I'm sitting cross-legged on my therapist's couch 4 months after my husband's announcement that he wants a divorce when my therapist informs me that he thinks I should start dating again.
I had told myself and others that I was going to take time off to concentrate on myself for once. Between a husband and three boys, I didn't know who I was anymore. I just wanted to hang out with my girlfriends, drink martinis like a fish, and let the hair grow long on my legs if I wanted. I had even gone so far as to announce to my friends that I was going to take a full year off from any kind of relationship.
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Ms. MDP Attends a Singles Party, Part 3
As the night wore on and bourbon started to sooth my nerves, I found mingling with the other singles much easier. I approached a tall man with a shaved head and, borrowing the tactics I had gleaned from The Buffet Boss, asked, “Are you a top or bottom?”
“I’m a bottom,” he said. Apparently, this question had become standard among the partygoers at this point, and he knew immediately that I was referring to the location of his information tidbit on my pink piece of paper.
“Is it travel related,” I asked.
“No,” he replied.
I peppered him with questions related to the 50 statements on the paper I held in my hand, trying to determine which one was his.
“Does it involve a famous person,” I inquired.
“OK, Bill Clinton, Katie Holmes, or Alec Baldwin?” I asked.
“Bill Clinton,” he said.
“Oh, then you must “run 8 miles a day and have met every [P]resident going back to Bill Clinton (including Gore.)” I said, noting to myself, “Ok dumbass. Gore was never President.”
Amongst the information tidbits we had been asked to submit for the party, name-dropping ran a close second to travel-related information. I really don’t get the name-dropping thing. I mean, it’s fine if you ARE Bill Clinton. Then that’s impressive. But really? The best piece of information you can come up with to describe yourself is that you, “told Tom Cruise’s wife, Katie Holmes, that [you] didn’t know who she was at a Hollywood Hills party?” Really? I’m not impressed. I would rather meet a man who’s trying to make a name for himself than someone who has to drop the name of someone else.
My conversation with The Name-dropper did not last long, and I moved along.
I had several more conversations throughout the evening. One was with a man I’ll call Mr. Innuendo. He had apparently had too much to drink within too short a timeframe and felt the need to make every statement that came from his mouth into some sort of sexual insinuation. Another was Mr. Know-it-all. Like me, he had also been to Italy and knew his way around a kitchen. This would ordinarily be a good thing for me, perhaps even a match made in heaven, except that anything I could do he said he could do better. Ok, fine. Whatever dude.
As it got later, I made my way back to The Buffet Boss. I tend to be far more attracted by intelligence than good looks, and I had enjoyed my conversation with him the most. I didn’t really find him sexually attractive, but he was smart, funny, and easy-going. As we were standing there talking, my friend, Carmen, and Mr. Know-it-all approached.
“We’re going to go downstairs to play some foosball. Wanna come?”
“Sure,” I said, looking at The Buffet Boss, “Wanna team up?”
“Sure,” he said.
We headed downstairs into a tiny room with a foosball table standing in the middle. Mr. Know-it-all was already bragging about what an awesome foosball player he was. He and Carmen would face off against The Buffet Boss and me. Ok, Mr. Know-it-all, let the games begin. I have always been of the mind that if you want to see a person’s true personality come out, engage them in a contest, and I say this not only to expand on what soon ensued with Mr. Know-it-all but the rapid exposure of my unladylike, unsportsmanlike behavior as well.
The Buffet Boss took the offensive spools and I faced off against Mr. Know-it-all on defense. The ball dropped and there was suddenly a flurry of slamming and spinning of little soccer players. Carmen scored the first goal.
“Damn it!” I said, pissed that she’d made it past me.
The ball dropped again. I blocked a shot on goal and spun.
“Yeah!” I yelled, throwing my hands in the air as my shot flew through an opening and into our goal. I high-fived The Buffet Boss, leaving his hand stinging with my enthusiasm. Thus began a six goal streak on Mr. Know-it-all and Carmen, each announced by exuberant yelling and cheering between The Buffet Boss and me. These were not some wussy cheers either. They were the kind of sounds that start deep below the diaphragm and emerge like a roar, like the sounds one hears from men in a crowded sports bar during playoffs.
