Monday, December 13, 2010

My Greatest Fans


Recently I had a bad day. A fight with the new guy, shall call him The Chef, left my eyes swollen and sore with the salty remnants of tears and face so blotchty and so red that they seemed to blend seamlessly with my hair.

After calming both the physical and mental effects of the argument with a frozen ice pack for my face, and a bottle of Zin for my soul, I went to bed. Two days later I was on the phone with my father when he detected something in my voice. Whether a hint of sadness or a slight tone of frustration managed to seep through my masque of perhaps overly compensatory cheerfulness, I'm not sure. But my father, never one to be fooled by any false sentiment I may utter or deterred with a deflecting "I don't want to talk about it", finally wore me down. I gave him a brief outline of my recent romantic turmoil, bemoaned general frustration with dating, men, and relationships. Expressed frustration and in a state of emotional exhaustion, I think I even touted the virtues of an arranged marriage system.

The next morning I woke to the following email which I thought both caring, thoughtful and poignant. Frankly, I believe its underlying thesis to be an emotionally stinging truth but one that bears consideration

Hi Sweets.  Just want to say how sorry I am that you feeling low.  Life is tough in more ways than one, but that's not going to assuage you much I'm afraid.  I don't know what the answer is, Scarlett.  Your Mom and I tried to raise you to be successful and independent--and we succeeded spectacularly. 
If we made a mistake by not just marrying you off at eighteen, then I apologize.  But the older I get, the more I am convinced that happiness in life is about maximizing one's choices, and you have more choices than most women have. The flip-side of that, of course, is that you have to make some tough ones. 
It seems to me as if you are waiting for lightning to strike in an ecstatically transformative way--as with Cinderella or Snow White.  Since you are an incurable romantic (and you may not know this, but  you get that from me), you are sort of caught in a vise, waiting for that optimal situation to transpire.  But the truth is, honey, that it may or may not.  And you need to be prepared for either contingency.  And if, in the end, a very good alternative presents itself, rather the one of your dreams, it will be left to you to choose.  
My advise is simply to not  allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good.
I'm nearing old age, and long distanced from the dating scene.  Yet I can't believe there are no good men out there with whom you could be happy.  Then again, remaining unattached and unencumbered has its own advantages.  Just know that your specifications as to what you deem acceptable may change with time, and that's not necessarily a bad thing.  It isn't 'selling out' so much as it is an adaptation.  Just know that however you choose to configure your priorities, it is your life and your decision.  All I can offer is the father's hope--that if you do find someone, that discovery is impelled by much more than the mirage of transient attraction--such as the revelation of deep character, mutual respect and long-term goals.  That's my take, for what it's worth.
I know that I often sound churlish in trying to discipline you financially.  But don't ever forget that Mom and I can only be as happy as you are.  We are your greatest fans.
Love,
Papa

Friday, October 8, 2010

Landscape Architecture

I’ve never been one for jigsaw puzzles. My mother can’t get enough of them and will stare at microscopic pieces for hours, days, in fact, until she manages inexplicably to find the order amidst chaos. 

I’m not a visual person. I don’t work well within the confines of compartmentalized thought. Edge pieces, blue pieces, round, square, etc. I'd much prefer to admire a finished work of art and drill down into its individual, interesting elements of texture, style, medium rather than working from the ground up.
My very right brained style of thinking is rather limiting in that sense - needing to be sure of the forest before taking notice of the role of the individual trees, leaves and branches. I like the big picture. 
So it is with life. I like to make the pieces fit neatly together to form a seamless mosaic of complementary tiles, structured form and interesting texture. 
 
However, I'm finding it to be increasingly true that there are moments painted within the overarching canvas of life which don't quite fit in with the whole creating a jarring effect akin perhaps to embroidering Van Gogh's "Starry Night" upon the narrative of the Bayeux Tapestry* in place of Haley's Comet. Such an insertion would, if not alter the overall narrative, certainly change the setting so abrupt would be the effect.
 
So it is with the impact one might experience upon and unexpected and intentioned meeting. An unexpected connection felt for someone with whom you might never pictured yourself and were completely prepared to dismiss as nothing more than a passing flirtation. And even thought you don't quite yet know what to make of this ill fitting piece of the puzzle, you find it makes you feel alive intellectually and physically in a ways you'd forgotten. 
 
And when that happens, suddenly none of the pieces fit because you find the landscape to be fundamentally altered.
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*For those of you who snoozed your way through medieval history class, the Bayeux Tapestry is an embroidered cloth (dating roughly around 1077) depicting the events prior to and concurrent with the Norman conquest of England.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Break Up Letter


Dear eHarmony:

We need to talk.

I’m not ready for a commitment of this magnitude.

