Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/hitchhikers/guide/.

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<





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Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites
Part I, Your Profile and Email

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?


"50 First Dates"






Don't just sit there angry and ranting, do something constructive.
In the words of Patti Smith (all hail Sister Patti): People have the power.
Contact your elected officials.

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
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or Search by State

Find State Officials
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or Search by State

Contact The Media
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or Search by State





Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)

Quasar
Hyperbole
Amenable
Taciturn
Ennui
Prophetic
Tawdry
Hubris
Ethereal
Syzygy
Umbrageous
Twerp
Sluice
Omnipotent
Sanctuary
Malevolent
Maelstrom
Luddite
Subterfuge
Akimbo
Hoosegow
Dodecahedron
Visceral
Soupçon
Truculent
Vitriol
Mercurial
Kerfuffle
Sangfroid




























 







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Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

Void, Of Course: Eliminating Expectations and Emotions for a Better Way of Life

200i: iPodyssey

Macs Are from Venus, Windows is from Mars Can a relationship survive across platform barriers?
Jerking Off

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away, There Was a Really Bad Movie

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

Good Thing She's Not in a Good Mood Very Often (We Knew it Wouldn't Last)

What Do I Have to Do to Put You in this Car Today?

Of Mice and Me (Killer Cat Strikes in Local Woman's Apartment)

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

It is my Cultureth
...and it would suit-eth me kindly to speak-eth in such mannered tongue

Slanglish

It's a Little Bit Me, It's a Little Bit You
Blogging a Legacy for Future Generations


Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

Come on Out of that Doghouse! It's a Sunshine Day!

"...I had no idea our CEO is actually Paula Abdul in disguise."

Lap Dance of the Cripple

Of Muppets and American Idols
"I said happier place, not crappier place!"

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

Trillian Visits the Village of the Damned, Takes Drugs, Becomes Delusional and Blogs Her Brains Out

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

Striptease for Spiders: A PETA Charity Event (People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids)

What's Up with Trillian and the Richard Branson Worship?

"Screw the French and their politics, give me their cheese!"


















 
Mail Trillian here





Trillian's Guide to the Galaxy gives 5 stars to these places in the Universe:
So much more than fun with fonts, this is a daily dose of visual poetry set against a backdrop of historical trivia. (C'mon, how can you not love a site that notes Wolfman Jack's birthday?!)

CellStories

Alliance for the Great Lakes


Hot, so cool, so cool we're hot.

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

Coolest Jewelry in the Universe here (trust Trillian, she knows)

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras


The Beachwood Reporter is better than not all, but most sex.



Hey! Why not check out some great art and illustration while you're here? Please? It won't hurt and it's free.

Shag

Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto

Jotto




Get Fuzzy Now!
If you're not getting fuzzy, you should be. All hail Darby Conley. Yes, he's part of the Syndicate. But he's cool.





Who or what is HWNMNBS: (He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken) Trillian's ex-fiancé. "Issues? What issues?"







Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


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Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains





























Life(?) of Trillian
Single/Zero

 
Friday, April 02, 2004  
Women, The Internet and You, Part IV: After The First Date, Now What?
Okay, okay, fine. FINE.

I don't think this is really online dating specific, but a lot of you, well, a few of you, okay a couple of you asked/begged/cried for mercy and help beyond the first date.

"What do women want, Trillian? What?! You've been so helpful and insightful at guiding us through online dating sites, steered us away from common pratfalls, and now you're just going to leave us hanging out here, one date under our belts, wondering what the heck we're supposed to do next? That's not fair! It's not even nice! Have mercy on us, please!"

Oh you poor, dear, sweet misguided men. I can't help you now, you've got to let your own instincts, intuition and intelligence to figure out what to do next.

But I suppose I can offer a few ideas, some insight from a female perspective you may not have considered.

You've followed some of my advice, and you've now gone on your first "date" with a girl you met online.

You did not have sex with that woman.

You're both very aware you met on an internet dating site. There is no pretense. You both know the other is most likely "scouting" other potential dates on that internet site.

What? You didn't know that?

Oh dear. You do need my help.

I don't know how to break this to you gently. Most women who post a profile on online dating sites get a lot of email. Or at least a lot of winks or smiles. I know the actual male : female ratio on one popular internet dating site. I am professionally bound to keep the numbers secret, but, let's just say the odds favor women. By a large margin.

I know.

That's rough.

Especially if you really like her.

Especially if you don't have a B Girl.

Maybe you're just not cut out for this online dating stuff.

Or, you can be darned sure you follow at least half of my advice on posting your profile and selecting a potential date.

If you've done some of what I suggested, you've narrowed things down to the point that you have selected a woman who at least has a few things in common with you. That right there puts you in the top 20% of her email interest. Because based on my experience, about 80% of the email women receive is form letter stuff from men sending emails to every woman on the site, disregarding all search criteria, and hoping one will take the bait. If this has been your approach, a) you haven't followed any of my tips, and b) you haven't heard from her because she has deleted your email and forgotten about you.

Right.

So you didn't send form letters to every woman on the site. You narrowed your search criteria, found your dream girl, contacted her, she liked you enough to agree to date, you met for coffee and a stroll through a museum. You let her talk. You listened. You smiled. You gave her lots of eye contact. You complimented her outfit and her eyes. You were sincere and humble yet witty and intelligent. You didn't smell badly. You had a great time. You think she did, too.

Now what?!

If you told her you'd call her, then CALL HER. Within two days, three max.

If you didn't tell her you'd call her, she thinks you weren't interested in her and assumes she will never see or hear from you again. So if you do want to talk to her or see her again, proceed with caution and the same rule applies: You must do it within three days of the date. She may be happy (if not a little surprised) to hear from you, so be sure to sound extra interested in her.

I'm going to go off on a tangent here. This is for the situation when: You go on a first date, you have an "okay" time, but are not chomping at the bit to see her again, and do not tell her you're going to call. And you don't. You then move on to the next one, and the next one, and maybe the one after that, and by comparison, in hindsight, bachelorette number one is looking pretty darned good. But a week, or two, or maybe even a month or more has passed. Wow. That time flew by! You want to see her again, but it's been a while, and you haven't heard from her, either. Now she's getting under your skin. Something about her, you can't quite let go of her. You peruse her profile again. And again. And again. You do a search pretending you're a woman looking for a man about her age within 25 miles of her zip code so you can see the men she might be dating. It's worth a phone call or at least an email. Email is obviously the safe option for both of you. You can be light (but not cavalier) witty (but not pretentious) and apologetic (grovel, man, grovel on your hind legs like the dog you are). Feel free to use this: "Hi Girl4Me, I know it's been a while since our date. I'm sorry I've let so much time pass without talking to you. I know this is presumptuous of me, but I've been thinking about you and wondering if you'd like to get together for dinner or maybe check out that new Men Are Fools exhibit at MoMA Friday night. (give her a week's advance notice, but set a specific day indicating YOU REALLY ARE SERIOUS, YOU WANT TO GO ON A REAL DATE WITH HER) I hope things are going well with (insert something you learned about her on your first date - work, tennis tournament, knitting project...to indicate you were paying attention, you do like her enough to remember something important to her, even after all this time). your humble and apologetic servant,
IReallyMessedUp72


On the other hand, if you told her you'd call, and you do, but you get her voice mail. Every time you call. And she doesn't return your calls. Or reply to your emails.

I'm really sorry.

Really sorry.

Take the hint. She's not interested. Three unreturned phone calls or two unreturned emails and it's time for you to move on.

I'm really sorry.

Do not stand outside her window with a boom box blaring In Your Eyes. You are neither 18 or John Cusack. Do not continue to call or email her. She will block you from her email. If you continue to call her she will press harassment charges. Or at least be very, very angry with you. And you will look pathetic and desperate and more than a little needy.

Maybe she'll reconsider. Maybe she'll call or write when she realizes the mistake she made by not snatching you up when she had the chance. Maybe you'll still be available. Or maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have moved on.

But let's get back to assuming you want to see her again, and you're quite certain she wants to see you again.

Follow all the guidelines for a first date.

Second dates are just First Dates, Part II. Except you should both be a bit more relaxed because you both agreed to see each other again, so there's something there, enough for a second date. If she touches your hand, arm, face: You may kiss her. Watch the tongue. She might be feeling more relaxed, she might give a hint of tongue. But she's probably just teasing you, giving you an indication that she's interested and has some smoldering fires. But she's probably not looking to fan the flames with you just yet.

Let's talk about sex. Baby.

