Tag Archives: flirtation

“Ah, Gur-url! (Inhale.) Girl, Gur-url!”

“There are no events but thoughts and the heart’s hard turning, the heart’s slow learning where to love and whom.  The rest is merely gossip, and the tales for other times.” —

Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm 

He was young — oh, so young! — but not convoluted at all, which is a rarity in itself.  He sat with his body turned toward me at a 45-degree angle, playing with the ice cubes on the bottom of his tall glass; but never letting go of me, with his eyes.

“What are you drinking?” he started up.  I could feel it with my skin cells:  The kid was NOT into chatter much.  He actually wanted to know.

“Um,” I chuckled and looked at my ice-less glass.  “Tomato juice.”

And I nodded.  I am not a barfly, mostly for that very same reason:  I don’t drink.  So, I nodded while bracing myself for the irony some tipsy idiot was about to point out.

The kid picked-up my glass and he sniffed it.

That scene!  It reminded me of that scene, in a quirky film about doomed love:  She asks him for a piece of chicken, and without his answer, takes it.  Just like that!  She reaches over and takes a chicken leg from his paper plate; and he is immediately disarmed at her lack of pretense and the intimacy at which he’d had to do no work, whatsoever.

The kid put down my glass, exactly into the water ring it had marked on my bev nap earlier.  Then, he nodded and pouted with his lower lip:

“That’s cool!” he said, without showing me his version of a deprecating smirk.

My self-defense was unnecessary, here; and all the jokes at my own expense popped, like soap bubbles on a child’s palm.

I had been approached by men at bars before (and I had been approached by women, as well).  Most of the time, with their courage slightly loosened by liquor, they negotiate their desire immediately.  But they’re never drunk enough to say it bluntly:

“I want your sex,” for instance.

Or:

“I just want to fuck around, for bit.  Is that okay?”

Instead, they loom, while flirting clumsily and waiting for me to bite the bait.  It’s amusing, most of the time, to observe the habit of other people to get in their own way.  (It’s also the reason I don’t drink:  I like to watch, instead.  That; and the fact that my sober tendencies of getting in MY own way — are already quite sufficient; and I needn’t be drunk to get a clearer look at myself.)

Soon enough though, the men get distracted:  Their drunken charm refuses to work on me.  What they don’t realize is that their honesty might’ve gotten them a lot more.

Eventually, they move on though — to someone easier, I suppose.  But while they loom, my drunken courtiers sneak peaks at other barflies — and butterflies — with whom their charm wouldn’t happen in vain.  They’re always pretty, those other girls, and more willing, perhaps.  So, I let the men move on quickly:

“Go loom elsewhere, honey.  It’s okay.  Really.”

But this kid:  He was different.  He would study the other women openly, and sometimes, at my own direction.

“SHE — is gorgeous!” I’d mutter into my thin straw; and so, he would look, in silence.

What was he looking at, I would wonder?  Was it the silky shimmer of her brown shoulders?  Was it the beauty mark revealed by a backless dress?  The curvature of her rear?  The endlessness of her naked legs leading up to heaven?

What was it like to be so young — and to want so much?  

So, he would look at the other women, but then return to me — always.  He was one of those:  The type that tended to hit things right on the nose.  He would ask me questions that would make me shift in my seat; and under his examination, I, too, began studying the girl in a wraparound dress with no underwear lines, anywhere along her body.  I was studying — me.

I surprised myself when I asked him about his mother.  I could feel her, distances away, praying that her son was under the care of only good people.  Only good women.  She would have a confident face, I imagined, just like her son’s:  With no ticks to betray her habit of getting in her own way.  I couldn’t possibly know the extent of her courage yet; what it was like to let her child leave her watch.  But I was pretty sure that if I were a mother, I too would hope — and I too would pray! — for the goodness of other people.  Of other good women.

He spoke of her willingly.  It was unlikely for a young man to be aware of the sacrifice a mother must make.  But this kid — this young man — understood the courage of a woman’s heart:  The courage it took — to be a good one!

