London Clubbing

OK, so first of all, I have to say that I feel as if I went in the opposite direction as you, Scott…

Let me explain that. Years ago I gave up on going out to bars and clubs to meet men… I did meet men, but I wasn’t interested. The kind of guy I like doesn’t go around bars trying to pick up women. That said, a friend here really wanted to go out and pick up guys, so I sighed and agreed to do it. Why? Well, part of me was hoping London clubs would be different from those in other cities. Another part of me kind of knew that this would be nothing more but a social experiment using myself as the guinea pig.

We started early, since there was a poetry reading in the afternoon she was interested in. It was going to be in a room above a pub… Poetry above a pub… promising, right? Never, and I repeat, never, get sucked into that one. If someone with a book published can’t find any space other than the room above a pub, bets are that the book is self published. And not any good. And the reading is full of his aspiring-poet friends (all, including the author, above 50). Who also read some of their stuff. And want our phone numbers, “in case there’s another reading.”

Two whiskeys (on the rocks) got me through that. Then we walked to a pub in the hipper part of London. Full, very full. Mostly, full of groups of teens (they are allowed to drink at 18 here). No one mingles, nothing interesting. Two more whiskeys.

The next stop was a night club, one of the best known (the Old Queen’s Head). It was around, which would have been way too early to start clubbing elsewhere, but hey, London. I’m getting used to it. The place was far from full, but there were no tables left. That was okay, we wanted to dance anyway. Two more whiskeys.By 10, the place was packed, and pretty diverse… Lots of groups of men looking to pick up girls. And a few interesting men… sort of… not really. Also, the Brits are terrible dancers. And the DJ wasn’t helping. Another whiskey.

Lesson learned: Don’t do that again. You will meet interesting men anywhere but clubs.

Tips for men, if you still want to pick up a girl while clubbing:

1. If you have a girlfriend, what’s wrong with you? On that note, please don’t try to pick up a girl while your girlfriend is in the bathroom, or dancing. She will notice at some point. And I hope she drops you!

2. Don’t drink Corona unless you’re at the beach (and if you’re in Mexico, don’t drink Corona, there are much better beers we keep to ourselves). Especially if you’re in the UK, on a cold spring night, don’t drink Corona at a club. Pick any other beer. And don’t put a wedge of lime in it.

3. If you can’t dance, say so, because no matter how many times you tell us that you love dancing, it shows you’ve avoided doing it all your life.

4. Has a girl ever, ever told you how cool those white loafers look? No? Guess why…

5. Bathe! We do have a sense of smell, you know (and we can tell that it’s not just from the dancing tonight).

That said, the bouncer (who “chatted me up” as we were weaving our way out of the club) was a cool guy… He agreed when I told him they should not have amateur DJ’s on a Saturday night.

Oh, and I managed to make the last train home on the tube, which is great, because I was way too drunk to figure out the night busses.

New Post soon, meanwhile…

I just had to share this:

http://www.theonion.com/articles/ive-left-my-haltingly-awkward-voice-message-now-th,17206/

S.

How to Unmask your Date

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to Scott’s Incommunicado post. The fact is, he just hit on the most important reason why I don’t date so much as accidentally fall into relationships. I hate having to play a role on dates… And I hate knowing that whoever I’m on a date with is holding back, playing his own part. Why try being what we think the other wants? How do we even know what the other wants?

To that effect, I’ve come up with a few pre-emptive strikes (I have a friend to thank for that idea). t’s in construction, so please, please, add your own ideas to the list.

1. An early on picnic date (my friend does this with girls) to make sure they’re not materialistic and can go with the flow. Wanted to have a fancy dinner? Hope you’re not wearing Jimmy Choos!

2. A very strange cheap restaurant (this is my version of 1) to make sure they can’t try to impress you with a fancy dinner. Insist on choosing the restaurant. He hasn’t heard of it? Oh, you’ll love it, it has the best salads ever! (true, and they even have some that are not vegetarian, I’m not completely heartless). Hope you don’t mind perching on a stool and watching the weirdest characters of the city pop in and out.

