If he wants to leave, he is not the one (alternate title: The Beer Belly)

There was something fundamentally ephemeral and a tad pessimistic with the initial premise of this blog as it assumed I would always have spectacular dating catastrophes. Even a self-proclaimed forever-single girl can meet someone that will pleasantly surprise her – but he is not the topic of this post. And yes, now I do believe there is someone for everyone and that you just have to be patient, which is the topic of this post.

Ten years ago I was at work when a camera crew came to interview my boss; one of them had great hair and intense eyes. He must have noticed my stare because as he exited the office, he left me a flyer for a play he was starring in. The play led to an invitation to his after party, which blossomed into a three-month relationship. Sam* was thirteen years older than me and had it together: he was a journalist and video producer. As a 23 year-old at the bottom of the corporate ladder, I was drawn to him as a boyfriend and a mentor. Our time together was nice and I thought I could be happy with him.

As we dated, I realized Sam had a lot of grown-up drama in his life unrelated to me. He was sorting out finances with an ex-girlfriend with whom he had purchased a condo, he had a gravely ill parent and he had recently been robbed of his laptop, which contained his life’s work. One day he took the production company’s van overnight so we could go on a date – this was not an authorized use of the vehicle. Sometime that morning around 5 or 6 a.m. a female drunk driver sideswiped all the cars parked on my street before police apprehended her and placed her in the drunk tank. Sam had to file a complaint and missed his morning meeting. He must have interpreted the various events of that morning, and in his life in general, as a sign that we were not right together, at least not at the time.

Shortly after this disaster, Sam broke up with me. He never gave me a reason and I was disappointed because I thought he could be the one.

Girls, and this is where I would like you to listen carefully: if he wants to leave, he is not the one. The one is out there and when he finds you, he will stay.

Last week, I went out with my friend Veronika* to hear about her perpetual struggles with the same man, yet again.

“He told me he doesn’t think he can make me happy or that I can make him happy,” she said, confused.

“Well, that is a very strong statement and clear message,” I told her.

“We will talk about it tomorrow night at his place. I need to understand why.” V was insistent.

“You may never understand why. It would probably be cruel of him to tell the truth, if the truth is something like he never had feelings for you in the first place. Why do you want to do this to yourself?” I tried to talk some reason into her but she needed absolutes.

“It was so great in the beginning, I cannot ignore that and I want it back. We will have a serious discussion.” There was no changing her mind.

I care for my friend, which is why I am her sounding board time and again through this difficult time, but I wish she would understand that men know when it is not right. We may think at the time that we want him and that he is the perfect guy for us but a man often knows before the woman that the future would not be a happy one. I am not sure it is intentional; perhaps his primal instincts play a part here. Whatever the reason, when I look back now on all the guys into whom I put so much needless effort, I am thankful to God, Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Tom Cruise and the Cosmos that we did not end up together.

Yesterday, I was on a sunny terrace enjoying an Aperol spritz with my friend when she had to check something on her phone. I also decided to see if I had any notifications. The available Wi-Fi networks popped up and I saw “Sam Edward Brody’s iPhone.” I found it strange to put a full name on a personal hotspot connection but the uniqueness of the name and unlikelihood of such a blast from the past incited me to look around. I scanned the terrace and there he was. The same great hair was more silver fox than raven but it was definitely Sam. He was working on his laptop, hence the personal hotspot. It was a very 2017 way of “bumping” into someone.

Now, I am within 5kg of what I weighed ten years ago and aside from going from bleached blond to my natural hair, I look rather the same. Sam, on the other hand, had developed an enormous beer belly – in the interest of providing an accurate description but not to be unkind, I would liken his body to that of Santa Claus. His teeth confirmed he had maintained his steady tobacco intake over the decade and I cannot stand cigarettes. I still wanted to say hi. I pulled out my phone with a big smile and showed him how I knew he was there.

“Hello! First, middle and last name on your personal hotspot, huh?”

“I am not afraid,” he said with a smile. Then he said nothing else.

“Well, I just saw that you were here and wanted to say hi.”

“Hello,” he said.

I couldn’t believe it. We dated for three months and he didn’t remember me! I looked him up on LinkedIn and he is up to the same sort of projects for his own company this time and, ironically, I had gone on a couple casual dates with one of his junior employees about two years ago. I realized that he was right to break up with me ten years ago and I am so glad he had the courage to do it. Since he is a nice guy, if he hadn’t been so firm, I probably would have tried to make things work and one day found myself in a relationship that was just wrong. If I had stayed with him, I would have taken a very different path in life and would not be where I am today, and with whom I am today.

