Sunday, July 29, 2007

My Landlord

The day that my parents helped me move into my 1 bedroom apartment was the day my father entrusted me with one of his heavy hammers, which he firmly instructed me to keep under my bed in case of intruders. I love my dad, but this means of protection is hardly necessary due to the sharp eyes and dog-like ears of my landlord, Mr. M who lives downstairs. No one gets by this man! Mr. M will come out of either one of two doors at the slightest noise: His door leading outside from his basement apartment or the inside apartment door, which he usually keeps slightly ajar. Mr. M knows everyone in town. Every cop, every fireman, every small business owner, everyone! I'll come home after work and he's usually outside smoking a cigarette (he's been sent there by Mrs. M). He's always happy to see me. Why wouldn't he be…I pay my rent on time, I keep my apartment immaculate, I'm quiet, I'm always friendly and greet him with a big happy smile and most importantly, we talk Mets baseball together. He's adorable…like another dad. Mr. M says "I love the Mets, the Jets, and the Nets!" He's cute. When Mr. M's 36 year old single daughter walks in the door at no matter what time of day or night, she'll say, "It's just me Pop". With the door to his first floor apartment always left a little ajar, you know he's feeling a sense of relief knowing his girls are in.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

What comes after "Bend & Snap." Why it's "Capture, Snag & Whip!"

According to Legally Blonde, the way to catch a man is to "Bend & Snap". But then, how do you "Capture, Snag & Whip"? Today's question is:

How does a man become whipped?

Do men become whipped from their need to be rewarded with sex at the end of the day? I see more men following their girlfriends around department stores, even couture dress shops, like puppies. As always, these men look totally uncomfortable, but there they are with that expressionless look on their faces that says, "If I am a really good boy today and carry her bags and not complain, I'll get sex tonight!" It amazes me that an extremely straight man would actually go shopping with a woman. I do not understand this phenomenon. Last night after the gym I went to Re-Juice-a-Nation, a local juice & smoothie bar. I witnessed one guy standing 10-feet back and away from his girlfriend who had just ordered a power shake at the counter. When the counter guy told her, "That will be $7.50 ma'am", she immediately turned around to her boyfriend and said, "You heard the man honey." The boyfriend without hesitation reached in his back pocket without saying a word and paid the counter guy. How do women do that? I want that….I want to whip a guy. Not physically…emotionally! Damn it! Oh sure, I've been taken out on dates and treated plenty of times. But how do you actually capture, snag, and whip? That's my question.

My dad, as big and tall and tough as he is… whipped! Has been for over 30 years! Sometimes he will take both me and my mom shopping. It has to be a torture session for him. He doesn't say anything. He just stands around. Or if he's lucky, he will find a chair to sit down on. Sometimes he will tell us he is going to the men's department, which for me and my mom is JUST FINE!

A whipped man is what a woman really needs: No leash necessary…He automatically follows you everywhere and wants to be near you. Oh sure, he pays for things, but the really nice comforting thing is the fact that he will stop at nothing to be with you. How does this happen? He lifts heavy bags, he kills bugs, he helps you fix things, he protects you, he calms you down when you are upset, he tells you that you are beautiful, etc. etc. etc. These men come with a label inside their undershirt that reads "Trouble Free". I want one! No, not the undershirt, silly, the whipped man!

Why am I not having the success that so many women today seem to easily master the fine technique of capture, snag & whip? Of course, I can get a man, but not the man I might really want. How can I capture, snag and whip the man I really, really want? Hmmm. Recently, I dated another mistake. He was not a mistake, I just should have known better than to date a guy from Boston who comes to the New York area sometimes for business. Started out great, but the distance is just not worth the effort. I should have known from the beginning. Now HE could have been a "capture, snag and whip", but due to the circumstances…nah!

