If he wants to leave, he is not the one (alternate title: The Beer Belly)

There was something fundamentally ephemeral and a tad pessimistic with the initial premise of this blog as it assumed I would always have spectacular dating catastrophes. Even a self-proclaimed forever-single girl can meet someone that will pleasantly surprise her – but he is not the topic of this post. And yes, now I do believe there is someone for everyone and that you just have to be patient, which is the topic of this post.

Ten years ago I was at work when a camera crew came to interview my boss; one of them had great hair and intense eyes. He must have noticed my stare because as he exited the office, he left me a flyer for a play he was starring in. The play led to an invitation to his after party, which blossomed into a three-month relationship. Sam* was thirteen years older than me and had it together: he was a journalist and video producer. As a 23 year-old at the bottom of the corporate ladder, I was drawn to him as a boyfriend and a mentor. Our time together was nice and I thought I could be happy with him.

As we dated, I realized Sam had a lot of grown-up drama in his life unrelated to me. He was sorting out finances with an ex-girlfriend with whom he had purchased a condo, he had a gravely ill parent and he had recently been robbed of his laptop, which contained his life’s work. One day he took the production company’s van overnight so we could go on a date – this was not an authorized use of the vehicle. Sometime that morning around 5 or 6 a.m. a female drunk driver sideswiped all the cars parked on my street before police apprehended her and placed her in the drunk tank. Sam had to file a complaint and missed his morning meeting. He must have interpreted the various events of that morning, and in his life in general, as a sign that we were not right together, at least not at the time.

Shortly after this disaster, Sam broke up with me. He never gave me a reason and I was disappointed because I thought he could be the one.

Girls, and this is where I would like you to listen carefully: if he wants to leave, he is not the one. The one is out there and when he finds you, he will stay.

Last week, I went out with my friend Veronika* to hear about her perpetual struggles with the same man, yet again.

“He told me he doesn’t think he can make me happy or that I can make him happy,” she said, confused.

“Well, that is a very strong statement and clear message,” I told her.

“We will talk about it tomorrow night at his place. I need to understand why.” V was insistent.

“You may never understand why. It would probably be cruel of him to tell the truth, if the truth is something like he never had feelings for you in the first place. Why do you want to do this to yourself?” I tried to talk some reason into her but she needed absolutes.

“It was so great in the beginning, I cannot ignore that and I want it back. We will have a serious discussion.” There was no changing her mind.

I care for my friend, which is why I am her sounding board time and again through this difficult time, but I wish she would understand that men know when it is not right. We may think at the time that we want him and that he is the perfect guy for us but a man often knows before the woman that the future would not be a happy one. I am not sure it is intentional; perhaps his primal instincts play a part here. Whatever the reason, when I look back now on all the guys into whom I put so much needless effort, I am thankful to God, Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Tom Cruise and the Cosmos that we did not end up together.

Yesterday, I was on a sunny terrace enjoying an Aperol spritz with my friend when she had to check something on her phone. I also decided to see if I had any notifications. The available Wi-Fi networks popped up and I saw “Sam Edward Brody’s iPhone.” I found it strange to put a full name on a personal hotspot connection but the uniqueness of the name and unlikelihood of such a blast from the past incited me to look around. I scanned the terrace and there he was. The same great hair was more silver fox than raven but it was definitely Sam. He was working on his laptop, hence the personal hotspot. It was a very 2017 way of “bumping” into someone.

Now, I am within 5kg of what I weighed ten years ago and aside from going from bleached blond to my natural hair, I look rather the same. Sam, on the other hand, had developed an enormous beer belly – in the interest of providing an accurate description but not to be unkind, I would liken his body to that of Santa Claus. His teeth confirmed he had maintained his steady tobacco intake over the decade and I cannot stand cigarettes. I still wanted to say hi. I pulled out my phone with a big smile and showed him how I knew he was there.

“Hello! First, middle and last name on your personal hotspot, huh?”

“I am not afraid,” he said with a smile. Then he said nothing else.

“Well, I just saw that you were here and wanted to say hi.”

