I’ll be Your Government Hooker

It's not easy being the Good Wife to a Bad Politician.

“How do you feel about being a politician’s wife?”

My eyes bugged out and my first instinct was to laugh. But when I saw his face and realized he was dead serious, I paused to consider the weight of what he was asking.

“If you’re worried that I might take a naked picture of you while you sleep and post it on the internet, I can assure you, I have more tact than that…”

His “Phew!” was followed by the necessary tension breaking laugh.

“I promise, any naked pictures I take of you will be for personal use only.”

He stopped laughing.

I hate men that can’t take a joke.

It was our first real date but our third meeting — mutual friends had played matchmaker at a party and then tricked us into joining them at a group outing. Their theory was that you couldn’t fashion a better power couple than the girl who wanted to be Director of the Museum of Modern Art and the boy who wanted to be President of the United States. Indeed, we had comparable pedigrees — he was military turned Ivy League Lawyer — and comparable ambitions. We liked people. We both appreciated the necessity of networking at cocktail parties. Neither one of us could deny that, when together, there was enough Jack & Jackie + Barack & Michelle to make us a formidable pair.

And so we agreed to a solo dinner.

Yet, while the idea of walking in Michelle Obama’s shoes certainly wasn’t unappealing, the truth was, why would I want to be a First Lady when I could be president?

More importantly, I don’t have the stomach for an American political life. I hate the way American politics is played out in the popular media. In particular, I hate election years. I hate watching mud-slinging and dick measuring on television. I hate the way feminism is revived, racism is reevaluated and then both are forgotten come December. I hate the way rhetoric and ignorance put words in the mouths of our founding fathers.

At the end of the evening, it wasn’t because I wasn’t willing to be his government hooker that Mr. Future Councilman and I weren’t going to make it, though I can’t say I have plans to be any politician’s Good Wife…

Advertisements

Friendly Persuasion, or an Ephinany about Online Dating

“You know, I’d totally forgotten we’d met on OkCupid.”

So had I. The relationship we had forged over a handful of pleasant outings and months of texts and emails was so unlike anything that had come out of my foray into online dating, that I was convinced we had been introduced by old friends. Or better yet, that we were old friends.

My love life is more like a Woody Allen film than "The Notebook."

He confessed: “The truth is, I’m ambivalent about dating right now. I just want to find someone whose company I enjoy.”

We were standing chest to chest in the atrium of our favorite Museum. The lights were dim and for the most part, we were on our own. Had it been another couple and another night, the scene would have ended differently.

But my life is more like a Woody Allen film than a Nicholas Sparks-inspired Ryan Gosling flick — all the ambiance is there, but in the end, so are all the neuroses.

And all the greater life insights.

It's hard to find someone who will willingly spend an afternoon looking at Cindy Sherman portraits with you -- male or female.

Someone whose company I enjoy was all I was after too, and in the museum I was in the very enjoyable company of a new friend.

Up until this point, OkCupid had been a general disappointment. I shut down my profile. It’s not that I hadn’t met good-looking or smart or affable men. The problem, I came to understand, was the context in which we met.

Every online date had more or less followed the same course: hello hug, beverage consumption, laughter, good-night, kiss, let’s do this again soon. In between those mile markers the terrain varied, but generally I could expect to meet the same conversational obstacles — why did you sign up for OkCupid, what kind of relationship are you looking for, have you ever been in love.

“I don’t know what I’m looking for,” I remember saying once when I was on a date and, thanks to a drink, was feeling particularly candid.

“I believe in playing a relationship as it lays. Some begin and end as friendships. Some, as disasters. Maybe one as happily ever after. We’ll figure ‘us’ out as we go.”

The guy didn’t like my response very much. He was looking for a mother to his children. I couldn’t promise I was ready or willing to go minivan shopping with him. But we had met on an online dating site — a place people go with the expressed purpose of finding a romantic connection.

How could I say that we might only ever amount to friends?!?!

How could I say that we might never have sex!?!!?

how often does a match light on a first strike?

The problem with online dating is that it forces you to evaluate a person along a specific set of parameters — namely, do I want to get romantically involved with this person. Physical attraction and adherence to an idealized wish-list dominate. We sit across a table from someone waiting for a spark to fly. If there’s no spark, then we’re quick to dismiss the candidate.

But how often does a match light on a first strike?

Online dating hasn’t brought me a boyfriend. Someone might argue it’s been a failed experiment. But looking back, I’d say I beg to differ. Just don’t expect to find me transferring my account to match.com anytime soon.

If You were a Hamburger…

The Lin Burger that sounds absolutely delicious

“If you were a hamburger, you’d be something independent and classy,” my co-worker Lisa said to me after reading about the new Lin Burger New York restaurants are cooking up.