“I’m not sure what it is…” he would say to me later.  “I’m not sure what it is — about you.”

His hands would be steady:  They knew the common crevices along a woman’s body; but he had yet to learn the specificity of mine.

“It’s just sex,” I’d tell him, “and that’s okay.  Really.” And I would cradle his head, brush his hair and soothe his eyelids.

He was under a care of one good woman.  And the good woman, waiting, praying for him from distances away, had absolutely nothing to worry about, that night.

“Big Black Boots. Long Brown Hair…”

“The definition of growing up is that you are supposed to get better at tolerating ambiguity.” — Jeff Tweedy

Oh, but we always know what we’re doing, don’t we, ladies?  Between the hair flipping, and the chin tilting; and the swoon-worthy flutter of our lashes; the sway of our hips and the elongating devices for our legs; the belts, the garters, the built-in bustiers:  Oh, how deadly our choices can be!

Karina Lombard

The curvature of our breasts and the narrowing slide of our waistlines rarely fails, especially if we get enough tools to accentuate the details.  The mere apothecary of our perfume-infused lotions and bottled scents is enough to send a man spinning into a life-long addiction.  Most of us are soft to the touch; and sometimes, our skin shimmers in the light.  And when the skills come out, what is a man to do?

We know exactly how to announce our availability — or the possibility of that availability.  And even if that availability is a mere illusion, the attention it receives sometimes is a sufficient reward — for all the above mentioned troubles.

We don’t always know why we are doing it.  Some of us do it for the money, in those jobs that hire us for the tricks.  Others do it for money in a one-on-one basis with their male victim of choice.

But I’ve known some of those girls who thrive on the male interest alone.  Fuck it, I’ve BEEN — one of those girls!

One of those girls who would approach every male as a conquest, leading him on for just long enough to not diminish his manhood.

One of those girls who would quickly confuse sex for love.  But sex — is just sex:  When done correctly, it can be quite wonderful; but it CANNOT be confused for anything else.

One of those girls who would feel “used” or “empty”; or god forbid, “lonely”, after all of it was tried and settled; and she would quickly suffer the consequences of her self-delusion via shame and loathing.

And I have also known those girls who always prefer the company of men.  It validates them.  So, they amputate themselves from the rest of their gender.  And it’s painstaking to watch a woman of such great insecurity navigate her way through a man’s world.  One of those girls — I have never been, so I don’t really catch their drift. But, god bless ‘em, anyway!

I was pontificating all of that the other night, as I was waiting to yield onto Hollywood Boulevard and get the hell outta dodge, on a Friday night.  It was a tricky spot located at the curb of one busy 7-Eleven.  There, you gotta deal with all the stray drivers making their stops for all kinds of irrational calls of nature.  The parking lot of the joint opens directly into a lane that merges with the 101.  So, any sucker like me — trying to make it into the second lane — better possess a vocabulary of telepathic stares and classical-conductor-like gestures, in order to bypass the other baffled and irritated drivers trying to make their way onto the fucking freeway.  And we’ve all got less than half a block to get to our lane of choice.

The clock was nearing midnight, and the entire process was slowed down by the traffic on the opposite side of the street where a newly opened club’s parking lot was swallowing and spitting out expensive cars on a second-by-second basis.  The penguin uniforms of the valets were slipping in between traffic, on both sides of the street; and the cars kept on coming out of the 101 off-ramp and taking their place in the miserable congestion.  The rules didn’t seem to apply to that particular demographic of drivers, and every once in a while we would be made privy to some impressive U-turns and parking tricks.

The head of a giant, spinning spotlight machine was happening in the background of all that circus.  For a few minutes there, I was mesmerized; and a honk by a middle-aged man in a rickety Honda got my attention:  He was waving me in while granting me one of those same telepathic gazes.

Immediately, I

–  nodded,

–  waved,

–  and merged.

