Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cherchez la femme.

Good G-d almighty, I am still in New York suffering through an interminable trial in which I am a witness and can’t leave until it’s over. So, for the three or so people in the world who actually like the equally interminable posts on history and politics I post here, sorry, not until I get back. Instead, I will quickly tear off another autobiographical post – this one about my former dating life, although, as usual, before I start, I am not sure I have enough material. But, sometimes I think that and find I have too much. We’ll see.

Whatever I write below – because it is more fun to write about things that were embarrassing or humiliating to me - I am not complaining about my dating life before SHE (aka here as the New Miss Malaprop and my Insignificant Other) took over my life close to 20 or so years ago. I actually really enjoyed dating, even the blind dates. On the whole, the good dates dramatically outweighed the bad ones, even if I wasn’t interested in them or visa versa. I had one rule that I still urge other people to follow when they are nervous about dates and I think it’s a good one:

The only thing you owe the other person is to try and have a good time.

Some people, particularly women, are too nervous for even that. I admit, the older I got, the harder it was to ask out women during my “breaks” with my Insignificant Other and I don’t think I’d get very used to the computer dating very easily now anyway. It is also very hard for me to be callous with someone I go out with, even if I don’t know them well, and callousness has become institutionalized in computer dating to the degree that it is really just considered normal. By callous, I mean things like just walking away in the middle of a date; getting up after a few minutes and saying “thanks, but no thanks,” ignoring them if you aren’t interested, etc. You can say these things have always existed with dating, but I believe the level of it has gone dramatically up. I had difficulty not calling some women again even if I wasn't really interested because I felt it would be rude or hurt their feelings. Maybe I was wrong about that as it probably was puzzling to them.

I’m using fake names for the women I mention below. Nothing sexual is mentioned at all, if you were preparing yourself to gag. Some of these stories were failures or in some way embarrassing to me anyway, so I'm not bragging either. The order is neither chronological or by category, but mentioned as they occur to me while I write this. And, the dialogue, of course, is all paraphrased as I can’t remember exactly what I or they said all those years ago.

And, to my dear Insignificant Other, let me say now, I’m sorry. I don’t know for what yet, but I’m sure you are going to make me sorry I wrote this one way or the other. But, all these stories are from a long time ago (I swear), and only one or two after you and I started dating.

Why you can’t get too cocky - Bailey – My early 30s. Something brought her to mind recently, but I forget what already. I doubt I had thought of her in 20 years or so. I was walking through my friend’s office building one day with him at my side when I saw a dazzling young woman, very Brenda Starrish, if that means anything to you, with long red/auburn hair, hurrying into the building. I was trying to think of some way to talk to her when she and my friend say hello to each other. I ask, very insistently, if he will make an introduction. He basically asked her out for me later in the day and I called her.

Like many people, I hate that first cold call, because when you are together, even if you don’t know each other, you can easily find things to talk about all around you. But, when you are on a phone, it is much harder. However, my experience has been when I finally got the nerve to dial the phone number, they almost always made it very pleasant, as she did. I had a very good feeling about our date and didn’t have any nerves about it.

I took her to dinner in Roslyn, New York, a very old quaint village, but I didn’t get to take her to the duck pond there, which I had found almost irresistible to women in letting you steal a kiss. She had to get up early the next day, so after a long dinner, I just took her home. I rarely tried for a goodnight kiss on the first date unless the woman made it plain or jumps me, and didn’t then. But, we had laughed the whole night and I was very confident she would go out with me again when I asked and she did. The second time was also great.

Again, we couldn’t stop laughing the whole night. At the time I did not have a steady girlfriend (although, gulp, I had started seeing my Insignificant Other), but I thought I might even date Bailey for a while before doing my usual thing and letting her know in casual conversation that I was not into long term commitment. But, when I took her home, she asked me in and I admit I was figuring on things going well that night. I asked her if she’d like to do something the next day.

She said, “Oh, why bother?” with a pained expression on her face.

“Really? Aren’t you having a good time?” I said.

She said “I had a great time, but you are not who I am looking for in my life. I’m anxious all day long and work and go to school. You work but you just seem not to take anything too seriously. I need someone who is going to worry with me. Why go further if it isn’t going to work out?” I think she may have also said that she was an ant and I was a grasshopper, but maybe that is just what I got from it. I don’t think she mentioned the fact that I was already a father, but it is possible that was a reason too. Or, of course, maybe I wasn’t good looking enough for her or not her “type,” which are always possibilities. But, taking her at her word, she was right. I was looking for fun and a notch on the bed post. And I tried not to take life too seriously. That does irritate some people. But, I was kind of disappointed that we had gotten along so well and I didn’t even get the all important third date.

