Category Archives: Courtship

Boys Will Be Boys. Thank Goodness!

Boys, boys, boys.  Men and gentlemen.  Players.  Soldiers.  There are so many of you in the world — and thank goodness for that!

You beautiful creatures that are born as our sons, then grow into our men; but then again, despite of our occasional complaints, so many of you remain our children — even as our husbands and lovers — and so many of us would NOT have it any other way!  Because when you stumble out of our beds early in the morning, scratching your bodies — youthfully supple or gracefully aging — when you clumsily rummage through our cupboards, then reach for your favorite cereal (which we’ve memorized long before learning your Social Security Number, or your mother’s birthday); when you pout, whist still barely awake and unaware of your age — you make us, women, wonder about the little boys you used to be; and in that moment, you are indeed — our sons.

And there is no higher praise to your manhood — and all the abilities, endowments, talents and skills that come with it — than when a woman chooses you to father her own child.  Because somewhere along loving you, we begin to daydream about watching that same sleepy face reappear in the cribs of our firstborns (and that pout!  oh, that pout!).  And when it is time for our children to start stumbling out of their beds, we will weep at their resemblance — to you.  It’s ALL dedicated to you! 

Because we too wonder about your teaching our sons how to throw a ball or a punch; how to shave (or whatever else you, boys, do behind those closed bathroom doors:  we love you, but we don’t really want to know); and how to choose the right socks or the right girl.  And we too desire for our daughters to worship you more than they seemingly do us; to adore you enough to look for you in their choices of men who, of course, will never be up to your standards.  (Because it’s always different with daughters:  They turn our men into pussycats.)  

You stubbly creatures of the opposite sex:  How you can break a woman’s heart with a mere aloofness or a deficit of attention; but then to build her back up with a single curious gaze that so many of you still don’t know how to execute without being unnoticed.  Please don’t ever stop giving us compliments, even if — and especially if — they won’t get you anywhere!  Don’t censor your praise of our hair, or eyes, or earrings — compliments that make you sound like an admirer of beauty, even if you haven’t figured out its source.  You often have no idea why a certain woman makes you turn your head (while hundreds of others can pass you by unnoticed).  And even if your compliment doesn’t earn you our time or phone number, please know:  It is never taken for granted.

The rougher men who have suffered through difficult lives and mean jobs:  You still have the ability to inspire a woman’s fantasy about being lifted with those capable arms of yours.  Some of us fall in love with women:  their grace and softness, and the way they manage to always smell so sweetly.  But for those of us who still adore the other gender:  It’s your physical ability — your capability to always be stronger than us, to stand taller, to be more ready — that makes us worship you until heartbreaks.  And when you do those things we needn’t know how to do (change a tire, fix a sink; negotiate with a mechanic or a cabbie; catch a fish or play the stock market), you make us feel safer.  And for that rare, fleeting sensation in life — we are forever grateful.  (A little secret though, boys:  Some of us have learned how to do those things, but we’d rather watch you take over.  Thanks.)

Those smooth players who choose to move through their lives as gentlemen:  How ever do you know where to buy a suit and when to tailor a jacket?  Who’s taught you how to be decisive about our first date’s destination and time; and how to settle the tab without making a fuss?  When do you make up your mind on whether or not you will ever wear cologne or the style of your underwear?

Your stubborn choice of your own higher standards — your substance — will continue to turn us on until the end of civilization.  Don’t ever stop getting our doors and chairs; lifting us over puddles or carrying us out of fires.  Continue to show up on time, to come through with your word (a man’s word!); to tolerate our emotions and to guard your own.  Insist on asking for our opinion on those pastel-colored Banana Republic shirts, but remain authentic to your taste (and always devoted to your collar stays!).  Know the best dry cleaners in town but don’t mind us if your dress shirt — is the only thing we want to wear while fixing you a sandwich.  Do send us flowers and hand-written notes.  Do make the first call, but allow us to keep the illusion that we — have the last word.  And the sooner you let us have the remote control, the sooner you can take us to bed.  (But you may also proceed on the couch.  Or the floor.)