(Oh, and then, I waved again, in between my two seats, to make sure — that she was sure — that I was very grateful.)

Now, trying to bypass the freeway traffic, I turned on my left blinker and began waiting for someone else to let me enter into the middle lane.  But the sight of two honeys trying to cross ahead diverted the best of my attention again.

They were both tall, brown and gorgeous.  One was wearing a flowing baby-doll dress of canary yellow (and I respect any woman who can pull off that color).  But regardless of her appeal, it was her girlfriend that I could not stop watching:  In a skin-tight little black dress that barely covered her glorious behind, she was trying to lead the way, in a pair of transparent stripper heels.  A couple of times, she would step off the curb into the merging lane and attempt to make her way across.  But after a few more steps, she would get scared and scurry back to the curb, while pulling down the non-existent bottom of her dress to cover the spillage of the ass.

I got awoken by a honk on my left:  A kind woman in a black Land Rover was waving me in.  I wondered if I was the only one spacing out on the girls.  Perhaps, their choice of attire failed to seduce the rest of the angry Hollywood drivers; and I as began navigating at a much more favorable speed, I wished them better luck for the rest of the night.

But I also felt grateful:  for having grown out of being — one of those girls.  For giving up on this chronic dance of ambiguous seduction and promises that can be prolonged enough — to be broken or misconstrued.  For learning how to sit and live in my own perfectly soft skin.  For knowing how to hold the ground with my womanhood that finally had absolutely nothing to prove.

Yet still, I couldn’t stop thinking — about those girls.

“Don’t Go Home With Your Hard-On!”

the best of you

I like more than you think.

the others don’t count

Charles Bukowski, One for the Shoeshine Man

“Do you know which word you say the most?” he said.

“Oh here we go,” I thought.  “Another one, trying so hard.  SO hard!  Why can’t he just let me be?”

But he didn’t wait for my answer:  “Grateful!” he said.

I hummed, surprised: I guess I’ve never learned how to receive a compliment.  

I’ve always had the skill to listen, you bet cha; and to admire them, pro bono.  And over the years, after enough cynicism (which I camouflage with my wit), I’ve even learned to rebut their self-serving inquiries, with unexpected grace.

So, when they say:  “So, what do you do for a living?”  

I read:  “I need a shortcut to your character.”

They hear my accent and too quickly spit out:  “Do you like it better here or over there?”  (Some even dare to over-enunciate.)

This one, I’ve learned to back-up with a comedic routine because no one wants to sit through my nostalgia or watch the ruins of an immigrant’s life.  They want me to be “grateful”.

“How old are you?” they say; then startle themselves, linger to recover and quickly add, “…if I may ask?”

For years, I’ve watched other women get coquettish or cutely offended by that question, some acting more sincerely than others.  And I would often lose my own hard-on, on behalf of the poor suckers who still had to shag them, eventually.  And I’ve tried that coquettish act myself:  It reminded me of waiting for my motha in Soviet hair salons while trying on lice-infected wigs.  Contagious — but what a fucking act!  And how boring!  

So, I always tell them my age instead — straight out, hard! — because whether it’s enough or not enough, it has most likely already been determined.  Or, it’s in the works.

No matter how habitual, how well-practiced their routine, when they look at me for the first time, there is a glimmer of curiosity.  Perhaps, they are relieved that they don’t have to hide their gazes any more (or their hard-ons):  They’ve already spoken, so they’ve gone beyond creepy.  So, they soak me up, scanning my modest endowments.  Some lick their lips.  Others just smile like 7-year-olds in love with their preschool teachers.  (Oh, you darling darlings:  How I adore you!)

And before they begin comparing me to others — for I know no man who hasn’t been changed by “that one woman” — I let them look.  I revel in it.  

Oh, how I wish there were a way to have this electricity of the initial attraction last!  To last past the mundane habit of hearing them pee with open bathroom doors; and past their own disappointments in my inabilities to live up to “that one woman”.

