If You’re Going to Cheat, Don’t Leave Your Cell Phone Behind

31 July 2008

While I was working at Anonymous Big Deal Restaurant, I found a cell phone in the banquette during my end of the night inspection of the room one evening.  It was too late to call the number listed as “home,” and the following day we were closed so I tucked the phone into my briefcase determined to find the owner in the morning.


I have made many of these calls in efforts to return phones that have gone astray; almost invariably the person on the other end is a bit bewildered before they understand that I am not trying to sell them something.  The woman that answered the phone spoke very little English but eventually she passed the receiver to “Mrs. Smith.”  I explained that I was the General Manager of ABDR and found this phone last night.  She was extremely grateful, and indicated that it belonged to her husband who was away on business.


“I would be happy to send the phone to his hotel.  Where in DC is your husband staying?”


Awkward silence.


“You’re in DC, not Chicago?” she asked, barely masking the growing anger in her voice.


Recognizing I had just put her husband in the jackpot and that there was nothing I could do about it, I attempted to be merely the dispassionate observer.  “Yes, ma’am, we are located in downtown Washington, DC.  Where would you like me to send the phone?”


“Ship it to my house; and address the package to me, please.” 


Poorly Dressed Men and the Women Who Tolerate Them

30 July 2008

Whether walking along the streets of hipster neighborhoods or drinking in the random pub/bar/restaurant/lounge it is a common sight: nicely dressed women and their proletariatly attired gentleman date.  Cute and coiffed ladies with men whose attire is more appropriate for a casual picnic than a night on the town are a far too frequent sight.  My general disdain for khakis (garanamals for people who wear adult sizes) shorts (for all men over the age of 14, never appropriate unless athletic activity is involved) and flip-flops (not the political variety but those that may be worn for running errands, beach frolicking, or when sick) is a bit of an aside.  This is a question of balance, and one that I have never understood.

For the longest time I had dismissed this phenomenon as being as relevant to me as Facebook, Late Night Shots, and Abercombie & Fitch – trappings of youth about which I refuse to care.  And then I saw My Favorite Redhead last night.  She walked into our mutual watering hole and was simply stunning in her black and white summer dress and shoes that would have inspired LivLuv’s envy.  She was about to have a birthday dinner with her boyfriend – significant mostly because she is not a woman prone to having boyfriends or other long term romantic entanglements.  Between me and our other friends in the room, she surely received scores of compliments on her hotness in general and the hotness of the dress in specific.

Later in the evening, after her dinner had concluded, she and her beau strolled down the street as I was outside having a cigarette conversation with my crush de jour.  I was gobsmacked by the contrast.  She was dressed in a manner where she could have entered the finest of restaurants, and he looked like an extra in a Gap commercial – cargo shorts and polo shirt but thank the baby Jesus his collar wasn’t popped.

MFR is brilliant, accomplished, funny, an all around terrific woman, and my age – mid 30s.  Yet she, from outward appearances at least, was accepting of her boyfriend having dinner at a nice restaurant in shorts and flip flops while she was dressed to the proverbial nines.

Does it no longer matter to women how their partners and paramours attire themselves?  Has the collective man behaved so badly for so long that treating a woman well excuses poor attire?  Do women simply no longer consider a gentleman’s attire relevant?  Am I so hopelessly old-school, prim, proper, and fashion addicted that I am wrong-headed on this matter?

Feel free to answer those questions in the comments.  I will still follow the only fashion rule I have considered for the better part of two decades – if Cary Grant wouldn’t wear it neither will I.

Culinary Coitus Interrupted

28 July 2008

If I only get one room in my house for all time, I take the kitchen without a second thought.  I do my best work in the kitchen, I am happiest when cooking, and even happier when cooking for friends.  I express love through food, creativity in my dishes, and write love notes by making breakfast in the morning. If ever you see me truly depressed, put a Chef’s Knife in my left hand, a glass of pinot noir in the right, a pork tenderloin on my cutting board, and Mack the Knife on the stereo – problems solved.


So it was early Friday evening that I – engrossed in preparing dinner for a few friends – was blissful in my kitchen.  Every eye on the stove was enflamed in stares ranging from slow simmer to intense boil; every inch of counter space occupied with carefully selected parts that would form a whole greater than their sum. 


My internal rhythm screeched to a halt with the ring of my phone – I hate telephones.  I answered it without looking at the caller ID, presuming it was one of my guests.


“Good evening, this is Refugee.”


“Refugee, this is Anonymous Samaritan. Your mother has been in a car accident.”


I am glad I didn’t drop the phone into one of the sauces.


“Who is this?”


“My name is Anonymous Samaritan, I saw the accident happen.  I stopped.  Your mother is in an ambulance; they’re about to take her to Suburban Hospital.  She asked me to call her son, Refugee, and gave me this number.”


“How badly is she hurt?”


“The [EMT’s] wouldn’t tell me anything, but she doesn’t look too bad to me.”


“Thank you. I have to go now.”


