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

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Contact The Media
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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

 
Sunday, June 20, 2010  
Hey guess what?! I met a guy at a party a few weeks ago and he asked me out. "Out" as in, on a date! I know! I know!

But fear not, Singleton is not in danger of losing its mayor. Of courrrrse not. C'mon, you're expecting a miracle?

You know those Dos Equis ads with the "most interesting man in the world?" Well, I met and went on a date with the most affected man in the world.

You might want to pour a tall glass/mug of your favorite beverage. This is gonna take a while. Read on if you dare. 

People tell me that I've reached the age where, if a man in my age range has never been married and he isn't gay there's a reason why he isn't married. I hate that train of thought. Hate it. But there is slightly more credibility to that adage for men than women. Why? There are a lot more women my age than men. Obviously many of us women are single. Some of us have obvious or not so obvious flaws that keep us single. But many other women simply drew a losing straw. There aren't enough men. There is not someone for everyone - at least every woman. It's statistically impossible. Statistically there are at least 3 - 5 someones for the men, but us women lose out statistically. We're told we need to consider much, and I mean much older men. Someday I'll tell about what happened with eHarmony, but one of the main reasons they deigned themselves to reconsider me as a candidate for their exclusive club of datable people was based on my willingness to consider dating men 12 - 20 years older. I kid you not. What the...???? But at least by sheer numbers, men my age have a smorgasbord of women from which to choose.

A point that I keep to myself when someone says, eyes rolling and voice trailing poignantly, "If he's not married by now there's probably a very good reason..." I do not like judgments like that. But. Sad to say, yes, there probably is a good reason a man my age isn't married. Even so, I silently feel sorry for the guy in question and hope that the "good reason" is in fact a good reason: that he's been focused on his career and hasn't met the right girl or simply is not interested in a committed relationship. (Hey, it's the least I can do. I am the mayor of Singleton. I gotta throw some karma bones into the Universe for the citizens of Singleton.)

I meet and have gone on dates with a lot of these guys. They live in Singleton. And most of them are really nice people. Some of them have ridiculously overinflated opinions of themselves and think they can (and deserve) very young, very hot, very witty, very sexual women and any woman who doesn't fit their rigid criteria is proof to him that he's better off single, playing the field and holding out for that perfect woman. Some of them have personality/emotional/social quirks that prevent them from meeting women or maintaining a relationship. Some of them have substance/addiction issues.

A lot of them are nice guys who just haven't met the right girl.

And some of them are just jerks.

And those are the men who are are not married who are interested in me. Yay me. This is why I don't date. I don't want to date jerks, and it seems that the only men interested in me qualify as jerks. Ergo, I don't date. To wit: The drunken abuser. The not-so-closeted-gay-guy. The humping dwarf. Those guys all "liked" me. Meanwhile, the men I like are absolutely not interested in me. And no, I am not too picky. If anything, I am not picky enough. I liked several of the men I met in my 50 First Dates foray, but they were clearly not interested in me. Which is why I am up on the shelf collecting dust.

But maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I am too picky. Maybe extreme personality types are for some reason attracted to me, hence, I meet extreme types of men who are overwhelming and come off as jerks, but if I hang in there long enough to get through their veneer they might be great guys. (That's me playing devil's advocate.)

You tell me. I'll tell you about a man who seems to be interested in me and you tell me if I'm being too picky, if I'm wrong to not want to see him again.


I went to a barbecue at a friend's house a few weeks ago. It was mainly couples (married), a few friends from my friend's husband's office and me.

So this one guy from my friend's husband's office showed up with a bottle of wine and lobster tails with homemade mango coulis. You might think that was the first tip-off that I was having a close encounter with the most affected man in the world. But it wasn't.

The first tip-off to his pretension was his overly groomed long hair slicked and pulled into a pony tail held by a piece of dark colored twine adorned with some sort of coin dangling from it.

Or, wait, maybe the first tip-off was his gauzy impossibly white linen shirt unbuttoned to his navel, super starched dress slacks and...mandals. Ugh. Mandals. (For the record on certain men, with everything else about his apparel "normal," sans mandals, I find a very fine white linen shirt attractive.*) But this guy, this most affected man in the world, did have perfectly groomed feet. I know a pedicure when I see one and this guy is clearly a regular at a spa salon. I mean, if you're going to wear mandals at least have clean, well groomed feet. But still. Mandals. And pedicures.

Actually, maybe the first tip-off was the thermoelectric travel wine cooler. With shoulder harness. Yes, not a strap - a strap could lead to sloshing the bottle of wine too much and aggravate the tannins. A harness, on the other hand, keeps the bottle securely at the appropriate angle and won't overstimulate the tannins. We learned this upon his arrival when someone remarked on his thermoelectric wine bottle carrier and he gave us a lesson in proper wine transportation. I dunno. I'm thinking if the tannins are that sensitive maybe we shouldn't be drinking that wine, or at least not transporting it.

