dating

The Politics of Dating

In Broascaating, you collect a lot of unemployment and you end up out of desperation doing odd jobs for very odd people who really, really liked you on the air.   They almost only ever agreed to an interview just to see if one  looked  as hot as one sounded.     I made it through a couple of interviews….I guess that was because I was actually worthy of being the subject of  their fantasy; Laurinella, Queen of SultryVox, Land of CarboHydratia.    Eeewwwww.   I can remember having some of the creepiest temporary bosses.

Anyway, I was thinking back on my long  career and one particular  period of unemployment appeared front and center on ye olde memory banks or in my mammary banks according to some of my creepier bosses.

I’d been doing a little freelance work for a Houston magazine (heavy on the “free”, by the way).   Days earlier, my editor asked me what I wanted to do next in terms of a subject.

I told her that I really didn’t care–anything would be fine–I wasn’t picky. Whatever. I suggested  she throw out a couple of potential topics.

Right off the bat, she suggested I do an in-depth piece on the Interior Department’s finalized proposal to open 48 jillion  acres of previously off-limits land for oil exploration and drilling.

“Nah, that’s a little heavy. Too many facts and numbers”, I said. “But anything else would be fine. Really. I’m amenable to anything,  seriously.  Just name it.  What other topics do you have in mind?”

She then suggested that I write an article on Venezuelan despot, Hugo Chavez (he was still and alive and killing back then) and his ardent criticism of neo-liberal globalization.

I shook my head and told her no; too many abstract political principles. Nor was I in the mood to do a lot of boring research. Plus my head started to spin. I told her I’d do anything , ANYTHING but that.

She then suggested an overview of Nancy Pelosi’s first two years as Speaker of the House.

I vomited a little in my mouth, then suggested an overview of anything else.

She then told me of her idea for a story about the dating world for older Houstonians. (And by older, I mean age 40 and up)

I thought about it for a second: it had possibilities; some creative potential. There would be no mention of Hugo Chavez or Nancy P.  that I could think of and besides, I was a Houstonian over 40.

I told her I’d do it.

But I quickly learned that I wouldn’t be talking to older Houstonians trying to date. I’d have to become one of the older Houstonians trying to date.

The story, as it was conveyed to me, would be far more interesting if I participated in it. First person perspective.

As in, I should actually go out on a date.

Yeah, uh-huh.

A date.

I’m not even sure what constitutes a date in 2017 much less in what it was in 2008 when I was given this assignment,   Certainly not for a woman whose birth  predates Eisenhower’s incessant rants about then military- industrial complex.   

See, at the time, I hasn’t had a real by God date per se since December 2004.    I was Tin Man rusty and way off my game, but a few years earliermImhad some success at what I called “guerrilla dating”. I attacked it with Gunga Din-like precision; I had the enthusiasm of a Sandinista with new boots during the rainy season.

This was my M.O.—I’d get all tarted up and go to the nearest Barnes and Noble Bookstore (ALWAYS date a literate man and do brick and mortar book stores still esxist?).   I’d find a pretentious stack of books to stand near. If I saw a nice looking man, I’d grab a book and open it. Remember, the book really doesn’t matter, but the title and cover made all the difference .  Just make sure whatever you grab as a prop, makes you look intellectual and even a bit mysterious.

I remember on one occasion, I actually trained my eyes to go Marty Feldman. Seriously! One eye scanned the room looking for a mark, while the other focused on the book allowing me to feign interest in the Runic alphabet. I didn’t get that many dates, but I learned that Runic/Futhark is Runic for “how’s it hanging”.

That should come in handy if I’m ever going out with a holdover who’s lineage is that of the ancient Goths.

Still, I remember being nervous about all of it.  The dynamics of dating had changed since I last went out one a date four years prior.  Should I be worried I hasnt changed enough to accommodate all the social changes? But surely, some of the basics were still in existence, right?

All the latest books and authors insisted that men and women have innate “hard wiring” that time can’t change.    The wrote that it all goes back to that feral thing; when we lived in caves, communicated through grunts and screeches and were the mono-browed forebearers to that clever caveman Geico ad campaign eight years ago.

We all saw the movie, “Quest for Fire”, right?    We learned from that flick that prehistoric men looked at women and sized them up as breeding stock. They’d ask themselves, “Is she physically able to bare my progeny and propagate my DNA for generations to come?….Ugh!” If so, he grabbed her by the hair and pulled her into the cave where he would proceed make a big carnal Mesozoic smack dab all over her Jurassic.

So, what’s changed?  Women still do as they did way back then; we look at every man and subconsciously wonder if “he’s the one?”  . We can’t help it. We want to know if these brave, hunter/gatherers can provide for our families.   And by that I don’t  mean bringing home a brontosaurus or fire, for that matter.

But we’re older now, so more than likely, we’ll still size each other up, but for entirely different reasons.

Older men look at older women and hope that we can prepare a meal that’s either low or no sodium and we women will be hoping that men will still be able to—–my God! Is that a crease in his pants or is that his prostate???

Oh yes, things have changed.

And what if sex enters the picture??? There are so many factors now in place that weren’t there years ago. I was 49 then…..(Jeez, really?????) and at the time inconvenienced with “free range” periods–they came and went as they pleased and usually at the worst times!    I had to deal with that, plus, there was the awkward issue of Cialis and Viagra; performance anxiety and feminine…. whatever.