Readers, this is my point: the right person for you, if you two have not met yet, is out there and will also know that you are the right person. This is key. Love should be mutual. The wrong people may know they are the wrong people for you before you do and that’s OK. It is even a good thing. Sometimes, you have to trust that relationships end – or never start – for a reason, even if that reason doesn’t yet seem clear.

If you are going through a breakup, missing someone or feel like you are beating your head against the wall over a guy who cannot change, chin up! Rip off the Band-Aid. One day, you will see it was for the best, I promise.

 

– AE

Dabbling in Adult Entertainment

photo2The lone log cabin in the forest went dark. I wished I had brought something warmer than just my sheer nightie. My bare feet sunk into the sheepskin rug and I felt its soft caress between my toes. It was getting cold, and as the sun set, I feared being in the dark, waiting for the repairman who was coming to fix the electricity. I found a scented candle and as I lit it, accidentally dripped hot wax down my neck; it burned but also felt good. A wolf howled and I could hear the owls. I got scared and began to shiver. The first stars were appearing in the night sky and the cedar scent of the candle was intoxicating. Then the doorbell rang. It was the repairman.

He was burly and had that country rugged masculinity about him. He smelled of freshly cut pine and white musk. I could tell that he had skilled hands: they were strong and solid. His presence suddenly made me feel safe, but somehow I was still shivering.

“I have been waiting a long time,” I told him as I approached. He seemed to notice the spot of candle wax that had stained the silk on my body but quickly looked up at my eyes.

“Well, I better get to work.” He bent over to get something from his toolbox.

“Yes, indeed you better! I was making a chocolate cake when the power went out! It’s my grandmother’s birthday tomorrow, very important!” I pleaded.

He looked at me, looked at the haphazard pile of ingredients on the kitchen table and then nodded with a grin.

“You will have your cake. Don’t worry, I have all the tools necessary to take care of things here” He assured me.

Less than half an hour passed and he had repaired the power.

“Oh thank you, thank you!” I was relieved. Then his phone rang.

“Yeah. [pause] Seriously? Ok, well, cancel the others then. All right bye.” He put his phone back in his pocket.

“Sorry Ma’am but the road has been snowed in behind me. I am afraid I will be stuck here all night…”

“So uh, how much do I owe you?” I asked.

“Tell you what, you seem not to know your way around the kitchen and I love to make cakes. I’ll finish it up, you let me lick the spoon and we’ll call it even.” His smile was deviously adorable.

I watched as he cracked and whipped the eggs with methodical perfection and then added the cocoa powder. This man definitely had skills. I wondered why first names had not been exchanged.

“Time to pour it into the mold.” He said, proudly.

“No, let me!” I wanted to contribute more to this cake than making a mess. He playfully kept the bowl out of my reach. I prepared to pounce on his back.

Suddenly, the power went out again. I could see nothing but was already in the air. As I jumped on him, he turned around. The two of us ended up on the floor and the bowl went flying, its contents then dripping all over me. Then the power came back on.

“What a mess!” I said. “I’ll have to wash up!”

“No need for that,” he reassured me as he took my finger in his mouth and licked off the chocolate.

The next day, I blushed when my grandmother asked me what had happened to her cake. I simply replied, “Sorry grandma, it was just too good!”

*      *      *

This did not actually happen. I am writing this post for my friend Ricardo, who when I read him my last one about the unemployment agency suddenly looked disappointed after a couple paragraphs. When I asked him why, he said:

“Well, you describe your clothing and this room where you might be alone with an attractive man, it really sounded to me like the start of an erotic story.”

His comment made me think about ways to make this blog post more enticing for male readers like him. I aim to please!

-Albany Eden

My Date with Mr. Burns

I am back on the dating scene and last week  accepted a dinner with a lawyer I met online. He seemed almost cute from the front although had a slight albino vampire look, kind of like Riff Raff from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, but appearance is not everything. However, when I saw him in person, I realized why none of his photos showed him from the side. Matt Groening must have met this guy when he decided how to draw the profile of Mr. Burns. I have never seen such a nose on a real person and still feel sorry for him because many personal care apparatuses were not developed for people of his nasal corpulence. Poor guy must have gone his whole life not being able to use facial steamers!