But, actually, before I saw the thermoelectric wine cooler with harness, I should have been tipped-off by the oversized Nantucket basket he was carrying. It was pristine, one of the finest real life examples I've ever seen of a Nantucket basket. And inside, nestled in layers of aluminum foil, parchment and linen cloths was a stoneware casserole dish that wasn't like any stoneware casserole dishes I've ever seen. Admittedly, my stoneware casserole dish viewing is limited to my mother's Francoma and my friends' Pampered Chef versions. Under the cover of the stoneware casserole was an array of lobster tails, marinating in their mango coulis. Mango coulis he spent all afternoon making from mangoes he personally harvested (yes, he used the word harvested) and preserved.

Have you seen the movie Baby Mama? Okay, it's not a great movie. But. You know Steve Martin's character? Yeah. This guy is very likely the inspiration for that character.

Okay, so, straight off the bat I (and to be fair, everyone else present) was all, "ewwwww, what a pretentious bore." And, "Gay."

He didn't exactly "blend in" with the suburban parents crowd.

And unfortunately, for very different reasons, neither do I.

And so it came to pass that most of the evening when he bored the pants off someone his attention was directed to me. "Oh, you've been to New Foundland? You should talk to Trill, she spent some time up there!" "Oh! You live on the Lake! So does Trillian, you should talk to her, you're practically neighbors!" "You sail? You should talk to Trillian, she worked crew on a sailboat, she grew up on Lake Huron." "Wow, you like art, you should talk to Trill, she's an artist." "You read books! Wow, cool, you should talk to Trillian, she reads a lot." "Oh! Your sandals are custom made in Bermuda, how interesting, you should talk to Trillian, she wears shoes."

Thanks, friends, really, thank you.

And yes, yes, of course it's nice to have attention. Of course. Of course it's nice. And usually these suburban barbecues are filled with married couples, maybe a gay couple or two and me, the lone single, straight woman, so yes, it's a nice change of pace to have another Singletonian at a party full of couples. Even if he is the most pretentious gay man I've ever met. It was nice to have someone else present who isn't consumed with talk about their children and raising children and schools and play groups and the new karate teacher and dvd players and cup holders in minivans. It is a nice reprieve from the parentalk that prevails at these barbecues I feel inexplicably forced to attend.

I don't think it was a setup. My friend's husband invited some people from work and this guy was a consultant on a big project and my friend's husband felt obligated to invite him. My friend (the wife) didn't even know the work people were invited until the night before the barbecue.

We had a few conversations. Or rather, he talked, rambled on and on about one topic or another, and I half listened and pretended to care.

Sidebar: To be fair, he's into art and has traveled extensively so there was some common ground.

It was during one of these "conversations" that he complimented me. "Oh, what an exquisite ring, cloyingly simplistic but upon closer inspection very complicated. The Etruscan style is so devilish that way." (I kid you not. That's an exact quote. From his mouth to your eyes. I told you, gay.)

Okay, as it happens, I share his opinion about Etruscan style and I am drawn to it for those same reasons, which is why I chose a setting that hints at Etruscan for an emerald that came from an aunt's brooch. And yes, yes, it is nice that someone noticed the nod to Etruscan. I spent painstakingly long hours digging up examples and drawing sketches trying to explain and convey a) what Etruscan is and b) why I wanted this emerald set in a simple but not dainty ring to the jeweler in my hometown. (It was a gift from my aunt via my mother and at the end of the ordeal even my unrelentingly patient mother was sick of my insistence on "getting it right.") The most affected man in the world is only the second person in the 6 years I've had the ring to notice/understand it, or at least comment on it. So yes, it was a far deeper compliment than he could have realized. But our mutual admiration and respect for Etruscan jewelry is just a coincidence. Anyone who took a semester of art history can spot Etruscan from 50 paces. It doesn't mean we have soooooo much in common and we're on a collision course with destiny. Besides, he's gay. No straight man says exquisite or cloyingly or devilish unless he's looking to get his ass kicked or is doing a skit on SNL.

Or, then again maybe not.

Because he then took my hand, peered at the ring, and then peered uncomfortably deeply into my eyes and said, "...and that green! Perhaps Spanish? Very recherche. (yes, he said recherche - seriously and with a straight face and while looking me straight in the eyes) A lovely choice for you but the depth of hue and clarity is eclipsed by the two much larger and more stunning emeralds you use to observe the world." (In case you don't speak ostentatious I'll translate: "Nice ring. You have pretty green eyes.")

Except he said it with a tone. And he was still holding my hand. And he used a tone. Not just a pretentious affected tone, but a sort of swaggering, "well helllo there" tone. Yes, I do believe, I think, yes, holy cow, the guy's trying to pick me up! With a really cheesy affected line, no less. 

Scratch of record. He's not gay?

And.

He's not gay and he's interested in me?

Mouth agape for many reasons.