We've discussed this before, I'll say it again: Most women ascribe to the Three Date Minimum. The Three Date Minimum is just that: If we like a guy, as in like like him, even if we know we want him to tie us up and have his wicked way with us within five minutes of meeting him, if we really like him like him, we will make him, and ourselves, wait through at least three bona fide dates before anything sexual happens. I know women who maintain a 10 date minimum. We're all different, and our minimum may be flexible given circumstances. Circumstances being: He's The One, or We Don't Care If We Ever See Him Again, or Ah What the Swut, It's Been A While, He's Cute, I've Had a Few Drinks, Why Not?

Yes. Women behave like men. Shocking as it may be, we are even capable of I Don't Even Want to Know His Name sex.

You're a guy. We're all adults. You can gauge the situation. If you think she just wants you for sex, and you're okay with that, hey, go get 'em tiger.

However, if you like her like her, and she's coming onto you, be a gentleman, spare yourself the drama and politely rebuff her. Do yourselves both a favor and wait at least one more date.

I don't want to see you hurt.

There are also women who "set traps" like this. They come on all strong and seductive to test a man, to see how "easy" he is, if he "just wants her for sex." And then, when the guy reacts in the natural way, she becomes angry or hurt and pulls the pouty "you just want me for sex" routine. I cannot speak for these women. I am not one of them. But I know they exist. I've heard women talk about toying with men in this manner. I'm not here to judge, I'm just telling you they're out there, so consider yourself warned. (If you like being manipulated and controlled, you'll do well with a woman like this.)

As for you initiating sexual advances: If she says no, she really means no. She is not being coy. She is probably not saying no, never, she is probably saying no, not tonight, not yet, not now.

Be nice, don't pout.

You are not 15.

Pouting and/or getting mad will not score any points for next time.

If there is a next time.

If you like this girl, and she likes you, and you enjoy being with her, just roll with it. Sooner or later it will happen. Remember that smile, those eyes, her wit, her intelligence, her charm...all those things you claimed to like about her when you first responded to her profile? Right. Remember all of that.

There are as many reasons as there are women as to why and how long they wait to have sex with a guy. I can't give you blanket advice other than to say we're all different, but for most of us the time we "make you wait" has little to do with you and everything to do with us. If we continue to see you, as in date you, we are attracted to you on some level, so don't let your ego get in the way of a potentially really good thing. Give her space, continue to be your wonderful witty, charming, gentleman self, prove to her just how much you really do like her for reasons other than sex.

If it goes on more than, oh, I don't know, 20 dates and there's been barely a tongue hinting at future possibilities, you might have to have a little talk. And by little talk I don't mean you pestering her for sex or getting mad and pouty because she's not giving you sex. I mean a nice, holding her hands, "I really care about you and your feelings" talk about your "relationship."

I know.

Right now you're thinking about that other girl you emailed, BlackThornedDhalia, the one with the photo of her in her dominatrix outfit on her profile.

Which is my closing point: The advantage to meeting a girl on an internet dating site is that you know what she's looking for in a man. If you're dating for sex, great, fine, good for you, but select a girl who is also looking for sex. Do not date a girl who right up front on her profile says she's ready to settle down and wants a long term relationship and marriage. That girl is more interested in you for who you are, what you want from life, big picture stuff. That girl can and will wait to have sex. That girl is looking for a lot more than sex and views your dates as fact finding missions. How well you interact together, how well you make decisions together, if she can tolerate your annoying habits for the rest of her life.

Good luck. Be careful out there. Have fun. Relax. Be the you your mother thinks you are.

Labels: , ,


5:47 AM

Thursday, April 01, 2004  
Okay, so I wore jeans to work.

Everyone else does it.

All the time.

Even on days which are not officially sanctioned casual days.

I rarely wear jeans to work, even on officially sanctioned casual days. Mainly because on any given day I may be meeting with a client or a senior level person (or high ranking official) in my company. You're right, it should not matter what any of us are wearing, we're employed to do a job, perform functions, and as long as we're doing that job, carrying out those functions and not disrupting other people, it shouldn't matter what any of us is wearing. BUT, I feel more appropriate if I am wearing something other than jeans. It's wrong, I agree, but until society completely changes, that's the way it is. People do make judgments based on attire - it might be a slight, very unconscious judgment - but it happens. I don't agree with or like it any more than you do. But it is, and therefore I accept. It's a huge game, again, I agree. I don't like that aspect of it, either. But it is, and therefore I accept.

I've bent the rules a bit the past few months by wearing my Polo poseur sneakers, and before that my Payless shoes. I was worried about this, and haven't felt entirely comfortable in a few situations because of them. I found myself making apologies by way of far too involved explanations. Why should I offer an apology or explanation? Because people notice. Disapprovingly so. So I make quick excuses, "I'm recovering from a broken ankle." weak smile of apology. "Sorry about the sneakers, my ankle hasn't quite healed enough to get into regular shoes." By now, nearly everyone I work with in any capacity knows what happened and my long recovery. I still get the occasional disapproving look, typically accompanied by a remark along the lines of, "Ankle still not back to normal, there Trillian?" skeptical eyebrow raised at my sneakers. As if I was enjoying wearing the same Payless shoes and sneakers day after day. (okay, truth be known I didn't mind my Payless shoes.) So many times I've had to bite my tongue to keep myself from saying, oozing saccharine sarcasm all over the place, "Oh my ankle's healed perfectly, everything back to normal. Thanks for your concern." I noticed a huge look of relief on my senior manager's face when I entered a client meeting wearing my new Bass Cacies. I'm not kidding. I walked into the boardroom, said hello, and he looked straight down at my feet before answering with a huge smile of relief and "Good morning Trillian! You're looking well! We're going to knock 'em dead today, aren't we?!"

Wanted to say: "Yes Senior Manager, Sir, we sure are going to knock 'em dead now that I'm not in a cast and wearing more appropriate shoes! Thanks for all your concern about how I might be feeling. Really appreciate your understanding and support. It means so much to me to know you care about me and aren't all hung up on appearances."

Said instead: "Yes, we've got a great lineup, I'm very pleased with the work we've done."

Yesterday I knew I was going to be hunkered down in my office all day working on a huge project. I got up even earlier than usual, did a very abbreviated appearance routine so that I could get into work very early and get a good jump on the project in the peace and quiet of the quiet early hours in the office. Part of that abbreviated appearance routine was fast and comfy clothes. Again, I knew I would be hunkered down in front of my computer all day, a very long day, and I wanted to be comfortable. So I wore my favorite sweater (cashmere, soft as Furry Creature's tummy, no pils, perfect drape and fit, black) and jeans. Nice, not very faded, not tight jeans. And yes, my poseur Polo sneakers. I left home wearing a nice pair of earrings but somewhere along my commute I lost one, so my lobes were naked. I wore make-up. Well. Mascara, blush and lipstick. Basically, what I'm saying here is that, yes, I was far more casual than usual, but I wasn't exactly slouchy or sloppy. Exchange the jeans for a pair of trousers and sneakers with real shoes, and you've got a perfectly acceptable, frankly quite nice looking work outfit. I was: Neat and clean. And from the waste up, the part of me most people see as I sit in my office behind my desk, I looked like I look any other day.

Because my ankle's been bothering me again, still swollen apparently from recent rain and atmospheric pressure I've been back in my sneakers full time.

So there I was, early morning, deep into my project, off in another world, in "the zone," really churning out some good stuff, when into walks: Colleague Who Stinks Up My Office with Flavored Coffee.

"Whoa-ho! Look at you!" she yelled, yes, yelled.

"What?" thinking I had once again left an earbud condom stuck in my ear.

"You're so CASUAL! You're wearing JEANS!" she exclaimed with the sort of awe and enthusiasm one would expect in the comment, "You're so WEIRD! You're wearing a SPACESUIT!"

"Oh. Yeah. I've got that big project and since I'm not leaving the office today I decided to be comfortable." hoping she'd get the hint (she never does, so why do I keep hoping?) and leave so I could continue working.

Of course not.

"Hey Tara! Getta loada Trill! Have you seen her today? She's wearing jeans!" Colleague Who Stinks Up My Office with Flavored Coffee yelled out to Boob Job.

Who appeared in my office so fast there were cartoon blur lines around her.

I rolled out further from my desk, stuck my legs out in mock exaggeration. "See? Jeans. Trillian's wearing jeans. The earth will resume it's normal rotation tomorrow morning. We now return you to regularly scheduled work!"

Sarcasm is wasted in my office. Or at least on my co-workers. Boob Job laughed a nervous, uncertain laugh, Colleague Who Stinks Up My Office with Flavored Coffee didn't get it and just stood there slurping her stinky coffee.

Boob Job went back to work.

Colleague Who Stinks Up My Office with Flavored Coffee stood there slurping.

