Monday, August 3, 2009

A Fourth Amendment quandary.

A Fourth Amendment hypothetical:

Two men, Bartles and Jaymes, rob a pizza delivery man. One is wearing a mask and another is wearing -- you guessed it! -- a black hoodie. Bartles and Jaymes disappear into the night, only to be tracked down later by magical, Hoodie Man-detecting bloodhounds. Bartles and Jaymes are arrested for the robbery.

At the time of the arrest, a police officer realizes that -- hey! -- Bartles's car is parked two streets away. He takes it upon himself to conduct a warrantless search of Bartles's car, where lo and behold, he finds (gasp!) a mask and black hoodie. Instrumentalities of the crime! A further search of the locked trunk of the sedan reveals a few keys of coke. Score!

Bartles's defense attorney is understandably outraged by the search of the car and moves to suppress the evidence. In an amazing twist of fate, a judge decides to apply the law, and suppress the evidence against Bartles. Without the evidence, the charges are dropped.

Question: May the evidence found in Bartles's car be suppressed as it pertains to Jaymes? For the sake of argument, assume that the items can be linked to Jaymes. The jurisdiction does not have automatic standing.

When approached with this question, my initial reaction was that Jaymes's attorney cannot make it past the threshold inquiry of whether Jaymes has a reasonable expectation of privacy as to the contents of Bartles's car. When I proposed this to my non-lawyer friends, they found this patently offensive: How can the fruits of an egregiously illegal search be used against anyone? A valid question. Still, I could not get past the initial question as to Jaymes's reasonable expectation of privacy.

And then I discussed this with a friend of mine who happens to be a Fourth Amendment Idiot Savant. He suggested that the situation of Bartles and Jaymes could be likened to the area of law regarding guests. If a person invites you to stay in his home. just because you do not own the home does not mean that you give up any expectation of privacy to your belongings in the home. He suggested that by likening the search of the car to search and seizure law regarding guests, a reasonable suppression argument could be made for Jaymes.

Understand that this question pertains to a case a friend of mine is working on, and that I have not actually researched this issue. I'm just throwing it out there to see if anyone has any ideas.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


What is going on in my life (for those who've asked):

(1) Trials and the prep that goes along with them.

(2) Chris goes into surgery on August 11, 2009. He has two weeks of post-op recovery in a wheelchair, during which time he will be living on a futon in the living room (our room is upstairs). After Labor Day, he goes to school to earn his Master's in Social Work.

(3) The associated stress from numbers 1 and 2 is causing bad skin and weight loss (I tend not to eat when I'm under stress).

(4) My hair is growing out and I look like a troll. The Jewfro shall reach epic proportions by fall.

That's all the news that's fit to print. Over and out.

On being a boss (and a father).

My father was the type of boss everyone loves to have. In his heyday, he worked as Vice President of Purchasing and Procurement for large food corporations. As I understand it, the folks who worked under him were commodities buyers. My father was of the position that his company paid the people who worked for them a good salary to do what they did. They were hand-picked, and would not have been hired if they did not know how to do their jobs. Thus, he articulated a standard, and he let them work. He gave them enough space to do their jobs. He did not micromanage. Were mistakes made? Sure. But as Dad likes to point out, mistakes are part of the learning process. When his folks asked him for help, he was more than happy to lend a hand. And on top of that, he kept a small portion of the direct work himself. They need to know that the boss is keeping up with the industry and the trends, Dad would tell me. They need to know you can relate to what they are doing -- do as I do, and not just as I say.

The way my father managed his employees was not dissimilar from how he treated me when I was growing up. Expectations were brightly articulated. Empty threats did not exist in my household. For example, on a family trip to the Bronx Zoo, Dad told me and my sister that if we argued with each other in the car, he would turn around and take us home. We made it all the way to the parking lot of the zoo, before I exclaimed, "She's touching me! She's touching me!" Two hours after we had set out, in the parking lot of the zoo, Dad turned the car around and took us home. We learned at a young age that when he said something was unacceptable, he meant it.

At the same time, my parents once told me that kids reach a certain age where you have to trust that you raised them well enough, and let them make their own mistakes. As a teenager, I was never grounded. My parents were savvy enough to know that if I really wanted to go out, I'd find a way to sneak out. They granted me my independence when it was appropriate, and stood back to watch as I muddled my way through my later teen years and early adulthood, making all sorts of foolish mistakes. They pointed and laughed at these mistakes, too.

Chris did not have it so lucky. His father was also in upper management. An extremely Type A sort of fellow, Chris's dad kept a keen eye on everything that was going on. Unfortunately, he ended up micromanaging his children the way he micromanaged his workers. He would lament that Chris was not learning responsibility, but would forbid him to get a car. He dictated those decisions that should have been left to Chris. And worse, he never let Chris fail. Chris began drinking alcoholically at 17. When he crashed his car after a night of drinking, he was "punished" with a brand new car. After Chris was kicked out of his first college for drug use and told his folks that he wanted to get a job and move out, they told him no. (I've often argued that if Chris had really wanted to move out, he would have anyway.)

Because Chris's father managed Chris's life to the extent that he did, he never let Chris fail. I do not blame Chris's dad for Chris's alcoholism, drug addiction, or related paralysis. Chris made his own decisions and is left to live with them now. But it occurs to me that if Chris's father had been a different sort of boss, Chris would have ended up with a different sort of upbringing.

After my brief analysis of these starkly different management styles, I am left with the notion that one can tell a lot about a person's parenting by looking at that person's management style.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

An observation.

Look at that nose. That cute, little boyish, Peter Pan nose.

Now, let's compare.

Michael Jackson. Same nose.

Coincidence? I think not.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The world will never be the same.

For years, I have been lamenting the downfall of the English language. In 1997, I refused to use emoticons. Since then, I've given in.

