My Best Breakup SMS

Sometimes you go on a date or two with someone and while he or she may be very nice, for whatever reason, you do not want to go out again. It happens and some of us might be afraid to admit this to the person that we no longer wish to see. Such situations can lead to confusion, frustration and accepting dates out of guilt.

I have therefore applied the management technique of the “yes sandwich” to breakups via SMS. I think it is kind, clear and effective. Feel free to use it!

“Hello [Insert name here], I had a great time with you on [day you went out]! Not only are you adorable, you are very nice! I really like you but I do not want to move to girlfriend/boyfriend mode. I don’t really know why, I must not be ready or maybe there was not the right chemistry. I hope you are not upset. It was lovely meeting you!

I think it’s better to be honest. I wish you all the best with your [insert current project here].”

An then, with a clear conscience, on to the next!

-Albany Eden

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My Date with Mr. Burns

I am back on the dating scene and last week  accepted a dinner with a lawyer I met online. He seemed almost cute from the front although had a slight albino vampire look, kind of like Riff Raff from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, but appearance is not everything. However, when I saw him in person, I realized why none of his photos showed him from the side. Matt Groening must have met this guy when he decided how to draw the profile of Mr. Burns. I have never seen such a nose on a real person and still feel sorry for him because many personal care apparatuses were not developed for people of his nasal corpulence. Poor guy must have gone his whole life not being able to use facial steamers!

Luckily, he was facing me at the table, except when he would ask the waiter for something, so, I decided to give him a chance. I don’t usually like to date lawyers but made an exception for Marvin*. He loved to talk about his work, so that made the discussion easy.

I never thought I would have to add the following to my list of things never to say to a girl on a first date, but thanks to Marvin, here is number 11 of what you should never say to her shortly after meeting:

“I routinely hire private detectives to trail people.”
“Excuse me, what?” I was in disbelief.
“Yes, I hire private detectives to look into people’s backgrounds and financial situations.”
“Isn’t that a violation of their privacy?” I asked.”
“It’s completely legal, and my cases are about debt collection, so I will not accept a client if the person he is suing cannot afford to pay him back.”
“That seems very discriminatory.”
“I don’t want to waste my time, so I will have the detective find out how much money the person has in the bank, which banks and find any assets he has in this country and abroad.”
“Wow, but how can a detective get a hold of such information. Isn’t it, like, confidential?”
“He has access to their tax returns. Aside from that, I don’t ask questions, I give him a flat rate and he finds the information for me. Where do you live?”
“Well, I live in [my neighborhood]”
“No, but what street do you live on?”
“Umm, well, you know the neighborhood, I think that’s enough.”
“And your date of birth?”
“You know how old I am, why don’t we talk about something else?”

Actually, after I shut down his attempts to procure invasive personal details he was quite OK telling me about all the other ways he uses unscrupulous techniques to recover debt and screw over his law firm by abusing its resources and keeping clients for himself. By the end of the meal, my salmon en croute was somewhere in my esophagus working its way up. I was trying to be polite, but I could never date a guy who exercises so little morals in his professional life. Just imagine ever being on the other end of a divorce with someone like this.

We left the restaurant.

“I’m going to grab a taxi.” I told him. Earlier, he had told me his neighborhood, which is on the opposite side of town from mine.
“I’m going to take one too, I can drop you off.” Even when a date really does not go well and the woman clearly did not enjoy herself, men will still try for sex. This deluded confidence is really a problem among what I have coined as “Big little boys” or men in their thirties who are not yet adults and who have unjustifiably inflated senses of self.
“That’s really ok, thank you. Good night.”

I split as quickly as I could and when I got home, I had a message on the dating app: “Fun night, you should give me your number, easier to talk.”

I politely told him that I did not wish to pursue this, waited a few hours to be sure he saw it then blocked him. I was glad I had the smarts not to give him my address because otherwise I might live with the anxiety of worrying whether the homeless guy stationed outside my building was actually a detective.

Moral of the story: don’t give up, but keep your expectations low. It’s a jungle out there!