The Knicks’ newest sensation is apparently characterized in patty form as a pork burger with 5-spice seasoning and an Asian slaw. Yum.

I didn’t know what it meant to be an “independent” burger, so I asked for some clarification.

“No fills. A burger that’s meaty enough to stand on its own.”

I was flattered — I always wanted to be perceived as an independent and classy piece of meat.

“If you were a hamburger, you would be…” was an interesting exercise for someone who hasn’t eaten an all-beef patty since November 2009.

The last time I had a burger, it was here and the scene looked just like this

I remember the date well — it was the first time I’d eaten red meat since 2007, the summer I drove cross country more than once and spent large amounts of driving time alongside cattle drive trucks. It was a late night and I had just exited a rather disappointing MoMA event with a ravenous friend in tow. He suggested the Prime Meridian’s Burger Joint. I agreed.

I ate the burger.

It was delicious.

When I got home, I threw up.

He doesn’t know about that last bit — all he knows is that my doctor encouraged me to return to eating red meat because I’d turned anemic. I’ll let my friend continue to think he did good by my health…

Anyway, back to the KathleenBurger…

When I think of a classy burger, I think of one with truffles. I’ve never thought this seems right — I mean, truffle is a powerful taste. With mac & cheese, okay. But on a good burger? No. Too. Much.

What about a Kobe burger? No fuss, just salt and pepper in the mix. That’s pretty independent. Grilled to a medium… juices dripping.

For a girl that doesn't eat red meat, she's sure getting a craving.

Yes.

Now we’re on to something.

Add some thinly, thinly sliced red onion.

No cheese.

No ketchup.

A soft, not too thick whole wheat bun.

Some chutney, with a mild kick.

With a pickle on the side. Gotta have my pickle.

Yea, that’s my kind of burger.

Okay, now I’m hungry. There’s an Energy Burger across the street from my gallery. I think I’m going to go order me a veggie burger… that tastes just like Kobe beef.

 

An Essayist Fails to Find a Moral: or The Boy Broke My Heart and Taught me Nothing about Life. What a Jerk.

An essayist breaks a cup. She writes an essay. She learns and shares a life lessonl. No pressure.

A personal essayist carries the weight of the world on her little writer’s shoulders.

She breaks a teacup.

She writes an essay about breaking the tea cup.

She turns introspective.

She employs wits.

She jerks at the heart’s strings.

She considers the social impact of breaking the teacup.

She turns a seemingly insignificant moment into a neatly resolved story with a moral and rounds it out with insightful commentary on the way we live now.

No pressure.

I like to think of myself an essayist, or perhaps an essayist in training. I’ve always believed that there is a story behind everything – and every story is interesting if you tell it right. There should never be a lack of inspiration, as long as you’re in the mood to be creative.

And there is certainly never a lack of inspiration when your favorite subject is the way we love now.

This is how I look when i'm trying to write an essay...

After several years in the trenches of Love’s War, I’ve decided every first date can provide preliminary material for a minimum of 3 essays. For each date thereafter, the number of possible papers increases exponentially.

As you stop counting singular dates and start measuring your relationship in real time frames (i.e., weeks, years), you can generate an endless number of moralizing assemblages of prose.

I’ve never had a problem finding a greater life lesson or an aha! moment of self-reflection in a first date… until Gary.

Gary came pre-approved with the Grimm’s Fairytale Stamp of Prince Charming Approval. He was everything I had ever designed for myself in the Simms World of dream mates. I was ready to fall in love with him. Fate dangled him in front of me just long enough for me to get my hopes up and then, it whoosed him away.

Sitting pen and paper in hand a few days later, I was at a loss. I find myself asking:

What was the fucking point of that one?

If I could have walked away having learned something worth sharing I would feel better about Gary’s intrusive foray into my dating life. Be a jerk, I say, but at least lead me to an “aha!” moment in the process!

Thus, instead of rising above the fray of emotion to bring this to a resolved closing remark, I end insight-less. Essayist major fail.

woof woof

Lessons I probably should have Learned in College but Didn’t Because I was Too Busy Doing Calculus Homework

Microwaves have been around for decades, and yet I've never been able to make one work.

Microwaves don’t work

In an attempt to be both healthful and economical, sometimes I bring leftover homemade soup to work. Like most offices, we have a kitchenette with a fridge, a dishwasher, and a microwave. The microwave has a variety of settings, none of which anyone in the office knows how to make work. I put my soup in the microwave and set the clock. 3 minutes later, I take my soup out and burn my hands. The bowl is untouchable, but the soup? Still refrigerated.  Expediency fail.

