What we have to look forward to, if we’re lucky.

This isn’t funny. Sorry. I guess you ought to stop reading now if that’s what you wanted, unless you’d like to laugh at how bad the prose is. I’d write about my exploits with the current girl I’m seeing, which have been filled with a fair amount of humor, but things have actually been going rather well. Also, she sort of reads my KAB posts, and I don’t think she’d appreciate me talking about all the awesome sex we’ve been having. Like, seriously, the sex is fantastic.

Off to my right I could see the letter, written with what must have been a very expensive pen, maybe a Waterman, which I’ve been wanting to get. The letters were elegant, but the strokes were heavy and thick, a deep lacquer against the well preserved paper. They would likely seem out of place in a woman’s diary, where the script often bubbles and ebbs across the page. They were more chiseled and compact, set in place with a heavy hand. I could see where sharp flicks of the wrist sent the ends of characters to trail thin and vanish. Feminine cursive does not flow like this. This was precise but not pretty, as if it was oftentimes much worse, and a special effort had been taken to make it legible. It was the style of a man who was far too busy being alive to care about his print. It was penned by a doctor.

Continue reading…

Sex, Lies, and French 75’s

Girl Number Five

Lying is often hysterical and I thoroughly encourage people to take advantage of opportunities to do so, though I do not suggest looking to me for advice. Socially, I am barely adept enough to tell the little white lies we all depend on, and usually rely on an abrasive mix of tactless sarcasm and churlish indifference to get by, which is occasionally funny in its own regard. Sometimes however, lying is of no benefit to anybody whatsoever, and becomes a dangerous game of disappointment. No one wins. No one laughs.

For example, say you’re filling out an online dating profile in the hope of attracting a few prospective suitors. Don’t list your age as twenty-two when you’re actually twenty-seven, don’t post a bunch of skinny pictures of yourself from five years ago when you are currently explosively fat, and don’t tell me you never do drugs if you are currently high on drugs. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a twenty-seven year old overweight drug addict, but there is something wrong with lying about whether you are. Granted, I’m going to be far less likely to take an overweight, pill-popping alcoholic out for sushi, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some other fella who would kill to watch you eat ten pounds of raw fish and drink an entire bottle of Chianti. That guy just isn’t me.

I have not been doing this long, but I believe there is an etiquette that ought to be followed when it comes to online dating. Before you faint from the hypocrisy of that statement, give me a chance to explain. Yes, this is coming from the bastard who posted all of his unanswered messages last week, which managed to be offensive to just about everything that walked or crawled at one point. But, I have never failed to be anything other than a gentleman on any of my dates thus far, and I have never intentionally given anyone the wrong impression of myself. Now if for some reason they read my messages and assume I’m a suave and sophisticated person, it’s not my fault.

Date number five started in typical fashion, with me driving around the side streets of downtown Austin completely lost. I was desperately trying to find where this girl lived but refused to look at my iPhone out of some sort of boyish sense of pride. Somehow I recently managed to convince myself I can find my way around using the night sky, despite the fact that I know nothing about celestial navigation. The last time I attempted it, I wasted fifteen minutes before I realized what I thought had been the north star was in fact the red eye out of the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

When I finally looked at Google Maps and found where she lived, I parked outside her place, got out of my car, and texted her. I’d been practicing my sexy man lean (advice from my sister, who insists you can get any woman to fall in love with you if you can lean against something just right), so I did that against my car.

I stopped my sexy lean when I saw my date undulating down the stairs like a walrus on heroine. I’m not going to say she was obese, but she had definitely been hitting the jelly donuts hard since the last picture she uploaded to OkCupid. And I think those jelly donuts were filled with tequila. For a moment, as I watched her drunkenly waddle towards me, I contemplated making a break for it – I know I’m out of shape but there was no way this chick was going to catch me. Or, I thought, maybe I could pretend like I’m here for someone else.

I only let these ideas dance about my mind for a few moments before I killed the music. I hugged her and didn’t allow any expressions of disappointment to play across my face. She had certainly been dishonest about her body but it’s not like I’m the most handsome man alive. Besides, I might have a fine time with her anyway, even if I’m not attracted to her. Also, she might have hot friends.

Fifteen minutes later I realized just how stupid I am. It took us five minutes to walk to the restaurant. She had clearly lubricated herself already, and not in the good way either. I’d say she had managed to get a good three drinks deep before I had arrived (lesson: always talk to the person on the phone before you go and pick them up). She spent most of the time rambling on about how she knew everyone in the city and that her “bro” at the bar would totally hook us up tonight. When we got there, her “bro” at the bar got the same look on his face as I probably did when I first saw her, but it quickly changed when he realized all the seats at the bar were occupied. To my dismay, we ended up sitting off in a corner that was far too secluded from the safety of the public. It was candle-lit and disgustingly romantic.

