Paper Doll

Warning: Read at your own risk. Adult situations discussed.

Okay, so we know about Mr. Friday Night and his toe and pantyhose fetish. I did him a solid and dressed up and painted my toenails to his specifications. It wasn’t that big of a deal as far as fetishes go – not like he asked me to shear a sheep so we could screw on some real lambswool.

Another guy on OKCupid caught my eye. I was actually looking forward to chatting with him because according to the algorithm, we answered over 90% of our questions the same (or similar enough). His profile had enough funny stuff to show that he had a good sense of humor, and we had a love of the arts, board games and museums in common. Pretty promising, right? So I struck up a conversation with him, and during the course of chatting, I discovered he was a brass player. I’m going to christen him Gabriel.

Gabriel wasn’t very forthcoming with info about himself when I would ask him open-ended questions. He would give me one or two-word answers, or it would take him a long time to answer. Then he started dipping his toe into the sex pond, and he couldn’t stop talking.

At first Gabriel wanted to know if I liked to cuddle, and I answered yes. Then he started asking me about my favorite sexual acts. I informed him that I had a FetLife page and he revealed to me that he did as well, so we checked out each others’ pages. Gabriel then confessed to me that he wasn’t really single, like his profile said – he was separated, and he claimed that he was living with his parents and his wife and kids were living in the house. However, he assured me that there was no going back and that divorce was a sure thing. We talked more about our likes and dislikes, and Gabriel admitted that he had only been intimate with three women. My number is nowhere near his – I mean, I have never been married, and for the majority of my adulthood I haven’t been in a relationship. We had a chat about STDs.

Eventually we worked out a date night. At first it was on the premise of cuddling and a movie. Then it evolved into him asking if we could do certain things. Gabriel also specified what he would like me to wear – which included a skirt, pantyhose and heels. Luckily for him I had gotten two pairs of pantyhose because of Mr. Friday Night, so I could accommodate that request. I told Gabriel that if his penis was going anywhere near me, he had to tell me his last name.

The first time we got together was very nice. We did cuddle, and we both got some action. He reminded me a lot of the guy who plays Kelly Severide on the show “Chicago Fire,” though a bit beefier. When we were done messing around, we laid in bed and laughed and talked, and Gabriel did his impression of Christopher Cross/Michael McDonald/Peter Cetera, which he admitted sounded like the same guy. We discussed his frustration at not being able to find a job that matched his degree, and I offered to put some feelers out with my friends. It’s just the sort of exchange you’d expect with friends with benefits, which is what I assumed this would be, since I couldn’t go on real dates with him.

The second time he came over, Gabriel asked if I could do some very specific things he wanted to try that he had listed on his Fet page. I will just be clear and say that it was stuff he wanted me to do to him, not with him. Gabriel also asked me if I could wear a specific undergarment, and since I had it in my possession already, I obliged. He asked me if I would ever try some of the things that he wanted to, including three-or-moresomes and anal sex, and I told him I had tried them – many times – and I wouldn’t do them anymore. First, I’m not attracted to women. Second, my health problems extend to my bowels and anal sex is painful. So keep in mind that this conversation about my hard limits happened face to face. Gabriel left after what he wanted to happen happened. I gave him a smooch and told him it was okay, he’d get me the next time.

Between the second and third dates, we chatted via text a few times, but it was only late at night, and he would only talk about sex. Gabriel would ask things like, “Do you ever just walk around your apartment naked for no reason?” I told him no, it was never for no reason – usually I was changing clothes or hopping in the shower. Then he would ask me if I was playing with myself. I get weary of being asked the same questions every time a guy talks to me, so I stopped playing along – I didn’t pretend that I was doing that just to make him happy. I even reminded him a couple of times that I was a whole person, not just interested in sexual acts. I mean, for Pete’s sake, we had a lot of common interests.

For our third get-together I didn’t have to wear any specific clothing, thank goodness. We messed around (no p-in-the-v, but honestly, that’s not the only sex act as far as I am concerned), and had another talk about my hard limits. Gabriel said that the next time he came over, he thought it would be nice to just watch a movie, and I agreed.

Gabriel’s texts became further spaced out; sometimes I would send him a quick note to joke about something that popped up in the news that we had discussed. He would only text me to ask me if I was playing with myself. Then he started only asking me one word at a time: “Anal?” “FFM?” “Swallow?” My tolerance level is pretty low, especially if I have to repeat myself. I know what guys think, which is that if they ask the same question enough times, eventually they will wear us women down into agreeing to do stuff. After I said no, Gabriel had the balls to tell me that maybe I would like that stuff if I tried it – as if our numbers were reversed and I had had three partners, and he had…not three.

I finally texted him back to say, “Look, I have tried what you have listed, and I’m not going to do it.” Then I told him, “I feel like we get along well enough, but now you’re listing stuff that we have talked about that I’ve already told you that I am not interested in revisiting. I don’t want to hold you back if you want to find someone to help you check these things off your list.” Gabriel hates anything that is not “Minnesota Nice,” meaning he would have preferred me to agree to do these things to fulfill his porn-driven fantasies, or to lie to him and tell him that I would do them eventually. So Gabriel has cut off all communication to me.

My prediction for Gabriel: He and his wife are going to resume their marriage “for the sake of the kids” after he has checked everything off his list. And they’re going to hate each other.

I have been chatting with another guy from OKCupid who had actually hit me up on FetLife first. Here’s the kicker: he has a foot fetish too. So one of the first things he asked me to wear if we met is a skirt, pantyhose and heels.

My only conclusion I can come to is the reason these poor, deprived men in Minnesota crave heels and pantyhose is because it’s thirty below zero all of the time and it’s not safe to walk in heels in snow and ice. Snow boots are decidedly less sexy.