"Uh, sorry, Colleague Who Stinks Up My Office with Flavored Coffee, I came in extra early to work on this, I really want to keep up my momentum."

"Okay." she said, and continued to stand there slurping her coffee.

Awkward silence except for the slurping of her coffee.

I gave her one of those weird smiles I hope looked dismissive and not suggestive.
Awkward silence except for the slurping of her coffee.

My (needs a new nickname) boss walked by and as she always does, without looking in my office, sang out a "morning Trill."

Colleague Who Stinks Up My Office with Flavored Coffee seized this new opportunity, "Hey (needs a new nickname) boss! Come in here! Getta loada Trillian! She's wearing jeans!'

(needs a new nickname) boss did an about face and came into my office.

I didn't bother with the big theatrics this time, I just made a "ta dah" gesture at my legs.

(needs a new nickname) boss got this big concerned look, "Everything okay Trillian?"

Colleague Who Stinks Up My Office with Flavored Coffee got that hint and left my office. Sure now she gets a subtle hint. And leaves me stuck with my boss to have a mock care and concern conversation.

"Everything's fine, I just came in really early today to get a jump on The Big Project and since I'm going to be in here working all day, and wanted to be comfortable. I don't have any clients or meetings, I'll be in here all day. Working. Alone." suddenly getting all apologetic and sounding like a 15 year old trying to convince her parents she needs and deserves an half hour longer curfew so she can study longer.

"Oh that's fine, it's just that you never wear jeans. I just thought maybe you weren't feeling well or something." she hedged.

We both knew the "or something" was actually "or handing in your resignation and quitting."

"No, no, just didn't feel like doing the whole drill this morning, cut a few wardrobe corners." I assured her.

"Good! Good for you! Everyone else does it all the time!" she acquiesced.

And she's right, everyone else does do it all the time.

Even, and in spite of, our company's dress code policy.

Jeans, sneakers, and general casualness, while not de rigueur, can be seen on at least one employee on any given day. It's quite lax, which is fine, I don't have an issue with anyone wearing whatever they want to work as long as it's not suggestive, sloppy or smelly.

So why was it such a huge, suggestive, sloppy, smelly deal that I wore jeans to work?
I'd like to end this here.

But this is Trillian's Life.

We all know it won't end here.

I made the mistake of going into the ladies' room while the morning Back Stage at a Versace Runway Show routine was in full swing. The bathroom full of women applying make-up, drying and curling hair, getting dressed...that place is getting worse all the time. There are all sorts of little bags, baskets and boxes permanently stored in there now, many of these women keep all their gear right there, not even bothering to make a pretense of showing up to work, you know, ready to work. I avoid the place until 10:30 AM. If I need to use the bathroom before then, I go to another floor. I just didn't think. It seemed later than 9:10 AM because I'd been in and working earlier than usual.

I didn't think and just walked into the ladies' room/Back Stage at a Versace Runway Show. A silence fell over the banter and din of women primping.

"Morning Trillian," one of them finally said, breaking the awkward silence.

"Hi ladies, carry on!" I tried to make a joke.

Not a very good one.

At least not good enough to get them to all stop staring at me, or rather, my jeans and sneakers.

Two issues: A) Why is this such a huge deal? and B) How the swut am I supposed to pee with all this awkward silence over my jeans and sneaker wearing entrance?

"Does anyone have a nail file?" I asked, pretending to have a manicure crisis.

Suddenly they were all talk and happiness again. No less than four files were immediately offered. I mock sanded a nail. And left, nearly running down the back stairway to another ladies' room to pee in silence and, apparently, shame.

On my way back to my office, a colleague on the lower floor called out good morning to me.

"Hi Sheri! How's it going today?" I offered to a woman who I genuinely like because she has a firm grip on reality and a decent sense of humor.

"Okay, I've got to get that database sorted out, I keep putting it off...whoa. Are you wearing jeans?" she asked, after looking up at me.

"Obviously, yes, I am wearing jeans. And apparently it's a really big deal." I answered, a bit more abruptly than I intended.

"Sor-ry. It's just that I can't remember the last time you wore jeans to work." she threw back at me.

"I'm sorry Sheri. Big Project has me a bit on edge." I meekly apologized and left.

Back in my office, back in my Big Project reverie, I receive an urgent email prompt.
My one and only true work friend who works three floors above me.

Subject: Details Required
Message: I heard a rumor you're looking casual today - jeans? On a Wednesday no less!
Are you quitting? I can't believe you would let me find out about it this way.

Subject: RE: Details Required
Message: You heard a rumor? From whom?
And yes, I am wearing jeans. On a Wednesday. But no, sadly, I am not quitting. Yet. Do you really think I would let you find out about it this way?

Subject: RE: RE: Details Required
Message: Mark in Payroll asked me if you were quitting because James in Research told him he saw you down talking to Sheri and you were wearing jeans and seemed angry.

He also noted your ass apparently looks "fine" in those jeans.

By the way.

Subject: RE: RE: RE: Details Required
Message: Oh great. Not only are there rumors going around about me, but they involve my ass.

And James. I don't want my ass linked in any way to James. Or Mark. Or Sheri. Or anyone else in this company.

Moments later Friend appeared in my office.

Looking around my desk at my jeans, "Okay. That rumor's true. Now stand up. Let's see your ass and confirm or deny that other rumor." she demanded.

I gave her a "bite me" look.

"No, seriously, Trillian, we've got to know if those jeans in any way imply you've got a fine ass. Because if they do, you've got to go shopping at lunch and get something which reveals no hint of whether or not your ass is fine, and you cannot ever wear those jeans to work again. Why are you wearing jeans anyway?" she offered, in true concern for the potential crisis of rumor being further circulated and exaggerated.

"They're not tight, they're quite loose, actually. James is just being James." I tried to dismiss her.

"STAND UP! LET ME SEE YOUR ASS!" she barked at me. (fortunately she had closed my office door behind her)

I did as she commanded, now worried that perhaps my jeans were too revealing for the office.

"James is an idiot. But we knew that. Your ass is not 'fine' in those jeans." she matter of factly stated, with a hint of relief.

"Oh good. What a relief. My ass is not fine. And James is an idiot for thinking it is."

"You know what I mean. Why are you wearing jeans today? It's not casual day." she deadpanned.

"I came in early to work on The Big Project, I don't have any clients or meetings today, so I just threw on something comfortable. Had I known it was going to cause rumors, speculation and widespread panic I never would have attempted such a shameful and gross abuse of company dress code policy."

"See that it doesn't happen again, Miss McMillian. Want to go to Virgin at lunch and flirt with boys and leer at tourists?"

"Sure!"

The rest of the morning went relatively quietly.

I got a lot of work done.

Friend and I flirted and leered at Virgin for a full 45 minutes.

Back in our building, waiting in the lobby for the elevator, two guys from Client Services sauntered up to us. "Good afternoon ladies."

Both gave me the up and down eye. My coat covered my bum, so I wasn't too concerned about what they might be looking for, or worse, what they would find back there.

Friend could hardly contain her laughter.

My floor was the lowest of our group, so I had to de-elevator in front of all of them, giving the boys a chance at a good, though coat covered, look at my bum.

I hightailed it back to my office.

I worked.

An hour later that new guy from Tech Services came into my office.

"Are you having trouble with your network directory?"

On any given day I have trouble with my network directory. I have given up even bothering to put in a call for help on this particular issue because it never gets resolved. Furthermore, trying to get any of the geeks in Tech Services to actually appear in my office to service my technology is not unlike trying to get the cable guy to show up on a Sunday.

"I have been having ongoing issues with the directory, but this is not a good time for me - I'm right in the middle of a really big project. Perhaps you can look at it Friday?"
I offered, knowing darned well he was there on an ass finding mission.

"Friday. Okay. Sure. I'll come back then. But if I could just take a quick look at a few of the cables..." he valiantly offered in hopes of making me stand up to let him jiggle the cords.

He's going to fit in with the Tech Services guys just fine.

I rolled sideways in my chair, giving him loads of space and not so much as a small glimpse of my bum.

He jiggled cords.

He promised to return Friday.
He left my office dejected.

Half hour later: Another urgent email prompt.

Subject: Tech Services Issue
Message: WARNING! Geek alert! Rumor being spread by STEVE and KEVIN (YOU F@#KWITS) that you're wearing jeans and you look totally hot. Further, there have been wagers regarding your employment status. Certainly STEVE and KEVIN would be among the first to know if you were leaving because they would have a TERMINATION NOTICE AND SERVICE MEMO to remove you from the NETWORK if you had QUIT or been FIRED. And STEVE and KEVIN would never spread rumors or make financial wagers on the employment status of a colleague (YOU F@#KWITS) Besides, GAMBLING on company property is against POLICY. NOT THAT THAT STOPS STEVE AND KEVIN FROM INITIATING AND CIRCULATING A MARCH MADNESS GAMBLING POOL. (YOU F@#KWITS)

And of course STEVE and KEVIN are very well aware of the COMPANY'S SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICIES and would never speculate or gossip about a FEMALE COWORKER'S HOTNESS. (YOU F@#KWITS)

Just thought you would want to know. What STEVE and KEVIN (YOU F@#KWITS) are up to.