And when you do undress us, fumbling with our buttons, or bra hooks, or garter belts — all too dainty for your rough, manly hands — continue to study us as if we were a work of art (perhaps, while unawarely pouting).  Or your dream car.  Or your dream girl. 

Oh, to the modest smile of Paul Newman and the intelligent squint of Robert Redford; to the swagger of George Clooney and the slight indifference of Clark Gable; to the promising ability of Steve McQueen and the effortless power of Bill Clinton; to the mastery of Obama’s self-deprecation and the reserved grace of Eastwood; to Denzel’s esteem and Jay-Z’s universal rule:  To you — we sing our odes and griefs!  To you — we give our youth and dedicate our sex.  Because no matter how many times you break our hearts, it is YOUR love that we continue to seek; and it is ONLY that love — that makes us better women.  And thank goodness for that!

(But don’t you worry:  We will always return that last favor, no matter how late in life:)

And Here’s to Me — Mrs. Robinson

Boys, boys, boys:  Mmm-hmm.

This early morn’, I took a drive through LA-LA.  Did you know it can be a pretty mofo — if you go against its traffic?  Oh, yes, it can, my kittens!

And this kitten — yours truly — somehow ended up in someone else’s cot last night.  It wasn’t planned, I swear; because in my feline fashion, no matter where my paws wander off during sunlight, they always lead me back home at the end of each day.  But when I saw the one from last night — in a tight T, which was barely holding onto its seams at his Apollonian pecs and drenched in sweat from a late night jog — I think I suffered a temporary amnesia.

Now, don’t be “yelous”, papis!  ‘Cause no matter where I rest my paws, I always report back to you, via this here rant blog.

“Last night didn’t mean anything, I swear!  You — are the only ones I truly love!”

So, here I am:  Scratching at your door.  Hellow.

I did leave him sleeping in his bed looking very pretty though, slightly disheveled and tired.  (What?!  We just played a coupla rounds of patty cake, that’s all — and I won!)  But before I left, I got sidetracked by his sleepy face:  He was frowning a little.  He must’ve been slaying dragons in his dreams.  From where I stood, his ripped back looked like that of a man.  But underneath the stubbly morning whiskers, I somehow managed to notice a little boy.

Damn my ovaries!  I swear:  Every single time I’ve fallen for a boy, they are at fault They forget, you see, the boundaries between my lovers and sons; and as if to make-up for the fact that I’ve never put ‘em to work for the sake of my own procreation, they confuse the hell outta me — and I adopt the men I love.  (Just last night, when rubbing his head on my naked breasts, I didn’t even think to remember that man’s function in my life:  He was it all, in that moment, across every category.  My son.  My baby.  My little boy — and man.  My love and my lovely.)

This maternal overcompensation must be the very reason for my recent basking in the attention of significantly younger men.  No matter where their phone numbers are collected — at some artificially manufactured playground of LA-LA or a late night dance floor packed with plenty of other specimen — when they reveal their age (24 to 26!), I have to summon the best nonchalant face I can, to not scare them off right away with my skeptical chuckle.  And considering they are always a lil’ bit defensive about those numbers, I suspect they are aware of the possible age difference.  Yet, still, they proceed.

(I am actually quite fascinated by this generation of younger American men:  They aren’t easily intimidated by older women.  

“A woman — is not a girl,” one them was trying to break it down for me the other day while nearly drooling.  (No shit, kitten!)  “She knows what she wants and how to get it.”  (Hmm.  Papi, may I?)

