Category Archives: Sex and Dating

7-card stud, fried catfish, and girls who are ripe for Southern junk

Dear reader, I’m going to share with you a conversation I overheard whilst dining in one of my favorite country-cooking cafés.  As I feasted upon cucumber & onions in apple cider vinegar, hushpuppies, slaw and fried flounder, a rough-looking, ruggedly handsome, middle-aged fella, about 50, and his buddy, a wiry, white-haired, elderly man in a John Deere cap, sat in the booth behind me.  I know what they looked like because I checked them out later when I got up to pay my bill.  Here’s what I heard (names have been changed):

Younger fella: [in a thick, Southern accent where one-syllable words are spoken in two syllables – like “cah-aHd” for “card”]: I’ll tell ya’, that ole gal’s running that card game in [tiny town in rural Franklin County] three days a week now.  All ‘dem boys is gettin’ in on that game.  7-card game.

Older fella: Nah. Nah.  Count me out.  I ain’t gettin’ in trouble with the old lady.  No cards for me.  Not anymore.

Younger fella:   That Tommy is a crazy sumbitch when he’s drunk.  And he always loses when he gets to drinking.  I won $3,000 last Thursday night ‘cause he was already drunk when he showed up.  Had been all week.  I don’t know when that boy ain’t drunk.  [Pauses, looking at the menu].  I’ll be damned if they ain’t added some good thangs on the menu.  Chicken-fried steak…clam strips…Nah, I want my usual, them chicken livers.

Older fella: I’m getting the chicken and dumplings. That’s always good.

Waitress comes over to their table. She’s tall and scrawny, a very weathered-looking 21 or 22, chewing gum, white-frosted, stringy, mouse-brown hair pulled up in a bun, and quite possibly, hidden under her purple t-shirt, a tattoo sprawled across her lower-back consisting of a shaky galaxy of hearts and/or butterflies or maybe the word “Slipknot” or “Carolina Panthers” with the team logo.

Waitress: Whatch’all boys having to eat today?  Tommy, I know you.  You want them chicken livers. [Editor’s note:  This Tommy is not to be confused with the drunken Tommy, you know – the one who turns into a sumbitch when he gets drunk]

Tommy [to the old man]: What did I tell you, Ed?  This little gal knows what I like.  [chuckles in a suggestive way]  I like a gal who knows what I want.

Ed:  I want the chicken and dumplings….ummm….no….get me that catfish with fries and hushpuppies.

Waitress: I gotcha.  It’ll be out in a little while.  [she walks away]

Tommy: That lil’ gal is hot for it.  Just like her momma used to always be.  And I done her more than a couple times.  Her mamma, I mean.

Ed: What’s her name, our waitress?

Tommy: I can’t remember, known her since she was little.  But her momma, now, you know her.  Donna.  Used to be Donna Jackson.

Ed: Oh yeah.  I remember her.  Well, I remember hearing about her.  She married that Phelps boy.

Tommy: Yep, Jimmy Phelps.  They ain’t married no more but he still comes up there and plays cards with us.  You know, I read in the paper today that that ole’ boy ain’t paid his taxes.  But he’s up at that trailer every week playing cards like he’s got money to spend.  I feel bad for him though.  He had to put his momma in that nursing home and it’s costing him an arm and a leg.  But three people stopped by my store today and told me they saw Jimmy’s name in the paper for not paying his taxes.

Ed: People love to tell you bad news when it ain’t about them, don’t they?

Tommy:  That’s for damn sure.  You know, I saw Jimmy kick his dog one night.  He had brought that dog of his, a yellow lab, up to the card game and Jimmy was drunk as hell and he was losing all his money.  And that dog kept whining at his feet and he kicked that dog so hard I thought he’d killed him.  I’m gone tell you one thing you don’t do around me and that’s hurt a dog.  Jimmy nearly got his ass beat that night.  We made him go home after that.  Kick no dog around me.

Ed: Nah, ain’t no call for hurting a dog.

Tommy: You know, Lou Ray won $2,200 that same night and he don’t never win.  I still think he was cheatin’ somehow.  You cain’t trust a single one of them in that whole family.

Ed: His daddy won’t no good.  And none of his boys are.   They’re all trying to find a way to make a dollar off you, whether it’s to your good or not.  And it’s never to another man’s good, I can tell you that much.

By this point, I had eaten all of my food and needed to go ahead and go the counter and pay the check. As I stood up, I accidentally pushed the booth seat back into Tommy’s booth seat behind me.  I apologized to him and he smiled. 

Tommy: Aw, purdy girl, I thought you was just getting fresh with me.

Me:  I never get fresh before 5 p.m.

Tommy: Whoo, girl [he gives a low whistle] call me at 5:01 then.

Me:  [laughs out loud]

Tommy:  I’m serious.  You want my number?

Me:  Not today.  But’s thanks for offering.

As I walked outside, I thought about going back inside and asking Tommy if I could go to a card game at the trailer with him some time. But I figured he’d think I was hot for him, like Donna.  So I let it go and went back to work.

