? One of us would have to move to other’s country. And I’m not moving to Canada, sorry. Guess we’ll find out. I should update my passport in any case.

Then tonight I find myself chatting via OkCupid with three different women, one of whom got frustrated with the slow response time of the chat option and wanted to talk on the phone and handed out her number pretty readily, which I don’t think is a good idea, but she’d only been on the site for two days and may have been an online dating newbie entirely. We texted a few times and then she disappeared. So did one of the other women, which was cool by me because the woman I really wanted to chat with stuck around. Booyah! Sorry, though, no serious details. Dat’s da rules.

And now for something completely different.

Well, not really. It is still dating related. It’s about STDs. From a post by a very sexy, wild lady. Check it. Respect it. And condom up people.

Oh yeah. I know what else I wanted to jibber jabber about — ex talk. Everyone tells you never talk about your ex on a date. Never never never. It the subject comes up, give a short sweet answer and move on. I, of course, have a hard time doing this. It was an issue with the first woman I dated after my divorce. She gave me a pretty good talking to about it. But the way she did it kind of pissed me off and should have been a red flag. Hell it was a red flag, I just fucking ignored it. Look, I got no problem with a woman telling me that I talk too much about my ex but there are better ways to do it. Such as this: I don’t mean and disrespect but it seems to me that you still have some healing to do. Still, though, the message is, I don’t want to deal with your problems, which I’m sorry come with a person. Better get fucking used to it. You can’t expect that issues with my ex are never going to back up on me, especially  when your relationship was a clean break because you were never fucking married and only dated for three fucking years or you divorce didn’t involve kids. Life is messy, like a porno set after a full day of shoot (pun very fucking intended) sometimes, get used to it.

And anyway, the woman I chatted with online tonight told me she enjoyed chatting about this stuff. Of course, that could be a whole other kind of red flag. Who knows? We’ll, see. Because I intend to find out. She’s smokin’ hot, baby.

Thus endith tonight’s drunken blog post.

Don’t blog drunk, you say. Ha! I don’t need your rules. I’m a blogger. SPLAT!

You tell me….

Previously I had stated that I would not blog about any relationship that was currently open, on-going, had potential to go somewhere, I would only blog about those that were closed, dead, finito. I was working up to some that hit the skids some time back, but I’ve got a more recent occurrence I’d like to blather about, if you don’t mind.

So shall we….

In a recent post I explained that a big turn on for me is a sense of humor. I love it. This means not only being able to engage in witty banter but also being able to get/take a joke, most of the time. I know that jokes don’t always go over well, if at all. It’s the nature of the beast. And sometimes they can even hurt and offend. But when that happens one should be at least willing to hear an explanation and/or an apology.

Where am I going with this?

I’m glad you asked.

Last night I had a date with this woman I’d met via OkCupid. Let’s call her ….Rita, okay. Rita and I had already met briefly a week prior and decided that we liked each other enough to try for an actual date. During the past week we had exchanged text messages from time to time, many of which were flirty and jokey in manner, although eventually she told me that she hated texting. Fine. No biggie. Although part of me thought — here come the rules. Still, she said it was fine to text her anytime she just wasn’ that into it, so naturally I not only backed off I told her I’d be glad to call and talk sometime if she preferred, just let me know when would be the best time. She never got back to me on that. In any case, I was looking forward to meeting her again. She was (probably still is too) smart and clever, funny, accomplished, and quite attractive — I’ve never seen eyes that blue before ,I’m telling you.

So Saturday comes and I’ve got some things to attend to during the day. Well, while I’m out I get a text saying that she can’t make it, she’s run into some difficulties with her kids. I was disappointed for sure, but totally understood. I know how it can be with kids, and she has two, plus recently divorced and essentially a single mom. So I texted her back and told her not to worry about it all. And that maybe we could meet another time, if she wanted — not assuming that she wanted, as she may simply have changed her mind about me for whatever reason.

Well, then a funny thing occurred to me and I texted it to her. I texted that I had to make a confession. That I was actually kind of relieved that she’d cancelled as I’d accidentally pulled a Peter Brady and booked two dates for the same night and at my age did not have the energy to run back and forth between two women. I added to the text a wink 😉 and the explicit explanation that it was a joke. Just to be sure.

Rita did NOT get the joke. Her response seemed to indicate that she was serious, although initially I thought she was joking back. She was not. I explained again that it was a joke, that I had not booked two dates, that I would not do that, not for the same night anyway. I apologized if it was ill-advised. I tried to call her, thinking that maybe this required a verbal explanation and even apology. She would not answer. She would not take my call, despite my pleas. She was convinced that I was a playa and trying to purposely hurt her, that this was typical of the men on OkCupid. I told her  (via text) that I did not mean to hurt her. She texted back: I said tried. You did not hurt me. I am stronger than that. Well, clearly I had at least truck a nerve and I felt badly and wanted to understand it, but she was not allowing it.

Finally, I asked her how my joke was any different than when she said, at our initial meeting, that she needed me to go because she had other candidates to interview, which I thought was quite funny. She responded with: Please, no more texts. So I obliged.

For a moment, I considered getting online and emailing her via the site to try and explain but in the end I opted not to. I texted a female friend and asked her opinion, which was that it was total drama and to take it as a red flag and to run. So I decided to do just that. I eradicated her electronic footprint from my life, blocking her on OkCupid, deleting our correspondences and removing her from my cell phone. I do not need that kind of crap in my life. And I will not be manipulated by that kind of emotional terrorism.