More over, these youngsters seem at ease when it comes to gender roles.  All of the ones to enter my own speed dial this last month make no fuss about picking up the tab or opening my doors; but are still quite comfortable when a woman turns out to be more sexually aggressive.  They all kinda smile a lil’, boyishly, while quietly answering my questions; until the tables are turned — and it’s their time to step up and be the men they so painfully desire to be.  Hmm.  A coinkydink?  Perhaps.)

This morn’, somewhere in West LA-LA, I passed a young couple hugging at a car.  I couldn’t see the boy’s face, just the back of his UCLA-gold hoody.  But I did see his girl’s face:  quite pretty and seemingly still asleep, she had her eyes closed as she rested her cheekbone against his ear.  Her strawberry blonde hair swooped down, until the boy reached over to gather it into a messy ponytail by which he gently but knowingly guided her face to his lips.  Got skills, mister?  Mmm.  Mazel tov!

And then there was the pretty creature jogging sleepily through the cozy streets of the Melrose District.  The way his joints moved was the exact reason I never mind a packed beach:  For there is something so calculated, strong and graceful in the way a man can throw a ball, or carry a surfboard (or a girl) over his shoulder.  Despite the slightly baggy clothes on the young athlete, I could see the fit body underneath.  But it was really his face — the face that reminded me of the sleeping son I left behind — that nearly brought me to tears:  There was determination in it.  Determination and clarity that hasn’t overcrowded his innocence yet.  I could tell he still knew how to dream, and his world was oh so full of possibilities.  This boy was not running from or to yet:  He was still taking his life, a sleepy leap at a time.

Somewhere closer to home, in Hollyweird’s zip code, a young hippie caught my attention.  His dirty blond hair was unbrushed, spilling out from a small ponytail in the back of his head.  Looking very Johnny Depp in Chocolat (or pre-Jolie Brad Pitt), with no bag to burden his strut, he walked along a perpetually depressing, long white wall of a local studio set.  I bet he worked in production, in a clan of gypsies — stagehands and craftsmen — who are always ever so cooler than any celebrity actor on set.  I bet my hippie had a few stories to tell:  about his personal Milky Way that led him to this Weird Land of Holly; and about the way life fell into its place, as it does in this town — but only for those with courage and discipline enough to chase it.

With his and my own reflections in my rearview mirror, I thought:  What am I to do with this new collection of young dreamers?  with all my sons?

Then, I realized there was nothing to do — but to be kind:  To cause them the least amount of disappointment and heartache.  Some would eventually act their age, get scared and return to the sandboxes better suitable for their courage.  Others would continue to demand my company as they grew into their manhood.  But I should never be the source of their suffering; because their lives — and other women, other mothers — would have enough of that in store. 

Instead, I should remain a fan of their yet unmarred beauty and youth; let them rest and leave them dreaming their morning dreams of slain dragons and new Milky Ways.  And the ones that would insist on following — well, then:  We should play another round:

I Pack and Deliver — Like UPS Trucks

“Ring-a-ding, ding.”

“Allo?”

“Hello?  Hi, gorgeous.”

“Who —  eez theze?

“Motha?  It’s me!”

“Oh!  Wha-ha-ha, ha-ha!” she laughs in that way that only my motha can; and when she does, I am willing to lose my own composure and start echoing that roaring, tear-jerking laughter of hers.  (I swear, sometimes I can hear the voices of all the women that came before her, chiming-in from the previous century, and from beyond… wherever they’ve gone.)

“Who else calls you ‘gorgeous’, silly?” — I confront.

“Eh.  People.”

Okay.  I do lose my shit here.

I’ve called the woman last night after a very valid question posed to me by one of my girls:  Why are we so horny?  My girl is one of those fearless broads who is constantly decked out in designer clothes, killer heels; who drives big, expensive cars and motorcycles while channeling her own version of Danika Patrick; and who has a few dangerous hobbies and worldly curiosities in tow — all of which she accomplishes with her own money, by the way.  (Sure, there are times when she allows her power player to pick-up the tab; but it is never out of need or manipulation, but a mere humoring of his gender.  It’s just a lil’ dance she does.)  And to wrap up that phenomenal package is the woman’s wild sexuality and the body equipped to keep up with it.