Six months ago, not entirely certain of the degree to which I was ready to submerge myself once again into the DC dating pool, I timidly dipped my toes back into the pond to test the waters. The time and consideration with which you professed to offer a “deep and more meaningful” online dating experience, seemed the best way to better ease myself back into the life of a single Washingtonian.

Unsure of my readiness for significant emotional involvement, I thought it best to, at the very least, stretch my dating legs lest all romantic muscles become atrophied with disuse.


I want to see other people.

You have set me up with not one, but THREE ex boyfriends. Well done, swifty. Well done.

While this detour down “Poor Decision Lane” followed by jaunt along “Regret Blvd” was diverting, I could have had a V8. 

Add to this your consistent and seemingly unrelenting parade of men who reach an average and unimpressive vertical limit at 5’9. This stature, or lack thereof, leaves them at an inconvenient eye level with my rather substantial bust line. Standing at 5’10 in my shortest pair of heels, any way you solve this equation is sure to equal distracted disaster.

I need some space.

You attract immature men boys who throw hissy fits and pouting tantrums worthy of a 2 year old deprived of his [insert popular toddler toy] on my front doorstep when I fail to invite them in at the end of an evening. My neighbors thank you for the entertaining spectacle, but I am not amused.

I’m not saying its you…but its DEFINITELY not me. 
 
You’ve served as a beacon to boys apparently still residing if not physically, then definitely mentally, in the frat house. In what universe did you think that the way to win this Irish girl’s heart is to pound back Guinness after Guiness until you're about as articulate as Obama without his teleprompter. In fact I can concoct no rational scenario in which I should worry about the means by which my date will get home safely. 

Please note, if a man is drinking in an attempt to get to girl drunk and trying to take advantage of her, he better make damned sure that he'll be able to drink her under the table without breaking a sweat. A drunk man is physically useless and frankly, nothing sobers me up faster or turns me off more than I man who is more intoxicated than I. Call me crazy but I like my men IN control as opposed to slurring and staggering. 

In addition, spare me the “I’m too drunk to drive, can I stay at your place until I sober up”, sob story. I'm not unsympathetic, I promise. In fact, I have two very helpful suggestions for you. Option #1: “grab a cab." Connecticut Avenue is one block that-a-way. Make like an urbanite, stick out your arm and hope for the best. Option #2: I’ll be happy to point you in the direction of the Starbucks around the corner where you can caffeinate your way back to sober.


I need to concentrate on ME.

Let’s face it, doll, I don’t think we’re compatible. I'm sure am partly to blame. After all, It takes two to tango. I have been described as too sassy, too outspoken, too sarcastic, too cynical – many qualities which might turn off a romantic suitor. 

However, I just feel that at this point in my life, I’d rather take the $29.95 I’m throwing at you every month to be fixed up with the aforementioned, sulky, vertically challenged, future AA leaders of the greater DC metropolitan area and shove it at a new pair of suede, Kelsi Dagger over-the-knee boots.

Perhaps I’ll turn to your bastard fraternity brother, Match.com for other options? Perhaps we’ll meet again someday? Perhaps fate will intervene and drop Russell Crowe on the pub stool opposite me? Who knows?


I think we’re better off being friends.

Frankly,


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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Why Men Love Bitches (Part Deux)

Circa 2006, I started this story and it’s a story that deserves to be finished.
After a day of being an irresistible bitchvia text and rendering all of his attempts at flirting unsuccessful on his part, the Professor proceeded to keep in contact that evening. I was out with friends and was having a good enough time though nothing was distracting me quite enough to keep me from occasionally glancing at my phone. Not wishing to seem impolite I had, of course, invited him to the ever dimly lit, smoke filled and badly serviced Biddy Mulligans of yesteryear for an opportunity to socialize with my friends, buy me a drink and perhaps attempt to seduce me in a real world setting. 

However, harboring hopes for nothing beyond purely physical, up against a wall, talking optional sexual encounters for the evening, as all commitment phobic assholes worthy of bitch-like treatment do, he rebuffed the idea of all such communal interaction invitation and instead gallantly offered to come pick me up and take me back to his place for a night cap.
 
I was growing rather bored with the exchange already, but when it became clear that he wasn’t even going to make the effort to come out and persuade me in person to come home with him, I went from bored to mildly offended. This man clearly had no interest in conversation or any interaction involving a greater amount mental or emotional exhaustion than one might have with a chocolate ├ęclair. 

Knowing that I was uncategorically worthy of seduction more mentally strenuous and than text message regardless of how attractive or tenured the man might be, I grew ever more resolutely obstinate, irritated and hostile with every click of the send button until I just decided to ignore him completely. 

Guess who ate it up with a spoon and couldn’t get enough?

