Saturday, May 31, 2008

Weather Forecast: RAIN

So you know what that means, it's reunions weekend at the ol' alma mater. It's rained every single reunions weekend I've been there and I'm no longer sure I'd even recognize the campus without Torrential Downpour and lots and lots of mud.

I trekked to the 15th year reunion all the way from Hong Kong, so I figure I'm off the hook until the 20th.

But I've been taking my own "sentimental journey" while sitting in my kitchen.

Specifically, I've been listening to a cappella music, and more specifically, a cappella music performed by the group I sang with.

A couple observations:

  • I should have spent more than 2 hours to arrange "I Sing The Body Electric" for the group. If I had, perhaps it wouldn't currently be on the "inactive repertoire" list.
  • I agree with MomVee, we were better than we thought at the time, and we shouldn't have been so hard on ourselves.
  • Ergo, you are right, you did look down an awful lot as you sang. My most vivid memory of you from college is your hairline.
  • On Under African Skies, is it really the case that the first altos sang only that "bop bop bah bah de buh bop bop bah bah de bah" line for the ENTIRE LENGTH of the song?

Well, here's a little musical treat performed by aforementioned singing group, and no, it's not Under African Skies:

Friday, May 30, 2008

Shake It Off

I've decided to give myself a break from this weekend. I will not check that email account, I will not sign on to my match account.

It's just too distressing.

So, in an effort to clear my consciousness, I just sat down at my piano and pulled out a piece of music I had written my senior year of high school - my composition class final project.

I wrote it 21 years ago and I can't even PLAY it now.

It occurs to me that I should find that depressing. But I don't.

Yes, it's highly derivative; yes, it's more "pretty" than "substantive" (my composition teacher did not consider "pretty" to be a compliment); while composing it, I remember being more concerned about not breaking any rules rather than creating a meaningful piece of music; when in doubt, I chose to consult Chopin rather than make my own decisions; and yes, I had to argue my teacher into giving me an A- rather than a B+ (he argued that other students took more risks with their compositions and I argued back that it wasn't because they actively took risks, but that they broke the rules because they didn't know them in the first place); but all that aside... it's mine, all mine (although heavily influenced by Chopin), and once upon a time, I wrote a piece of music that requires real skill to play.

And damn it, it IS pretty.

Men I Do Not Hate

I've been told recently that my blog as of late might be overly hateful towards men.

I think that's what has reduced me to.

But really, can you blame me?

But it's not that I hate men. Not at all.

Pictures of men I do not hate (Daddy and JF, my gay boyfriend):

One Day I Will Post About Something Other Than

A 52-year-old man seeking women 18-35?

Dude, WTF are you thinking? Only movie stars or the very rich can get away with that shit.


.... is my driving emotion when I see that I have new emails in the yahoo email account which I have dedicated for online dating and food ordering.

Naked fear.

And sometimes, driven by the same impulse that causes me to pick mercilessly at scabs, I check the "Who's Viewed Me" list. *shudder*

That toad of a lawyer in Maryland keeps stalking me. As well as numerous old creepy guys. And the guy in Massachusetts with no profile picture whose profile states that he is just looking to satisfy his needs while in between relationships.

I think men have an easier time on While trolling for men the other day, I stumbled upon the profile of my friend, DR. So I immediately shot him off an email. Apparently, he is having a grand old time. He hasn't yet met the "perfect" match, but he's met a bunch of women he has described as smart, funny and attractive.

That article I posted about a couple weeks ago - the one using game theory to explain why there are fewer eligible men than there are women - might explain the poor pickings in a certain age bracket, but for kicks, I set my search parameter to look for the young 'uns.


Frankly, I'm amazed that not EVERYONE is celibate.

I was on the phone with EA last night, and to show solidarity, I set up two dates for this coming week. I will meet them both (on different nights) at my favorite bar/restaurant. (I promised my bartender I would bring all my "dates" there since she had so much fun at my expense witnessing my date with Rock Lock guy).

And then, I will stop all this nonsense and lie like a rug to EA.


Not to sound unkind...

Screw that.

I might have to "hide" my profile on and just PRETEND to EA that I am still active on it.

You should see the horror that is stalking my profile, or sending me winks, or writing me barely intelligible emails.