Please enjoy this song by one of my favorite singers, Rachael Yamagata. Every time a man asks me to dress up to his specifications, I feel like a paper doll.

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Netflix ‘n Chill

Minnesota is a pretty great state to live in right now. There’s lots of resources – especially in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area – and a push towards smarter and greener living. Unemployment is super low. I have forgotten what it’s like to be around nicer people (rather than worrying about being shanked), so I find myself thinking often, “Wow, that person is so nice!” Don’t worry, I know about “Minnesota Nice” – but usually I’m on the giving end of it, not the receiving end. On paper, it would appear that I wouldn’t have any trouble at all finding a match, because there are a good number of people with shared values.

However, I’m that person. I can’t go out on dates. I can’t join someone for a bike ride and a hike. I can’t say that I have to work until 6 pm, and then can we meet up for dinner later? I can’t go out on multiple dates with someone and then decide he’s not a match for me, and never have him know where I’m living in case he turns out to be stranger danger.

My only option left, really, is to tell dates they can come over to my place to, you know, watch Netflix and chill. Except every one of them thinks that I want to bang. I don’t!! It looks bad, I know. My apartment is a studio so the couch I have for visitors is in very close proximity to my queen-sized bed, so even if I told a date that I didn’t want to have sex, THERE IS MY BED, calling like a siren song.

I want to go out with men who are active and enjoy movies, wine tastings, art festivals, live theater and traveling, but those are the ones that do a crab crawl backwards away from me. Instead, I get messages on OKCupid from guys like Alex (age 28), who wrote two sentences to me, didn’t answer any of my questions, and then a week later said, “Hey, how about after work we have a lazy evening on the couch and watch shows?” I said, “You mean, ‘Netflix and chill?'” He said, “Does it sound better if I say that?” and I said, “No. I’m not interested in sextracurricular activities.”

On the flip side, someone whose junk has been up close and personal texted me a hello and asked what I was up to, then said that watching a movie sounded really nice. I asked if that was code for Netflix ‘n chill, and he said, no, he really did want to veg out and watch a movie. See? Sometimes men can act like normal human beings and not try to hump everything in sight. I’m guessing we have to put you on a 60+-hour-workweek first, though.

So, anyone wanna come over for Netflix ‘n chill, but not?

Send Up The Bat Signal

From Thursday morning until today at around noon, I was so excited. I felt this enormous surge of energy, and I wanted to do everything – go to the movies, go on job interviews, retrieve my car from where it’s being stored and drive around, go on real dates, go to Costco and buy 30 rolls of toilet paper. I felt like my old self. For 108 hours, I felt capable. I was sitting and standing and walking just like everyone else. The vertigo was still present but I wasn’t running into furniture or doorways.

The weather has been unseasonably warm, so I went on a few walks around my neighborhood for the first time since moving here. The last one this morning was to walk a few blocks to Redbox to rent a few movies. And just like that, the drooping face appeared again. As I was approaching my door, my steps became slower and slower, and all the while I was chanting to myself in my head, “No, no, please no.” I often have to try to explain the sensations to doctors and nurses who haven’t seen me before, and this is the best I have come up with: It feels like a big slab of raw steak has been laid across my forehead and left eye. The weight of it and the paralysis makes it impossible for my eyelids to stay open, and if you look closely, you’ll see my left eyebrow twitching because the nerves are misfiring or losing their connection completely when I try to move it. Everything becomes very blurry and starts swimming in front of me, kind of like what movie directors do to try to portray fainting from the viewpoint of a character. I lose depth perception and peripheral vision. I also become immediately exhausted.

I had seen my sister before I went on my walk and we were discussing the mystery of the symptoms lifting. After I got back, I had to send her a text saying, “Fuck it. Sell the car. It’s back.”

Today we talked about how this has been a really tough year. We lost our oldest sister, and then just a few days later my friend died, and now our uncle is running out of options to treat his stage IV throat cancer. My sister has health issues herself, and though she has told me numerous times that she is happy to help and that she knows this has been difficult for me too, I am fully aware that I am a burden to her. I don’t want this to be my permanent reality.

Some of my friends have gotten involved with getting in touch with people in the TV industry to see if there are news stations or shows that would be willing to feature my story. (I told one person that if I got on “Ellen,” I don’t want a car or cash, I want a doctor.) An uncle’s girlfriend is a freelance writer and we have been in contact with countless publications; I have been turned down by all of them because they want a happy ending. I am still hoping that I can get some exposure and a fire will be lit under someone qualified and knowledgeable enough to deal with this shit.

Oh, and Mr. Friday Night is done. When he was here, he asked me over and over again if he could return on Saturday for some more nookie. Late Friday afternoon, he texted me things like, “Miss me yet?” and “I’ll be back, I really like you.” I never asked him for another session, so this isn’t me baiting him to push him to say that he wants to see me again. Late Saturday afternoon I texted him asking if he was still planning on coming over, and his response was “:))))).” That was his last communication. So I sent him a text this afternoon telling him that he shouldn’t beg to come over and then act like I died – he needs to be more up front and honest with the next woman (Bye, Felipe!). It’s depressing that he got any of my good hours. Fear not, though – I have been chatting with others on OKCupid and initiating them into my weird and wacky world. One guy is 14 years younger and a great conversationalist but he’s so young. I may use a cane, but I’m not comfortable with being a cougar.

As disappointing as today was, I am happy about one thing: a ghost from the past contacted me through Twitter. I’ll call him Socrates, as he is a deep-thinking man. Socrates found me just by chance when he was searching for a former client’s info, and when I saw that he was following me, I sent him a message. I have actually been trying to look him up for the past few months. Socrates and I met when he was going through an especially difficult time; his business had folded, he was nearly penniless, his family was spiteful and sucking his soul dry, and he didn’t have access to healthcare.