Reflecting on diving in the Florida Keys, getting AOW, and where to dive next

Okay, gang, scuba diving reconnaissance mission in southern Florida complete. Drove 12 hours to get home yesterday. No turkey for me n’ Tater. Writing up my thoughts on the diving down there, reflecting on getting Advanced Open Water certified, the service & business of diving. I will say, I have crossed off the Keys for moving there. I’ll tell you why in the blog. And why Curaçao is still top of my list. And why I now know I gotta move somewhere with great shore diving. Next up for diving? Bonaire trip booked and I am heading out to dive in St. Croix and in Indonesia. If you want to catch up on my new diver adventures, go to the blog. So far the “Sex With Your Dive Instructor” post has been the most popular. I love you perverts and salt water freaks ❤️❤️❤️


Lessons in Moving to an Island: Ghosts of Island Flings Past

Move to an Island Lesson #79: Damn. Remind me NOT to hook up with anyone on these islands while I am down here checking out the Florida Keys. As you know from recent posts, I am checking this place out to decide if I would prefer to move here instead of Curacao – it would be SO much easier and the diving is fantastic.  The visibility is nowhere near Curacao’s but still solid diving.

But, I digress. Just from being here a few days, I already ran into two people I know at the grocery store. These islands are small towns – everybody is only one or two people removed from banging everyone else. Select your flings VERY carefully lest you be haunted on your island by the unseemly Ghosts of Island HookUps Past.

Stonewashed, pleated jean shorts cannot be worn ironically

Everything is all well and good ‘til that cute dude who loves Iggy Pop and the Stooges and reads Chilean literature and loves Chinese film auteurs as much as you do, ’til he shows up for the date sporting stonewashed, pleated jean shorts. Sigh. Stonewashed anything, pleated pants, and jean shorts are, separately, deal breakers. Together, well, it’s a tragedy.

Online dating and men who like spaghetti

So, in guys’ online dating profiles, I always laugh a bit when fellas write, “I like the mountains and the desert and the beach.” What the hell else is there to like? Small hills? Slightly sloping plains? The Piedmont?

Or the other amusing detail – “I like Italian food and Mexican food.” I mean, who the fuck DOESN’T like spaghetti and tacos?? Or, “I like movies and tv shows.” Fascinating, dude, fascinating. At least tell me that your favorite movie is “Need for Speed” and then I can weed you out with confidence.  Another instant turnoff for all women I know is when a fella lists his university as “the school of hard knocks.”  Or, “Ladies, I work hard and play hard” – usually guys with wrap around sunglasses and hats on backwards like to toss that little vignette into the profile mix. 

I am, however, okay with the generic proclamation, “I have tattoos.” We can sort the quality of those out later. Which begs the question, could you date someone with REALLY bad tattoos who doesn’t even recognize they are of poor and dubious quality?

On men, affairs, and sharks

On this rainy, lazy Sunday, I muse at how my paradoxical desires morph and dissipate in a manner that both exasperates and thrills me. I recount the facts of those desires in flashes of memoir, a memoir I recognize later as fiction or, well, semi-autobiographical. I think back on sexual flings and now-cold dalliances from over the years and all appear common and ordinary and not worth the sweat and breathlessness and loss of salty juices.

On this Sunday, I see steel-gray sharks and sting rays, oblivious sea turtles and the warm cerulean sea. Myriad landscapes and animals are my horizon. Men and hard blue-veined dicks and flapping mushy nut sacks always always always fail my curiosity and force tiredness, inspire exhaustion. Those skin sacks dwindle while the jungle, the ocean, the desert expand and seize me with wonder and joy. Still, I will take risks of hope and courage with both the men and with the sharks and with hope and courage, so I live.

I found a new love – diving. I’m smitten.

I’ve become a total dork – my perfect night in is with this smelly dog and my brand new, shiny, beautiful AOW manual and taking notes in my hot pink spiral notebook. Also, I deleted all those stupid dating apps. Who needs boys when you have diving? What is happening to me?