My date’s mouth remained open for the next hour and half as she projectile vomited words into my face, stopping only briefly to consume food and imbibe more wine. She wasn’t a mean person, but she was pretentious, acted like she knew everyone and everything, but never said anything interesting. Every now and then I would interject a random remark to amuse myself, but there wasn’t much to do besides suffer through the pain.

So, I did the only reasonable thing I could think of – I got absolutely soused. I wasn’t going to let this girl be the only drunk in the room. I’m not sure how much I drank exactly, but it was enough so she didn’t bother me anymore, which I imagine was quite a bit. After we finished eating and drinking, I paid for the meal, and we walked back to her place, where I came to the unfortunate realization that I was far too inebriated to drive home.

“You should come up to my place and stay for a bit,” she says.

That was the worst idea I had ever heard so I did it. Her place wasn’t so bad. It was kind of cozy. She started playing an episode of Black Books (British TV show I’m a fan of). She had some cool artwork on her walls and the chair I was sitting on was nice. No, this wasn’t so bad at all. But, just when I was figuring I could spend an hour or so here to sober up before driving home, she handed me a giant paper cup full of wine.

Well, I didn’t want to be rude….

An hour later, when I realized I was drunker than I had been an hour earlier, I got the brilliant idea of asking her if I could lie down for a bit. I told her I wasn’t trying to be cheeky, but I had work tomorrow and wasn’t sober enough to drive. She seemed all too willing to accommodate me and showed me to her bed. I lay down and was feeling pretty good about myself until I discovered that she thought this was an invitation to not only lie down with me, but basically on top of me. I recognize the fact that this was her bed, but she was definitely too close. When she started playing with my hair and touching my chest I knew I had made a grave error in judgement.

“Hey, look, I’m sorry. I’m just drunk and wanted to rest before I drove home. I have work tomorrow.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t tell anybody.”

What the hell wasn’t she going to tell anybody? Where she buried my body? I pathetically struggled to get up but quickly retired. My shoes were tangled in a blanket, I was drunk, I couldn’t drive, and I’m pretty sure this girl was stronger than me. Sometimes it’s best to just accept your fate.

So, I played possum.

Sure, I got molested for a while, but who hasn’t been?


Girl Number Six

My last date had left a bad taste in my mouth, literally, but I had already told the next girl I would see her. We had talked for over three hours on the phone the previous night so I had a much better feeling about her. I even told her the story of date number five and she laughed and told me not to worry. That helped.

But when I finally saw her, I immediately decided I hadn’t been doing enough worrying.

“Oh sweet, merciful Christ,” I think to myself. “She’s gorgeous.”

Her petite frame bounded down the stairs effortlessly. She landed on the ground with a huge smile and her big green eyes stared at me. She was the opposite of my previous date, whose picture deceitfully depicted a flourishing garden, when in actuality the flowers had wilted. This girl’s photographs had done her no justice at all.

I realized I hadn’t gotten out of my car to do that sexy lean thing. It was too late. She opened the passenger door and got in. I don’t remember what I said to her. We got Ethiopian food. I didn’t drink at all. She giggled a lot. We got ice cream afterwards and went back to my place. We drank wine and watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I took her home.

I thought things had gone really well, which is why I was so surprised by what she told me in the car.

“I’m sorry,” she says, “but you’re really sort of awkward.”

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt emotional about much of anything, but for some reason when I heard her say that, maybe it was because I thought things had gone well and she had a good time, I actually felt my face and my hands get hot. My heart started beating fast. I knew what was about to come. This was where I get rejected, which isn’t a big deal. I’ve been here before. I’m good at this. But, for some reason, this one hit me harder than usual.

“Sorry, really. You’re a nice guy and you were better back at your place. But you’re a little weird. Not in a bad way. We just don’t… gel. I’m not feeling it. I’m sorry but I want to be honest with you. You’re funny and cute enough but… I like you a lot in theory.”

I wanted to ask her what liking someone in theory meant but it had become physically difficult for me to talk at that point so I didn’t bother. I thought about how girls say sorry a lot when they do this. I wasn’t sure what she thought she needed to be sorry about.

It dawned on me that I possess the characteristics of a truly awkward person – I am strange without knowing it. I am odd when I think I’m normal.