3. Did they say they liked artsy films? Make sure, take them to the slowest, longest experimental film you can find.

4. Did they say they liked reading? Talk about books, specific books. They may not have read the book, but an avid reader will always enjoy hearing about something he/she might like to read, and counter with another proposal.

5. They like sports, eh? Make sure. Watch a game… And if they said they’re into doing sports, well, plan a fun, athletic outing.

In short. Call out your date on anything and everything. Of course, this means that you have to be honest about yourself, lest they strike back.

A Post-Feminist Response to Big Heart

I know, I know… Some of us… many of us, have a very hard tome asking for help, or even accepting it if it’s offered. Most of us (usually the same ones) are skittish and flee if a guy shows that he cares too soon (give us a break, we’re the ones who can’t tell someone’s a psycho until it’s too late). All that means many of you end up pretending to be uncaring assholes when, really, you’re not. And we all suffer, too, because deep down, we want you to care, and worry, and be there.

The problem is, our generation was raised by feminists. Whether they were vocal about it or not, whether they took on the cause or not, whether they burned their bras or wore them, our mothers lived in the era when it finally became all right to work, study, be yourself, be an individual, and not just a wife. And so, we all grew up being told that we could do it alone, that we were independent, that we did not need a man to make us complete, or help us in any way. We are the first generation to be enjoying the first fruits of equality, but we are also acutely aware that we aren’t there yet.

And so, can you blame us if we haven’t quite found the balance as individuals yet? If we’re so intent on being strong and independent and complete, able to do it all, that we don’t feel comfortable accepting help, or freak when a guy seems to want to take some of the burden (oh, no, my independence might be next!). I’d add the fact that, while we were being told to be independent, the same mothers were raising all of you to be kind, caring and helpful.

What can I say. We all need to find he balance. And Scott, we really do want guys like you. We just suck at showing it, and we’re incredibly ungrateful. And remember, this admission comes from someone who will not allow guys to open her door (don’t you think I know how to operate the knob.

Lay of the Land

All right them,

I’ve been in rainy, foggy (yep, fog almost every day , hardly ever see the sun)London for a week now, so I guess I can make my presence known before Scott sends out a search and rescue team.

First impressions: unlike Paris (yeah, I’ve been picked up and dated in Paris), the tube (that’s Brit for subway) stations are too cold for people to stand around waiting for the right person to come along and then ask them for a smoke (common Parisian pick-up strategy, if you’re ever there). Everybody’s rushing on the streets, too… I guess no one wants to get wet. Pubs are family places before sundown (who knew), and the food is just as bad as people say.

Now, to be fair, I’ve spent a lot of time at the library in the back room where you have to get special permission, so it’s not like I’ve actually seen a lot of people. A male clerk at a grat organic bath supplies store called Lush was hitting on me, but I’ll bet that’s how he gets female customers to buy more things. And a Brazilian waiter at an Italian restaurant had some fun trying to guess my nationality…

University seminars really start up tomorrow, so I won’t be stuck to my old manuscripts and computer so much this week, and I’ll have more to report. So far: love the weather, love the vibe, hate the food.

S.

Tú y Tus Tattoos

OK. Before I get into it, the title is actually the title to a Mexican rock song, and it roughly translates to You and your Tattoos. And yeah, this post is about tattoos.

I recently read an article about tattoos in the workplace. Basically, it talked about how some cities and some workplaces are more open to body art than others. No news here, right? But it got me thinking about ink and dating.

I’m sure it’ll come as no surprise to anyone who’s read other posts of mine that long hair and tattoos on guys are more than a little attractive to me, but I hadn’t really thought about what happens on the other side.

So here’s the tattoo data: I have three of them, and no regrets. I’ll probably get more in the future, but I’m not sure when, since each of my tattoos represents a landmark in my life, and I plan to keep that pattern going. I also love the artwork. The designs are pretty, colorful, and look good on me (at least that’s what I think).