I enjoyed his company despite the turmoil that burdened him and seeped into our time together. Socrates is incredibly intelligent. I could actually hold conversations with him that did not center around sports or the weather. He is much more concerned with the human condition and continuously trying to improve himself and the world around him. But the one thing that broke my heart, as it always does, is hearing that I am fine to have sex with but that person isn’t going to get into a relationship with me. And Socrates gave me that speech. I can’t help but take that personally, no matter if I also realize that it’s not the right time or the right person for me. Some day I’d like for some man to tell me that all of my parts are wonderful, not just the sex parts.

So we entered into a true friends with benefits arrangement. I helped Socrates to pack up his apartment so he could move. I found a sliding fee scale clinic so that he could try to get the healthcare he so desperately needed and wanted, just so he would know that there were options. I also gave him blowjobs he rated as, “Ohmygodthatwasthebesteverthatwasaten.” Socrates was always open and vocal with me, never just saying what he thought I wanted to hear, because he values authenticity over flattery.

Our last contact (and correct me if I’m wrong, because I know you’re reading this, S.) was over email in 2007. Socrates was overwhelmed with every part of his life and not interested in communicating with anyone for the foreseeable future. I was left to wonder if he was okay and how he was surviving because the messages simply stopped.

That brings me to today, and our renewed connection. I am relieved to know that he is in fact okay, and that he has done some serious work on his soul to try to repair some of the damage and to release the parts that are past rescuing. Socrates is also married! He and his wife seem to be true partners and supportive of each other, which is the best anyone can hope for in a loving relationship. Socrates is now in a position to help me with spreading the word about this crazy disease, and I am gratefully accepting.

The Weirdness Of You

Let your freak flag fly.

The hardest thing to do is to find someone who loves your weirdness.

This week I initiated another person into FetLife. My Friday date has a pantyhose and toe fetish and before coming over, he put in very specific requests for dark red toenail polish and nude pantyhose/stockings. I asked him if he had a profile on Fet. He had to look it up! I would not be surprised if he suddenly appeared. However, his fetish does not seem to be hardcore – he enjoys other acts as well, thank goodness. Main reason: I’m not a foot model. In fact, some have called my feet “Flintstone feet,” not exactly drool-worthy. All of this week I have been soaking, scrubbing and grinding away calluses because I was very aware that these toes could end up in his mouth – and they did.

As far as fetishes go, his is pretty harmless. However, I still had to accommodate him and find pantyhose and nail polish. I didn’t give him a list of anything that I required. But so far, he has won points with me because he isn’t telling me that I’m not doing “enough” to get better, or making me feel like a loser for not being able to work or really, just leave the apartment for more than 30 minutes. He also didn’t freak out when I told him that I had to wear wigs. That one is a big one! The real test will be to see if he sticks around and/or comes back again in the near future.

Something strange is happening with my body. I’ve been dealing with these crazy symptoms since my shunt failed on April 10th, but for the past three days without changing my medications, diet or supplements, I have been able to be upright for hours. HOURS. Like a normal person. I’m still having some issues with vertigo, but the pressure isn’t so strong on my brain that my face becomes paralyzed like it usually does when I’ve been upright for 30 minutes.

I honestly don’t know if the change is because it’s not terribly hot or cold. I don’t know if it’s because the humidity is relatively low for this part of the country at this time. I don’t know if it’s because the air pressure is at a certain level and is holding steady. I don’t have a clue.

But because I don’t feel like I’m dying, I suddenly have energy – at least, I’m back at fibromyalgia-style energy. I feel guilty for not getting in my car, which is currently being stored at my sister’s house and being prepared to be sold, to go to a concert, or the library, or the grocery store. I want to go out on dates like a real person! I have even thought about working because when I have this energy zinging through me, I hate to be idle. (Honestly, that’s what gets me into trouble. I either get really vocal on Facebook or I chat up a bunch of men on OKCupid.) But I don’t know why this is happening, and I don’t know how long it’s going to last.

My reminder of that is the notice I got from Metro Mobility letting me know I am eligible to use it until May of 2019. It’s a service set up through the bus system in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area for people with disabilities who can’t use regular buses. Normally I can only take the bus if my aunt rides with me and takes care of the fare as well as keeping an eye out for our stop because I can’t see well enough. I have to ride the short bus now. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for this service. I just really like my independence and, you know, being able to see, and using this emphasizes just how handicapped I am and what I have had to give up.

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In another nod to normalcy, I just got a message on OKCupid from a guy who is seven years younger than me who claims to be “long and thick just for [me].” I did specify in my profile that I didn’t want to receive any penis pictures. At least he stuck to the rules and described it instead?? I replied and told him his DNA determined his length and girth, and has nothing to do with me.

The Broad Squad

CutBanana

The internet is a fantastic invention and I don’t know what I would do without it in my life at this point. I use it to search for rare health cases and symptoms like mine. I use it to communicate with my friends around the world. I watch movies and TV shows via four different streaming services while my laptop is propped over me at a tilt. I’m talking to you stranger dangers, for Pete’s sake.

One of the first ways the internet was initially used for “evil” was that producers and distributors suddenly realized how they could reach a much larger audience to pander their porn.

Another is that it is super, super easy to create a profile and an entire backstory for a person that is not at all based in truth.

Hulu has every episode for the show “Catfish: The TV Show,” produced and distributed by MTV. I was a fan of the movie, and now that I have loads of time on my hands, I am watching that show like I’m loading it up on an IV leading directly to my veins. The movie “Catfish” was made because a guy in his mid-20’s, Nev (pronounced “neev”) started an online romance with a woman long distance, and his brother and their friend taped the progress of his relationship. He is a good looking guy (dark hair and eyes, strong jaw, lovely constant 5 o’clock shadow), and the woman he thought he was talking to was gorgeous with caramel-colored hair and big turquoise eyes. Thought. Nev was crushed and confused when his journey that ended with him meeting this mystery person face-to-face. This is not how he imagined his fairy-tale story would end. Turns out the woman was a middle-aged housewife with special-needs kids who wanted to momentarily escape from her life.