Friend. Gotta love her. We both know Steve intercepts and reads email. She sent me this knowing full well he reads anything with his department mentioned in the subject line.

Subject: RE: Tech Services Issue
Message: Thank you for the update on STEVE and KEVIN (I'LL SUE YOU F@#KWITS, I SWEAR I WILL) Situation well in hand, reconnaissance stooge intercepted and foiled. STEVE and/or KEVIN (DON'T FORGET I GOT PETER FIRED YOU F@#KWITS) DIDN'T HAVE THE BALLS to try to see for themselves, they sent their canary. If only STEVE and KEVIN spent as much time actually solving the network directory problem, YES PROBLEM, IT'S WELL BEYOND A CHALLENGE as they did on the status of employment of other employees WHICH IS NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS and especially the status of FEMALE EMPLOYEES' ANATOMY we might actually have a network comparable to something more current than Flintstones era technology.

Hour and a half later Kevin appeared in my office. Sheepishly, he said, "Eric said you're having network directory issues. I don't think we should wait until Friday to fix it."

"I'm really busy, right in the middle of The Big Project. Go away. Come back Friday. I don't need the directory until then anyway. I haven't been able to access it smoothly, if at all, for two years. Two more days is not going to hurt you, me, the network or my Mac." I dismissed him.

He lingered. Awkwardly.

"Big project, huh." he answered.

"Yes. Really big project."

"How long you been here now?" he asked, sounding like a character I can't quite place.

"I don't have time for this. Really. I'm not quitting, okay? Go away." I flatly told him.

"Look, I'm only here because I've always liked you, I respect you, you know? People are saying you're going to quit because of Peter and I heard your promotion didn't involve any more money. I'd quit if I were you." he pressed.

"You're not me. Thank you for all your heartfelt concern. Go away." I insisted sarcastically.

"I'm just saying, maybe it's time to move on." he persisted.

"Kevin, do you know something I don't? Should I be quitting?" I asked, knowing darned well he is privy via Steve's email voyeurism and back door entry into files stored on the less than secure network to pretty much anything going on in the company.

"No, no! I don't know anything!" he pleaded, far too enthusiastically.

"You would let me know if you knew anything, since you've always liked me and you have so much respect for me, that is."

"Of course, of course! You know, you shouldn't send out all those signals, the jeans and everything, it makes people talk."

"And start betting pools. Signals? Jeans and everything?" I mocked, and then stared poignantly at his own jean clad person.

"That's me. If I showed up in a suit and tie, everyone would know something was up with me. You're the opposite. So naturally, you know, because of the Peter thing, people are putting two and two together." ignoring the betting pool slate and explaining his signal concept.

"You have my permission to squash any rumor about my employment status."

He smiled and stared at the floor. I know he was trying to figure out a way to address the other rumor.

"Go away. Now." I demanded.

He left.

I worked.

Late.

And because the Universe takes delight in mocking me with irony, my senior manager rounded the corner just as the elevator arrived, leaving me no choice but to hold it for him. And of course he noticed my jeans and sneakers.

"How's that ankle?" he asked, staring at my sneakers.

"Been giving me a bit of trouble this week. Thanks for asking."

"Sorry to hear that." still staring at my sneakers and jeans.

"I've got a good jump on The Big Project." I offered, trying to change the subject.

"Great! That's great!" he answered with a bit too much enthusiasm.

He held the elevator door for me, and I wondered if he'd heard the ass rumors. Was he trying to figure out if it was "fine" or if I looked hot?

I do not want my senior manager thinking about my ass in any way shape or form. I don't want to think he could be thinking about it, even on a whim of a rumor.

Further, and more importantly, I do not want him thinking I am quitting. Given all the firings around me lately, I do not want any speculation swirling about my own employment.

And this, people, is why we have dress codes.

8:25 AM

Wednesday, March 31, 2004  
The Theme for Today is: The Universe Giveth, and The Universe Taketh Away
I found $20 in my coat pocket this morning. I think it's unspent bar money. All the way to work I mused on what I could do with my newfound fortune. Many altruistic thoughts came to mind. I was still toying with which I would choose when I took off my coat in the office and brushed my hair and realized: Somewhere along my commute to work I lost an earring. A very nice earring. A very unusual and irreplaceable earring.

Swut altruism. That $20 is mine.

Reality Wednesday
A Date in Every Port

A new reality dating show! Follow the dating adventures of traveling singles, looking for fun and romance in every town they visit! These singles are earning their frequent flyer miles!

Required:
Laptop or internet access.
Membership to an online dating site.
Job requiring travel and overnight stays.

Optional but candidates with the following are strongly urged to apply:
Open expense account.
Flexible travel schedule.

This week's contestants include an English lawyer visiting a large American city on business. His Friday return flight to London is overbooked. He is on standby from business to first class. He is informed his upgrade will not be available. He is then informed he has the option of taking a flight the next day and receiving not only a free ticket, but a free first class upgrade for whatever flight he chooses. Because he is on company business and because he can charge any hotel accommodation fees on his expense account, he opts to stay in town for the weekend, see a few sites, and return home Sunday.

Once he settles his hotel arrangements, the fun and excitement of this week's adventure begin.

Off camera interview segment in an office overlooking the Thames and Parliament:
"I had the option of spending the weekend in a city I had never visited. I'd been there for a few days on business, but was too busy to see the city. You know how it is: airport, taxi, hotel, taxi, board room, taxi, hotel, taxi, restaurant, taxi, hotel, get up, do it all again the next day, only with room service, then the next day it's taxi, board room, taxi, hotel, taxi, airport, home. When my flight was full, and my upgrade wasn't available, I saw it as a sign to stay in town for the weekend, check out the sites, have a little fun.

"Friday night I went out on my own, had a nice dinner, walked the streets, just drank in the atmosphere of the city. I saw all these couples and thought how great it would be to have a date. But there I was, a foreigner, in a city where I knew no one...oh sure, I could have had the concierge arrange a "date" but that's not my style. Bar scene? No, that's not my style, either, and what a dreadful line: 'My flight was full, I'm stuck in town for the weekend. Buy you a drink?'

"I wound up back in my hotel room, working, sending email back to the office, when it hit me: My online dating site! Of course! There's a wealth of women right here at my fingertips! I already belong to the world's largest internet dating site, already have a profile posted, so I logged in, and searched THIS city for a few women I might find interesting. Well. The results were the same there as at home. Once you narrow down your criteria, there really aren't that many available women. There were three who caught my eye, but one, TakeMeImYours, stood out above the others. Something about her smile, slightly coy, slightly sardonic, and she had these big green eyes framed with eyebrows I could just about see arching in that playful
'oh yeah? prove it!' way...but her profile was what really got me. She was witty, clever, sarcastic and clearly had a good sense of humor, didn't take herself or the whole online dating process so seriously. I liked her. I just really liked her. So I sent her an email. I knew it was a long shot, but I thought, 'why not?'"

Why not, indeed.

Cut to his laptop screen with an online dating profile including photo of the sardonically smiling green eyed beauty is displayed. The screen then refreshes to an email subject line: 'My flight was full, I'm stuck in town for the weekend. Can I buy you a drink?'

Cut to a living room with a woman resembling the woman in the previously viewed profile photo. "I got up early Saturday morning as I usually do, and checked my email. I've been attempting to 'get back out there' again, try dating, try to at least meet some new people. I get quite a lot of email, which is good, I guess. But, well...so far I just haven't met a great match. Except for BritBarrister... I checked my email and was immediately drawn to the subject line 'My flight was full, I'm stuck in town for the weekend. Can I buy you a drink?' and laughed out loud. I've been in that exact situation and often thought it would be a good idea to hook up with someone local online. And there's the whole 'this is the cheesiest line I've ever heard' aspect to it. I opened his email right away, and liked his brief, witty and seemingly sincere note. I checked out his profile, BritBarrister (he's a member in the UK) and liked how he presented himself. I sent him a reply, hoping I wasn't too late, that he hadn't already found a local, um, 'hostess.' (giggles) I'd had a rather lackluster first meeting with a dating site guy the night previous, didn't have a lot of plans for the rest of the weekend, so I was sort of excited about the last minute spontaneity of the whole thing. Plus, and this is a big plus, it was a very un-date sort of date because he's obviously going home and there would be no Big Serious Pretensions About If This Will Go Anywhere Long Term underlying intentions. Just a fun casual thing, exactly what I needed."