“We can still be friends though,” she says.


Girl Number Seven

Evidence is mounting. I am finding it increasingly difficult to ignore the fact that I’m kind of a little bitch. I took the seventh potential love of my life out to a few different bars on our first night together. The weather was cool and pleasant, so we walked around East Sixth Street (Austin’s hipster central). The bars were quiet. She smoked cigarettes with her long thin fingers and wore a black turtleneck, black shorts, and black flats. She drank French 75’s and talked about old things. Classically beautiful. Smart. She was four years older and four inches taller than me.

I thought things were going well so they probably weren’t. She didn’t laugh as much as the other girls. I wasn’t trying to be funny. I mostly listened and asked questions. We ran into three of her ex-boyfriends that night. I thought that was funny.

On the drive home her hand found mine. At the next stoplight her lips found mine. I walked her to her door and we resolved to get dinner the following night.

We split a bottle of wine at the Mediterranean restaurant we had chosen. She was a little tipsy when she got back in my car. I was too. She pulled me close to her by my hair and put her tongue deep into my mouth. With her hand that wasn’t gripping my hair, she took my fingers and pushed them between her legs, and up under her skirt.

“Take me back to your place,” she whispers.

It had been a while since I had had sex and I was nervous. I put on a record – Keep It Hid by Dan Auerbach – and drank a glass of wine while she drew on my mirrors. Her skirt fell to the floor. This didn’t help my nervousness.

When I tried to rip open the condom I accidentally threw it across the room. This prompted a laugh and an, “Oh my, you’re not very good at this,” from the curly haired brunette lying in front of me. The condom went behind the headboard and I had to crawl under the bed to get it.

Thankfully, ancient memories of how this worked and where things went came back to me and she enjoyed herself. When it became my turn, she started an interesting sort of cute dirty talk. I really liked it but I couldn’t finish. I tried for a while but eventually began to slow.

“Hey, it’s okay,” she says softly. “The last time you had sex you were in love, weren’t you?”

You Can’t Always Get What You Want And I Didn’t

Date 1
It was as if Salvidor Dali’s and Ambrose E. Burnside’s facial hair had met and made sweet, passionate love to one another. I was outmustached by half the men in the room. My hair wasn’t long enough. My pants weren’t tight enough. My sweater vest wasn’t sweater vesty enough.

My coffee was sure as fuck black enough though, and quite cold. My waiter was too busy trying to look ironic to notice me so I drank it and thought about strangling him with the chain from his own fixed gear bicycle. Actually, this clown looked like he probably rode to work on a unicycle. He was that cool. Seriously, his shirt said, “I’m That Cool.” I thought about what that meant, decided I didn’t know, then hated myself for thinking about it. That’s just what he wanted.

My date was saying something about drawing on mirrors. Things had gotten awkward earlier when I told her the only thing I knew how to draw were stegosauruses. She didn’t seem to know whether or not I was joking, which made me realize I had no idea whether or not I was joking either. I couldn’t remember ever trying to draw anything other than a stegosaurus so I decided it must be true. I’m really bad at flirting by the way.

I told her my apartment came with obnoxiously large mirrors in the dining area and she was welcome to come over and draw on them whenever she liked. She would actually be doing me a favor. All I have on them so far is a bunch of poetry and physics equations which makes me seem both emo and insane.
“Oh, that would be awesome! But, you should know, I’m not looking to get involved with anyone.”
“Errrr… what? Okay. You can still draw on them if you want. I mean, I have dry erase markers and they don’t care whether or not we’re dating.”

It always seems like I’m missing something when I talk to women – like I’m reading a book but every fourth word is blacked out. I try and fill in the gaps but it doesn’t make any sense and sounds crazy. I wonder if she thought this was a date. Afterwards, I would end up walking her to her car, and I’m under the firm belief that if you walk a girl to her car, it’s a date, and you’re a goddamn gentleman.

Continue reading…

This Isn’t How You Do It

legit news can suck it

Due to the obnoxious heckling from several of my coworkers, I reluctantly joined some stupid online dating service. So far I’m doing pretty well. I received messages from three fat chicks and a girl who listed bi-polar disorder under the “First Things People Usually Notice About Me” category – I’m seriously thinking about talking to her. I did send a message to a very nice looking lady because she had this 60s Italian film called Blow Up listed as one of her favorite movies, along with some other cinema I’m a big fan of.