In 2000, I started all my Instant Messages with capital letters. While I still use periods, commas, and even semicolons where applicable, my usage of capital letters has lapsed.

In the mid-2000s, I refused to meet any online dating suitor who replaced the letter u for the word "you" or the letter r for the word "are." If I were still single, I would likely abide by this rule. I mean, a girl's gotta have standards, right?

Through it all, I bemoaned the death of English. I railed against poor grammar. My arguments were cogent and articulate. I always had something to say. And yet, when I saw this, words failed me.

I haven't eaten McDonald's since 2007, so boycotting them now shall be an easy thing to do.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

ODC: When life gives you lemons...

Citrus Dude: 2002

I don't know his name and I don't know where he came from or how he found me. I only know that he really enjoyed citrus. And when I say he enjoyed citrus, I mean he enjoyed citrus. Biblically.

You don't get it yet?

Hmmm. How shall I put this? The man violated citrus. Grapefruits. Limes. Lemons. I never actually replied to this man. I never said, "I really dig how much you love this fruit." Not once. Perhaps if he had used a key lime or a kumquat, I may have responded. That would have been impressive.

What did I learn from this experience?

Clearly, when life gives you lemons.... put your cock in 'em.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Baby on board?

On my way home today, I saw a "Baby on Board" sign on the station wagon driving in front of me. And I wondered: Does that really make anyone more cautious? Perhaps, in this age if litigiousness, people would be far more cautious around a car that had a sign proclaiming "Lawyer on Board." For while lawyers are a loathed group of folks, the consequences of careening into a lawyer could prove far more dire.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Patriotism (and Judah Maccabee).

Blind patriotism is almost as dangerous as blind faith. They both lead to useless and avoidable wars. The only difference is that one is fought in the name of so-called freedom, while the other is fought in the name of God. More often than not, neither accomplishes anything.

In 1991, when we were ensconced in Dessert Storm, my Sunday Jew School decided to have a Parents' Day. We (both parents and 10 through 13-year-old students) were broken up into three groups. We were told to design a campaign platform and commercial for one of three candidates, who were running for US President. The three candidates were Hillel, Maimonides, and Judah Maccabee.

Maccabee's campaigners likened him to then-President George Bush, putting forth a wartime platform. During a campaign Q&A session, Maccabee's lead guy (a Jew School teacher who could not have been much older than 23) stated that Maccabee would be a strong leader, yet loving and compassionate as he spread freedom, much like Bush was spreading freedom to the Kuwaitis.

Though she had been exercising amazing self restraint up until that moment, my mother could no longer take it. Her hand shot up and Maccabee's Main Man called on her. "That's a bunch of bullshit," she exclaimed. A hush fell over the children. Yes, someone's mother had just used the word "bullshit" up against Warrior Maccabee. "Complete and total bullshit. We're not there helping to spread peace among the Kuwaitis. Bush could give a shit about the Kuwaitis. We're there for oil. It's about money, not freedom, peace, justice and the American Way."

And Mom was right. It was never about freedom for the Kuwaitis. Yet the spin doctors spin at they must to get the general population on board and keep approval ratings and morale up. It's one thing to fight in the name of freedom. But no one ever wants to admit when we're warring over money and oil: necessary commodities for us to continue living the lifestyle in which we have become accustomed.

(Ed note: Judah Maccabee won the election. I did not vote for him. Ever the precocious child, I submitted a write-in vote for Mario Cuomo.)

So when the Fourth of July rolls around and people start flag-waving and partaking in blind patriotism, I get annoyed. There is much talk of freedom, and thanks for our servicemen and women. And while I appreciate our armed forces and the people who dedicate their lives to working for said armed forces, I recognize that we've not fought a war since WWII that has anything to do with our freedom, or even with the imperial notion of spreading freedom to other places.

I am not the only one who thinks this way, either. Military Policy Analyst Andre Bacevich has argued that American foreign policy and American military policy is geared towards Americans having the ability to buy lots of stuff (i.e., the freedom to live comfortable lives as compared to the rest of the world) without having to make great sacrifice. And by "great sacrifice," he speaks about our armed forces.

It's interesting that we go on and on about how much we support or troops and efforts abroad. However, if you were to look at the racial and economic makeup of our enlisted men, you would find it tends to mimic our prison population: There is a disparate number of minority poor who serve in our military. And why? Because joining the military is what someone does when faced with no more appealing options (like college). Thus, we have an all-volunteer force comprised of uneducated people of the lower classes. Bonus: No political backlash when we do send troops abroad, as we can claim that they're all volunteering to begin with.

Don't believe me? Look at the numbers. In 2002, of enlisted men and women ages 18-25, the military was made of up 61.2% whites, as compared to 68.8% in the US population. African Americans in the military made up 21.8%, as compared to 13.1% of the US population. Hispanics made up 10% of the military as compared to 13.3% of the US population (interestingly, this group is under-represented in the military; I don't have enough data to extrapolate much from this). And "Other" made up 7% of the military as compared to 4.8% of the US population.

What is probably the most telling to me, however, is Congress. Congress is the only branch of government that is empowered to declare war. And from 1951 to 1992, at least half of Congress were military veterans. Not so today. As of 2007, only one-third of Congress were veterans. As for your Congressmen and women telling you that the understand the toll war takes on our children? Yeah, not so much. The rich don't go to war, folks. In 2007, only 9 of our 535 members of Congress had any children who had served in a war.

Blind patriotism is -- to use my mother's word -- bullshit. It's been a long time since we fought for anyone's freedom. We fight, rather, to keep ourselves free to live the way we want to leave, to keep the little guys down, and to ensure that we remain the premier Superpower in the world.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

ODC: Sweater Man.

Sweater Man: Winter 2000

Everyone has a kink.