-Albany Eden

The Making of Albany Eden

When I was six years old, I remember crying hard. It was mostly out of frustration and intense feelings of inadequacy over my funky pedicure. I couldn’t understand it: I was great at coloring within the lines but when it came to applying that Maybelline fast-drying raspberry nail polish, I got more on my skin than nails and what I did manage to get on my tiny toenails had marks and smudges and chunks of cotton in it. Older girls could do it; I didn’t understand what was wrong with me. After several failed attempts, my eyes were so full of tears I couldn’t see clearly and I was wallowing in a pool of my own exasperation. I cried for several minutes.

That’s when my dad came onto the patio where I was sitting in a mess of acetone-drenched red cotton balls. He took one look at my raspberry fingers and the stains all over my clothes and sat down beside me. He really hadn’t ever painted toenails before (as evidenced by his side-to-side brush strokes rather than from cuticle to tip). With stern concentration and a steady hand, he gave me the most beautiful pedicure I would ever have.

Thanks to him, I developed a high esteem for men at a young age. However, as I got older it became more difficult for him to save me from the things that made me sad.

photoWhen I was 16 years old, I met my first love. Jackson was cute, Midwestern, athletic and one of those popular guys everyone likes to be around. In high school, I was the serious studyholic too prissy to smoke a cigarette or miss a homework assignment so I loved the way being around Jackson made me popular too. We would have intense discussions that would last all night. He made me mixed tapes with Paul McCartney and even handcrafted many lovely gifts for me including a wooden jewelry box and a needlepointed keychain. I trusted him completely. I thought we would be together forever. Then, when we ended up in different universities, a girl from my high school contacted me to tell me that Jackson was cheating with a white trash bimbo named Dawna. Up until that day, I was unfamiliar with the feeling of betrayal from a man. I cried for weeks.

When I was 26 years old, after many years alone, I started what would become a serious relationship with a former work colleague. Julien helped bear the burden of stress from life and took care of me. A woman who goes from her father’s house to the sorority house to her husband’s house might not appreciate this but I had been doing things on my own for years; his attentiveness and helpfulness were much appreciated. After we had been together for over three years, I decided I would surprise him with a romantic island vacation so, one day when he was in the shower, I went on his PC so he would come out and see the resort I had chosen on the screen. I started typing in the URL but then mistakenly pushed ‘enter’ on a strange site that appeared in the history. I was not at all prepared for what I saw. Julien, who that same week was begging me to start a family, had an online dating profile and was chatting with multiple other women. I cried for months.

*     *     *

Most of the men you read about in my Dating Catastrophes came after these three, who shaped me. Luckily, only one of the three matters and he is the one who gives me faith that great men do exist.

My dad left this world much too soon. Of all the men for whom I cried, only he truly deserved it. Remember that the only men worth crying over are the ones that will love you enough to stop your tears, not cause them.

 *     *     *

Where are they now?

Jackson: He called me multiple times every day for two weeks and I never took his calls. After time passed, he made a few attempts on MSN Messenger to reconcile. I never saw him again.

Dawna: I checked her facebook page (which is completely public) and Dawna today cannot be recognized as the cute girl she once was. She married a guy physically comparable to her and I wish them all the best.

Julien: He never got over the breakup and made multiple efforts to get back together. I do not return his messages. One person said it best, “trust is like an unlit match, once you burn it, it goes away forever.”

– Albany Eden

I Speak Boy!

Do you ever wonder what he really means? Here are twenty things men have said to my close girlfriends or to me, with the Albany Eden interpretation:

WHAT HE SAYS WHAT HE THINKS TO HIMSELF
I’m not ready for a relationship. I don’t feel like enough other women have seen me naked yet.
I’m too busy with work to see you. And I choose to spend the little free time I do have with someone else.
We have no future. You’d make a nice second wife.
[During the first date] What’s your ideal man like? …You know, I think I could love you! I’m a sociopath.
I like your face and your body. …and that’s it! This was not a compliment.
I never realized how attracted I was to you. I used to think you were ugly.
We can’t see each other anymore because I need to focus on my new business. My inability to give you an orgasm is something I would rather shy away from than address.
Oh no, I didn’t get your message. Of course I got it. And ignored it. Why are you making this awkward for both of us?
You are the only woman I can have an intellectual conversation with and be attracted to. There is no one else at this precise moment, in this time zone, to keep me occupied.
Fine go ahead and go; I can get lots of girls! You’re the only one who will call me back, please don’t leave me!
[after one casual coffee date] Your Facebook pics gave me nice dreams last night. I am sexually starved. Do not leave your pets or houseplants alone in my presence.
Only pathetic losers count the number of women they have been with… …And I have been with 46!
My ex and I are good friends… …with benefits and I’ll run back to her the moment she forgives my sorry ass
I’m busy this weekend with a lot of work. You will never be a priority.
Sorry I didn’t call you earlier I’ve been sick. And it turns out you’re more tolerable than the others I’ve been seeing.
Can we keep being soul mates without being in a relationship? Most people only use 10% of their brains, I’m only capable of using 1%.
There’s nobody else out there like you. Please give me your undivided attention while I keep sleeping around.
That kiss six years ago was the kiss that lasted a lifetime. I will never make any effort to see you again.
I took this selfie in the mirror and could barely fit my package into the photo. Objects in mirror may appear larger than they actually are.
My soon-to-be ex and I are basically broken up. Now I have to get home, she’s ovulating!

– Albany Eden

The Interview Date

One of the unexpected pitfalls of being a management student is that you tend to hang out with other management students and, sometimes, the guys you meet and date will also be from this crowd. Superficially, you might be thinking “jackpot” but, on closer inspection, having too much in common with a man can kill the romance.

albany eden interview date

It goes something like this:

Dale* and I were fixed up. He is a fellow former management student and an entrepreneur, as well as a close friend of a previous colleague of mine. For our first date, I told him we’d meet outside Prada, because if I am to date him, he might as well know where he would often be picking me up. I always estimate my walking time in terms of Ugg boots but today I was wearing heels. Since it had just rained and my head was still healing (see The Orangina Miser), I decided nothing more than a cautious gait would be advisable. I was thus almost ten minutes late. When I got to the boutique, I saw no one. For a brief moment, I was crestfallen but that quickly subsided as I contemplated having a look at the new collection (I am used to disappointment and thus easily get over it). Then I noticed a reflection in the store window. It was like Matthew Fox in the early 2000’s had left the set of Lost, changed into preppy clothes, lost ten pounds, grew a mole on his face, and came to meet me! I thought to myself, “if this is not Dale, and he does not show up, I sure hope you and I go for coffee!”

But it was him, and I felt very optimistic as we walked towards a café. Knowing little about Dale, I thought it would be interesting to ask him about his business. It was. He gladly and openly discussed his project, which, it should be no surprise to any recent grad, revolves around a mobile app. Like many “revolutionary” concepts, his was not really a new idea but offered what he was sure to be a better interface and more varied functionality than the dozens of apps already providing a similar service. I did not at first find anything strange about this conversation. We ended up talking for two and a half hours. Of course it was now 8:30pm and he did not invite me to dinner, however, like so many before him, I guess he might have been hoping for a firm invitation into my bedroom before forking out a knife and fork. Still, I wanted to see him again.

Later, he messaged me about alumni contacts. Since I’m used this behavior, it didn’t strike me odd coming from a potential suitor.

The next day, he wrote: “would you like to have a cheap lunch with me tomorrow?”

I try not to read too much into text messages because jokes are often misunderstood. I replied: “That’s an interesting choice of words!”

He came back with: “better a cheap lunch with a good guy than a good lunch with a cheap guy.” Again, I think his humor was lost in the bandwidth but I also sometimes say stupid things unintentionally, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I accepted the date.

I really wanted to get to know him better. I was hoping we could get more personal since we had already discussed every aspect of his business, and I was unemployed, so discussing my professional life should be quick.

This time, he showed up late. When he found me, we walked to the restaurant. What started as small talk (“What did you do today?” “Oh, I sent a couple CVs”) turned into the primary axis on which our conversation rotated. I do not believe I formally asked him for his advice but I got it. Honestly, he is quite clever and has the networking bit down to a science–too much so even as he greets and chitchats with every waiter, bus boy and hostess, regardless of whether that person seems completely uninterested and too busy to deal with someone like him.