“Hello,” he said.

I couldn’t believe it. We dated for three months and he didn’t remember me! I looked him up on LinkedIn and he is up to the same sort of projects for his own company this time and, ironically, I had gone on a couple casual dates with one of his junior employees about two years ago. I realized that he was right to break up with me ten years ago and I am so glad he had the courage to do it. Since he is a nice guy, if he hadn’t been so firm, I probably would have tried to make things work and one day found myself in a relationship that was just wrong. If I had stayed with him, I would have taken a very different path in life and would not be where I am today, and with whom I am today.

Readers, this is my point: the right person for you, if you two have not met yet, is out there and will also know that you are the right person. This is key. Love should be mutual. The wrong people may know they are the wrong people for you before you do and that’s OK. It is even a good thing. Sometimes, you have to trust that relationships end – or never start – for a reason, even if that reason doesn’t yet seem clear.

If you are going through a breakup, missing someone or feel like you are beating your head against the wall over a guy who cannot change, chin up! Rip off the Band-Aid. One day, you will see it was for the best, I promise.

 

– AE

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Will Write For Food

albany_edenLast week I went to my appointment to register at the local unemployment office (the Cosmos sure loves its writers…). Having spent two years with an unemployed 39 then 40 year-old who became progressively whiny the longer he stayed at home, I did what any normal girl would in this situation: all in my power to avoid attracting a man at this place. I wore my baggiest sweater and old boyfriend jeans and my juvenile-looking glasses I have had since the fifth grade. I topped off my look with Ugg boots, which, men have told me, are not sexy.

As I played Free Cell on my phone in the waiting area, I just wanted this meeting to be over.

Then I saw him. He was lean but muscular, in cool casual jeans with perfectly rugged facial hair. I let down my ponytail and took off my glasses. He was just close enough for me to get a slight whiff of his yummy cologne.

“Eden, Albany Eden?” I heard a voice say.

“Yes, that’s me!” I said as I popped out of my seat to face the Adonis of the unemployment agency. Then my Greek god looked at me, confused.

“Albany Eden” I heard again, but sexy beard’s mouth was not moving. Suddenly the enchanting cologne dissipated as Adonis made his way to the middle-aged man sitting beside me.

“Raymond Dawson, please come with me,” he said, matter-of-factly as he walked away. Then a cloud of foul body odor seemed to fill the whole room.

The man who had called my name was standing behind my Adonis. He was cross-eyed in one eye, heavily overweight and proudly displayed his open fly. When he shook my hand, he squeezed my ring so tight that it hurt. I held my breath as he led me to his office.

He took my documents and looked them over, not speaking for almost ten minutes.

“You are missing page 3” he said. I took the file, located the page, and gave it back to him. He continued eyeing the document.

“Well, your file is incomplete. I cannot accept it.”

“What’s wrong with it?” I asked.

“In this box next to title, your employer checked ‘other’ but did not ‘specify.’ See, it clearly says ‘other’ then ‘specify.’”

“I have that information, she is the payroll manager. I can just fill it in for you, or we can give her a call.”

“No, you must get her to fill it out herself, sign and stamp where she adds the title and then bring it back here to me.”

“Really, sir, could you please make an exception? I have already been here three times.”

“Well, you can drop off the file in the mailbox downstairs, then we will have to schedule another meeting. You have a web cam right? Because, we can meet online too.”

He was so clumsy with the printer and the computer; I could not bear the thought of him and his open fly—or what he might show my by mistake—on a web cam.

“Well, I have Skype but no web cam. Unemployed you see, don’t have budget for the luxuries” I did not want to take any chances.

As he input my information into the computer, he had to call in his boss to help him. It seemed to take forever. After 50 minutes of stinky air and saying nothing as this guy fumbled through the registration process, I was free to go—until next week.

I don’t know if it was deliberate on behalf of the unemployment agency, but avoiding another meeting with this guy is very powerful motivation for me to find a job quickly!

I realize this was not a dating catastrophe, but, lately, I have been meeting more interesting men who do not do wildly inappropriate things, so I had to look elsewhere for inspiration!