I thanked him and then I was thankfully interrupted by someone asking Affected Man if it was time to put the lobster tails on the grill.

He had to take the temperature of the grill to see if it was, in fact, time to put the lobster tails on the grill.

My friends are certainly financially far better off than I am. They have nice homes and nice things. They go on exotic vacations. They eat expensive food and drink good wine. But. They're not total snobs. We're all somewhere in the entertainment middle earth between Budweiser beer bong parties and Glenfiddich in Baccarat on the veranda. This guy was nowhere near our entertainment middle earth. He's in some other realm of party behavior. I know I shouldn't be picky or make snap judgments but...pretension and affectation are high on my list of personality traits that rub me the wrong way. The rest of the evening I tried to avoid one-on-one situations with him. I hovered around my friends and made sure I was never alone the rest of the evening.

Okay, I know, I know. Here's a guy, a live one, a breathing, living man who (albeit ostentatiously) flirted with me. A man who knows Etruscan. I should have been leaping with joy. And yes, yes, I kind of was. You know, forgetting everything about him, on the most basic level, I was feeling pretty good about getting positive attention from a man. But. I am the mayor of Singleton and very comfortably collecting dust up on a shelf. And I'm unemployed and on the verge of foreclosure. Even if I met the super perfect guy for me and wanted to go AWOL on Singleton, I am not a viable dating entity right now.

And then it was time for me to leave. I had to catch a train back into the city. My friend's husband was going to take me to the station. And then...it happened. The most affected man in the world offered to give me a ride home. Because as was previously ascertained, we're "practically neighbors."

 "T'would be an honor to give m'lady a ride to the city in my trusty carriage," were his exact words. I have no idea why he was affecting a bad medieval accent a la Renaissance Faire fare.  I mean, you know, certain guys can pull off that sort of thing as a cute joke. But this guy isn't the cute joke kind of guy. He's very serious. About everything. Okay, okay, I'll cut him slack, maybe he was nervous. Even pretentious jerks get nervous. That's a lot of the reason why they're pretentious jerks - their insecurity manifests itself in a protective layer of pretension. I get that. I understand. I cut slack. But still. A thermoelectric wine cooler tote with a harness to prevent the tannins from getting aggressive? Lobster tails with a coulis made of mangoes he harvested? Custom made mandals from Bermuda? I mean really. Would you want to be trapped in a car for 45 minutes with that guy? Would you go out with that guy? (If you answered yes, email me, I'll give you his contact info.)

Okay, so, it got awkward and there wasn't a good way to gracefully decline his offer. T'would have been a declivity in manners to forsake thine suitor's kind offer. And yes, I know, plenty of real life drama horror stories start with a woman who doesn't want to be rude or impolite to a man. But this guy was a friend of a friend, a coworker, he's a pretentious, affected bore but he's not a serial killer. Murder and rape would be too messy for this guy. He doesn't want to risk aggravating tannins; he's not going to risk getting bodily fluids on his gossamer Egyptian linen shirt or muss up his perfectly coiffed pony tail. The worst thing that could happen to me on that ride home was learning more than I want to know about custom made Bermudan mandals.

And while I don't mind the train schlepp from the suburbs into the city, it does take almost two hours and the appeal of a ride, even in m'lord's carriage, is strong and all pervading. A ride. A glorious ride.

And so it was that I found myself in a very expensive, very new, very hybrid (natch), car with the most affected man in the world. Let's just say the MSRP on the pretensemobile is more than the price of a nice, modest home in a nice, modest town. It starts with an L and rhymes with hex us. He went on and on about the importance of hybrid transportation, and yes, I agree. But. C'mon. So I, somewhat innocently and somewhat cheekily chimed in and said, "That Chevy Volt looks promising!"

Hey. You can take the girl out of Detroit, but you can't take the Detroit out of the girl. He fell silent. I think he was silent because he didn't know what to say that wouldn't offend me as much I just offended him. And that right there is my point. What's wrong with a Chevrolet? Sure, it doesn't start with an L and rhyme with hex us, but the Volt is a nifty little number and if it's affordable to the masses that makes it more accessible which means more people will buy them and ta dah, we're on the road to more people choosing greener transportation. I didn't say any of that but I think that unspoken conversation was fairly apparent just by uttering the word Chevy while riding in a car that starts with L and rhymes with hex us.

We are not practically neighbors but he very generously went way out of his way provide me safe passage from the suburbs to my front door.

And yadda yadda yadda, in spite of my Chevy Volt gaffe he asked me out. Like on a date.

Huh? I told him I am unemployed. I told him I am close to foreclosure. I even told him I'm safe in my cocoon of singleness. And apparently he's either a) desperate; b) afflicted by the knight in shining armor/savior complex; or c) looking for a challenge, someone to conquer. All three of those things are huge turn-offs for me.

But he's a guy and he wanted me to go on a date with him and sometimes I worry that maybe I am too picky. So I said okay. It's one date. What's the worst that could happen? A dwarf humped my leg on my last date. It cannot possibly be worse than that, right? (Yeah, my bar is really low.)


