Archive for November, 2010

Women can fake orgasms.  Men can fake entire relationships.

This juicy tidbit marking the romantic distinction between males and females recently made its way onto my Twitter feed.  Enjoying a brief chuckle after reading it, I soon realized how closely this alleged truth hits home: my friend Jay is in a fake relationship and I’ve been wondering if I should tell the girl.

Jay is one of those good-looking, charismatic fellas who rarely have trouble finding a female companion.  A decade ago, he was madly in love with a special lady who dumped him after his ego decided to feed itself by convincing him to cheat.  Since then, Jay has steered clear of anything “too heavy,” opting instead for casual relationships with dippy bores or overly controlling kooks whose mania gives him the perfect excuse to jump ship.

But every so often, Jay wants someone to care enough to check in on him each day, someone for whom he can make elaborate dinners and buy gifts, someone to offer him regular sex and hold him in the middle of the night.  And so, Jay gets a “girlfriend.”

There was the pretty actress with whom he spent every weekend for nearly six months and the slightly neurotic realtor with whom he went on a Roman vacation.  Both of these women were mighty surprised at the end of their relationships to find out Jay was never really feelin’ it even though his actions suggested otherwise.

Then there was the Latin American gal who flew herself back and forth to the States whenever Jay reemerged begging for her company.  The night I met up with them, I watched him walk hand-in-hand with her down the street, introduce her to his friends and fill her imagination with daydreams about a shared future.  Jay’s behavior offered the kinds of clues every silly women’s magazine might say is evidence a dude is thinking long term.  Obviously, the Latin American believed herself involved in a long-distance romance.  But in fact, she was one of a handful of women satellite-ing within Jay’s orbit.

My friend may be an extreme but he’s far from an exception.  I’ve known many guys who’ve gone through the romantic motions with women in an effort to avoid loneliness.  I even know a guy who stayed with a woman for five friggin’ years, knowing every single day there was no way in hell he’d ever marry the chick.

My gut tells me no woman would ever do such a thing and not for any noble reason, like sparing someone else’s feelings.  I just think most women are too gung ho on finding Prince Charming to waste time on a peasant.  And I can’t imagine any woman being able to turn off her emotions or even worse, pretending to feel something she doesn’t feel.  If you’ve ever seen a Sharon Stone movie, you know how to fake an orgasm.  But love?

So, Jay has started up again with the Latin American and is even considering giving in to her demands to be more exclusive.  From the beginning of this relationship, he has said, “I don’t love her and know I never will.”  Meanwhile, his girl is fantasizing about lifelong love, marriage and family.  So is Jay…with some other woman he hopes to meet one day.

I only met the gal for the second time over a group dinner, when she indirectly expressed doubts about Jay’s intentions.  She dropped hints about being open to any insight those of us who are his female friends may be able to provide.  Whenever I considered cueing her in, I remembered how perilous it is to place oneself in the center of a couple’s battlefield.

However, I also wonder if sometimes all it takes for a man like Jay to finally make a commitment is to force himself into one.  If certain men tell themselves they’re not in love in order to make sticking around seem less confining.  In the end, can fake love ever become true?

What say you?

[Photo from the film Lars and the Real Girl, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment]

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A woman I know, who we’ll call Emily, wants to marry a doctor.  Actually, she wants to marry a doctor, lawyer or anyone who makes tons of cash.  Whenever I run into her, Emily shares stories about dating medical residents and rejecting normal guys because she’s “waiting for her doctor.”  She’s very Shirley Feeney that way.

During the last presidential election, Emily and I attended a fundraiser where one of the Kennedy cousins was the keynote speaker.  Charmed by the younger Kennedy’s boxy good looks and aristocratic charm, Emily made eyes all night, fantasizing the guy would become so enchanted he’d whisk her away to the compound.  Ultimately, she left the party Kennedy-less but with a new romantic goal: Emily wanted a blue blood.

And now, it seems my friend, and thousands of single gals like her, are in luck.  This year, a team of Harvard Business School grads launched dateHarvardSq.com, a dating site for singles looking to “connect with Harvard University educated doctors, lawyers, businesspeople, academics and professionals.”  In other words, rich, brilliant guys and gals who rightly consider the world their oyster.