And when they look, men tend to need more time.  They don’t have the lightening-speed askance of a woman who scans a suitor while simultaneously going over her own list of prerequisites.

“Check, check, check,” a girl is always thinking.  (Trust me, I know:  I do it all the time.)

But men are not like that.  They either go with their gut or they go with their habit.  Those who are gutsier, will ask you an unusual question:

“Those earrings:  Where are they from?”

Or:  “You aren’t from around here, huh?”

(I prefer for them to be surprising.  Always.  It gives me a hard-on.  Or for me, to be surprisingly interesting — to them.)

The simpler types — God bless ‘em!  Really! — they always speak in quotations; and I often wonder how many back-up choices they’ve already earned on their speed dial that night, with that same routine.  What chaos, I think; but somehow I don’t mind it.  Most likely, they’ll soon get distracted anyway — and let me be.

“If beauty were a minute — you’d be an hour.”  (Oh, c’mon:  Why don’t you mind my laughing at you?)

“I like perfection,” another threatened me recently, while whipping out his phone; because his arrogance must work like a charm on other women.

“Is that why you’re talking to me?” I responded.  (What did I tell ya?  I’ve learned to rebut, you bet cha.  But still, I prefer to be surprised.)

“Are you gonna make me chase you?” another one commented on my impressive stunts in heels; and even though I’d outrun him, sooner or later, he decided to follow me for a long enough to get my number.

“Yep.”  (Don’t you know you aren’t supposed to waste your breath in marathons, buddy?)

But those who stick around for the first date usually tend to take their time figuring me out.  They study me, like an ancient spiritual text, of no particular religion.  They shuffle through universal concepts and bigger theories.

Like that adorable one, catching me off-guard with my own speech tick of “grateful”.  The entire night, he’s been wanting to play the tug-o-war of “You, Me, You, Me.  Me, Again.”  He was young and ambitious, quite contagious and still altruistic.  He was so beautiful to look at, in the way that only the young can be.  And in those moments of his trying so hard to like me — or to be like me; to get the gist of it all, to figure it all out; to stand on his own, but then dive into his empathy head first; to equate me, please me, surprise me; to make me laugh, to make me vulnerable; to get me; to earn me:  I found myself grateful, indeed.

Because I knew better than to hold onto him:  No one lasts.  Or they haven’t lasted so far, and I can’t expect them to.  But I can expect them — to be.  I can let them be, just as they are.  

And because, for a change, someone was letting me be as well, I suddenly felt surprised — at my own magnificence — and I wanted so much to return the favor!  

And yes, I already knew that the electricity of the initial encounter wouldn’t last, but I reveled in it, if only for that night.  But secretly, I began harboring a glimmer of hope that maybe it was my turn — to be “that one woman”.   

Welcome to Hollywood! What’s YOUR Trip?

“How is it out there?”  I got a text from a long lost comrade, on the East Coast of my youth.

It came in between my feverish dreams on behalf of the girl next door with a terrible cough; and another girl, also sort of next door (more like behind the door diagonally across the hall from mine), who insists on slamming that fucking thing every time she leaves or returns to the premises.  (And considering that the girl behind the diagonal door is a new starlet in Hollyweird, she comes and goes quite a bit.  I also presume she must be quite forgetful, ‘cause that door usually gets slammed a dozen times before the joint returns to its habitual silence.  All that noise — from one little girl!)

Oh, and then it was one those fire drill days in my building; and once I returned to my heavy, sweaty dreams — after the new starlet finished her door slamming for that portion of the day — off it went:  A horrific sound of metal on metal, meant to save the living and to wake the dead!

I reached for my earplugs.  Normally, I sport those if going to bed after midnight:  when the ghetto birds come out to cruise my ‘hood and wake up the girl next door — and her terrible cough.  But yesterday morning, I was meant to sleep in.  (I had been awake for half the night, every night of this week, due to a heartbreak-related insomnia.  FUCK.)  Except:  I forgot to read the memo plastered on the door of our garage earlier in the week.

