My #1 Dating Don’t

card key_albanyedenMarried men are off limits. My friends and I don’t play by many rules in the dating game but this one is a non-negotiable, so when a married guy makes the catastrophic mistake of slipping his hotel room key into one of our pockets, he has only himself to blame for the ramifications of this act.

At this very crowded international social event, Abby, Helen and I had just wanted to extend our networks…

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“So, can we grab a drink sometime?” said the pimply Singaporean with garlic breath. I had to again brush off my face because of the saliva droplets being catapulted from his mouth.
“I’m so sorry” he continued, “I’m a distinguished public speaker and I’m used to talking loudly.”
I couldn’t see how this explained the spitting.
“That’s ok” I said. “You believed I was 24 so we’re good. But about the drink, it would just be as friends.” I wanted to be clear from the get-go.
Coming in closer, as if thinking a stronger whiff would persuade me, he said, “I was hoping it could be for more.”
“That’s kind of you, but I’m not interested in being your girlfriend, sorry.”
“But you are available? You are single?” He was getting insistent. I just looked at him with no response. He got the message and moved on to another girl.

At that moment, the waitress brought over a note “from the guy over there.” It read, “Do you want a drink? Turn around!” I comply and while I did notice a group of guys behind me, no one man identified himself as the author of the note. I must say, it was a clever approach that could have worked, but if a guy asks a girl to turn around, he must make it clear to her with whom she will be having the drink or nothing will happen. A little disappointed, I was glad that our tapas had just arrived.

Abby seemed to be having better luck. She had been talking to a man at the bar for nearly an hour. After staring at the tapas for ten minutes, I decided I’d start to nibble without her because otherwise they would get cold. One thing led to another and before I knew it the guacamole dish was empty! I felt like a criminal.

Finally the man she was talking to made his way across the room and I could get an update from my friend.

“Well that looked promising!” I said with a congratulatory tone, as I sat on the bar stool next to hers.
With that, Abby pulled out of her pocket a small gold envelope. I took it and realized it was a hotel room card key.
“Wow!” I was not expecting this.
“I know so gross, plus he’s married!” We were equally disgusted.

Apparently this married man thought it was appropriate to invite her to his room because, he said, anyway he was “too drunk to [fill in the blank]” so she “could just use the spa until the morning when they would finally [fill in the blank].”

“Eeeeew!!!” I couldn’t contain my disdain.

As we were mulling this over, a heavyset man approached us at the bar.

“Well hello there!” he interrupted.
Abby, always polite, looked up at him and smiled.
“Hi, um, Donald from Scotland,” she was looking at his nametag, confused because he looked Samoan.
“Oh, haha” he took the opportunity to put his hands on the small my back and on Abby’s thigh. As I saw him do this, I noticed a wedding ring on his finger. “I am not Donald, I just took his name tag so I could crash the event. So if you see Donald, warn me!”
“I’m sorry, we were in the middle of a conversation. It was nice meeting you.” I tried to brush him off politely.
“You can’t get rid of me so easily, you ladies look like you’re done with this place and could use a good time!” He was starting to bug me.
“I really haven’t gotten to talk with my friend all evening, so we would really like to just finish our conversation, but thanks though.”
“Nah, I saw you talking to those other guys. You are here for the same reason I am. But the little game you’re playing is quite cute, hahaha.” With that, he once again made inappropriate physical contact. Abby and I exchanged glances. As I moved his arm off me, I smiled.

“You know what? You’re right! We are looking for a good time. But we would rather have a good time in private. In fact, here is our hotel room key.” I handed him the married man’s little gold card key. The Samoan at first looked both ecstatic and perplexed, probably wondering which clever come-on had worked on me. As he snatched the little gold key, he was demonstrably pleased with himself. “You’re obviously too hot for this place,” I continued, “why don’t you take off, let us finish up here and then expect an evening you’ll never forget!”

-Albany Eden


My First Parisian Boyfriend

missed call_albany eden“All right, fine. I’ll drive you to the airport but only if it’s Orly, because it costs too much in gas to drive to Charles de Gaulle.” He huffed with annoyance. My first Parisian boyfriend drove a Smart car. Straight off the boat from the land of SUVs, I found it comical and when I first saw it said, ce n’est pas une voiture, c’est une mouche! Generally, his vehicle could carry either a passenger or a suitcase.