There’s nothing scarier than a “first anything”. Especially a first date. You’ve got a 50-50 chance you won’t like each other physically and if that attraction isn’t there, you know it right off the bat. That’s not to say that perceived looks won’t change as you get to know each other, but rarely will a couple on their first date, ever feel that need and desire at the same time.

The truth is we’re older. Much older.

In fact, too damn old to be dating in the first place.   Writing about it would be fiction.    I’d be Steven Glass  Glass with a better rack.

This whole damn idea is nuts.  Completely insane.   I remember sweating, feeling nauseous and burping up something akin to sulfur.   I called my editor in a complete panic.

So, long story short,  my piece on Hugo Chavez’s disdain of neo-liberal globalization affected his dating rituals  was on her desk and ready to go to print.

Jeez……The things  we do for a paycheck.

,

The Painful, Burning Itch of Rejection

They would only look at each other briefly across the table and in a perfunctory manner;  only when they had to.   When the situation warranted it…or when the silence became too uncomfortable.

“The bread is good here”.

“Yes, it is”.

He nodded; she managed a forced smiled as they exchanged a brief glance at each other.  She then looked away in silence to ponder that large, protruding mole on his cheek; the one that  she knew if she looked close enough, she could probably see Sir Edmund Hillary planting a flag upon the peak.

He took a sip of his drink hoping the alcohol will help errase his memory of witnessing that extra chin bubbling out from under her two pre-existing ones.

This is a hell date; one arranged by Satan and greenlit by God JUST  because you called Tommy Moranz a ‘Tick Face’ in fourth grade and well, karma is after all, a bitch.

Ever been on one of these?  I have.  They’re horrible.   But I’m convinced that bad dates are payment for being the cause of a bad date.  If you’ve ever been the reason behind why a date didn’t work, then you have this karmic debt that has to be paid.   

I’ve been the root cause and I’ve also  been the victim.   Both are painful.  But why does it have to be like that?   We hurt others so indiscriminately—especially when we’re younger–we think we’re bullet proof.   We’re not and that’s one of the ridiculous foibles of youth.  We make decisions based on such limited experience.  In my mid 20’s, I rebuffed many men because they weren’t up to par or what my idea of par was,  whatever that was.   One man I met while completely inebriated at a bar in Mexico one Friday night, apparently asked me out for a date. I suppose I said yes because I gave him my number.  He called the next day.   I didn’t remember him at all, but he sounded kind of cutem, so I pretended to remember him and we arranged our date for that night.  

He arrived at the prescribed coordinates.  I opened the door and he saw an average looking face attached to a behemoth’s body.  We’re talking at least 120 pounds overweight.   I left with him, utilizing every acting skill my High School drama class taught me in order to appear interested, but I’m afraid I showed a skillset more like Pia Zadora than Meryl Streep.   The worst part about this date was that I couldn’t hear a thing he said.   All I could focus on what how large he was and how completely turned off I was.  We were supposed to have drinks then see a movie.  I made it through one Scotch and then developed fabled bad date cramps.

I saw his face as he looked at  mine as I lied to him to end this fiasco.   He knew I was lying and sadly,  I think it wasn’t the first time this had happened.  He took me home and I never saw him again.  

But rest assured–I got mine.  The Precarious Nature of Dating Life came full circle.

In 2004, I distinctly remember three dates like this.  The first two ended in “headaches”–his, not mine.   The first “headache, gotta go” I exeperienced, I knew was a cop-out, but I wanted to give him the benefit of  doubt.  I wanted to believe that maybe….just  maybe  that old Korean war wound (a stab to the head with a bayonet) was in fact, bothering him as he was insisting.  

OK…so he was born two years after Korea ended.  

The second date I knew from the beginning I would at some part of the evening be rejected and ejected from this particular man’s realm of dating possibilities.   He left about an hour later—a headache was the reason.   Sadly, it got to the point where I could recognize the signs–even in their very early stages.    It’s the small talk.  The disinterest that echoes in his voice; that radiates from his eyes.   You could chill a Key Lime Pie in his cold “I’d kill to be anywhere but here, with her” demeanor.

By the time I went on the third date, I knew when I took one look at him, it was going to end early–one way or the other.   I’d become quite versed in reading the semaforic nature of all those red flags and 37 minutes into the date, I was right.   His cell phone rang–obviously a a fail safe set up and he went through the motions of acting upset with the requisite “Oh no’s” and “Oh God, when did it happen?” and the classic, “How’s mom taking it?”  

He hung up and then announced in a hushed tone that his grandmother just died.   It took a sip of my drink and replied, “Well,  if yours hadn’t, mine would have had to!”

He said nothing and instead threw a couple of $20s in my direction and ran out of the restaurant before they even fluttered down to the table.   I sat there a moment, feeling the sting of  emotion-fueled blood, or what I call “Embarrassment Juice”, pulse all over my body.    I was ashamed.   That was it—I’d had enough. 

I vowed that I would never place myself in that situation ever again.  I stopped dating after that and I’m pleased to say this self imposed moratorium has been good for me.    I’ve learned something about myself; namely how shallow I’d been and how shallow most people are.   I still have bouts of short-sightedness, but I do know that the older I get, the more accepting I am of others and their looks or the lack thereof.   