As he went on about how I needed to lower my expectations in terms of salary and the types of companies that would value a native English speaker (things I have heard many times from the school’s career counselor), I allowed my mind to drift. He was so into what he was saying and also so inattentive to me that I could probably have been playing on my mobile phone without him noticing, but that’s not what happened.

I started to think about him in other ways. He was so good looking. I pictured what it might be like making love to him. He was fit and handsome enough to make the cut but then my imagination gave me a wakeup call. In bed, I thought, he is probably a talker who gets turned on by his own words. Phrases like: “Oh, I have a meeting with the VC firm,” “Oh yeah, Porters Five Forces,” “Give it to me HBR!!!” and as he climaxes, “Mmmmmmmmmmmmarket capitalization!!”

As I thought of this, I almost laughed. I decided then and there that I might be better off with someone from a different world, a different background, to whom I am a success for merely having a management degree, rather than a failure for not having found a job yet.

In the end, I gave him the business card of my friend working in VC (Venture Capital) and decided I wanted a partner in love, not business. I’m sure we’ll remain friends and help each other network but the man I will fall for will challenge me intellectually with his own original thoughts and opinions, not those imparted upon him from a cookie cutter business school.

-Albany Eden

The Orangina Miser

File:Orangina.jpgEver wonder why some women can’t seem to stop talking about their ex-boyfriends? In some cases, the answer may surprise you.

I think every writer, regardless of his or her level, is most prolific when a certain emotion pushes the plume, or rather, the fingers on the keyboard. In my case, that emotion is a mix of hopelessness, annoyance and frustration at why the universe keeps throwing me men I could never possibly like. However, I have been incommunicado for a while because, for various reasons, I had not been feeling my blogging impetus. Don’t worry though, it’s back!

Last weekend I survived what could have been a nearly fatal head injury. It was like the powers that be decided I was not to die by slipping on the kitchen floor and cracking my head open on the rugged tiles—perhaps there was something more in store for me yet?

So after this possible cosmic message, I decided to accept a simu-date with Roland. I really had no interest in him but had small hopes that he might pleasantly surprise me.  Since I had recently suffered a head trauma, alcohol consumption was off the menu for me for the fear of giving the term ‘hammered’ a whole new perspective.

We sat down in the crowded restaurant.

“I’ll have an Orangina.” I said.
“Guess I’ll have a freshly squeezed orange juice” he said.
“That’s funny, some of the soft drinks cost more than beer and wine in this brasserie!” I pointed out. The OJ was 4 Euros and the Stella 3.90.
“In that event, I’ll have a Stella,” he decided.

He took out 3.90 in change although the bill had not come, and proceeded to play with the coins on the table throughout the ensuing conversation.

First conversations can be challenging and we can all ask a stupid question here and there but when idiocies cannonballed one after another from his mouth (which had chapped lips and a perpetual icky coat of saliva on it to make matters worse), I had to ask myself: “can I imagine listening to this or kissing that on a daily basis?” The obvious answer was “no,” however, it is rude to just get up and leave, so I stayed to finish my soda.

It was a painfully boring conversation.

Roland (after I told him I work in marketing): “So what if there were no marketing departments? Companies could just put their products out there, you see your whole specialty really isn’t necessary.”

Me: “Um, ok. Not sure where to start. And people would learn to differentiate products or brands how? And know about release dates and features in what way?”

The thing is though that men still tend to be the pursuers in the dating game and it can be awkward if he has a great time while you are contemplating a polite way to block his number and unfriend him on facebook. In these instances, it is useful to have such foresight and think strategically. As a former management student, I knew I had to develop my exit strategy immediately and put it into action at just the right moment. I decided the complete and totally ignorant denigration of my livelihood was the last straw.

Ladies and gentlemen, I will now share one of my lesser-known dating secrets and explain how this story relates to women who open the ex-file way too early. The less I like a guy, the more I will talk about my ex-boyfriend on the first date. It is so simple yet so effective. He will be likely not to enjoy himself and even leave thinking it was his decision not to want to see you again.