But I was going to the South of France for the Cannes Film Festival. It would be sunny and my bikinis and cocktail dresses fit comfortably into my hand luggage.

I had met Sebastien whilst out with my Swedish girlfriend. Linda actually used to wait tables at the Salon Bar near Oberkampf and still liked to go there to see her friends. Seb was the DJ at this place and he, like many other Parisian men I’d learn over the years, took himself very seriously.

If I hadn’t only been a teenager and going to my first bars ever, my ability to detect losers from the worthwhile guys might have been more developed. I saw Seb for the first time DJing at the bar, eyes closed in intense concentration with his headset over one ear. There he stood by his turntables at the back of the restaurant between the coat check and the ladies’ toilet. He was mixing a morceau of Saint Germain with the latest Madonna song (her “Music” album was just coming out) as patrons enjoyed their steak tare-tare and conversed. I wondered how many just assumed it was a CD playing.

Seb was tall, skinny, had a pointy nose, smoked a lot and pronounced h’s at the beginning of words that did not need them and silenced the h’s of words that did. “Hi habsolutely hadore aouse music!”

So Linda introduced us. He took my number and called and hung up, so I’d have his number. Little did I know that he would use this strategy throughout our short-lived relationship whenever he wanted to speak with me, so that I’d call him back and pay the communication.

“Missed call from Seb.” That’s strange, I didn’t hear it ring. It took me a little while to figure it out but I finally confronted him.

“But I am paid end of month. I don’t have budget for calling you.”

We would see each other only to go out at night. Linda was beautiful and so she would get us into the best clubs around the Champs-Elysées—places where bouncers would never allow Seb under any other circumstances.

At the Cannes Film Festival, I met a couple of interesting men, all of whom would call me without hanging up. No one I’d ever see again but at some point under the tent of the amazing Moulin Rouge party I looked toward the VIP square where Nicole Kidman sat behind her body guards and I realized there should be more to life than “aouse music” and second-hand smoke. The next day I called Air France and switched my Orly flight to one that arrived at Charles de Gaulle. I never saw Seb again. Although he did call, he never stayed on the phone long enough for me to answer.

Nearly a year later, I had completely forgotten about him. I had a new job with a major multinational media company. Galas and VIP events had become chores to me. I was rubbing elbows with the celebrities (well, ok I was frequently in the same room with them although there was no joint on joint contact).

My boss was the marketing director. We’d get so many calls from radio stations, magazines, etc. selling ad space. I was tasked with filtering these propositions. The phone rang. “Acme Incorporated” I said.

“Hello, this is Sebastien from the Informer Magazine and I’d like to talk to you about an interesting opportunity to purchase ad space. I recognized his voice not at first but by the end of the sentence.

“It’s me, Albany, remember?”

A brief updating of our professional lives ensued. Apparently Seb lost out to an mp3 player and had to find another gig.

“Well, nice to hear from you, so what about this ad space?” he asked. Clearly he had quotas and worked on commission. I’m not one to get many Pretty Woman moments like when Julia Roberts tells the nasty sales girls about the error of their ways, so I was getting ready to savor every moment as I opened my mouth.

“Sorry, we’re not budgeted for that. Don’t call us, we’ll call you.

-Albany Eden

How to know when it’s really over


Sometimes men just leave you hanging and the only way to know for sure if it’s over is to end it yourself.

10 ways to ensure he will never call you back:

10. The first time he lets you into his home, stake out space in the bathroom and closet and let him know that that is where you intend to leave your belongings “in the future.” Bonus points: identify the items he must throw out in order to make space for your wardrobe.

9. Have the serious relationship talk early on in the dating phase. It goes something like this:
Him: “So I was thinking of ordering the salmon.”
You: “Myra is engaged. Tell me now, do you have any intention of ever marrying me?”

8. Try a dress at a wedding store and send him a photo with the message: “I also found a great suit for you with a cummerbund to match my eye makeup!”

7.  If this is too embarrassing, send him a photo of a diamond engagement ring and say: “You must make about [insert his salary guestimate] per year right? So you could totally get a loan and buy me this!”

6.  Use the Morphing Booth mobile app to see what your baby together would look like and then, on the sly, make the image the wallpaper on both of your mobile phones.

5. Print out his online dating profile he doesn’t think you know about and leave it on the breakfast table.

4. Without discussing it first, change your Facebook relationship status with him to “Engaged.”

3. Hire a private investigator to trail him and then send him the photos taken of him talking to a female colleague, demanding an explanation.