It's enough to drive me to anti wrinkle eye cream.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


OK, as much as I want to "hide" my profile on and shield myself from the horror of it, I can't. I talked EA into joining and she has told me in no uncertain terms that I need to be slogging about in its depths with her.

So I updated my profile in a way that I believe more accurately reveals my personality. Basically, making clear that if you are a man who is not very easy on the eye and who lacks an even basic understanding of how to spell (or how to use spell check), then go elsewhere, 'cause this cute petite Asian girl is NOT sweet or nice or willing to look beyond the physical to appreciate your "inner beauty."

I also added more pictures, namely, a picture of me in a bikini.

My theory is that while my profile is now riddled with insults and bitchiness and four syllable words, it will not actually weed out the freaks who contact me.

From the male perspective, my profile will read: "blah blah blah blah blah" and all they will see is me in a white halter bikini.

So far, my theory appears to be holding strong. In a matter of hours, I have received numerous emails from men telling me: "You seem very nice. Can we talk?" (This after I specifically wrote in my revised profile that I am NOT nice).


I will now re-email all the men who have previously ignored my attempts at communication.

Will keep you apprised.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Lessons Learned

Wednesday night, I had dinner with EH (in town from Beijing) and two of her close friends from college.

One of them actually met her husband on She had some pointers for me. Every time she had some contact with a creepy guy (a wink, an email, and unfortunate date), she'd update her profile and add to her list of "Don't contact me if you..."

She once got a very angry email from some random guy who told her that she was a bitch.

But that's mostly because he embodied every trait she had included on that list.

So I am considering doing the same.

Don't contact me if you:

1. wear thick gold chains around your neck
2. can't spell
3. have a picture of someone else entirely up on your profile
4. are 60 years old and have a foot fetish
5. think that an appropriate ice-breaker is a marriage proposal
6. are a virgin and want to tell me about it in your first email to me
7. look like toad
8. are proud of a special handshake you "invented" which you have named: The Rock Lock

I wonder how long it will take before I get my first "hate email."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Rock Lock

Me: I think he was retarded. Could he have been retarded?

EH: Yeah, I think maybe.

EH remembered his name for his "special handshake."

The Rock Lock.

What Did YOU Do On Your Summer Vacation?

Upon seeing a good friend for the first time in a couple years, a quick game of catch-up is in order.

Apparently, my life in the last couple years has been excruciatingly boring:

  1. Er, I moved to NYC. As you can see, because you are here. Visiting me. In NYC.
  2. I'm learning to play the guitar.
  3. I started a company.
  4. I'm on Check out this toad of a lawyer in Maryland who keeps stalking my profile. Blech.

In contrast, the fabulous and wildly talented EH (from Beijing), had this to share:

  1. I gave birth and now have a beautiful daughter. (Which, obviously, I knew from her facebook status updates, but it's nice to hear all the details).
  2. I'm in town to attend a production seminar with Bob Costas, Dick Ebersol, et al, and to finalize details to be NBC's Beijing Olympics Correspondent.


It's like being happy that you have 2 pair, and then someone throws down a royal flush.

P.S. Since EH has been staying with me, I've been lurking about taking candid pictures of her which I will later sell on Ebay after she becomes famous.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


After a month of playing nothing but scales and other mind numbingly boring exercises on my guitar, I revisited the Carcassi etude.

I almost cried.

For the first time, it sounded like music.

You can play all the right notes, and only the right notes, all in the right order; you can even throw in some appropriately placed changes in dynamics and tempo, but that doesn't necessarily result in something musical.

One day, I'll even expand my repertoire to include more than one piece. I'm sure my neighbors would be appreciative of that.

But in the meantime, back to my scales...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Born-Again Virginity, Deflowered

Email update from AM:

"Last night had a few minor bumps, but mission accomplished."

I'm SO proud.

Sexual Obligation

Per her previously stated refusal to read my blog and just continue TALKING to me everyday, WC called me this morning and I read my recent blog posts to her. She reminded me of the all time best (worst?) line delivered by a man on a first date:

"Let's split the check. I don't want you to feel obligated to sleep with me."

Man oh man.

Dude, you're talking to a woman who's been married. If a 20,000USD diamond ring didn't obligate her to have sex, why in the world do you think dinner might?

Oh Baby, Insult Me

Since I have quite a few girlfriends who are splashing about in the waters of online dating alongside me, we've been collecting all manner of interesting data points.