Of course, not everyone at Harvard is a square-jawed blue blood with a family crest woven into their polo shirt.  But I’m sure the site’s creators are counting on this mythology to sell their wares, and admittedly, I get the appeal.  After reading the articles in Vanity Fair each month, I always turn to the party pages to drool.  Who wouldn’t want to be invited to a “ball” held on an “estate” in the Hamptons?  Who wouldn’t want the luxury, the free time, the worshipful admiration showered upon the immensely wealthy, extraordinarily privileged and phenomenally well-educated?

There’s only one problem.  Those people don’t hang with commoners.  Emily, lovely as she may be, is a middle-class Midwesterner and grade school teacher.  Though she’s cute, she’s no Dutch countess.  Emily thinking she has a chance with an aristocrat is like me fantasizing George Clooney might go for a pint-sized writer with allergies and enough student loan debt to save a small African village.  Ever seen a yacht party photo captioned, “His Royal Highness Lord Constantine and wife, Susie, Cleveland Public School teacher?”  Me either.

And there’s another problem.  Blue bloods probably don’t have trouble finding dates.  If they can’t find them on their own, they undoubtedly have vast social networks which connect every Muffie to her Biff.

Which probably means dateHarvardSq.com is left with Harvard’s losers, its rejects, its George Dubyas.  And you can find those guys on Match.

Still, how awesome would it be if academic institutions started hosting their own dating sites?  We’d have BigTenMen.com for girls who like chubby frat boys interested in football, Bud Lite and hurling on themselves at parties, while DukeDudes would be for chicks who enjoy participating in misogynistic sex scandals.  CommunityCollegeCrush would be for those who need extra help starting out on their life paths while TechInstituteTreasures would attract women who dig earnest men with tattoos and townie accents.

Or we could just cut to the chase and create a website for people who consider wealth the most important “quality” a partner can have.  We’ll call it “MisguidedChumpsWhoEndUpAlone.com.”

I’ll get to work on the branding.

[Photo from Zimbio.com – a Ralph Lauren advertisement]

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In my attempt to pen the next bestseller, I’ve decided to shelve the story I’ve been writing about vampires and kick my wizard book to the curb.  Instead, I’m going to write about a childhood pet.  From Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love to An Eagle Named Freedom to Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, heart-warming pet books are totally kicking other books’ asses as far as publishing success goes.

Creatures we once saw as mere animals – dogs, cats, even rabbits – are actually leading extraordinary lives.  Heck, I even saw a book about an owl.

Problem is I’m having trouble coming up with inspiring stories.  At one point, my mother and I had two dogs, two cats, a parakeet, three chameleons, a fan-tailed goldfish and pair of mice.  You’d think one of them could’ve brokered peace between estranged members of my family or taught us all a lesson in courage.  But my pets could only squawk “hello” on cue or dawdle around a fish tank.  Even the dogs and cats accomplished little more in life than staying off the sofa.  Losers.

Still, I’m optimistic about my ideas.

Maggie: The Cool Dog I Wanted to Steal from My Grandma

My grandmother had a Lassie-esque collie named Maggie.  She followed me around the neighborhood, barked in meaningful ways and got her feelings hurt whenever I had to yell at her to go away because my friend Binky Singleton’s sister was afraid of dogs.  But it was the day Binky turned all the neighborhood kids against me in that wenchy way girls do, that Maggie became steal-worthy.  I was crying beneath a tree in granny’s yard, when Maggie came over, dropped her head on my lap and gave me a knowing look as she wagged her tail.  Was she smart enough to know I needed cheering up?  I like to think so.

Lesson: Who needs wenchy girlfriends when you’ve got a great dog?

Sebastian the Bipolar Feline

Sebastian was a beautiful cat with fluffy, pure white fur and an adorable spot of grey on her forehead.  She was also a complete whore.  The cat would disappear for days then come home ratty and pregnant.  She’d claw your leg as you opened her kitty food can and shriek in the night like a demon from the deep bowels of hell.  One day, she nuzzled peacefully against my chest.  The next, she killed my mice and ate the butt out of my parakeet.  If Sebastian were owned by a pet owner today, I’m sure she’d be on anti-depressants.