If this blog has offended any of its male readers, I apologize. I know there are plenty of men out there who read this and say, "No woman is going to whip me!" Just make sure buddy you remove the label from the back of your undershirt before you go out tonight. You'll be fine.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Dessert at Margarita's

My older brother and I recently had a serious talk. Well, serious for us. It was a discussion about my love life or lack there of. He theorized by sharing with me one of his astonishing lessons of life as only my dear "never-been-without-a-woman-in-a-split-second-of-his-life" brother could. He said, "Guys look at girls in two ways; there are the girls you marry and the girls you want to F*** for one night!" Well obviously I consider myself the marrying kind given those limited choices. Anyway, even though I am the "nice girl" that I am, it does not mean that girls like me are not thinking about ultimate nights of pure passion. For instance, in my mind, there are three kinds of men. The men you marry (the ones who are financially prosperous, stable-minded yet ambitious by nature and can afford a woman of good taste), the ones you avoid (players, jerks and A-Holes), and the ones you dream of messing around with ( i.e. the waiter at Margarita's Restaurant). No, I'm not messing around with the very hot Italian waiter from Margarita's, but sometimes when I stop in there for take out, we glance at each other and then glance at each other again. All Italian in his tight black short sleeve shirt, thin gold chain, and bulging biceps, I will hear him say in Rocky Balboa-ish finesse, "Welcome to Margarita's, can I help you?" Now, maybe this guy is working his way through night school at Steven's Institute or maybe his family owns Margarita's and it will be his place someday…I have no idea. All I know is the last time I was in there I was with my parents, and my mom (who has quite the dirty mind and an eye for the studs as well) struggled to stop smiling when he asked us, "Can I bring anyone dessert?" My mom immediately looked at me and blushingly grinned, "Tara, would you like the dessert?" Ignoring my mom's question, I looked directly up at him, smiled and said, "Not today"…and with a wink I added, "Next time". He smiled back and walked back to the kitchen, hopefully with the same thoughts on his mind that I had.

Sometimes I cannot help but think to myself, would simply loving a man with passion and attraction only be enough to last? Or are my needs for stability and profitability so contentment-driven that I would settle with a man for (as some would say) the wrong reasons. Currently, I am watching myself evolve. I am wondering who could possibly stimulate and excite me so much that in the end I finally settle for someone totally different and unexpected from what my friends and family would predict.

Could my love life be as noteworthy and anticipated as Harry Potter's fate? It is certainly as much a fantasy.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Holly Golightly or Carrie Bradshaw ?

A friend of mine from college recently asked me if I was to describe myself was I more of a Holly Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffany’s) or a Carrie Bradshaw (Sex & The City). It was like choosing between cake or ice cream!

Two years ago when I was grumbling about my life in Indiana, I could not wait to come back east to New York City; to work hard and establish myself within my corporate office as a fresh, young associate on her way up the ladder to corporate success. I was excited to be back in the land where brunettes are revered and where only “little” kids ride bicycles. There would be professional men all over the place. Think of it girls….men with careers! Every kind of attorney, medical doctor, investment banker, financial manager, real estate mogul…every kind of mogul! Happy hour near Wall Street would be 2…die…4! Yes, the boys of Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and the rest of the 9 million suits all work on this man-smelling, wallet-bulging little island called Manhattan.

Anyway, back to my comparison. Holly Golightly was intentionally out to find a wealthy man so she could have the Tiffany ring she always wanted but instead falls in love with a poor artist who cannot afford to give her anything but a ring from a Cracker Jack box. Yeah, makes for a nice story. A story that makes poor guys feel like they could win the girl in the end over a guy who could actually afford to feed Audrey Hepburn so she could gain a few much needed pounds. Notice there was never a Breakfast at Tiffany’s Part II. We all know sooner or later that poor artist’s ass would be out the door and Audrey Hepburn would “Golightly” into evaporated air.