Terms “fearful” or “unsure” would never be applied to either one of us; but when together, out on the town:  Watch out!  Trouble — in heels.  She and I try not to go out hunting together too much unless in the company of other, slightly more co-dependent women who can distract us from baiting the men of our interest.  But even if we don’t step out for the purpose of bringing men home, no doubt there are plenty of phone numbers collected.  (What happens when we do need a man?  Hmm.  I can’t tell you, kittens ‘n’ babies; because we both prefer to hunt alone.  Besides:  We don’t kiss ‘n’ tell.)

These days, with plenty of aspirations and self-employment gigs to juggle, I tend to have very little time for entertainment by any man’s company.  Because you see, recently, I’ve had to embrace the fact that most employers and I — just don’t jive well.  (True, quite a few of my bosses have been distant relatives of the very Devil; but most people I know have the ability to suck it up somehow.  Apparently:  I don’t suck up.)  So, here I am:  hustling a career of a freelancer with few more stable independent contractor agreements on the side (as “stable” as those get).  Add to that not one, but three careers in the making — and I myself am starting to feel like a distant relative of the very Shiva.

A busy broad I am, that’s true, with very little leftover time for a single girl’s dating life.  Very little time — or patience.  The way I see it, nowadays, my man — better be fun.  I have to be stoked about dating him; because if it’s a drag at all — “Do svidanya, darling!”  I’m earning plenty of wrinkles due to my lack of sleep and perfecting my hustler image already.  So, to have any additional worries caused by the man I’m seeing seems utterly unnecessary, wasteful — and, forgive me, just outright wrong.

However, my vagina — begs to differ.  By the feel of it, I am thinking I’m reaching the very peak of my sexuality; because unlike most women I know (except for my personal Danika Patrick), sex crosses my mind on a daily basis.

So, what IS a single girl to do?  I’ve tried sleeping with friends:  Always a loaded idea.  I’ve entertained requesting a regular service from an ex:  A horrendous, never-again idea!  And yes, of course, I’ve attempted the whole casual sex experiment.  That’s the better idea of ‘em all; but then, someone’s ego gets involved — and we’re back to the bad idea.

The worst part of that third option (and this, I suspect, is the part that most of you, kittens ‘n’ babies, won’t like hearing) — is that being a sexually liberated woman often results in confronting a gender-related double standard.  I don’t think you need me to break this one down for you, but if I openly admit to a man that I am mostly interested in (and have time for) sex, he won’t say, “Nyet!” — but his opinion of me will drop a coupla notches.  So, what I’m confronted with these days is a concept of Casual Dating:  I do this whole dating dance for a lil’ bit (just like my Danika) until jumping under the sheets no longer seems rushed or slutty.  And when someone can’t handle it any longer — I go.

 

“Um.  Mom?”

“Da?”

“So, why AM I so horny?”

“Sank yourr grrand-mozer!”

I think what she said had somethin’ to do with her own motha — a descendent of a Belorussian gypsy.  Apparently, this lack of sexual hang-ups is a genetic thing with us (which, according to motha — is also the reason for the troubled marriages and relationships in our fam).

“Well…  Does it get easier with time?”

“Hmm.  Nyet.”  (Thanks for the honesty, motha.)  “But you won’t care as much.” 

One of the better qualities I’ve inherited from the women in our fam (from the previous century and from beyond… wherever they’ve gone) — is the responsibility we take for our own self-esteem.  No man is ever burdened with caring for us, gypsies.  But to find lovers who can accept such independence — along with our wild sexuality — has been tremendously hard, for centuries.  So, we agree to dance with them, for a lil‘ while, until someone can’t keep up.  And when the going gets hard — the gypsies go.  Yet, according to motha, instead of inheriting grudges and carrying them into the next relationship — a dance or a casual date alike — we eventually learn to shrug off our losses and to forgive.

