I’ve Got Five on it Friday – Volume IIX

30 April 2010

I found on old journal today… old in the sense that I hadn’t written in it or seen it for at least a year, but it was hardly full.  It was a journal that I purchased one day because I was too snobbish to write on  drugstore paper, so I went to a bookstore to buy a journal that I promptly forgot that I had used.  What follows is the mostly completed post I found on its pages,

Five things I am almost positive you don’t know/wouldn’t suspect about me

  1. Once every few weeks I get a half-smoke from a DC street vendor, and I love it.
  2. I own a pair of overalls and I love wearing them every so often.
  3. I took the SAT’s for other people when I was in high school to make some extra cash
  4. Among the first things I notice about a woman are her eyelashes… but almost never before her shoes.
  5. I used to have a serious lead foot but the worst speeding ticket I ever received really wasn’t me… 120mph in a 65 zone.

Five things I really miss

  1. The simple elegance of Victoria’s Secret negligees from the 90s and early aughts
  2. The music of Sheila E. (not for nothing, but this link demonstrates her brilliance as a drummer and will make anyone old enough to remember to remember the song Glamorous Life just a bit wistfull.)
  3. A full box of Girl Scout Cookies… this may or may not be something that could not have been included on this list earlier this evening.
  4. Women like Rita Hayworth who could make removing an opera glove look like a striptease.
  5. Aroma Co. – R.I.P. to my favorite bar

Five Truisms of Online Dating That I Haven’t Previously Mentioned

  1. Women who have Hot, Princess, Queen, Sexy, any of their derivatives, or any other over the top self-aggrandizement contained in their screen name are rarely worth the effort.
  2. Randomly coming across your ex-spouse’s profile will induce vomit in the mouth… or is that just me?
  3. Women with more than one cat in their profile pictures are… women with more than one cat in their profile pictures.
  4. Anyone who uses the mind-numbingly overused cliché “work hard, play hard/er” is 3.67 times more likely to be a tool.
  5. Having done it for longer than most of the people who read this space have been able to legally drive, vote, or drink, I am pretty sure it is a complete and utter waste of time… but I cannot stop the eternal optimist in me from continuing to participate.

Five Tweets that have singularly made my Experiment with Twitter completely worth it

  1. @LexaLemmy – Him: wanna come to my place? Me: we met 30 minutes ago! Him: so your place? Me: I am a fucking lady!
  2. @PaigeWrites – I long for the day when I can highlight a comment in an email and designate it be shown in sarcastic font.
  3. @caradox: – All I asked Google was: “Explain the Republican strategy today.” Sorry for crashing the Internet.
  4. @suicide_blond – my car isn’t nearly as fast as my credit card… 0 to 6k in 2.2 seconds xoxo
  5. @postsecret – Today’s Email: “My soul-mate is a hardcore Yankee’s fan… I’m still single.”

Under the heading of insomnia making beautiful bedfellows: Over a 3am g-chat,  I asked my e-friend and unmitigated blog crush, Not That Kind of Girl, to ask me five questions to complete this installment.

  1. What is the one piece of literature you most wish you could have written? – anything from The Bard but most especially Sonnet 116 if only so that I could have known a love so deep that it inspired a definition of the subject.
  2. What is the most erotic word? – my name spoken by the right woman
  3. What is a smell with powerful associations to you that no one else in the world would recognize? – I am not sure that no one else would recognize it but the 1920s version of Channel perfume.
  4. Who has it pained you most to lose sympathy for? – probably Jessie Jackson.  When I was a young black child in the late 70s early 80s he was a hero of mine.  As an adult in the 90s, through the aughts, and to today, I am left with nothing but anger that the main stream media keeps giving him a microphone because of the assumption that he speaks for black people.  And even more angered that the most dangerous place is between him and a microphone.
  5. With whom do most frequently you have imaginary conversations? – myself.  I talk to myself more than anyone would guess.