Carrie Bradshaw, dated phenomenal men on Sex & the City. Ladies, we all know Carrie’s men were all too good to be true. Carrie won over the love of her life in the final episode when the highly successful Mr. Big finally commits himself to her once and for all...thank god…at least we can still turn to television to see a man do that remarkable feat.

I’m sorry I sound so cynical. This year I have concluded that basically all men, rich or poor are the same; a bit disappointing. However, Men do make great friends if you can keep it that way. Unfortunately, they have as many phobias and head problems as any woman I know. For instance, recently I dated a very cute, hot blooded Italian who admitted he was terribly insecure…What the heck is this world coming to? Since when are Italian men insecure?

In closing, yes, Carrie and Holly are both happy and with the loves of their lives. If I never find the love of my life, could I at least have the clothes and shoes in both Carrie’s and Holly’s closets? Ah, now this is true happiness.

P.S. To answer the question: Carrie Bradshaw! I, too, am a hard working, deadline-meeting, shoe-loving romantic that can hopefully drive a man crazy enough in the end that he’ll realize I was the best thing that ever happened to him; therefore, he flies to Paris to steal me out of the arms of Mikhail Baryshnikov – who would be my other boyfriend. Yeah, that’s me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Crib

Ah the crib, that comfortable place fondly equipped with a soft Ivory Snow-smelling sheet, your favorite blanket, and a whimsical mobile dangling above sweetly playing a Brahms lullaby. The crib is surrounded by a beautifully decorated room papered and painted with love.

So why do men call their apartment's Cribs?

Seven months ago I dated a NY attorney. A Columbia law school graduate, an up and coming, about-to-be-made Partner of a big NYC law firm. He wined and dined me to the hilt – even took me on the "long" version carriage ride through Central Park following a fabulous and romantic dinner at an uptown French restaurant. He called his company's car service to take me home to Hoboken. With one quick phone call he would get Broadway tickets to any show I wanted to see. He was not Mr. Muscle Flex but he was Mr. Wallet Flex. He was a man, a real live man….not a college guy….In fact, he probably had no clue what beer pong was. …..He even wanted to plan a vacation with me to Ireland….uh, after the first date! Slow down there Mr. Three Piece Suit! Anyway, the problem began early on. He was EXTREMELY JEALOUS AND POSSESSIVE!! More than anyone I had ever met. Example? Ok, during dinner he excused himself to use the restroom and returned to find me chatting to the older gentleman sitting next to us about the dessert he was enjoying. My date barked at the gentleman who was clearly old enough to be my father, "Are you trying to steal my date?" The older gentleman looked at him like he was crazy but refrained from comment. However, the gentleman flashed a look at me when he left as if to say, "What are you doing with that lunatic?" That same night he took me to the theatre. When my brother, Adam, found out my date was taking me to see Les Mis, he immediately called his friend and star of the show, Norm Lewis to say hello to us after the show and oblige us with a picture taken with him. Being the ex-actress that I am, I was very excited to meet the cast. I was like a kid in a candy store. After meeting Norm and Aaron Lazar and having our pictures taken with them, my date became quite jealous. As we walked away from the theatre he proclaimed, "I think that guy Norm Lewis was trying to pick you up…right in front of me". I looked at my date like he was crazy. I said, "Norm invited us to come backstage next time we were in mid-town. He was just being polite knowing I was Adam's sister". Ugh! My date also felt I was flirting too much with the actors. Whatever! Obviously, he doesn't understand friendly theatre people.