That guy.

Why followed next is perhaps the greatest “why men love bitches” exchange of all time.
Professor: Good morning sunshine
Scarlett: (2 hours later) Good morning.
Professor: So, you were being quite to cocktease last night
Scarlett: Well seeing as how I had absolutely NO interest whatsoever in you OR your cock, I don’t see how that’s possible.

Thus was the unceremonious and immediate ending of our voluntary interaction. Apparently men, even the gluttons for punishment, don’t love bitches THAT much.



Frankly,
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*Side note: The image recorded is that of my favorite author, Elizabeth Wurtzel, on the cover of my favorite book, entitled none other than BITCH: In Praise of Difficult Women. I Highly recommend you check it out not only will the social commentary make you laugh, but as always, Ms. Wurtzel's prose feed the soul.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sagacity in Seattle

Ever have a conversation with someone so…epically unexpected and surprising that it makes your head spin? 
When someone without knowing you all that well has so much insight into your head without invitation or suggestion that it derails your train of thought? 
An interaction that makes you reevaluate the way in which you connect with the world. Reassessing whether or not you spend you time wading in the shallow end of the conversation pool rather than treading in the more uncertain, fluid territory. I’m not speaking of the TOPIC of conversation per say, but the texture of the interaction.
We met casually on the Friday before last. He was there from Seattle to play in a band. I was there presumably to hear the music while keeping my own emotional tone from derailing into a dissonant, chaotic key. His band mate, our mutual friend, mentioned to him offhandedly about the situation underlying that evening merely in passing. 
He friended me the next week, sent me a nice note and added.
PS I know you may disagree and I totally respect that, but I think you're prettier without make-up. I'm sure you get this all the time, but you have two of the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen on anyone. ;)
Very sweet.We talked at length this past Friday. He inquired after the Friday night situation, I filled him in on some very vague details and the fact that he never showed. His response:
“Wow! You looked like you were having a great time! I had no idea that you were running on a double track that night.”
“Double track?”
“I mean you must have had so much anxiety - waiting for him to walk through that door all evening and so frustrated when he didn’t show after putting yourself through all of that emotional expectation”
Crickets.
“Scarlett?”
“Yes? I mean - Yes.”
I was just a bit stunned. Yes. Yes, Seattle. That is Exactly what was going through my head.
“That must have been incredibly draining”
Yes - yes it was - but who has the emotional radar to pinpoint that?
“Uh huh”
Keep in mind this man has NO background knowledge of who this ‘ex” is - could have been 5 years ago? 5 days? But….damn.
What gets me, or rather disturbs me the most is that it was a passing conversation. It wasn’t some dark, soul searching dialogue over hours of chatter and the hazy enlightenment which comes only after several bottles of Zin. It was instead, a passing tone of conversation that may, standing alone, be left unworthy of mention or afterthought. The ease with which he saw through the layers of emotion and bullshit sans gravitas or occasion - only passing brilliance. 
I suppose at the end of the day its really a difference between judging or responding to someone else’s story and really attempting to understand their experience. A difference, in short, between black, white and the spectrum of hues of which we may only note a fraction. 
Its amazing, isn’t it, the way in which a person makes us see ourselves, not by pointing out flaws, or even by painting the must beautiful portrait, believable or not; but by their own pure motivations and actions.
Its amazing how one person can make your see yourself, and particularly your flaws as starkly as if they were holding a mirror to your soul. Not through verbal admonishments but purely through their own selfless actions that, without intention, can highlight the distance by which one, and I in particular, routinely fall incredibly short. Knowing that I should listen more, judge less and once in awhile put myself into another girl’s Manolos just to see how really uncomfortable that last block might have been to walk.
Seattle consistently thinks in ways which seem so foreign and yet so dead on balls accurate that his statements routinely take my breath away. He relates to the world a completely purpose filled way that it leaves an immediate and meaningful resonance in, if not the soul, then surely the heart.