My friends were shocked that a) he asked me out and b) I agreed to go out with him. "Oh my Gawd, Trillian, you're joking, right? He carries wine in a thermoelectric cooler with a harness, Trill. He harvests mangoes, Trill, harvests mangoes!"

"Yeah, he is kind of Mantha Stewart. But he asked me out, nothing serious, just dinner at this new vegetarian place he knows about, all very casual. I told him I'm unemployed and in a state of serious flux. He knows I'm a dating nonentity."

"Yeah. That's probably what he likes about you. You're a challenge."

"Pfft. Yeah. I'm so complicated."

"Careful, Trill. Remember you're in a fragile place right now. Your judgment might not be, you know, as good as usual."

"Yeah, I know. I'll be careful."

"What are you going to wear?"

"I dunno, probably something Etruscan."

"Oooo, you're such a tease."

Okay, the night of the date arrived and he picked me up right on time. I didn't invite him up, I was down at the front door waiting for him.

He got out of his major mega expensive pretensemobile and had the same super groomed pony tail held in a different be-coined twine. (Okay, again, for the record, I'm not anti-long hair. I'm just anti-over-groomed long hair a la European male models circa 1989.) And another super gauzy linen shirt unbuttoned to his navel. And a pair of slouchy-on-purpose trousers and, yep, mandals. I mean, you know, okay, whatever. I'm not into appearance so no big deal. If the shirt was buttoned at the normal place I wouldn't even mention his ensemble. But as long as he insists on calling attention to his manscaped chest by not buttoning his shirt, he's going to call attention to his expensive pretentious clothes worn with such affectation so as to call attention to them. So I'm calling attention to them.

He had flowers for me. And of course not just any flowers. Cockscomb. Oh yes. That's a real flower. I remembered giggling about it on a biology field trip to a green house in high school. And just in case I didn't know, or remember, what the flowers were, the most affected man in the world presented them to me. Yes, he presented them to me. Because he is the most affected man in the world. "Good evening, Cockscomb for m'lady." (again with the Renaissance Faire accent? Really?) He flourished-gestured a bow and presented the Cockscomb (tee hee) to me. Okay. Time out. It can't be easy to find Cockscomb (tee hee). Clearly he went out of his way to try to find something special and different for me. So, you know, that was nice of him.  I do appreciate the effort. Really. Lest you think I'm a cynical, ungrateful shrew. I do appreciate the effort he took for me. It was a very thoughtful gesture. Even if it was Cockscomb. (tee hee)

Okay, so off we drove in the pretensemobile, cockscomb in my lap. The restaurant was vegetarian. But not like the vegetarian restaurants where I usually eat. This was haute nouvelle vegetarian. Vegetarian with an attitude. Affected vegetarian.

This guy was in his element. Reservations required, snooty maitre d', uptight waitstaff, sommelier with expensive (but free trade, natch) wines, and menu items with paragraph-long descriptions and miniscule portions. (I had a green paté of some veggie blend formed into a half dollar sized disc atop a leaf of spinach with three comically small carrots poking out from under it, topped with an (singular) edamame bean and what I think was some kind of balsamic drizzled over it. It was good...but...um...it was $29. For two bites of salad and an (singular) edamame bean.)

My date had something similarly green, tiny and overpriced. Except his had a couple grains of basmati rice and a slice of a cherry tomato.

He ordered a bottle of wine. He knows a lot about wine. I assumed this because of the thermoelectric travel wine carrier with harness. And also because he and the sommelier had quite the conversation about Peruvian wines. He wasn't a total jerk about it...but...he went out of his way to make sure the sommelier knew he knows more about wine than the sommelier. I always feel a need to smile apologetically to the waiter or sommelier when I'm with someone who pulls that bit. I know at its core it's insecurity, nervousness, that drives people to one-up the experts, and I cut slack for that, but still...I find it embarrassing for everyone involved.

Okay, so, obviously neither one of us ate much for dinner. I hadn't eaten much all day, yadda yadda yadda the wine kicked in really fast. One glass of wine and I was feeling tipsy. I suspected the most affected man in the world was similarly effected because for a few minutes there he started talking like a normal person. Or at least that was my perception through the wooze of the wine gone to my head. Cripes. So I cut myself off half way through the second glass.

We left the restaurant and walked around a few blocks and he stopped for a cup of coffee before heading to the pretensemobile. Of course he's one of those people who doesn't go to Starbucks (points to him for that) and prefers much snootier independent coffee shops and of course he didn't order off the board, he requested some special dark espresso drink that took 20 minutes and three people to brew and serve. (points earned for not liking Starbucks lost to snooty indie coffee house and ridiculous beverage selection) But if it sobered him up that was fine with me. I actually kind of liked the tipsy version of him - or the booze was altering my perception of him. But if booze has to be involved for me to connect with a guy, I mean, yeah, that's not good. And I'm not saying we connected. I just vaguely remember through the haze of the wine that I thought he was more tolerable. I must have told him I went to art school because he talked at great length about a sketching holiday he made in Nepal while he was there studying with Buddhist leaders. Yes. He went on a sketching holiday. In Nepal. With Buddhist leaders. Of course he did. We would expect no less from this guy, would we? Still, for a minute there, he talked about some of the feelings and things he learned from sketching and, yes, yes, his feelings about creating resonated with mine.