The worst – Maisie – my middle 20s. When I was a very young attorney I used to flirt with some of my secretary’s friends on the phone, particularly Maisie, who I had never met. One day I asked my secretary if Maisie was good looking, and she assured me she was beautiful, so I asked if she thought it was okay if I could ask her out next time we spoke. Maisie had made inquiries too and soon after I was on my way to her house to get her. I met her father at the door and then Maisie came out. She was very attractive but completely smashed. We got in my car and headed for the city.

Not only was she word slurring drunk and talking nonsense, but she really freaked me out when she mentioned that her mother was her best friend. I knew from my secretary that Maisie’s mother was dead. That was creepy. But, what really got tedious was that she kept referring to other anonymous women who got ahead in business by sleeping around. One, she just wouldn’t shut up about it, but, two, it was kind of putting a damper on any plans I might have had.

She wanted to go to the top of the sixes in the city and I took her there. We sat at a table and ordered drinks. I didn’t really drink then either, but would have one if it meant getting a young woman in the mood.

Next to us was a table with another young couple. I really was planning on how to get rid of this drunk obnoxious girl early when she stands up, points at the young woman next to her and starts saying how she knows what she is up to – she’s going to sleep with the guy to get ahead at her job. I literally had to drag her into the next room and begged her to please shut up while I paid and left.

When we got into the car to take her home she put her feet up on the dashboard and alternatively slept (a blessing) and ranted how she hated her father, how she knew I wasn’t going to call her again (exactly) and asking me to take her to my house, which was only a few blocks away from hers. I did take her to my house because she was so pitiful and I am a big softie, and we even called our mutual friend at 3 a.m.

The next workday, I told my secretary that her friend was crazy. She insisted she wasn’t and that she was just kidding about her mother and about gold diggers. I never called Maisie, again, of course. However, a few weeks later a friend of mine met her in a bar and called me that night to tell me how she flipped out on him. Soon after my secretary mentioned that I was right, she was crazy and she would not hang out with her any more.

Then, sometime in the next year, she said to me, “Remember, Maisie. Her aunt left her over a million dollars. She’s completely fine now.”

Good for her, but she wins worst date of my life.

Who knew? – Darby – my middle 20s. I had known Darby while still in school and asked her out once then, but it turned out she was dating someone else with whom I was slightly acquainted. Some years later we both became lawyers and we ran into each other. I tried again and she said yes. We went out three times and when she didn’t jump me on the third date or give me the high sign, I stopped calling her. She obviously – in my world – wasn’t into me.

Flash forward about 10-12 years and I am with a young intern, Anne, in court showing her the ropes when we run into Darby, who says she is now married with children. I introduced them and said “You know, Anne, Darby and I actually used to date a long time ago.” Darby fixed me with a look and said, “Yeah, what ever happened with that?”

I said “Well, you didn’t seem to like me too much, so I stopped calling.”

She said “I liked you a lot (I forget if she added, “you idiot,” or if her look said it). My kids could be your kids.”

“Oh.” What do you say to that? It didn’t appear she was kidding at all although she wasn’t hostile either. But, the next time I saw her she was just a little bit cold to me. But, maybe I’m reading too much into it.

Dizzy – Monica – my late 20s. One of my best friends was going out with his girl to an amusement park and wanted to fix me up with her friend. I said sure and we all met. I wasn’t really into her from the beginning, but she was a very sweet kid. When we got to the park we all went on some whirling ride. It made both Monica and me sick to our stomachs and for the next few hours, while our friends went on ride after ride, we sat on a bench and could barely talk – only enough to say every little while, “how are you doing?” Not the fault either of us, but a disaster. My second worst date.

Color Blind – Petra – my 20s. She was introduced to me by a friend who grew up with her. She was pretty, so I asked her out, even though I had my doubts. We went to NYC. While we were working down the street together, I was a few inches ahead of her and looking forward, and I mentioned I really hated the color purple (not the movie - the color). I heard a little gasp.

As I turned around I saw a purple hair band, purple eye shadow, purple nail polish, purple top, purple bottom and purple shoes.

Damn. My apologies were sincere and she accepted them gracefully. A week or so later I thought I should call even though I wasn't crazy about her. In the middle of the conversation I decided neither of us was really into it and didn't even ask her out. But, the purple thing. Boy, was that dumb.