Frankly,

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Just Walked Away

I was prepared for the encounter on Friday.
I met w/ my therapist to discuss strategies to avoid an inadvertent slip and fall down the crazy staircase. I had my makeup professionally applied at MAC for some intense smokey eye/glowy skin action. I gathered a posse and I DO mean a posse of fabulously beautiful women that I knew I can count on for ANYTHING, to accompany me and serve as emotional linebackers. Donned a casual yet uber sexy dress, borrowed from Goldie giving me curves worthy of a Christina Hendricks Esquire photo shoot. 
I compiled a survival kit of prescription strength uppers, a bottle of Prosecco, and pout enhancing lip gloss in my purple patent leather clutch, and away I went: ready to face the monster in my closet and prove its non existence. Assuage fears and see the ex for the first time since he left me with a tear stained face, shivering in the middle of a Philadelphia train station platform over two years ago. 
And he didn’t show. The fucker didn’t even have the decency to show up long enough for me to torture him with aloofness coated in sexy and casual indifference dripping fabulousness.
Perhaps he simply was too much of a coward to face me. Perhaps he simply found a more enticing offer for the evening. 
Ironically though, while I was worried about this man walking back into my reality and giving myself a near ulcer over what this unsuccessful, unmotivated Peter Pan might think of my outfit, my waste line, my boobs, my hair, my smile, my eyes, my words - I saw three amazing bands, including my favorite, Atomic Shotgun - experienced the Red & the Black, a bar to which I had never been, and managed to make some new friends who found yours truly to be rather charming. 
Life truly happens when you’re making other plans. I’ll try to remember that when I’m spending time and emotional currency worrying about something and someone that truly means nothing and adds no value whatsoever to my world.
With that, I finally walked away.
Frankly,

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Scream, Shout, Let it Out

I was having drinks, sitting in someone’s quiet living room, in a circle of laid back, care free conversation with friends. The room was light and airy close to the ocean, but I wasn't quite sure. A safer place could not be imagined nor could a more comfortable way to spend, what seemed like a lovely afternoon.

Eventually the tone shifted and a nagging, pressing feeling emerged and refused to be shook off. The mood of everyone present was unnervingly altered from casual and light to secretive and knowing. Worried glances exchanged from face to face communicating something I wasn’t meant to see or information no one wanted to share.

Gradual, vague recognition crept up and a realization set in. He was here. A seeming impossibility but it made sense - he knew these people. His family was here. After all this time, silence and separation the possibility propelled my stomach into my throat and then plunged it back into place leaving a painful lump of anticipation temporarily disabling speech. The comprehension that he could, at any minute, enter the room and become a part of my line of vision set my eyes darting about, searching for some kind of warning sign or herald that would somehow assuage an unanticipated appearance.

Panic then set in. Utter terror at the thought that in this safest of places, he could suddenly be thrust into my reality unannounced and uninvited. Disjointed thoughts about everything I had left unsaid and the rage I had yet to unleash face-to-face whirled around the growing confusion of my mind.

Alarms worthy of of a DCFD station clamored in my ears as the room spun before my eyes. The previously airy space seemed to be loosing oxygen with every passing second. I couldn't understand why someone, anyone wouldn't smash one of these wall sized windows before we all lost consciousness. I had to sit down.
I fixated on the beach below, staring intently on the point at which the surf rhythmically and calmly met the shore. Taking all the effort I had to stay grounded and present before the panic overtook me completely. It was too late. I could sense him walking into the room behind me. Even though I could barely see through the distortion of the moving room, there was no mistaking him even beyond the chaos pounding behind my eyes and blurring my vision.

It wasn’t rational. I didn’t think. Fight or flight they call it? I had been fleeing this moment and these feelings and this fear for so long that the fight, the savage, overwhelming fight was the only response my swirling brain could conjure. Even so, my body seemed at once too small to contain it. The tidal wave of grief, passion and rage crashed upon me a thousand times more fiercely than I could have imagined washing away all cohesion or sense. Nothing but an echo of screams, incomprehensible noise, filled the space.

Unaware of words, unaware of thoughts, unaware of anything but the explosion of exhausting emotion and a newly discovered capacity for rage erupting from within.
Hurling every remnant of sanity, feeling and self control at him one decibel at a time. Yet, he stood there placid. He seemed infuriatingly unphased at to the emotional explosion of atomic proportions to which he was seemingly immune and I longed to return to the flight strategy of before.

As I sobbed myself awake and realized that I had been screaming to the darkness of my apartment only and that this encounter had not, in fact, been real. The rage, exhaustion, and grief, however, truly did exist in an organic, almost tangible way.

It wasn't the first such dream I had had that had managed to break through the numbing effects of the tranquilizers, the Ambien and the Merlot all meant to keep my subconscious at bay. It was, however, the last such nightmare.

Nine months ago, I realized that you can only dam up a river so long before that dam collapses and the river swallows you whole. Since then I’ve let the water out, released the pressure, taken more than several deep breaths, put on my big girl panties, dug deeper, realized more and faced my fears. All but one.

Frankly, it is for that reason I feel I’m strong enough after two and a half years for Friday night. Because Friday night, I know I will
not be dreaming when I see HIM standing in the room.