About that super cute diving instructor and vacation flings

Let’s not quibble about the dude’s gear setup in the picture.  You get what I’m doing here, right?
While out drinking in Curaçao one night, a friend of mine told me that part of the fun in being a dive instructor on the island is that he gets to hook up a lot thanks to the gig. That women who come to the shop always want to bang the hot dive instructor who taught them how to overcome their fear and do something fun and little bit dangerous.
When I got back to the States, while sitting around one afternoon drinking beer with a couple of American dive buddies (who happen to be instructors), I’ll call them Jerry and Dave (though they both said they don’t care if I name them – but I won’t do that). I relayed the island instructor’s epiphany that the job title “Divemaster” is kind of a turn on. Dave laughed and snorted out beer through his nose, “Hell no, nope. I don’t get laid from teaching diving. Never happened. Damn, I’m teaching in the wrong place. What the fuck?”
Jerry agreed, “No way, Angela, no woman ever tried to hook up with me for tips on how remove your mask without drowning. That dude is full of shit. Or he was probably trying to hook up with you.”
I said, “Wait, though. Maybe he’s telling the truth. It’s not just the divemaster, student relationship that leads to sex, it’s the location. Dude, it’s because these women are on vacation. It’s vacation sex. It’s part of a whole island fling fantasy. Bored single women or even married women go to a tropical island and get their groove back courtesy of their salty, oceanic, teacher.”
I thought about the nature of this fantasy while Dave went to go urinate (or maybe he went to jerk off thinking about the dive fantasy I just described) and Jerry went to get us more beer. The island fling scenario is so cliché, so played, so…wait, though, that’s part of the appeal, right?
When Jerry and Dave got back to the table, they both pressed me for more explanation on the island fantasy.
Jerry said, “Okay, okay. I want to know more about how a woman thinks about this divemaster thing. Maybe I’ve been playing this all wrong.”
I laughed. I said, “No, you’ve played it as well as you can in a dirty quarry on the outskirts of a boring assed city like Raleigh. That dank cold quarry will never prime a chick for the fantasy. Woman comes out of the quarry cold and ready to just get that 5 mm wetsuit off. Not sexual AT ALL. A Caribbean island for single women is NOT reality and the dive penises that are offered to you are attached to men who are living some sort of tropical-themed Groundhog Day – every day they encounter new half-naked women who come in with the same heightened expectations, the same dream, the same desire to let go, to feel everything and care about nothing, and then the sun goes down, some drinking and fucking occurs, chick flies back to her home, and the dive instructor goes back to work, repeats the same scenario over and over again, day in and day out, until his dick falls off or he goes to a different island and starts the same day all over again.”
Jerry put his beer down and said, “I want to live this Groundhog Day, just for a few weeks. I swear to God. Take me with you when you move to Curacao and I’ll live with you and work at a dive shop.”
I laughed, “Okay, but you can’t bring these women to my house. I’m not down with that. No Fantasy Island at my new place. But it would be nice to have a roommate who can take me diving whenever I feel like it. You see, I want to use you for your diving ability, not your penis.”
Jerry said, “But you can have both. That’s how I’ll pay my rent.”
I said, “I’m liking this plan more and more.”
We all laughed and decided on tequila shots next. Dave said, “So, what about your island fantasy, Angela? What is it?”
Jerry said, “Details, please. ALL the details. Right now.”
I said…well…if you want to know what I told the fellas, stay tuned for my next blog – coming out this week…Also, some tips on whether or not to rent or buy on your sexy Caribbean island of choice.


Speaking of online dating and “ass vaginas”

This last time I was in Curaçao (at the end of this summer), I decided to sign up for the dating app, Tinder. I thought it would be an easy way to meet cute boys on the island (not necessarily for my island fling fantasy – see my related post on island flings and diving instructors from a couple of days ago). I actually did meet a couple of cute, interesting, smart guys through Tinder and have kept up contact with them since returning home. So, when I got back to Raleigh, NC, I figured I would see how meeting men on Tinder would fare here in the Triangle.
OH. MY. GOD. 90% of the matches I get end up deteriorating rapidly into the dude saying things like: “So do you want to know how big my dick is? It’s huge” or “Hey, send me a picture of those tits” or they message me pictures of their naked abs and underwear crotch shots. I’ve received several likes from married couples who want me to join them in a down and dirty threesome. Endless likes from dudes who list their university experience as “The School of Hard Knocks.”
After asking one university professor of economics that I matched with where he last traveled overseas, he asked me if I was down to use a strap-on dildo to, and I quote, “pound his ass vagina.
On Tinder there are endless pictures of guys leaning on sports cars or bathroom selfies of them lifting up their shirts to show their abs. Here’s the thing guys, most women do not give a damn about your abs or a muscular body or your fucking car. If you can make us laugh and you are thoughtful and attentive, you are 90% of the way there. Sure, there are bodies I am purely physically attracted to, but they don’t mean a damn thing if those sacks of skin are attached to a dull, self-centered, unfocused brain.
Guys, I will give you a secret. Be funny, demonstrate ambition, kindness and intellect, be happy in your dad bod, shower us with attention while you do what you say you are going to do and don’t tell me about your cock (I’m old school – if I am interested, I will find out the hard way – pun intended). Love dogs. And that’s it. You got us.
So, enough with the Tindering in Raleigh. I deleted the app yesterday. I reserve that experience for my overseas adventures. Adios for now, fellas.
P.S. You can never make me laugh hard enough that I will be okay to pound your ass vagina.

Editor’s Note: One of my girlfriends posted here some brilliant insight as to why guys post these bizarre body shots: “Love this! Yes, bodies mean nothing when there is no intelligence, humor, or chemistry. I can only fathom the reason guys send pics of themselves is because they are visual when it comes to us so they think we are the same way. We are not.”

Exactly. Boys are all about the body shot. We are not.