Well then.  That sounds like a plan, gorgeous.

“Drip-Drop: There Goes a Nerdgasm”

Who be the English major around here?  I be!  I be dat!

I’m a proud lil’ nerd, my babies and kittens!  With my personal library as the only prized possession, I have traveled the world in pursuit of my smarts.

Oh, yes!  I am one of “those” — known to conduct 3-hour debates on comma positioning, who, in her younger days, once wanted to write a bloody dissertation on why em-dashes were better — or more elegant — punctuation marks than parentheses.  And don’t even get me started on e.e. cummings’ syntax and Pinter’s  ellipses!  (Okay, do get me started — but the next time you see me though.  Until then…)

For a proud nerd like V, it has been a source of endless frustration to watch the English language get chronically raped by the laziness of the general public and its beauty quite quickly diminished by the seemingly consensual desire to create shortcuts in our communication.  Well, okay!  On the one hand, technology has expanded our minds, shrunk the size of our world, and sped up the pace of our lives and professions.  But on the other hand, not only has it lowered our ability to communicate well — it has lowered our ability to communicate at all Our friendships, business relationships and love affairs are now dependent on a number of little hand devices that serve as extensions of our egos.  Facebook wall posts have replaced birthday postcards.  Instant messaging has eliminated the treasured experience of hearing a beloved voice on the other end of the phone line.  As for poetry:  It is quite quickly becoming extinct altogether.

Just last night, for instance, at a Hollywood coffee shop filled with hippies and yuppies alike, I watched an angry lil’ man build his case for a lawsuit — via an iPhone and his highly anti-social behavior committed for the sake of… well, a social interaction.  (Say whaaat?!  I KNOW.)  He first caught my attention with the speed of the click-clacking of his iPhone’s texting app which reminded me of the sound of beetles (the bugs, not the Brits).  Or of baby witches.  (Don’t ask:  It’s a Russian thing.)

When joined by his partner — a young corporate shark that despite appearing well-educated refused to adjust her volume — they began composing those texts together.  From what I overheard (I had no choice, really:  the two were so loud, they jolted the head of every focused Mac owner in the joint), some “asshole” had done them wrong and now, via the click-clacking, they were building a case against him.

“Tell him this, tell him this!” the excited young lady was hovering over her chair and pointing at the hand device as if the “asshole” was trapped inside it.  I shot her my askance glance but zero reaction followed.  She continued foaming at her mouth:  “Tell him:  We’ve got EVIDENCE!”

More click-clacking happened, at double speed.

I wondered:  When the skeletons of our era are excavated and studied by the next century’s archeologists, will they find our thumbs overdeveloped?  My second thought was that someone ought to add a Texting Man to that famous drawing of the Evolution of Man.  After all, look at how far we — and our disposable thumbs — have come!  (Now what did I tell you, babies and kittens:  I’m a total nerd!)

“He just fucked himself over!” the young lady was now so excited, she appeared to be dry-humping the edge of her coffee table.  “These texts — can be used as evidence IN COURT!”

Alas:  The Evolution of Man.

Now, as a nerd who revels in language, I’ve never been a fan texting; and only recently have I experienced the titillation of sexting (which involved shagging a much younger player than I would normally go for).  As for the abbreviated lingo invented by the generation of texting — and sexting — children, before I had a chance to say, “WTF?”:  It seemed to have been adopted by the rest of the world as a new universal language.  Shiva knows, it took me three years to start using shorthand in my own texts.  Yet, still, I refuse to “LOL”!  And “OMG”, do I cringe when getting one of those from a man!