Some people are turned on by leather and lace, whips and chains. Other people get off by inserting inanimate objects and phallic-shaped fruits and vegetables into their various orifices. Still more get all hot and bothered by watching and being watched in compromising positions.

Matt? Matt's kink was sweaters.

No, really. I met Matt back when America Online personal ads were free. Bored one night during my junior year of college, I found myself perusing the ads for kicks. He seemed to be everything I could ever want in a mate: a good-looking Jewish journalist. Just like me! So I added his screen name to my buddy list and promptly forgot about the ad.

Several months later, I saw the name on my list, but had no recollection of who he was. So I Instant Messaged him. As soon as I learned that he worked for Boston's Jewish newspaper, it clicked: Yes! Matt! The good-looking Jewish journalist. My thoughts spun wildly out of control and before I knew it I was daydreaming about starting a life with Matt. Two Jewish journalists traveling the world and the stumbling upon entertaining adventures -- the type of adventures that would provide us with years and years of personal anecdotes with which to write columns about. Could anything be better??

I came back to reality to see that Matt had asked me about my hobbies. Hmmmm. Hobbies. Other than partying and sleeping? I had to think fast. "I knit," I told him. And it wasn't altogether false. I had taken up knitting when I had tried to quit smoking. The knitting had given me carpal tunnel syndrome, so I'd gone back to the insidious cancer sticks. But every now and then I'd pick up the knitting needles and knit a friend a mangled, uneven scarf.

"Do you make sweaters?" he asked. Sweaters? Um. I paused, thinking of how to respond. Matt continued: "Because I have a lot of sweater patterns. I have a cabin on the Cape. Maybe we could go there this winter and knit together. I'd love to make sweaters with you."

I cabin on the Cape. It sounded good to me. I could agree to knit sweaters in exchange for a romantic weekend in a cabin on the Cape, complete with romantic, candlelit dinner for two in front of the roaring fire. "Sure," I said. "I'd like making sweaters together."

We exchanged numbers and it wasn't long before Matt called. We chit-chatted about the weather, life, Boston culture, and journalism in general. And then it came. "Do you wear lots of sweaters?" he asked.

"Well, I have lots of sweaters. I mean, this is Boston. But I don't tend to wear lots of sweaters at the same time."

"Oh," he said. And a pause. "Are you wearing a sweater now?"

Why yes, I was, in fact, wearing a sweater. "I sure am," I said. At his request, I described the sweater to him: a lavender, v-neck merino wool J Crew sweater. Very soft. A lovely hue. And oh-so-very comfortable.

The next day, he caught me online and Instant Messaged me. He asked me if I owned any mohair sweaters. I told him I did not. We chatted a bit more and agreed to meet for coffee two days hence.

I showed up at the coffee place about ten minutes early. Being early is a compulsion of mine. Apparently, it was a compulsion of his as well. We ordered our drinks and sat down. I noticed the Banana Republic bag at his feet, and asked him whether he had been shopping. He smiled shyly. "You could say that," he said. Okay then. So he's shy about paying too much for Banana Republic sweaters on Newbury Street. Hell, I would be, too. We talked for about an a half hour longer before I told him that I needed to book it if I was going to make it to my evening class on time. He asked if he could walk me to class. I told him I'd prefer if he didn't. With that, he awkwardly shoved the Banana Republic bag at me. I gave him a quizzical look. "It's for you," he said.

Oy vey. I gift on the first date. I opened the bag, unwrapped the tissue paper and found an absolutely gorgeous purple (my favorite color -- had I told him that?) medium-cabled mohair sweater. "I figure it would look good with a camisole on under it."

"Um. Thanks." I mean, what does a person say to a man who brings her a sweater on the first date? I left took off with the sweater and left him there without a hug or kiss. I didn't expect to hear from him.

I got an e-mail later that evening. He had a request. He wanted sweater erotica.

Why not? How harmful could sweater erotica be? So I penned him a letter about sitting in front of his fireplace in his cabin on the Cape. How he ran his fingers over my shoulders and down my back, savoring the feeling of my thick, delicious cashmere sweater. I wrote about how he slowly undressed me, peeling the cashmere off my supple, nubile body, revealing what lay beneath. Another sweater! This sensual erotic writing continued for four more layers of sweater.

Matt loved it! He ate that shit up. He complimented my writing style and told him I was the only woman he'd ever met who wrote so lovingly of sweaters. "The other women," he complained, "only ever write about one sweater before they are topless. Boobs are nice and all, but sweaters are where it's at." He continued, spinning yarns of women in full-body sweaters.

Then he hit me with his ultimate fantasy, and asked if I would comply. Matt wanted me to take all my sweaters (I had about 20 at the time), and and lay them out of my bed. He wanted me to toss the sweaters about like a salad, put on a full body knit suit, and lie in the middle of the bed, draped in sweater.

That's when I called it quits. I'm all about providing people with their fantasies, but I couldn't envision myself prancing among sweaters and being able to keep a straight face. After only a single date, we parted amicably.

About two years later, I was eating dinner with my roommate, her friend, and his fiance. I began retelling the story of Sweater Man in full, fluid detail. When I mentioned the publication he worked for -- before I got into his sweater fantasies -- the fiance stopped me. She asked, "Is Sweater Man's name Matt?" She explained how she had gone on a date with him about a year prior. "He kept eyeing me and rubbing his hands over my shoulders." I asked her what she had been wearing. "A brand new cashmere sweater." I then proceeded to tell her about the sweater erotica.

"Wow," she exclaimed. "That explains a lot."

Sunday, June 14, 2009

ODC: Bathroom Boy.

Bathroom Boy: Summer 2001

Men are pigs. It's true. What women don't realize, however, is that men are pigs because we allow them to be. At the tender age of 22, I had not yet come to this realization.