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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Objects in the Rear View Mirror

I thought I loved him. I was excited. To meet his parents, to go shopping with his mom, to be immersed in the family activities. More acutely enjoyed, I expect, since my own family was so far away. It was nice, it felt real.
But there were problems, just like any relationship. There was the criticism for one. The constant comments about my diet, the nagging to eat better, the reminders to not order that second glass of wine, the disapproving looks if I were to partake in any form of carbohydrate. After all, HE was the professional athlete. He knew best.
Then came the fights. The temper. They were my fault, of course. Everything was always my fault. It was exhausting, living on the edge, not knowing what would set him off, doing my best not to make him mad. But these problems were, in my mind, no different from any other relationship. He told me he loved me, so he must. And when it ended after nine months, I was sad. And I was hurt when he told me the reason: because I wasn’t “motivated”. Because I wasn’t 12% body fat. Because I wasn't working hard enough to get there. Because I spent too much time with my friends.
I cried. I cried for not being enough. I cried for not trying harder. I cried for loneliness, for yet another failed relationship. For being 25 and still single! But alas, after the tears had stopped falling I did what so many women who have found themselves tossed and tumbled on the side of the relationship highway have done and will continue to do. I dusted myself off, touched up my makeup and moved on with life.
He wasn’t one of those ex’s with whom we stay in contact. A casual text, a brief phone call, a drunken hook up. No – this relationship was deader than a morgue resident with a toe tag accessory. Never to be heard from again. Fast forward 5 years to last month when eHarmony and their 27 degrees of crazy…er, compatibility – posted none other than Footballer up on my “New Matches” list! What’s more, he “requested communication”. I was confuse. Slightly amused. Contemplating only two possible scenarios for this sudden outreach from a man I now considered to be of little more significance than a well learned lesson in controlling relationship behavior.
Douchebag Scenario #1: He had no idea who I was. Didn’t remember us dating. Just saw the red hair (a weakness) and put no more thought into the communications request. This would just make him an idiot.
Douchebag Scenario #2: He knew exactly who I was. In which case he was playing a game. Instead of just sending me an email to say, “Hi, Scarlett, it’s been a long time, how are you? Etc. etc.” he’s playing a warped, immature game of “getting to know you”.
It turned out we had encountered Douchebag Scenario #2. I don’t know why I decided to meet him for lunch. Morbid curiosity, perhaps? He looked the same. Still cute. Still built. But he was flattering. He was amorous. Complimentary even. It was absolution, pure and simple.
If any bit of my psyche still remained scarred, if any shred of my self-esteem was still bruised, if there was any hint of uncertainty left over from the misfortune of dating a man who dumped me because of my weight…it was now vindicated and then some. Because, unlike the woman who dusted herself off, moved on and continued to excel at life, this man had definitely stalled along life’s highway and was forever staring into the rear view mirror.
Forced into the ranks of the NFL-injured, he had early retirement thrust upon him and had little to no desire to move forward. And after the waitress screwed up his lunch order, I realized, he was still the poster boy for anger management, entitlement issues. Still annoyingly particular about everything. Still the ever suffering hypochondriac. Still the “my way or the highway”, “take me or leave me”, “its obviously your problem and not mine”, “my mother thinks I’m perfect so everyone else should fall in line”, “by the way, let me tell you how to live YOUR life” touting prima donna has been that he was circa 2005!
The only thing different at that lunch table was me. Not a change in weight that tipped the scales, but a massive shift in both self confidence, self worth and self awareness that I found so dramatic.
Frankly, it was so incredibly satisfying.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

REDHEAD SPOTLIGHT: Discrimination Pushes A Ginger Over the Edge

Imagine the ending of this headline: Man shoots himself and mother because of __________.
a) His crystal meth addiction
b) He was breast fed until the age of 10
c) He felt discriminated against as a redhead

Correct Answer: C

As a self proclaimed “ginger” celebrator and general reveler of all things carrot-top, strawberry-blond and flaming fabulousness, you can imagine my surprise, shock, awe and general bafflement at this story! 

Clearly this man was one book shy of a full library but seriously - What’s so wrong with redheads anyway!? 

Frankly, makes me wonder if there’s something to the phrase “beating like a redheaded step-child.”

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Suspended Sydney paramedic Trent Speering fumed that the NSW Ambulance Service was run by "degenerates" and was bigoted towards redheads before shooting dead his elderly mother and himself, a court has been told.

On June 11, 2008, the 40-year-old visited his 70-year-old mother, Monica Speering, at her home in Baulkham Hills, Sydney, and shot her twice in the head before covering her with a blanket and resting her head on a pillow, The Daily Telegraph reports.

Mr Speering then killed himself, a coronial inquest into both deaths heard today.

The day after the shootings, the Daily Telegraph opened a letter to the editor from Mr Speering detailing the reasons for his actions.

John Agius, counsel assisting the coroner, outlined some of contents of the letter in the NSW Coroners Court today.