Ah choo - Charisse - my late 20s. I met this girl at a friends’ Halloween party and we hit it off and started dating. She was also a red head and just a terrific person. But, she made it all too clear that she wanted to get married soon. After a month or so I started to feel bad. She was coming to my apartment and I decided to just tell her. Normally, I let the girl figure it out for themselves, but I felt that was wrong in this case. When she came over she said she had a surprise for me. She had two front row seats to see Dracula on Broadway.

Feeling not so good about my decision and her gift, I told her the truth anyway and said maybe it wasn’t too late to ask a friend. But, she took the break up very well and said if I wasn’t interested in marriage now, she was glad I told her. More, she wanted me to come to the play anyway. So, off we went. We sat in the front row and watched Frank Langella play the title roll. Once during the play, Dracula even paused to look at me in the front row. The reason he did this is because I was having a sneezing fit. After breaking up with her, I felt like I couldn’t make her leave the play early and just suffered, as I’m sure she did and all those around me including the actors.

About a month after we broke up I learned she had gotten married to the next guy. About a month after that she called me to ask if I would do their divorce. I took care of it for her. I saw her about ten years later at a party. She was still single, but now in her early 40s. I wisely declined her invitation to get together.  Too bad for someone because she’d probably be a fantastic wife. Maybe she is now. I hope she found what she was looking for.

Getting cocky II – Becca – my middle 30s. This wasn’t really a date, but close enough and it’s a good story. I and my Insignificant Other were taking our first long break and I went to the city with a female friend to get dinner one night. We found a place not far from the 59th Street Bridge. It was a Russian restaurant called The White House. Our waitresses were twin sisters, beautiful girls and daughters of the owner. For all they knew I was there with my girlfriend and I was a little taken aback at how flirtatious they were with me. Admittedly, I had the sort of fantasy playing in my head that most men would in that situation.

When we were leaving Becca went to the ladies room and I waited near the front door after paying the bill.

I looked back towards my table which had been up one or two steps with a railing around it. The two waitresses were practically posing in front of it, each sort of lying across the railing and looking at me.

One beckoned me with her index finger – you know what I mean - and suddenly I was on fire. I thought – Oh, yes, this is going to happen. But, how am I going to get rid of Becca? I quickly decided to just tell her the truth, tell her to take my car and beg her not to be mad at me. I did not want to ruin a long and solid friendship, and this kind of thing might, but I was still stunned at the audacity of these two sisters to act so brazenly with her in the restaurant and I couldn’t pass up this opportunity.
I went over to them and one of them leaned forward and said in a low and sultry voice – “Don’t you teep?” All of sudden I realized why they had called me over and the money came flying out of my pocket as I stuttered “Oh my God,” “I’m so sorry,” and the like. I had just forgotten to do it after I paid. Damn. And it was such a good fantasy. Naturally, I told Becca the whole story as soon as we left. I don't know why, but she was a little focused on the part about my leaving her in the middle of the city.

Now that’s a coincidence – Lola – my early 20s.  I am not a bar person for the most part as I rarely ever drink anything and I rarely ever met a girl at one. But, one night while in law school I went to a bar with some friends and I met Lola, a pretty blond, blue eyed girl. I called her the next week and it took two weeks before I could remember her name, and I doubt I would have ever except she mentioned it in a story she told me. We started dating but promised to keep it casual and if one person lost interest, they’d just be honest and say thanks.

Finally, one night, after I took her to a strip club (this worked even better than the Roslyn Duck Pond), things became you know, friendly between us. I went home early in the morning.

I called her the next day and she was not very happy. She lived with her brother in the house they grew up in and had warned me about him. She never introduced us but he knew what had gone on.
He also hadn’t had a date in a long time. In the morning he had screamed out the window for a while to their neighbors that she was a whore, slut, etc.

She said maybe we should wait a week to see each other and I said fine. But, the next week, when I called she said her mother was coming in and she couldn’t go out. I said, Lola, we said if we lost interest we’d just be honest and move on. She said that wasn’t the case but didn’t sound sincere to me (I can hear Bear snickering from here – “D’uh.”). I called two buddies and said let’s go to a movie. So, we went to the closest theatre to them which also was not too far from Lola’s house. I told them that I was a little bummed out because I was sure I was getting dumped and I wish she had just been honest instead of leading me on. I had a two week rule to let myself whine if I got hurt, and then I'd feel better, but it couldn’t start until we ended it.

As we walk up to the end of the line at the theatre, I’m thinking that I have to get a grip because the girl at the end of the line looked too much like Lola. But, when we got there I realized it was her and she was not with her mother. If she was, her mother had an unbelievable resemblance to a young man. I pantomimed for my friends what was happening and we slowly backed away. That was the last time I saw her except a glance of her at a nightclub the next year. She had gained a lot of weight and I can’t say I didn’t smile to myself.

