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Archive for February, 2010

The other night, I saw Nicolas with a new girl.  He seems to go through them like Kleenex.  When I see him around, I get a raunchy desire to press up against him.  But I also feel relief that I probably, quite literally, dodged a bullet.

Our story went down like this:

I meet him at a bar the night after Christmas ‘08.  I’m with friends, he’s drinking alone.  He’s tall and gorgeous with black hair so dark you’d think it would chill your fingers to run them through.  When I sit beside him, he says, “whoever gets the bartender’s attention first gets to spank the other.”

I should slap him or at least roll my eyes.  I don’t because he makes my knees quake.  He says he’s French, name’s Nicolas.  I ask what he does for a living.

“Mergers and acquisitions.”

The hair on the back of my neck rises.  “Have you ever read ‘American Psycho?’”

“Yes.”  He flashes a sinister grin.  “And I’m going to pull out your fingernails with pliers.”

Two strokes of crazy, but I’m still there.  Nicolas is beguiling.  He speaks in caustic melodies as if the words are coming too quickly, he moves as if his soul is on the verge of eruption.  He’s brilliant, funny and intense, centering in as if I’m the only other person on the planet.

He tells me his family didn’t call from France to wish him a Merry Christmas and he spent the day alone.  But this isn’t the worst that’s ever happened to him.  If I want to know more, he says, I have to go on a date with him.

And there I am the next night, transfixed by this icy hot tower of masculine perfection and social dis-ease.  Nicolas talks a mile a minute about the hunt of big business and the sweet taste of success.  Suddenly, he’s fascinated by me again and asks about my family.  I describe my kinfolk but he’s intrigued most by the father I never knew.  Nicolas, turns out, is a father himself.

After years of Nicolas devoting himself to merging and acquiring and moving back and forth to the US, his ex felt neglected.  So she took his son to some remote French village and forbids Nicolas from seeing him.  They’ve been battling for half a decade.

“She and her family make lies about me.”  His teeth are gnashing.  “They said I fed him ice cream when I know he’s lactose intolerant.  They say I cheated on her, this isn’t true.”

Nicolas is talking about this much longer than appropriate, his voice rising, everyone around us getting edgy.

“Now,” Nicolas continues, “they have taken a restraining order against me.”

I back away.  He questions my nervousness so I say, “you can’t just ‘get’ a restraining order on someone.  There has to be a reason.”

Nicolas glares.  “Can’t you give me the benefit of the doubt?  I’m trying to confide in you, to let you see who I am, not everything is perfect.  But you put me in a box.  I ask only for compassion.  Do you know what it’s like to have your child taken from you?  I told you because I want you to understand me.  And because you don’t know your father, I want you to know there are men in the world who care about their children.”

What a master of the mind fuck!  How has this person managed to make me feel guilty, judgmental and heartbroken in one fell swoop?  I realize I’ve been there for hours, listening to him leap from one subject to the next.  He says inappropriate things to other patrons, makes weird comments about my body and sex, then chastises himself as if even he’s shocked to hear himself make such remarks.

“I could get laid whenever I wish.”  Nicolas scans the room.  “But these women are like biscuits in milk.  They dissolve immediately.  But you are solid, you understand me.”

I feel as if I’m standing at the edge of the tornado in Twister, watching things get sucked in and chucked out.  I’m waiting to get hit by a stray cow.

“You’re my soul mate,” Nicolas says.  “I’ve told you everything and you’re still here.”

Nicolas takes me in his arms and I become the pussycat trying to get away from Pepe LePew.  ‘Yes, I’m still here,’ I wonder.  ‘Is being alone worse than this?’

I take a cab home, Nicolas sends a text letting me know we’re finished.  Despite considering me a soul mate less than an hour before, he now feels emotionally unavailable.  Relieved, I spend the next several months joking about him with friends, imitating his manic gestures and referring to him as ‘French Psycho.’

But seeing Nicolas the other night, trying to endear himself to yet another woman wasn’t such a hoot.  Everyone has reasons why they can’t make relationships work.  They’re insecure, too picky, damaged.  But these are things we have control over.  Imagine being a stunningly handsome, whip smart, super successful man who can’t keep a woman, a wife, or even his own family and child in his life because of a sickness he can’t control.  That’s not funny.  That’s sad.

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I love my mom.  But I think I’m going to have to cut her loose.  Apparently, she’s destroying my love life.

Lots of women have mothers who nag them about their figures, wonder aloud why their daughters haven’t found a decent fella or tsk disapprovingly about the way they raise their kids.  Not mine.  For the most part, my mother leaves me to my own devices.  Or so I thought.

According to a study by the University of Western Australia, the overt ways mothers try to influence their daughters’ personal lives don’t hold a candle to their more dire biological hand-me-downs.  Scientists studied the DNA of 150 college students and found “the more varied [her] genes…the more boyfriends a woman was likely to have,” the assumption being genetic variation leads to attraction.