Anyway, what made this the absolute last time I would see him again was when I went back to "THE CRIB". You're wondering why on earth I went back there. There's an explanation. While my date and I were returning to my apartment, I smelled pot seeping down the hallway while we were coming up the steps. My roommate at the time, was clearly having a pot party from the noise level inside our apartment. "I can't go in there", I said. My date, the attorney that he is, didn't want to see me get arrested later that evening as an accomplice to illegal activity so he recommended in chivalrous fashion that I could stay at his place. I'll admit my curiosity on seeing his place intrigued me. I knew he owned an upper west side apartment. I'd seen his Brooks Brothers suits so I figured he's a successful attorney, he's 33, he must have at least a nice apartment. A Crib to entertain, keep chilled wine, play soft stereo music…you know. So we returned to his Manhattan apartment. Well, as I skeeved my way through the apartment halls I thought that maybe building maintenance was preparing to fix the place up or do major construction work soon. I proceeded cautiously. It was a disgusting run-down mess, ok! Inside his actual apartment was worse. Now I know he wasn't expecting to bring me back that night. So I shouldn't be so judgmental on every little hair in the bathroom sink but obviously, he most certainly had never entertained a female attorney there before. His "crib" had the strangest looking toilet stained rings I'd ever seen. His kitchen sink had something growing out of it. The furniture was mismatched college pieces, no couch, an unmade bed with sheets from who knows how long ago they had been washed. Thank god, he left for a while to return the keys to the company car. I managed to fall asleep. I woke up in the morning to find myself spooned by a six figured money making man who lived in a pigsty and who I swore I'd never see again. He offered to get the car and take me home. I said, "No no, I want to walk…" I figured I needed to air out my clothes. I think he knew it was over for me when I said goodbye. But that's not how the story ends….it only gets funnier. Actually hysterical.

Part I

Two days later I received an email from my date. It said, "Dear Tara, I am not prepared to take you out again after the way you acted on our last date. Good luck with the apartment and everything."

My first reaction was to laugh my head off thinking I'd never go out with him again anyway. What a psycho! Then I thought...You bastard, trying to make me feel there is something wrong with me!! I never responded to the email.

Part II – A month later.

Out of the blue, he wrote me again "I've started dating someone who is in the cast for Les Miz...yes, the same Les Miz we saw while you were trying to arrange dates in front of me with cast members...irony, or karma? We'll never know."

Possessive psycho with an actress! How funny is that? What a liar!

Again, I never responded.

Part III – Three months later

He wrote me again:

"Hi Tara,
How've you been? I have theater tickets for Saturday. Want to go? :-)

Hmm. Thinking this guy is nuts I'll respond with a respectful "No thank you."

His response:

"You're welcome. I decided I was too harsh on you before. It's probably too late to apologize. You probably hate me. :-( Hope you're well."

I never responded.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Kiss Miss

My second date on was with a very nice guy who asked me to meet him for dinner. Let's just say, his emails were charming and polite; so much so that I agreed to accept a date with him. For our first date we went to a casual Mexican restaurant in town. Afterwards we walked around Hoboken holding hands and easily talked about the usual first date information. After a while I politely told him I better be going home. He asked if he could walk me to my door to say goodnight. Now, after the date with the European, I was wise. I would not let a man in my door on the first date. At my door, Bachelor #2 politely asked if he could call me again and I said "yes". Now, I was not particularly attracted to him. But he was nice so I figured I'd give it a go again to see if anything changes. Bachelor #2 was a computer guy and worked for IBM. He was short, Italian, and I'll be blunt, needed braces about 10 years ago. The following week, my roommate was away on business so one night when Bachelor #2 called and insisted he would like to see me, I hesitantly agreed and he came over to watch a movie. Now, I'm well aware what happens when you invite a guy into your place. Being prepared I determined whether it's safe by how much the guy weighs and whether I feel I could kick him in the groin if I had to protect myself. I felt I would be safe. Before inviting him over I had rented a movie earlier in the day. It was a chick flick thinking I would be spending the evening alone. My mistake. Unfortunately, he became so bored watching the movie that he decided to make his move and kiss me. Geez, why didn't I rent Rocky III or Scarface! Bachelor #2 was a horribly bad kisser. It was practically painful. However, he really liked kissing me and I thought I was going to be sick. While I was painfully getting through what I prayed to god would be the last kiss of the evening I concocted a fabulous excuse for him to leave. I said, "You really need to go because I have to get up extra early tomorrow to get ready and look good for my photo ID being taken at work". Oh my gosh, he bought it and I got him out the door and on his way.