But one of the most interesting is this: there exists a category of men who believe it is appropriate/attractive/efficacious, to be insulting to the women whom they would like to see naked.

For example:

"Your skin isn't perfect, but it's good. Especially for a woman of your age. Wanna go camping this weekend?"

"You look very young. But let me see your hands. The hands don't lie. Yep, see... they don't lie."

"Women your age are often unfocused. It's perfectly understandable because at your age, women just want to have babies."

"You are very girlish, I'm waiting to see the grown-up."

"You have childbearing hips."

Keep in mind, these are men who are actively stalking us and trying to get in our pants. WTF?

Now, I will admit that I like a guy who can challenge me, and can demonstrate (firmly yet appropriately) that he won't take any of my crap (that's actually really hot), but crossing the line to even vague insults? UNACCEPTABLE. Worse yet, it's just STUPID. I'm not even sure what offends me more - the insult or the stupidity in taking such an ineffective approach.

The first quote is from a guy I had drinks with a few months back. I stared back at him and all I could think was: "No. He did NOT just say that." After I got over my shock, I asked him, "Does that work for you? Do other women think to themselves, 'wow, I really want to get naked with you and let you apply that same critical eye to the rest of me'?"

At this point he was too drunk to offer an intelligible response. He was 6'5" and fit and I was matching him drink for drink and he got sloppy drunk while I was still able to say "obfuscatory" and "bifurcate."


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Calendar Item

When I checked my calendar this morning, I found this entry:

AM has SEX today!

I had listed it as an all day event which is rather optimistic.

With any luck, her absurdly long man fast will be broken tonight. And I have no doubt that she greatly appreciates the fact that I am writing about it in my blog.

And yes, it's a sad sad comment on both our lives that such an event should be so memorialized on my calendar.

She has dutifully gone through the checklist of sex preparation activities: mani/pedi, bikini wax, self-tanner, cute outfit, and asked me if she had left anything out.

I couldn't think of anything other than the following piece of advice:

Try not to shed tears of joy or gratitude.

I think that pretty much covers it.

Online Dating=Online Shopping Part Deux

While browsing for men might be very similar to browsing for clothes/electronics/skin care products/etc., there is a very critical difference. (Well, arguably more than just ONE difference).

I hardly ever get emails from the things I might buy.

That cute little Ya-Ya top doesn't email me saying, "Hey gorgeous, let's hit the town together."

That slinky Norma Kamali dress doesn't write, "Don't you want to wrap my 100% modal goodness all over your sweet stuff?"

The scandalous Melissa Odabash halter bikini doesn't try to lure me in by sending me an email saying: "Slip into me, baby, and let's get wet together."

Although, now that I'm thinking about it, emails such as those would be delightful.

But if the online shopping 'verse were to follow the online dating paradigm, it would be the gnarly, over-sized, second-hand, too-shiny tracksuit that would be emailing me, and emailing me badly: "im shiny and comfortable and would like to see you nekkid."

But while I greatly enjoy mocking both the men who contact me and the emails they write, there is a another difference which I find... well... sad. Clothes are not lonely. They are perfectly happy sitting in the warehouse, or hanging on display. Skincare products do not feel that they are not living up to their full potential if they are not regularly used.

People, in contrast, are so lonely.

Online dating is an activity that should be done with a lightness of spirit. For any deeper needs... go online and buy a killer new outfit. Or a guitar, and learn to play it.

Friday, May 16, 2008


eHarmony, with its "guided communication" option, provides all sorts of low-commitment, pre-defined ways to interact in order to shepherd its users through the initial "getting-to-know-you" stage.

The first stage involves multiple choice questions and answers. A long list of possible questions are provided and the "questioner" can pick 5 from that list to forward along to his/her "match."

One of those questions is the following:

Your idea of adventure is:

A) whitewater rafting
B) karaoke singing
C) trying a different route to work
D) ordering a dish you've never tried before
E) *write in own answer*

I understand the intent behind this question, and I understand what the different answers *might* reveal about a person. And while "adventure" can be infused into any activity, no matter how small or trivial, the full concept and value of adventure is so big and frightening and compelling and fierce that I dislike seeing it trivialized.

Being adventurous is different from being curious or flexible and open to change. Curiosity and flexibility are highly important and attractive traits, and are important elements of (or even prerequisites for) being adventurous, but they should not be viewed as equivalent to it.