Leaving behind the dark side of life (and the people who inhabit that place)

When I lived in DC and worked from home now and again, I’d get stir crazy and miss human interaction – then after a few days in the office I found I couldn’t handle the Dilbertesqueness and day-to-day horrors of office politics. I left the larger corporate world – sure, the money was wonderful, but there was no joy in it.

When I was finally making over six-figures, I believed I had truly arrived in life. That the salary was the culmation of all of my dreams, hard work and, yes, graduate shcool debt. But none of that turned out to be true. I realized that my happiest days were when I was living off of $20,000 a year, traveling the world and immersing myself in other cultures. Learning to understand who Angela was in a global context. Moving from ethnocentrism to ethnorelativism.

Lately, I’ve been reading one Princeton professor’s work as to what makes for work-related /career happiness and ultimately general happiness. Before I started reading up on living a life of effective altruism and normative ethics, I already understood I am obligated to give of my time and money to make a difference in the world. If I am in a position to do that, then ethically I am obligated to do so. Once you figure that out, the rest falls into place.

There are lots of sociological & exhaustive psychological studies offering stats on what makes for a satisfying career. In my career and in my voluteer/side pursuits I’ve learned to follow these tenets (and push myself even more on the volunteer side to live these) and it’s what drives me now. For number 6, I had to do some altering of that personal life – for me, it was to quit drinking, smoking and surrounding myself with negative, needy, dark and draining people and people engaged in their own forms of self-destruction (ah, is that altruistic behavior? Yes, if those kinds of people are keeping you from achieving and being all that you can.) Once I did that, my God, it was shocking how much clearer the path became. I also used to believe that my cynicism and dark side were the things that kept me honest – the fact is, acknowledging that I have both of those and looking them square in the face and not being enslaved to them is the most honest pursuit I’ve ever embarked upon. [Editor’s note:  about 3 and a half years later, I discovered that I could drink again and do so in moderation and not let it lead me down the dark path – though, when I get tipsy, the desire to light up a cigarette is STRONG in me.  But I have scuba diving goals and smoking fucks that up.  So, note to Angela – NO SMOKING DAMMIT.]

So without some meme saying trite things like “Follow your passion” (I have a passion for Chinese opera but I won’t find happiness by trying to make a career out of it because I would suck at it on numerous levels – but I CAN support Chinese opera and feel just as fine about that), here is the prof’s simple premise – remember though, these are edicts for people in a position to make choices and who have options – part of fulfilling obligations to helping those in the world who need it or devoting yourself to particular causes:

“Here are the six key ingredients of a dream job:

  1. Work you’re good at
  2. Work that helps others
  3. Engaging work that lets you enter a state of flow (freedom, variety, clear tasks, feedback)
  4. Supportive colleagues
  5. A job that meets your basic needs, like fair pay, short commute and reasonable hours
  6. A job that fits your personal life
  7. Most importantly, focus on getting good at something that helps others.”

I swear to God, people, it works.

Being and Southerness: pineapple coconut cake and onion-flavored turds

One Sunday in September of 1979, the wind blew hard all day and I sat rather uncomfortably in the parking lot next to the Church of God in the small Southern town of Berry, North Carolina.  Here in this swampy little town the geese congregate for a spell in the fall and the air year-round smells like sulfur thanks to the smokestacks on the pulp mill down the road.   This morning, I heard Sister Dale tell Sister Overton as they were setting up the tables outside for this afternoon’s church homecoming luncheon that the stinky smell put out by the pulp mill is the smell of money.  Most of the church congregation is employed there and it’s pulp mill money what paid for all these pretty pink cotton dresses and white vinyl pumps from Rose’s.

All afternoon, old ladies with stiff grey beehive hairdos have been cutting into me, into my moistness, and exclaiming “Sister Braswell has done it again!  Good Lord, I’ll have to take twice as many sugar pills tonight!  Praise the Lord!”   I will admit, I had some competition from Sister Overton’s collard greens with fatback and homemade cornmeal dumplings (you can still see where her nimble fingers made impressions in the dough).  But at the end of the church day, it’s dessert that finishes everyone off and that’s what they taste on their lips as they drive home to watch football and vacuum the floor and crochet a little colorful lopsided afghan destined for the back of the couch.   My creamy frosting is what they will remember as they doze off in the La-Z-Boy recliner, wearily dreaming of those long ago days when afternoon sex was a sure thing on the weekend.

Ah, but I digress!  Back to church!

There among the wooden benches pulled from the vestibule into the parking lot, people moaned in ecstasy over my creamy coconut frosting and then rolled their eyes into the back of their heads (I promise I am not a sex-obsessed cake.  I just call the world as I view it.)  As Brother Braswell stuck a fork in me, I heard him whisper to the Korean mail-order bride (who was married at the time to Brother Chester, a 65-year old man who always sat through Sunday service cleaning his filthy fingernails with a rusty pocketknife) that he wanted one more go ’cause she had such a sweet-ass cooter.