Now, the worst part ever. He kept calling me to ask me out again. After taking a census of my female friends it was recommended for me to resort to one thing only….tell a big fat lie. So I did. I told Bachelor #2 that I had just begun dating someone from my office…a guy in the Finance Department. I figured at my all female and gay-male fashion company there had to be at least one straight male in our Finance Department. Bachelor #2's response…"Well, you know, it's really not a good idea to date someone from your company". Ugh!!! I felt so guilty….But it was over. Well, I thought it was over. About two months later Bachelor #2 contacted me again because he noticed my profile was still active. He wrote me and said that he would love to hear from me if I was available to go out with him again. I never responded.

You probably think I'm a horrible person. Yes, Bachelor #2 was a nice guy but I wasn't attracted to him. Plus, the kiss style was something I could never endure. The reality of it is when you're paying for a dating service, why waste your time if you know it's just not there. After Bachelor #2 I became totally turned off by Match. I realized I wanted my dating life to happen more naturally. However, I was then contacted by Bachelor #3….

Saturday, July 14, 2007

The European Invasion

My first date with was with a European - a German. He was very handsome by his picture on Match and we corresponded via a few emails. Since his ad stated that he was relatively new to the area and was interested in making new friends, I figured it might be worthwhile to meet. I agreed to meet him for a drink at a local Hoboken bar/restaurant. As I entered the bar area, it took us but a few seconds to recognize each other. Yes, he was handsome…like his picture. His accent was scrumptiously foreign. He worked in Finance so I ruled out serial killer right away. I figured there was more chance of him boring me to death than anything else. Anyway, after those initial introductions and short stories of what we do and where we have been, I excused myself for a quick trip to the ladies room. When I returned back into the dining area I saw my date, giving his phone number to some sleazy girl who was standing at the bar alone flirting with him. Ugh, what a jerk! This guy was obviously obsessed with himself. I knew I should have left right then, but his excuse was that the girl was from the same town he used to live in. I knew he was a liar, but I stayed nonetheless. After a couple more drinks, I began pretending to intently listen to him talk about himself. In reality, I could not help but continue staring at his very, very nice lips. Cosmos make me do that. Anyway, after a while of watching him talk, I announced I had to get going. He asked if he could walk me home and I innocently smiled and accepted the chivalry. Now here is where Tara gets really foolish. As we arrived at my apartment, he kissed me for a short bit and then asked if he could come in for a drink of water. Now remember, they were some really nice lips, and I had just spent a good hour staring at them so with hesitation (ok very little hesitation) I said ok and allowed him in. Yeah, I know… I tend to take on the philosophy of Anne Frank way too often when she said, "In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart." Wait a minute…Anne Frank was taken prisoner by the Germans! And there was certainly no secret annex behind any bookcases in my apartment for me to hide. To make matters worse, my guy roommate at the time was away on business so basically in order for me to defend myself I would have to rely on a good swift knee to the groin or to face scratching and clawing of my newly painted nails. Anyway, he did have nice lips…and those Cosmos were working overtime. We went up to my apartment. Once inside, followed by a quick drink of water, we began to make out on the couch. That is, until my European date unzipped his pants and wanted me to "say hello to his friend”. Yes, that is what he said. I skillfully managed to get him and “his friend” out of my apartment as fast and direct as I could. Closing the door behind him, I swore that I would never again fall for the “glass of water” trick nor will I fall for another nice set of European lips for a very long time. Next!

Monday, July 09, 2007 "It's Ok to Look" or should it be "Look, but Don't Touch"

Being single and new to the New York/Northern New Jersey area last Fall, and having just graduated from college, I was anxious to meet new people and create a viable social life for myself. At first, I felt contacting old high school friends living back home in the Northeast was too awkward since I had regretfully neglected many of them while spending the last four years at college in Indiana.