      Previous editions of I’ve Got Five on it Fridays:

      Not Quite Five on It but I Include It Anyway

      The Official Volume I

      Also Not Quite a Five on It but I Include It Anyway

      Apparently I Don’t Count So Well Because This is Volume III

      Volume IV – Just Go with the Wacky Counting

      Volume V – In for a Poorly Counted Penny, In for a Miscounted Pound

      Volume VI – I suppose I could just correct it at this point, but this is more fun

      Volume VII – just  go with it


      Writing the Preface on How We Met

      22 April 2010

      I love hearing the stories of how couples met.  I’m not sure where or when the fascination began, but I’ve had it for a rather long time.  Having heard hundreds of “how we met” stories (this is among my all-time favorites,) I have learned the following:

      • One member of the couple always tells the story better (if not more accurately) than the other.
      • There is neither correlation nor causation between interesting stories and successful relationships.
      • It doesn’t matter how two people have met, no matter how boring or even bleak the circumstance, when a man’s eyes don’t get a little brighter when recalling the meeting of his partner… well, let’s just say that I’m rarely optimistic for their prospects.

      A couple of months ago the Washington Post added the “On Love” section to the Sunday Arts & Style.  The stories of meeting and courtship quickly became mandatory reading for me.  I have blogged about being affected by that section, been frustrated by stories that made me think “Why the fuck did they getting married?” and certainly have been alternately challenged and charmed.  (The editor has made it clear in responding to reader complaints to the ombudsmen that the section is, by design, not always a bucket of sunshine and kittens.)

      This Sunday the article opened with the shocking (to some) declaration that they “had spent fewer than 30 days in each others company before they got hitched.” As the kinda guy who is thoroughly enamored of The Story,  I was a completely interested in the tale of the Nurse and the Military Officer.  As any good writer wants to happen, I, the reader became invested.

      I was invested in their childhood meeting, moving, and eventual reconnection many years later.  I invested in his divorce, her dying father, their friendship.  I invested in their moment when potential became possible. I invested in their engagement and mostly electronic courtship.  I invested in his difficult times when he identified with Tom Hanks & the volleyball on the island.  I invested when she said “you’ll never be a castaway again.”  I invested in their individual and collective steps to deal with his pending deployment to the Afghan Theater.

      And then I had to put the article down.  I was about 80% through the piece but I was emotionally petrified and gripped with a fear that this couple, this lovely couple with the bravery to love ambitiously, would be felled by his bravery in service.  In my head, I was stomping my feet and throwing a tantrum at the Washington Post.

      “Promise me there’s a happy ending, promise me he makes it back” I actually said aloud, giving voice to my demand but not sure to whom it was directed.  “There’s no way that they would make me care that much only to…” I didn’t finish the thought.

      I did finish the article, and then I went shopping for a care package for a friend in Iraq because I didn’t know what else to do.


      Why Is Truth to Power Easier than Truth to Fools?

      20 April 2010

      If you’re a gentleman of a certain age and bring a so-young-we-ought-to-look-at-her-ID-twice woman to your local, you are going to get the blues from the rest of the crew next time you come in.  And so it was when I greeted my buddy, The Law Professor, with “It was bad enough when you were dating law students, but when did you start dating undergrads?”

      The crew laughed and a few others added their smart-ass comments to the mix.  One cat who was a semi-regular but whom I’d not met was the lone dissenting voice.

      “I don’t see nothing wrong with it” the mid 40’s guy said (it will become clear why I don’t refer to him as a gentleman in a moment.)  “The bitch I’m dating now is 25 or 26, and I haven’t dated a bitch over 30 in ten years.”

      I bit my tongue.  He continued: “Older broads got too much drama, it’s all about their careers, and they’re too fucking difficult.  You take an old bitch to dinner someplace and she’s thinking ‘it could have been a nicer restaurant.’ You take a 25 year old bitch to dinner and she’s just grateful not to be eating fucking Ramen noodles.”

      Perhaps my mistake was engaging him at all, perhaps it was failing to call him on his woman-hating language, but either way my response was a mistake.  “You and I are different” I grossly understated.  “I want a woman who is my conversational, emotional, and intellectual equal, and while it is possible in substantively younger women, I find that more frequently in women closer to my own age.”