Now Nev’s mission is to help others facing the same dilemma. People write to him because they have been carrying on long distance internet romances with someone who they aren’t sure is being truthful about their appearance, their job, their marital status, their gender, their location, their offspring, their names…you get the idea. “Catfish” is no longer a subject – it’s also a verb.

So, have you been catfished?

Internet dating sucks. I’ve said it many times and I’m sure I will again. At the very least, people don’t like to post their recent pictures, usually because their weight has changed from when they were 17. I get it – I would rather people see me at my best too. I actually haven’t taken any pictures of myself for the past few years because bed rest has not been kind. But I have never lied about my marital or relationship status, the city where I live, my age, my name, my gender, or any other item you can dream up. I don’t tell men up front that I’m bald, but those same men also don’t tell me if they have a 4″ dick that is bent at a right angle.

A good friend I’ll call Svetlana is still braving internet dating, and I am presenting you with just one of her stories with her permission. She had closed down a profile after feeling disgusted and defeated by the men who approached her, but she stayed in touch with a few, including one I’ll call Fernando. Up to this point she has not met him. Fernando had finally asked her out on a date, but Svetlana hadn’t had a chance to accept or decline; instead, she received this message:

Hello Svetlana, I am the girlfriend of Fernando and I don’t think you know anything about it. Since July I live in Germany. 10 days ago I came to his sister’s home in Skokie to visit him for a week, just yesterday I came home. I had seen in his phone and the text messages that he sent to you (unfortunately you are not the only one with who he communicate, at the same day another woman probably from Brasil because it was in Portugese language got from him a love message the same words that he said to me words that he said to me a lot of time, I know that because my friend translated it)…so sad because at that time I was with him, what he would do is ruthless,phony and disrespect. He used me just for his advantage and benefits, he needs european passport to stay legally in Europe and after that study in Amsterdam. He asked me to marry him, now I understand that he wanted just passport and then just cold bloody leave me for another woman. Now I know that he is just liar and cheater, he promised me never to hurt me because my ex boyfriend did it and he knew whats happened in the past to me. I am very angry, disappointed and upset what he did to me, everybody helped and like him cause he looks as innocent and lyal person but he is not like that…unfortunately not! I release my self from him. Why I send you this message? because I want to warn you, no woman deserves this pain. He promised me not to dating you when we stay together but I don’t want to share my life with somebody like him. So enjoy his company.”

First and foremost, Svetlana felt like this took a lot of courage for this woman to reach out to her and warn her. Svetlana has done the same thing when she has discovered men who have been lying and cheating, but sadly, she has had vitriol thrown back at her – other women calling her a slut, whore, desperate, and any other derogatory name you can think of. Second, she responded to the woman and thanked her for warning her, because she wanted nothing to do with men who conduct themselves in this manner. Third, she felt immense relief because this woman did not treat her badly, especially since she had not knowingly become one of many other women he was working on.

How would you react if someone contacted you to warn you that the person with whom you were conversing with or in a relationship with was being duplicitous or dishonest? Would you listen to them rationally, or would you call them names and try to shame them for telling the truth?

Svetlana suggested that she could send a message to Fernando saying, “You think you’re so clever, don’t you?” But really, I thought it would leave much less room for him to wiggle out of if she asked him when he’s planning on moving and who he is going to marry in order to get the proper passport. She did and then blocked him.

My wish is that women would stop buying into this theory and practice that we should compete against each other for the attention of men. Every woman Svetlana warned should have thanked her and cut off all ties to the liars rather than turn against her. I would love to start up a Broad Squad, where we take the time to research things like marital status, number of offspring, jobs, cities, etc., using our favorite tool, the internet (because I can’t very well drive around in disguise and take pictures). Then we warn each other. Then we believe what the other women are saying with proof to back it up. Look, I know we don’t want to think the man who is sticking his dick in us and saying very pretty words could possibly be saying the same to other women, but it’s time for the women to stop hating other women for the lying that men do. And it’s time for men to change their internal recordings from “that bitch messed up my plan, now I have to find new victims” to “I’m sorry, and I will never be a shit again.” Really, wouldn’t we all be happier if we were trying to be our best selves?

It’s Raining Johns

This weekend I received two random friend requests on Facebook, both men claiming to be named John. One had no friends listed, his background pic was of an army unit crouching on the ground and his individual photo was of a guy who was about 26 with full sleeve tattoos. There is nothing listed like his hometown or location, only that he is divorced. The second was of a guy who looked middle aged and had about 8 “friends,” all women, and his cover showed him getting into the European driver’s side of a luxury car. Before I accepted their friend requests I did a reverse lookup of their photos to see if they were borrowed. No hits, so I accepted, which is pretty out of character for me. Wouldn’t you know it – they both hit me up within 20 minutes of each other to introduce themselves 24 hours after I accepted their requests.