And as I do the work needed for self improvement, I have to ask why?   Why do we make sweeping rejections based on one’s physique?   We don’t want to get to know each other at all based on the fact that one person has the audacity NOT to be physically appealing in the dater’s eyes?   That’s how I felt with my Mexico date 25 years earlier.  And this came from a woman who even back then, hated rejection.   But while thinner, cuter, certainly younger all those years ago, was I any kind of prize?     Well,  I can do nothing about how others perceive me,  but I can damn sure be more fair in the way I perceive others. 

I’ve been talking to a lot of other love and dating reformers and there are a lot of us out there.   We’ve lived long enough to know that we need to start nursing the bruises received during our matriculation through the School of Hard Knocks.   Doing that requires patience (I’m working on that, too) and the painful effort we have to make in order to look at people and situations differently.    Why?  Because there comes a time when we we’re forced to understand that our windows of opportunity to be hot little objects of wanton desire are narrow and extremely sporadic, especially as we age.   At 51,  all I can hope for is to be regarded as  ‘tepid’…and even that would be a stretch.  

But there’s one solid about Time:  it’s an outstanding equalizer.   It chills the hot, engorges the thin; slims the tubby; hippens the geek; makes nuns out of wild, aimless women and can make decent husbands and fathers out of the jerks and heartless, uncaring players.   Don’t believe me?   Well, class reunions are wondrous 3-D Viewmasters that contain vivid Technicolor examples of how the passage of time can weave its magic.  

And there will be those days where you take trips down memory lane…back to high school or college, perhaps.  And this gets you thinking, providing your still capable of at least, transient thought.  You reflect back on your life and those care free days of youthful  narcissism and misplaced ego.     You think about how many social zeroes you  met at a bar or while on a blind date.  Or  you thoughts wander back to those loser kids in high school you never considered talking to, much less be friends with, who are now even more forgettable…just nameless, grainy black and white photos on the yellowing pages of an old high school year book.

Or maybe you come across names in an old diary that you don’t remember  or ones hastily scribbled in a dusty old address book that spent your 30s and 40’s at the bottom of a box that’s at the bottom of an even dustier storage room.   

These nameless, faceless people become this faceless, nameless crowd that you may have at one time, celebrated or they you.   Whatever the relationship was, whenever it was, it must have mattered albeit briefly, right?  

Or did it?   The uncertainty spurs on a chill that runs up  your now osteosporotic spine. You realize that someday somedone will come across your name and your old phone number in a dusty and forgotten address book……or they’ll look at your grainy, black and white photo on a yellowed page of an old high school year book and to them, you’ll be just as unrecognizable.

Just as unmemorable.

Just as meaningless.

◊,

\

The All New Click-A-Hubby

.

As a career woman who heads up the world renown, Laurie Industries, I believe I have a firm grasp on what today’s more mature woman wants and needs in a life partner. For reasons partially beyond my control, I myself have never been married…not for my lack of trying.

Well, not necessarily.

But I have gone on my own vision quest in search for the perfect mate and I can attest that there are very few “good catches” out there. That holds especially true for smart, witty, erudite, ambitious and semi-frigid women like me.

Like so many women today, I’m too old to settle and too vulnerable not to.

So, that’s why we here at Laurie Industries decided to start up our own special clearinghouse website this past January. The results have been stupefying!!!

Our certified matchmakers from the University of Phoenix On-line have taken the time and trouble to compile listings of available men from around the world, from all walks of life. They’re ready, willing and able to bring you love, devotion and relative happiness. Basically, we’ve done the leg work so you don’t have to.

Our men are 100-percent real members of the global community and practically heterosexual. Sure, some don’t speak English but when it comes to love, everyone speaks the same universal language.

Your “Mr. OK, Why The Hell Not” could be a simple mouse click away.

Visa, MasterCard and select farm animals are accepted.

Happy shopping, Ladies!

.

THE MEN FROM OUR OCTOBER COLLECTION:

.

Raymond is 31 and currently lives in his mother’s converted basement in Muncie, Indiana:

I dig long hot chicks who don\'t hit much

“I am lactose intolerant and believe that for every drop a rain that falls, a flower grows. Will you be my flower? I’m terribly allergic to all aspects of pollen, but with my inhaler, steroidal nose drops and various skin emollients, I figure we can still date. My mother will be happy to take us anywhere we’d like to go. Do you like your men like my Mom does? Slightly sweaty, mildly frightened and late at night when I pretend I’m asleep?”

Raymond……LOT #98r9ee8…………CLICK HERE

.

.

Claude will be 31 in November. Surprise!! He’s a Virgo and lives in Duluth, Michigan:

Raymond loves the ladies

“I’m looking for a woman who’s unafraid of convention. Other than that, you must be Jewish with child bearing hips and be at least a fourth level Mage in Dungeons and Dragons Version 2.8. I speak fluent Esperanto and Klingon with a decidedly Hungarian accent and yes, I can make aluminum foil from scratch. I’m a very mature 31 and have relevant hair in relevant places. This, in spite of the fact that I endured a two year stint in the Worster State TB Hospital in Massachusetts. I’m currently under a doctor’s care for regurgitative flatulence and armpit acne. I have a license and can drive during daylight hours with adult supervision and my asthma harness. I am looking for a woman to call my own. Therefore, it would help if you’re actually named “My Own”.

Claude……LOT # 57r9op3……….. CLICK HERE

.