Going with the workplace thing, no one finds it strange that offices like law firms, and accounting firms seriously frown on visible body art, while others, like non profits and design firms, don’t mind as much. I’m sort of in the middle in that area myself, since I work for the government, but in the culture area. I usually cover up my own tats, which isn’t too hard. When I don’t, I find that people my age don’t even notice, but I get stares from bureaucrats who don’t dare mention it (the fact that they’re staring at my midsection doesn’t help their case. It’s uncomfortable, but that’s it, no ne has evr asked me to cover them up.

Now on to the dating scene. I’ve sort of been thinking that guys are like offices when it comes to tattoos. I don’t think anyone has a problem with a tiny tattoo on a girl, but I’ve found that some guys, particularly the corporate type, don’t expect women to have tattoos larger than an inch in diameter. Especially when there are several. I’ve also figured out that they have less of a problem with it if they can be covered up in public (like stuffy offices), which means no sexy summer dresses in my case.

Now, the thing is, I think this is an advantage of my tattoos. I’ve been burned in the past by men pretending to be really cool with the way I live my life, and then spending the whole relationship trying to turn me into someone more conventional. Somehow, the tattoos scare provoke a reaction they can’t hide. And truthfully, I don’t want to waste my time on guys who don’t accept me for who I am, colorful skin and all. I don’t even want to waste my time with guys that love the tattoos in private, but prefer to cover up my shoulders with their jacket during dinner (really, do you think I don’t notice?). I don’t have the time or energy to be someone’s walk on the wild side, or pretend to be a dutiful, vanilla girlfriend so their friends won’t freak out (it’s hard enough covering up for the family, and for academic events).

So basically, I know (and I’ve dealt with) three kinds of reactions from men: the guys that love my ink, and are usually decorated themselves, the men who visibly hate it, and the men who secretly love it, but are too conventional to deal with it in public. And I’m left wondering, is there no middle ground? Are there no men around who don’t look like rockers and are okay with the ink, in private and public? Or is this just the conservative society I live in nowadays (and I’m sick of it, believe me)?

How do you guys feel about women with tattoos?

Pre-Holiday Advice Column Letter

So, guilt-ridden, I popped in today and realized I’m not the only one who’s let her blogging slide (hint, hint). Not that there aren’t reasons… I’ve been busy working hard at the job I hate and will soon quit.  The very same job that traps me in Kafka-esque situations, of late, such as having to take entrance exams, the ones that were waived when I started working, before I’m allowed to quit (it seems I have to pass, too, although I’m sure that if they don0t let me quit because of this, they’ll fire me when I stop showing up).

But on to the subject at hand…

Dear Scott, Chrissey,

I don’t know if other single people will concur, but I find the upcoming holiday season particularly difficult to deal with… Not, as some will think, because I feel lonely. I don’t. Really. I like my life. A partner would be a good thing, but it’s not something I feel I’m missing right now. I just have a very hard time dealing with all the family gatherings, especially when it comes to extended family. I love spending time with my close family, those who know me and know that I like my life, but there’s nothing more harrowing than one “happily” married mother of four after another asking when I plan to get married, whether I’ve realized that I’m not getting any younger,, and why that delightful (abusive, but they don’t know that) boyfriend of a while back and I didn’t get married. This year, I’ve actually considered buying my ticket to London for December 23rd (only my mother might feel hurt) and spending Christmas alone in a new city.

This situation, by the way, is by no means new… Last year, I went to the gathering, but I was high as a kite for the duration. The year before, I feigned a cold, and the year before that, I planned a trip so that I could be at the gathering of my mother’s side (Dec. 24), but not my father’s (Dec. 25). My father is beginning to suspect I have problems with his side of the family (duh).

How do you guys deal with family? Do you even have to deal with family in relation to these issues?

Sincerely, Tired of the Questions