Tag Archives: DC

On Pseudo Boyfriends, and Why I Can’t Have Them

Thanks for all the comments on that last post. It’s made me feel better about taking a couple of days off to write some mediocre fiction and conference with several dozen bewildered composition students.

In sum: I will concede that there are many elusive traits that make men attractive–mystery, confidence, large biceps–but I stand by the fact that, in order to feel attracted, I need a man who is not completely and totally a hundred percent nice. Sorry, I wish it weren’t, but it’s true.

Anyway, moving on. I’ve been asked to weigh in on altogether different topic: that of “pseudo boyfriends.”

I should have realized immediately that this subject does not fall into my arena of expertise: I had to ask what it meant. According to this reader (and the Urban Dictionary–I just googled) , a “pseudo boyfriend” is someone with whom you sometimes act like you are in a relationship with, but don’t label things as such. A guy you date/sleep/hang out with but do not call your boyfriend.

Before getting the definition, I assured said reader that–no matter what it meant–I was sure to be able to come up with a story. After learning it, however, I wasn’t so sure.

I racked my brain: surely, at some point in all my years of misguided dating escapades, I must have found myself in a comparable situation. Reader, I couldn’t think of one.

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Storytime: One Romantic Evening

As I battle against my bout of writer’s block–and contemplate how to prevent this blog from becoming a daily exercise in shoddy and dull academic criticism–I’ve been trying to think of amusing stories from my dating past that I might share.

You see, I’ve been single for a long time. Relative to my twenty-six years, I should probably say. Please, do not misinterpret my wealth of dating (mis)adventures as a constant or compulsive habit: the experiences I’ve got have been racking up for quite a while.

Anyway. The one story that keeps springing to mind involves my attending a ball while I lived in DC. This is probably because I wore a little black dress borrowed from my friend A that I believe she and her then-boyfriend dubbed the “sexy dress” because no one has ever felt so sexy as when they have worn this dress. Certainly not me, and it’s a nice moment to recall.

I think that I also keep recalling that night, though, because it may have been one of the most bizarre romantic  experiences I have ever had.

Let me explain.

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To Be, or Not to Be, Mysterious

“Remember when you lived in Washington DC and were really interested in politics?” my father asked me last night over dinner, by way of gentle counsel that I need not spend the rest of my writing career so focused on relationships.

“Vaguely,” I replied.

(It turns out to be true what what’s going on in Washington is far more interesting when one is living in Washington that it is when one isn’t.)

“I mean, it’s great for now,” my mother joined in. “But, you know, you might, at some point, decide that you want to have a little mystery.”

Ah yes, I thought. Mystery. I’ve been contemplating this word a lot lately–namely, in relation to the fact that I don’t have any.

It came up a few days ago when my guy friends and I were free associating in our effort to pinpoint the nature of femininity. We concluded that it might be in the mix, but that truly mystery is something both men and women look for and are drawn to.

Either way–since I do, on occasion, like to actually attract members of the opposite sex–this reminder causes me some pause.

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Storytime: On Being, and Not Being a “Dude”

Less than 48 hours after praising my womanhood, the same guy who had done so commended me for my ability to “be a dude.”

To be fair, I was the one who had used the phrase originally–when we’d quasi-dated the first time about a year earlier. But I wouldn’t begrudge you some confusion. How anyone–most suspiciously, me–could get from the neuroses I express daily in this blog to the performance of any romantic behavior that could possibly qualify as “dude-like” is pretty radically dubious.

So: some background.

I first met this guy (like my avoidance of boy or man? I’m trying) on a bus from Washington to New York about six weeks before I moved from the latter to the former last November. We spent most of that time talking and feeling extremely attracted to one another.

Due to this extreme attraction, things moved rather quickly–quicker than either of us anticipated or intended.

And then, as men are wont to do (especially when they are twenty-four, as he was) he panicked: he wasn’t looking for a relationship–he’d just gotten out of one, he was in school, he had two jobs. I told him that was okay: I was about to move, anyhow–why couldn’t we just keep it casual and enjoy each other’s company? I could “be a dude” about things.

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For E: An Extended Sports Metaphor

Yesterday morning I went biking with my friend E, who, along with a former colleague coming in all the way from DC, has convinced me to train for a 100 mile ride in May. (I am writing this, by the way, in hopes of minimizing the likelihood that I will flake out.)

E and her boyfriend are native New Mexicans, and hence take their outdoor sports very seriously: they ski, they ride horses, they cycle. I’m sure they have more gear in one square foot of their garage than is owned by all of Upper Manhattan.

Fortunately, their temperament is also classic New Mexican: easygoing and patient. So when, yesterday, I went careening into E’s bike after she unexpectedly slowed down and caused both of us to topple over rather dramatically, she didn’t give away a whiff of frustration.