I don't remember how I met Darren or how he convinced me to come over to his apartment at 2 am some hot, sticky June morning while I was recovering from a urinary tract infection. But there I was, in the bedroom of a self-proclaimed 20-something entrepreneur (what he actually did, I can't say), making out. As he went to put his hand between my thighs, I stopped him. "No," I said. "I'm shy in the beginning." Ha! "Next time."

Apparently, "next time" couldn't come fast enough for Darren; he called me about three days later, on a Friday evening. I explained to Darren that I was going out with some friends that night. He assured me that what he had planned wouldn't take much time. After all, he also had plans that evening. But perhaps we could get together for a little pre-game, as it were. I would have had to be a complete moron not to realize what Darren was really after (which, given my state of idiocy at the time, was a complete possibility). He was relegating me to the opening act of the evening. Not particularly special, but interesting enough to pass a little time while waiting for the main event.

I don't recall being very taken with Darren. He was extremely hot, yes, but he reeked of doucebaggery. Yet with nothing better to do, and apparently with fairly low standards, I agreed to meet him at his place at about 6 that evening.

My hair was short at the time, in the beginning of the growing-out phase where I look more like a troll than a person. However, my biting with and charm and big boobs always tended to make up for my hair issues. So I threw on my favorite casual outfit: greenish khaki-ish pants with a very deep scoop-neck, flimsy black tank top that showed off my ample cleavage. I mean, REALLY showed off my ample cleavage such that a person could drown in it. I drove to Darren's place and rang the bell. As I expected, my outfit had the proper effect: he never once looked at my sprouting head of straw-hair.

"I have to take a shower before I go out," he told me. "Come." I knew from last time that Darren had a bathroom upstairs, adjacent to his bedroom. But instead of going up the stairs, he led me to the back of the house, to a bathroom off the kitchen. He turned on the shower, disrobed, got in, and motioned for me to do the same. I was hesitant at first, but figured, eh, fuck it. Why not?

There was nothing erotic about showering with Darren. Banish any thoughts of having a good time under the cascades of water, as we lathered each other up and caressed each other's soapy bodies. That is not what happened. Instead, he inelegantly pawed at me, and I was too bored with it to say anything. The only thing I really remember of the experience is that my cell phone started ringing mid-shower. I made a mental note to check my messages as soon as the asinine bathing activity had ended.

The shower didn't last long. We got out and toweled off. Darren wrapped a towel around his waist and stood at the threshold to the bathroom. "I'm going upstairs to get dressed. You -- you stay right here. Don't leave. Don't open the door until I knock." He was very clear on this point, and repeated it. "Do NOT open the door until I knock."

Fine, whatever. But seriously? Even then I wondered who he was hiding me from. A roommate? A girlfriend he had stored away in the bathroom upstairs? What was the deal with his piggish behavior? Though I questioned it, I didn't question him. Instead, I subserviently waited in the bathroom. Well, to be fair, waiting wasn't all I did. I toweled off my hair which had already started to spring forth from my head in its trollish manner, and I put on my underwear, bra, pants, and sandals. It was humid and I was sweaty, so I left my tank top sitting on the toilet seat as I checked my cell phone messages.

Checking my messages, however, proved to be a difficult task. There was only one tiny corner of the room that had cell phone reception, so I found myself standing on the commode, crouching right under the top of the window, so I could hear what the plans for the night were. I had to re-dial my message box about three times to get the gist of it. Near the last go-through, I heard the knock at the door.

Thank God, I thought. I'm tired of waiting in this fucking bathroom. I opened the door to find a sweaty (albeit extremely good-looking) rugby player standing there. "Um. Hi."

I stood there, speechless, in my black push-up bra, my phone to my ear.


Oh, right. Apparently it was my turn to say something. "Hi. I'm, uh. I'm a friend of Darren's. Yeah. Right. And I'm..." I looked at my watchless wrist before continuing. "I'm totally running late. See ya."

And with that, I bolted off in my pants and bra, cell phone in hand, and lucky that my keys were in my pants pocket. I didn't even pay attention to the kids next door who stared at me as I jogged out to my car. Once in my car, I breathed a sigh of relief. I was out! I was no longer held captive in the bathroom! Hallelujah! It was only at this point that I realized I'd left my shirt behind. My favorite shirt from two seasons prior that had been discontinued. Alas, I drove off without it.

As for Darren? I never heard from the bastard again. Prick. I mean, really, if you had banished some woman to your bathroom and she had disappeared after your roommate had knocked on the door, wouldn't you at least call to make sure she had gotten home okay? Wouldn't your sense of curiosity make you call? Unless, of course, the bathroom-roommate-discovery game was something they played often. Could it be? Was I on candid camera?

I've scoured the Internet and bad "reality" TV joke shows since and have never found footage of myself running topless out of Darren's bathroom. So at least I'm safe in that regard. Though I'm left to wonder how many women Darren did this to. Just how much of a pig was he, really?

For years I thought about what a dick Darren was. It wasn't until a few years ago that I realized, hey, Darren was a dick because I let him be a dick. What self respecting woman goes over for a booty call at 2 am? Moreover, what self respecting woman meets up with a guy who only makes enough time in his day to shower with her? Not one. That's it. None one self respecting woman would ever meet up with a guy who only makes enough time in his day to shower with her.

A few years later I ran into Darren at a bar. He asked my friend over to to his place. Even though I warned her, she went anyway. And got left in his bathroom.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Online Dating Chronicles: Pickles and Pomegranate Seeds.

Pickles and Pomegranate Seeds: March 12, 2005

Adult FriendFinder bills itself as the biggest swingers community online. This is inaccurate. It's nothing more than a haven for married men and large women who want to get laid. I was introduced to the site in May 2001 by Douchebag Alcoholic (an installment for another day), who bought me a year's membership as a "surprise."