I was adventurous, on my own, grown up and ready to meet a successful and ambitious J. Pierpont Finch that would someday believe me to be his Rosemary.
I quickly learned from the girls I worked with that New York/North New Jersey is a tough place to meet a Mr. Nice Guy. Guys just out of college are still acting like they are in college but manage to get up and go to work in Manhattan everyday. The difference between college and the real world is that in the real world you can’t roll over, turn off the alarm, sleep in and cut work. Anyway, I decided I would take a chance and join for 3 months to see if I could meet a nice guy with similar interests. Who knows, right? Besides, being taken to dinner by a man is a nice way to save on spending when you’re rent is as high as mine.
I joined. Even though I am one of the younger ladies listed on match, I am extremely particular about who I go out with. Pictures are not always good indicators plus you can never be sure if the person in the picture is actually the person you meet or whether their profile is accurate. Then again, maybe there are men who (as their profiles say) are sick of the bar scene and want to meet a nice girl.

I was skeptical and at first suspicious. But, here I am spending money on this service so I figured I better accept a date with someone.

I began looking at profiles of men 24 – 32 with my usual requirements of height, employment, religion, ethnicity, etc. My first meeting was for a drink at a local bar/restaurant in Hoboken.

To Be Continued...

Saturday, July 07, 2007

RunningNheels Returns

My mother laughs and says, “We’re going to buy you a cat”. Actually I don’t think I could live with a cat either. After spending a night with a snoring male friend, I’m starting to doubt I could ever live with a man. I know, I know...I’m too particular. But you know I need my sleep! Let’s just say since college graduation in May ’06, I have moved a total of 4 times. Finally, again, like in college, I live alone….just how I like it. I love my Hoboken apartment…my private nest. However, like everything in the New York area, the rent is ridiculously high. In Bloomington, Indiana I was paying a mere $465 a month rent for a one bedroom apartment. Now I’m paying $1,600 per month for the same. My ten minute hike to the path plus a quick 15 minute path train ride and a 5 minute walk to my office is actually quicker than most of my Manhattan-living coworkers. Hoboken is a perfect place to live. Best known as Frank Sinatra’s birthplace and where Frank, the teenager actually began crooning on street corners, Hoboken today still recognizes him as their favorite homeboy. His picture is everywhere…local restaurants, bagel stands, etc. Today, Hoboken is filled with post-college grads, young Wall Street types, young film artists, and young fashion felines. Film, Fashion and Finance! Yes, the 3F’s make up this square mile city where everyone walks to the path train each morning for a long day of work in Manhattan. Bars are everywhere…on every corner! A $15 Cosmo across the river in NYC goes for a mere $10 here in the boken. Streets consist of turn of the century apartment buildings that are 4 to 6 stories high. All have been refurbished or are in the process. I feel like I’m living back in time. So different than South Jersey where there are green lawns and shopping malls. Who needs a mall when in 15 minutes you’re in Manhattan!! Here, I leave all my wash off in the morning at the cleaners and pick it up at the end of the day to find it washed and folded. Sure beats sitting at the Laundromat. Washington is our Main Street where you can walk to the grocer, the gym, the shoe repair, the cleaners, church, city hall, the library and the beautiful park that overlooks the Manhattan skyline…Hoboken is packed with lovely small fashion boutiques of designers who probably just couldn’t quite make it in Manhattan. I finally took a browse in one of them a few months back and checked out this little red spaghetti strap chiffon cocktail dress, which I have been eyeing in the window for some time, retail price $350. That’s ok; I’ll stick to using my Bloomingdale’s discount.

Like college days in Bloomington, my past year on the east coast has also been compiled of numerous disastrous dates, adding Europeans, NY lawyers, Wall Street types and OMG an actual “really bad kisser” to the list. My co-workers say I should write a book…no, I’ll write a blog instead. So here I go again.

Stay tuned.