Fun tack doesn’t come off walls.

I’m not sure what it says about my youth, but I never hung a poster on my wall with that blue, sticky putty stuff called “fun tack.”Even my teenage pin-ups of JTT went in frames and were placed on my walls using picture hooks. The long term benefit of this? When it comes to installing an exhibition, I’m probably the fastest hammer in the tri-State. But for my last exhibition, I ran out of Velcro for my wall labels and had to resort to that blue, sticky putty. The blue, sticky putty is still stuck on my gallery walls. There’s nothing fun about Fun Tack.

I just don't have the stamina for all-nighter after all-nighter any more.

Sleep isn’t overrated and life begins before 10:15AM.

Between the ages of 18 and 23, I was built for pulling all-nighters. If I accumulated 12 hours of sleep over 3 days, I figured I was ahead of the game. Plus, if I was clever enough, I didn’t have to be in class before 10AM. And if I moved across campus quickly enough, I could easily grab an hour nap before my afternoon lecture. But in the real world, there’s no nap time to catch up on your zzzz’s. And what about pulling those all nighters? Well, I just don’t have the stamina anymore. Give me 8 hours or I’m a totally unproductive, man-eating zombie.

When a boy asks you to “hang-out,” he doesn’t mean “let’s make grilled cheese sandwiches and sit on the couch platonically to watch the Yankees game.”

In college, this sort of thing was platonic. But apparently, not so much in the real world.

In college, all my friends were guys. We’d play poker or guitar hero, order in BBQ or head out to the Gin Mill for beer and pool, talk politics or sling mud at Jane Austen heroes. In short, when a guy in college asked me to “hang-out” I always assumed it was in the platonic sense, because 9 times out of 10, it was. But as soon as I was outside the bubble of study groups and communal living, I realized “hanging out” is just another vague term for everything from “date” to “hook-up.”

hangovers hurt. I missed that memo.

Hangovers hurt.

I didn’t really drink in college — blame it on equal parts fear of getting caught,  fear of freshman 15, and fear of anything that wasn’t top-shelf. I’m not exactly making up for it now, but I do have a cocktail more frequently than I did in my student years. Sometimes, I have a cocktail too many and wake up with a headache to prove it.

 

Push-Up Bras are false advertising

…and can, therefore, be a real letdown when they come off.

We Had Dinner. We Kissed. Now What?

It wasn’t just a random hook-up. They had met through a Friend. Spoken on the phone. Gathered for dinner. Caught a movie. And made out in the parking lot like a couple of wayward teenagers.

He told her she was amazing. They agreed it had been a fun night and stared into each other’s eyes with clear intent. She turned to make her far-too-early departure, but not before he planted one more kiss and said:

"Soon" is non-specific. How soon is soon? 72 hours later or 5 months later?

“Let’s get together again soon.”

Recounting the date over brunch with her girlfriends, this was the phrase that raised all our eyebrows, hers included. “Soon” is non-specific, and we all tacitly confessed to having done it before — met someone (an old friend, a new friend, a recent date) and said “let’s get together soon,” with plans to avoid a follow-up.

Over the course of the last year, I’ve run the full gamut of date follow-up possibilities – from the guy who calls tomorrow because he can’t wait to see me again to the guy who stays in touch, but waits 5 months before suggesting a second rendez-vous.

Both blooming relationships faded away. But I’ll confess, the boy who sent me the “So rarely does a woman meet my expectations, let alone exceed them…You’re wonderful… are you free next weekend?” was the boy more likely to win my heart than the one who took 20 weeks after our first kiss to ask me to dinner.

More often than not, we walk away from a first date with a certain ambivalence. We had a nice time, but we’ve yet to make a decision about what’s next. He had a great sense of humor, but can he be serious? He had nice eyes, but do you really want to take his shirt off?

When it's more than a kiss, it's more than an stamp of approval -- it's a slobbery promise.

Sometimes, to help us make a decision, we need a nudge. A kiss at the end of a night is supposed to be a good sign — things went well, the attraction is mutual, here’s a stamp of approval. When it’s more than a kiss, it’s more than a stamp of approval. It’s a kind of slobbery promise that there will be a next time.

But more than a kiss followed by a “let’s get together again soon” or “…one of these days” and well, the scale hasn’t been tipped in favor of a round 2.

When you’re out there playing the game for love rather than lust, both sexes need to take some Jane Austen advice to heart: “In nine cases out of 10, a woman had better show more affection than she feels… he may never more than like her, if she does not help him on.”

Frankly, a “soon” doesn’t help me on.

Next, please!