Luckily, he was facing me at the table, except when he would ask the waiter for something, so, I decided to give him a chance. I don’t usually like to date lawyers but made an exception for Marvin*. He loved to talk about his work, so that made the discussion easy.

I never thought I would have to add the following to my list of things never to say to a girl on a first date, but thanks to Marvin, here is number 11 of what you should never say to her shortly after meeting:

“I routinely hire private detectives to trail people.”
“Excuse me, what?” I was in disbelief.
“Yes, I hire private detectives to look into people’s backgrounds and financial situations.”
“Isn’t that a violation of their privacy?” I asked.”
“It’s completely legal, and my cases are about debt collection, so I will not accept a client if the person he is suing cannot afford to pay him back.”
“That seems very discriminatory.”
“I don’t want to waste my time, so I will have the detective find out how much money the person has in the bank, which banks and find any assets he has in this country and abroad.”
“Wow, but how can a detective get a hold of such information. Isn’t it, like, confidential?”
“He has access to their tax returns. Aside from that, I don’t ask questions, I give him a flat rate and he finds the information for me. Where do you live?”
“Well, I live in [my neighborhood]”
“No, but what street do you live on?”
“Umm, well, you know the neighborhood, I think that’s enough.”
“And your date of birth?”
“You know how old I am, why don’t we talk about something else?”

Actually, after I shut down his attempts to procure invasive personal details he was quite OK telling me about all the other ways he uses unscrupulous techniques to recover debt and screw over his law firm by abusing its resources and keeping clients for himself. By the end of the meal, my salmon en croute was somewhere in my esophagus working its way up. I was trying to be polite, but I could never date a guy who exercises so little morals in his professional life. Just imagine ever being on the other end of a divorce with someone like this.

We left the restaurant.

“I’m going to grab a taxi.” I told him. Earlier, he had told me his neighborhood, which is on the opposite side of town from mine.
“I’m going to take one too, I can drop you off.” Even when a date really does not go well and the woman clearly did not enjoy herself, men will still try for sex. This deluded confidence is really a problem among what I have coined as “Big little boys” or men in their thirties who are not yet adults and who have unjustifiably inflated senses of self.
“That’s really ok, thank you. Good night.”

I split as quickly as I could and when I got home, I had a message on the dating app: “Fun night, you should give me your number, easier to talk.”

I politely told him that I did not wish to pursue this, waited a few hours to be sure he saw it then blocked him. I was glad I had the smarts not to give him my address because otherwise I might live with the anxiety of worrying whether the homeless guy stationed outside my building was actually a detective.

Moral of the story: don’t give up, but keep your expectations low. It’s a jungle out there!

-Albany Eden

My First Bar Kiss

cat cornerThe first time I ever kissed a man in a bar also coincided with my first time in a bar (growing up law-abiding in the US, I was making up for lost time!)

When you’re 17, you feel like it’s an accomplishment to get an older man to converse with and want to kiss you (in retrospect, I realize how creepy this sounds) but on that, my third evening in France, I was looking to move on from my ex and first boyfriend who broke my heart for a leggy henna-tattooed piece of white trash (see The Making of Albany Eden); what better day than his birthday to dance on the grave of the relationship he killed? But I wasn’t thinking of Jackson that winter evening at the Cat Corner nightclub off La Croisette in Cannes.

My friend Linda was 23 and she knew men. She was beautiful, Swedish, with perfectly flipped natural blond hair. I hoped that being in her company would help me fool guys into thinking I too was a natural blond.

“If I don’t want to talk to a guy, I’ll say I’m from Nebraska because every time I say ‘California’ it leads to more questions,” I explained to her.
“No, say you’re from Finland and your English is not so good. As long as you don’t say this to a Finnish guy, no one else speaks this language….40km from Helsinki, end of conversation.” Linda was wise beyond her years.

I noticed a pair of eyes from the other end of the bar. I was sure he was looking at Linda. I turned my head from her to me and his eyes smiled, as if almost to say “yes you!”

Before I knew how I felt about this, he and his friend were on their way to our table.

Dammit, I thought to myself because I wanted to shoot a few guys down before committing to one for the whole evening, but he was awfully cute.
“Hi ladies” he said. “I’m James and this is Don” James was the more handsome of the two.

James barely looked at Linda and cozied up next to me. Oh my God, I finally got to try out my material on a live one! He’s quite attractive, but I needed practice.