Yaghovi is 38 and calls Outer Ukerjhan, Someguynamedstan:

Whirling Dervish

“Hello American lady with breasts of girth. Pliz to make sex on you with force of many oxen. From village, I am thought to be viral as men go. Have staying power of muscular May pole hour many hour. I ken do sex on you every night. Also, pliz to be wife that is of performing job blows. Not sure what is that, but am read about it in “Gulag Slutz Weekly”. You are her, yes? Contract me, Foxy Lady and decent sound of lovely music I can make which you and your fine shape az”.

Yaghovi……LOT #74q0ur5………..CLICK HERE

.

Juan Carlos is a.46 year old native of La Crotcha del Fuego, Bolivia:

Juan Carolos

“Ay,. I’m proud Bolivian but part Irish, too. I think part Irish. I guess that why I sometimes called “Pedro Phile” by the Bolivian Policia–not sure why, but I eegnore them and continue on with my yob as a Teacher’s Aid in a pre-school class where I am at my happiest. I love the leetle chidrins. I not so much looking for an esposa wife as much as I need una mujer that has a young, muy bonita daughter…..or son. I no particular. Come on….PEEK ME…PEEK ME!!!!!. I mow your lawn, too!”

Juan Carlos…… LOT #37d4ep7…………CLICK HERE

.

Simon is a shy, quiet 22 year old who collects bee larvae and scabs. This soft spoken lad hails from Lipstick on Avon, United Kingdom

hunk

“Pppppffffffftttt”.

Simon…… LOT# 35j9dp1………..CLICK HERE

.

Tad K’s exact age is unknown and his address has been narrowed down to a tin roofed shack somewhere in the remote backwoods of Oregon

dklgolsllllllllllllllekdosddddddddddddddddddddddddduuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu6yyyy

“As an isolationist, I’m a bit lonely and lately, I seem to want to rectify this nagging problem. That said, I seek the company of a woman who’s also extremely ticked at technology, logging and natural encroachment. Other than that, I’m a n absolute wiz at math and encryption and have at least six advanced degrees from several Ivy League institutions. I once taught Advanced Applied Mathematics at Berkeley, along side my cousin, Ted K. …My turn ons? I spend a lot of time writing manifestos and tinkering with C-4 and it’s practical applications within the U.S. Postal Service. As for my perfect mate? I guess you could say that I’m looking for the “nitro to my glycerin”. Are you she? If so, write me and let me know. There’s only so much hatin’ on the military industrial complex that one man can handle all by his lonesome!”

Tad K. ……. LOT # 54321………… Probably best if you don’t click here. In fact, if you choose Tad, it’s probably a good idea to never, ever click anything in his presence. The same applies to opening packages he mails you. Don’t do it. If you must communicate, we suggest sending telepathic thoughts or a homing pigeon with a death wish.

.

Nathaniel is 27 and will be 34 before you’ll get the chance to actually meet him. He currently lives in a very secure dormitory setting for men only, just outside of Olathe, Kansas.

Where\'s Nathaniel??

“Gee, sex is real important to me. That means I’m looking for someone who’s sexually adventurous and daring, willing to try and do everything. It wouldn’t hurt if you had the ass of an 18 year old Mexican national named Paco, serving 10-to-20 for assault with a deadly weapon.

Nathaniel……LOT #84o0rf……….. CLICK HERE on May 22, 2015

.

Broderick is 38 and in spite of battling several unnamed learning disabilities and a severe speech impediment, he works as a professional leaf blower for former actor, Leif Garrett, comedienne, Carol Leiffer and the star of “Frasier”, Jane Leeves.   

“I woves da wadies. They’s fine buh. I buh be buh lookin’ for da love buh of buh my buh life buh!! ..I’d buh be buh even more buh happy iffin you was my buh birlfriend, shit. Say, you buh wont yo Schefflera blown?”  

Broderick……LOT #89hy4a……….CLICK HERE … (SWEET DEAL ALERT!!!!!… SWEET DEAL ALERT!!!! .. Broderick’s family will PAY YOU to take him off their hands!!!!!!)

.

Clark is a 28 year old sterile Albino with a significant lower jaw malocclusion and severe anger/rage issues. He also has one of the worst cases of ADHD known to man. He lives in a cramped, one room apartment in Tempe, AZ. He only owns windbreakers and believes that every window is a portals to Hell.

Wants to legally change his name to Cerberus Glandularino Cockroastin’ Jones, the III.

.

“What are you lookin’ at Asswipe? .STOP STARING AT ME!!!! Wow, there are 12 ones on that calender. You’re no prize, either. Jeez, I took one look at you and thought you were my mother’s douche bag, but that can’t be; THAT’S in Peoria!!! Does this grouping of moles on my forearm look like the Liberty Bell? What? You think you’re better than me? Don’t pick me, whatever you do. I won’t resp—-Ooooh look! A new penny!!”.

.

Is CLICK-A-HUBBY© right for you? You’ll never know unless you try it. But we’re confident you will be delighted. Our client roster grows daily and now numbers in the tens. We’re certainly proud of CLICK-A-HUBBY’S© and it’s proven track record.

Read our success story.