Cut to back to the office overlooking the Thames and Parliament:
"I hadn't adjusted to the local time, so I'd been awake, working, for an hour when I received a reply email from TakeMeImYours. I won't deny it, my heart skipped a beat with excitement. I hadn't emailed anyone other than TakeMeImYours, put all my eggs in her basket. I was well pleased she replied. I was a bit concerned to open the email, she had every right to find me a presumptuous prat and to slag me off for that email I'd sent. Fortunately she didn't, in fact she gave me her phone number. I knew she was awake, even at that early hour, after all, she'd just sent an email. I rang her straight away."

Cut back to the living room with a woman resembling the woman in the previously viewed profile photo:
"I had barely hit send when my phone rang. I knew it was him, of course it was him. We immediately fell into an easy rapport. The situation, our personalities...the whole thing just lent itself to an easy, almost joke quality. In fact we both made joking innuendoes about the whole thing. I really liked BritBarrister's sense of humor, and he understood mine."

Cut to back to the office overlooking the Thames and Parliament:
"TakeMeImYours is a terrific girl. Just the greatest. So easy to talk to, so real, so down to earth but at the same time witty and intelligent. And she's got a very sexy voice, too. Turns out she used to live in London, we had lots to talk about. We spent over an hour on the telephone. She was available that night, so we made plans for dinner."

Cut back to the living room with TakeMeImYours in pre-date mode. We see her talking on the phone, casually dressed. "Yeah, I guess it's a little weird. Nervous? Nah, I mean, there are no pretenses, unless he expects me to sleep with him, which I won't. But he seems okay, it doesn't seem 'like that.' In fact, what do you want to bet I end up really liking this one?" She checks the clock and abruptly ends her conversation. We see her turn on her iTunes. She scrolls through her play lists. We hear odd opening strains of Kirsty MacColl's Não Esperando. She leaves the computer/stereo, we hear pipes groan and the shower begin running. We see her walk by and begin rifling through her closet. Steam from the shower begins to spill from the bathroom. Clothes fly by landing on and around the bed. She leaves the bedroom in pursuit of an elusive item. She has several items of clothing spewed across her bed. The camera pans past the 16 year old girlishness of the clothing arrayed on the bed and about the room and lands on a shelf. Photographs of obvious family and friends beam smiles frozen on film at the viewing audience, a poodle lamp with frilly dotted Swiss lamp shade circa 1956, books of various topics crowd various souvenirs, and boxes containing who knows what treasures. While TakeMeImYours is out of the room, one of the boxes is opened by a producer. The contents are revealed to be several letters and emails written to TakeMeImYours, all from the same person. TakeMeImYours approaches the room, the box is quickly snapped shut.

She awakes when the sun has found her face
And she reaches for the tin where she keeps important things
A cigarette, a magic bean, a page torn from a magazine
And a letter that he sent full of promises and dreams


TakeMeImYours dashes past, we catch a glimpse of flesh, and hear her begin to sing along with Kirsty. She sticks her head out of the shower to sing along with added emphasis:

Of how he walked across the jungle
Across the desert to the bright shiny city by the sea

She's not waiting anymore
Não esperando seu amor (trans: She's not waiting for her love )
Now the sun is up the spell is broken
She's not waiting anymore
Não esperando seu amor (trans: She's not waiting for her love )
Now the sun is up the dream has flown away


Cut to BritBarrister, being catered to by the staff of an expensive men's clothing store, one of those "for men of discriminating taste, custom tailoring" kinds of men's clothing stores where questions are posed in the third person, 'does sir prefer the Zegna or the Behar?' Shirts and trousers of various styles are offered, BritBarrister weighs each carefully, then, with the last choices offered, is pleased the shop finally offers something he deems acceptable.

Cut to TakeMeImYours, out of the shower, in a robe, frantically drying and styling her hair (as a cat looks on from the hall)

Another day, now his words have worn away
And his face, well she can't quite remember


View of BritBarrister, entering a chic metropolitan hotel, carrying discreet shopping bags, exchanging pleasantries with the doorman. We then cut to him in the bathroom of his deluxe suite, freshly showered, attired in just a towel showing off his hairy masculine chest, carefully shaving any trace of facial hair, whistling the tune of the song playing in TakeMeImYours' apartment. It is now we realize he puts us in a Pierce Brosnan frame of mind.

Cut to TakeMeImYours, hair dried and stylishly styled, pulls on her stockings (ruins one, grabs a reserve back-up from the many she has waiting), and continues to try on various outfits, settling on a fetching black number. "Now for the shoes. This is going to be difficult. I have several perfect pairs but this ankle...I don't know. It's risky" as she examines several pairs of stylish and high heeled shoes. She gingerly straps on a pair of sexy, thin heels. She nearly hits her head as she falls during her attempt to stride across the room. "Guess those won't work." as she tries a pair of high heeled boots. "Okay. I can walk in these. Maybe they're better anyway, more casual, not so forcing the sexy date look. Unless he's into boots. In which case neither of us stand a chance."

And she sighs with remorse, all her dreams are flying north
Where they wear fancy clothes, painted nails and long blonde hair
And where they fly across the jungle
Across the desert to the bright shiny city by the sea


TakeMeImYours, back in the bathroom, carefully applying make-up - we can tell by the fancy packaging it is The Good Make-up. We watch her transform from okay looking fresh faced girl next door to Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress, smoky and sultry eyes, glossed pouting full lips and blushed cheekbones to die for. She looks at the camera, "What?" she admonishes, dismissing the camera and at home audience with a "stop it you guys."

She's not waiting anymore
Não esperando seu amor (trans: She's not waiting for her love )
Now the sun is up the spell is broken
She's not waiting anymore
Não esperando seu amor (trans: She's not waiting for her love )
Now the sun is up the dream has flown away


View of BritBarrister, in his deluxe suite, buttoning the final button on his shirt, rolling his cuffs to add a slightly cavalier jaunty feel to his otherwise perfectly polished ensemble. He's checking himself in the mirror, striking poses, practicing dance steps as he hums Não Esperando. We now realize he may in fact be Pierce Brosnan.

TakeMeImYours, back in her bedroom, rifles through her jewelry drawer, trying several earring/necklace combinations. She settles on a slightly edgy necklace and emerald earrings. "When in doubt emeralds!"she advises the camera and home viewing audience. She pulls out a darling evening bag and packs her evening essentials. She begins saucily salsa dancing to the sexy bosa nova beat of N?o Esperando with herself as she accentuates her more flamboyant moves with a few sprays of perfume. "Yeah. I don't often wear perfume, but have two scents I can tolerate, they don't send me lunging for my asthma inhaler. They're very light but slightly exotic and very difficult to find - they're my secret weapons. Are you kidding? I'll never tell. They wouldn't be secret weaponry then, would they?"

See her fly across the jungle
Across the desert to the bright shiny city by the sea
She's not waiting anymore
Não esperando seu amor (trans: She's not waiting for her love )
Now the sun is up the spell is broken
She's not waiting anymore
Não esperando seu amor (trans: She's not waiting for her love )
Now the sun is up the dream has flown away*


TakeMeImYours pulls out a black fitted evening coat from her hall closet. Just before she switches off the light, the camera catches a glint of something in her still opened jewelry drawer. Among the earrings, bracelets, watches and other items of shiny adornment the camera finds the source of the glint: A large sapphire set in a platinum ring. It shines ominously until the light is switched off and the room is dark.

BritBarrister, in his deluxe suite, takes a final look in the mirror, rakes his fingers through his thick, wavy hair. This gives a slightly roguish air to his persona. He grabs his jacket and leaves his room.

Cut back to TakeMeImYours' living room: "When I walked into the lobby of his hotel I saw this, this, man standing there. I was trying to recall the photo he had emailed me, this, this man sort of resembled that photo only, well. A lot more, um, well, sexy? Nice? Roguish? Pierce Brosnan? I don't know. Just more everything."

Off camera interview segment in an office overlooking the Thames and Parliament: "While I was waiting in the lobby for TakeMeImYours to arrive, I realised I had spent the better part of the afternoon preparing for this non-date date with a woman I'd only spoken to once, that very morning. Strange, that. When she walked into the hotel lobby I lost my breath. She looked exactly like her profile photo only a lot more...just a lot more. And she was wearing these amazing boots. I love boots. High heeled sexy boots. How'd she know? From her profile I knew she was tall, I like tall women, and she is tall. And those boots. I was suddenly really, really nervous. First date with a stunner who had obvious intelligence and wit...who wouldn't be nervous?"