John #1 (Army): where are you from..
Me: I’m from Minnesota. My page contains a ton of info, but yours has none.
J1: who told you that my is none
wow nice to meet you, I am from Austin,Texas and I am currently stationed now in Afghanistan for peace keeping we need you prayers..
Me (cringing at the prayers reference): I have a friend in Austin. Are you Army, or Marines?
J1: Are you married and you have any kids? and what are you doing for a living……and how old are you
Me: I am not married and don’t have kids, it wasn’t my destiny this life. I’m 41.
J1: i am single divorce my ex cheated on me and i have 1 grown kid and one adopted son…….i am 42 now
Oh I see, would you like to get remarried again…?
Me: I’ve never been married.
J1: i have been in afghanistan fro 14years now
oh Okay, would you like to be in love again..?i am looking fro the right women to get in love with again ….how about you …how about you
Me: Well, the love question is a tough one. I am not sure how this brain disease is going to play out, and because it’s so rare, the doctors don’t know either.
J1: why don’t you want to be remarried again or be in love with someone again
Me: Quite frankly, I don’t know if I will ever be well enough to date again.
J1: that will never be true
Me: You are optimistic? I have had 10 surgeries in 4 years, the doctors have decided to stop operating on me for now.
J1: why dont he operating on you

Okay, at this point I’m thinking there’s a little Google Translate going on!

Me: Because all of the operations have failed to fix the problem. So are you using your Facebook page strictly to find romance?
J1: no i don’t use it
(Except for now??)
J1: i am looking fro the right women to get in love with again ….how about you …
Me: I’m not into women.
J1: why not?
Me:  I’m just not. I see tatts on your profile pic. Where have you been getting them done?
J1: there is no tatts on my profil pic

(I can see that the guy in the picture has tattoos from his shoulders all the way down to his wrists, full sleeves)
Me: I am on a laptop and can see pictures on a larger scale, it looks like you have full sleeve tatts. Is that not correct?
J1: there is not some thing like what you are saying to me
Me: I can see the top of the bicep in the picture.
J1: dont make me to be came angree with you
Me: So you don’t have tattoos?
J1: yes i have but first i did not know what you were saying..What are you looking to meet on here..?
Me: I’m not looking to meet anyone on Facebook. I’m also not doing internet dating.
J1: why
Me: I’m not well enough to date right now.
J1: why dont you want to be in love with me or any one
Me: I have to concentrate on my health right now.
J1: i no thta you have to concentrate no your health now but you can be in love wells concentrate no your health
Do you have Yahoo Messenger Id were we can get to know more about each other..?
Me: I’m sorry, I don’t use Yahoo messenger. I can’t put any energy into dating right now.
J1: Oh Okay, can you go to http://messenger.yahoo.com/ and download it now..?
I was hoping that it was lights out soon for him, since it was about midnight his time when he messaged me…if in fact he was where he said he was.
Then John #2 hit me up:
J2: Hello C____ . you have a good and nice name , i really like you so much to be your and i will like to be friend, Have interest i knowing more about you, am a nice good and honest person 49 years of age . hope to hear from you soon .
Me; Hello John, where are you from?
J2: Am from Brazil but i live in Californian
Me: I noticed you were getting in on the European side of the car in your cover photo.
J2: I took the photo when i was in England , do you like the photo
Me: It’s a great action photo.
J2: Lol … you look pretty

How old are you if i may ask ?
Me: Thanks. I’m not on Facebook to date or make hookups though, just be warned.
J2: Why do you say that ?
Me: Well, I usually don’t accept friend requests from people I don’t know because I post somewhat personal stuff.
J2: But why do you accept me , don’t you like me ?
Me: I am always open to making new friends, but there are some things I post on Facebook that people who don’t know me wouldn’t understand.
J2: I understand that so very well, i don’t get into people stuffs i just like the person you are and i am looking for friendship that’s the reason why i send the request
(Yeah, right!)
J2: Am 49 years of age  How do you see me ? But right now am in Africa for work
(Ah ha – there it is!!)
Me: What are you working on there?
J2: I work as an Contractor and right now u got a work of roads so am making it and directing am also the Supervisor.
what do you do for a living ?
Me: I am not well enough to work now. I’m not sure if I will be able to work again. I have had 10 brain surgeries.
J2: Ohh so sorry to hear that what has gone wrong with your brain ?
Me: It is a rare disease – so rare that I might be the only one with it – and none of the doctors know what it is or what to call it. They have tried 10 operations and have decided for now to stop operating.
J2: How did it go on with you ? Qhat are the observation, i think you are on good track right now and i don’t think there is something wrong with you but i may not understand please explain
Me: You mean, how did I become sick?
When I am upright, the fluid in my brain presses on the nerves that lead to my face and also puts pressure on my brain stem. My face becomes paralyzed and I can’t see, and it also makes me very dizzy and unable to walk.
J2: and how do you get along ? does that have any problem with the way you talk or send message ?
Me: I can’t drive or walk great distances. When I lay down, the fluid moves away from the nerves that it presses on, so I can see nearly perfectly again. So in order to do anything, I have to be laying down flat.
J2: i can send you some african herbs and will heal you but it’s cost
Me: lol – no thank you, no herbs necessary.
J2: You don’t believe in herbs ?
Me: That would be like throwing parsley down your clogged drain.
After that, crickets.
This just reminds me of a Family Guy episode that a friend sent me a long time ago – it has to do with a guy insisting that a few minutes with his penis would cure a woman of all of her problems. I am convinced that is the universal belief around the world.

Rubbernecking

Whenever I listen to the album “Happenstance” by Rachael Yamagata, I am reminded of a guy I dated who belonged to the big social group that I mentioned previously. We bonded over our love of all things music (with the exception of Christian, contemporary country and rap) and at the end of one date we sat in my car and listened to the album from front to back – he was impressed with the range of styles of songs included on that one disc. He was a recruiter for a small music and sound tech school. The only way I can describe his appearance is that he looked like the love child of Chris Farley and Guy Fieri; henceforth I will call him Chris Fieri. He was mostly bald and the remaining hair he had he dyed fluorescent blonde. He was outgoing and enthusiastic – sometimes without being aware of social cues. I thought it would be nice to date someone who was inherently social rather than introverted because I love to get together with various personalities and it would be great to not have to worry about him wandering off to a corner by himself.