“So where are you from?” He asked, looking intently at me.
“Nebraska” I said, suppressing my proud grin at my coy cleverness.
“Oh yeah? I’ve never been! What’s the capital of Nebraska?”

Note to self: review fifth grade notes of state capitals and remember that not all guys are stupid and trying to get into your pants. Some are clever and genuinely interested. I liked him immediately.

“Actually, I’m from LA,” I admitted.
“Wow, I’m sorry to hear that,” his grin made me uneasy: on the one hand we just met and, on the other, I wanted to bite him lovingly.
“So what are you ladies drinking?”

Linda was having white wine but I was determined to finally try all those drinks I heard about in the movie Cocktail but didn’t yet know what they were. It was this evening that I initiated my ritual: new guy, new cocktail.

“I’ll have a flying squirrel,” I said with confidence that was sure to impress even the Sultan of Brunei. Swoosh. He’ll think I come to bars all the time in France, I thought to myself.

Don and Linda stopped their conversation and all three looked at me. I must have impressed them. After all, I knew about sophisticated cocktails and was decked out in my best Gothic skirt and motorcycle boots with my platinum hair and dark roots. I had the Gwen Stefani style while she herself was Just a Girl. My confidence was soaring.

“Right love. And why don’t you take a look at the menu and tell me what you’ll have if they don’t know how to do a flying squirrel.”

I perused the cocktail menu. “Kir Royal,” that sounded sophisticated, “that’s what I’ll have.”

When he came back with the drinks, I realized I’m not a huge fan of Kir Royal. I would later discover the Tequila Sunrise (thanks to the move, Desperately Seeking Susan), which would become my signature nightclub drink for the next five years.

Two sugary cocktails later, I had learned that James was from Down Under, surfed, and had his own business in England. Prior to this evening, I had only had those intense conversations with Jackson and was pleased to learn that other guys could be as engaging and passionate.

Our lips were locked by midnight and we stayed until the barman turned the lights back on. After that, we parted ways (I was 17!). Linda and I grabbed a taxi back to our dorm and the boys walked back to their hotel.

James and I ended up being sexy pen pals for ten years to follow. He would call it “the kiss that lasted a lifetime” and although we tried several times to meet again, it would take us twelve years to reunite. But that’s another story…

-Albany Eden

I Speak Boy!

Do you ever wonder what he really means? Here are twenty things men have said to my close girlfriends or to me, with the Albany Eden interpretation:

WHAT HE SAYS WHAT HE THINKS TO HIMSELF
I’m not ready for a relationship. I don’t feel like enough other women have seen me naked yet.
I’m too busy with work to see you. And I choose to spend the little free time I do have with someone else.
We have no future. You’d make a nice second wife.
[During the first date] What’s your ideal man like? …You know, I think I could love you! I’m a sociopath.
I like your face and your body. …and that’s it! This was not a compliment.
I never realized how attracted I was to you. I used to think you were ugly.
We can’t see each other anymore because I need to focus on my new business. My inability to give you an orgasm is something I would rather shy away from than address.
Oh no, I didn’t get your message. Of course I got it. And ignored it. Why are you making this awkward for both of us?
You are the only woman I can have an intellectual conversation with and be attracted to. There is no one else at this precise moment, in this time zone, to keep me occupied.
Fine go ahead and go; I can get lots of girls! You’re the only one who will call me back, please don’t leave me!
[after one casual coffee date] Your Facebook pics gave me nice dreams last night. I am sexually starved. Do not leave your pets or houseplants alone in my presence.
Only pathetic losers count the number of women they have been with… …And I have been with 46!
My ex and I are good friends… …with benefits and I’ll run back to her the moment she forgives my sorry ass
I’m busy this weekend with a lot of work. You will never be a priority.
Sorry I didn’t call you earlier I’ve been sick. And it turns out you’re more tolerable than the others I’ve been seeing.
Can we keep being soul mates without being in a relationship? Most people only use 10% of their brains, I’m only capable of using 1%.
There’s nobody else out there like you. Please give me your undivided attention while I keep sleeping around.
That kiss six years ago was the kiss that lasted a lifetime. I will never make any effort to see you again.
I took this selfie in the mirror and could barely fit my package into the photo. Objects in mirror may appear larger than they actually are.
My soon-to-be ex and I are basically broken up. Now I have to get home, she’s ovulating!