Lesson: Beauty is only skin deep.

GG: The Gerbil with Wings

My family was too poor to buy my gerbil, GG, anything more than a fish tank, hamster wheel and that weird, mulch-looking stuff people put on the bottom of hamster cages.  I used to feel bad watching GG run endlessly on his wheel into nowhere.  So one day, I saved my allowance and bought GG a plastic ball he could run inside to roll around the apartment.  Though the facial features of gerbils are hard to read, I’m fairly certain the ball became the highlight of GG’s rodent existence.

Lesson: Freedom is more precious than security.  Secondary Lesson: Close the door of your gerbil’s plastic ball tightly if Sebastian the Bipolar Feline is around.

Richard, the Stoic Iguana

My uncle had an iguana he named after his friend, Richard.  Living in small town Ohio where the most “exotic” restaurant was Arby’s, owning a lizard from South America set one apart from the masses.  Richard didn’t do much besides eat lettuce and perch on a tree branch.  Still, the only thing cooler than a kid with an iguana would have been a kid with an armadillo.  And no one had one of those.

Lesson: Richard is a cool name for an iguana.

Other titles include Quackers: The Duck Who Loved Me about a duckling I had to give away after it attacked me outside a kiddie pool, Goldie: A Life Cut Short, about a fan-tailed goldfish who made the mistake of eating all the fish food flakes I accidentally knocked into its tank, and Mona: The Great Dane Who Puked Incessantly After I Fed Her Ten Bowls of Chuck Wagon to See How Much Food Would Fit into her Horse-like Body.

Coming to a bestseller’s list near you.

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What’s up with Duke University?  Seems every time there’s a scandal around sex, violence or sexual violence in academia, Duke’s the institution in question.  A mere month after the leak of Karen Owen’s thesis listing and rating the guys she’d slept with while a student at Duke, the university is once again playing shame-faced host to more sexual ridiculousness.

Apparently, a bunch of jackass frat boys sent three hundred girls Halloween party invitations that read, “Whether your [sic] dressing up as a slutty nurse, a slutty doctor, a slutty schoolgirl, or just a total slut, we invite you to find shelter in the confines of Partners D…come and show off the costumes you put more thought into than your major.”

Gee, I don’t know what’s more shocking: guys in fraternities spewing foul, misogynistic dribble while trying to score some tail or guys getting into Duke University without knowing the difference between “your” and “you’re.”

My college was one of those small, artsy fartsy places where the Greek system barely existed.  The biggest fraternity was made up of film students and future record label execs, not jocks or soon-to-be Fortune 500 suits.  Yet, at one of their parties, I overheard one frat bro say to another, “these girls are so drunk, they won’t even notice when we rape them.”

It was then I understood one of the great truths of American society: frat boys are meatheaded, beer-ponging idiots.  Their good looks, coupled with a childhood of popularity and privilege, fuel their hormones and turn them into Neanderthals.  This is why we should reprimand them for being pigs, but not waste any time wondering why they’re so darn piggy.  Not all of them, of course, but definitely the ones who keep getting into trouble.

Still, creepy as they are, these Halloween shindig hosts at Duke have a point.  What’s with all the “slutty,” “naughty” and/or “dirty” costumes?  It’s as if young females pick an occupation or personality, slap the word “slutty” on it, then consider themselves costumed.  Slutty pilgrim, slutty parking lot attendant, slutty pancake.  The possibilities are endless.

I was a teenage girl once.  Then I was a college chick and later a twentysomething woman.  So I know what it’s like to want to be smart, successful and accomplished, yet also wildly attractive to boys.  I wore low-cut shirts and talked openly about sex, both because it gave me a charge and because I thought men would be more intrigued.  And I was as excited by the men who thought I was sexy and someone worth getting to know, as I was confused by the guys who couldn’t take me seriously.

Now, I’m one of those wise women who watch younger generations of women stumble around bars in six-inch stilettos or shiver in the winter cold in their mini skirts and slinky tops.  I see them in clubs undulating against the crotches of men they don’t know.  I overhear them bragging about guys they got drunk with and screwed at parties only to wonder why they haven’t called the next day.