The Korean woman raised her eyebrows and primly directed him to try her kimchi salad, which was an unusual dish to see on a table at a church homecoming in a small town in the South in the 70s.  “Be careful when you eat it, Brother Braswell,” said the Korean lady, “it’s real spicy, like my cooter.”  He laughed and licked some frosting off his fork in a suggestive way.  I saw his toupee was flapping in the wind just a bit and wondered if the Korean lady noticed too.

I was a pineapple coconut cake for most of an entire day, but I never let all of the compliments make me cocky.  And then, as you know, by about two o’clock that afternoon, after about 100 people had stuck a knife into my gentle sides or, in the case of some of the really old people, stuck a pissy smelling finger into my top to scoop up a dab of frosting, I was reduced to mostly fluffy golden crumbs.  Life sure is odd.  Just as you receive all the accolades and compliments and recognition that you need to go out and be confident in the world, you just up and disappear.   Doomed to a toilet bowl or an adult diaper in just a few hours.

What else can I say? Did the folks at that homecoming in Plymouth really find joy in me that day? Could I have behaved differently there amidst the giant cast iron pots of collard greens and cabbage and brightly colored Tupperware bowls of coleslaw, and mac and cheese and potato salad?  Well, I mean, sure, it doesn’t matter now, but I want to know because there will be many more cakes after me at future church homecomings.  I mean, these little kids who were digging their spoons into me all afternoon will grow up and bake their own cakes on hundreds of Saturday nights to be ready for Sunday homecoming.  This little town will grow and flourish because the ever-deepening stench of sulfur tells us so.  That pulp mill will make paper forever and little families from West Virginia will continue to move down here to find work and they’ll keep building white and yellow shot-gun houses and buying dresses and shoes from that little Rose’s department store downtown.  The world will always need paper!

Aw, sure, I was a delicious cake for just a day but I’ll tell you this: at least I wasn’t Sister Smithwick’s broccoli casserole, that one covered in French-fried onions.  That dish always makes Reverend Dean so gassy and his farts stink up the parsonage for days after homecoming because he loves the way Sister Smithwick sautees her broccoli in lard first.   But, oh, what wonderful explosions emanate from the rolls of onion-flavored turds in his butt!  What yells of disgust Brother Dean makes while he sits on the toilet!   So, kids of the South, listen to me carefully.  Keep your mind on the future and find a good husband or wife and have two children, a boy and a girl, and go to church and figure out what dish you make best and bring it to homecoming.  For this is the way of the world.

*Editor’s note:  thanks be to Istvan Orkeny, a Hungarian writer who went to the movies and hasn’t been seen since

I was the hit of the homecoming.

I was the hit of the homecoming.


What a woman obsessed with scuba diving looks for in a man. Or rather, what you don’t want.

Ah, what ARE women like me (who are obsessed with scuba diving) looking for in a man other than him possessing a working penis, all of his teeth, a job, and a strong stroke?
Well, I’ll tell you.

This conversation happened between me and a co-worker at some half-assed Mexican restaurant (you know the kind, where they feature $5.99 specials called Speedy Gonzalez 1, 2, 3 and so on.  And each dish tastes exactly the same but satisfies a craving so you go and eat half a pound of two day-old chips and shell out 8 bucks total plus tip for the waiter who is wearing too much Drakkar Noir and wonder why you put yourself through this mediocrity every 3 or 4 weeks.)

My co-worker, who is in her mid-30s and has been married for 10 years and has 2 children, asked me this, “So Angela, do you think you’ll find the one any time soon?”

“Find the one what?”  I asked, reaching for one of the stale chips.

“You know,” she said, “the man you’ll marry.”

“You know that I believe marriage is for the weak,” I said.  “You and your husband excluded.”  (I just said that to pacify her. I actually count her in that bunch.)

“Oh, Angela, there’s a wonderful man out there who will make you want to run down the aisle.”

“Maybe,” I replied.   I tried the guacamole.  “Good Lord,” I exclaimed, “I think they put shredded jicama in this.  It’s incredible!”  I dipped my spoon in for another try.   They had indeed put jicama in guacamole.   A revelation.

“You’re avoiding the topic,” she said.  “So, how about this.  Tell me who your ideal man is.”

“I honestly don’t know,” I said.  The waiter came back to ask us how everything was even though we hadn’t gotten our food yet.  The acrid smell of his cologne was actually clinging to the back of my throat, ruining the joy of jicama.  Suddenly I recalled that the first time I ever had sex was with a boy wearing Drakkar and we were listening to a Metallica cassette on his boom box.

“Okay,” she said, not giving up, “let’s do this.  Tell me what you absolutely don’t want in a man.”

“Hmmm…okay, that I can come up with,” I said, dipping a chip in the salsa.

“Yayyy!” she squealed, daintily clapping her hands.  “Finally.  So name five things quick – without even thinking about it.  Aaaaand…GO!”