Chris Fieri and I went on a series of dates over the course of a few months. I even made him a part of my birthday celebration, and the best gift he could have given me turned out to be absolutely fantastic camping chair that I have now used for years to go to outdoor concerts. We went to movies and dinner dates, and then joined back up with other people from the group for shows and bar outings.

One time he invited me to the Wrigley Mansion to watch his friend play a show. This friend was a guitarist and it was a great night for music; also included in the audience were a few others including the former drummer for the Gin Blossoms. At one point it was eight guys and myself in our little group. However, I could tell that this crowd ran at a different pace than I did – most of guys had well-groomed eyebrows and the same style of button-down shirts with embroidered designs over one shoulder as if they had an elaborate underlying tattoo that could not be contained by fabric alone. I am more the type that I am not constantly concerned with my appearance and can only truly relax if others around me are confident in themselves rather than overcompensating.

The Wrigley Mansion’s stage was tiny, only enough room for the guitarist and a percussionist. The Mansion’s version of packed is not your normal night club’s capacity; packed for them would be 75 bodies. As the set progressed, more of Chris Fieri’s friends showed up, including a shorter guy with a gorgeous girlfriend. The guy looked like he got into fistfights all of the time fending off his girlfriend’s admirers. The original eight guys of my group found excuses to be near her and compete to be the loudest/wittiest to get her attention. It was strange to watch because she did not give any one person attention, but instead found another guy in the bar and repeatedly turned and smiled at him while her boyfriend wasn’t looking. I kept thinking to myself, “How could Shorty be missing this??” Finally, more women made it into the bar area to check out the music. Well, Chris Fieri gave up on trying to get the one girl’s attention and went tripping after the other girls. And when I say “tripping,” I mean tripping. He launched himself at them without having a solid concept of inanimate objects like tables and bar stools that were nearby, and hooked his foot on the leg of a stool and almost did a full frontal body splat.

All of his buddies saw this too. A few of them turned to me, looking uncomfortable, and said, “I thought you two were together.” They could tell I wasn’t thrilled. After the end of the second set I was at the foot of the stairs leading up to the second floor of the bar area, and Chris Fieri came over to me and put his arms forcefully on my shoulders as if he was trying to drive my feet into the floor and sloppily kissed me. I couldn’t easily fend him off because he outweighed me by at least 150 lbs, but I did wipe my mouth with the back of my hand as soon as he was done and told him I was outta there. Immediately he went on the defensive and said, “Are you mad because I talked to other people??” I knew that trying to reason with a man who had had about five drinks too many would be a challenge, but I told him I wasn’t bothered by that, I was upset that he was trying to pick up other ladies right in front of me. Then his Chris Farley voice came out and he started bellering that everyone was talking to other girls and that he only did what everyone else was doing. So I said, “Fine, pretty sure you don’t need me here for that,” and I retrieved my car from the valet.

The next day he called me and told me the same thing – that everyone else was trying to pick up women, so he was just doing what they were doing. I told him even his friends were embarrassed by his behavior and it wasn’t my imagination. I didn’t go out with him again, even after being pushed by another group member who had taken pictures of us together and posted them on MySpace – and strangely enough, four years later again on Facebook – with the caption, “Where are these two?” I had to ask him numerous times to take down the pictures. It was obvious that Chris Fieri was trying to be “cool” like the rest of his buddies.

It’s human nature to notice attractive people around you. We are drawn to those who have perfectly symmetrical features, just as we subconsciously recognize symmetrical patterns in spider webs and leaves that grow on plants. However, the way that you handle that attraction is what sets you apart from the rest of the animals. Chris Fieri learned the hard way that it doesn’t matter if everyone else is rubbernecking; he’s not going to win points from me for tripping over furniture to chase down other women while I’m standing next to him. I can’t imagine the woman with the shorty boyfriend lasted long in their relationship either; she was obviously a trophy, and he was clearly someone to pass the time while she looked for a better option.

A fellow blogger posted thoughts this week on disconnecting from social media; she found that she was much more likely to multi-task or have online ADD, jumping from one project to another without completing one first. She also lamented the fact that she didn’t have the attention span required to read a whole book like she used to, but instead sought out short  and efficient text. How does this relate to dating rubbernecking? It’s everything. We like short paragraphs in personal ads, we cut off a date after 30 minutes if we feel zero attraction, we look at other people and mentally undress them while distractedly answering “Yes” or “No” to the dates sitting across from us.

It’s a lot harder now to not rubberneck. Our constant state of distraction is the bane of our love lives.

Poor Little Bird II: The Saga Continues

On my profile page on Fetlife, I specify that I am going through a health crisis and I can’t play in any way. I meant this to indicate that I can’t date, go to parties, go to dinners, Skype, sext, or email, because to me, all of those forms of communicating leave the door open to “playing,” even if it’s just writing a few paragraphs. It still requires effort and imagination. I still have to please the other person and try to fulfill their expectations.

This morning I woke up to an email from a guy who had cancer for decades, acknowledging that he is aware that I’m experiencing major health issues right now and explaining his personal experience being sick. Then he says that while I’m sick, we could still sext and get to know each other, and when I’m well we could meet and play.

I’m not quite sure how to process this one. On one hand, it’s still the idea of, “Oh, look, you have a broken wing. I’ll just fuck the other wing, k?” But since this is coming from someone who has been sick for all of his life minus one year, I know that he will understand what I’m dealing with. I also understand that he’s eager to jump into the dating pool because this is the first time he’ll be able to screw around cancer-free. He probably has a lot of catching up to do – as opposed to me, as I seem to have experimented more than your average bird in the decades leading up to this illness, so I don’t feel like I have been missing out.