"There are two main reasons as to why I've taken the action I have,'' Mr Agius read from the letter.

"One is that there is a lot of bigotry towards people with red hair in this workplace ... and I've copped my share in my lifetime...

"I work for the Ambulance Service of NSW and you would be hard pressed to find an organisation more morally bankrupt, and run by a bigger bunch of degenerates if you tried.''

Mr Speering went on to say that he would kill his mother and himself.

The letter triggered a police investigation but officers arrived at the house too late.

Mr Agius told coroner Mary Jerram that repeated recommendations from paramedic colleagues and medical experts that Mr Speering undergo a psychological assessment, had not been adopted.

"There are issues here about the duty of care for the ambulance service to Mr Speering as an employee ... given what the ambulance service ought to have known of Mr Speering's mental state,'' he said.

The inquest, set down for two weeks, is due to hear from numerous witnesses, including senior NSW Ambulance management.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Dupont Dating Tour of 2010

Round and round the dating pond I went last week and ended up splashing about in my own bit of the city - Dupont. Literally splashing as I got caught in the rain at least once. 
 
The following is a brief recap of last weeks romantic (or not-so-much) episodes. 
 
Tuesday: BossMan
   
BossMan was as funny, fabulous and utterly frustrating as ever. A little table at Dupont’s own Pizzeria Paridiso was casually perfect as always. I impressed him with my knowledge of foreign beer, we caught up, laughed, exchanged work information, he paid me a compliment. We were talking about the girl he broke up with in March or April and he said something to the effect of “most beautiful girl I ever dated. But now I understand why she’s not married. Not to say that beautiful girls have to be married - yourself being a prime example of that.” Upon reflection - not sure whether or not it was a compliment or just an avoidance of insult. Most likely the later I suppose.
 
With this guy I’ll take what I can get!
 
By all standards of what makes a date, in fact, a date (i.e., sexual tension, guy picks up the check, rebutting of sexual advances in an attempt to play hard to get and look like a lady) this one fell incredibly short of the typical criteria. But if it WERE, in fact a date - Pizzeria Paridiso is, of course, a great venue. The only problem being that they do not take reservations, leaving the possibility of waiting for quite some time at the over crowded bar. Additionally, if  your entire party is not present and accounted for at the host’s stand - good luck charming your way to a table all by yourself. But other than that, I recommend the Fraoch Heather Ale, my favorite beer. Pizzeria Paridiso is one of the three bars in town, to my knowledge, that serve it. Brickskeller and RFDs being the other two.  
 
He promised that we’d hang out again soon and emailed me the next day with some funny links, etc. relevant to our topics of conversation the night before. I really have to get over this as it is leading to nothing but sexual frustration. 
 
Wednesday: Brew Master (BM)
   
BM and I have been dating off and on since April - with a brief hiatus in June - owing to the fact that I was basically out of pocket for the 6 week during and post Memorial Day weekend. But we had a lovely reunion over Miller Lites and 8-Balls at Buffalo Billiards
 
Physically speaking, he is pretty much spot on as my type - 6’4, all smiles, redhead, large-ish teddy bear type. Yummy. He manages a local Brewery and is a nice guy. I am attracted/interested…but not uber excited about this one - maybe if I see him with more frequency than every other month. 
 
I’m afraid I may have taken a bit of my residual frustration from the night before out of BM - I don’t think he minded though.
 
Thursday: Navy
  
What are our thoughts on a date getting HAMMERED and barely able to remember his own name let alone yours? I, for one, am NOT a fan. At some point during our post dinner jaunt over to James Hobans, he decided that he needed to prove the existence of his Irish roots by downing no less than 6 Guinesses in perhaps a little over an hour. Excessive? Indeed. Unattractive? You betcha. OH! And let us not forget the little fit of jealous rage I had the pleasure of experiencing when I happen to give one of my favorite bar tenders a hug and a kiss on the cheek upon arrival at said bar. 
  
Thankfully the one redeeming feature of this bizarre little encounter was his choice of meeting place. The Iron Gate. A Dupont venue located @ 17th & N St., NW to which I had never gone (gasp!) but will continue to frequent for years to come. 
 
It is a truly, aesthetically unique, reminiscent of a tiny bistro one might find tucked away in a long forgotten Parisian alleyway. I highly recommend the citrus hummus and the goat cheese torte - but be sure this is your first stop of the evening as it closes at 10 p.m.! I found this to be a very dark, romantic and overall amazing date venue. 
  
Frankly, I just hope that next time, I‘ll be there with someone less…objectionable.
 
 
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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Playing Office

He was beautiful. 
 