– Albany Eden

The Interview Date

One of the unexpected pitfalls of being a management student is that you tend to hang out with other management students and, sometimes, the guys you meet and date will also be from this crowd. Superficially, you might be thinking “jackpot” but, on closer inspection, having too much in common with a man can kill the romance.

albany eden interview date

It goes something like this:

Dale* and I were fixed up. He is a fellow former management student and an entrepreneur, as well as a close friend of a previous colleague of mine. For our first date, I told him we’d meet outside Prada, because if I am to date him, he might as well know where he would often be picking me up. I always estimate my walking time in terms of Ugg boots but today I was wearing heels. Since it had just rained and my head was still healing (see The Orangina Miser), I decided nothing more than a cautious gait would be advisable. I was thus almost ten minutes late. When I got to the boutique, I saw no one. For a brief moment, I was crestfallen but that quickly subsided as I contemplated having a look at the new collection (I am used to disappointment and thus easily get over it). Then I noticed a reflection in the store window. It was like Matthew Fox in the early 2000’s had left the set of Lost, changed into preppy clothes, lost ten pounds, grew a mole on his face, and came to meet me! I thought to myself, “if this is not Dale, and he does not show up, I sure hope you and I go for coffee!”

But it was him, and I felt very optimistic as we walked towards a café. Knowing little about Dale, I thought it would be interesting to ask him about his business. It was. He gladly and openly discussed his project, which, it should be no surprise to any recent grad, revolves around a mobile app. Like many “revolutionary” concepts, his was not really a new idea but offered what he was sure to be a better interface and more varied functionality than the dozens of apps already providing a similar service. I did not at first find anything strange about this conversation. We ended up talking for two and a half hours. Of course it was now 8:30pm and he did not invite me to dinner, however, like so many before him, I guess he might have been hoping for a firm invitation into my bedroom before forking out a knife and fork. Still, I wanted to see him again.

Later, he messaged me about alumni contacts. Since I’m used this behavior, it didn’t strike me odd coming from a potential suitor.

The next day, he wrote: “would you like to have a cheap lunch with me tomorrow?”

I try not to read too much into text messages because jokes are often misunderstood. I replied: “That’s an interesting choice of words!”

He came back with: “better a cheap lunch with a good guy than a good lunch with a cheap guy.” Again, I think his humor was lost in the bandwidth but I also sometimes say stupid things unintentionally, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I accepted the date.

I really wanted to get to know him better. I was hoping we could get more personal since we had already discussed every aspect of his business, and I was unemployed, so discussing my professional life should be quick.

This time, he showed up late. When he found me, we walked to the restaurant. What started as small talk (“What did you do today?” “Oh, I sent a couple CVs”) turned into the primary axis on which our conversation rotated. I do not believe I formally asked him for his advice but I got it. Honestly, he is quite clever and has the networking bit down to a science–too much so even as he greets and chitchats with every waiter, bus boy and hostess, regardless of whether that person seems completely uninterested and too busy to deal with someone like him.

As he went on about how I needed to lower my expectations in terms of salary and the types of companies that would value a native English speaker (things I have heard many times from the school’s career counselor), I allowed my mind to drift. He was so into what he was saying and also so inattentive to me that I could probably have been playing on my mobile phone without him noticing, but that’s not what happened.

I started to think about him in other ways. He was so good looking. I pictured what it might be like making love to him. He was fit and handsome enough to make the cut but then my imagination gave me a wakeup call. In bed, I thought, he is probably a talker who gets turned on by his own words. Phrases like: “Oh, I have a meeting with the VC firm,” “Oh yeah, Porters Five Forces,” “Give it to me HBR!!!” and as he climaxes, “Mmmmmmmmmmmmarket capitalization!!”

As I thought of this, I almost laughed. I decided then and there that I might be better off with someone from a different world, a different background, to whom I am a success for merely having a management degree, rather than a failure for not having found a job yet.

In the end, I gave him the business card of my friend working in VC (Venture Capital) and decided I wanted a partner in love, not business. I’m sure we’ll remain friends and help each other network but the man I will fall for will challenge me intellectually with his own original thoughts and opinions, not those imparted upon him from a cookie cutter business school.

-Albany Eden

The Orangina Miser

File:Orangina.jpgEver wonder why some women can’t seem to stop talking about their ex-boyfriends? In some cases, the answer may surprise you.

