There’s Always Room for Jell-O

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“The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” many women have said throughout history. It could be true but I also believe that men express their love with edibles. I have learned over the years that when a man puts time in the kitchen for a woman, it is often a tender expression of affection he might not be able to say with words.

Case in point: the journalist (we’ll get to him in another blog post) and the ski instructor (ditto) both prepared spaghetti carbonara for me early on into our relationships, although it was a pure coincidence that they each made the same dish. I must say that while Andrew’s pasta was savory with the unexpected addition of white wine, I appreciated Jesse’s attention to detail in adding freshly shaved nutmeg on top. The point is, the more a man cares, the more complex his dishes will get. At the height of our four-year relationship, Julien purchased a pressure cooker and prepared us blanquette de veau.

So the question is, how intertwined are our sexual and actual appetites? I would argue that lovers of pleasure enjoy each and every delicious way to awaken the senses. To make my point, let me illustrate the opposite scenario: Zach was a young man I briefly dated in college. He was an Abercrombie model. On our first date, he invited me over for dinner and to watch Pleasantville. If only I had known that “dinner” consisted of baby carrots and tofu, which were also the only things he ever ate because he needed to stay in perfect shape. Needless to say, the night was as bland as the soybean patty itself, and while I am not an unhealthy eater, being around him all the while craving a plate of chili fries made me feel like a piglet. It didn’t matter how many portfolio photos he showed me of his perfect torso, I made a mental note that evening never to date a man with a smaller behind than mine.

You might be wondering, and the answer is yes, I have also cooked often for men. They appreciate it for sure but I think the ones who really care get more pleasure out of watching a woman enjoy what they made. This holiday season, take off the oven mitts and try letting him get his hands dirty!

-Albany Eden

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Dabbling in Adult Entertainment

photo2The lone log cabin in the forest went dark. I wished I had brought something warmer than just my sheer nightie. My bare feet sunk into the sheepskin rug and I felt its soft caress between my toes. It was getting cold, and as the sun set, I feared being in the dark, waiting for the repairman who was coming to fix the electricity. I found a scented candle and as I lit it, accidentally dripped hot wax down my neck; it burned but also felt good. A wolf howled and I could hear the owls. I got scared and began to shiver. The first stars were appearing in the night sky and the cedar scent of the candle was intoxicating. Then the doorbell rang. It was the repairman.

He was burly and had that country rugged masculinity about him. He smelled of freshly cut pine and white musk. I could tell that he had skilled hands: they were strong and solid. His presence suddenly made me feel safe, but somehow I was still shivering.

“I have been waiting a long time,” I told him as I approached. He seemed to notice the spot of candle wax that had stained the silk on my body but quickly looked up at my eyes.

“Well, I better get to work.” He bent over to get something from his toolbox.

“Yes, indeed you better! I was making a chocolate cake when the power went out! It’s my grandmother’s birthday tomorrow, very important!” I pleaded.

He looked at me, looked at the haphazard pile of ingredients on the kitchen table and then nodded with a grin.

“You will have your cake. Don’t worry, I have all the tools necessary to take care of things here” He assured me.

Less than half an hour passed and he had repaired the power.

“Oh thank you, thank you!” I was relieved. Then his phone rang.

“Yeah. [pause] Seriously? Ok, well, cancel the others then. All right bye.” He put his phone back in his pocket.

“Sorry Ma’am but the road has been snowed in behind me. I am afraid I will be stuck here all night…”

“So uh, how much do I owe you?” I asked.

“Tell you what, you seem not to know your way around the kitchen and I love to make cakes. I’ll finish it up, you let me lick the spoon and we’ll call it even.” His smile was deviously adorable.

I watched as he cracked and whipped the eggs with methodical perfection and then added the cocoa powder. This man definitely had skills. I wondered why first names had not been exchanged.

“Time to pour it into the mold.” He said, proudly.

“No, let me!” I wanted to contribute more to this cake than making a mess. He playfully kept the bowl out of my reach. I prepared to pounce on his back.

Suddenly, the power went out again. I could see nothing but was already in the air. As I jumped on him, he turned around. The two of us ended up on the floor and the bowl went flying, its contents then dripping all over me. Then the power came back on.

“What a mess!” I said. “I’ll have to wash up!”

“No need for that,” he reassured me as he took my finger in his mouth and licked off the chocolate.

The next day, I blushed when my grandmother asked me what had happened to her cake. I simply replied, “Sorry grandma, it was just too good!”

*      *      *

This did not actually happen. I am writing this post for my friend Ricardo, who when I read him my last one about the unemployment agency suddenly looked disappointed after a couple paragraphs. When I asked him why, he said:

“Well, you describe your clothing and this room where you might be alone with an attractive man, it really sounded to me like the start of an erotic story.”