2. Gathering inspiration from the movie Flashdance, if he upsets you, break his window with a rock.

And finally…

1. Write a blog about loser guys and then, with no explanation, send him the link!

– Albany Eden

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Anything to add to this list? Any similar experiences? Please share in the comments!

An Evening with Leonard Shelby

men who forget everything

“So where are you from?” This Norwegian’s mind reset every thirty seconds like in the film, Memento. Abby was patient with him. We were on the island of Hvar at a trendy bar with outdoor seating. Three women at a square table left space for one more.

“Albany and I are from the US and Kaya is Indian,” she told him for the third time. I don’t know if he actually heard her but he took a long drag of his cigarette and enjoyed the effects of whatever drug he had used to lace his nicotine.

Island of Hvar, Croatia

Island of Hvar, Croatia

“That’s an interesting t-shirt,” I was trying to be charming like Abby. The t-shirt had a cartoon naked woman mowing a lawn.

“You’re funny!” said the Norwegian, “where are you from?”
“India, we’re all Indian!” I proclaimed.
“Nah, I don’t believe it! I’ve been to India.”
“Interesting, where did you go in India?” Kaya asked.
“I never went to India! Where are you from?”

“We told you, we all three come from Jamaica.” I said again, sounding annoyed now. Like Leonard did with Sammy Jenkis in the film, I wanted to ascertain the extent of the Norwegian’s brain damage.

“Hahaha,” he took another puff of his cigarette before stroking Abby’s forearm with his two fingers. He looked intently into her eyes. “So lovely lady, where are you from?”

That night Abby and I had short drinks and had long since finished them but Kaya was drinking a mojito and is a lightweight so we didn’t want to rush her but when the Norwegian’s hand went from Abby’s forearm to her leg we both stood up and decided we’d buy Kaya another drink somewhere else.

“Where are you going?” he said in his same monotone voice.
“To the moon,” I replied.

“Hey can I get a cigarette first?” he gestured toward Kaya’s Marlboro Lights. The best thing to do when a robber is after you is to throw your purse behind him so he will have to turn around to get it and you can run away. Kaya did this with the cigarette and we were all three stunned by this man’s slow reaction time. He finally stood up off the bar stool, got down on the floor. At the foot of a statue of the Venus he looked up, facing it, cigarette in hand, and said “so where are you from?”

– Albany Eden

Smoke & Leerers

20131109-135847.jpgmen obsessed with smoking

“Do you have a joint?” I was startled and mildly amused by his candor. I was wearing my pastel skinny jeans and a designer blouse. My hair and makeup were intact, as I had just arrived at the party, so I couldn’t help but take offense at the possible implication that I appeared strung out.

“Um, no I didn’t bring one, sorry. Maybe you should ask somebody else,” I suggested. He reminded me of the privileged and hot late bloomer I dated who “only snorted cocaine on weekends.” I guess the implication was that cocaine use from Monday to Friday was not acceptable but come Saturday anything goes. As a non-recreational drug user myself, I tried to be open-minded but at some point every girl has to ask herself, “would I be embarrassed to tell my best friend the truth about this guy if he were my boyfriend?” and if the answer is “yes,” move onto the next.

“Let’s leave this place,” he gets credit for boldness but this is not what a woman likes to hear ten minutes into a first conversation with a guy at a friend’s birthday party.

“No, I’d like to stay here with my friends, but by all means, go find your joint and I’ll see you when you get back. So do you smoke a lot?”

“Of course not. It’s been a week,” he reassured me. “I still have two cigarettes so I’ll go later.”

“Um, if you’re really on the hunt for an altered mental state, you could always get drunk,” I suggested, trying to be a charming girl on his wavelength because by their 30’s, many of the sober and appropriate men have been snagged by their high school sweethearts.

“It wouldn’t work, I’m Russian, I would have to drink an entire bottle of whiskey.” His chiseled face, strong body and elegant stature accompanied by such remarks created a bizarre schism in my mind.

Feeling mild discomfort at the suggestion of how his tolerance became so high, I asked something else. “So how old are you?” He looked young but this was my grad school crowd so I couldn’t quite tell.

“26” he says without flinching. So what do you do?”

I tell him what I do in the wine & spirits industry.

