50 Shades of Tint

In the real estate business, my neighborhood is referred to as “up and coming.” The layperson with less charm might call it “down and out.” Others boil it down to one syllable: I live in the ‘hood.

Other than last week’s murder a block over (not a drill, folks), I haven’t been frightened by anything that’s happened here. I feel pretty safe: I live on the second floor, I have a security system, and I have two large dogs.  I thought having 170 pounds of dog on the end of a leash would be a deterrent to any would-be criminals as I walked to the park at the end of the street, but it turns out they were an invitation to a very determined suitor.

As I crunched through the autumn leaves in the grassy median, I heard a squeal of tires and looked to the right; a car had veered toward the curb and stopped right next to me. The tinted glass rolled down to reveal the face of a man who sized me up, eyed the pups and said, “What are you, the dog whisperer?”

I smiled nervously, and replied something that would translate phonetically to a nervous chuckle.  It’s such an awful response, but I instinctively paint on a grin in awkward situations. That smile must have been the invitation to work his follow-up line: “How about you put a collar on my neck and walk me?”

I have no idea what my face read, but inside, I was horrified. My big guy must have sensed my terror and reacted on my behalf: he pooped.

My would-be sub was thoroughly disgusted, spitting, “I ain’t picking up no dog shit!” For some reason, this regenerated my backbone and I shot back, “That’s part of the package.”

As I squatted down to pick up the manifestation of my anxiety (I’m a good neighbor), he decided to cut to the chase. “You got a boyfriend?” he barked. I’m very grateful for the over-sized sunglasses trend, as I have no poker face and needed to spit out a lie; the less he could see, the better.

“Yes, I do.” (Don’t breathe too heavy, keep the pulse rate normal.)

Now he was curious: “He black?”

I hadn’t assigned a race to my fictional paramour, but, “No.”

“Your loss.” Window up, he peeled out.

I was left feeling that I had inadvertently offended an entire race and gender, and replayed the conversation in my head all the way to the park and back to my house.  What could I have done differently? If I had affirmed that my (make-believe) boyfriend was black, where would have that conversation been left? Would he have felt better about me being off the market? Would I have earned his respect? Would I have gotten a fist bump?

This is the problem with being a people-pleaser: this creep suggested a BDSM scenario in his second sentence to me, and I was concerned I had offended him. And that I came off like a racist.

I didn’t take the dogs out of the backyard for the next five days.


Enjoy your VD

Despite the title, I’m not a bitter Valentine’s Day harpy.  I really, really like candy, so that we’ve got an entire day devoted to women receiving and consuming it is 5×5 with me.

On the air this morning, my co-host asked me to recall the best and worst Valentine’s gifts I’ve gotten.  Sifting through my memories took a few moments, and I can’t come up with anything good presented by a boyfriend.  In the bad category, though, two gentlemen lead the pack:

Cutting your teeth in radio means working a lot of odd shifts, including overnights and weekends.  While I was breaking into the business with a Saturday afternoon stint on the 14th, my boyfriend was out shopping.  Grabbing a card, chocolate and flowers shouldn’t be too hard, they’re all placed at the front of the grocery store. A man with a mind of his own, he decided to get creative and tried to be thoughtful, and showed up at my apartment that night with this:


Poor guy, shows up with a gift to make me hot and sweaty in the hopes we’d be in the same state a few hours later; instead, I sent him to the showers.  The cold showers.

A few years later, I was calling on my 9th grade geometry skills to determine exactly how long I had to wait after Valentine’s Day to break up with my latest boyfriend.  The theorems, proofs and postulates were carefully examined over cocktails but still, my brain trust of girlfriends couldn’t quite get to the Q.E.D.  What was certain was that I couldn’t skimp on the V-Day presents and plans, so I bought him an antique lap desk and ornate pen, as he was an aspiring comedy writer.  In turn, he offered up a ring.

Thankfully, it was not an engagement ring.  Had that been the case, I probably would have accepted out of sheer horror and guilt, since I was counting the minutes until our break-up.  No, this was a big, bulky ring on the end of a thick, roped silver chain.  Upon closer inspection, it was his high school ring.

While a high school ring conjures up images of holding hands and innocence, folded up notes and blushes of first love, understand that we weren’t in high school.  Nor were we in college.  In truth, we were young professionals beginning our careers in broadcasting at one of the television networks.  I was poised for media greatness and he tried to lasso me in like a renegade calf, putting his mark on me in the form of a clunky charm.  I would have been more stylish in Hester Prynne’s accessory collection.