The study was cited in an inspiring online article called “Still Single?  Not as Skinny as You’d Like?  Blame Your Mom.”  While few activities are more satisfying than condemning others for your own personal failures, the article is misleading, considering any person’s genetic makeup depends on a mother and a father.  Still, the theory is this: if your dumb mother mates with a man whose genes are too similar to hers, dudes aren’t gonna dig you.  Conversely, if she’s sharp enough to breed with someone from the other side of the genetic fence, well, attach a revolving door to your bedroom.

I’m no scientist, but this theory has lots of holes.  How does having more boyfriends necessarily ensure commitment and marriage?  I know at least five women from my high school who married, and are still married to, the guys who pinned carnations to their dresses at senior prom.  They’ve only had one “boyfriend” during their entire adult lives.  On the other hand, I know tons of women who’ve gone through men like Tiger goes through porn stars, yet still cry themselves to sleep each night because no guy presents a ring.

The study, or more accurately the article based on the study, suggests women with a melting pot for a genetic code should have men beating down their doors with marriage proposals.  But if you believe other stats, most marriages in the US are still made up of people from like backgrounds.  People may wade across the gene pool while dating, but unfortunately, they seem to go back to their side of the tank come settlin’ down time.

And here’s poor Jennifer Aniston again, the go-to girl in any discussion about women relationship-hunting men avoid like the plague.  The article uses her to prove its point that uninteresting genetics doom one to singledom.  But further research shows Aniston’s dad was of Greek heritage and her mother was Scottish and Spanish.  Thus, she should have lots of boyfriends.  And well, hasn’t she?  Why, come to think of it, she’s also had a husband.

Comparing oneself to Jennifer Aniston feels like romantic suicide, but admittedly, there are similarities between us.  I’ve got a genetic mix, too, with African, Italian, Irish, English and German blood coursing through my veins.  I suppose I should thank my mother for her procreative wisdom.  And, like Jen, I’ve had a marriage, and a handful of relationships intermingled with periods of romantic drought.  I’d say that’s par for the course for most people.  In fact, I’d say Jen and I have had fairly robust romantic lives thus far.  Is this because of or in spite of our blend of DNA?

I think universities and magazine writers just want to create controversy, so come up with flimsy facts and build worlds of truths around them.  I mean, I just disproved this DNA theory in seven hundred words.  Where’s my six-figure research stipend?

So many reasons are blamed for the state of our relationships: feminism, genetics, male psychological dysfunction, women in the work place, the advent of birth control, economics, education gaps.  It’s hard to accept we’re having so much trouble making relationships happen.  Love may be about scientific truths and social realities, but it’s also about luck and just following the natural course of life.  Ultimately, we’ve got to accept this, ignore the research and leave poor mom alone.

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Oh, take me, John Mayer!  Lead me into your lair of tell-all romance and cheesy pop songwriting and show me what it means to be alive.  Your sensuous lips, your earnest attempts at artistry, your lover man rep have failed as yet to pique my curiosity.  Until now, when I can no longer turn the rest of the world up loud enough to drown out reports of your manic, ex-girlfriend dissing Tweets or your face harassing me from magazine covers.  You have wanted to imprint your name into the nation’s psyche and you have succeeded, by God.  You have seeped into my brain.  You are in my soul.  

First, you were generous enough to spread your luscious seed among the most magnificent females our culture has on offer: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jessica Simpson, Lindsay Lohan.  Goddesses all!  Next, you charmed the Queen of Broken Hearts, the unfortunate Jennifer Aniston.  And we have been lucky to have you share with us every detail of the affair, including its tragic end brought on by your valiant quest to find the “Joshua Tree of vaginas” and your “tweeting too much.”  Indeed, dear John, the world is a cruel place for lovers. 

And now, the admiration you have garnered for your records, your multitude of talents, even your philanthropic gestures has been buried by your douche-baggery.  In a Rolling Stone article from January, you admitted women have begun to consider “blowing me off [as] the new sucking me off.”  You let us in on the relentlessness of your own masturbation, how the act is a “hot whirlpool for my brain” and that you’ve masturbated yourself “out of serious problems.”  

In a recent issue of Playboy, you tell us how much you love porn and how the immensely gifted and unmistakably Venusian Jessica Simpson was your drug, a “sexual napalm” of a woman you say you wanted to “snort,” a celestial being for whom you would “start selling all my shit just to keep fucking.”   

I can’t understand why any woman would repel your advances.  You, John Mayer, are a dream. 

But I must admit you’ve hurt me, dear friend.  When asked about your affairs with black women, you said, “I don’t think I open myself to it.  My dick is sort of like a white supremacist.  I’ve got a Benetton heart and a fuckin’ David Duke cock.”  

