Wednesday, October 29, 2008

We're Sorry, Your Date Has Been Canceled

When I started this blog nearly two months ago, I promised myself that unlike the proprietor of the Dating at Forty blog, I would write about more than my dating escapades and various marches in the “Schmuck Parade.” And, in fact, I think that I’ve done a fairly decent job of maintaining a balance among serious, frivolous and dating posts. In part, that’s because in reality, I go on far fewer dates than the number that actually get scheduled.

A few cases in point:

Back in May, I answered Guy #1’s ad on Craigslist. The subject line was: “Why isn’t the day after Tu Bishvat Three Bishvat?” We had a pleasant enough email exchange that went on for about a week and ended with arrangements to meet at a local wine bar. The day before, I received the following email from him: ” I need to reschedule tomorrow. A client needs a meeting and tomorrow night makes the most sense. Sorry. Raincheck?” I responded thusly, “Sure, a raincheck is no problem. Just let me know when you want to reschedule.” Maybe he’s waiting for 2015?

Last month Guy #2 answered my ad on Craigslist and, as with Guy #1, we had a very nice email exchange over the course of several days. He invited me out for dinner and we agreed to meet one night the week before Rosh Hashana. That morning, he emailed me and said, “ I just got to work and found out the guy I work with had an emergency appendectomy last night. I'm going to be stuck here late this week as I'm taking off from Friday to head to Florida to see my mom and spend the Jewish holidays with her. I'll contact you when I get back. Happy New Year.” Kudos to Guy #2 for making the Big Schlep to Florida for the high holidays. Do you think that now that Simchat Torah is over and we’re about to enter Cheshvan I’ll hear from him? Me either…

One more. At the beginning of this month, I answered a Craigslist ad of Guy #3, a “DJM looking for the long term.” After a lively email exchange (where have I heard this before?!) and a few brief phone conversations, during which he sounded like a good guy, we made plans to meet for dinner last Friday. That morning, Guy #3 called to say that he wasn’t feeling well and as much as he was looking forward to dinner that evening, he would need to postpone. He definitely wanted to reschedule for one night next week, though. No problem, I told him. Feel better, I said, and give me a call when you do. It’s now the middle of “next week” and guess what? Right…nothing from Guy #3.

So, is it that these guys have the attention span of a gnat and can’t remember to follow-up? Or, is it that they have such endless choices when it comes to women that some just inevitably fall by the wayside? Or, as I’ve been arguing all along, is it that they really are schmucks and this is how they deal with the world? I can’t decide…can you?

Random Questions

My friend Anna is known for asking random questions. Sometimes she’ll stop by my office just to ask: How much conditioner do you put in your hair in the morning? Or, at lunch it might be: What does it cost you to have a shirt dry cleaned? Yesterday, she asked me what time I’m going to vote on Tuesday. There’s usually a good reason she’s asking the question, but that reason isn't always apparent at the moment.

For the last few days I’ve noticed that many of the walk/don’t walk signs in my neighborhood are malfunctioning. As the traffic barrels down Second Avenue, the sign is fine, the bold red hand admonishing pedestrians to stay put at the corner. But, as soon as the cars and cabs line up at the newly-turned red light, confusion sets in: illuminated on the sign across the street are both the bold red hand and the bright white walkie guy.

As my friend Anna might ask: Why?

Monday, October 27, 2008

My Kinda Television

Ask my friends and they’ll tell you that I’m totally out of touch with pop culture. And, they’re not wrong. I freely admit that I don’t know Brad Pitt from Sean Penn, the Coen brothers from Christian Slater, and I could no sooner identify any of them in a line-up than I could fly to the moon. The same goes for Angelina Jolie (although I do know she’s Jon Voight’s daughter), Paris Hilton, Nicole Kidman, Britney Spears and the rest. I don’t know who they are and I seem to be surviving just fine, thank you.

When I do watch television, it’s Jeopardy and re-runs of Law and Order SVU and House. For a little variety, sometimes I check out The Food Network, Without a Trace or Cold Case, but that’s about it.

