Friday, July 16, 2010

Phoenix Dactylifera

“Laurie, you’ve got issues,” my friend told me the other day.



I do. No denying it.

I am sick and twisted. I like tying tight strings around moles and watching them get hard and tight and red and ready to burst. Then I like waiting for three days until the blood-flow is completely cut off, and last I savor the moment of peeling off the final result, which looks like a dry, shriveled-up grape.

I like squirting whipped cream directly from the can into my mouth.

I enjoy telling friends that I have an important work event when I really just want to stay in because I know “Silence of the Lambs” is going to be on television that night.

My ultimate bliss is the “Twilight Zone Marathon.”

I like to go to the public pool in East Harlem, and smuggle in booze and sip it slowly, while I spy on people behind my sunglasses, and pretend I’m at some exquisite resort far away from New York.

Are these really issues, though? Tell me who the heck doesn’t have some ridiculous quirks.

One of my bizarre quirks is dating.

Why do we use this stupid term anyhow? I prefer the variety of “dates” that grow from trees in the middle-east. Places like Morocco. I really like dates in cereal, perhaps with some almonds.

Phoenix dactylifera commonly known as the Date Palm, is a palm in the genus Phoenix, extensively cultivated for its edible sweet fruit.

Ironic, since my dating efforts are often fruitless…..

Date night is the stupidest term ever. I hate when married couples start calling their time together date-night. I think dating is a job for single people. Not some relaxed setting where flatulence and messy hair are widely accepted. It’s a misnomer really, “date night” is.

So I guess since I seem to be “off in tangent” mode when it comes to dating, I’ll go ahead and focus this particular blog on that very topic.

Disclaimer: My views may be offensive to some. Don’t worry- I still adore my friends who use that stupid friggin term “date night”, whether you agree with me or not. You get to choose the way you feel and what you call “dinner and a movie with no make-up on in some crappy chain restaurant like Applebee’s, with your spouse” and you don’t have to like what I have to say. I still respect you. You’re probably smarter than I am anyhow and I’m totally okay with that.

I like to think of getting married. I am just more interested in wedding cake than a wedding dress. I am fascinated with planning a honeymoon. I am beyond annoyed at the thought of planning a wedding itself. I think the ceremony and fluffy dress are both dumb. I’m too old for that. It’s just too annoying. The appropriate age for a big wedding is 27. After that it’s an annoying expense. I would rather just use that money to put the down-payment on a house. There are precisely three things I like about weddings: the cake, the honeymoon, and the cookies. I think that is a northeast-Ohio tradition for Italian people. There are millions of cookies. Millions. A whole table just for cookies that our family has made. Okay, never mind, I do want a wedding, after all. I love the cookies. And as for the honeymoons, I go on plenty of those myself, without even getting married!

So back to my focus- lately I’ve been dating a little bit.

I always ask my friends to set me up with friends. I think that’s a good way to meet people. For some reason, they always give me these sluggish hesitant half-ass, wishy-washy responses. For example, my friends Holly & Jay, a married couple have a really cute/sweet friend named John. “You’d eat him alive”, they told me. I don’t know what that means- I am sweet and demure!

But, fortunately, my friend Dara’s boyfriend said “I have a friend named JR.” Wait a minute, I KNOW JR! Suddenly my interested is piqued. J.R. is a rockstar. Really an honest-to-goodness rockstar. He has a guitar. Here is J.R. (and here I am with the red eyes, screaming along to his song):

Cute, right? J.R. does not know he is in this blog. But J.R. is my friend on facebook and sometimes he sends me messages inviting me to his shows. Dara told me he sends those messages to a lot of people, but then admitted that SHE never got one, so that makes me think he just sends them to me personally.

Dara looked at J.R’s relationship status on facebook. “In a relationship” it says.

I said it must be a mistake. And I’m going to email him tonight to find out if it is in fact, a mistake. If it’s not a mistake, I’m going to ask him if he wants it to be a mistake. Because I could totally be a groupie for his band “Slam One Down”.

So since I am doing PR for “Slam one Down”, I’m just gonna go out on a limb here and do a little shameless PR for Laurie, Inc. If you are single, tall and interested, go ahead and email me.

If not- no worries, I have plenty of other bad dates to write blogs about.

I had a cute date the other night. We’ll call him Guiseppe. (Because that really is his name.) He was such a cutie. A little short for my taste, but that’s okay. His parents are off-the-boat Italian, the type of Italians who make wine in their basement. (They do not stomp on the grapes with their feet though, because I asked him that question too...) He was so sweet; we had tapas and sangria and then coffee. We walked around West Village for the evening and laughed and had great conversation. Guiseppe lives in Westchester, so he had driven into the city. He took me home. I think it was a pretty good date for the most part. When he dropped me off, he took one look at my neighborhood and jokingly asked me if I own a gun. “I prefer knives,” I told him.

Which leads me to an important point: it is wayyyyy too difficult to date men who don’t live in the city. People from New Jersey, Westchester, Long Island, and Connecticut. Maybe, just maybe it could work if they live in one of those places and WORK in the city, because then they get the lifestyle to a degree... But otherwise they just don’t get the customs of Manhattan. (Whoa- I just re-read what I wrote and I sound like such a snob, but that's not my intent- I am not in any way, shape, nor form passing judgement on these men, I am strictly speaking in terms of convenience.)