Adventure involves risk; it invites change.

True adventure, requires daring.

That can be expressed in a myriad of ways: starting a relationship; trying one more time, after a history of failure, to learn something new; ending a relationship; leaving behind a familiar life to explore the unknown; staying in a life and making it your own...

I had a conversation last night about the desire to have a completely new start, to have an ADVENTURE.

It is a topic of conversation near and dear to me.

Conventional wisdom makes a distinction between running AWAY FROM and running TO different situations, and I "get" that there might be a sub-sect of people who carry around their unhappiness and discontent so much so that they can never escape it, so that a change in venue or environment can't change their fundamental outlook on life.

I've already quoted Eudora Welty in a previous post: "...the most serious daring starts from within." Adventure doesn't necessarily involve picking up and leaving for someplace new. It can be embodied in firmly digging into an existing life.

But the "high" in going someplace new is addictive.

So what happens when you always have one foot out the door, always carrying around the knowledge that any day now, you could LEAVE?

I suppose that's the opposite of adventure. Because risk and daring must be accompanied by something else: the commitment to follow through. Otherwise, "adventure" does indeed become diminished to little more than ordering something new off the menu.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Celibacy Is Looking Better And Better

I need to share.

The following is a sampling of the emails I have received while on, in all their insane, ungrammatical, inappropriately punctuated, misspelled, unedited glory. The italicized comments in parentheses are mine.

41-year-old man
Minneapolis, MN, US

what if I agree to move??? ;-)
dont be chicken! ;-)

(I have nothing to say to this. I mean really. WTF.)
43-year-old man
New York, NY US

I make money to support woman. I will marry you if that is good to.

(He had the right idea of looking online. He's just on the wrong website.)


41-year-old man
Hoboken, NJ, US

I read your profile, saw your picture and immediately fell into this DEEP trance where my hands began automatically typing this message to was a serious out of body experience...

so now its up to you...write me back and jolt me out of this trance or you'll have to live with the knowledge that there's some poor guy somewhere out in cyberspace stuck in front of his laptop in a deep trance...and its all YOUR fault :)

(I do NOT want to know what this guy's hands are doing.)

39-year-old man
Chicago, IL, US

short hair suits you well, are you wearing it short these days?
do you ever find yourself in chicago?
i have a tatoo, love to skinny dip and specialize in sarcasm.
with someone as pretty as you a public display of affection would be my pleasure.

(I've left out the picture, but you can use your imagination. This is not someone you would want to see naked. As for PDAs? *shudder*)
28-year-old man
Long Beach, NY, US

hey cuty. Im an amater boxer. We have lots in common.

(Almost wrote back to him. Hey, he was cute in that youthful firm fresh kind of way.)
39-year-old man
Milwaukee, WI, US

hi, a business man,currently in NY.You have a lovely profile here and i would love to get to know you..thats of course if you dont mind.i will be in NY for 3 weeks and definitely i hope at the end of my visit i will take a Goddess home with me..smiles..hope to hear back from you soon

(Another guy who is on the wrong website.)

34-year-old man
New York, NY, US

Caro Ciao

Firstly, I like your photo! You've a warm, open smile- that I think renders many defenseless... ( creates desire in men! And fills your mail box ;^)

(OK. Now this guy (according to his profile pictures at least) is gorgeous in that thighs-like-tree-trunks, biceps-the-size-of-my-head, swimmers' shoulders, 6'3", dark-haired, green-eyed, Italian, who-cares-if-he-can't-really-write-or-speak-intelligibly kind of way. Will reply to him ASAP.)

A Literary Meme

The instructions: Bold the ones you’ve read, "asterisk" the ones you read for school, italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish. Meme via MomVee.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
*Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi : a novel
The Name of the Rose
*Don Quixote
*Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
*The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre

*A Tale of Two Cities

*The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
*The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
*Great Expectations

American Gods

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a Memoir in Books
Memoirs of a Geisha
*The Canterbury Tales
The Historian : a Novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera

*Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
*The Picture of Dorian Gray

Mansfield Park

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
*Oliver Twist

*Gulliver’s Travels

Les Misérables
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
*The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes : a Memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-Present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
*The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake
Collapse : How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey

*The Catcher in the Rye

On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
*The Aeneid (Tried to work my through this in Latin. It didn't work so well.)
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood : a True Account of a Multiple Murder and its Consequences
White Teeth
Treasure Island
*David Copperfield

I have always had a problem with James Joyce. It started when JN and I were 13 and 11 respectively and tried to read Finnegans Wake.