“So.  One. I could never date a man who suggested that for a first date we eat at Olive Garden.  Or any chain restaurant. I could never date a man who regularly wears golf shirts and khaki pants with pleats in them.  Men should never wear pants with pleats in them.  Flat front only. Wait – do those two items of clothing count as two reasons?  He’s got to love to get in the ocean – swim, snorkel, dive, I don’t care.  But he has to want the water as much as I do.  Hmmm…also,  I could never date a man who wears Y-front white underwear.  Gotta wear boxer shorts or even just let your balls and dick swing in the wind.   Oh, and I like nice, solid forearms.  My favorite part of a man’s body.  Oh and one more, I could never date a man who thinks getting a group together to get on one of those Trolley Pubs in downtown Raleigh would be a fun thing to do.”

[Trolley Pubs are found in larger cities across the U.S.  They are these rolling pubs (like a giant bicycle) where up to 14 people get on and sit around a bar-in-the-round and each person pedals as they troll through the streets of downtown, drinking beer and going from pub to pub.  Their revelry combined with the flashing light decorations make it the most annoying sight and sound imaginable.]

“Oh my God,” she said, frowning.  She let out a sigh.   “I was thinking more along the lines of you naming certain qualities like if he was a Republican or is obsessed with sports.  Which I know neither of those is okay with you.”

“Those are two good ones to add to the list actually,” I said.   Wow, I didn’t know she knew me that well.

She shook her head.  “You are going to die alone.  You can’t be so specific.  One guy isn’t going to have everything.”

“I know that,” I said.  “Okay, I can maybe let go of most of those except for the ocean part.  It’s fundamental to what I think about, how I look at the world.  I cannot get around someone not wanting to be in or near the ocean.”

“What if he doesn’t like the ocean but had a lot of money and treated you like a queen?”

“I’d rather die than concede,” I said.  “Power never concedes without a demand.

“What does that even mean?” she asked.

“I don’t actually know.”  I looked around, weary of the conversation and of, particularly, myself.  “Where the hell is my Speedy Gonzalez number 12?”

“Do you really even truly know what you want?”

“Yes,” I answered carefully, “I want a man muscled in flame and who sweats kindness and intellect and who is funny and who will burn me to the ground causing me the exact opposite of harm.”

She rolled her eyes at me and nodded towards the approaching waiter.  “Okay.  Whatever.  Our food is here.”

“Good,”  I said.  “Great.”   And I threw down on that Speedy Gonzales like the good little single Mexican gal I am.



A married couple’s conversation overheard while dining at Bloomsbury Bistro

After a late afternoon meeting yesterday, I found myself in the aspiring-to-be-well-heeled neighborhood of Five Points in Raleigh.  The poor denizens of this neighborhood actually are only playing at being well-heeled and dream of power.   The actual truly well-heeled old-school money part of Raleigh is further west, past Oberlin Road.    Over there in that pristine and quiet neighborhood are massive old homes that look stately but not in that cloying drafty Southern mansion kind of way.  And the homes don’t look expensive in that depressing pre-fab, recently built, 5,000-square foot cookie-cutter bullshit kind of way (people who came from nothing tend to think the new development homes near new golf courses are the pinnacle of class.  But the middle-class is not known for their sense of aesthetics, are they?  That class tends to spawn unimaginative women who think Dooney & Bourke, Coach, and Michael Kors pocketbooks are the epitome of style.  These women like to go to outlet malls so they can live a little fancier than their pocketbook actually allows.)

A lot of the still-active elderly men of power in Raleigh live in these homes with their wives, women who have never had to work but who have expended a lot of effort in book clubs, cooking for the Episcopal Church bake sales, and on near-by tennis courts.   Many of these women enrolled in the English department at the private all-women Meredith College in the 1960s and 1970s, not really to study Hemingway but mostly to land a soon-to-be wealthy husband from across the street at N.C. State or maybe as far afield as Carolina.  Even into the 90s, many of these Meredith women would quit school once they had achieved their ultimate dream, to be engaged.

These clever gray-haired Southern couples often entertain their visiting adult sons who arrive from northern Virginia or Maryland each year for Thanksgiving and Christmas in shiny Lexus SUVs with shiny wives who inevitably sport J. Crew puffy vests and Ralph Lauren riding boots.  The grandchildren are usually enrolled at UNC-Chapel Hill, Georgetown, or the University of Virginia (but not Duke University since no Southerners actually go there).

Ah, but enough about the fine neighborhood near my afternoon meeting!

It was after 5 o’clock and I didn’t want to brave the mind-numbing traffic crawl up Capital Boulevard to go home so I decided to have dinner at a restaurant that is a favorite among the well-heeled elderly crowd –  Bloomsbury Bistro.  A lot of my hip foodie friends in Raleigh call this a fancy restaurant for old geezers.  And, yes, there is some truth to that.  I arrived just as the restaurant opened at 5:30 and already there were nicely dressed couples and groups of 4  arriving, the majority somewhere in the vicinity of 70 years of age.