Mavis R. from Macon, GA writes:

Dear Ms. Kendrick,

CLICK-A-HUBBY©  changed my life. Or at least, I think it would have changed my life. I ordered Dimitri from your “Cavalcade of Hunks–January Edition”. I was all ready for my life with this former KGB informant and professional sin eater, but unfortunately, the harsh conditions involved in international shipping were too much.

Dimitri was already dead when I opened the crate!

But thanks anyway, Ms. Kendrick and fear not, all’s not lost. I remain optimistic. I’m having yard sales every weekend to raise enough money to shop in this October’s “Manly Men of Bosnia Who are Missing A Limb As A Result of A 1994 Village Skirmish Stemming From The On-Going Ethnic Cleansing Practices in The Former Yugoslavia”

I CAN’T WAIT!!!

Signed,
Mavis R.
Macon, GA

.

See? Mavis is just another happy and almost satisfied patron of CLICK-A-HUBBY©. You too can also find some semblance of the happiness you seek. If not, we’ll offer a slight percentage of your money back in a hastily written promissory note.

But we feel certain that won’t even be factor.

How sure am I that you’ll find some satisfaction through our unique dating/marriage service? Well, I’d like to remind you, that I’m not just the President of CLICK-A-HUBBY©, I’m also a client.

.

My JR.Prom: The Bataan Death March Was More Fun

.

I’m in the midst of dealing with this major chasm in my life.   

There’s Laurie at 14  and she’s standing on one plateau and like a Chuck Jonesroadrunner1 Roadrunner and Coyote cartoon, I’m on another plateau.  We’re standing  face to face…maybe 25 yards apart, but the drop is deep…20, 25–50 miles deep.  I’m in  the process of learning to fill that abyss with feelings and appropriate reactions to those feelings.

Psycho-babble, I know.

The metaphor of which I speak, is a lot like the photo above, only I don’t actually have an ACME Excocet rocket attached to my body.  

You get my drift.

I’m reflecting on things such as this because I have reason to do so.   My oldest friend Cheryl (who I’ve known since Kindergarten and as fate would have it, out birthdays are one day apart. We’ll both be 50 this April) sent me some photos of certain events that occured in our youth.  Events in which Laurie, The Younger was prominently featured and/or served a pivotal role.   Seeing these pics spurred some memories and made me realize how much has changed….and in some ways, how much things haven’t changed a bit.

More on that in another post.

Be forewarned:  if the title of this tome didn’t properly indicate, this will, in fact,  be a post about my High School prom, so allow me to preface things with the following:   I hated High School.   I’ve had  four horrendous periods in my life…..High school was the fifth one.

Know what I mean?  

Back then, I was operating on nothing but glands, teenage angst and misguided youth. It was the mid 70’s and probably one of THEE tackiest times in American history.   I can prove that with the photos you are about to see.  Most of the ones Cheryl sent were from our Jr/ Sr. prom.   It was either late April or early May of 1976.   We were Juniors then and feating the graduating Seniors was what every Junior class did at the end of every  school year.  Banquet first, then prom and the theme of the prom my junior class produced was entitled, “An Evening  In Japan.”

OR…..

“Mothra Cut One”…I really can’t remember, but it was Japanesey.

The difficulty we had in coming together and assemblying all that was necessary to produce a prom worthy of the Senior class ahead of us, was actually trying to come together on this project.  You see, our class was never particularly chummy. It was divided into clicks,  and while a few new faces might have rotated in and out, the clicks themselves never changed.   It was,  I’m sure,  not unlike other classes in other cities in the year of our Lord, 1976.

There were the Cool People–Dopers or Heads as they were called.  Jocks (male and female).   Squares and Straights.  Cowboys.   The shy , modest chicks who loved studying  science and chemistry;  who bathed everyday and dug art that included folksy, homespun ducks  waddling amuk in blue gingham bonnets and then of course, there were Band Nerds.

My Freshman year, I was all of them–save for the ducks and gingham bit.   The inertia of my life , coupled with my need to try to be all things to everyone had to have been  exhausting.  In retrospect, I don’t know how I did it.    Then again, I was young , needy and considerably thinner with a metabolism that rivaled any nuclear reactor.

Getting back to the prom now.  

It was Saturday.  I met with other Juniors at the HS cafeteria early that morning to paint, strip, tape, build, construct, glue, nail, draw and bitch and moan about  having to do all of these prommy things.

There we were:  kids from a rural netherworld in South Texas; none of us had ever had real Asian food (Chung King doesn’t count), much less ever seen an Asian person.  

Oh yeah…Wait!!! courtship_of_eddies-father  There was Mrs. Livingston  from ABC’s, “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father”, but she don’t count neither.

That Saturday flew by.  We all  toiled on the floor of the cafeteria and out on the sidewalk.   But as the afternoon waned on, we all knew we had dates to prepare for…Maybelline God Awful Aqua eye shadow to apply, followed by a spritz or two of Estee Lauder Youth Dew, Ambergris  or Patchoulli—the fragrance  we applied depended on what was in store regarding the evening’s “extra-curricular activities”.   Patchcoulli, I remember, was perfect to cover up the smell of a million different teenaged evils.    

Most of the kids left by 4pm, insisting they needed to go home and get ready.   Guys too…they had cars to wash and endure the chore of trying to make brown shoes and a black tux work.     