So, okay, we sobered up and jumped into the pretensemobile. It was still relatively early. At some point on our drive home from our friends' barbecue we talked about art and I mentioned something about pre-war German abstract expressionism. (Speaking of pretension. Hey, I can play that game. At least in the subjects of art and music.) He naturally had a couple books on the subject and suggested we stop by his place so I could take a look at his pre-war German abstract expressionism books and he could also show me some of his Nepalese holiday sketches. (Yeah. An affected variation on the "come up and look at my etchings" line.)  Before I could say yes or no he pulled onto a street with a gate and punched in the code on the keypad.

A) A gated community?
B) I didn't agree to go to his house.
C) A gated community?
D) What would the Buddhists think of that

Okay. Fine. Roll with it. Just roll with it. Chill, Trill. Go with the flow.

While I was telling myself to roll with it, he rolled down the street. It's one of those streets where all you see are gated driveways cutting into super landscaped trees and shrubs. At the end of the street I saw a driveway flanked by rusty metal sculptures. Erm, I mean, sculptures with a lovely naturally aged patina. Of course that's where the most affected man in the world lives. He turned into the driveway and eventually a house came into view. I'll spare you the details. It's exactly the sort of house you're thinking about right now - the sort of house where the most affected man in the world would live. Oh wait, wait, I forgot! As we turned into the driveway in-ground lights lit up along the driveway, but not all at once, they turned on as we rolled up the driveway. You know those over the top song and dance numbers with a staircase that lights up as the singer descends the steps? Yeah. That was the effect. And then other lights around and in the house and yard lit up.

He led me to the porch, one wall of which was a water wall with water rolling over the slate wall and into, you guessed it, a Koi pond, lit from within, Koi flittering around the lights, shadows cast up onto to the porch wall opposite the water wall. Round of applause for the most affected man in the world's swimming-fish-shadows-as-art house entry. Okay, yes, yes, it's kinda cool. And if we didn't live in a climate where the water is frozen 6 months of the year it wouldn't be that big of a deal. Those entries are somewhat common in warm climates where the fish can comfortably live year round. And if the pretension stopped there I wouldn't still be talking about this.

But.

He's the most pretentious man in the world and the water wall and Koi shadow play are just the beginning.

We walked into the front door, he hit a switch and several levels of lights dimmed from off to medium light. And soft music started playing. Philip Glass. Of course. Lately I've been feeling kind of sorry for Philip Glass. He's become the aural talisman for over-the-top pretentiousness.You rolled your eyes when you read, "Philip Glass," didn't you? C'mon, I know. I know. That's why I've been feeling sorry for him. It's not his fault people like the most affected man in the world consider him their troubadour, their Hendrix.


Is there a store or catalog where you can buy pre-fab esoterica? (awesome band name) Store bought enlightenment? (also a good band name) A kit for the newly affected? I'm guessing yes and this guy just said, "One of each. Deliver it all to this address."

I like a good mooch around a flea market or dusty old antique shop. And I know the joy of a rare find.

And I know how rare a joyous find is.

So I know there is no way this guy, who is maybe only a few years older than I am, was able to amass the collection of stuff thus far in his life. Unless he inherited some of it and spent his entire life from age 16 to now on a continuous treasure hunt around the world. I don't doubt that much of it was authentic, but it all seemed recently acquired and placed for effect rather than rooted and part of the home out of affection and fond memories. Acquisitions. That's it, they seemed like acquisitions rather than stuff found along life's journey.

There were gongs, plural, Tibetan and Japanese. There was carved African tribal art. There was a really old looking canoe covered in birch. There was a Calder-esque mobile (possibly an actual Calder). There were Matisse lithographs. (Plural) There were ancient maps and a globe. And antique navigation and charting tools including a giant antique ship's compass. And a giant star map. There were mandolins, violins and acoustic guitars. And something I think might have been a lute. There were African drums. And Buddhist chimes. And an Aboriginal rain stick. There were huge pieces of trees - huge driftwood logs strewn about here and there. And rocks, big rocks, boulders. (Okay, I actually kind of like that idea. If you have a house big enough to accommodate them.) Some of the walls were wood panels and some were rock faced. The rock walls had fossils embedded here and there. (Okay, that was kind of cool, too, though more of an outside thing than an inside thing.) On one of the walls was a huge, 10" long rock panel, a fresco of sorts, of what looked like the cave paintings of Lascaux. There were Persian rugs, Muslim prayer rugs, and Buddhist meditation mats.