His comment made me think about ways to make this blog post more enticing for male readers like him. I aim to please!

-Albany Eden

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 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

My First Bar Kiss

cat cornerThe first time I ever kissed a man in a bar also coincided with my first time in a bar (growing up law-abiding in the US, I was making up for lost time!)

When you’re 17, you feel like it’s an accomplishment to get an older man to converse with and want to kiss you (in retrospect, I realize how creepy this sounds) but on that, my third evening in France, I was looking to move on from my ex and first boyfriend who broke my heart for a leggy henna-tattooed piece of white trash (see The Making of Albany Eden); what better day than his birthday to dance on the grave of the relationship he killed? But I wasn’t thinking of Jackson that winter evening at the Cat Corner nightclub off La Croisette in Cannes.

My friend Linda was 23 and she knew men. She was beautiful, Swedish, with perfectly flipped natural blond hair. I hoped that being in her company would help me fool guys into thinking I too was a natural blond.

“If I don’t want to talk to a guy, I’ll say I’m from Nebraska because every time I say ‘California’ it leads to more questions,” I explained to her.
“No, say you’re from Finland and your English is not so good. As long as you don’t say this to a Finnish guy, no one else speaks this language….40km from Helsinki, end of conversation.” Linda was wise beyond her years.

I noticed a pair of eyes from the other end of the bar. I was sure he was looking at Linda. I turned my head from her to me and his eyes smiled, as if almost to say “yes you!”

Before I knew how I felt about this, he and his friend were on their way to our table.

Dammit, I thought to myself because I wanted to shoot a few guys down before committing to one for the whole evening, but he was awfully cute.
“Hi ladies” he said. “I’m James and this is Don” James was the more handsome of the two.

James barely looked at Linda and cozied up next to me. Oh my God, I finally got to try out my material on a live one! He’s quite attractive, but I needed practice.

“So where are you from?” He asked, looking intently at me.
“Nebraska” I said, suppressing my proud grin at my coy cleverness.
“Oh yeah? I’ve never been! What’s the capital of Nebraska?”

Note to self: review fifth grade notes of state capitals and remember that not all guys are stupid and trying to get into your pants. Some are clever and genuinely interested. I liked him immediately.

“Actually, I’m from LA,” I admitted.
“Wow, I’m sorry to hear that,” his grin made me uneasy: on the one hand we just met and, on the other, I wanted to bite him lovingly.
“So what are you ladies drinking?”

Linda was having white wine but I was determined to finally try all those drinks I heard about in the movie Cocktail but didn’t yet know what they were. It was this evening that I initiated my ritual: new guy, new cocktail.

“I’ll have a flying squirrel,” I said with confidence that was sure to impress even the Sultan of Brunei. Swoosh. He’ll think I come to bars all the time in France, I thought to myself.

Don and Linda stopped their conversation and all three looked at me. I must have impressed them. After all, I knew about sophisticated cocktails and was decked out in my best Gothic skirt and motorcycle boots with my platinum hair and dark roots. I had the Gwen Stefani style while she herself was Just a Girl. My confidence was soaring.

“Right love. And why don’t you take a look at the menu and tell me what you’ll have if they don’t know how to do a flying squirrel.”

I perused the cocktail menu. “Kir Royal,” that sounded sophisticated, “that’s what I’ll have.”

When he came back with the drinks, I realized I’m not a huge fan of Kir Royal. I would later discover the Tequila Sunrise (thanks to the move, Desperately Seeking Susan), which would become my signature nightclub drink for the next five years.

Two sugary cocktails later, I had learned that James was from Down Under, surfed, and had his own business in England. Prior to this evening, I had only had those intense conversations with Jackson and was pleased to learn that other guys could be as engaging and passionate.

Our lips were locked by midnight and we stayed until the barman turned the lights back on. After that, we parted ways (I was 17!). Linda and I grabbed a taxi back to our dorm and the boys walked back to their hotel.

James and I ended up being sexy pen pals for ten years to follow. He would call it “the kiss that lasted a lifetime” and although we tried several times to meet again, it would take us twelve years to reunite. But that’s another story…

-Albany Eden

Gliding into Friends: The Pisco Sour

Whenever I start dating a man I think I could really like, two things happen. First, my mind is flooded with a series of highly inappropriate questions my brain cannot filter. Second, I order a new cocktail for the first time and secretly associate the flavor with the man. This allows me to relive moments with him long after I have scared him away with a ridiculous interrogation.

“Are you gay?” This time I endeavored to keep the question to myself.

Brandon had soft skin. He was stylish, did yoga and made a point of telling me he went to a “hair dresser” (not a barber). Yet, he seemed interested and our first date lasted five hours.