Fine and dandy, but there was 35-feet of cafeteria wall that was left unadorned.  We had run out of decorations–the class didn’t have much money in the first place and someone on their way out the door suggested that we dig around in the bowels of the storeroom and find some English Ivy and Magnolia wall paper that was used year before  in the 1975 Jr/Sr. Prom entitled, “A Night In Dixie”.   

Like yeah, that would work with a Japanese theme.  To that,  Cheryl and I cried bullshit.   

We had dates, too but we looked at each other and both said, “a half assed Jr/Sr prom won’t happen on our watch!!’   So at 4:45, the cafeteria was empty, except for three very pissed off classmates left holding the decorating bag.

Cheryl,  her then boyfriend,  Bruce and I found some butcher paper, a few bottles of Tempra paint, brushes and with sheer will, duct tape and very little time, we pieced together some of the tackiest,  hastily produced decorations in the history of promdom.

This was one of the walls.

prom1 Slapped together Asian banners on which random lettering was was placed. We copied words and letters on the back of some imported packaging for Japanese lanterns.  We had no idea what we were drawing.   For all we knew, it could’ve said, “Pat Morita Was A Hack”, or “Bombing Pearl Harbor Was Our Imperial Right”.   

I don’t remember who drew the dragon (or is that a random tree limb jetting out of nowhere?)  but he or she was a far  better artist than I. 

Want proof of that?  

OK, for the first time in 33 years and the first time this century, I will display my first artistic prom offering before God and man… in its full mural glory.

prom3

This mural took up the bulk of the 35 feet that needed decorating.   I went to the library to look up a photo of Buddha.  I took paint brush in hand,  and ended up drawing Jay Leno in eye-liner and a black turbin….pleasuring himself with a slammin’ double fister, smack dab in the middle of his Lotus position.

I remember drawing this at at 5:45 pm.  Time was running out.   I really didn’t care.  

Ok, see this?   This was the epicenter for our prom.  

japanese-garden

A little white bridge where happy couples stood to get their prom photo taken.   I seem to remember that I drew the bulk of the actual backdrop which was a copied from the artists’ rendering of the actual pond/bridge scene on the floor. See?  It’s almost identical.   This, like the Buddha above, was drawn free hand.   Artistically, I’m clueless.   I screwed up on the top branches of that steroided out Bansai tree.   Poor thing didn’t know whether it was drawn in front of the rice paper screen or behind it.  I had depth perception issues.

Here’s a photo of two of the architects of this non-Occidental rubbish.   In the lush hormonal forest that is adolescent growth spurts or the lack thereof,   Bruce is the Sequoia; I’m the stump.

Yeah, I’m short. 

bruce-lk2

The bargain basement band that played for our prom had an excrutiantingly limited repertoire;   it knew Three Dog’s Night’s, “Joy To The  World” relatively well and faked its way through a couple of  endless Carpenters’ songs .    They played, we gagged, they repeated.  It was horribly, horribly sad.

And last but not least….

prom2

This pathetic WTF pond still makes me laugh.  It greeted couples as they entered the Land of the Rising Sun. As you can plainly see, it was a kiddie pool with a couple of rocks in it and  ivy of some sort barely covering the blue plastic.   I think I remember, it had goldfish in it too….for a while.  

We were ignorant in the ways and means of domestic marine life and put tap water in the pool.   We  hastily threw the fish in at 6:19 pm; they were, I’m sure,  belly-up before the clock struck 6:20.  

The prom started at eight.

No one noticed their demise until clean-up the next day.

So, as I rapidly approach 50…that cursed half-century mark…I reflect back in my life and yes,  I have a few regrets.   This tragic prom is one of them.  Over the years, I’ve often  wondered why I’ve had very little contact with members of the Senior Class of ’76 and now, I think I understand why.

They’re still pissed.

Then,  I look at the photo of that poor excuse for a limpid, Asian pond and I  think… Jeez, just how much pot did we smoke back then?

Man & His Mutual of Omaha Existence

There is no one on Earth who knows better than women that Man really is the King of Beasts. He rules all he surveys. Lions can try to lay claim to the title, but come on!!!! Man invented guns and guns have done more to eradicate lions from this planet faster than anything else.

Well that and reruns of Daktari.

Man might have conquered all animals, but he actually has a lot in common with lions. Their adult lives parallel in ways most people don’t even realize. Especially in the area of love and marriage..or mating when it comes to felines.

Here are 17 prime examples that I feel aptly explain the concise correlation that exist between man and beast:

.

EXAMPLE #1:

Being single and dating.

Sex.

.

EXAMPLE #2

It is frequent. It is often. It is lustful.

But after a while, it begins to feel shallow; meaningless.

,

EXAMPLE #3

You’re bored.

“Guerrilla dating” is growing old, plus the hassles of your job are grating on your nerves. You’re tired. You need a break.

You decide to take a vacation.

You go out on safari and there she is–a vision. Lovely, kind; fierce when she needs to be. You’re convinced this one is different. There’s something about her. You want to get to know her.

You ask her out to dinner.

She consents.

You both decide you’re in the mood for German food.

.

EXAMPLE #3

The relationships works. She’s the mane to your tail. You’re happy–happier than you’ve ever been, actually. You realize you’re both very much in love. You start thinking seriously about forever.

That Christmas, you become engaged.

.

Example #4

Marriage; You’re a proud, happy couple. There’s solidarity in your union.

.

Example #5

Life is good; the marriage is working, affection and closeness runs high.

.