"Surprise!" I wanted to tell him. "Twenty-two year old bisexual women don't need the Internet to get laid." But, as always, I got addicted to the chat rooms. AFF, I found later, is much like the Hotel California: You can check out any time you want, but you can never leave. It's an insidious, vile thing. It stays with you for life.

So when the Evil Psychologist and I broke up in the summer of 2004, and my chronic insomnia became, well, chronic again, I found myself once again in the New England AFF chat room. On that Island of Misfit Toys, no one ever slept. Even when the Yahoo euchre addicts went to sleep, the AFF-ers chatted on. So at three, four, five in the morning, when no more games of interactive cards could be found, I would wander into the AFF chat room.

This is where I encountered Mike, whose user name was WiccaWolf, and whose grammar was atrocious. Though I would chat with him for hours, I refused to actually meet him. He was one of those individuals who, even well into his 30s, wrote in text-speak. I could not bring myself to meet up with someone who replaced "you" with "u" on a regular basis. A woman's got to have standards, after all.

Yet on March 12, 2005, after a few drinks and a crappy night out with the girls, I was bored, suffering from insomnia, and had nothing to do. So when I called Mike on a whim (using the number he'd given more four months prior, but had never called), he invited me to drive out to meet up with him and his two friends, a couple.

“I’m going to keep you on the phone for a while,” I said to Mike. I was in the parking lot of my apartment complex, talking on my cell phone though a hands-free headset, preparing myself for an hour’s drive. The night was chilly, but warmer than usual for a New England winter. It had been a few weeks since the last snowfall, so it seemed that the snowy season was over ahead of schedule. Everyone was excited about the prospect of no more snow. I checked out my reflection in my car window and ensured myself that yes, my teeny-bopper t-shirt really did make my boobs like good.

This strangely comforted me, and made me forget about my curly hair, which had been hastily pulled back and clipped into a messy ponytail. I was wearing a lightweight jacket of pink tweed over the t-shirt, and was perfectly comfortable. Except for the fact that I was about to drive an unfamiliar route at some ungodly hour, off to meet three people I’d never met. Driving at night makes me anxious. So does meeting strangers. “I’m going to keep you on the phone,” I repeated to Mike, “because I’m bad with directions.”

When I got off the highway at the designated spot, I found myself winding along serpentine roads, alternating nervously between the gas and the break. It was nearly 2 a.m., and I still couldn't figure out why I had ventured out. The night was foggy. The clouds seemed to have reached down to embrace my little Honda Civic. Even with my headlights piercing the darkness, I could hardly see a foot in front of me. The occasional oncoming set of headlights startled me, and I immediately slowed down each time a car came in my direction. What was I doing? I tried to look at the directions I’d jotted down, but between the darkness, fog, and hilly terrain, I couldn't make them out.

I drove for what seems like forever. Every minute that passed made me more and more nervous, until I became convinced that I was lost. My knuckles were white from gripping the wheel, and I veered to the right as I saw another oncoming car. My cell phone, resting on the passenger seat, flew out, hit the dashboard, and landed under my seat along with my lighter, cigarettes, and pack of gum. While driving, I reached down to feel for the phone, but only located the lighter. At the next side street, I took a sharp right and pulled over. I got out of the car, located my phone, and get back in, closing the door on the cord to the headset in the process. The battery was dangerously low, but I called Mike anyway. No answer. Crap. I was going to end up in the middle of nowhere, stuck in the fog and unable to contact any humans.

I continued to drive, hoping my directions were accurate. When I finally reach the street where my destination was, I was a frenzied mess. I slowed down, unsure of which driveway to pull into. I made a right turn at the single house that has a porch light on. I called Mike, and again, there was no answer. Fortunately, saw my car’s headlights, and was already standing in the driveway when I got out of the car. He was s tall – at least a foot taller than me – and bald. And tattooed. A tall, slightly-scary looking skinhead. How did I get myself into this? I concluded right then and there in the dark that he was decidedly unattractive.

Mike took me in and led me to the master bedroom suite, where Mike introduced me to Keeks. “Everyone wants to come here," he told me. "So you’re lucky. Everyone wants to fuck my wife." He paused before continuing. "I let Mike fuck my wife.”

“You don’t let me do anything,” I heard Jules yell from behind the wall.

Oh my holy fucking shit. Who are these people?

Jules called to Keeks. From the bathroom, I guessed. “See if she wants a drink.” Keeks looked at me inquisitively.

“Just water,” I responded.

“Water? What are you, a pussy? I thought you were a party girl.”

Both Keeks and Mike disappeared behind the wall for a moment. Then all three of them returned, and Keeks handed me a glass of ice water. I saw take Mike a sip from his own cup, one of those big, red plastic cups you find at frat parties. He cringed visibly. Mike sat down next to me again and lit a cigarette. I noted his chain smoking, and lit one of my own. Without my having noticed Keeks and Jules have disappeared. Mike and I are alone. And then Keeks magically appeared again. "What the fuck are you drinking?" he demanded of Mike.

"Vodka, soda and lime juice. It's not bad."

“Can I try?” I asked. Mike nodded his assent, and I took a sip of the lukewarm liquor and lime. Tastes like crap. “Nope, not bad at all,” I agreed.

From downstairs, came the sound of Jules swearing. “Come help me with the groceries,” she demanded. Mike and I were left alone.

“I’m tired,” I said, shifting into small talk. “The drive was absolutely awful. Fog. I swear, I’m never coming out here again.” I seemed to have broken the ice, and Mike and I began talking. As the minutes ticked by, the idle chatter became more and more comfortable, and we started really – really – talking. I began the way I normally do when I’m with strangers. My standard defense mechanism is to act gruff and hard, the way I’ve come across to him before in our sporadic online chat sessions.

“Everyone has a facade,” Mike explained to me. “It’s interesting to watch. The way people are. I like to break it down early on and see what’s really under the surface.”