In fact, the first thing she said–the two of us still inspecting ourselves for skinned hands, knees and elbows–was: “At least you can probably make this into a good metaphor for dating!”

Preoccuppied with an aching quadricep, a miniscule patch of ripped skin on my right thumb and the realization that I didn’t, actually, know how to use my brakes, I dismissed her idea.

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Notes on Dating, and Friending, while Blogging cont.

When I picked up my friend J from the airport last night and tried to fill her in on my past week, I found myself beginning nearly every sentence with the phrase “I blogged about this, but…” Or, alternately, “I’m going to blog about this, but…”

One of the ways I finished the latter version was to tell her what I’m about to tell you: that I fear I don’t have enough material in my life to be interesting both online and in person. I am only partially joking about this.

And I wonder, in this era of constant communication: how do people have enough to say to say things on so many different platforms? You want me to blog, Twitter, Facebook, blog for other websites, write some decent, non-digital long-form prose and manage to have any good anecdotes left for face to face contact?

In other words: by attempting to keep people entertained on my blog am I dooming myself to a much less entertaining reality?

I don’t mean to get too self-indulgent here: I think many of us have had the experience of telling a friend something funny or interesting, only for them to dismiss us with “yeah, I saw it on Facebook.” People, I fear our ability to communicate with each other is far outpacing our actual need to communicate. Please: tell me you disagree.

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The Stench

Since I last wrote, I have acquired two new pieces of evidence–in case anyone needed it–that the universe is conspiring to keep me eternally celibate.

First, the other night I was walking to meet to friends for dinner when I passed a cute young Brit standing outside an Irish Pub and looking rather lost. As I walked by, he stopped me and asked if I knew of a good local dive bar; I directed him, he said “thanks” and went on his way. Readers, he barely even waved.

Then, yesterday–conveniently, on the same day I post that HuffPost blog linking to my Twitter page–my Twitter account is hacked so profoundly that all day I was inadvertently sending “direct messages” to my Twitter followers announcing that I am 24 and horny and would like to continue the, presumably illicit, conversation on IM. I’m not even exaggerating.

It’s in moments like these that I recall the sage words of a good friend in Washington, after reporting that she had, again, slept with an ex-boyfriend who both of us knew was about as dateable as John Edwards.

“I know, I know,” she said, in good-humored anticipation of my scolding. “But at least,” she went on, “I’ve gotten rid of the Desperation Stench.”

She did not need to explain. But, for you more well-adjusted monogamist readers, I will. This scent as something like a dog whistle: perceptible only to members of the opposite sex (and, apparently, certain social media networks) and occurring in men and women who have gone several months without intimacy.

We all know how it works: you’re in a relationship, unavailable and therefore desirable. When you’re actually single and looking to date, no one wants to talk to you. If you’ve been single for more than a few years, forget about it: I don’t care if you look like Blake Lively and dress like Tara Reid–nobody is interested. It is the cruel Catch-22 of dating: if you’re available, you might as well smell horrible.

So what are us single folk to do about this, short of resigning ourselves to a lifetime of pets, baking and chastity? Go around sleeping with slutty ex-boyfriends?

This is not something I would like to condone on the Internet–or, as a matter of fact, do. But really, I don’t know the alternative. If I did, I would be enjoying this beautiful morning by going on a run with my boyfriend and medium-sized mutt instead of standing in my kitchen, drinking bad coffee and writing this blog in my pajamas.

Suggestions welcome.


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On Dating Republicans, Hippies and Expectations

Update: so, yesterday, I had another sighting of that guy I briefly interacted with the other day–the one who is possibly underage and possibly dealing drugs. I was at a coffee shop near campus and he came in, appeared to see me, turned immediately back around and left. So much for me acting out.

This coffee shop is one of approximately four in Albuqerque. I don’t go there very often due to the overwhelming and distinct scent of patchouli that is generally wafting through the place. But it’s bright, relatively quiet and has big tables, so it’s good for getting through the massive pile of grading I’ve got before me this week.

Plus, it seemed like a good idea to switch up my environment a bit. You know, see some new faces…you catch my drift. You never know who you’re gonna run into at a coffee shop frequented by hippies. What you won’t find, I’m fairly sure, are Republicans.

You like that transition? Good. It took me all morning. You try being coherent every day.

Anyhow, I wanted to get into this for two reasons. One, I have a new reader named J who lives in DC and complained on the blog about the dearth of men there who aren’t married. I concurred, and bemoaned the similar shortage of men–at least, while I was there–who aren’t Republicans. I told her that–thankfully–I had experience with the latter, but not the former. Although, frankly, I’m not sure which certain members of my family would think worse.

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