– Albany Eden

The Mile High Club

“Come on, get your mind out of the gutter! It only happened once and it was his girlfriend on the flight,” Eric said, his warm eyes laughing at me.

“But how did you know?” I asked, fascinated by all the tidbits of his exciting lifestyle.

“A pilot says he needs 15 minutes alone in the cockpit, well, not alone. Anyway, it’s a small enough company, so the reputation stays with him.”

“What about you? Have you ever…?” I asked.

“Of course not!” He told me as he winked and took a bite of his extra crispy bacon.

We both laughed. Eric was about the fifth guy I had taken to my favorite brunch restaurant in the past couple months. I don’t even care to know what the hostess might be thinking, but over the eggs benedict and freshly pressed juice, I was beginning to like the view from the top. This is how I developed my 20:1 rule. For every 20 guys you meet who are completely wrong, there will be one who just might be right.

Eric was a pilot on long haul routes, which, I learnt, meant that his flights averaged 10 hours in duration and that he mainly flew to paradise beach destinations. Long haul is the most coveted route, so it meant he was great at his job but that he was also away from home two weeks a month.

Now in my previous post, I explain my aversion to dating lawyers. I feel the opposite way about scientists, so when I found out that Eric was also an aeronautical and spatial engineer who taught flight theory to new pilots, if I had been a man, I would not have been able to stand up right away without knocking over our basket of croissants!

It had been a long time since I had such a great first date. It was a sunny autumn day and we stayed out for hours. Walking in the park, sitting in the park, kissing in the park, I got to know everything about him. I couldn’t wait to book my ticket to Punta Cana on one of his flights.

On this park bench, as he told me about trajectories and how the airlines throw dead chickens into the engines for testing, I was staring down his checkered shirt, admiring his ample and masculine chest hair (a fetish of mine I never share with hairless men), wondering what it would it would feel like under my fingers. When I wasn’t staring at his chest, I was staring at his mouth as he spoke, subconsciously licking my own lips whenever he would pronounce a long “u” like in “prune.” When he would stop speaking, I would look into his deep blue eyes that reflected into mine a joyful admiration.

One of the reasons I love scientists is because I myself love science. I love to understand things, like why vinegar dissolves calcium deposits in the bathroom or how to hybrid my orchids (I’m still working on this). As I listened intently to every interesting word he said, I knew I was starting to like him.

“What about you? Did you always want to work in marketing?” He inquired.

“Actually, don’t laugh, but I have always wanted to be a plastic surgeon. If I could do it over again, I would have gone to medical school.” I revealed something I share with few people.

Now this is a true story and while some of my posts poke fun at guys, it is not my intention to do so here. The following is what happened and in writing about it, I do not in any way mean to make light of the situation.

With his next remarks, Eric effectively made me wonder: how much information is too much to provide on a first date?

“Plastic surgery huh?” he said. “That’s interesting because…” He went on to tell me about the different genetic disorders he has inherited from both parents, one of which required multiple plastic surgeries. It is not important to list the specific conditions but, needless to say, this is something I have not before heard on a first date.

Then he went on to tell me, “And also, the occupation of airline personnel reduces their life expectancy by 8 years.”

With all the tact and grace of a drunken hobo, I said, “I had no idea. You should ask for more money.” Like a true gentleman does in a situation where a woman says something stupid, he pretended not to hear it and we moved on to a lighter topic.

Now, I will definitely see Eric again. First of all, while my flaws are not genetic per se, they are enough to place me firmly within the most fragile of glass houses.

Still I cannot understand what transpired on this first date. Was he already thinking about having babies with me? Had we gotten so close that we passed the attraction phase into being chums? Was he trying to turn me off? Was he just nervous? Is this something he just discusses openly with near strangers?

I will give him a free pass and assume that something I said on the date was equally inopportune and that we are at par. He has messaged since and expressed a desire to meet again. Now I have to wait two weeks; I just hope he brings me something nice from Thailand!

-Albany Eden

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…

*     *     *

“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.

“Seb?”
“Yes?”
“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