“I don’t have a facade,” I quickly retorted.

“Right,” he said skeptically. “Because you’re really cold and uncaring?”

I started daydreaming and before I realized where the conversation had gone, Mike was talking about fantasies. I thought about my own life, my own fantasies, my own disappointments. “Fantasies,” I told him, “are better left unrealized.”
“I don’t know about that,” he said. “I mean, right now I’m fantasizing about pizza. That would be a great fantasy realized.” We continued to talk. He put me at ease. In less than an hour, he’d already seen through me, seen that I’m not the rough and tough girl I pretended to me. I liked that about him. The conversation was light and fun and flowing nicely. The more we talk, the more attractive Mike became.

But it was late – past 3 in the morning, and we became weary from speech. Neither of us really notices that Keeks and Jules have been putting away groceries for the better part of an hour. The space between us on the futon had lessened, and Mike’s hand was on my thigh. He looked at me, and I looked back, mindful not to look directly into his eyes. I’m not sure how, but our lips met in a sweet, friendly kiss, and I hardly tasted the tangy vodka on his breath.

Suddenly, Keeks and Jules come back to the room, Jules carrying a tray of odd foods. Pepperoni, cheese, olives, salami, grapes. Mike reached for the encased meat. Me? I found myself snacking on pickles and pomegranate seeds.

I don't remember how the conversation continued, but I do remember Keeks and Jules getting up, disappearing behind a half-wall, to their bed. Mike kissed me again. I like the way he kisses, I decided. Not too foreceful or pushy. And before long, articles of clothing starting falling to the side of the futon we were lying on. I wasn't sexual aroused, but this was not new to me. At that point, it was rare that my sexual encounters ever resulted from my own primal desired. It was always about the men and their gratification. Most often, I simply consented, and more often that not, I would up merely a masturbatory accoutrement for my partner.

But something about Mike felt more comfortable than anything I'd experienced in a long while. I realized that it hadn't been sex I'd wanted, but human contact. Even if it’s illusory, the softer more sensual touching made me feel wanted and cared for. No one had cared for me in a long while, and even if it wasn't real, even if it lasted only for a morning, it felt good. I knew that in a day or two Mike will become another asshole I slept with who never called or saw me ever again – who used me for his own ego and gratification. I knew this, but at the moment, I didn't care.

Except the sex never came. Instead, the snow started falling right outside the window. Mike noticed first. "Wow," he said. "Those snowflakes are as big as Cadillacs." Ah, a man of wisdom.

We watched the sky change from black to blue, knowing it would be mere monents before the sun was on the horizon. We wrapped his arms around me. Watching snowflakes in the blue-black sky, Mike and I fell asleep.

Even now, I have no idea whether I slept for moments or for hours. I just remember wanting to wake up and leave before anyone else had risen. I crept down the stairs, and as I was about to let myself out of the front door, I heard Mike's voice. He was calling me from the kitchen. I turned to see him sitting with a heated-up frozen pizza. "This," he said, "is a wonderful fantasy realized."

I told him I had to go. He said he'd call me. I let him tell me this, knowing full well that I'd never hear from him again, and happy that for once, the guy who wouldn't call wouldn't end up being some asshole I slept with once upon a time.

Epilogue: As it turns out, Mike and I had an intersting relationship for the next nine months. If you've ever read any of my blog entries over the years, you'll likely recognize him as "Best Friend Mike." He even did my pinup-esque photo shoot in June 2008. At the end of those nine months, it became clear that while I wanted more, Mike was not ready. The pseudo-breakup I had with him (after all, one cannot have a real breakup with a pseudo-boyfriend) hurt me more than any other breakup ever has, before or since.

To Mike, I am thankful. Prior to meeting him, I was shy and awkward and suffered from severe social anxiety. Mike is the one who brought me, kicking and screaming, out of my comfort zone. He made me fun, not just to the people who knew me well, but to random strangers. He got me talking to strangers. We were partners in crime and our adventures are legendary.

Sadly, it's been about a year since I've seen him. Mike has been unlucky in transport. He always has some crazy story about his broken cars. Seriously. I could dedicate pages of text to his automobile woes. The last I heard from him was May 9, 2009 -- exactly a month ago. My wedding day. He called while we were getting our pictures taken, wanting to know if it was okay if he arrived late. I said of course.

He never arrived.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Online Dating Chronicles: The Beginning.

While talking to my friend about her escapades in Internet dating, it dawned on me: I am a 10-year Online Dating Veteran. My first Internet date was in August 1996; my last was in May 2007. I suppose I should be ashamed or embarrassed because of this. Truth be known, it has provided me fabulous fodder for story telling. And so, I begin the Online Dating Chronicles (ODT). These will come in no particular order, except for this one.

The Beginning: August 1996

I don't remember his name. All I can remember for sure is that in August 1996, the day before my senior year of high school, I was an American Online chat room junkie. Back then, there were no unlimited plans, and so my parents were smart to attempt to limit my use to something like ten hours per month. Many of these hours were spent alongside my best friend, Jane Smith (her real name, folks), as we chatted to horny teenage boys far and wide.

I don't remember his name, but I do remember what I was wearing. I was halfway through my middle-class-guilt, I-only-shop-at-thrift-stores-and-dress-ridiculously phase. This means I hadn't quite started wearing the polyester brown leisure suits with the fly-collar pink gingham shirts. Not yet. I was only starting to look freakish. That night I was clad in men's jeans, size 29, pressed with creases down the front, and a white, blue, red, and pink short-sleeved knit number with a belt at the waist and a Peter Pan collar. This, I believed, was high fashion.

So in that, I headed to the Waffle House parking lot, 45 minutes away from me, with Best Friend Jane in tow. I knew nothing of this 18-year-old boy we were about to meet, except that he was a huge Insane Clown Posse fan, and that he drove a black, 1995 Honda Accord (I had told him my vehicle make and model as means of identification: a 1983 Nissan Maxima).