In one corner of the living room was a huge loom. Yes. A loom. And a spinning wheel. I kid you not, a loom. And spinning wheel.

Here and there around the house were orchids. He pointed them out, detailing their rarity and place of origin. I asked him if he saw Adaptation or read the Orchid Thief. Somewhat surprisingly, he hasn't read the book and has not seen the movie. To me you can't have one without the other. You can't read the book without then seeing the movie, and you can't see the movie without having first read the book. They're both brilliant but together they're a serendipitous gift of art the likes of which are more rare than the subject matter of orchids. The fact that he grows orchids, is presumably so into art and literature, and has not read the book or seen the movie was reason enough for me to not want to ever go out with this guy again. Clearly the man has no sense of humor, no interest in anything that isn't showcased in Affectation Monthly, and no self awareness. But. In my attempt to be less picky I let the subject drop and continued on with the tour of the Museum of Esoterica, I mean house.

On one side of the backyard deck there was a huge Zen sand garden with a boulder and one of those giant wood rakes for making patterns in the sand. Of course there was a Zen garden. I, regrettably, made a bad joke. "Hey, nice sand box!"  Of course he didn't laugh, even patronizingly, and of course he explained the art of Zen gardening to me as if I was a child. Of course he told me about how he studied with a Zen master when he worked in Japan.

At the other end of the deck, behind a row of creepy topiary in strange shapes was a bocce court. Of course there was a bocce court. And of course he pointed out his bocce set that he found in a quaint little shop while he was living in a villa in Tuscany. Out in the back yard there was a softly illuminated giant, and I mean enormous, sundial.

And yes, the mere fact that I know and recognize these items, especially the cave paintings of Lascaux, makes me somewhat affected. I am aware of that.


The house was built around an interior garden walled in by glass windows, creating a central terrarium type of rock garden with a huge tree in the middle and a waterfall and pond. I mean, it's all very lovely. But it was like he gave someone his credit card and said, "Buy anything that seems remotely esoteric." I expected pretense, his cocktail party puffery was a preview of things to come. But this is pretense on a whirlwind shopping trip with a credit card with no limit.

It was like a Robert Bly wet dream actualized.

And then...he lightly took my hand and led me to the library. Because, after all, we were there so I could look at his books on pre-war German abstract expressionism. Oh cripes. There were, of course, floor-to-ceiling shelves on two of the walls, the central terrarium was one wall and there was a window overlooking the sundial in the yard. Below and next to the outdoor window were two enormous leather wingback chairs, another globe and a dry bar. Remember the cartoon where the two old guys sit around their hunting club talking about their exaggerated tales of their big game hunting safaris? That's what immediately came to mind and of course it made me giggle. (that coupled with the lingering effects of the wine) Meanwhile he was poring over his books and then got this faraway look in his eyes, all fey and affected, and said, “All my life I've looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.” 

I wasn't sure if he was trying to impress me with his knowledge of Ernest Hemingway quotes or if he was trying to pass off Hemingway's quote as his own. Either way, ewwwwww. Especially combined with his exaggerated faraway wispy fey look. And I was already trying not to laugh about the cartoon big game hunters. (what are their names?) So I said, "Okay, Papa, let's see those abstract expressionism books." 


Maybe that was snarky of me. Maybe I should have been more forgiving and less nonplussed. But c'mon, who quotes Ernest Hemingway on a date? In his in-home library overlooking a giant terrarium. With his super fine Egyptian linen shirt unbuttoned to his navel. I mean, c'mon. Do women really fall for this schtick? (Apparently not - he's as single as I am.) I owe it to the world, to the Universe, to every single woman this guy will ever meet, to throw the "Papa" barb at him. (Right?)


But I think I kind of threw him off his game. And then I felt sorry for him. Obviously the guy has insecurity issues and I just punched a sarcastic hole in his comfort bubble of affectation. I didn't view it as a victory. 

But then again...I mean, he quoted Ernest Hemingway. The man either has no personality of his own or he's so afraid to be himself that he hides behind all the things and affectations of a persona he compiled from catalogs and a high limit credit card. He can't even use his own words - he hides behind quotes from other people. I know, see? That's why I felt sorry for him and wished I hadn't poked fun at him. But. Still. I mean, wasn't he kind of asking for it? Even, even if he's a big fan of Hemingway, instead of just randomly affecting a wispy fey ouvre and quoting him as if the words are his own, try on this, "Hemingway is one of my favorite authors. For Whom the Bell Tolls is such a riveting story. There's a great quote, Hemingway said, 'All my life I've looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.' Isn't that interesting? Such a different perspective." See how an ounce of humility and a little self awareness makes it so much more palatable and even an interesting conversation starter?