In my experience, in this day and age, a male courtier is pretty much off the hook when it comes to composing odes for his woman.  I myself have lowered my expectations quite a bit; and although a well-composed sentence still gives me chills, I am perfectly content with getting my fill of philology from the prized — and above mentioned — personal library.  So, when a man demonstrates a lack of desire to whip out a coupla stanzas in my honor, I go to the men I can rely on:  Messieurs Baudelaire and de Saint-Exupery; Sir Keats and Lord Byron; or, if in a mood for some rougher lovin’ — Mister Bukowski or Comrade Mayakovsky.

However, a player who in his texts spews out abbreviations like a middle school student with bad acne and braces (and most likely, horrendous grades), I’m afraid — and here I speak on behalf of my vagina — I immediately lose all interest.  Yep:  The juices stop flowing.  The factory shuts down until further notice.  The ovaries start picketing.

Now, I myself have yet a lot to learn about the etiquette of texts (their duration and length or the power play of who should be the one to start or end a conversation); but I have made up my mind on the topics of my courtiers’ grammar and syntax.  It goes like this:

Grow up — and use a spellcheck!

Because there are no shortcuts to a woman’s vagina, dear sire!  (Or at least, to any self-respecting woman I know.)  So, please, my dah-ling, please:  Put a lil’ bit of effort when hunting for it.  Do utilize your disposal thumbs and spell out your words.  That way, there will be no confusion as to how you feel about me — or my vagina.

But if patience or grammar is not your strong suit — call me.  When you do, of course, you’ll have to meet a whole other set of standards; but at least you’ll save yourself the embarrassment of not living up to the linguistic standards of the dead men who knew a thing or two about vaginas, hunting and poetry; and how to utilize their thumbs in pursuit of either.

How to Take It Like a Man

The other day, en route to my bank in 90210, a man teased me on the phone:

“You gotta write about the ways of V:  all so tough at first, then turns into a pussycat!”  (That kid had seen me in action:  Years ago, I shot him down at his first approach.  But the playa was persistent, courted me, and eventually managed to hit that; but I was never able to outlive the anecdote of my arrogant brush-off.) 

On the phone, the mister began to hum, “Got a black magic woman / Got a black magic woman”; while on my end, a lightening of flashbacks from previous failed pick-ups snapped me out of the conversation. 

“I do that!”  I thought.

So many times, so many men have witnessed my Not in Your Lifetime expression, followed by the back of my head.  Sometimes, I cushion the rejection with a lie:

“I have a man, thanks,” while I know there ain’t anyone waiting for me in my bed.

But there were also situations when my rebuff was much more brutal:

“You can’t afford me—I can tell by your shoes!”

Or, my overused favorite: 

“Trust me:  You can’t handle me!”

“Don’t turn your back on me, baby,” my comrade was now getting carried away on the phone, in a one-man show, being all cute ‘n’ shit.  I hung up.  But the idea lingered:  Why do I shoot ‘em down so quickly?

I parked my wheels in a residential area and began walking.  (I am not having my brand spanking new ride get scratched up in a clusterfuck of some lame Beverly Hills parking lot—at the privilege of two bucks a minute!)  At every pedestrian crossing, I stared down at the stressed-out drivers inside their luxury rides just to make sure it was alright to get in their way that afternoon.  Most of them raised their hands in surrender:  “My bad.  Didn’t see you.”  Others rolled their eyes and jabbed their arms in a flabbergasted, passive-aggressive “Go already!”  Life unfolds at its own pace when you coexist in this desired zip code—but no one said that pace would be gentle or charitable.  Just navigating the last two blocks, I’ve lost track of my thoughts prior to all of this negotiation and attitude.

“Can you spare some change?”  A toothless homeless man brought me back to reality. 

Where he parked his actor’s chair was a money-making spot:  At the only elevator of the biggest parking lot in this darn zip code which, at a minute interval, spat out and ate up every possible demographic visiting the world-famous Drive.  So, this creature was working overtime:  granting women compliments, chatting up the suits about stocks, guiding the tourists to the biggest attractions, and tipping off the razzi on the whereabouts of lunching celebrities. 