Example #6

Within a few years, you start a family.

.

Example #7

Then, something happens. She stops being a wife and that means she stops “doing a lot of the stuff she used to do”.

She suddenly becomes a mother….and something of a shrew.

She roars a lot.

At you, mainly.

.

Example #8

There’s incessant fighting. You wake up one morning and realize you’re miserable

,.

Example #9

She can no longer hide her unhappiness, either. You stop talking, move into separate bedrooms and she ventures into “grudge eating. She gains 43 pounds in two months.

.

Example #10

But you agree that you are still married and you both take your vows seriously. She suggests counseling; you agree to go, hoping that at the very least, it might possibly get her to stop eating.

In spite of it all, you think still love your wife, want your marriage and you jump through hoops to prove both points

.

Example #11

But couples’ therapy doesn’t help. Despite your efforts, you lose interest in your wife and your marriage and when you meet a hot little tiger at a neighborhood watering hole, you just can’t help yourself.

You have an affair.

It’s wild, hot …animalistic. Damn near feral.

You’re convinced it fills the many emotional voids in your life.

.

Example #12

Your wife finds out about the affair and more fighting ensues. It’s even more vicious than before.

..

Example #13

She announces that she can’t take any more and can no longer live under the same dysfunctional roof. She moves in with her older sister, Leona

.

Example #14

It’s over.

Done.

Finito.

The damage is irreparable. After one very heated argument at her sister’s one evening, you both decide that a divorce is inevitable. She hires a lawyer.

He’s Jewish.

,

Example #15

You have no choice but to rollover and give in to every demand.

.

Example #16

The divorce is final. She got everything…the house, the den.

Your pride.

A year later, she’s lost 45 pounds, has a face lift and looks stunning. She starts hanging around all these crazy gay cats. They’re a hip, younger crowd. They go everywhere together–shopping, theater, nightclubs and she’s happy. Happy for the first time in years.

She’s obviously, having the time of her life.

.

,

Example #17

In the meantime, you sulk. You’re miserable. Because of that damned affair, you got skinned alive. You’re bitter, angry and vulnerable…to the point that you now feel as though everyone walks all over you.

.

Ah, such is life.

So, the moral of this post, is try to make a go of your relationship. Fight for it, not because of it and whatever you do, don’t have an affair.

You could loose everything.

Seriously….I’m not lion!!

.

The Politics of Dating

Lately, I’ve been doing a little freelance work for a Houston magazine (heavy on the “free”, by the way). Earlier this week, my editor asked me what I wanted to do next in terms of a subject.

I told her that I really didn’t care–anything would be fine–I wasn’t picky. Whatever. She should throw out a couple of topics.

Right off the bat, she suggested I do an in-depth piece on the Interior Department’s finalized proposal to open 48 million acres of previously off-limits land for oil exploration and drilling.

“Nah, that’s a little heavy. Too many facts and numbers”, I said. “But anything else would be fine. Really. What other topics do you have in mind?”

She then suggested that I write an article on Venezuelan despot, Hugo Chavez and his ardent criticism of neo-liberal globalization.

I shook my head and told her no…too many abstract political principles. Nor was I in the mood to do a lot of boring research. Plus my head started to spin. I told her ANYTHING but that.

She then suggested an overview of Nancy Pelosi’s first two years as Speaker of the House.

I suggested an overview of anything else.

She told me of her idea for a story about the dating world for older Houstonians. (And by older, I mean age 40 and up)

I thought about it for a second: it had possibilities; some creative potential. There would be no mention of Hugo Chavez or Nancy that I could think of and besides, I AM a Houstonian over 40.

I told her I’d do it.

But I quickly learned that I wouldn’t merely be talking to older Houstonians trying to date. I’d have to become one of the older Houstonians trying to date.

The story, as it was conveyed to me, would be far more interesting if I participated in it. First person perspective.

As in, I should actually go out on a date.

Yeah, uh-huh.

A date.

I’m not even sure what constitutes a date in 2008. Certainly not for a woman whose birth pre-dates the Kennedy administration—by one entire presidential term.

See, I’ve not had a date per se since December 2004. Four very looooooooooooooooong years ago. I’m rusty now–way off my game, but back then, I tried my hand at “guerrilla dating”. I attacked it with Gunga Din-like precision; I had the enthusiasm of a Sandinista with new boots during the rainy season.

This was my M.O.—I’d get all tarted up and go to the nearest Barnes and Noble (ALWAYS date a literate man) and I’d find a pretentious stack to stand near. If I saw a nice looking man, I’d grab a book and open it. Remember, the book really doesn’t matter, but the title and cover do. Just make sure whatever you grab as a prop, makes you look intellectual and even a bit mysterious.

I remember on one occasion, I actually trained my eyes to go Marty Feldman. Seriously! One eye scanned the room looking for a mark, while the other focused on the book allowing me to feign interest in the Runic alphabet. I didn’t get that many dates, but  I know that Runic/Futhark is Runic for “how’s it hanging”.

That should come in handy if I’m ever going out with a holdover who’s lineage is that of the ancient Goths.

Still, I’m nervous about all of it.  The dynamics of dating have changed since I last went out one a date four years ago. Should I be worried I haven’t changed enough to accommodate all the social changes? But surely, some of the basics are still in existence, right?

Right.

