There’s Always Room for Jell-O

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“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” many women have said throughout history. It could be true but I also believe that men express their love with edibles. I have learned over the years that when a man puts time in the kitchen for a woman, it is often a tender expression of affection he might not be able to say with words.

Case in point: the journalist (we’ll get to him in another blog post) and the ski instructor (ditto) both prepared spaghetti carbonara for me early on into our relationships, although it was a pure coincidence that they each made the same dish. I must say that while Andrew’s pasta was savory with the unexpected addition of white wine, I appreciated Jesse’s attention to detail in adding freshly shaved nutmeg on top. The point is, the more a man cares, the more complex his dishes will get. At the height of our four-year relationship, Julien purchased a pressure cooker and prepared us blanquette de veau.

So the question is, how intertwined are our sexual and actual appetites? I would argue that lovers of pleasure enjoy each and every delicious way to awaken the senses. To make my point, let me illustrate the opposite scenario: Zach was a young man I briefly dated in college. He was an Abercrombie model. On our first date, he invited me over for dinner and to watch Pleasantville. If only I had known that “dinner” consisted of baby carrots and tofu, which were also the only things he ever ate because he needed to stay in perfect shape. Needless to say, the night was as bland as the soybean patty itself, and while I am not an unhealthy eater, being around him all the while craving a plate of chili fries made me feel like a piglet. It didn’t matter how many portfolio photos he showed me of his perfect torso, I made a mental note that evening never to date a man with a smaller behind than mine.

You might be wondering, and the answer is yes, I have also cooked often for men. They appreciate it for sure but I think the ones who really care get more pleasure out of watching a woman enjoy what they made. This holiday season, take off the oven mitts and try letting him get his hands dirty!

-Albany Eden

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

The Mile High Club

“Come on, get your mind out of the gutter! It only happened once and it was his girlfriend on the flight,” Eric said, his warm eyes laughing at me.

“But how did you know?” I asked, fascinated by all the tidbits of his exciting lifestyle.

“A pilot says he needs 15 minutes alone in the cockpit, well, not alone. Anyway, it’s a small enough company, so the reputation stays with him.”

“What about you? Have you ever…?” I asked.

“Of course not!” He told me as he winked and took a bite of his extra crispy bacon.

We both laughed. Eric was about the fifth guy I had taken to my favorite brunch restaurant in the past couple months. I don’t even care to know what the hostess might be thinking, but over the eggs benedict and freshly pressed juice, I was beginning to like the view from the top. This is how I developed my 20:1 rule. For every 20 guys you meet who are completely wrong, there will be one who just might be right.

Eric was a pilot on long haul routes, which, I learnt, meant that his flights averaged 10 hours in duration and that he mainly flew to paradise beach destinations. Long haul is the most coveted route, so it meant he was great at his job but that he was also away from home two weeks a month.

Now in my previous post, I explain my aversion to dating lawyers. I feel the opposite way about scientists, so when I found out that Eric was also an aeronautical and spatial engineer who taught flight theory to new pilots, if I had been a man, I would not have been able to stand up right away without knocking over our basket of croissants!

It had been a long time since I had such a great first date. It was a sunny autumn day and we stayed out for hours. Walking in the park, sitting in the park, kissing in the park, I got to know everything about him. I couldn’t wait to book my ticket to Punta Cana on one of his flights.

On this park bench, as he told me about trajectories and how the airlines throw dead chickens into the engines for testing, I was staring down his checkered shirt, admiring his ample and masculine chest hair (a fetish of mine I never share with hairless men), wondering what it would it would feel like under my fingers. When I wasn’t staring at his chest, I was staring at his mouth as he spoke, subconsciously licking my own lips whenever he would pronounce a long “u” like in “prune.” When he would stop speaking, I would look into his deep blue eyes that reflected into mine a joyful admiration.

One of the reasons I love scientists is because I myself love science. I love to understand things, like why vinegar dissolves calcium deposits in the bathroom or how to hybrid my orchids (I’m still working on this). As I listened intently to every interesting word he said, I knew I was starting to like him.

“What about you? Did you always want to work in marketing?” He inquired.

“Actually, don’t laugh, but I have always wanted to be a plastic surgeon. If I could do it over again, I would have gone to medical school.” I revealed something I share with few people.

Now this is a true story and while some of my posts poke fun at guys, it is not my intention to do so here. The following is what happened and in writing about it, I do not in any way mean to make light of the situation.

With his next remarks, Eric effectively made me wonder: how much information is too much to provide on a first date?

“Plastic surgery huh?” he said. “That’s interesting because…” He went on to tell me about the different genetic disorders he has inherited from both parents, one of which required multiple plastic surgeries. It is not important to list the specific conditions but, needless to say, this is something I have not before heard on a first date.