It’s not the first time I’ve seen him here; and when I do, the main thing—is to not slow down.  Sometimes, I am strong enough to just say, “No, sorry.”  But most of the time, I fake an animated conversation on my cell phone in order to avoid being interrupted by this aggressive earner.  That afternoon, however, he had already noticed me.  So, I whipped out my retro flip phone and pretended to text ferociously.

“Can you spare a dollar?”  The toothless regular was not buying my act.  More over, he raised his price.  

I raised my gaze, barely shook my head and resumed fake-texting.

“But I love you!”—the man was relentless.  His confession was not unconditional, though; because when I ignored it and leapt off the curb to make a mad dash for the opposite side of the road, my new courtier got very upset.

“Fuckinnnn’”—(he wound up his tongue, then spat out)—“BITCH!”

I wish I could say here, “I couldn’t believe it!” my comrades; or, utterly appalled, break it down as:  “Wait a minute:  I was walking… minding my business…”  But I’m afraid that my naïveté has recently been given some shock treatment, out of which it mostly likely will not be coming out—in this lifetime.  So, I’ll confess:  I was not as much as inspired to raise my eyebrow in a sliver of surprise or disappointment at this undeserved bit of violence; for I had seen better men lash out in rejection before. 

Which must be why I prefer to pass up my courtiers’ initial offers:  It tests a man’s character.  The less aware and mature ones retract into becoming children, as if throwing fits inside a toy store during a Christmas sale.  Others demand explanations; and sometimes, via self-deprecating humor, they may win me over—but I doubt it.  The third category of men hears me out, accepts my “no” with dignity and proceeds to watch me walk away.  It is that third type that tends be best-hung; and if I don’t come back to them to test my theory first-hand (about their balls), sometimes—just sometimes!—I end up regretting my passing them up.

My verdict, dear beings of the other gender:  You must accept a woman’s choice.  She knows what she wants.  No matter how much it shrivels your balls or regresses you to being the son of your unloving mother, a woman’s “no”—is not up for a renegotiation.  If she changes her mind after the initial rebuff—all the power to her!  But it is not in the realm of your acceptable behavior to act as if you know better what’s good for her.  So, why don’t we all just man up a little—while gratefully staring a her glorious vanishing ass—deal with the embarrassment on our own (or with the help of our shrinks) and wait for the next goddess to waltz into our vicinity who just may be game for our proposition?

I’m Much Prettier — in LA

Let me paint you a picture, my comrades:

Still jet-lagged since my departure from LA-LA Land half a week ago, every ungodly hour of the morning, I’ve been treading my home ground of Man’s-Hattan on foot:  either in running shoes or 6-inch heels.  Whenever reuniting with my people here, I observed their beloved faces, blotchy-red and frozen, emerge from the ice-covered cabs or appear from behind the swamp-green gates of the Subway.  They defrosted their bodies in my embraces; their darling hands—on cups of hot water and coffee or while groping tea lights at perpetually packed bars; and injected their blood with red wine:  anything to escape the cold.

“What do you mean:  You’re walking?” they lisped when saying their goodbyes outside, droplets of their breath freezing on every syllable and hitting the pavement between us like hail.  Then, they ran for cover while I watched the City eat up their bodies.  Oh how many of my loves this Island has swallowed!  Despite the MAN in its name, this City must be a woman—a woman of exceptional beauty, with a boudoir full of addicting potions and perfumes and custom-made, designer frocks.  It took the Bitch less than 48 hours to enter my system, and before I had the chance to miss the vast real estate of the West Coast—She was in my blood stream.  So, how can I possibly blame my beloveds for committing to Her for life? 

But this morning, the temperatures dropped even more:

“How do you like me now?” the indifferent Bitch arched her eyebrow at me. 

Oh, but I do!  I do. 