      “Dude, that’s bullshit” he replied, “There’s thousands of years of history that’ll tell you that bitches mature faster than men.  It only makes sense to date young bitches, history will tell you that.”

      Reclaiming a teeny bit of my spine, I answered “Ignoring the intellectual inconsistency of suggesting that women mature faster than men and therefore younger women are a better suited to be the equal you profess that you don’t seek, your statement is really just more evidence that history, like anything powerful, is exceptionally dangerous when people fail to understand it.”

      “Man, I don’t even understand what you just said… but all I’m saying is that young bitches make more sense cause older bitches got that fucking clock ticking, want you to be all perfect for them and they’re just too much damn trouble.”

      Finally finding the gumption to address the larger issue I stated “Sir, I am quite sure that nothing I say will change the misogyny that let’s you use the word ‘bitch’ as a pronoun for women, but if we are to continue this conversation and that is a big if because I am not sure it is worth it, I will ask you to not refer to women in that way any longer, or at least not around me.”

      We argued for a couple minutes more and every time he used bitch as pronoun for woman he would obnoxiously follow it with “sorry, I mean lady.”  Eventually, I no longer wished to be the bigger fool for continuing a conversation with a another fool.

      The foul-mouthed-women-hating guy didn’t stay beyond his first round at the bar (but clearly not his first of the night.)  After he left, the bartender, a professional friend who wasn’t really paying attention, but like all good bartenders could sense tension, asked me “Dude, Refugee, what was that all about?”

      “It’s simple” I said without taking my characteristic deep breath that aids in polite conversation, “If you use ‘bitch’ as pronoun for woman once, I will just assume that you’re a product of a misogynist society that mislead you into thinking it’s ok to do that, and let it slide.  If you do it a handful of times, I am going to be rather annoyed but probably let it go.  If you do it a dozen times inside a few minutes, I’m probably going to sack-up, call you on it, and stop talking to you because of it.”

      I was on my high horse, I knew it, and I was completely ok with it.

      After a pregnant silence, the bartender asked me “It’s still ok if we call a specific woman a bitch right, just not the general… I mean you’re not going to have a problem if I say ‘Ann Coulter’s a bitch, right?”

      We all laughed a bit, the tension was loosened.

      I laughed too, not because I inherently agreed but because at least he choose a hard  example for me to defend.

      ******

      For the record, an earlier version of this post was published before I had an opportunity to finish my edits.  The earlier version did not tell the very end of this experience but it did close with some questions for you, gentle readers.  I will include them now, just because…

      But here are my larger questions:

      • No one in polite society would repeatedly refer to any ethnic group by a pejorative slur, nor would people consistently refer to gay men or women by similarly noxious terms.  So why is it that people feel comfortable referring to women in that way?
      • If someone was consistently referencing any ethnic group that way, I am certain that I would have protested sooner.  What does it say about me that I took so long to declare that unacceptable?
      • What does it say about my “bar friends” that I was the only person who noticed this as others at least claimed to not have taken note of the language?

      For Whom Doth The Sexy Bell Toll?

      19 April 2010

      My very dear friend, The Only Slightly Sleazy Lobbyist, and I deluded ourselves into thinking that we were still athletes one recent Sunday.  We played a couple of hours of “hang-over tennis” on a gorgeous afternoon.  After removing protective knee braces, ankle supports, and our respectively bruised egos, we made our way back across the river to grab some beer and sit on his patio with his neighbor and our friend, The Pistol.

      The Pistol earned her nickname because of her fierce mind, liberal politics, staunch feminism, irreverent wit, and more than occasionally profane vocabulary.   She is near the top of both of our lists of favorite people.

      As we were leaving the corner store with a few six packs of Bell’s Oberon in tow, OSSL told me that he had recently received an email from Southern Charmer, once a relatively recent college grad who OSSL helped land a job in his field.

      “Refresh my memory, which one is the Southern Charmer?” I inquired.

      “You met her that night at Cashion’s.”

      “OSSL, over the years, I’ve met more than a couple of women with you at Cashion’s, more information please.”

      “She was the one with the really see-through shirt and the great rack.”

      “Oh, yeah, yeah, I remember her now. How’s she doing?”