My second week of my new job he took over the publicity department. I didn’t fall immediately. It was slow. Gradual. At first glance he was a snappy dresser wearing wide, colorful ties and sporting a huge smile.  After a week, he was an organized, no nonsense PR guy who had been in the trenches and whom I admired professionally.
 
After two weeks he was the charming Italian, New Yorker with a slight Queens accent who accompanied me to the coffee shop every morning. After three weeks, he was my reason for looking pressed and perfect in full makeup and heels in every morning staff meeting.
  
After a month, he was making nightly appearances in rated-X, multi-orgasmic sex dreams rendering me incapable of meeting his gaze without blushing a shade of red that put my own hair to shame.
Eventually it was taking every ounce of will power I possessed not to walk into his office, shut the door and crawl across his desk as if channeling some big haired, cat-like, temptress dancing on a mustang in a hair band music video. 
   
It was agonizing. He wasn’t the sort of beautiful-and-knows-it, arrogant political asshole that frequents the political dives of Capital Hill and the networking dens of downtown. In fact, he wasn’t the sort of good looking man that makes you look up from your Cosmo or take notice from across the bar. He’s the kind that sneaks up on you. He’s the kind of man that may not truly knock a girl off her bar stool until you talk to him. And then BAM! Five minutes of snarkey, intelligent banter while he flashes those dimples, waxes philosophical on the Yakees, all things New York, Opera and politics and you’re done for.
   
I have to admit. I was obvious. I smiled too much. Asked too many questions - lingered a bit too long in his office perhaps. During the Christmas party, I even put myself in charge of desserts, baking 8 dozen cookies of various shapes, sizes, colors, textures, themes and flavors in my itty bitty kitchen. I then bought myself a new suit of beautiful black and red, had my hair blown out and visited the MAC counter at Macy’s for a 40s Marilyn, cat eye/red pout look that was truly, irresistible. 
   
I then skillfully strutted into his office, both red pout and Christmas cookies perfectly presented and beautifully arranged as if to say “not only will I bake cookies for our children, but I will look AMAZING doing it. 
  
While he did do a double take…it wasn’t quite the “throw the cookies in the air and take me now” response I had imagined.
  
Never have I ever put so much time, effort, MAC, Calvin Klein, Victoria Secret shaping or Jimmy Choo discomfort into unsuccessfully seducing a man! 9 months I spent on this man - and to no avail. Sigh. 
  
Utterly disheartening. My one hope was that after the change of Administration, he would no longer be my boss. He would no longer have a position of authority over me (professionally speaking anyway) and he would be free to express his desire with wile abandon befitting a Fabio bedecked romance novel. 
  
No such luck - this Republican politico is as utterly unseduceable as a Pope after Mardi Gras. I’ve learned to live with disappointment. Win some loose some.
  
And tonight, we’re having dinner. We’re just two old friends having dinner. He still makes me nervous, but I will do my own hair and make up and hopefully keep my rather vivid imagination in check.
 
Frankly,
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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Redhead Spotlight #28