This morning, while my host was still stretching her model-esque Mediterranean body in bed next to me, I took off—in my pink-and-silver running shoes and my Little-Red-Riding-Hood hat.  (In my defense, the rest of me was still clad in black!)  Past the pale and ghostly faces of the natives I jetted, still immune to the cold treatment by the Bitch.  An occasional dog-owner trotted past me, dragging his or her animal’s frozen corpse through the snow.  No other jogger was anywhere to be found.  My toes tapped along the Island’s brown skin—”I-do, I-do, I-do”—never slipping on any traps of black ice or dog shit.  I flew, utterly in love with my old flame.  Accidental pedestrians looked at me askance:  “She must insane.”  But they’re used to oddities around here, and I am finally grown-up enough to not mind being one. 

My breakfast?  A shot of nuclear, jet black espresso and a granola bar laced with dark chocolate—the pleasure of the minimum.  As I strutted down 7th Ave., I chomped down my breakfast of champions with utter satisfaction and stubborn joy.  A brown man at a bus stop faced North, and, after noticing my inconvenient intrusion on his privacy, mumbled to himself.  Oh you, another sufferer, an incident away from loosing your shit—never mind me!  I took the last mighty bite out of my bar (or rather shoved one-third of it into my mouth, smearing its chocolate on my lips and chin).      

“You’re very beautiful, ma’am,” the stranger suddenly spoke up, traces of old-fashioned grace and Southern accent reigning over his vocabulary.  This entire time, he must’ve been mumbling to me!

Startled, I covered my mouth with my mitten, and struggled to relieve my tongue from the grainy texture.  “Shank you,” I manage to say. 

The brown stranger nodded, in seemingly sincere awe, and when I passed him, said:  “Oh my god:  Beauty.”

This—was the first flirtation I’ve encountered here.  So bogged down by hard life, poor diet, lack of time and space the men of the Island appear, none have made a pass at me so far.  There’ve been a few arousing and mysterious glances from the tall, dark strangers in bars; but no phone number requests—or offers.  Even to catch a cab, my unbuttoned coat and exposed leg no longer did the trick:  I’ve had to leap under its wheels, Anna Karenina style, in order to hail one. 

(Just the other day, I’m on Lex and 45th, when the Bitch decided to jumpstart a snow flurry.

“Need a ride?” a sickly looking driver of a yellow cab asked through the rolled-down window.  I considered for a moment and nodded.  Fuck it:  Let’s party it up, even if I am only four blocks away.

“Where to?” he asked me once I situated my floor-length black coat on his back seat. 

“Broadway.  Thanks.”

His eyes, under an awning of a uni-brow, examined me in the rear-view mirror for a moment, and then he said:  “No.”

“‘Cuse me?”  I couldn’t believe the fucker!  He picked me up!

After another moment of silence and another glare, he negotiated:  “Twenty dollars then.”

Half-a-blink of an eye—and V’s new-agey, Californian pleasantries evaporated:  “Fuck you:  I’ll walk!”)

But the brown stranger this morning made me fantasize about the possibility of dating in New York again.  I’ve thought about it, and to quote the uni-browed taxi driver, I must say:  “No.”  Even though back in LA-LA, I’ve often been guilty of being that ass-hole New Yorker reminiscing about the City she left behind, I would not want to be single in Manhattan.  Besides the lack of personal space, overcrowded commute, miniscule apartments and lack of sanitary bathrooms in which to fix one’s make-up, I would not be able to put up with the competition.  By that, I don’t even mean competition with other women.  I mean:  Competition with the Island—the Bitch of my own bitter-sweet addiction.  Surviving Her is difficult enough, for either gender.  But if I had to figure out how to notice a Nice Guy in a unanimously black-clad crowd, or in an overstuffed restaurant; or how to read him past the stress lines and the furrowed brows; or how to decipher a flirtation in an innocent greeting or a rare compliment—I would most likely lose my mind.  But then, again:  I don’t mind being odd.