He finally found the abstract expressionism books. And quietly handed them to me. I was familiar with one of them - I used it as part of my research for my thesis on abstract expressionism way back in college. (But did I mention that I wrote a thesis on pre-war German abstract expressionism? No. I did not. Did I quote Kirchner? No, I did not. I could have, even auf Deutsch, but I did not. Because I am neither a boring, affected pretentious git nor a braggart. I feel no need to impress anyone with my psychotic quest for random bits of information about the things that strike my interest.) The other book was new to me. I flipped through it and tried to make it seem like I was impressed with it- an attempt to salve the wound left by my "Papa" comment. 

We then went into the kitchen. You can probably imagine what the kitchen was like. It was like kitchen design on steroids. Yes, it was lovely. Truly. It is gorgeous. And I'm not much of a kitchen person. With all my friends' new homes and home renovations I'm kind of numb from looking at kitchens. So for me to be weak kneed envious of his kitchen, well...it was some kitchen. He asked me if I wanted him to make me a "late night bite." I declined and said it was getting late and I should think about getting home. 


I don't think he thought he was going to get anywhere with me; he hadn't made any overtures, anyway, and I honestly didn't think he was that into me. Sure, he took me to his house and showed me his toys, and maybe that was an attempt to show me who he is, but, it's all pre-fab esoterica. I don't know anything about him other than he obviously has some money to spare and that he spends it on things that are supposed to seem or make him look esoteric and hip. I didn't know any more about him than I did when he walked into that party with his thermoelectric travel wine case and harness. He, on the other hand, learned that he can't go around quoting Ernest Hemingway to me without expecting a sarcastic response and that I'm either too stupid to recognize a Zen garden or have a silly sense of humor. 

He led me into what I presume is the living room, the loom room, and went to a bar. A very lovely built-in bar (of course) opposite the loom. Apparently when he has guests he wants them weaving and spinning, so, the options are offering booze or a loom and a spinning wheel. I didn't say that out loud. After he explained Zen gardening to me due my sand box joke and the "Papa" comment clearly offended him I leashed my tongue. Not because he's such an easy and obvious target, but because a) I'm a guest and b) he has zero sense of humor and c) I really did not want to hurt his feelings. Some people can tolerate having a mickey taken, some cannot. The most affected man in the world cannot. 'Nuff said.  

He offered me a drink from something in a decanter. Remember what I said about Glenfiddich in Baccarat on the veranda? Well, as the scent from the opened decanter drifted my way it was definitely scotch and definitely good scotch and most likely very old Glenfiddich. I know this because my dad was a scotch drinker, as was my granddad. I know that smell. And unfortunately it was Father's Day eve, and I've been thinking about dad and missing him a lot and that whiff of scotch carried me straight to a very, very, very sad place. No, I didn't tear up, but very well could have. I don't know many scotch drinkers so I don't smell scotch very often. It's a life scent that for me is distinctly and uniquely my dad and granddad - very evocative. 

If there was any buzz left from the dinner wine that whiff of scotch killed it. I wanted to go home. Right then. I started to feel suffocated. Or, as I used to say when I was little and overwhelmed by museum trips, "Stuffycated." This place fit that bill perfectly. Loads of stuff, stuffy stuff at that, and suffocating. Stuffycated. The most affected man in the world was starting to really annoy me. 

Emotional breakthrough and breakdown in 3-2-1: His schtick was old and tiresome and predictable and disingenuous and now his scent persona would mingle with my dad's and granddad's. That made me angry. I realize other people drink scotch. At some point in my life I will encounter people who drink scotch and the scent will remind me of my dad. And if they're decent people that's cool, I don't mind the scent memory of my dad being provoked by decent people. But an affected phony with a Baccarat decanter smelling like my dad? Oh no. Uh uh. No way. Out of bounds. 


I had to get out of there. It wasn't his fault he released a hornet's nest of emotions when he lifted the stopper on that decanter. (But really, what straight, single, American man has a Baccarat decanter sitting around his living room...next to his loom?) I'm not blaming him. But, I didn't want to spend another second with him. I just wanted to go home and hide under the covers and cry. 


I toughed out some small talk while he sipped his scotch and as soon it was politely possible I said I needed to get home. 


To be fair, he didn't protest yet he didn't seem relieved, either. He just said, "Whatever m'lady desires she shall have," turned off the fire fence (oh - I think I forgot to mention he has one of those wall-o-fire things. He lit it at the beginning of the tour) and led me out to the car. It was a quiet ride home. (We are not practically neighbors. I know I mentioned that but I feel a need to say it again. It was long ride.) He escorted me the five steps to my building's door, took my keys and opened the lobby doors for me (even though my doorman was already buzzing me in) and kissed me on both cheeks, handed me the cockscomb, did an overly flourished bow and thanked me for the pleasure of my company. 


I dunno. Maybe I am too picky. Plenty of women would love a shot at a guy with that sort of obvious wealth and apparent free time. But I have no idea who he is. No hint at his personality. The closest he got to candor was after the wine at dinner when he talked about his sketching, and even then he was going on and on about how he had to be in Nepal, in the "embrace of Buddhists," to actualize his sketching. That's not really real, that's not enthusiastic candor, that's stifled, affected cocktail party puffery speak. 