“Probably another filming notice,” I dismissed it at the time.

But the memo multiplied like an occasional stampede by rodents; and by the morning, it appeared on every door of the joint.  When the drill when off, I stumbled out of my apartment into the corridor, with purple earplugs ‘n’ all:

“Is there smoke?”  I thought, trying to remember where I used my laptop last, before finally falling asleep:  ‘cause that’s the only thing that was worth rescuing.  “If there is no smoke, I’m going back to bed!”

“Dear Tenants!”  I first read the paper on the diagonal door before noticing my own copy.  I skimmed over it.

“Cocksuckers!” I thought.  So much for sleeping in!

I closed the door, jammed in my purple earplugs further and went to the fridge.  That’s where I keep my coffee, you see, and anything else that I would hate to see be invaded by a stampede of rodents.  Top shelf:  Hemp milk, honey…  FUCK:  I’m out of coffee!  Totally forgot!  Must get to Trader Joe’s today, but:  FUCK.

I got out a gypsy skirt, utilized it as a dress, took the stairs, stepped outside:  Lovely.  Perhaps not really a beach day, but still:  Lovely!  I took out my purple earplugs and walked to the 7-Eleven on the corner.  Behind it, a construction that’s been going on for over a year was starting to look like a building, not a skeleton of steel beams, and plastic, and fiber glass.

“Afternoon, m’am,” a bearded man in an orange helmet grinned at me in the parking lot of the 7-Eleven.  These guys are awesome:  construction men who are often warn their invasion of an neighborhood with signs like “Caution:  Men Working”,  “Men Working Above”, “Caution!  Men!”

“Afternoon?” I responded.  What frigging time WAS it?  Come to think of it, that fire drill memo did mention 12 noon.

Armed with my watered-down coffee, I rushed back to my apartment.  Sure enough:  12-fucking-30!  FUCK.  I gotta publish!  The horrific sound of the drill made me consider visiting some coffee shop at a walking distance, but then you never know with those, in Hollyweird:  Some lonely exhibitionist may always impede on my work there, and then I’ll need my purple earplugs again.  I got to work.

After a typical three-hour session which sometimes feels like a catharsis, and other times — like a mean constipation — I finally got around to returning my messages.  There was a semi-flirtation by an old lover.  Cute.  Then, there was the request to take a raincheck on a date from a player I just met.  An actor.  Of course:  What was I thinking?  Two lines were sent to the old lover, one — to the actor.

“How is it out there?”  I reread the text from my long lost comrade.

Right.  What to say to that one?  I stumbled around the apartment for a little longer (the fire drill was finally over), and decided to do a little research on behalf of my curious witness, on the East Coast of my youth.  Because I’ve been out here a bit too long, to be easily impressed to give him the answer he may want to hear; so I thought:  Why not take a little walk while running errands?

First stop:  The bank.

“I’m SO glad there is no racism out here!” 

As soon as I stepped in, I overhead a white woman do her spiel in front of two clerks, in the lobby.

“Right, right, right,” one of them was responding.

They didn’t have a choice but to listen to her.  None of us did.  I began testing those dinky pens with strings, just so I could sign my checks.  Apparently, she had just returned from Paris and was “shocked” — “SHOCKED!” — by the state of the racial affairs over there.

“I tell you:  This is exactly why Los Angeles — is the best place on the planet!” 

I looked over at the African American security guard by the door:  Was he as uncomfortable as me?

“Right, right, right…”

The white woman was finally marching out, laughing at her own joke, seemingly relieved (had she just fulfilled some civic duty?); and as she passed the security guard — now holding her door — she ignored the courtesy to thank him.  Oh goodness!  I was already craving to get back to my apartment.

But:  FUCK!  I’m out of coffee!  And didn’t they just build a new TJ’s around here?  I decided to walk around a lil’ more.