“Then you’re in the right place, these people at this party love to drink!” It seemed he was attempting a joke, so I smiled. Polite girls smile even when it’s not funny.

“Haha, I got you! I’m actually 23!” He was quite amused with himself. At least somebody was. So that’s why he didn’t have frown lines. I was this close to asking him the name of his dermatologist for I had realized long ago that you can often obtain useful tips even from the biggest loser.

He spoke some more about his privileged upbringing, the luxury leisure sports he practices and the high profile politicians in his family’s inner circle. I guess he was trying to impress me but all I could see was his trembling hand. Nicotine withdrawal? Worse? I was afraid to ask.

“So tell me, what do you do?” he asked again. I suppose it bothered me only because he had asked me all but two questions the entire night and of the two, only remembered that I did not have a joint.

– Albany Eden

Big Muscles & Unemployment

men who are boring, muscular & cheap

So it would seem that big muscles and duration of unemployment are positively correlated…

“Is it hot in here or is it just you?” Not that I wasn’t flattered but this to a 96lb., teenage college sophomore in the university gym coming from a man twice my size, weight and age with more tattoos than visible skin took me by surprise.

I thought to myself: “I’ll just plaster a fake smile and give an unenthusiastic ‘haha’ so you’ll think I’m amused and you just be sure to wipe the machine when you’re done and don’t follow me home.  Deal? Good.”


Ten years later and I am sitting across from an equally muscular rugby man and self-purported intellectual, minus the body art. He’s been talking for 45 minutes and I have absolutely no idea what he’s saying. I understand the words but, strung together, they make no sense to me. He continues: “so the theory of relativity is really about whether this person or that has a bubbling dichotomy in the apex of his hypothesis because without such undertones, there is no point to existence…” Oh goodness, he’s smiling, I better smile too. Hope he doesn’t ask me a question. I can always interrupt with a toast “to good times” then say “tell me more” and hope he doesn’t catch on. Wait, but I shouldn’t drink too much wine because it would be rude to start yawning or fall asleep.

Oooof, good thing he is amusing himself and doesn’t seem to care what I have to say. I have never been grateful to make such an observation with a man before. As he went on, I looked at the folds on his face, between his eyebrows, and wondered what it would look like if he were to get Botox injections. Not that he needed them. Women’s faces are judged much more harshly whereas most men compare themselves to fine wines, getting better with age. I wondered what the tattooed campus perv was doing these days. However, my thoughts were interrupted by a freakishly long nose hair across the table as it pulsated in the wind. It must have eluded him in the bathroom mirror for the past several years. He’s not bad looking and has a hot body. Maybe he is just nervous-talking. I can understand that. I’m not going rule him out because of one giant nose hair and an incoherent soliloquy. Most of the men without flaring nose hairs are nabbed by more aggressive girls before grad school, so I have to be open-minded and see beyond lapses in facial grooming.

The food arrived and I was happy. Not only because I was hungry but because he wouldn’t expect me to talk while eating. Silence. Appreciated.

My turn to talk. “I love this restaurant, I have been coming here for years! When I first arrived in the city, I used to sit at that table and write in my journal. The waiters all know me and although they don’t take reservations on the terrace, they will for me, as well as for an old lady who comes in every day. How is your steak?” He quite enjoyed it.

When the bill came it totaled 45 dollars. Reasonably priced seeing as how we had had wine and dinner. I waited the customary five seconds to see if he would reach for the bill, which he did not. It’s the new millennium and it wasn’t necessarily a date so I didn’t mind paying my half. After all, I did choose the place. As I was about to open my mouth, he says: “so it’s 22.50 each.” I acknowledge.

I say to the waiter holding the credit card machine, “Ok, make it 25 for me please.” Happily, he says “thank you madam, that is very kind.” My dinner companion then does some visible mental math while moving his lips (I guess intellectuals can’t do mental math without sounding out the numbers) and finally says, “then I guess I just owe 20.” The waiter’s smile dissipated and although he has seen me at this same restaurant with different dates over the years, I could tell that he disapproved of this particular one. If at any point in the evening a woman realizes that the waiter’s opinion is more important to her than that of her date, a repeat rendez-vous should probably not be in order.

[In truth, I have not run the regression but I do not believe there to be a true correlation between unemployment and large muscles. In fact, my most muscular male friends are actually employed and highly disciplined, like Oliver* who was kind enough to pose for the photo herein.]

– Albany Eden