It goes something like this:

Me: “So Roland, why don’t you tell me, about your last relationship?”

Most guys will say in one sentence something like, “well, I stayed with my ex for [so many] years, but in the end it didn’t work out.” Then he will make the courtesy call, “when was your last serious relationship?”

So I went ahead and told him:

“I stayed with my ex for four years but he was totally critical of me. Whatever I would make in the kitchen, he would find fault, from overly thick split pea soup to burnt cream. He once told me that ‘real women are mothers and know that crème fraiche should never be allowed to bubble.’”

Roland said nothing as he shuffled the coins on the table. I continued:

“And so then it was hard for me but I eventually had to end things. He still calls me though, even though he has a new girlfriend now. You know what he said about her?  He says, ‘Albany, I am dating someone new. She is fat though but I still encourage her to wear miniskirts and high heels.’”

At this point, Roland seemed bored with the conversation and I hoped his eyes were scoping out the various emergency exits this hole in the wall had to offer. I thought he would be completely turned off at this point but the little engine that could gave it one last go with another stupid question.

“So, do you have friends?” he asked.

“Yes. Yes I do. [pause] Um, do you?” I didn’t know how else to respond to such a silly remark.

Then he proceeded with a short list of each of his friends and their respective cities and professions. I know studies have shown that a person cannot truly be friends with more than 150 people at a time. I probably have fewer close friends than that but am far from being able to list them all in such a manner. Roland was not put off enough by my ex stories. So, to ensure he would not think this was a magical evening, I took out the big guns.

Me: “You probably noticed I’m not drinking. It’s because I fell on my head yesterday. So far I only feel nauseous but have not thrown up but I’m telling you in case I fall down or something, so you know what happened.”

Then I proceeded to rub my head where I do actually have a giant scab and a bruise. He was totally uncomfortable. Doing something like this is actually good because if he truly were a nice guy, he would be concerned and I might give him another chance. Roland had no interest in my wellbeing.

Then the bill came. It totaled 7 euros. My cheapest date ever. Roland, with the 3.90 in his hand finally stopped fiddling with the change and left it on top of the bill. I looked at it and I looked at him. He looked at me blankly. About thirty seconds went by. Did he seriously not want to buy a piddly Orangina for a head trauma victim? To his credit he (eventually) said, “I got it” and produced the remaining change.

As we parted outside the brasserie, I had but one thought, “please keep those slimy lips away from me!” We left in opposite directions and I am confident he will not call me again. As I walked home, I was glad to be alone.

-Albany Eden

The Russian Scientist and the Mosquito Poison

“Come on, let’s go to a night club tonight!” my dear friend Angela said.

I had been in China for nine days, felt allergic to the pollution and was experiencing some kind of culture shock as I was not in Shanghai or even Beijing. I was in the north of China in a city of millions where at this precise moment, I thought I was the only non-Chinese.  I was also not feeling too great because of all the mosquito bites.

“Ok, but first I need to bathe in the mosquito poison.”
“Fine,” she said, “we leave in 20 minutes.”

China had been a lot of things: built up, bustling, buildings crumbling, dirty…I wondered what a night club would look like in a city where the local cobbler was just a woman in a club chair on the sidewalk surrounded by bags of tools and material.

That night I learned never to judge a city’s nightlife by its day life. Whatever this Chinese city didn’t spend on street repairs, it put double into the nightclub! The Sunny Sunshine club was spectacular. I wonder if I have seen such a nice club even in Europe. First, it was air-conditioned, which was greatly appreciated in the sweltering Chinese summer heat. There was a live singer with talent, beautiful sculpted watermelon fruit platters being served, what looked like a hundred Tiffany chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, cocktails with sparklers and a separate jazz bar, to give variety in the music.

Among the heads of black hair, nobody bothering us, the music, the 90’s vibe, I really started to enjoy myself. Angela was engaged but still remembered how to enjoy a night out. We danced and drank and it was she who first noticed Alexei. After she pointed him out, it was hard not to notice him. At 6’4” he towered over the Chinese and was looking straight at me.