I kept the Valentine’s present in my desk at work until 10 days later, when I was able to give it back after an awkward exchange at the elevators.  Love life, going down…

Video Killed the Radio Star

This is the first gentleman (*cough, cough) I attempted conversation with on a dating website:

9-18-12 IM edit

After maturing past it’s initial definition as a mass of seriously chewy candy, the idea of a Sugar Daddy seemed kind of intriguing.  Being a kept woman – kept in shoes, clothes, cars, houses – alleviates the responsibility of adulthood, which can really be a bummer. I imagine that a Sugar Baby has to be pretty agreeable, fairly flexible (yup, that works on a bunch of levels) and lacking opinions that differ from her keeper.  That’s just not going to work for me.

However, if it’s a situation that’s mutually beneficial for others, rock on.  Get it, girl. And sister, you’d better be picking up a few rounds of cocktails.

What was most offensive about this interaction wasn’t the Sugar Daddy/Baby proposition, it was his request for photos.  Webcam, texting: he didn’t care how he got them, he just wanted them.  I can’t blame him for trying, but what scares me is that at least one other time, he must have succeeded.  Somewhere out there, women are just shooting pictures of their kibbles n’ bits into cyberspace to guys like this, making the request a normal practice.

To which I beg: STOP IT.  When I cast my dating net, I spend almost all my time throwing back these eels; the occasional angelfish might be overlooked

Here’s to me, Mrs. Robinson

I’d never dated a younger guy before, other than my college boyfriend, who was 8 months younger than me.  But I started communicating with Rick* via Twitter – he’s a sportswriter on the local paper and members of the media often open dialogues with each other – and after some public and DM flirting, we exchanged numbers and made lunch plans.

The night before we were to meet up, he texted, asking how old I was; I don’t have my age on Facebook, so there was no covert way for him to determine it. When I replied, he shot back, “Wow, I am nine years younger than you. When you were graduating high school, I was in fourth grade.” I’ve got to blame his youth for that declaration, and being a good sport, I didn’t cancel the date right then.

Lunch and subsequent activities were actually a good time, so I invited him to come to a concert with me at the end of the week.  I had to do a few stage announcements for the headlining bands, but I figured: a) we’d have a lot of time to hang out between acts and b) it would make me look kind of famous.

The concert was an outdoor event, and stretched over several hours. In a stroke of luck, booze was free for media, so we got a bit tipsy on canned margaritas.  The conversation was easy and continuous, and I was feeling saucy enough to slip my hand in his.

After drunkenly bringing the headliner on stage – I’m grateful their tour manager wrote out their introduction, otherwise I couldn’t have been trusted to get even their name right – we strolled, hand-in-hand, back to his truck.  We settled in for a while, knowing we needed to shake off the drinks before heading our separate ways.  There was some chatting, some flirting, some flattery when he made his move.  I’m still fuzzy on when and how it happened, but finally, we were making out.  Totally PG session, but the whippersnapper knew what he was doing.  Turns out I have a handle on smooching, too, because he pulled away and said, “This is why I like dating an older woman, she knows what she’s doing.”

Those words shocked me into sobriety faster than flashing blue lights in my rear view mirror.  Older woman, me? Yes, I was moving into my dorm room when he was moving into long division, but older? That conjures up images of Demi Moore and Mary Kay Letourneau, not me!  I mean, he’d already been through one wife and two children, and yet, I’m the old one here?

After a few more pecks (just being polite), I made my excuses and hopped in my car.  Over the next few weeks, he continued at his attempts to win my favor, including an especially poor decision to tweet me a YouTube video in which he dedicated a karaoke song to me.  Unfortunately for him, I just couldn’t get past his sour note.

*name changed to protect the poor thing, bless his heart

…and, like, we’re expected to swoon?

Being single in the digital age affords us so many more opportunities to date than our ancestors: I remember a story about a gentleman turning up at my grandmother’s house to take out her sister for the evening.  My great-aunt just wasn’t that into him, so Granny tells him, “She’s not interested in dating you, but I’ll go out with you!”

Either my grandma was a hussy, or the dating pool was so shallow that she pounced on any droplet.

Fast-forward 70 years, and now that pool has expanded into a huge body of water, there are plenty of fish in the sea. Unfortunately, most of these fish are useless at navigation; I’m not sure where they got lost on the map.

9-5-12 FB email

Spelling and grammar travesties aside, I’m curious to know if this most basic of bait has ever resulted in a bite?