Cut back to TakeMeImYours' living room: "Our eyes met at about the same time. He flashed me a gorgeous, semi-wry smile. He had me. Right then, right there, with that smile, I was a goner. He passed my preliminary 'tests:' He had the evening completely mapped out and planned ahead, including name on VIP list (thanks to concierge at his hotel) at a premier nightclub/lounge (not that I'm the least bit impressed by VIP things, but he made real, sincere effort, even enlisted the aid of the Concierge, and that impressed me - he tried, he made effort, he cared enough to use all available resources); he shaved (great skin - he has fabulous skin); dressed in a very nice ensemble; wore very nice, clean and polished shoes (Italian or from The Continent); had minty fresh breath (no Lister-mouth); was clean and not a hint of cologne or goofy after shave; was waiting for me; I don't know if he even had a mobile phone with him; he has apparently studied and memorized Emily Post, Miss Manners and The Rules and has incorporated all rules of decorum and manners into his daily life; he smiled a warm/enthusiastic/caring never condescending or scary smile at me many, many times; gave me lots of eye contact - lots of it; listened; really listened; complimented me -he's a boot guy and really liked mine (giggle) but he complimented me, not just my looks or outfit; he opened every door; prefixed every ordering scenario with: 'TakeMeImYours, what would you like?;' he paid so much attention to me he didn't notice a very A List celebrity and her entourage at the nightclub; he paid for everything, he didn't hog the conversation; was not drunk and over the course of the evening had only two gin and tonics; did not address my boobs, ever, not even surreptitiously while 'putting' me into taxis or helping me with my coat...it's as if he got hold of a list of my dating dos and don'ts and followed them."

Off camera interview segment in an office overlooking the Thames and Parliament: "She's a great girl. Everything I've been looking for but not able to find. We had a terrific evening. The best date I've had in ages."

Cut to scenes of the couple having dinner, walking down lively night city streets, getting into a premier nightspot, cozying up at a banquette, the two sharing eye contact and smiles (artsy clips of moments caught in black and white photos), talking and laughing throughout every scene. They could be a commercial for toothpaste or Guess? or Mentos. He occasionally touches her hand, arm and as the night progresses, her chin and cheek. They look as though they have known each a very long time.

Cut back to TakeMeImYours' living room: "I didn't know what to expect. I suggested dinner at the restaurant in his hotel because it's one of the best restaurants in town and I thought if we didn't hit it off it would be easy enough for him to just make a polite excuse and say good night. I never in a million years expected a guy from another country, who's never been to this city, to have arranged VIP entry into a hot nightclub most locals can't even get into, let alone a banquette reserved for us. A banquette! I love banguettes! What woman doesn't?"

Off camera interview segment in an office overlooking the Thames and Parliament: "I didn't know what to expect, but I never could have imagined that. I'm not really much of a nightclub person anymore, those days are behind me, but the concierge at my hotel suggested it, and well, why not? We ended up having a lot of fun. It made all the difference to go to a club with TakeMeImYours. We could have been anywhere and we would have had fun, it just so happened the concierge at my hotel has an in at that club and got me that great table. Great evening, made me glad I decided to stay the weekend. I didn't want the night to end. I wanted to see her again, so I asked her if she'd like to have brunch with me."

Cut back to the couple walking up a night city street holding hands: "Thank you TakeMeImYours, it's been a great evening." he says, stopping, taking and holding both of her hands, staring deeply into her eyes. A cartoon heart forms between their gaze and floats up off the screen.

"No, thank you for finding me and inviting me out with you! I've had a blast, just a fantastic night." TakeMeImYours gushes.

"Would you like to have brunch in the morning? If you're not busy, that is." he asks.

"That would be great! I'd love to!" she a bit too enthusiastically and quickly agrees.

They stand there holding hands staring at each other.

He hails a cab and puts TakeMeImYours into the cab, surreptitiously giving the driver $20 to cover the fare.

Cut back to TakeMeImYours' living room: "It was such a great evening, and I was going to get to see him again in just a few hours. A lot of guys in his situation would have put moves on me. A guy in town for the weekend, no strings attached, but BritBarrister isn't that sort of guy. I like that about him."

Off camera interview segment in an office overlooking the Thames and Parliament: "Looking back, that was a bit forward of me, presumptuous, even, but I wanted to see her again. What's that? No of course I didn't put moves on her. I respect her. I like her. And she's not a gettin' freaky back in my suite kind of girl. I like that about her."

Cut to the next morning, in TakeMeImYours' apartment, and a repeat of the previous day's date preparations.

She arrives at his hotel, he is once again waiting for her in the lobby.

Cut back to TakeMeImYours' living room: "When I walked into the lobby of his hotel he was standing there again, just as he was the prior evening. I don't know why this surprised me, I guess maybe I thought I'd been caught up in all of it and the fresh dawn of a new day would break the spell. But there he was, again, with that wry smile and tussled thick wavy hair, very real, very much waiting for me. And that wry smile..."

Off camera interview segment in an office overlooking the Thames and Parliament: "While I was waiting in the lobby for TakeMeImYours to arrive, I realised I was nervous again. This was supposed to just be a casual spontaneous thing, but I found myself caring, and anxious to see her again - eager, excited. I thought perhaps she'd be different, look different, act different the morning after. But when she walked into the hotel lobby, again, I was so happy. So much so that I took her hands and hugged her hello. Very uncustomary for me. I'm usually much more reserved in public."

Cut to the couple having brunch in a skyscraping restaurant, overlooking The City and The Lake, with a jazz quintet playing strains of Não Esperando in the background.

The couple is savoring a post meal cup of tea, huddled close together, laughing. BritBarrister has his arm around TakeMeImYours. He looks deep into her eyes, nuzzles her cheek and says, "TakeMeImYours, I don't want to leave!"

We hear a scratch of record. We see a troubled and suddenly downcast TakeMeImYours.

Cut back to TakeMeImYours' living room: "When he said that the spell was broken. I've had to hear this too many times in my past. I was in a very long distance, very emotional relationship filled with too many sad good-byes and forced partings. I knew he meant it, and I felt the same way, I didn't want him to leave. But because I'm no stranger to long distance relationships, I knew what comes next, I knew what to expect. The emotional good-bye, the promises to return as soon as possible, the emptiness and loneliness you feel when you leave the airport knowing they are flying thousands of miles away. Fortunately he said that as we were finishing brunch, we had a nice evening, and nice brunch, good times, good memories. When he asked me to ride with him to the airport I didn't really want to go. Not because of him, not because I wanted to be rid of him, but because I just didn't want to put myself through all of that again. But I couldn't resist that smile and those jokes of his, so I agreed.

"He checked in at the airport, everything for his flight was in order. We had a cup of tea at a café in the airport. We said good-bye. He did that handshake which lingers too long and turns into one of those meaningful hand holds from which he pulls you close and then turns into a kiss maneuvers. That maneuver gets me every time. I like that maneuver. It's smooth but not too swing. He had to go, I needed to get away from there, I was going to melt into a pile of mixed up emotional mush and I did
not want him to see that. If I hadn't really liked him, if I hadn't had such a great time, it wouldn't have been such a big deal. But I did like him and I do have a past history of long distance relationshipping. In hindsight, it was probably a bad idea for someone like me to enter this sort of dating thing."

Cut to a near empty commuter train car leaving an airport, TakeMeImYours gazing blankly out into the gray Sunday afternoon sky. (Everyday is Like Sunday plays in the background) She wipes away a tear.

Off camera interview segment in an office overlooking the Thames and Parliament: "I don't know what came over me. I just really liked her. I'm open to trying to get together again, I don't want a long distance relationship, but I'm willing to give it a try, I'd like to at least see her one more time, have another date. I thought about her during my entire flight home. I sent her an email as soon as I got home, thanking her and inviting her to London, but I haven't heard back from her. I got the feeling she's got some issues with a long distance thing. Everything was great until I mentioned I didn't want to leave and asked her to go with me to the airport. I thought I was being open, honest and romantic, but maybe it was too much, too soon, too weird. So after a few days, I sent her flowers. I know. Really trite. I just thought, well, you know, I just wanted to do something nice for her."

Cut back to TakeMeImYours' office, a vase of exotic white blooms adorn her desk: "I could not believe he sent me flowers. I had given him my business card, but I never thought he'd send me anything other than an email. Trite? No. Not from BritBarrister. I think it's just his way of thanking me for taking a last minute chance on him and giving him someone to play with while he was stuck in town. I sent him an email thanking him. I have caught myself thinking about him a lot since we said good bye at the airport. But that's just it: The airport. That stupid airport. My romantic and emotional life has always revolved around aiports. Why can't BritBarrister live down the block from me? Why didn't I meet him when I was living in London? It's all too ironic and too much for me now. Yes. I like him. Okay? I like him. But he's thousands of miles away. We both want to settle down, soon, which requires some pretty quick and intense dating, and the distance makes that very difficult. End of story. I never should have agreed to this show. I'm not emotionally capable of handling the possibility of actually liking a man who blows into town for a weekend then leaves."