Then he went on to tell me, “And also, the occupation of airline personnel reduces their life expectancy by 8 years.”

With all the tact and grace of a drunken hobo, I said, “I had no idea. You should ask for more money.” Like a true gentleman does in a situation where a woman says something stupid, he pretended not to hear it and we moved on to a lighter topic.

Now, I will definitely see Eric again. First of all, while my flaws are not genetic per se, they are enough to place me firmly within the most fragile of glass houses.

Still I cannot understand what transpired on this first date. Was he already thinking about having babies with me? Had we gotten so close that we passed the attraction phase into being chums? Was he trying to turn me off? Was he just nervous? Is this something he just discusses openly with near strangers?

I will give him a free pass and assume that something I said on the date was equally inopportune and that we are at par. He has messaged since and expressed a desire to meet again. Now I have to wait two weeks; I just hope he brings me something nice from Thailand!

-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

My #1 Dating Don’t

card key_albanyedenMarried men are off limits. My friends and I don’t play by many rules in the dating game but this one is a non-negotiable, so when a married guy makes the catastrophic mistake of slipping his hotel room key into one of our pockets, he has only himself to blame for the ramifications of this act.

At this very crowded international social event, Abby, Helen and I had just wanted to extend our networks…

*     *     *

“So, can we grab a drink sometime?” said the pimply Singaporean with garlic breath. I had to again brush off my face because of the saliva droplets being catapulted from his mouth.
“I’m so sorry” he continued, “I’m a distinguished public speaker and I’m used to talking loudly.”
I couldn’t see how this explained the spitting.
“That’s ok” I said. “You believed I was 24 so we’re good. But about the drink, it would just be as friends.” I wanted to be clear from the get-go.
Coming in closer, as if thinking a stronger whiff would persuade me, he said, “I was hoping it could be for more.”
“That’s kind of you, but I’m not interested in being your girlfriend, sorry.”
“But you are available? You are single?” He was getting insistent. I just looked at him with no response. He got the message and moved on to another girl.

At that moment, the waitress brought over a note “from the guy over there.” It read, “Do you want a drink? Turn around!” I comply and while I did notice a group of guys behind me, no one man identified himself as the author of the note. I must say, it was a clever approach that could have worked, but if a guy asks a girl to turn around, he must make it clear to her with whom she will be having the drink or nothing will happen. A little disappointed, I was glad that our tapas had just arrived.

Abby seemed to be having better luck. She had been talking to a man at the bar for nearly an hour. After staring at the tapas for ten minutes, I decided I’d start to nibble without her because otherwise they would get cold. One thing led to another and before I knew it the guacamole dish was empty! I felt like a criminal.

Finally the man she was talking to made his way across the room and I could get an update from my friend.

“Well that looked promising!” I said with a congratulatory tone, as I sat on the bar stool next to hers.
With that, Abby pulled out of her pocket a small gold envelope. I took it and realized it was a hotel room card key.
“Wow!” I was not expecting this.
“I know so gross, plus he’s married!” We were equally disgusted.

Apparently this married man thought it was appropriate to invite her to his room because, he said, anyway he was “too drunk to [fill in the blank]” so she “could just use the spa until the morning when they would finally [fill in the blank].”

“Eeeeew!!!” I couldn’t contain my disdain.

As we were mulling this over, a heavyset man approached us at the bar.

“Well hello there!” he interrupted.
Abby, always polite, looked up at him and smiled.
“Hi, um, Donald from Scotland,” she was looking at his nametag, confused because he looked Samoan.
“Oh, haha” he took the opportunity to put his hands on the small my back and on Abby’s thigh. As I saw him do this, I noticed a wedding ring on his finger. “I am not Donald, I just took his name tag so I could crash the event. So if you see Donald, warn me!”
“I’m sorry, we were in the middle of a conversation. It was nice meeting you.” I tried to brush him off politely.
“You can’t get rid of me so easily, you ladies look like you’re done with this place and could use a good time!” He was starting to bug me.
“I really haven’t gotten to talk with my friend all evening, so we would really like to just finish our conversation, but thanks though.”
“Nah, I saw you talking to those other guys. You are here for the same reason I am. But the little game you’re playing is quite cute, hahaha.” With that, he once again made inappropriate physical contact. Abby and I exchanged glances. As I moved his arm off me, I smiled.

“You know what? You’re right! We are looking for a good time. But we would rather have a good time in private. In fact, here is our hotel room key.” I handed him the married man’s little gold card key. The Samoan at first looked both ecstatic and perplexed, probably wondering which clever come-on had worked on me. As he snatched the little gold key, he was demonstrably pleased with himself. “You’re obviously too hot for this place,” I continued, “why don’t you take off, let us finish up here and then expect an evening you’ll never forget!”

-Albany Eden