I think every writer, regardless of his or her level, is most prolific when a certain emotion pushes the plume, or rather, the fingers on the keyboard. In my case, that emotion is a mix of hopelessness, annoyance and frustration at why the universe keeps throwing me men I could never possibly like. However, I have been incommunicado for a while because, for various reasons, I had not been feeling my blogging impetus. Don’t worry though, it’s back!

Last weekend I survived what could have been a nearly fatal head injury. It was like the powers that be decided I was not to die by slipping on the kitchen floor and cracking my head open on the rugged tiles—perhaps there was something more in store for me yet?

So after this possible cosmic message, I decided to accept a simu-date with Roland. I really had no interest in him but had small hopes that he might pleasantly surprise me.  Since I had recently suffered a head trauma, alcohol consumption was off the menu for me for the fear of giving the term ‘hammered’ a whole new perspective.

We sat down in the crowded restaurant.

“I’ll have an Orangina.” I said.
“Guess I’ll have a freshly squeezed orange juice” he said.
“That’s funny, some of the soft drinks cost more than beer and wine in this brasserie!” I pointed out. The OJ was 4 Euros and the Stella 3.90.
“In that event, I’ll have a Stella,” he decided.

He took out 3.90 in change although the bill had not come, and proceeded to play with the coins on the table throughout the ensuing conversation.

First conversations can be challenging and we can all ask a stupid question here and there but when idiocies cannonballed one after another from his mouth (which had chapped lips and a perpetual icky coat of saliva on it to make matters worse), I had to ask myself: “can I imagine listening to this or kissing that on a daily basis?” The obvious answer was “no,” however, it is rude to just get up and leave, so I stayed to finish my soda.

It was a painfully boring conversation.

Roland (after I told him I work in marketing): “So what if there were no marketing departments? Companies could just put their products out there, you see your whole specialty really isn’t necessary.”

Me: “Um, ok. Not sure where to start. And people would learn to differentiate products or brands how? And know about release dates and features in what way?”

The thing is though that men still tend to be the pursuers in the dating game and it can be awkward if he has a great time while you are contemplating a polite way to block his number and unfriend him on facebook. In these instances, it is useful to have such foresight and think strategically. As a former management student, I knew I had to develop my exit strategy immediately and put it into action at just the right moment. I decided the complete and totally ignorant denigration of my livelihood was the last straw.

Ladies and gentlemen, I will now share one of my lesser-known dating secrets and explain how this story relates to women who open the ex-file way too early. The less I like a guy, the more I will talk about my ex-boyfriend on the first date. It is so simple yet so effective. He will be likely not to enjoy himself and even leave thinking it was his decision not to want to see you again.

It goes something like this:

Me: “So Roland, why don’t you tell me, about your last relationship?”

Most guys will say in one sentence something like, “well, I stayed with my ex for [so many] years, but in the end it didn’t work out.” Then he will make the courtesy call, “when was your last serious relationship?”

So I went ahead and told him:

“I stayed with my ex for four years but he was totally critical of me. Whatever I would make in the kitchen, he would find fault, from overly thick split pea soup to burnt cream. He once told me that ‘real women are mothers and know that crème fraiche should never be allowed to bubble.’”

Roland said nothing as he shuffled the coins on the table. I continued:

“And so then it was hard for me but I eventually had to end things. He still calls me though, even though he has a new girlfriend now. You know what he said about her?  He says, ‘Albany, I am dating someone new. She is fat though but I still encourage her to wear miniskirts and high heels.’”

At this point, Roland seemed bored with the conversation and I hoped his eyes were scoping out the various emergency exits this hole in the wall had to offer. I thought he would be completely turned off at this point but the little engine that could gave it one last go with another stupid question.

“So, do you have friends?” he asked.

“Yes. Yes I do. [pause] Um, do you?” I didn’t know how else to respond to such a silly remark.

Then he proceeded with a short list of each of his friends and their respective cities and professions. I know studies have shown that a person cannot truly be friends with more than 150 people at a time. I probably have fewer close friends than that but am far from being able to list them all in such a manner. Roland was not put off enough by my ex stories. So, to ensure he would not think this was a magical evening, I took out the big guns.

Me: “You probably noticed I’m not drinking. It’s because I fell on my head yesterday. So far I only feel nauseous but have not thrown up but I’m telling you in case I fall down or something, so you know what happened.”