I labored over the two paragraph message for almost an hour, scrutinizing every word, and in the end produced something witty and playful that made me sound charming, but with a hint of melancholy just below the surface (so not really me at all). Her reply was a little startling. She must have either had somebody proof read her profile page or she drank half a liter of Schnapps and pumped her ass full of horse tranquilizers before she wrote me her reply, because it was so full of grammatical errors I had trouble deciphering the meaning of half the sentences. She also didn’t use periods. Like, at all. Doesn’t believe in them apparently. You know how hard it is to read something that has no punctuation or capitalization in it? It’s goddamn fucking hard is what it is. I’d rather try and translate ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics than have to look at that mess of shit again. I started to get anxious halfway through it and was practically having a full-blown panic attack by the end. It went something like this:

hey i’m anna i really liked your profile pic you have nice hair : ) yeah woody allen is great but a lot of his movies are all sort of the same blow is one of my favorite but dont really like chick flicks though everybody thinks I would lolz accept maybe breakfast at tiffanys wich i noticed you like as well i think thats cute cuz…

Shut the fuck up. What are you five years old? And don’t ever talk about Woody Allen ever again. Wait, you have writing listed as one of your hobbies? Really? Are you fucking serious? I hope you die of autoerotic asphyxiation… actually, I don’t know if girls do that. Is that only a guy thing? I’m not even sure how it works. I think it has something to do with cutting off the oxygen flow to your brain so your orgasm is more enjoyable. I don’t get that. Who orgasms and then thinks to themselves, “Well, that could have been way better.” You’re doing it wrong buddy. Try the left hand or something. Don’t strangle yourself; that’s just reckless.

The thing is, if you’re a nice, intelligent, interesting, attractive girl, why would you be doing online dating? You wouldn’t. You would either have a boyfriend or be out on the town bashing boys out of your way with a large club and trampling over their corpses until you found the one you wanted. That’s normal. Or, maybe you don’t want a boyfriend, and would prefer to stay home at night and watch re-runs of Felicity and touch yourself. That would be understandable too. The point is, you wouldn’t be uploading pictures of yourself to a website full of losers, and answering questions like, “What would you do if you caught your significant other watching porn?” in the hope that you’ll meet Mr. Fantastic and his ten inch…

So far I’ve discovered two types of women who use this site. There’s the some-combination of fat, ugly, and stupid ones, and then there’s the attractive girls who joined because they thought it would be funny (also very likely to be retarded as demonstrated above). Well, I ain’t laughin’ bitches. I keep getting recommendations to message cute girls who haven’t logged on for six months and there doesn’t seem to be any preference to solve this dilemma.

After about two days of putting up with this, I said fuck it, and started messaging them anyway, since it’s not like I have anything better to do. It’s not so bad really. I actually find it sort of entertaining to get drunk and write long messages to hot women knowing that they will likely never read them. I’ll search for my type of girl (the cute hipster breed) who hasn’t logged on since November of last year, pull up the compose window, and start typing whatever comes to mind. I sent “vinyllover” about a thousand words on the current state of affairs in Libya and how Syria isn’t getting the press coverage it deserves. One girl got a very educational four paragraph description of how lasers work, and “cutelexi4u” received a lengthy explanation of why I don’t own a cat but would like to.

Maybe they’ll log in one day, read them, and it’ll change their lives, or maybe they won’t, and my prose will simply fade into the Internet ether, never to be read by anyone but me. Either way, leave it to me to take something so purposefully designed to get you laid, or at least get a date, and turn it into a way to sit alone and drink. One of my best friends says I’m simply not trying. He also says encouraging things like, “That’s your problem. You’re stupid,” and “Why can’t you think like a man?” and “You’re a punk. You don’t have that go with the flow sort of desire that will land you a woman.” He’s a good guy. I think he should be a motivational speaker but I think he has other plans.

In conclusion, do any KAB readers speak whatever language Anna does and can tell me what to say to her so she’ll sleep with me? I don’t want to but it will make my friend proud.

ACAB: Albany, Crime, and the Boys in Blue

Photo: Andrew Franciosa

[tweetmeme]On September 17, 2010 a report was filed to the Albany Police Department by a University student alleging that a revolver had been pointed at him in an attempted robbery. Earlier that month, a string of break-ins took place involving sexual harassment, weapon-wielding, and college-age females. Unfortunately, for those of us who have come to call the “College Ghetto” our home, these are not the only instances of criminal activity that have come to affect us. Headlines like “Four New Robberies or Attempts within Two Hours” and “Three Face Charges in Albany Beating” have become commonplace as my group of friends can count on their hands the number of people they know who have not been mugged. Even my freshman orientation at the College of Saint Rose in August of 2005 coincided with a hostage situation at a bank just a few blocks from campus. All this without even mentioning the botched robbery turned murder of Richard Bailey, the death of Joshua Szostak, tied by some to the “Smiley Face” serial killings, and SUNY Albany alumnus turned “Craigslist Killer,” Philip Markoff. Clearly Albany has a crime problem, but the questions remain: “Is it getting worse?” and “What is its cause?”