And fade to black.

*Guide says: This is but one of the really great songs from a truly fabulous cd: Tropical Brainstorm by the brilliant, late, super great Kirsty MacColl.

Labels: ,


9:23 AM

Tuesday, March 30, 2004  
Mortgage and the Single Girl
People have been telling me I should buy a house or condo from the first day I moved to Chicago.

They cite all the usual reasons: Tax advantages, investment for the future, pride of ownership.

The most convincing reason offered by two female friends: Buy a condo or house, you will meet a husband and be married within a year.

For many women, homeownership is the last and final nail in the spinster coffin. Most women, and many men, too, view homeownership as a married enterprise. Purchasing real estate signifies settling down. Growing roots. Permanence. Something most single people do not feel they have, want or are ready to endeavor. Additionally, many women view purchasing a home on their own as giving up, giving in to practicality and the reality that they are not married, Mr. Right has not come along and doesn't appear to be looking or waiting for her, yet they're paying rent, losing years of potential equity in a home and losing out on the tax advantages real estate offers.

Sooner or later, usually later, they think, "okay, fine, I might as well do this on my own."

And in the case of my two friends, within a year of closing on their homes, they met their Mr. Rights and married, causing them to sell their homes long before they actualized any profit in their purchase (one took a loss).

I have my own reasons for abstaining from the home ownerships game. I was getting married, moving from this city, haven't seen a place I'd like to buy, and more to the point: Could not afford to buy a home.

Because for all the above reasons, the predominant reason singles do not purchase homes is because they simply cannot afford to do it on one income. Even if they are able to save the very, very base minimum 3% down payment on a modest condo or house, there are closing fees, points, insurance and property taxes to be paid. And yes, of course, it can be done, and many times the result will be less annual outgoing payments than a year of rent.

But not often. I've seriously looked into this. Most singles, unless they are earning a very high salary and/or paying a very high rate of rent, are financially better off renting. The savings on income taxes are not spectacular, in most cases not enough to offset the mortgage rate + property tax + home insurance (and in the case of condos, association fees + building maintenance). The advantage is, of course, that they will have a home, and in 15 or 30 years they will own it. At which time they can continue to live there, paying only their property tax and insurance, or sell it and move to a retirement community where they will pay "rent" based on their assets.

Had our single person remained a renter, remained in mid-priced rental units, they could have invested in a retirement fund or IRA or, heck, even a modest savings account and ended up with the same or comparative assets, in the same retirement community.

But of course they wouldn't have experienced the joys of home ownership. New roofs, broken appliances, high utility bills, trashy neighbors, property tax increases, property devaluation...

That's not to say renting is one carefree, joyous cheap day after another. Slumlords, scumlords, property management companies, rent increases, broken appliances and leaky roofs that don't get repaired, and of course noisy neighbors.

Which is what sparked my recent, "maybe..." foray into feeling out the home ownership waters.

I am "lucky" to live in a very old (but charming yet never rehabbed) vintage building. It is spacious by Chicago apartment standards. And compared to the new spit and Kleenex, paper thin walled apartments mine is relatively quiet. I really can't complain about my neighbors. We're a group of professional people living with our cats.

But.

I've got rough banging, multiple, screamer next door (and she's got a new and even more vigorous boyfriend who is also very vocal! She's met her soul mate! Or at least her sexual soul mate. I'm happy for her. Just thrilled. (I do like her, I just don't want to hear her prolonged, multiple screams)) and now new neighbors, a lesbian couple below me - both apparently also multiple screamers/groaners.

We all know I have a sleeping problem, erm challenge. I don't require or get more than five hours of sleep a night. So those four or five hours are really important to me. Nearly every night for the past month I've just drifted off to sleep only to be awoken by the lesbians downstairs. Fortunately they are quite efficient, they manage to get things finished up in under and hour. But then the banshee next door with muffled thump, thump, thump of her bed banging into my wall, then the repeated shrieks of terror, erm ecstasy begins her nightly two hour romp in the sack.

I like all these women, but we're not that close. I am not going to approach this topic of conversation with them. I'm just not. Don't tell me, as many of you did last time I wrote about The Banshee, to tell her to shut up or play my stereo at top volume. Apart from their extremely noisy sex, they are all very good, quiet neighbors. It could be a lot worse. I've suffered through much worse.

But.

I don't want to spend my life losing sleep because of neighbors who have very active and noisy sex lives.

Which is another reason I don't want to buy a condo. Frankie suffered this exact situation in her condo. It's worse if you own it - you can't just move when your lease ends or hope the noisy neighbor will move at the end of theirs. You are potentially stuck 15 or 30 years listening to your neighbors have sex. Particularly in some of the newer condo buildings. (as Frankie experienced with a very active lothario who lived next door to her. He regularly apparently lived out that everyguy fantasy of two or more women at once.)

But.

A house? Sure, I'd love a house! In theory. Sort of. Maybe.

But even with all the first time owner breaks and borrowing a lot of money from my parents, the only house I could afford is in a very, very far away suburb or in a not so great part of town - and even then most of those properties are out of my range.

I make it sound as if I have a range.

Or that I know what my range is.

I have toyed with all the online calculators. And discovered on my current salary, and debt, and lack of down payment I can't consider much of a mortgage. Let's just say my choices will be very limited. Especially in this town. Certainly nothing available in my current neighborhood in my "price range." Condos start around $380,000. A new building going up across the street from me is offering two bedroom condos for $430,000. Yes. Condos. Sharing walls, floors and ceilings. Wood floors. And thin walls. No garage, but a parking space. Uncovered. And the El roaring through the back windows. All for just $430,000! What a deal! Did I hear someone say sucker? Oh. That was me.

After a particularly long run of sleepless nights, I re-evaluated my housing options. Maybe I could consider that financial taboo: Tapping into the 401K for a down payment.

I know. Don't touch what little money I have saved for retirement.

But there ain't gonna be any retirement if I don't get a few nights of uninterrupted sleep, because there won't be a job from which I can retire. Because I will be on the firing end of my superhero powers if my sleepless nights continue to leave me exhausted and consequently uncreative and in a very bad mood.

But back to the other dilemma: There aren't many houses I can afford, even zero-ing out my 401K for a down payment. I would like a bungalow, and the city offers those great incentives to restore bungalows, but people, couples are snatching them up, fighting for them, bidding war fighting for them, as quickly as they appear. Most don't even make it to the open market.

"Get yourself a good agent." was the advice one of my former single homeowner friends advised, "that's the only way you'll ever get a place worth having." Of course she doesn't know of a good agent.

I've been glancing at "for sale" ads, have made a few online investigative searches. Which have uncovered nothing I can even contemplate owning.

I have discerned the best option for me, shy of an actual detached house, is a townhouse. Because I want to remain in the city. And a detached house in the city is out of the question for me. Well. For my financial situation. A single homeowner on a limited income.

I decided I should look at what's out there, what's available in all price ranges, so that I will know what I'm not getting in a less expensive unit, what concessions I will be making by not buying a pricier place.

Listen to me, as if I'm in the market.

That's because that's how these people talk. They get you talking as if you can actually afford a home, as if you are a viable mortgage holder. It's all part of their evil sales approach. Get you thinking like you can do this, and you will find a way. Soon you will Believe.

I've attended three open houses. The reps at these things are cut of the used car salesman mould. I am quite certain that's how they begin their real estate careers. "I'm selling used cars now, because I want to hone my people skills for when I'm selling real estate. Yes, that's right, I'm selling used cars at night and on weekends, during the day I'm taking real estate classes and studying for my license. In just a few months I'll be selling the American Dream! But I'll probably continue to sell used cars at nights and on weekends, you know, just to keep my options and contacts fresh. If a person buys a new home they'll want a car in the garage! Or, if a person buys a car, I can convince them, the price of their new used car would be all it would take to get them in a new home! Clever, eh? I thought so too."

I foolishly did not take a Negotiator with me on my first two tours. I was captive, a rat in a cage, a hapless tourist on Gilligan's doomed three hour tour.

These people, these home reps, prey upon lone open house viewers. We validate their shallow, yet accurate, view that we can't and never will be able to afford upper middle class housing in "safe" neighborhoods and therefore are not worth their sales efforts beyond a condescending opening fact finding conversation cloaked in pleasantries.