I did hide under the covers and cry for a few minutes. I miss my dad and I'm lonely and I can't find a job and my life is a total shambles and the only men who like me are jerks. Rinse, lather, repeat; for deeper and longer lasting results follow with therapy treatments. 


And then I got a little message from my dad. Well, you know, metaphorically. My dad is dead. I don't get actual messages from him. But every now and then I get a dawn of realization followed by a calm sensation. It's my dad's wisdom kicking in. A bolt of wisdom from out of nowhere. I'm not bright or wise enough to have a bolt of wisdom all on my own. The only way I can have a bolt of wisdom is by finally, finally, applying what my parents taught me to a real life situation. A life lesson finally sinking in. Our little girl is growing up. Finally. Eureka, they're right. In this case it was very simple. (Bolts of wisdom are often very simple. Anyone else ever notice that?) The most affected man in the world is lonely. And probably has been for a very long time. That's why he's searching so hard for something. He apparently hasn't realized or won't accept that what he's looking for can't be bought or worn like a costume. Contentment comes from within. 

And I am far richer and more fulfilled than him because even though I don't own much, even though I'm jobless and close to homelessness, and yes, even though I'm lonely and frustrated and unhappy and scared, I know who I am. I'm know I can't buy contentment. I know I need to grow, evolve and change, and I know I will do just that. Life(?) will see to that. I'm not "happy" with myself but I am content in the knowledge that I know who I am. I am even more fulfilled when I take a minute to realize that I am changing and evolving. Maybe not for the outwardly better, but certainly for the wiser. 

My loneliness doesn't come from not having someone around to impress and take pride in; my loneliness comes from not having someone to give my love to. Affected Man and I have the same affliction, loneliness, but what a huge difference in cause and symptoms. 

He's filling his voids with stuff and trying to buy experience. I only want to fill a void with someone who wants to share life's experiences with me. 

The last thing the most affected man in the world needs is a girlfriend. Until he finds contentment within himself women are just thermoelectric travel wine coolers or sketching holidays in Nepal. The right accoutrement to complete his affected vision. Until he lets down his guard, allows himself to laugh at himself (or at all, anything, a snicker a smile, anything), and stops searching for something outside of himself he's going to be lonely. 

Me? I just need to find the right guy. Or, like the most affected man in the world needs to do: Stop searching. Just accept and embrace being single. Make my own contentment. 


Bolt of  wisdom courtesy of my dad. He told me that same thing, more or less, most of my life. And even though I understood it, ("Yeah, yeah, Dad, I know, I know, you can't buy happiness or fulfillment. You can't laugh at anyone else until you can laugh at yourself, I know, I know Dad, I know.") now I really get it. 

The most affected man in the world and I are not right for each other. We have some things in common but can you even imagine what would happen if I cranked the Pixies or Nirvana from his stereo? The whole house is wired for sound, can you just imagine Frank Black screaming "Deeebaaaserrrrr!!!!" echoing off the loom and cave painting into the Zen garden? Yeah. Not so much. And can you imagine a giant gong in my living room? Yeah. Not so much, either. Sure, stranger things have happened, odder couples have successfully collided, but, and this is the shockingly bizarre part that has me stymied, we're on two very different spiritual planes, and, gulp, I've already achieved much of what he's trying to buy, I mean find. 

So as much as I've mocked and ridiculed him, in the end I pity and hope for him. I can't tell him any of this. He has to learn it for himself. He seems like he could be a nice guy if he could allow himself to laugh (or even smile) a little and not worry so much about what other people think about him. I sincerely hope he stumbles across his own bolt of wisdom and finds the courage to let down his guard and just be him rather than a pre-fab esoterica catalog version of him.  

My kind of loneliness sucks. It does. It sucks and it's scary and it hurts. But. I cannot imagine how painful his kind of loneliness is and I am grateful that I have my kind of loneliness and not his. Yep. Be happy with what you've got. A lesson my parents taught me from day one. And one that I understand with more depth and clarity than ever thanks to a man who has a lot of stuff - stuff that would make a lot of people envious. I am happy with what I have in comparison to him, so much so that I pity for him for what he doesn't have.

Am I being too picky because I'm not interested in this guy? If I were truly lonely and truly trying to be in a relationship, putting in full effort, would I lower my "standards" and overlook his affectations, his pretensions, his lack of sense of humor? (And his unbuttoned shirts and manscaping and thermoelectric travel wine cooler harness?)




*If your name is Paulo and you were raised in a Mediterranean villa and you spend a good portion of your life on your private yacht moored in St. Tropez bay and you look like Naveen Andrews then you can wear your shirt unbuttoned to your navel. The rest of you guys: Button up. 


I write like
Margaret Atwood
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!


 

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