You must understand, of course, that I was even more culturally retarded at 17 than I am now. My taste in music included Cat Stevens, Billy Joel, Elton John, Sting, Paul Simon, and Joni Mitchell. I had no idea who ICP were, or that they did, indeed, dress like insane clowns. If I had known anything about their music or fashion sense, I may have run the other way.

We arrived at the Waffle House parking lot at about five to midnight. Jane and I got out of my car, cranked up our Simon and Garfunkel, and sat on the trunk, waiting for my gentleman caller. At 12:15, a black Honda Accord with tinted windows, and huge speakers sticking out of the back came rolling in, two inches from the ground, hubcaps spinning. Not only did this boy look as if he had a good three thousand dollars worth of stolen stereo equipment in his car, but he had totally pimped his.... Honda.

I don't recall the content of the conversation. Only that this boy looked like a troglodyte. Based upon his conversation, his only passions were ICP and his speakers. He went on and on about his stereo set-up and sound quality, while looking disapprovingly at my AM/FM stereo and tape deck. He asked Jane and I inside for waffles. We declined, explaining that the next day was the first day of our senior year of high school. After about ten minutes of discussion, we were on our way home.

Jane was spending the night, so we changed into our pajamas before giving my e-mail address one last check. Right as I signed on, up popped an Instant Message from ICP Boy.

"I'd really love to take your virginity," he said. Wow. What an opening.

"I'm not interested," I typed back.

For the next half hour, he kept insisting that he was "only being candid." I kept insisting that he had no clue what the definition of "candor" was, as I was giving it right back to him. Why Jane and I continued to talk to him for so long, I do not know. Perhaps it was the novelty of the situation, or the inherent addicting qualities of the medium.

He wrote me about two emails a day for the next month before finally giving up. The numerous Instant Messages he sent during that time period went unanswered.

And I learned my first valuable lesson when it comes to Internet dating: Never, ever, under any circumstances, use your primary e-mail account (especially one with your full name in it) or Instant Messenger user name to correspond with potential suitors. This one lesson served me well in the years that followed.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Note to self:

The next time you get married, don't drink that much wine the night before.

That is all.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Seventeen Magazine.

Yes, it is true. I, the Saucy Vixen, am a hoarder. Everything I have written since the 5th grade (1990), has been kept. It is saved and stored deep within the bowels of my MacBook. Nineteen years and six computers have gone by, and yet I still have it all.

In 11th grade (1995), I wrote a 10-page analysis of Seventeen Magazine. I came across it today and chuckled at the fact that I sound exactly the same then as I do now. (I've taken out the citations for ease of reading.)

When I read puns such as “road scholars," I want to cringe. When a girl asks if she can rub deodorant on her face so it won’t shine, I laugh out loud. I become even more amused when I see an article on how to look good, wearing your underwear on the outside of your clothing. And it’s all fine and dandy that they can find a bathing suit that minimizes your body flaws if you’re short, fat, busty, or have big thighs, but what if you have all of the above “flaws?” What then? Wear a tent?

All of the above questions simply lead up to the bigger, broader, eternal question that haunts Seventeen Magazine readers such as myself: Why do they publish this garbage? The answer is really quite simple. Somewhere in the vast expanse of Seventeen’s readership, there are actually people who want to know the exact definition of the word “shaving,” and why people who don’t shower for days smell “unpleasant."

So who exactly are these people who enjoy reading Seventeen? They are mostly urban or suburban girls between the ages of fourteen and eighteen. Girls hitting puberty who need to read about the different types of feminine protection and need to have visuals of lists of the advantages and disadvantages of each.

From the fourteen year olds who wonder about their first periods, to the eighteen year olds who ask if it’s possible to get pregnant without having sex, they all have one thing in common: everyone is a consumer. It’s no surprise that the manufactures and large companies have taken advantage of this fact.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The fallacy of "true" love.

You know what drives me crazy? People who wax poetic about true love. Or those who profess to be "meant for each other." Every time I hear someone announce this incredibly trite cliche -- it's true love; we were meant for each other -- a small party of me wants to punch her (as it's usually a "her" as opposed to a "him") in the trachea.

(Ed note, Before I continue, it is imperative to understand that I do not believe in love as a feeling. I believe that love is an action. However, I am in a very small minority, and love as a feeling vs. love as an action is not what this entry is about. Today, we are discussing "true" love. Perhaps tomorrow we can delve into feelings vs. actions.)

I don't believe people know what they mean when they say love is "true." So I've started where all good lawyers should start when dealing with matters of statutory interpretation or matters of the heart: the dictionary. Some of the definitions didn't apply. Here is a sample of some that did.

(1) real; genuine; authentic. True feelings.

(2) loyal; faithful; steadfast. A true friend.

(3) reliable; unfailing. A true sign.

When most people speak of true love, I believe they speak of fluffy, bunnies-and-unicorns, hearts-and-stars, fields-of-clover, poop-tastes-like-candy and farts-smell-like roses love. They imagine flowers and fountains of chocolate. Happy endings (no, not THOSE happy endings, you perv) and chick flick fantasies, where the fat girl drops the weight, can afford Lasik and dental veneers and a tummy tuck, and gets the guy. Happy endings where the fat guy... well, the fat guy never gets anything; he's the comedic foil to the Prince Charming. But that's a diatribe for another day.

There is nothing pre-destined about love. God does not have a master plan. People aren't born with set soul mates -- they're not "meant" to be together. And while romance is nice, it takes a back seat to more important matters, like laundry, mortgage payments, and lawn mowing.