We got stuck on the first paragraph:

riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.

We concluded that it was written in a different language altogether - a language that somewhat sounds like English, but isn't.

I have since come to believe that JN and I hit the nail on the head.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day and Psst... A Secret

Reminded of the significance of today by a plethora of spam email, I called my mother this morning and we had a nice long chat.

And this afternoon, I received the following text message from Gorgeous Hunk O'Man (JF):

Happy Mother's Day, ex-wife! I know you gave our baby away to the Scientologists, but still. I'm sure it loves you wherever it is!

I wrote in reply:

We know EXACTLY where our kid is. Haven't you ever wondered why Tom-Kat's baby, Suri, looks vaguely Asian, and why Katie was only pregnant for like, a week?!?

Insomnia and Ovulation

According to my sitemeter, numerous people have been stumbling upon my blog as they google search: "Insomnia and ovulation."

Yes, I did write a post about ovulation, but that's neither here nor there.

But apparently, there is indeed a link between hormonal activity and insomnia. Women who are menstruating might sleep less. Those ovulating, might sleep more.

This seems counter productive, if you ask me.

A Poll

It makes sense that one is more aware of nationality (one's own and that of others) when traveling.

And while getting to know other cities, other countries, and other people ultimately reveals basic commonalities shared by all people and cultures, it also becomes comically easy to engage in broad generalizations vis-a-vis the differences.

Overheard in Public in Foreign Countries:

"And the best part: she's Dutch!"
"Oh don't be ridiculous - that's the American side of you speaking."
"You are too smart for your country."
"She's Italian. And you know what THAT means."
"I suppose you want to prepare meat outdoors in your backyard?"
"You speak English remarkably well for an American."
"She's German, but she's spent a lot of time in Italy, so her shoes are fabulous."
"This year, let's just go to the Australian Ball. We can skip the others."
"Is he gay, or just British?"

I spoke to MMdvi (a fabulous Brit living in Beijing) this morning and she evinced absolutely no surprise that I am still on my man fast:
I've had sex with Americans, and that's why I now only date European men. If you've only ever shagged American men, it's no wonder you've lost all interest. Let's find you a Brit. Or maybe even an Italian or South African.

This has sparked another creative project: a comparative study of sexual skill across different nationalities.

Since collecting the first hand data for such a study might be too time consuming (not to mention messy), I will poll my friends. So friends, speak up.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Blame It On The Spring

I blame Spring. For what, you ask?

I've "reactivated" my online dating accounts.

But this is not a good thing. I've already posted about the problem with such "goal based" dating endeavors: the inherent expectations. I'm not actually ready to be in a relationship, as evidenced by the fact that I still cringe at the word "penis." Although, the other day when I was mindlessly surfing online, I stumbled on a tattoo art site. I admired a tattoo of a lotus and an "Om" symbol that was tattooed on the back of some celebrity's neck, and then came across a picture of a naked man with a tattoo that ran from his lower abs down one thigh. I immediately flinched and looked away, but then I looked back and studied the picture and tilted my head to one side like a dog hearing a high pitched noise for the first time and said to myself, "Huh. I remember those. Don't remember what they're good for, but... huh." Keep in mind that it wasn't a particularly exceptional specimen - the man or the penis - but, whatever.

And then I immediately emailed the picture to AM since I know she's probably forgotten what they look like as well.

I talked to Gorgeous Hunk 'O Man (JF) this morning and shared this with him. It's really too bad that he lives so far away. Because with him, I actually have the relationship (minus the geographic undesirability) that I want with a man: someone brilliant and gorgeous with whom I can engage in an orgy of mutual appreciation for our respective physical and intangible qualities, AND he has no interest in showing me his penis.

He did (gently) tell me that I should meet someone with whom sex isn't a nausea-inspiring prospect.

Yeah yeah yeah.

I think the next time I feel that I need to be reminded of what a penis looks like, I'll just make JF email me a picture of his. I know AM would appreciate that too.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Gaming It

MG forwarded me an article which pissed me off. Not because I didn't love it (I did) but because I wished I had written about the topic first.