And this past Halloween, I saw legions of slutty witches, slutty pirates and slutty cheerleaders giddily heading to holiday parties.  I’m not sure if these girls do these things because they’re harboring a massive sexuality that still lacks the maturity to manage itself, or whether they’re following the lead of a Girls Gone Wild culture.  Either way, I want to pull these ladies aside and say, ‘he’s not gonna call after you bone him at a party then puke Woo Woo shots onto his bed.’  And, ‘sorry, doll, if your breasts are falling out of your shirt, that’s all homeboy’s gonna notice.’

It ain’t fair.  Some men haven’t gotten with the program and accepted women as their sexual equals.  But some women may need to start realizing being the hottest chick at the party is easy when you’re barely wearing anything.  Besides, being the hottest chick may get you laid, but not much else.  As the Duke boys so graciously revealed, even if the hottest chicks at the party are gifted young women, brilliant enough to get into one of the nation’s top universities, ‘we still think you’re dumb sluts.’

And that’s something no Naughty Girl Scout costume will ever change.

*Photo taken from azcentral.com.

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Oh, Madonna, please don’t be a vain, delusional monster who actually believes the barely legal stud boys you date might truly be interested in you.  If so, your legacy risks becoming as absurd as the traffic cones implanted into your cheeks.  If not, you will continue to be one of the coolest chicks who ever lived.

I’ve always had mixed feelings about Madonna.  On one hand, I’ve found her a needy little snot who’s badgered us into giving her the adoration she could never win from her papa.  On the other hand, I’ve bought most of her albums and appreciate a dame who not only dominated the culture like she said she would, but outlasted all of her peers.

But what I’ve dug most about Madge is her “anything you can do, I can do better” attitude that’s pushed her to knock down double standards.  If Michael Jackson could grab his crotch, so could she.  If ghetto fabulous guy rappers could objectify women through the male gaze, she could, too.  If Mick Jagger can rock himself into the home, well, so can Madonna.

And now, she has accomplished the one feat no one would ever have believed a woman could.  She’s become a passé, increasingly unalluring old person who still gets to sleep with people half her age because she’s rich and powerful.  At 52, Madonna has transgressed the final frontier of male privilege and conceit: trophy dating.

First there was A-Rod, the Yankee third baseman who allegedly dumped his hot wife and considered taking up Kabbalah for Madonna, seventeen years his senior.  Next came 23-year-old Brazilian model Jesus Luz, then a couple dates with a Spanish H&M model 27 years younger than her, and now, she’s allegedly seeing a 33-year-old choreographer.

We usually give old rich men enough credit to realize the young biddies they date are only in it for the money and/or fame.  Even when we pity these guys for holding onto their lost youth and sensuality, we envy their access to fresh-faced hotties forced to caress their balding heads and sagging torsos in order to access the cash.

‘I can buy sexy, young companionship,’ these men might tell us.  ‘I’ll give these gals a career, a life of luxury or their fifteen minutes of fame.  In exchange, I shall devour their youthful eroticism.’

Why can’t rich, powerful women be like rich, powerful men who offer young lovers a giant step towards their futures in exchange for some company?  Why can’t a woman like Madonna enjoy this peculiar consequence of power our culture so admires?

Personally, I can barely carry on a conversation with a guy in his early twenties, let alone date him.  I can’t imagine hitting middle age only to chase after dippy boys who just happen to be built like brick shithouses.  And if I were unfortunate enough to divorce the father of my children and man I love, the last thing I’d do is bed Latin American supermodels who barely speak English.  But, as I found out somewhere between fingerless gloves and attempting to vogue, I’m not Madonna.

Yet, I wonder why her dating life has turned her into such a joke.  Madonna has built an extraordinary career, lived through two marriages and raised a family.  She has had enough flings to put ex-flame Warren Beatty to shame, yet managed to sneak in a couple attempts at romantic permanency.  Though love has not been as constant as her career, she seems dead set against holing herself up in an old maid’s cave.

If Madonna wants to use her celebrity to fetch young tail, more power to her.  If, in her waning years, she wants to have her Rocky Mountain cheekbones caressed by a succession of twentysomething studs, I say, don’t tell her to stop.

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