But, I learned a valuable lesson. I was a little upset about what had happened but knew it was not serious enough to get me down for long. In school I talked to a female friend about it and said that if Lola had been honest with me, it would take less time to feel better.
My friend asked me if I thought she herself was a good person. I said absolutely. She was great (let me skip a semester once and gave me all her notes). Then she said, “I would have done exactly that she did. I know you shouldn’t, but I wouldn’t have been able to bear it otherwise.”

I got it. Some people, maybe most people, were not just going to behave well in situations like this. But, it didn’t mean they were bad people. People do what they can and sometimes we are weak. It’s not an excuse for bad or selfish behavior, but it is an explanation.

The fun of dating me - Malista – my early 30s. Malista was a friend’s secretary and we liked each other. So, I hit on her one Thanksgiving week and we started dating. She was another terrific person and we were later friends for years, but she was very insecure and emotional and I didn't do well with that. She was also about ten years younger than me and had a little trouble understanding why I didn’t get upset and yell at her when her friends were late or why I didn’t seem to be stressed out about our dating. At first she had the crazy thought that maybe it was because I didn't like her enough. No one she had dated had ever been as nice to her before or really nice to her at all (I found that hard to believe, but she later told me this long after we were done). She also decided she liked me a lot, that she was my girlfriend (for as long as a year after we stopped dating. Go figure.)

One night we had a date and she came over all decked out. When she saw me in jeans and sneakers her face went ashen. Hadn’t I remembered that we were going to go somewhere fancy for dinner? No, I didn’t remember that at all. I thought we were just going to hang out and I had eaten dinner already. I could tell she was really upset. This was how she was used to being treated. I said I was sorry and that I would make it up to her next week. For now, I suggested, let’s just go to the mall for a movie and get something to eat there.

So, I drove her to the mall, walked into the south entrance and took her to Burger King. Unbeknownst to me, taking her to BK was another insult to this young girl’s fragile self esteem. She was all dolled up and I was acting like it was nothing. Well, it was.

But, it got worse for poor Malista. We ordered out food and I reached into my pocket. “Uh, I forgot my money. Do you mind paying?” She didn’t tell me that night but she cried over this for days. I stopped dating her a few weeks or maybe a month or so later, because I couldn’t take the drama and told her so (on the phone, naturally).

She cried and I scolded her, telling her that she only thought she like me so much and wouldn’t even care in a week. She should stop crying. She did stop and when we spoke a week later, she did feel much better, even told me, without reference to what I had said to her the week before, that she realized we hadn’t dated that long and she wasn’t in love with me. Good enough for me. I took it.

That should do it for now. Another successful post which will make you wonder if anything ever happened in my life that wasn’t embarrassing, dangerous or bad. But I just find this kind of stuff more fun than telling you how I threw 4 touchdown passes in a single game while playing for the Polk High School Panthers (Al Bundy) or that I tried the Penge-Bungalow murder case alone and without a leader (Rumpole of the Bailey).

Next week is my annual holiday spectacular and as usual, I have no idea what I am going to write about.


  1. Did you change the names to protect the innocent??

  2. Bravo, Frodo! You have a knack for the tender, comical, real moments in life. Your writer self is much less arrogant and opinionated than the real you. I wish to God you would discipline yourself and write a friggin' novel already. You have written moments that are, and you know how much I hate the over use of this word, brilliant.

  3. Don: Of course.

    Bear: Arrogant and opiniated? Brilliant stuff? I reject all, thanks so much. As overused as it is, I tell it like it is.

    But, it was fun writing it. Ah, memories.

  4. Okay, I'll own opiniated.

  5. Anonymous7:41 PM

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About Me

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I started this blog in September, 2006. Mostly, it is where I can talk about things that interest me, which I otherwise don't get to do all that much, about some remarkable people who should not be forgotten, philosophy and theories (like Don Foster's on who wrote A Visit From St. Nicholas and my own on whether Santa is mostly derived from a Norse god) and analysis of issues that concern me. Often it is about books. I try to quote accurately and to say when I am paraphrasing (more and more). Sometimes I blow the first name of even very famous people, often entertainers. I'm much better at history, but once in a while I see I have written something I later learned was not true. Sometimes I fix them, sometimes not. My worst mistake was writing that Beethoven went blind, when he actually went deaf. Feel free to point out an error. I either leave in the mistake, or, if I clean it up, the comment pointing it out. From time to time I do clean up grammar in old posts as, over time I have become more conventional in my grammar, and I very often write these when I am falling asleep and just make dumb mistakes. It be nice to have an editor, but . . . .