This week, my options seem to have increased exponentially. RCN expanded its channel line-up and tonight, while flipping through channel after channel after channel, I happened upon St. Elsewhere and all my old “friends” at St. Eligius -- Donald Westphall, Daniel Auschlander, Mark Craig, Philip Chandler (Denzel Washington), Victor Ehrlich (Ed Begley, Jr.), Wayne Fiscus (Howie Mandel) and the rest – on American Life Television. Although Mrs. Hufnagel wasn’t in the particular episode I caught, I’m sure she’ll turn up soon enough and I’ll be waiting for her.

In the meantime, you can be sure I’ll be watching some of the other shows I've now discovered on American Life, including LA Law, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Bob Newhart Show (not to be confused with Newhart, which I never watched), as well as Lou Grant and Trapper John, M.D. I can’t wait to catch up with Grace Van Owen, Arnie Becker, Michael Kuzak, Roxanne Melman, Victor Sifuentes, Rosalind Shays, and, of course, Benny Stulwicz. From MTM and The Bob Newhart Show don’t forget about Mary, Rhoda, Lou, Murray, Ted, Sue Ann, Phyllis, Lars, and Bess, as well as Bob, Emily, Jerry, Carol, Howard and Mr. Carlin. Oh, to see Mary toss her hat again would just make my day! And Billie Newman and Rossi from Lou Grant... Trapper, Gonzo and the others from Trapper John...can't wait!

Now, if only American Life would add The Waltons and Little House to its line-up, maybe, just maybe, I’ll become a television junkie like everyone else I know…

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Drinks in the Sukkah?

A short article in today’s New York Times about the Chabad sukkah in Bryant Park confirmed that many New Yorkers, myself included, lack the outdoor space necessary for a sukkah.

It was this idea, in fact, that prompted me to post the following ad on Craigslist:

Drinks in the Sukkah? (Midtown East)

Reply to:
Date: 2008-10-14, 8:35PM EDT

It’s Sukkot, the weather’s still nice…how about drinks in the sukkah? Oh, but wait, this is Manhattan and unlike the Orthodox over in Brooklyn, I don’t have a sukkah. No matter…drinks alfresco will be just fine.

Forty-something happily DJF with no kids, manageable baggage and lots to offer the right guy is looking for a spark that might ignite into a meaningful long-term relationship with a contentedly divorced (or equally seasoned) Jewish male (45-52).

Drop me a line and perhaps we can find an outdoor garden or patio to double as a sukkah for a get-to-know-you drink or two.
In response to what I considered a creative and timely post, I received seven less-than-stellar replies:

Guy #1 wrote, and I quote, “now manhattan”

Guy #2 asked, “Do you have a picture?”

Guy #3 described his 2500 square foot roof including the view, the Pino Grigio in the wine cooler and the “incredible” spa/hot tub. Sadly, he didn’t say a word about himself.

Guy #4, thankfully, did tell me a bit about himself. However, he did so using the exact same canned response he’d sent to me on 17 previous occasions. One of the earlier ones did, in fact, evolve into a brief email exchange, but it ended when he wrote, “I will call you at the number in your last email.” Guess what didn’t happen?

Guy #5 wrote, “Hi, sorry, I'm married, but what the heck.”

Guy #6 described himself as a modern Orthodox/conservadox Long Islander, and although he may be a perfectly nice guy, my instincts tell me that he’s not the right one for me.

Guy #7, a 34-year-old lawyer, wrote that he’s sure that we’d get along well and that I should “ignore the barriers.”

If it feels as though you’ve read this post before, it’s not déjà vu…just an earlier post about incredibly similar replies to a different Craigslist ad.

In light of all of these, I think I’ll skip posting another ad for Simchat Torah. Maybe for Hanukkah…

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Up and Down Conversations

Yesterday, I had three different elevator conversations with three different guys in my building.

Conversation #1 took place as I rode up to the 15th floor after work. Guy #1, with a cup of Starbucks in each hand got on after me.

Me: What floor?
Guy #1: Seventeen, please….thanks.
Me: Mmmmm, that coffee smells good.
Guy #1: It’s the only thing that keeps me going.
Me: Yup…I hear you. I’m a student with a lot of work to do tonight. It’ll definitely be a coffee night.
Guy #1: Me too…
Me (getting off): Have a good one…take care.