“What would you like?” he asked.
“Hmm, pisco sour, that sounds good.” True to form, Brandon would thereafter be a pisco sour to me: sweet, strong and laced with some flavors I cannot identify but that I think I like.

I was lost in his eyes as he told me about his passion for the opera. I never realized how interesting something I previously cared nothing about could become when it came from his mouth.

“And I got these new shoes from Berlutti, I’d love to break them in for the first time at the opera with you.” Just when I thought I had him figured out, he made me wonder again.

My concern was appeased with a surreptitious graze of my thigh…but wait, was this gesture due to carnal attraction or him trying to cop a feel of my Chanel tweed? I figured if he was into fashion, at the very least, we could have a good conversation. So I asked his advice on a future purchase.

“Well, my favorite color is turquoise, but if it’s something you’d be wearing, I’d love to see you in red.” I loved how he dignified all the silly things that were so important to me with a serious response from him.

Weeks later, we had another dinner filled with awkwardly honest conversation.

“In the hospital after the horseback riding accident, I completely lost bladder control because of the concussion.” I could not believe what had just come out of my mouth. This time he grazed my thigh and it was for sure deliberate.
“But you don’t have that problem anymore, right?” We both laughed. With him I needed no filter. It was nice.

The waitress came to take our orders.

“I’ll have the salmon,” Brandon said.
“Sorry, no salmon today.”
“All right, then I’ll have the salad nicoise”
“We’re out of lettuce.”

After some more back and forth, we identified one of the few items on the menu still available; we both had cheeseburgers. And I, a pisco sour.

“I was kind of nerdy as a kid, I would play video games every chance I got,” he revealed. It was endearing.
“Haha, Dungeons and Dragons, you and my brother would have gotten along!” I liked teasing him because then he would smile.
“I would like to take you to a very special wine bar I love. It’s in the Marais, you know, the gay neighborhood.” He said, matter-of-factly.
“Sure, sounds great!” I decided not to over-analyze his second sentence. We took a cab and when we arrived at the destination, Brandon briskly sent the cab away. On the wine bar door read a sign “Closed for the holidays.”

“Oh no Brandon, looks like we won’t be going here after all!”
“Don’t worry, I live just around the corner. We could have some tea at my place,” he suggested. If he did in fact live around the corner, I wondered how he didn’t notice the sign before.

Although he looked great that night and maybe had earned it, I wasn’t about to reward this kind of sly technique—if it in fact wasn’t a chance occurrence. As we parted, no hand holding, no kiss…then I wondered if he really did just want me to come over for chai tea lattes and to read his Colorology book. I put the thought out of my mind.

As time went by, we continued to see each other and I eventually did make it into Brandon’s apartment. I was pleasantly surprised. It was well decorated and neat…although he didn’t believe in curtains at all—even in the bathroom where his shower door was transparent! Weird as I might find it, this was something I decided I could address later or not at all.

“You like pisco sours right?” he asked with a devious smile. I wondered if he had figured out my rule.
“I looove them, thank you!” I was mesmerized by his muscular forearms as he squeezed the limes and I almost forgot my bursting bladder.
“Be right back, bathroom’s over there, right?” He nodded and I got ready to put on a show for his neighbors. In the sleek modern bathroom, I couldn’t help but wonder if Brandon belonged to another alpha female. The temptation to investigate was too great. I scanned the counter. One toothbrush–and it was blue. Hallelujah! No tampons. No depilatories. No hair scrunchies (although this was a little annoying because I am pathologically scrunchie-less and wanted to wash my face). I was feeling increasingly relieved as I noticed the masculine bathroom products—I could even forgive the loofah but then I saw…IT.

It was just sitting there in the drawer, the possible answer to these questions I had been asking myself about this wonderful man still single in his thirties. It was like road kill—something I couldn’t bear to see but had to look at long enough to properly identify it.

The little orange foil packet read “Gliding into friends” and on it were two male symbols artfully intertwined. As I picked it up, I realized this hot potato had to be handled with finesse; but a passionate woman often lacks this quality. Packet in hand, I left the bathroom and approached him. I figured the best way to deal with the gay lube was to toss it right on the surface where he eats breakfast. I wanted some explaining.

“Relax, I got it as a gag from a party. It’s not like I bought a full tube, it’s just a sample!” I wanted to believe him. His dancing eyes made him look capable of mischief but somehow his explanation appeased me. I think this finding with any other man would have me running for the hills but Brandon knew how to hold onto me.

He put the pisco sour up to my lips and it tasted good. I stayed over that night and learned, once and for all, that he only had eyes for women, and, more specifically, this particular one.

Sometimes we ask silly questions because deep down we already know the truth…and it scares us.

-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