“How YOU doin’ today, mami?” — a Chicano was smoking outside another bank I passed on my excursion.  I examined him, head to toe:  I’ve been out here a bit too long to be easily impressed.  Then, toe to head.  The head was smirking, disarmingly.

“Good,” I answered.  Fine:  I looked back and pressed my lips together (my version of a smile); then kept walking.

“Nice poom-poom!” he hollered before I disappeared behind the sliding doors of TJ’s.  And how would HE know?!  FUCK.

Screw it!  Quickly, I picked up my staples:  I’m pro.  A woman on mission.  Besides:  The inside my apartment was starting to feel very tempting.  

Ahead of me in line, a young mother was venting to the cashier:

“My son was beating up a boy over these seaweed snacks!  And I was like:  You’re in kindergarden!”

The cashier smiled uncomfortably while stuffing her bags with what looked like a month’s supply of seaweed.  The young mother looked back at me for some better sympathy.  I pressed my lips together.

“I mean:  This is what the children in Hollywood fight over!  Seaweed.”

She took her time paying, while figuring out which credit card was going to work that day; and finally settled on writing a check.  This — was gonna be a while.  I put down my items.  Scanned the shelf of Zico coconut water.  Oh!  I NEED me some of that!  I grabbed a about a month’s supply, and approached the tortured cashier.

“Rough shift?”  I said.

He pressed his lips together:  “Just another day in Hollywood.”

I packed my own bags, paid cash, took a different exit to avoid the smoking Chicano and stepped outside:  Lovely.  Perhaps not really a beach day, but still:  Lovely!  I strutted home.

Oh, but:  FUCK!  I’m out of coffee.  Totally forgot to buy some.

FUCK.

In “Da” Club

Wakin' Up, Russian Style

Good morning, comrades.  Oh, wait.  Is it afternoon?  V’s on Russian time today, after a 10-hour hibernation post a night of heavy partying that would make my gypsy ancestors very proud.  With my feet feeling non-existent because I insisted in ripping-up the dance floor for 5 hours in my 10-inch stilt-like stilettos, and my mouth dehydrated and venomous — my words are slow on the uptake.  With a cup of tepid, black, straight-up, sugarless coffee at my right hand, I’m starting my Sunday morning at half-speed.  But the tongue is heavy, just waiting for the mind to regurgitate an image or two that would unleash the words, V-ness style.

I will say this though:  Last night, I did it all in the name of research.  Oh yes, my comrades!  When I wasn’t balancing on stilts or shaking that compact, yoga-toned booty of mine to my favorite brown girl Riri, I was a student of human behavior.  The joint was dark and packed.  The male specimens were highly intoxicated and blinded by laser lights.  So, the Russian’s undercover research was conducted safely when she either slithered between the unknowing subjects or when she rested her tortured feet in the most corner booth with the messy glassware of the club’s bottle service.

In the midst of mayhem, I didn’t wonder about the motifs of my subjects’ behavior.  Instead, I jotted down their images, as if my words were photographic; and left my judgements for later.  Oh, don’t get me wrong:  I am aware that I’m an opinionated cunt.  But last night was different, for I merely observed the behavior of males.  I soaked it up because I would never be able to think up the following gems on my own:

— ASAP!  Something must to be said about the men who strut in through the front door of a club with toothpicks in their mouths!  How dare they scan a crowd of beautiful women for their prey when there is an actual object sticking out of their teeth?  Or what about the type that after ordering his drink from a gorgeous bartender, pays his tab, picks-up the rocks glass — and sticks his gum underneath the counter?  Classy move, buddy.  No matter how discretely he can conduct this disgusting habit, something tells me:  The man has never flipped through a single issue of GQ or Esquire — in his pathetic lifetime!

(What?  I’m not judging.  I’m just warming up my venom glands.)

— How about the defensive boy in a crocheted beige beanie hat, who otherwise would be pretty if it weren’t for the permanent sarcastic smile or too low of a cut of his V-neck?  He threw a lil’ tiff with the giant bouncer who’s asked him — quietly, yet forcefully — to keep the pathway clear.  The man of service was doing his job, while this boy-child (who better grow out of his hippie fashion sense if he’s at all interested in joining America’s workforce) held up the traffic and pouted at the fact that he wasn’t being courted properly.