* * *

Conversation #2 was a few minutes later, as I was riding back down to the lobby. Guy #2, dressed for a roller hockey game and toting a big wooden stick got on on the 10th floor.

Me: I wish I was going where you’re going instead of where I’m going…and I don’t even play hockey.
Guy #2: Where are you going?
Me: The library…big project due tomorrow. Grad school…
Guy #2: Where?
Me: Baruch...25th and Lex.
Guy #2: At least the commute is OK.
Me: Right. Can't complain about that, but can complain about other stuff...
Guy #2: Hey…that’s cool. Good luck.
Me: Thanks. You too.

* * *
Conversation #3 took place on my ride up to the 15th floor following a few hours at the library. Guy #3, toting a briefcase and balancing a large pizza box, and I got in the same elevator in the lobby.

Me: What floor?
Guy #3: Six, please…thanks.
Me: I used to live on six. Do you live in “N?”
Guy #3: Yes.
Me: (Knowing smile.)
Guy #3: So you know Penny?
Me: Oh yes... I used to live in "N." (Big smile.)
Me (as Guy #3 gets off): Good luck…

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Baby Boy Jdate -- 917-542-6779

The other day it occurred to me that if I ever lose my cell phone (pooh, pooh, pooh, as one of my colleagues is known to say), it could come in quite handy as a tool for soon-to-be-parents of a little boy. After months of prowling around on various internet dating sites, it’s filled with saved phone numbers of guys with baby boy names popular in the late 1950s and early 1960s--Andrew, David, Harold, Howard, Jeffrey, Jerry, Kevin, Mark, Matthew, Peter, Richie, Ron, Scott, Sheldon, Sid, Steve and Ziv—all of whom (in my phone) have one of only two surnames: Jdate or Craigslist.

But, lest you think I’ve spoken with all of these guys, let me set you straight. Although lively and promising email exchanges often start our conversations, they frequently evaporate abruptly into nothingness—seemingly without cause. So, too, do the guys' promises to call. However, when asked, I always send along my cell phone number. And, when they send theirs, I generally say that I prefer to receive, not to make, the first call. (Yes, I am old fashioned that way.) Regardless, their names and numbers go immediately into my phone. That way, in the unlikely event that one or another of them does call, I can see from the phone's display before I answer that it's "Jerry Jdate" or "Kevin Craigslist" on the other end of the line.

However, with a new year upon us, I think a resolution is in order: The next time a guy sends me his cell phone number, I’ll pick up the phone and dial it. Stay tuned…

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Taking the Train to Trenton

Earlier this week, as I was checking one of the New Jersey Transit monitors in a crowded Penn Station a young Asian man approached me with a scrap of paper on which were scribbled the following words: “Trenton, 2:07 p.m.” He then showed me his train ticket to Trenton, his body language telling me he spoke little if any English.

I nodded emphatically, showed him my own ticket to Metuchen and pointed back and forth, first and him then at me, then back at him, assuring him, I hoped, that we would be traveling on the same train and that he should follow me.

And follow me he did—down the steps to the crowded waiting area where we stood awaiting the posting of a track number. When that number flashed on the monitor, he stuck to me like glue amidst the mass of travelers funneling to the track, down the escalator (for once it was running in the right direction), onto the train and, after helping me get my suitcase down a flight of stairs on the double decker train, into a seat right behind me.

Once seated, it occurred to me that my seeming expertise in “Charades” had likely left this young man with the impression that he should follow me off the train as well. So, when the conductor came through to collect tickets, I told him the following: “The guy sitting behind me is going to Trenton, but he doesn’t speak a word of English and is probably going to try to get off in Metuchen, since I helped him get on the train. Just want you to know…” Without a word, he chuckled and moved on.

Indeed, when I stood, gathered my belongings and moved toward the exit at the end of the car, so did the young man behind me. As we awaited the Metuchen stop, I shook my head and pointed back at his seat, futilely telling him, “Trenton is the last stop, the end of the line.” Reluctantly, he returned to his seat as I alighted from the train.

I hope that young man made it to Trenton okay.