Yes, love can be true. It can be genuine and real, loyal and steadfast, reliable and unfailing. It can be. But it usually isn't. Applying those adjectives to love implies that romantic love is unconditional. It is not. Guess what? Fuck someone around enough, and he's probably not going to love you anymore. Loyalty lasts only so long when someone's being a right prick or stepping out on you. Ascribing the adjectives above to the word "true" does not describe love.

It describes co-dependence.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I am clearly not a parent.

To me, all newborns look the same.

It's true. People can fawn all they want, but the reality remains: A baby is a baby. At two weeks old, they're all kinda mushy and wrinkly looking. Some have light hair, some dark, the skin color may be different. But other than that... Yeah. The same.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Memories of turquoise ink.

Two boys ever professed their love to me. I am married to the latter of the two.

The first, I met at a football game on October 15, 1993. I was fourteen years old. I don’t remember how it was we started talking, or exactly what it was we started talking about. I was painfully shy back then, so I’m sure we’d spent a few hours in close proximity without exchanging more than a few sentences. I can’t recall how or why, but for some reason, I found myself sitting alone with Dan McCue on the bleachers behind our high school's marching band.

Every school day thereafter, I’d find a way to see Dan. I accidentally ran into him in the lunch line. I altered my path between third and fourth periods from Speech class to Geometry so I could bump into him on his way from Latin IV. I started leaving school each day at 3:10 from the front door, rather than the back door, knowing his regular route home.

Every day we’d chat with my friends in front of school before walking home together. My friends all adored Dan. He was sweet, funny, and nice to us. He always smiled, always had something to say, and always made us all feel like people, instead of like freshman girls. They envied the time I spent with him on the way home. We would separate three blocks from my house and go our separate ways. Yet by mid-November, he was walking six blocks out of his way to bring me to my doorstep. He often did not arrive home until after 5:30.

Christmas came and went. He attended my New Year's Party, where he was the only boy. On January 2nd, he called me.

"I was wondering if you’d consider starting a relationship with me," he asked.

Consider starting a relationship? Not quite the way I would have said it, but it worked.


I hung up the phone and emerged from the bathroom I’d locked myself into. A friend who was visiting was talking to my mom in the kitchen. “Dan asked me out.”

“Where?” my mother asked. Silly Mom.

“We’re together now.”

How simple. He asked, I accepted. Why can’t life always be so easy? Nothing -- before or since -- has ever been so easy. We were a couple. We started holding hands on the way home from school. For the first time in my life, I smiled on a regular basis. Our nighttime conversations began to get longer. He wrote me notes in turquoise ink that he passed to me in the hallway between Speech and Geometry. I still have all of them.

On Valentine's Day, he presented me with a stuffed hedgehog and professed his love for me. In February 15, 1994, I dumped him. Love? Who can fall in love so fast? I needed to to be, to grow, to learn, NOT to be tied down to Dan McCue.

I broke up with Dan because he told me he loved me. Truth be known, he was the best boyfriend I ever had. He gave me a hedgehog on Valentine’s Day. He penned me notes in turquoise ink. He walked me home and kissed me on the cheek.

Things were simple with him. I liked him a lot for the six weeks we were together, but I don’t know if I loved him. I can’t remember. I wasn’t very nice to him in the months after we broke up, but can chalk it up to being a 15-year-old girl. I remember him fondly and want to have loved him. I enjoyed talking to him and hope we stay in touch, but I don’t want to see him again. It’s easier to love someone from memory.

Epilogue: Dan McCue found me last week on Facebook.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Email cheating?

I am having a relationship with a man not my husband.

Incidentally, I have not me this man. We only know each other in that quasi-anonymous way that many people know one another these days. We know each other only via the Internet. How we met is not important. Suffice to say that in the beginning, we only exchanged passing pleasantries. Nothing substantive was ever exchanged. We knew the other's geographical location, and basic biographical information, such as marital status and occupation.

As time went on (and it always does), more personal information was exchanged. Nothing huge. Nothing major. Simple things. Opinions. Not even opinions on big issues such as the death penalty or abortion. No dialogues involving legal theories were exchanged -- the sort of dialogues that really get my juices flowing. Instead, we spoke more generally, painted rather broad strokes about inane, inconsequential things. So inconsequential that I can't even think of any.

Recently, however, things have taken a more personal turn. We've discussed the more detailed intricacies of our respective lives. Again, nothing earth-shattering. Topics tend to revolve around basic human interactions and relationships. Yet we've come to understand the flavor of our separate personalities. We are different, of course, but we've recognized our similarities.

Nothing I've shared with this man is anything I've haven't shared with Chris. Nothing I've shared with this man is anything I haven't shared with friends. Hell, nothing I've shared with this man is anything I wouldn't share here, in another quasi-anonymous forum. I've even 'fessed up to Chris about my Secret Internet Boyfriend.

I am not doing anything wrong.

Yet something feels a little "wrong." A tad bit naughty.

Chris and I email flirt with other people. We joke about it. "You're totally email flirting with that girl," I'll say to him, as he writes to someone on okcupid dot com. Then the next day at work, he'll attempt to email flirt with me, with such romantic tidbits as, "I'd like to drive it into you like a railroad spike." (He's so poetic, my dearest darling.)

Despite the knowledge that I'm not doing anything, I've identified why it feels a bit off: I like this guy. I get little flutters when I see emails from him. I like that he's admitted to staying at work ten minutes past his usual departure time just to wait for my emailed response. The giddy schoolgirl in me giggles when he writes that he's logged in to check his email just for me (even though I know it's a lie). In short: I love the novelty.

In real life, he'd be all sorts of wrong for me, even if neither of us weren't married. He lives a gazillion miles away. He's all family-oriented. Though I've not actually asked (and how did I miss this?) he's likely a -- gasp! -- Republican.

I'll could continue rationalizing away in this post, if I so desired. But my self-indulgence is starting to get overblown, even for me. So I'll stop now.

And go check my email.