I hate hospitals.  I hate the powerlessness of it all, the smell of illness, the necessary apathy of the staff, the greed of the administrators, the lucky to get sixty seconds of a doctor’s time, the horrible coffee – I hate it all.


It was forty-five minutes from phone call to me sliding through the hospitals doors.  My sister lives closer to the hospital and was already at my mother’s bed side before I could find a cab.  A few moments later, she told me that Mom had bumps and bruises but would be fine.  “I am in a cab now; will see you soon” I replied.


I sank into the back seat of the cab as a sense of relief settled.  At that moment, I realized that I had taken the time to pack away ingredients, shut down my stove, and stow perishables in the refrigerator. 


I hate my selfishness.


I muttered more to myself than the cab driver – please don’t stop for anymore red lights.

Restaurant Week Recommendations from the Refugee

26 July 2008

I have updated the Restaurant Week post – some restaurants have been added, some have been deleted, some have been caveated (shut up, that is a word – my word.)  I also added a list of great value places not participating for those of you seeking to avoid it all.


Plan accordingly.

If You Can’t Flash Your Friends, Who Can You Flash?

23 July 2008

Last week I attended a going away party for two very dear friends.  About the midpoint of an evening that was quickly descending into delightful debauchery, I stood on the bar to offer a toast to the guests of honor.  I held court in all of my bombastic glory for at least ninety seconds extolling their virtues and explaining why DC was to become less interesting with their departure.  Just after the cheers, but before I climbed down from the bar, someone shouted “hey Refugee, your fly is down.”  At least I was among friends.

Not Everything is Supposed to be Forever

22 July 2008

Friendships have a life cycle – some are meant to last forever, but most are temporary in the grand scheme.  Some people pass through your life for a purpose and fade away; some people were clear examples of the universe having some fun at your expense; some you know the minute you have your first argument that you will be fast and long friends.  Consider the people you met during your first week of college.  Most served the purpose of preventing the need to make the transition to the big pond alone; a few became life long friends, some you relegated to Facebook. 


In that spirit, I cull the list of names in my mobile phone at least every six months.

  • Random woman met at a bar and only called once – delete
  • Business contact needed months ago but with whom business is concluded – delete
  • Woman that only calls after last call and several glasses of wine – hmmm, maybe I should keep that one.  Change her name to AnswerOwnRisk, BootyCall-Tracy, yes, that is a better idea.
  • I have no idea how/when/why I met this person; who are they?  Who cares – delete


My first few weeks in the blogosphere were like that for me.  I hastily posted links to other blogs – some were permanent, some let me feel like I wasn’t making this step alone, some I just sat near in the Dining Hall and probably stayed too long.  Now, however, it is time to prune the BlogRoll, plant seeds of writers I truly enjoy and make that small space to the right a truer reflection of the spirit of me.


Trouble with Toast – very engaging, occasionally self-deprecating, and always enjoyable stories of adventures in food and life.


Lemon Gloria – delightful, insightful critical observations from her corner of the world.


Life Goes on, I Think – I know I am late to this particular party, but this woman writes beautifully and I imagine would be great fun over a cocktail or three.


DCDamsel – this blog is a bit younger than mine.  It is raw, ribald, and has made me laugh aloud more times than I can count.


1,2, 3, I Love You – I must thank the Freckled One for steering me to this gentleman’s introspective, and candid tales of a “fat, bald, English teacher” making his way.


I have also added a section for blogs I really enjoy and wish that the Author’s would post more often.

Refuting Terrible Kissing Advice from a Website That Ought To Know Better

20 July 2008

French kissing tips: a hot, wet kiss usually starts off strong and invasive. It floods the mouth with a tongue and opens the mouth wide. A wet kiss can sometimes include licking of the lips and around the lips; even the face can be licked.”

From the Life Script Network article “How to Kiss A Man”


This is perhaps the worst advice I have seen on the internet since Shannon turned over her blog to ZipCode and she espoused the virtues of waxed berries as an appropriate form of Manscaping. 



I have examined kissing technique before – the core of my position is that the quality of the kiss ties to the compatibility of styles – but I did not provide any concrete suggestions for being a better kisser.  In an effort to be one contrary voice to the generally horrid advice from Life Script, I offer:


The Refugee’s Guide to Kissing

Kiss with your entire body

Alternate speed

Communicate with the kiss

Gentle biting is hot

Understand that a hickey is a bruise – adults don’t bruise each other (unless both parties are into that)

Place your hands on my face, neck, back, head, ass, or anywhere else they are inspired to roam

Talk to me

Guide me

Find that spot where neck meets torso

Kiss me hello

Kiss me goodbye

Kiss me for no discernable reason

Understand that kissing does not have to be a precursor and is a lovely end in and of itself.

Kiss with urgency

If forced to make a choice, slow is better than fast, gentle better than forceful

Fast and forceful have a place too

Match my pace

Set the pace

Find a rhythm

Pull away, give me a knowing look and start all over again

Kiss like you mean it



Use your tongue indiscriminately

Lick any part of my face, teeth, or ear

Draw blood – unless asked; I will never ask

Leave trails of saliva

Fake anything