These people were happy when they arrived, laughing and smiling and joking with the waiters, bar tenders and host staff.  Because they all know one another well.  They and their friends eat here regularly and the food is good, fairly expensive, and comfortable.   This is the kind of restaurant where elderly regulars think nothing of coming in two or three times during the week to have salmon or a N.Y. Strip and a good bottle of wine and a drop of whisky and dropping around $120 per meal.

Here’s the thing though.  A restaurant like this will never go out of business.  These people are fiercly loyal and the food is solid.  These people will never defect to the zillions of hip, foodie-culture restaurants opening up downtown (and trust me, the competition in Raleigh is stiff – this town is home to an incredible and varied food scene that’s evolving every day).

But enough about food and old people.   Let’s get to what you came here for:  what I overheard some younger married couples discussing while I ate my own dinner.   Yes, there were some younger couples in their 30s and 40s also in attendance.   And, lucky for me, they were nearby.

There is nothing more depressing than the conversation between a married couple as they decide what they want for dinner.

Scene:  Couple is seated in front of me.  I am majorly eavesdropping, pretending to be deeply engrossed in my New York Review of Books which I actually can’t even read because the light is too dim.

30-something husband:  Oh, man, wow.  Look at this for an appetizer.  (he reads aloud slowly): “Damascus style spiced lamb confit pie in puff pastry with hummus coulis, crispy chick peas, Greek yogurt and mint tabbouleh.”  God, that sounds good, don’t you think?

30-something wife:  No, it sounds heavy.  Puff pastry and lamb.  That’s a meal.  That’s not an appetizer.

Husband:  Yeah, but it sound delicious.

Wife:  Yes, but not as an appetizer.   If you get that, you don’t need an entrée.

Husband.  Why don’t I get that as my entrée then?

Wife: Because I don’t want the lamb and I wanted to try whatever you got for an entrée.

Husband:  Okay.

[Waiter arrives and asks if they’d had time to look at the wine menu.   They had not.  So they open up the wine menu.  Waiter leaves.]

Husband:  Do I want wine or whisky?

Wife:  Let’s get wine.  Something red.

Husband:  Oh, this looks good.  This one from Chile.

Wife:  No, I’ve had that one.  I want to try something new.

Husband:  But did you like the one from Chile?

Wife:  Yes, but I want something new.

Husband:  Buy why not get something you know you’ll like?

Wife: [Wife sighs VERY deeply.  Within that sigh was contained all of her disappointment in the man sitting across from her.  The sigh was deepened because he probably failed to get her off last night so she had to fake an orgasm or at least fake how much she enjoyed their 20 minutes of love making.  She also may be sighing over the fact that his penis is only about 5 inches long and she once had a one-night stand with a guy in a shitty band who had a 10-inch dick and she knows she’ll never get to see or feel anything like that ever again.  No, she is stuck with this 5-inch penis forever.]

Husband:  Never mind.  Get what you want.  I’ll drink anything.

Wife:  Let’s get this Lang & Reed.

Husband:  That’s $59!

Wife:  So?  If it’s good, it’s worth it.

Husband:  Why get a wine we don’t know if we’ll like that costs so much?  Let’s just do it by the glass.

Wife:  Why don’t we just get a bottle?  I really need it.  I’ve had long day today.

Husband:  Okay.  But it better be good.

Wife:  I still don’t know what I want for my entrée.  I wonder what’s gluten-free.

Husband:  Don’t ask the waiter that.

Wife:  Why?  Why not?

Husband:  Because this is a nice restaurant.  They don’t do gluten-free.  Do you see that adjective anywhere on the menu?

Wife:  He won’t care.  Lots of people eat gluten-free.  I’m sure he’s used to being asked.

Husband:  Oh, man, listen to this.  (he reads from the menu) “Chicken and dumplings: Skillet roasted breast of organic chicken over Southern style pastry noodles with pulled thigh meat gravy, grilled asparagus and Cherrywood smoked bacon.”  Sounds good for $24.95.

Wife:  Ugh.  It sounds heavy.  Why don’t you try the pork tenderloin?  That sounds delicious.

Husband:  I don’t want that.  I’m not in the mood for pork.

Wife:  But you’re in the mood for lamb?

Husband:  They aren’t the same meat.

Wife:  How about this, the Scottish salmon?

Husband:  I don’t want fish.

[Waiter comes back to take the wine order.  They get the Lang & Reed North Coast Cabernet Franc 2010, a delightful wine from Napa Valley, California.  Wife is happy.  Husband is irritated by price tag and lack of knowledge of how much joy it actually brings.  Also, he is still plagued by a vague suspicion that his wife was faking it last night.  But then again, who cares?  He got off and slept soundly.  A good night, all in all.]

Husband:  What about the calves liver?

Wife:  It comes with bitter greens.  You hate greens.

Husband:  I do?  Yeah, I guess I do.

Wife:  I feel like such an adult.  We made reservations tonight.  We never make reservations at a restaurant.

Husband:  We didn’t need to make reservations.  Nobody is here.  It’s not even 6 o’clock on a Thursday night.