All the latest books and authors insist that men and women have innate “hard wiring” that time can’t change.  It all goes back to that feral thing; when we lived in caves, communicated through grunts and screeches and were the mono-browed forebearers to that clever Geico ad campaign. We all saw the movie, “Quest for Fire”, right? We learned from that flick that prehistoric men looked at women and sized them up as breeding stock. They’d ask themselves, “Is she physically able to bare my progeny and propagate my DNA for generations to come?….Ugh!” If so, he grabbed her by the hair and pulled her into the cave where he would proceed make a big carnal Mesozoic smack dab on her Jurassic.

So, what’s changed?  Women still do as they did way back then; we look at every man and subconsciously wonder if “he’s the one, ugh?“. We can’t help it. We want to know if these brave, hunter/gatherers can provide for our families.

Women nest–men do the rest.

But we’re older now, so more than likely, we’ll still size each other up, but for entirely different reasons.

Older men look at older women and hope that we can prepare a meal that’s either low or no sodium and we women will be hoping that men will still be able to—–my God! Is that a crease in his pants or is that his prostate???

Oh yes, things have changed.

And what if sex enters the picture??? There are so many factors now in place that weren’t there years ago. At 49, I’m now inconvenienced with “free range” periods–they come and go when they want–and usually at the worst times! I have to deal with that, plus, there’s the awkward issue of Cialis and Viagra; performance anxiety and feminine…. whatever.

There’s nothing scarier than a “first anything”. Especially a first date. You’ve got a 50-50 chance you won’t like each other physically and if that attraction isn’t there, you know it right off the bat. That’s not to say that perceived looks won’t change as you get to know each other, but rarely will a couple on their first date, ever feel that need and desire at the same time.

The truth is we’re older. Much older.

In fact, too damn old to be dating in the first place.

This is insane!!!  Completely nuts!!  Now, my head is spinning and I call my editor in a complete panic.

My piece on Hugo Chavez’s disdain of neo-liberal globalization will be on her desk and ready to go to print,  February 1st.

,

The REAL Issue of Black and White

There’s something very specific that happens the day after Labor Day.

Now, you probably read the title of this post and thought, “Ah yes, big after Labor Day sales at the big, fabulous retail chains”.

If so, you’d be wrong.

The title is more about my mother and her fashion backward thinking, than anything else. You see, my sainted mater was/is a stickler for that old, “No wearing anything white after Labor Day/no wearing black after Easter” routine. It was so driven into my head that if I see someone clad in white later today, I’ll have a visceral reaction. I try to fight it, but it’s ingrained. It’s part of my core being.

I have learned to be far more forgiving of this, but my mother needless to say, is older than old school. She will not negotiate on her opinion of this formidable fashion faux pas, despite the fact that Cosmo, Glamor and a cadre of designers, along with tragically hip and chic gay men have deemed it to be no longer applicable in the world of modern haute couture.

“They’re wrong”, says Mother.

CHAPTER ONE

What happens on the day after Labor Day in my mother’s house, is as predictable as the phases of the moon; as predictable as knowing Brad and Angelina adopt in years ending in odd numbers and as predictable as knowing emphatically that pudgy Hollywood galoot and shit stirrer, Michael Moore never skips a meal.

If it is the day after Labor Day, then my mother will be doing what she always does. She’ll spend five to six hours of the 24 that Father Time gives us, by rearranging her closet. She’ll remove all things white, light and summery and replaced them with all things heavy, dark and wintry.

That which is taken away is carefully wrapped in white tissue paper and put in cardboard boxes or in plastic multi-drawer compartments, then placed in a shelf in her closet, never to appear again until Peter Cottontail emerges from his springtime sabbatical to hide brightly colored ova in deserving front yards.

PROLOGUE

My sisters and I were raised as proper Texas young ladies. Karnes City, Texas to be exact. Our hair was shampooed and our skin was scrubbed clean until our skin glowed (and considering the vast amounts of uranium that found in subterranean South Texas in the late 50’s and early 60’s, I mean that both figuratively AND literally). We were impeccably dressed. Shirts that were flawlessly pressed and pants with creases so sharp, you could use them to slice with deli-like precision, anything canned by Hormel.

Our dresses were designed and sewn to perfection and then there was the full compliment of couture accoutrement por le petite femmes–I’m talking gloves, lace socks, crinoline petticoats, patent-leather Mary Janes with matching bags and of course, hats in church. You see, we were Catholic and this was South Texas and pre-Vatican II.

We took tap and ballet and piano lessons and voice lessons and we each learned to play an instrument and were all cheerleaders and the list of parental requirements and mandates that we HAD to achieve and/or accomplish before we reached the age of majority, reads like a scroll.

My mother poked and prodded and made me read and write and think and create. By the 7th grade, I knew things most college Sophomores didn’t. That’s the way it was. I was considered to be high brow and rather haughty.

My mother’s fiendish plot to isolate me socially was working.

In fact, my senior year in High School, I was voted, “Most Likely To Wear A Monocle”.

EPILOGUE

You know that “black after Labor Day/white after Easter” stuff I mentioned in the prologue? Well, it carried over in our lives; not just with what we wore. It was about how we lived; it was about the way we lived.

Again, I will reiterate- my mother was a stickler.

At summer picnics, I was forbidden to eat a sandwich that was made on Rye or Pumpernickel and I was ONLY allowed to date Black guys from September through mid April.

.