So far, just a month into the fall semester, Albany Police have been holding up one of the most important jobs of law enforcement according to Criminologists: making their presence known. Dodge Chargers guard the pavement while mounted policemen sully it; a 30 foot guard-tower guards the intersection of Ontario and Madison while bike cops pick up sunbathers in Washington Park; spotlights illuminate Hudson Avenue while electronic signs remind pedestrians of the ubiquity of police presence in the area. Don’t get me wrong, we know you’re here every time we play a record too loud or have a few too many rowdy friends over and you march through our front doors or into our backyards with flashlights flashing and power-trips tripping. But does this help create a tangible, not illusory, sense of safety and security? Is this how a community is protected and served?

As a child of the 90s and 2000s, growing up in the hustle and bustle of white, middle-class suburbia, amongst absent fathers who cheat on their wives with their 9 to 5s, PTA mothers who work, transport, clean, plan, and cook, and stoic children pacified by extra-curriculars and Nickelodeon, one of the only places the family could sit and talk as a family was at the dinner table. Over quarter pound burgers, noodley casseroles, and Kraft macaroni and cheese, my parents and three boys glossed over sporting events, academic trivialities, love lost and gained, and the difficulties of growing old. But sometimes, however occasional, conversations settled upon more worldly concerns: racism and race relations in the urban school I attended (before my brothers were shipped off to private school), war and increasing militarism (especially after 9-11), religious zealotry and faith (“everything in moderation”), and even sexuality. From these conversations I learned the golden rule of familial relations: “Never talk religion or politics with your family and friends.”

Generally this warning was heeded, as my political consciousness wasn’t nearly developed until I moved to Albany for college. In the family’s view everyone had opinions, and children were to be seen and not heard. That is until Obama ran for president, until perceptions of race among American whites were openly challenged for the first time in decades, until “liberals” were gaining political power with expediency and “socialists” were tainting governmental policy. This is when my father brought forth a pearl of wisdom that speaks volumes of his own views on poverty, law enforcement, and governance, “Other than investing money in law enforcement, what more can a mayor do to combat a city’s crime?”

Plenty.

Instead of spending the money on fancy new toys, the police department could start training their officers in how to deal with college-age kids, or even in how to overcome feelings of racism, sexism, and hyper-aggression. The city could actually start addressing the poverty on its streets rather than simply having officers redirect the homeless away from areas of high socio-economic status. Perhaps the missions and shelters downtown could take inhabitants on for longer than a few weeks, especially during the winter months when the streets are frigid and unforgiving. An ordinance was just passed to keep on-street businesses from having to take in their tables and chairs before midnight on the presumption that keeping business open later would strengthen the economy, encourage more foot traffic on Lark Street, and thereby prevent crime. As bars on Lark don’t close until 3 am or later, what’s the harm in extending that law further? Maybe instead of breaking up the more harmless college parties, patrolmen could start writing tickets for littering. Although I can’t claim full responsibility for this stream of thought, the idea is that by ticketing wasteful pizza eaters, crimson cup drinkers, and Chinese food patrons the city might also write more open container tickets. Much like Guiliani’s crackdown on “Squeegee Men” in New York City during the 1990s that indirectly discouraged “more serious crimes,” Albany could dully combat underage drinking and garbage accumulation, while making the city a penny or two. As outspoken critics like to so loudly remind our President, it is not how much money you throw behind a project but how the project is undertaken that makes it successful.

I’d like to be proud of the people who claim to protect me. I want to see someone in uniform and feel, no, believe that he or she is serving their community to the best of their ability. I want to be able to call 911 and know that my inquiry will be taken seriously, as a genuine call of distress not as an imposition, whatever that phone call may be. How can I do this when an Albany police officer is in the paper for lewd conduct during a search? How can I do this when vocal critics of police performance are manhandled during party breakups despite never resisting arrest or laying hands on an officer? How can I when more APD are on their cell phones, misusing their sirens, or disobeying the rules of the road than are fighting crime by the book? How can I when racism and sexism leave a scar on the face of justice in the very capital city from which it should emanate?

The truth is, I can’t, but I would like to.