Then I proceeded to rub my head where I do actually have a giant scab and a bruise. He was totally uncomfortable. Doing something like this is actually good because if he truly were a nice guy, he would be concerned and I might give him another chance. Roland had no interest in my wellbeing.

Then the bill came. It totaled 7 euros. My cheapest date ever. Roland, with the 3.90 in his hand finally stopped fiddling with the change and left it on top of the bill. I looked at it and I looked at him. He looked at me blankly. About thirty seconds went by. Did he seriously not want to buy a piddly Orangina for a head trauma victim? To his credit he (eventually) said, “I got it” and produced the remaining change.

As we parted outside the brasserie, I had but one thought, “please keep those slimy lips away from me!” We left in opposite directions and I am confident he will not call me again. As I walked home, I was glad to be alone.

-Albany Eden

Big Muscles & Unemployment

men who are boring, muscular & cheap

So it would seem that big muscles and duration of unemployment are positively correlated…

“Is it hot in here or is it just you?” Not that I wasn’t flattered but this to a 96lb., teenage college sophomore in the university gym coming from a man twice my size, weight and age with more tattoos than visible skin took me by surprise.

I thought to myself: “I’ll just plaster a fake smile and give an unenthusiastic ‘haha’ so you’ll think I’m amused and you just be sure to wipe the machine when you’re done and don’t follow me home.  Deal? Good.”

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Ten years later and I am sitting across from an equally muscular rugby man and self-purported intellectual, minus the body art. He’s been talking for 45 minutes and I have absolutely no idea what he’s saying. I understand the words but, strung together, they make no sense to me. He continues: “so the theory of relativity is really about whether this person or that has a bubbling dichotomy in the apex of his hypothesis because without such undertones, there is no point to existence…” Oh goodness, he’s smiling, I better smile too. Hope he doesn’t ask me a question. I can always interrupt with a toast “to good times” then say “tell me more” and hope he doesn’t catch on. Wait, but I shouldn’t drink too much wine because it would be rude to start yawning or fall asleep.

Oooof, good thing he is amusing himself and doesn’t seem to care what I have to say. I have never been grateful to make such an observation with a man before. As he went on, I looked at the folds on his face, between his eyebrows, and wondered what it would look like if he were to get Botox injections. Not that he needed them. Women’s faces are judged much more harshly whereas most men compare themselves to fine wines, getting better with age. I wondered what the tattooed campus perv was doing these days. However, my thoughts were interrupted by a freakishly long nose hair across the table as it pulsated in the wind. It must have eluded him in the bathroom mirror for the past several years. He’s not bad looking and has a hot body. Maybe he is just nervous-talking. I can understand that. I’m not going rule him out because of one giant nose hair and an incoherent soliloquy. Most of the men without flaring nose hairs are nabbed by more aggressive girls before grad school, so I have to be open-minded and see beyond lapses in facial grooming.

The food arrived and I was happy. Not only because I was hungry but because he wouldn’t expect me to talk while eating. Silence. Appreciated.

My turn to talk. “I love this restaurant, I have been coming here for years! When I first arrived in the city, I used to sit at that table and write in my journal. The waiters all know me and although they don’t take reservations on the terrace, they will for me, as well as for an old lady who comes in every day. How is your steak?” He quite enjoyed it.

When the bill came it totaled 45 dollars. Reasonably priced seeing as how we had had wine and dinner. I waited the customary five seconds to see if he would reach for the bill, which he did not. It’s the new millennium and it wasn’t necessarily a date so I didn’t mind paying my half. After all, I did choose the place. As I was about to open my mouth, he says: “so it’s 22.50 each.” I acknowledge.

I say to the waiter holding the credit card machine, “Ok, make it 25 for me please.” Happily, he says “thank you madam, that is very kind.” My dinner companion then does some visible mental math while moving his lips (I guess intellectuals can’t do mental math without sounding out the numbers) and finally says, “then I guess I just owe 20.” The waiter’s smile dissipated and although he has seen me at this same restaurant with different dates over the years, I could tell that he disapproved of this particular one. If at any point in the evening a woman realizes that the waiter’s opinion is more important to her than that of her date, a repeat rendez-vous should probably not be in order.

[In truth, I have not run the regression but I do not believe there to be a true correlation between unemployment and large muscles. In fact, my most muscular male friends are actually employed and highly disciplined, like Oliver* who was kind enough to pose for the photo herein.]

– Albany Eden