I would call you an asshole but that might play into your self-aggrandizing need to be reviled.  I would call you a racist, but I can only imagine how painful it must be for a soul as sensitive and good as yours to have a bigot living in your pants. 

Unfortunately, I’ve been involved with men like you, most notably my very first boyfriend.  Peter was also desperate for attention and desperate to rid himself of his own psychological chaos by thrusting his private thoughts into the world.  Like you, he chipped away so masterfully at his own inner censor, he offended everyone in sight.  In childhood, he’d been a nerdy, anxiety-ridden fatso no girl would kiss, until, like you, he miraculously turned into a swan.  Thus, he became an insecure playboy who went through women like a chubby kid goes through soda pop.  He was non-committal, he was lousy in bed, he was a jerk.  And, like you, women adored him until he started to implode. 

I suppose this letter is for you and all the men in the world like you.  John, you are no ladies’ man.  You are an awkward, insecure kid.  You are still the sad boy who could only experience erotic pleasure all alone beneath his Star Wars bed sheets.    

Perhaps you need friends instead of Twitter followers.  Perhaps you need women who are intellectual powder kegs rather than “sexual napalm.”  Perhaps you need to get your shit together so you can be the person you seem to want to be. 

I offer you the same sympathy I offer Peter and all the men I’ve known who were stuck in their own angst.  I’m glad you’ve found music as a receptacle for the frustration in your soul.  But why must it be women who receive your bile?

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My politics dictate that no human being should ever be robbed of his or her dignity by being objectified.  Reducing someone to an erotic symbol deprives the person of his or her inherent worth and nullifies any effort he or she makes to rise above the ordinariness of human life.  People should be recognized for their talents; when they excel in public endeavors, they shouldn’t win even greater accolades for their sexual appeal, nor be disgraced for their lack of it.  Sexual objectification of any person in any form should be deemed unacceptable. 

Unless the person’s an athlete.  Then we should objectify them ‘til the cows come home. 

My political sisters are getting into a tizzy over this week’s Sports Illustrated cover which features Lindsey Vonn, an Olympic skier, in a position that could only be described as “totally pervy.”  Ms. Vonn is shown careening down a fake mountain with her backside raised so high in the air you’d think she was readying herself for a colonoscopy.  Supposedly, this is a normal position in skiing, although even the most erotically brain-dead reader would have to admit the girl looks like she’s about to take it where the sun don’t shine.  

One does get annoyed at how often exceptional women in sports, entertainment and even politics, eventually have to be tarted up to appeal to the general public.  Lady singers with powerhouse voices go from being song birds to strippers – Mariah, Aguilera, whatsername Furtado – while many women who’ve trained their whole lives to bring home the gold eventually land in Maxim in their bikinis.  

True, the weight of a woman’s personal power disintegrates once she’s been reduced to a masturbatory tool.  True, dips like Sarah Palin and the current crop of equally dippy Hollywood starlets offend by securing spots on the cultural landscape simply because of their over-the-top hotness.  The culture seems to believe no one will pay attention to anything females do unless their boobies are jiggling while they’re doing it, or in the case of women like Hillary Clinton, unless we can simultaneously talk about what poorly dressed hags they are. 

On the other hand, if there was anyone over whom we should be salivating for purely hormonal reasons, it’s athletes.  Athletes fascinate solely because of the way their bodies look, work and move.  They are Adonises and Athenas whose greatest contribution to our world is physical.  As spectators, we take part in the fantasy of our own bodies possessing such beauty and strength, and we get an erotic charge watching them as fans.  

Who’s ever solicited an opinion on politics or culture from a sports star?  The Iraq war starts or Barack Obama gets elected and the media asks every celebrity known to man, including dumbies like Paris Hilton, what they think about it.  When the economy collapsed, was anyone asking, “I wonder what Peyton Manning’s thoughts are on how bank solvency and damaged investor confidence may have impacted global stock markets.”

I mean, when I see an ad with David Beckham’s boner in a pair of Armani undies, it hardly degrades his accomplishments in my eyes.  In fact, it reinforces them.  Of course a man with enough physical prowess to hit a ball dead center into a net with his forehead has to be a sexual dynamo as well.  We already think of our athletes as empty-headed studs and studlets and pay them handsomely for it.  Why not go all the way?  Why not show an ad with, say, Reggie Bush half naked or Tom Brady with his fingers in the shape of a triangle over his mouth and his tongue poking through?   

Lindsey Vonn is pretty.  Seeing her on Sports Illustrated in a normal, though slightly exaggerated skiing position while being named “America’s Best Woman Skier Ever,” is not as offensive as seeing her on the cover of Maxim in a thong “showing us the money.” 

Here’s what I propose.  Let’s keep the sexual objectification of athletes and get rid of the objectification we foist onto everyone else.  Let singers sing, actors act and politicians proposition cops in bathrooms.  Let’s leave it to athletes to do what they do best: maintain rock hard bods and score.

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