Another factor that needs to be considered when sexting or emailing someone without meeting them first is that when you finally do meet, sometimes it kills your boner for the other person. I’m thinking about one date in particular where we became very sexually intimate over messenger, but when we met for a date, I immediately wished that I could take it all back, there was so little attraction to him. I feel like such an old lady now when I tell someone that I’m not interested in sexting. It’s simply not true – I love it – but now I think it would be best to limit it to men I actually know and want to jump, and only then if they can hold a conversation with me above and beyond “Show me your boobs.”

Side Eyes

Internet dating takes a lot of patience. It takes a lot of patience, a sense of humor, a filter, a hard candy coating, and a take no prisoners attitude.

I have had many forays into internet dating, though the concept is a lot more organized than when I first dipped my big toe into it. See, kids, first there was instant messaging on AOL. Then MSN messenger became popular. Then Yahoo messenger joined the fray. Any other programs after those big three were copycats and fleeting.

The internet used to be very difficult to navigate and very boring. I remember poking around on it circa 1991 and thinking it wasn’t at all interesting – it moved painfully slowly, and it was like reading a 102-page term paper. But only a few years later, when these messenger programs were becoming popular, pop-up ads and porn were running amok like children who only ate sugar for all of their meals. So it didn’t take long for sex and porn to work their way into conversations happening on messenger windows.

By 1996, the internet was evolving quickly. I remember how exciting it was to join chat rooms to talk about a topic and actually connect with other people in real time. From my profile, other users could tell that I was a single woman in my 20s, and within a few minutes, I would be trying to juggle upwards of 25 windows of private chats – specifically, men who were trying to hit on me. Sometimes there would be bots in the room who would automatically start a chat when someone new would join, and they would include a link for you to click; but being the savvy users that we were, the other members of the chat would send out a general warning to ignore “STACIA69” or some similar screen name because it was a bot that would send your machine a virus. Decades before textspeak, we all had to learn cute codes and acronyms. There was no DTF (down to fuck), but I’m pretty sure the original was BRB, which, depending on who you ask, either stands for “be right back” or “bathroom break.” The chat rooms I chose to enter would be based on my location; at that time, I lived in Albuquerque, so I would enter a chat for that city or state. I hadn’t dated much before moving to New Mexico, so I wasn’t exactly confident in my ability to catch anyone’s attention. Suddenly, hoards of men wanted me! They all thought I sounded cute – blonde hair, green eyes, not too tall or short. If I felt like we could have conversations lasting more than two minutes before a guy started talking about banging, I’d go out with him. BAM! Internet dating.

Fast forward to 2003, after two live-in boyfriends: I relocated to a city where I didn’t know one single person. By this time, there were a few very popular sites set up specifically for dating, including eHarmony (which was heavily running ads on TV) and LavaLife. I tried to take the free eHarmony quiz, and at the very end of it, I wasn’t completely turned down, but I did get a message saying “Only 3% of the male population would be interested in dating you. Bear with us, it may take a few weeks to find someone who would be a match.” I joined LavaLife instead. I think they had categories available for people to choose broken down into “Dating,” “Long-Term Relationship” and “Just Sex” or something like that. I quickly found out that it didn’t matter which category you designated – the men would hunt you down for just sex. I remember that I went on a few dates with a guy who was a chauffeur, and I wasn’t feeling especially connected or attracted to him, but we were having an okay time – or so I thought. At the end of our third date, he turned to me, exasperated, and said, “So are we going to fuck or what?” I chose the “or what” and that was the end of that. Another guy that I started talking to through the site was in Italy (Yay! Very exciting!), and we started talking on Yahoo messenger. I think it was only five minutes into the conversation when he started sending me buzzes to try to get my attention because I wasn’t answering fast enough, then he told me he didn’t want me talking to any other men. To clarify, I wasn’t allowed to smile at or even look at other men, even if it was a guy ringing up my groceries. BAM! Internet stalker.

Around 2005, Match.com and PlentyofFish.com entered the picture. At that time, both were very rudimentary; Match considered you a “match” if your height/weight/age/eye color fell within the other person’s parameters, and Plenty of Fish allowed users to send emails, but that was it. It was around this time that I started singing to myself, “Shopping for men! Shopping for men!” every time I’d log on. I had become a lot more specific about what I was looking for in men, starting with their grammar – if they couldn’t formulate a complete sentence, I’d write them off and move on. I also noticed that the messages from the men on Plenty of Fish were getting more and more outrageous, so I didn’t really take anything on that site seriously, because I think all of the guys were DTF and crazy to boot.

OKCupid entered the scene around 2008 or 2009. Their contribution to the now-crowded internet dating scene was the questions. The questions ranged from “Are you looking to settle down and have children?” to “If you caught your husband looking at animal porn, what would you do?” You could answer as few as five questions or as many as a thousand, but the more questions you answer, the better the picture prospective dates could compile from your answers. (Of course, everyone is expected to be on the honor system and answer truthfully. You should always answer “No” if you are asked if you would do something immoral and/or hurtful, even if your instincts say that you should answer “Yes” to screwing that turtle if no one would ever find out.)

In 2011, after many starts and stops with internet dating, I was giving it another go, but sticking to the free sites – OKCupid and PlentyofFish. Surprisingly, on PlentyofFish, I had a decent conversation with a guy. We were talking about traveling and road trips and seemed to like some of the same things, but had enough diverse interests from each other that I would be able to look forward to new adventures. We talked about where to meet up in the next week. So upon waking up the next morning, imagine my surprise when I opened a message from him that was sent at 3 a.m. and it was a folder of dick and cum pictures. I replied back asking what in the hell he was thinking, because we hadn’t been talking about sex at all. He gave some lame excuse about not meaning to send them to me. I told him that shit would not fly with me, and he apologized. The next morning I woke up, and there were more dick and cum pictures, sent around 2 a.m.! I replied and asked what the fuck was going on, and he said he was a recovering alcoholic and had impulse control problems. I didn’t feel the need to stay in touch with him. (Also, just as a side note, if your dick is smaller than a thumb when it’s hard, I don’t advise sending unsolicited pictures. Warn a girl first.)