Since this incident I have received confirmation from at least two other women that Rita’s reaction was troubling at best, and disturbing at worst, and definitely more than reason enough to have nothing to do with her anymore. It was suggested to me that I tell her to leave me alone but I think a non-response is the best one. It was also suggested to me that it would not be surprising if she actually contacted me at some point. I doubt that, but we’ll see.

What do people think? Was my joke funny? Out of line? Ill-advised? Hurtful? Cruel? Harmless? And if it was a bad joke should I have been at least afforded opportunity to explain and apologize or whatever? Do chime in. Enquiring minds want to know. So do I.

I beginning to believe that online dating sites are receptacles for bat-shit crazy women. Maybe men too, I don’t know. You tell me.

Stay Awake: stories

I haven’t written anything in awhile.  I had planned to write about my new job, working in an office that is an interesting mix of Gen X and Millennials, with a few Boomers thrown for good (or not…) measure, but that hasn’t really happened, now has it.

Yesterday, though, on my way home from work, I had to stop at the bookstore — Barnes and Noble because there are no more Borders (B-o-o H-o-o) — to by a copy of “Stay Awake,” a new collection of short stories by Dan Chaon.

I have been waiting for this book to come out ever since I first learned of it’s existence, which was some time ago, although how long exactly I can’t quite recall. No matter. It is here.

I have been following Mr. Chaon since his very first collection of short stories, “Fitting Ends,” was published in 1995 by Triquarterly Books.

I  was still a graduated student in the MFA program at Western Michigan University, hoping to be a writer of short stories myself some day. I must have come across this book at John Rollins bookstore in Portage, MI, right up Westnedge from Kalamazoo, where WMU is located. That was a great independent bookstore. But I’m not sure it exists anymore. A google search does not turn it up. <sigh>

Anyhoo…. I recall being so taken by the stories in “Fitting Ends” that I wrote to the publisher in hopes of contacting the author, Mr. Chaon. This was before it was so easy to track someone down via the internet. To my surprise, the publisher passed on my letter to Dan and he eventually wrote to me. For a time we exchanged letters and emails, which was a fresh technology at the time. Eventually, though, the correspondences ended and life moved on.

I remember I was in the Borders on Woodward in Birmingham, I’m pretty sure, when, scanning the shelves for something to read, I came across Dan’s second collection of short stories, “Among the Missing.”

I remember sitting and reading it but ultimately not buying, perhaps because it was in hardcover and I was a new father and concerned about money and therefore didn’t feel right about dropping that kind of cash on a book (huh, if only my ex had felt the same sense of fiscal responsibility when it came to her hair or clothes). But later I did buy it in paperback.

A few years later, not long after I started my job at the Baldwin Public Library, one of the hot fiction books at the time was Dan Chaon’s first novel, “You Remind Me of Me.”

I spent my early lunch hours absorbed in this exceptional novel.

And of course I was super duper excited when, years later, still working at the library, I saw that Dan’s new novel, “Await You Reply,” was to be released. I counted down the days until the book was available. And immediately devoured it once it was. Of course, because I was the main copy cataloger at the library I was the first one to get my hot little hands on this novel. I had the first hold.

In fact, I believe I wrote a blog spot about it.  Ah, yes. Here it is. In it I identify Dan Chaon as a GenX write, a label he agreed with, you’ll see in his reply to my post. Of course, I was tickled that he’d managed to find my meager little post on my meager little blog.

I remember being exceptionally fascinated with the premise of this novel, at least in part because it was about characters who “just walk away” from their life. I made a comparison to the movie “Grosse Pointe Blank” because it deals with the same sort of thing with John Cusack’s character, who had walked away from his life abruptly one day. I can’t help wondering now if that interested me so much because at the time I secretly wanted to walk away from the life I was living — the oppressively soul-crushing marriage to a narcissist part NOT the being the father to the sweetest little girl in the world part.

Anyhoo…. this brings us back to Mr. Chaon’s new collection of short stories, “Stay Awake,” which, after reading the first two stories, I am sure is going to be exceptional from beginning to end, and which is going to be on of my favored collections for years to come, if not eternity. Well, my eternity anyway. I wonder. What will my daughter do with all my books when I am gone? Will she just donate them? Toss them? Keep perhaps a few? I should probably discuss this matter with her at some point. But probably I should concentrate on getting her through middle school and adolescence and all of that first, hug.

These stories, so far, are hard stories. Harsh. In fact, there almost seem like horror stories in a way. Very grim. Unsettling. But I love them for that very quality. Unlike the  reviewer on amazon who didn’t like the collection because people suffer in it, because it troubled him. This is an attitude, frankly, that I don’t get. What do people want? Short stories are not TV shows; they are not meant to make you feel good so that you’ll be in a receptive mood for whatever advertising comes between portions of the show. But…everyone is entitled to his/her opinion….for good or ill.

What really struck me about the first two stories in the collection  — The Bees and Patrick Lane, Flabbergasted — was how for each main character there is this confusion between what is really happening and what is just a trick of the mind or perhaps a dream or even something else, something unexplainable, and how these worlds, real and imagined and otherwise, mash and mix together. It’s the kind of thing that I like to experiment with in my own writing from time to time, particularly in a longer piece (novella length) that I have been working on.

Having said all that, perhaps far too much at this point, I am eager to get back to the book now.