They size us up as we approach the property. They may assume we're part of a couple, out on a reconnaissance mission, finding facts to take home to the man of the family. I assume this because that's how they talked to me. As if I was stupid. Okay, so when it comes to home buying, I am stupid, but they didn't know that and had no right to assume that.

"Does your husband work in the city?" she first asked me. Which was really stupid on her part. Yes. Her part. We all know every woman over the age of 12 sizes up other women thusly: Shoes, hair, makeup, wedding/engagement ring. We do this in an instant, at first glance. So, seeing my bare left finger, she knew swutting well there is no husband.

Or maybe she wasn't so stupid. I soon discovered her tactic. She made this statement to force me to acknowledge and openly admit I am single and looking at a potential home. For myself. Me. Alone. Single homeowner. Acknowledging that I am probably never going to afford the piece of real estate she is hawking. Acknowledging her time would be better spent with that darling couple looking at the Sub Zero in the kitchen. Hence giving her permission to leave me to wander around the house on my own while she pursues "real" customers.

You go out innocently looking at a model home, and come home with a reality check the size of five years of therapy.

The problem, of course, is that I found a place I really like. Totally out any "range" I could remotely consider, even begging and borrowing from my parents, aunts, friends, and working three jobs. But I am filled with ambition, drive and a deep seeded need to prove that fake blonde real estate bitch I can afford and want that townhouse on my own. I'm learning. I never understood the whole pride of ownership argument for owning a home. Now I am beginning to understand. It's actually pride at proving the obnoxious condescending real estate agents wrong about how poor and pathetic you are.

Why all this rage and hostility?

Because as I left, she asked if I liked the house.

I did and said as much.

Now.

That is Tactical Error #1 in the used car/real estate/electronic item buyer's book of Huge Mistakes Idiots Make when Purchasing a High Ticket Item. Never, ever admit you like the goods on offer. EVER.

This is why you always take a Negotiator. They keep you sane. They keep your reality in check. Even if you are "just looking." They point out the bad points of the Item. They kick you if you imply you like the Item to the sales rep. They kick you really hard. They speak for you. As if you are a stranger in a strange land. Because you are in fact a stranger in a strange land. You are an idiot with little money and even less negotiating savvy. The Negotiator knows if you are somehow able to actually finagle some sort of financial arrangement to purchase the item you will not be able to go out drinking with them. They know you will be eating Ramen and off brand Slim-Fast instead of trying new restaurants with them. They know you will still be watching that really old television that hurts your eyes so movie night will always be at their place and not yours, and it will be movie nights in because you will never be able to afford the going rate at first run theatres. They know you're in way over your head and cannot be trusted to speak or act for yourself.

Right. So. I was without a Negotiator, and committed Tactical Error #1. I openly admitted I liked the townhouse. I even did so enthusiastically. Without a trace of over enthusiasm implying I was faking it. Because I wasn't. Faking it. Unlike a certain neighbor of mine. Ooops. I'm tired, okay? Really swutting tired.

My open-but-not-too-much enthusiasm prompted the condescending bitch to re-think her assessment of me. "Hmmmm. Single. No children. She walked up, I didn't see a car...nice coat but she's wearing Bass shoes...no, definitely not in our buyer profile, but she seems sincere. Maybe she's got parents who have come to realize she's never going to get married and are resigned to giving her the wedding money they've been saving for her all these years to use as a down payment."

Maybe I'm being paranoid.

Of maybe not.

Because she then said, "Should we run some numbers for you?"

Swut.

How'd I get myself into a "run some numbers" situation without a Negotiator?

Wait.

That's exactly how I got into a "run some numbers" situation. I went without a Negotiator.

"Oh, no, not today. Thanks." I stammered out, fingering the brochures and floor plans.

I know I heard her think, "uh Huh. Just as I originally suspected. Pathetic single loser. Waste of my sales time."

Or maybe I'm being paranoid.

But now I am filled with a need to buy that townhouse. No matter what. Somehow I must find the money to buy that townhouse. Not for me, but for the entire single home buying population.

My purchasing that townhouse will be a victory, a triumph for all single people who have ever wandered into the married waters of home buying.

All the single people who have not slept more than a few hours a night for weeks because of their noisily oversexed neighbors.

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8:14 AM

Monday, March 29, 2004  
I'm Only Swollen When It Rains
To my would-be mugger, the man who shoved me down the subway stairs during an attempted mugging last July.

Hi,
Wow, can you believe it's been over nine months? Me either! The time has just flown by - what with the doctor appointments, managing my hectic life in various casts and on crutches, and physical therapy and all.

We only met briefly, but you had a profound impact on my life.

I bet you hear that a lot.

What you might not hear very often, and I thought you should know, is that I have not been angry with you. I have tried, from time to time, overwhelmed with frustration at coping with a broken ankle, to muster anger at you. To lash out against you. I have not been able to summon that hostility. I have been angry at the situation, but not at you. I don't know you well enough to be angry at you.

Sometimes, when I've felt particularly charitable, I've even defended you. "Drugs, poverty, lack of education...it's not his fault. His family, society, education and religion failed him." I have said of your presumed situation, your lot in life.

A few times I even mused as to your personal story. I wrote it fraught with tragedy and violence. I cut you a lot of slack. In the stories I've written of your life you are a victim.

I have preferred to keep you as you wanted: An anonymous fleeting, faceless, blurred rear view image.

My inability to see any visual traits of you has kept my focus away from the incident and on my recovery. Why dwell on the who, how or why of the situation after the fact when I cannot conjure even one of your unique characteristics? What good would it do me to replay the events leading up to you shoving me down those crowded stairs? I cannot turn back time, I cannot undo anything that was done. I was left wounded and temporarily crippled, and I had to cope with that. Anger at you or "what ifs" serve no purpose, give me no joy and solve nothing. So I have not allowed you to occupy my thoughts.

I am a very here and now kind of person. I bet you didn't know that about me. I deal with stuff. I cope. I manage. I observe and report.

I've been really lucky. I have so far avoided surgery. There were two very bad breaks. A chipped bone, too. Ligament and nerve damage. My orthopedic team, yes, team, has been terrific and because I have diligently followed their advice, it looks like I won't have to have surgery. We won't know for certain until June when I have my final x-rays and MRI. But here's hoping! Apart from a little bit of swelling, an inability to flex a full, normal range of motion and shooting, stinging pain in my arch I'm almost back to normal. Oh, there is that little problem with my neck, when I spend more than a few hours at a computer, my neck and shoulder ache and burn such that I can barely turn my head. But with proper medication and bed rest in a bulky neck brace it usually subsides in a few days. Better living through pharmaceuticals! Besides, what with all this time in a cast and on crutches, my already lackluster romantic life has come to a complete and utter standstill, so it's not as if I've needed to be concerned about sexy bedroom attire.

My doctor told me I might notice swelling and pain in my ankle when it rains. I thought I knew what to expect. I broke my arm really badly when I was young, and every now and then I get a little twinge, a weak feeling in it. Just a small irritation that passes as quickly as the rain abates. So I wasn't terribly concerned about what I might feel in my ankle.

Well, attempted mugger man, as you know, we've had a very rainy week. Yesterday, especially, was particularly rainy. Wasn't that a terrific Spring storm?!

My ankle is once again swollen to it's pre-therapy size. The pain, which had been decreasing, returned to intolerable levels. And I am typing this wearing that neck brace.

My anger, hostility and rage blew in with yesterday's storm.

I am now, nine and a half months later really, swutting mad at you. Furious. I don't give a swut about your problems. The bad hand life dealt you. I don't swutting care. You did this to me. Me! A person you don't know, a person who happened to be on the right place on the stairs for you to attempt your dastardly deed. I have consoled myself with, "better me than someone older or less able to recover from these injuries..." Yeah. I'm real swutting altruistic. A regular saint. But I no longer have mercy, sympathy or patience for you.

Every time it rains, I will now think of you. I used to enjoy rainstorms.

A lot.

I looked forward to rainy days and thunderstorms. One of nature's gifts to the Universe. But even that small joy has now been taken away from me.

By you.

And that's why I'm finally mad at you. You have marred one of my lifelong pleasures. I hate you. I don't know you, but I hate you. It's useless emotional energy to waste on someone I don't even know, but this newfound aspect of what you did to me has pushed me over my edge of tolerance.

I just thought you should know. Because any salvation you were hoping to gain by my sympathy and understanding has been permanently revoked. You took something pleasurable away from me and replaced it with dread and physical pain.

I am officially telling you and the Universe: I am mad at you. Very, very angry. It took a while, but yes, I am mad. I am swutting mad at you.

7:51 AM

 
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