      “Eh, she’s alright I suppose… she’s just contacting me because she wants to change jobs.”

      “Refresh my memory about why you stopped dating her?” I asked.

      “We weren’t dating, I was just helping her out.”

      “You took her to a nice restaurant, you each dressed for the occasion, you paid the tab, you two flirted.  Call it whatever you want but it still smells like a rose.”

      “Fine, whatever, but it stopped that night you two met… it was the hypocrisy that really turned me off” OSSL declared in a partial confirmation of the rosy aroma.

      “What hypocrisy?” I asked.

      “Well, she wears this see through shirt with her rather large rack on display in some fucking Victoria Secret Wonderbra, and then bitches about how ‘gross’ it was that men always leered at her.  I mean, you can’t have it both ways.  When a woman wears a shirt like that it’s because she wants men to leer at her.”

      “Pump your brakes for a second” I replied.  “I’m not saying it’s likely you’re wrong, but it is dangerous to ascribe motivations to the actions of others.  I’ll concede that she might have been foolish not to expect the looks, but it’s not appropriate to suggest that she actively wanted them.”

      “I call bullshit on that” OSSL fired back, “Women who dress that way want that kind of attention.”

      By this point, we were parking the car. I tried to make my point more clear – “I’m saying that you’re probably right in your assertions about Southern Charmer, as you are probably right about most women who attire themselves that way, however, it is a bridge too far to suggest that all women who wear something revealing or particularly sexy do so for the attentions of men.  Perhaps they dress for themselves, perhaps they wear something like that because it makes them feel sexy.”

      We argued for a few moments more before I said “Let’s let The Pistol weigh in on this… and I’ll bet she’ll agree with me.

      The Pistol was already sitting on OSSL’s porch when we rounded the corner of his building.  We popped three bottle caps and immediately delved into the conversation.

      “I gotta say, I am more aligned with OSSL on this one” The Pistol said in a declaration that surprised all three of us.  “For most women, sexy is inter-related with how other people react to us… and I would bet that the same is true for men too.”

      “I’m not saying that reaction from women isn’t a part of it for men, and vice versa for women, just that it is only a part of it.  More importantly, I am stating that surely some women, and men too, dress exclusively for how it makes them feel.  She surely would be a fool to expect that with her boobs essentially on display that men wouldn’t look.”  It was another unsuccessful attempt to convince OSSL and The Pistol of my point.

      “Refugee, are you seriously telling me that when you wear one of those fancy suits of yours” The Pistol began before pausing briefly and concluding with “You really don’t wear them for how women respond to you in them?”

      “Pistol, I have three kinds of suits in my closet: good suits, great suits, and meeting ex-girlfriends suits.  When I wear the latter, there is an extra spring in my step but that spring exists on my way to the Metro before I have seen another person.  I wear those suits for me first, and any extra attention I get from women is just the cherry atop the sartorial sundae.”

      We argued for a few more minutes before I admitted the failure of my persuasion and changed the subject to that day’s edition of Meet the Press…. But, Gentle Readers, I pose these questions to you:

      • Does a woman wearing something revealing inherently want the eyes or attention of men, or women if she is so oriented?
      • Is it possible for women to wear something risqué just because of how it makes them feel and not as a cry for that attention?
      • Or does the answer exist in some other explanation?

      In Other News, Clichés are Clichés for a Reason

      17 April 2010

      “There is nothing more dangerous that a woman does than getting drunk in public.”

      That chauvinistic declaration, with some elements of truth, belonged to my father and the first time I can recall hearing it was around age eight.  For reasons best left to a therapist to explain, those words have stuck with me and resonated in my behavior.

      The thought crossed my mind recently as I watched a 30somthing woman weeble her way down a subway platform taking anything but the shortest distance between points A and B.  She wasn’t my responsibility and I had no intention of making her so, but I did keep a cautious eye on her… just in case something really bad was to happen.