A ring of 10 Russian moles right out of a Cold War spy novel was smashed yesterday — and among those busted was a flame-haired, 007-worthy beauty who flitted from high-profile parties to top-secret meetings around Manhattan.
Russian national Anna Chapman — a 28-year-old divorcee with a masters in economics, an online real-estate business, a fancy Financial District apartment and a Victoria’s Secret body — had been passing information to a Russian government official every Wednesday since January, authorities charged.
In one particularly slick spy exchange on St. Patrick’s Day, Chapman pulled a laptop out of a tote bag in a bookstore at Warren and Greenwich streets in the West Village while her handler lurked outside, receiving her message on his own computer, the feds said. A similar exchange occurred at a Midtown coffee shop at 47th Street and 8th Ave.
The FBI claimed the two were corresponding via a secret online network.
Last week, an undercover agent pretending to be a Russian official arranged a meeting to talk about the weekly laptop exchanges, pretending to be ready to send the sexy spy on a mission to deliver a fake passport to another female agent, according to the federal complaint.
"Are you ready for this step?" he asked. "S¤-¤-¤-, yes," Chapman allegedly gushed.
The undercover instructed her on how she would recognize her fellow spy and how to report back on the handoff, the feds said.
"Haven’t we met in California last summer?" the spy expecting the fake passport was supposed to say. Chapman was to respond, "No, I think it was the Hamptons," according to the FBI.
Chapman allegedly was also supposed to hold a magazine under her arm so her counterpart would recognize her, and plant a stamp on a wall map indicate the handoff was a success.
It never took place.
Another spy-movie-like maneuver took place in Brooklyn shortly after the meeting with the undercover agent when Chapman darted into a Verizon phone store to buy a cell using the name Irine Kutsov, and an address of "99 Fake Street," the feds said. She only planned to use the phone to "avoid detection of her conversations," the FBI alleged.
At her arraignment last night, she was held without bail as federal prosecutor Michael Farbiarz called her a "highly trained agent" and a "practiced deceiver."
The other suspects, including four middle-aged couples living seemingly ordinary professional lives, were supplied with bogus names and documents and told by Moscow to become "Americanized," infiltrate "policymaking circles" in the United States and send secrets back to the Kremlin, the feds said.
All allegedly were on deep-cover assignments and schooled in spying tradecraft — from using high-tech methods like digital gadgets to traditional methods like invisible ink, sending encoded radio bursts of data and using innocent-looking "brush-by" encounters to pass documents.
Among the extraordinary allegations detailed in documents filed in Manhattan federal court yesterday:
* A senior Russian spy who used the name Christopher Metsos served as a go-between for agents across the country. He buried cash under five inches of dirt in upstate Wurtsboro that was dug up two years later by a Yonkers couple who were members of the ring.
* Metsos turned over an orange bag of cash to a Russian government official in May 2004 when they passed one another on a stairway at the Forest Hills, Queens, LIRR stop.
Other handovers and meetings between spies occurred in a Fort Greene, Brooklyn, coffee shop, a Sunnyside, Queens, restaurant and a subway entrance at Columbus Circle, the feds said.
* In May 2006, spies based in Boston gave their handlers information about changes at the CIA and about the 2008 presidential election. The information came from a well-connected "former legislative counsel for the US Congress," they told Moscow.
* The Boston spies also boasted in 2004 that one of their agents had talks with a US nuclear expert about research on bunker-buster warheads.
* A spy in Montclair, NJ, who used the name Cynthia Murphy, told Moscow in February 2009 that she had "several work-related personal meetings" with a prominent New York financier, who was a big campaign fund-raiser and friend of a former Cabinet member.
"Of course, he is a very interesting target," Moscow replied.
* Her husband, who used the name Richard Murphy, was told last January how he would be able to identify another spy when he traveled to Rome to get a bogus Irish passport.
"Excuse me, could we have met in Malta in 1999?" he was told to ask.
If the contact was legitimate, he would reply, "Yes, indeed I was in La Valetta, but in 2000."
But if his contact was carrying a copy of Time magazine in his left hand, it was a signal that the meeting was in danger, according to the instructions from Moscow.
"You were sent to USA for long-term service trip," one message said. "Your education, bank accounts, car, house etc. — all these serve one goal: fulfill your main mission, i.e. to search and develop ties in policymaking circles in US and [send] intels."
The court documents also reveal day-to-day travails of the spy business.
Last March, two of the suspects were watched as they met at a payphone at DeKalb and Vanderbilt avenues in Brooklyn. They went from there to a coffee house for a long chat. One alleged agent complained about the computer Moscow had given him.
"They don’t understand what we go through over here," he kvetched.
Before they left, one spy gave the other a package believed to contain cash, the feds said.
Moscow Center, the infamous headquarters of Russian intelligence going back decades, closely monitored how much it was spending. In one message, it listed all the expenses for two Boston spies, including $8,500 for rent, $160 for telephone and $180 for a car lease.
The Yonkers spies, meanwhile, struggled financially, and after one of them flew to an unidentified South American country to collect eight bags each packed with $10,000, he used some of it to pay off nearly $8,000 in back taxes to the country and city, the FBI said.
Neighbors of the suspects were stunned.
The two Montclair "Murphys" moved to the neighborhood about a year ago and were described by one neighbor as very normal. "They were suburbia personified," he said. Near the crowded, book-filled Yonkers home of suspect Vicky Pelaez — an op-ed columnist for El Diario — and another defendant, Juan Lazaro, neighbors were stunned.
One, Ellen Shaffren, said that the couple had lived there 12 to 15 years and that one of their two sons is a piano prodigy.
Shaffren said Lazaro was an economics professor.
Two other defendants, Michael Zottoli and Patricia Mills, were arrested at their residence in Arlington, Va.
Mikhail Semenko, was busted Sunday at his home in Arlington.
Donald Howard Heathfield and Tracey Lee Ann Foley, were arrested at their Boston residence Sunday.
Outside their home near Harvard Square, local residents said the couple never quite fit in the offbeat neighborhood.
"There was no interaction," said neighbor Lila Hexner. "Everything was very nondescript."
Metsos, who apparently was able to enter the United States repeatedly over several year, is not in custody.
Each of the 10 arrested was charged with conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government, which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison on conviction.
Nine were charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering, which carries a maximum 20 years in prison.
Additional reporting by Perry Chiaramonte, Erin Calabrese, Rebecca Rosenberg and Doug Montero in New York and Marcia Harrison in Boston