Alexei was a Russian aerospace engineer in China for a few weeks to teach the Chinese something about building airplanes. After my coy flirtation ritual, he finally offered me a drink. For some reason, often when I meet a man I like and he offers me a drink, I will order something I have never had before.

“I’ll have a B52”
“What?” he said with his heavy Russian accent.

Alexei didn’t understand. I had to type it into his iPhone. That’s actually how we communicated that night when we had to, but for the most part we were dancing. Towering over me, the only way for him to get close was to put his nose in my hair.

“Your perfume is perfect.”

I didn’t want to tell him that I was wearing only mosquito poison. With Angela’s help, we exchanged numbers. A few dates ensued and coincidentally the pollution in China started to bother me less. Alexei was handsome and brilliant, so I couldn’t understand why he was single but he told me he had trouble meeting women since he was working in the field of aerospace engineering.

On Alexei’s last night in China, Angela, Alexei, his friend Oleg and I all went out for a drink. That evening, I had forgotten to wear my mosquito repellent and of course noticed a few bloodsuckers circling around me preparing for an attack.

Alexei was trying to look into my eyes and speak intently. Perhaps he was telling me what these weeks together had meant to him but I couldn’t hear a word because I was preoccupied by the floating insects. Finally Angela asked the waitress who gave us a bottle of precious mosquito poison. I guess she expected it to come out in drops but when Angela tried to apply the product on my legs, it all spilled out and got all over my lap and bare thighs.  Almost instantly I was upright and running upstairs to the restroom to clean myself off.

china night club albany edenAs I dried my legs in the unisex restroom (unisex restrooms are very common in this part of China), Alexei came in. There must be something in mosquito poison that Russian scientists cannot resist. Of course it was the restroom and my friend was waiting downstairs, so Alexei did not get what he wanted. We went back to the table, enjoyed the evening and after a great night with friends, said goodbye as he was going back to Moscow the next day.

For the next couple weeks, we’d message each other and he’d always send me emoji roses. I wanted to see him again. Angela offered to invite him to her wedding and I thought that was a perfect idea. It was strange that the spelling of his name that he gave me and the one in his email address (when I asked for it for the wedding invitation) were not the same but I thought nothing of it. Moments after giving her his email address, I got a call from Angela.

“Albany, you have to have a look at this.” Apparently, in typing his email address with the correct spelling of his last name, she was immediately directed to his Google+ page where all of his personal photos were public. It didn’t take long for me to understand that not only was Alexei married to a beautiful young Russian woman, but they had a baby together! I deleted his number from my phone when I saw a photo he posted of himself in a warehouse-like giant supermarket with a trolley full of diapers; the caption he wrote beneath this picture read: “5 minutes of pleasure, a lifetime of worries.”

I guess mosquito poison doesn’t repel married men with babies.

-Albany Eden

10 Worst Things to Say to a Girl on the First Meeting

10. “Are you a pole dancer? You look like you could be a pole dancer.”

9.  “Do you have a joint?”

8. “I really don’t like my girlfriend that much, that’s why I still keep my online dating profile open.”

7. “I am unable to father children.”

6. “I used to shoplift from the supermarket until recently, but don’t worry, I didn’t steal because I needed to.”

5. “I’ll have four beers.” [All at once and for only himself]

4. “How old are you?….No, really, how old are you?”

3. [After ten minutes of awkward conversation] “My place or yours?”

2. “Don’t take this the wrong way, because I mean it as a compliment, but you have the most adorable, character-building frown lines.”

And finally…

1. “We must have sex, tonight, for I have multiple personality disorder and don’t know who I will be tomorrow!”

 

Sadly, this list is not made up. These are 10 of the most inappropriate things I have been told on a first meeting with a new guy. Note, I’m not saying these are things one should never reveal to a woman you are in a serious relationship with, but there is a time and place, and usually, the first half hour of the first conversation with her is not it.

*     *     *

Any similar experiences you’d like to share/forget? Feel free to add them in the comments!

-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.”

20131109-140009.jpg

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