The Eligible-Bachelor Paradox and how economics and game theory explain the shortage of available, appealing men, by Mark Gimein.

In countless conversations (with others and with myself), I have wondered why I know SO many attractive, intelligent, funny, successful, eligible single women, while the commensurately eligible male counterparts seemed to be elusively rare - so rare that rather than talk about them as a group, I end up trying to NAME them, and it always ends up being a distressingly short list. I've wondered at this phenomena both as a married woman, and as a newly single woman. And not just in NYC. I've thought this in DC, Beijing, Hong Kong.

While I've wondered whether this was an objectively real and measurable "truth", I've tried to explain it in different ways. Remember that episode of Seinfeld where George discovers that club where all the gorgeous models hang out? I've tried to explain it by pointing to networks. The network of my friends (and all their respective networks) are mostly comprised of "similar" people. And in our cases, that means women with whom we feel some sort of connection and solidarity and similarity. So perhaps it's as simple as not yet tapping into the appropriate network of attractive, smart, funny, accomplished single men?

From a sheer physical attractiveness standpoint, I have also tried to explain it by pointing to the simple fact that women have an easier time improving upon nature. Makeup, clothes, and hair can all be altered to accentuate the positive. But these are tools less easily leveraged by men.

But the first few sentences of Gimein's article lay waste to all my theories (hopes?) that perhaps this phenomena is NOT real, and only perceived to be real:


"It is a truth universally acknowledged that the available, sociable, and genuinely attractive man is a character highly in demand in social settings. ... The shortage of appealing men is a century-plus-old commonplace of the society melodrama...The problem of the eligible bachelor is one of the great riddles of social life. Shouldn't there be about as many highly eligible and appealing men as there are attractive, eligible women? Actually, no."


His explanation for this numerical imbalance rests on the recognition that in a marriage proposal, it's the woman who chooses. Yes, traditionally, it's the man who asks the question, but it's the woman who chooses to be asked and then chooses again to say yes or no. But the primary "choice" here, is the woman's choice to receive the question in the first place. After all, it's fairly rare that a man asks and the woman says "no." (I'm eliminating from this discussion those completely random proposals which come out of the blue - because I mean really, those are just weird.)

Over-simplified, yes, but I accept this. Whether simply by the virtue of staying in a dating relationship, working or contributing to the work of making the relationship satisfying, or actively dropping hints, promises, threats, ultimatums, there is a choice demonstrated - the choice to receive a proposal if/when it is offered - making women far less passive in this scenario than it might, at the most superficial level, appear.

Gimein likens this search of marriage partners to an auction. (And this is where we get to the modified game theory that his subtitle promises us.)

He says that in this "auction," there are women who are more confident of their prospects (because of looks, social ability, or any other reason). He refers to this group as "strong bidders." Now, one would think that the "strong bidders" would consistently win in this auction paradigm. But apparently, according to game theory, it's the "weak bidders" who more often win, because they bid more aggressively as compared to the "strong bidders" who hold out and wait for the "perfect" prospect.


This is how you come to the Eligible-Bachelor Paradox, which is no longer so paradoxical. The pool of appealing men shrinks as many are married off and taken out of the game, leaving a disproportionate number of men who are notably imperfect (perhaps they are short, socially awkward, underemployed). And at the same time, you get a pool of women weighted toward the attractive, desirable "strong bidders."


Obviously, this is an almost egregious over-generalization and over-simplification: I know many "strong bidders" who are/were also aggressive bidders in this paradigm. But I only have to take stock of my many, fabulous, "strong bidder" single female friends to think that perhaps there might also be something to it.

My conclusions?

On one hand, this tells me I should break my man-fast damn soon and get out there and start aggressively bidding, 'cause the pickings are only going to get leaner.

But on the other hand, in Gimein's own words: Game theory deals with how best to win the prize, but it works only when you can decide what's worth winning.

So maybe there's another element at play here. Maybe my "strong bidder" friends who have been happily married for years share an additional trait - an ability to see through their plentiful potential options to recognize a prize worth winning when he's standing right before them, flaws and all.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Going Potty

I have soil embedded beneath my fingernails.

I received my 2-3 year old Dwarf Meyer Lemon tree, my mini herb garden kit (cilantro, parsley and chives) and assorted pots and potting soil.