A lot of the messages I was receiving on OKCupid weren’t going anywhere either. I think I went on a handful of random dates, but nothing made it past the initial meeting. The way that I was being approached was pretty trite – almost every guy said, “What’s up?” or the bad grammar version thereof. At least when I approached men, I would find something in their profiles to talk about. One guy immediately asked me out for dinner, so I looked at his profile, which didn’t contain any information, so I next looked at the questions he answered. One theme that kept coming up was his dabbling with hard drugs, including meth, coke and heroin. I replied that I wasn’t interested and I wouldn’t date a user. His reply was, “C’mon, it’s not like I’m going to do blow off your tits. Big deal if we go out to dinner.” Yeah, buddy, still not interested in wasting an evening with you.

I swore off internet dating forever after having some bad experiences. However, now that I have relocated and reconnected with my uncle, I discovered that HE is doing internet dating. (He is also texting on a regular basis, which I blame on him having a 16-year-old son.) He found an age-appropriate girlfriend for the first time in his life – he’s in his early 60s. So of course I irrationally think, “Well, if he can do it, maybe I can try again.” Never mind the fact that I walk with a cane and have a droopy face, and most days I can’t be bothered to wear my wigs because they’re uncomfortable to lay down in…someone has to be okay with dating Quasimodo, right???

On second thought, no. I don’t want to be someone else’s internet dating story.

Been There, Had That Done to Me

For the past three hours, I have been reading all of the submissions on the “Straight White Boys Texting” Tumblr site. It’s for real. We couldn’t make this stuff up if we tried – and by “we”, I mean women. We are barraged by unsolicited sexual taunts, messages, photos, groping and slander constantly. Is it lucky or unlucky to be an attractive woman? Of course, this is a hypothetical question, because I don’t put myself solely in either category. No matter what, if you are a female, you’re going to be on the receiving end of stupidity and hatred.

Facebook has been great about allowing me to connect with people I haven’t seen in about 23 years or more. I get little glimpses into their lives, such as who is cranking out the babies, who is getting married (some even for the fourth time!), who is getting divorced, and who has left this earth – and everything mundane in between, including which recipes friends are going to try this week.

One such friend whom I haven’t seen for a few decades had many posts over a short period of time regarding his polygamous arrangement disintegrating. (By the way, he’s a self-proclaimed Christian and even posts church events he attends or pictures of the bands performing for whom he has run the sound. Polygamy isn’t just for heathens!) Both his wife and their girlfriend left him – and I have no clue as to why, because no one is going to admit how and how much they fucked up. Besides becoming “friends” on Facebook, he and I hadn’t traded any messages. Then BAM! Out of the blue, I get a message saying something to the effect of “Hi”. I answered back with a “Hi,” and then the next thing from him says, “I’m horny and lonely lol.”

Let’s break this down: 1) There’s no pretext before the declaration of horniness; 2) We’ve never previously talked about feeling lonely or horny; 3) Does the “lol” at the end of the message instantly make it a “joke” so that if I’m offended, he can just say he was joking and that it doesn’t mean anything? 4) So what??? Does he want a medal? Oh, no, wait – I know what he wants. He wants to bang, to be told he’s the best/biggest and that no one else compares, and he wants it NOW. Talking to me like a human being isn’t going to get him what he wants, obviously.

This is one of the biggest problems we face today as a society seeking social partners. Instant gratification is killing our skills. Now, males don’t want to “waste” time on such simple things like conversation – let’s get straight to the sex!! On top of that, anonymity makes it easy to throw out insults and degradation like handfuls of slimy shit. So if you’re a guy, or a man, or a boy, saying hello and then instantly wanting to know if someone is into anal sex is just like monkeys slinging around turds. Sure, if you do it 100 times, you might find someone one of those 100 times who replies back and says, “GOD YES, I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU TO ASK! NO ONE HAS EVER ASKED ME THAT BEFORE! I AM DTF RIGHT NOW!” But my guess is that she is also going to sneak into your place and cook your daughter’s pet bunny. You have no filter + she has no filter = scary crazy and shit is going to escalate quickly.

And when women turn down these handfuls of flying turds, it’s disturbing that we are instantly and consistently called bitches/sluts/whores/ugly. Is that some sort of reverse psychology, where guys think that being nasty is going to suddenly open our legs? They don’t even make the connection that if they treated us like human beings, the Holy Grail might, in fact, be attainable – they just have to not act like assholes. As soon as they do, though, that shit slams shut and the rivers of love and affection dry up instantly. It should be no great mystery. In fact, what I am saying here has been repeated thousands of times over.

Occasionally the moderator of the “Straight White Boys Texting” posts question and answer exchanges that she has received. There have been many times where she has been told that she just needs to get laid. Therein lies a specific problem, too: The perception that the penis obviously solves all ills. Running a temperature and colors are coming out of your nose? Just get laid. Your best friend died? Just get laid. Lost everything in a fire? Eat a dick, it will make you feel better.

I wish I could say to some of these guys, “Hey, I’m someone’s daughter/sister/aunt too – would you want the females in your life to be treated this way?” Sadly, I don’t feel like this is an effective way to reach them. Often their impatience and hatred of females is universal. If they had a daughter who was being treated this way, it’s more likely that he would say she deserved it or that he should teach her how to defend herself, but never would it enter into his mind that he ought to not attack women or that he should lead other males by example.