(V — movin’ on!)

—  The fat boy, loud and utterly unattractive in his insecurity, who so obviously compensated for his shortcomings with a repertoire of behaviors that would look much cooler on him if he weren’t 1.  white and 2.  so chubby.  I mean:  Why the gangsta handshakes and the bad-ass chest pumps with your buddies if you can’t even keep your face straight or your drink unspilled? ‘S okay, we all know who you are:  You’re the Seth Green type.  So:  be that! Be the nerdy, chubby nice guy who is smarter than his non-Jewish friends — and better educated — and in about a decade will be making twice, or thrice the dough.  I promise:  There are girls who dig that!  Oi vey.

(Mkay.  So, I am judging.  I can’t help it — I’m a cunt!)

—  Hello, Mr. Short Guy!  Why are you hiding inside that oversized, buttoned-up up to your Adam’s Apple shirt and your vintage hat pulled down to your earlobes?  If you must be funky — embrace it.  Find some comfort in your physical traits — select better complimentary clothing for your body type — and chill. I can see the potential:  you are quite magnificent, past the bullshit.

(Well, I’m on a roll now!)

—  The white boy who doesn’t know how to dance; neither has any sense of rhythm nor swagger:  Why do you demand my attention during the uncensored version of Enrique’s Tonight I’m Fucking YOU!?  I was just standing here, boo, perfectly content in my lack of male escort this evening.  You tap me on the shoulder — twice! — in some poorly practiced, self-invented shtick; gesture that I should keep my eyes on you during the lull post Ludacris’ bit; and when the music crescendoes, you start jiggling your white body as in a fit of epilepsy.  Truly though:  I don’t give a flying fuck if you don’t have the skill to move your body with coordination.  But please, don’t request my company or my watch!

(Watch out!  The venom’s dripping into the coffee now — straight up!)

—  You just seem sickly, sir, leaning your clammy forehead against the cold mirror.  So, I ask if you’re alright.

“Oh yeah,” you respond automatically; but when you realize you like what you see, you give me one of those How YOU Doin’? grins.  “I’m the heat of a text,” you say, demonstrating the cellular device you’ve been groping underneath the mirror.

“Well, I hope she’s cute,” I nod and turn on my stilts to start walking away.

“Not as cute as you!” you throw at me, like an ice cube against my naked back.  Oh, c’mon, honey!  Why gotta do that?  You’ve obviously got a girl — you just said so yourself.  So why do you go offending me with an assumption that I’d settle for leftovers? And the cheesy line!  Really?!  So, you’re embarrassed now, pushing yourself through a line of defensive males waiting for their turn to use the bathroom.  Why do all that?

(Where is the next victim?  I now scan my last night’s notes for a memory…)

But oh!  What’s this?  A man in a suit?! Shit.  I shut up and study.  He’s in his late 20s, standing at the diagonally opposite angle of the bar.  A headful of jet-black Indian hair.  A crisp shirt with erect collar-stays.  Not even slightly tipsy, he’s buying a beautiful girl a drink.  His gaze is sharp, and despite the absentee tie — the boo’s on point.  I swear, comrades:  It’s as if a search light came down on the playa, and I think I heard the angels sing.  An Esquire man — is always noticeable. But besides that, I bet a good suit is sold with a pair of extra balls; because no matter the man’s genetic inheritance, when well-dressed — he acts like fuckin’ George Clooney.

On that sight, I wrap up my night, my darling boys ‘n’ girls.  There is hope for the male kind yet.  If only, they’d stop seeking solutions at the bottom of a rocks glass or at the tip of a joint.  If only they had the balls to live in their own skin — to tell their authentic stories — and to dress up the rest.

Good night, my darlings.  Or is it:  Good morning?

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.