The lemon tree came in a narrow box which was disturbing in its narrowness, but when I opened it up, out emerged a lovely little tree. It arrived unpotted, with the bare root ball packed in moist wood shavings which I have duly mixed in with the potting soil. I purchased it from Four Winds Growers in CA. According to my google research, they have excellent customer service. So I put it to the test by sending them inane emails like: "So, I probably shouldn't ash my cigarette into it?" To which they replied, "Depending on the level of ash (if you do it once or twice accidentally), it probably won't hurt. But as a general rule, no, you probably shouldn't." This has earned them my undying loyalty.

I have placed my African Violet plant next to it. I am hoping the African Violet can provide some reassurance that life is indeed possible under my care.

I imagine their conversation to go something like this:

Myer Lemon Tree: Is she for real?
African Violet: It's really not so bad. She grows on you.
Myer Lemon Tree: I don't know... this just doesn't seem right.
African Violet: Dude, I get it. But look at it this way, I'm still alive. Check out my flowers.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Let's Talk About Sex, Baby

Is it possible to talk about sex when you don't remember it?

Sort of.

AM was in town last night so we met for wine and paninis at my favorite wine bar in NYC (Bar Veloce in Chelsea, in case anyone is interested).

After a couple glasses of wine on empty stomachs, we were using our outdoor voices to discuss our celibacy.

AM came up to NYC after a quick trip to DC to visit some friends. She had told our mutual friend, SS, about our respective man fasts and SS's response to her was: "WTF? How can ho's like the two of you be celibate?!? You with your double D's and CK with her "I can throw both legs over my head" thing?!?"

Obviously, the man fasts are self imposed. It's just not hard for women to find willing sex partners if they are motivated to do so. But we've been just too busy, too focused on other things, too non-motivated.

And yet, it's still an interesting situation worthy of loud discussion in a quiet wine bar.

It's one thing to say, "I haven't gotten any in fill-in-the-blank-period of time" if that fill-in-the-blank time period is measured in days, or weeks, or even months. But when the easiest way to say it is: "Not since fill-in-the-blank-YEAR," that becomes disturbing.

Since neither of us could remember sex well enough to discuss the act in any detail, we discussed the potential pitfalls we might experience when we finally do break our fasts.

Do we 'fess up to the long fast? Because that could be weird. It begs the question of WHY. Were we sick? Do we have all the appropriate girly bits and pieces? Are they all in the right place? Do we have a litter of children stashed away somewhere? Were we previously men and had to take that time off to get our sex change surgeries? Or do we go the opposite route and pretend that we just had sex a few hours ago with someone else?

We decided that it might be best to just avoid the topic altogether.

I told AM about my efforts in writing sex scenes for my epic and decidedly non sexy trashy novel. I had read a book categorizing different kinds of sex scenes. There's the "my first time" sex scene, married sex, angry sex, and even a category for grateful sex.

That last one caused us to gasp in horror. What if it's OBVIOUS to the breaker-of-the-fast that a significant fast was broken? What if we are just a little too "enthusiastic" and afterwards, he asks, "it's been a while for you, huh?"

I called Gorgeous Hunk O' Man, JF, when I got home and told him our concerns. After he finished laughing, he suggested that we say in response, "Not at all. I'm ALWAYS like that." According to JF, that would be reason enough for the guys to keep us around, at least for a few more bouts. Cool. Now THAT'S what I call turning lemons into lemonade.

But AM and I did spend some time wistfully remembering the old days, when we were carefree and sexually active. One lovely, warm, Sunday afternoon, SS (Black), me (Asian), and AM (Blonde - yes, "Blonde" is a valid ethnic identifier) were enjoying the weather and drinks at our favorite waterfront bar. A man approached our table and said, "I don't want to disturb you, I just wanted to let you lovely ladies know that if I were three different men, I'd want to sit down at this table three different times."

This was also useful in bars. The bartender (if a straight man) would inevitably like one of us enough so that all three of us could drink at heavily subsidized rates.

Ah, the good old days.

Endangered Species

I just read about the Tennessee fainting goat, which keels over when startled.

Older goats, however, are more adept at leaning against a barn or fence so they don't appear to have just fallen over and died.

Still, this seems to be a poorly thought out survival mechanism.