Soon, Mr. Know-it-all was trying to give Carmen pointers on how she might improve her game, and I knew that if there had been any chance of interest in Mr. Know-it-all on Carmen’s part, it was now gone. I happen to know for a fact that Carmen is a perfectly worthy foosball adversary. This was just a streak of bad luck. Plus, she does not like being told what to do or how to do it.
Stupid, stupid man.
In the end, Mr. Know-it-all and Carmen beat us 3 games to 2, but despite their win, Mr. Know-it-all’s condescension had ruined any possibility of further interactions with Carmen. Some men just can’t seem to help themselves when it comes to acting superior, and it must make dating and relationships very difficult for them, especially since they probably can’t see how they might be doing something that thwarts all of their other efforts.
The Buffet Boss and I emerged from the basement defeated, and I decided I would have one more Manhattan and try to meet a few more men before the night was over. I met a man who was the “3-time Freestyle Mustache World Champion.” As you might imagine, he was easy to spot. Another man was “using juggling and ukulele to teach pre-algebra,” and I met a Latino who “says no bullfighting or soccer for me.”
As the night was winding down I sat down on the one sofa that had not been removed from the room to sip my drink. Carmen came to sit with me.
“People are certainly fascinating,” she said, looking out across the room.
“Yes, they are,” I said, slowly taking another sip of my drink.
Mr. Innuendo was standing in the middle of the room talking with a tall, thin woman in jeans. She was laughing at one of his jokes. She was facing him, feet planting slightly far apart with her hips slightly pushed forward towards him. As she laughed she reached out and touched his arm.
“It’s interesting to watch the body language of some people,” Carmen said.
“You mean like these two,” I asked, referring to Mr. Innuendo and his admirer.
“Yeah, look at the body language on her, the hips, the touching.”
“I’m not good at touching. A lot of dating books tell you that you should touch a man when you’re flirting with him, but I’m not good at that. I tend to keep my hands to myself. I probably come off as indifferent.”
“You are indifferent,” Carmen said, looking at me and laughing, then turning back to the action.
“Maybe I’m just never drunk enough,” I muttered, “That woman’s drunk. Do you think she would find this guy’s jokes as amusing if she weren’t?”
“Probably not,” Carmen conceded.
“As it is, they’ll probably have sex tonight,” I commented, just as Mr. Innuendo leaned into the woman and whispered something in her ear. This caused her to lose her balance and grab his arm to steady herself. Mr. Innuendo reached out and wrapped his arm around her waist, helping her regain her balance and drawing her in closer.
“Yep, they’re having sex tonight,” I said, “How would you feel if you woke up with that guy?”
“Well, he’s good-looking but he seems to think he’s quite the lady’s man,” Carmen stated, “he’s a ‘just for sex’ guy.”
“Yeah, you don’t want that type in a relationship.”
At that point, The Buffet Boss came and sat down next to me on the sofa.
“Did you clean out the food table?” I asked.
“I gave it a good try,” he said, laughing at my reference to the information he had submitted as his “claim to fame.”
“What do you think? Are these two having sex tonight?” I asked him, motioning to the couple in the middle of the room.
“Oh, yes. Drunken sex. I think so,” he said.
The three of us, Carmen, The Buffet Boss, and I, sat in silence for a moment, watching as the sexual train wreck continued to unfold before us. There was a part of me that wished I could just get out there and get my pipes cleaned without a care in the world, but I guess I’m more conservative than that. Time has now stretched to a year and a half since my husband left, and he remains the last person I’ve slept with. Perhaps if I said the word fuck less I would get it more.
It was getting late, well past midnight, and Carmen suggested we get going. The other two girlfriends who had come to the party with us had departed a few hours before. I said goodbye to The Buffet Boss and told him it was nice to meet him. Carmen and I thanked the host and hostess and were on our way.
The next day, I received an email from the hostess, stating that if there was anyone at the party who I found interesting but from whom I had failed to ask for contact information, I could contact her with the informational tidbit provided by said person. The hostess would then inform him of my interest and, if he was interested, he would contact me. For a moment, I considered asking about The Buffet Boss.
Instead, I decided to wait to see if I would get any inquiries from The Buffet Boss. I did not. His hand was probably still stinging from my high-fives.
I guess I’m just not very good at these things.