      When the train arrived we both made our way to the same door.  She grabbed different poles with each hand but still was less than steady as the train moved.  At one point, she leaned her hip against the pole I was holding, pinning my hand there.  My instinct was to prop her up, offer a steadying hand, but I resisted because no one wants to be seen as the guy trying to take advantage of the drunk girl.  Two stops after our boarding location, we exited the train. She walked the first set of escalators – zigzagging her way.  When we reached the second set of escalators, she again walked for a bit before surrendering and standing still.  I walked past her for a few steps before the momentum of nature or nurture (jump ball) could not be quelled and I turned to ask her “When we get topside, may I help you get a cab?”

      “No, no, I’ll be ok” she replied with a surprising level of syllabic acuity.

      I assured her that “we’ve all been there” and that it’s “not a big deal” while I tried to make the argument that walking home, even the two blocks she needed to travel, wasn’t a good idea.  I volleyed, she countered but her protestations where not very vehement.  Eventually, after we had ascended the last escalator, I had to exercise the guilt option – “My grandma would be really upset if I let you walk home by yourself; I’d walk you home myself but you don’t know me so that wouldn’t be a good thing.”

      “It’s only two blocks, I can make it” she said before taking my face in her hands, getting kissing-distance close and saying “I’ll be fine.”

      “I’m not worried about your ability to get there, I’m concerned about all of the people you’ll pass on your way there – look there’s a cab right now” I said while waving him over. “Cab’s here, just take it as fait accompli.”

      She got in the cab and I paid the driver enough to take her those two blocks with a sufficiently large tip that I am hoping he made sure she got inside as I asked him to do.

      Two nights later, I was sitting in the bar where I was headed the night that I helped that woman into a cab when I felt a tap on my shoulder.

      “We met the other night, but I never caught your name” the same woman said.

      “I’m Restaurant Refugee” I replied using my full name for introductions the way that Miss Manners has taught me.

      She thanked me for getting her home, insisted on buying me a drink as compensation, and then explained that despite the fact that she was grateful, thinks me a gentleman and kinda cute, cannot date me because she could never get past the embarrassment of our first meeting.

      …and the trend of good deeds not going unpunished continues.

      …as does the trend of attractive women mistakenly thinking that the dating decision is entirely theirs regardless of their behavior.


      An “Are You F***ing Kidding Me?” Friday Night

      13 April 2010

      Three stacked redheads at the end of any bar will tend to get noticed and I certainly took note of them as I passed on my way to the wash closet.  We shared outlier positions for different reasons – three redheads are as common an occurrence as me at this particular dive bar that has none of the dive bar charms of my usual haunts.

      An hour or so later I stepped out for some air and one of the three followed me to the sidewalk.

      “Can I bum a cigarette” Morgan asked with a smile.

      “Of course” I replied while pulling a brushed silver cigarette case from the breast pocket of my suit.

      “Oh, so fancy, you make me feel under-dressed or something” she mocked.

      “Well if we’re gonna kill ourselves we might as well do it with some style.”

      “Ha, indeed… you ever stop a bullet with that thing?”

      “I never would have thought you old enough to make a Johnny Dangerously reference” I fired back with more than a bit of a laugh.

      “Are you kidding me? That was the movie I went to on my first date!” Morgan exclaimed with a big smile.

      Just as she was telling me about the teenager who tried to feel her up in the theater, Morgan’s sister came outside.  She too bummed a smoke.  Introductions were made, a couple of laughs shared, and maybe a passing puppy or two got petted.  At some point, they mentioned the sibling debate about a drive back to Richmond because they couldn’t find a hotel room.

      “We really want to stay another night, but, we called everywhere; they’re all sold out” Tracy said.

      “If you really want a hotel room, I’d be happy to make a few calls for you – I have a couple of connections in that business.

      I made four calls before we went back inside because I needed to relieve myself again.  “I haven’t given up; there are still a couple of chits in my pocket.  I’ll come find you when I find you all a room.”

      As I was washing my hands, an old friend came through with a room and at the “friends and family” rate too.  Leaving the restroom, I passed Morgan and Tracy on their way into the ladies room.  I gave them the good news and told them that I would scribble down all of the information for them by the time they returned to the bar.

      A couple of minutes later I was transcribing the hotel’s address, phone number, and the manager’s name when I felt a tap on my shoulder.