Yes, my neighborhood can look a little dicey at night. Yes, you have to park on the street, not a garage like you have in White Plains or Short Hills or Darian. NO, I don’t have an elevator in my building. Five flights. No central air. No dishwasher. I send my laundry out to be cleaned. The stores on my block board up their doors after 9 PM and there are sometimes hoodlums lingering on the corner. It’s not the glamorous lifestyle. It’s Manhattan on the salary of a single person who works in higher education. It is what it is.

I also hate when you tell someone 23rd and 9th and you need to google map it for them. People who live in the city know exactly where to go, what train to take, and approximately how long it will take to get there when we meet. I can also throw in “northeast corner of the street” and they even understand which stairwell to use when exiting the subway station so as to end up on the northeast corner, as opposed to having to cross the street from the southwest corner. It is just so much easier to date city people. Plus, on top of that if it doesn’t work out, I feel bad that they took the time and effort to pay the $8 toll to cross a bridge or tunnel and find parking in the big bad Skyscraper National Park, that I call home.

But at the rate I’m going, I can’t be too choosy…... strike that- actually, I can be, because I’m not in any sort of race. I just date for fun and if something comes of it, that’s even better. At one point in my life, maybe like 5 years ago I put a lot of pressure on myself. I would have 10 dates a week. Two dates on some nights! One for coffee, one for cocktails. It was so stressful. I would run from Chelsea to the Upper East Side in a matter of minutes. I never really met anyone who became serious using that method. Maybe they noticed that I was too harried. Maybe I was too busy trying to keep them all straight, that I just confused them and myself in the process. Whatever it was, it just didn’t fly. There were like 8 Johns. I gave them all nicknames. John from Brooklyn. John with the green eyes. John the tall one. John the Baptist….just kidding on that last one, but nonetheless they all had a nickname. And I think it further confused them when I started to CALL them their nicknames. Ay yi yi.

Last week I had another date with another guy we’ll call Brad. (That’s NOT his real name, but this one might actually work out, so I have to speak in code.) Brad is tall and has these hazel eyes that melt me. Caramel colored skin (he is a mix of ethnicities) and a tall athletic build (he played college basketball). We just had coffee for Date #1, and Date #2 is in the works. **Sidenote- a lot of first dates never lead to date 2. We just fade each other out, although sometimes I try to fade them out and they won’t leave me alone. But that is a blog in and of itself- a blog about crazy guys who won’t go away. So anyhow, Brad is hot and we are not fading each other out of the picture. Brad and I have spent every day since our coffee date texting back and forth. Brad is visiting his mother this weekend and he told me he’s going to show her my photo. This is serious. Very serious. I hope he becomes my husband.

So here is my ideal first date (which should really happen no more than twice per week): We meet for a drink after work. On some arbitrary night, like a Tuesday when it’s quiet and we can hear each other talk in the venue of choice. The guy picks the venue and we agree upon a time. I am perfectly capable of picking a good venue, but I like men who take some initiative to do it! The venue should be a cozy, loungey type of space, maybe dimmed lights with lighted tapers on each table.

Perhaps in the East Village or SoHo where these venues run aplenty. We’ll have no more than 2 drinks, because after two drinks, my judgement is impaired and I may think I like the date more than I actually do. (Been there.) On this date we will possibly pick at some appetizers. Finger food. Nothing too messy. We’ll have a great conversation and laugh the entire time. Maybe he’ll gently touch my arm when we’re talking or wink at me when he says something clever. After our no-more-than-two drinks we’ll walk around the neighborhood and peer into cute little shops. Maybe stop into a coffee shop. Then we’ll walk to the train together and part ways with a kiss. Not a big-blown-out-sweep-me-off-my-feet-kiss though. Just a regular kiss. Save the big kisses for the next date. Then he’ll text me when he gets home to tell me how much fun he had. We’ll plan Date #2 within the week. Pure bliss. That sounds perfect to me.

I really need to do another blog about all the bad, crazy, and psycho dates I've had. This one is just getting too long.

So there you have it. A glimpse into my world when it comes to dating. I honestly hope I never have to write blogs about a bad date again. I am ready for the next step, I am ready to write a blog about a bad marriage instead. (Kidding!)

So before I published this blog, I went ahead and researched date palms a little more. Date palms can take 4 to 7 years after planting before they will bear fruit, and produce viable yields for commercial harvest between 7 to 10 years. Mature date palms can produce 176–264 pounds of dates per harvest season, although they do not all ripen at the same time so several harvests are required. In order to get fruit of marketable quality, the bunches of dates must be bagged or covered before ripening so that the remaining fruits grow larger and are protected from weather & pests such as birds.

Wow! This is a great metaphor for dating. I love it. Although I started dating more like 14 to 17 years ago, not 4 to 7. So I am more than ready for some ripe and viable fruit. “Several harvests are required”? Ain’t that the truth! And I especially love the last part: Dates must be bagged or covered…..hmm….no comment on that part, but it sounds like good advice to me.