      “Are you the guy that just offered those women a hotel room?” a tallish woman queried without introduction.

      “Pardon me” I replied even though I had heard her quite clearly.

      “Did you just offer those ladies a hotel room?” the tallish woman repeated still without introduction and two degrees more sharply than acceptable in polite society.

      I stood up – an instinctual response to a power move so I could meet her gaze at eye level – before responding “You’re just a bit misinformed, I offered to make some phone calls to try to find them a room; but more importantly how does this concern you?”

      “I’m the manager here and this whole thing feels kinda skeevy.”

      A quiet smile is the surest sign that I am really angry.  Through that slight smile, I just excused myself and walked right by the tallish woman towards Morgan, Tracy, and their oldest sister who I didn’t meet.  I gave them all of the information for their hotel.  I took one more deep breath before turning my attention back to the manager who curiously was still standing by my empty bar seat.

      “Ya know, I’ve done your job, and your boss’s job too; and now I get paid a lot of money to tell people in your position how to do your job.  So I appreciate the fact that you take the safety of your guests seriously.  And I know you work in this popped-collar Georgetown bar where hordes of frat boys descend every weekend night with roofies in the pocket and bad ideas on the brain.  But I am not one of ‘em, I don’t look like one of ‘em and even if I did you don’t talk to your guests like that.  I don’t appreciate your attitude, your condescension, or any part of the way you approached me.  Now, you’re going to bring me my tab, and while you do that I want you to think about whether you owe me an apology.  The short answer is yes, because I’m industry and know how badly you just screwed the pooch, but more importantly you should think about whether you owe me an apology just because I am some random guy who walked into your bar looking for a burger and a beer, and you treated me like shit for no good reason.”


      Random Friday, Random Housekeeping, Is It Happy Hour Yet?

      2 April 2010

      I thank all of you for your good wishes on my announcement yesterday. As I emailed more than a few of you who left comments, the proper etiquette, however, requires “Best Wishes” to the prospective bride, and “Congratulations” to the guy who just executed an outstanding April Fools Day Prank.  I’m Gonna Break Your Heart and I will be together forever, but as the great friends we have been since the day we met but there will be no marriage.

      ******

      I recently saw some who was the worst kind of cliché – one that is dangerous is both the literal and metaphorical sense.  From the elevated perch of my Metrobus window seat, I watched some self-centered millennial asshole driving his BMW with his knees while having two hands on his crackberry.  Never have I wanted to throttle someone more than at that moment.  For the love of Bacon and all things Holy, put the bloody phone down and drive!

      ******

      Filed under: How Could I not Know About This, yesterday was the birthday of my severe blog crush, Rachel Maddow.  As I have admitted my horrid ability to remember even the most significant of birthdays, that memory omission doesn’t shock me or anyone who’s know me for more than a calendar year.  The part that annoys me is that Maddow fans on Twitter determined that they would send enough tweets with the hash tag Maddow to get her on the global front page of trends. Never mind that I barely know enough to write or understand that last sentence, but how did I miss that?

      ******

      Some Free Advice to Restaurateurs from Someone who Gets Paid to Give It: I know that everyone is telling you that you have be involved in new media and social networking to be successful.  While there is some truth there, the bigger issue is that you should resist the urge to fuck with things you don’t understand.  If you don’t know the etiquettes and charms and general ways of these tools they can only be more dangerous than productive.

      The following is an excerpt from a DC Blogs Round-Up I had put together.  It centered around a soon to open restauranteur who threatened a blogger with litigation over a mostly innocuous but critical comment left on her blog.  For editorial reasons, it got cut before publishing.  I share it with you all here because I still think it entertaining and enlightening.

      In a stunning example of “the solution is worse than the problem,” U Street Girl received a complaint from a business owner about a comment left on her blog.  The request threatened legal action and caught the attention of more than a few other bloggers.

      Original Post from U Street Girl

      Removal Post from U Street Girl

      Reaction from 14th and You

      Reaction from dcist (and a flood of comments)

      Reaction from We Love DC

      Reaction from Sophistpundit


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