Wife: Yeah, but don’t you think it makes eating out more exciting when you make reservations?

Husband:  I guess.  So I’ve decided.  I’m definitely getting the chicken and pastry.

Wife:  Well, I ‘m not trying it then.  THAT is definitely NOT gluten-free.

Husband:  Good.  More for me.  I’ll get a dessert you like.

Wife:  Oooo…I wonder what’s on the dessert menu?  Should we go ahead and look?

Husband:  You do know that nothing on the dessert menu is gluten-free, don’t you?

Wife:  Who cares?  I need something sweet.  I told you.  I had a bad day at work.

Husband:  Seems like a bad day at work makes it convenient for you to not be gluten-free.

Wife:  [wife sighs deeply again]

[Waiter comes.  Husband orders chicken and pastry and wife orders the pork tenderloin.  They then spend the rest of the meal each regaling the other with tales about their jobs and the people at those jobs who are annoying.  The annoying people from their jobs were infinitely more interesting than this couple.]

I think to myself at the moment they order that right now, everywhere across Raleigh, across America in fact, husbands are reading aloud menu items and then unnecessarily reading aloud the full descriptions and wives are telling them why that’s not a good choice.  And these conversations all occur in monotone voices, though the wives’ responses are oft tinged with minor irritation.  I still think some of that irritation is directly related to the husband’s penis size, though even large penises get old when attached to the same man year in and year out.

Ah!  But all was not lost…something wonderful happened as I started in on my [Angela is reading aloud to you]: “Short rib Les Halles: Boneless Black Angus beef ribs over caramelized French onion broth with asparagus, cave-aged Gruyere cheese, buttered croutons and a splash of Oloroso Sherry $26.95.”

Oh, but, dear reader, the rest of this delightful tale is for another day.


Part Two: A married couple’s conversation overhead while dining at Bloomsbury Bistro

The first part of this riveting tale can be read by clicking here.

Bored of listening in on the youngish couple’s private and dreary dinner conversation, I leaned in to the tiny print of my New York Review of Books.  It was an article about the soulless Putin and his damaging impact on the European economy.  Dammit!  The light in the restaurant was simply too dim to allow for reading.  With nothing else to distract me, I was going to be forced to listen to these two knuckleheads for the rest of meal.  I held up one of the tiny votive candles and moved it in close to the page.   The yellow flickering gave me a headache but less of a headache than hearing a moderately attractive woman emasculate a rather handsome man by trying to force him into a meat choice.

“I am not going to listen in on other people’s private conversations,” I thought.  “It’s just plain wrong.  People should feel safe and secure in their stultifyingly boring tête-à-têtes.  This is America!  I am not Putin! I am not the KGB of bloggers!”

Alas, my dubious resolve to honor privacy in order to gather material for my blog was dissolved when right there next to me, almost on top of me, was seated an elderly couple, the two looked to be in their late 70s.  The old man had on a cream sweater vest and brown corduroy suit jacket with blue suede elbow patches.  He had been quite tall once, but was now slightly stooped over and wobbly on his feet.  She had on her finest cashmere Christmas sweater, a baggy red number dotted with white wool snowflakes.  The host had obviously met the pair many times.  “So good to have you both back!  Merry Christmas,” he said, clasping his well-manicured hands together.  Though rather stiff and snooty in that fancy-restaurant host kind of way, he seemed genuinely pleased to see these adorable old folks.  He scurried away to an anxious party of eight huddled in the foyer.

“Honey,” she said matter-of-factly, “you’d better go to the bathroom before we get started.”

“That’s true,” he said, “while I’m gone, you know what to do, my dear.”

“You could say that,” she said.

After a while, a waiter came over to take her drink order.  “I’d like a Ballantine’s.  12.  Neat.  And, oh, any ole’ merlot will do.”

By the time her husband came back to the table, the drinks were in place.  “Scotch, you shouldn’t have,” he said, taking forever to actually connect his rear end to the chair.  “Well, Emily, let’s get started.”

“Well, John, that sounds nice,” she said.

From out of his blazer her produced a present, wrapped in red paper.  No bow.  “Here you are.  To 47 incredible years.  We probably won’t get 47 more but that’s how life is.”

She slowly unwrapped the present.  Very slowly.  It was driving me nuts.  I wanted to know what he’d given her.  I was eavesdropping harder than I ever had in my life.  “Oh!” she exclaimed, “a book.  A journal.  You made this!”

“I did,” he said proudly, “I made the cover, the paper, and bound it myself.  Now you can write every day about what a wonderful husband and lover I am.”  He held up his Scotch and winked at her.  I could see him because he was sitting diagonally from me.  She was sitting next to me so I didn’t know what her facial expression was.

“Oh, John, don’t be foolish,” she said.  “It’s lovely.  Just lovely.”

“And one more thing,” he said.  “For one full year, I will pay for any books you order from Amazon.  No matter how many.”

“That will come out to be a princely sum. You sure about that?”

“As sure as I was the day I married you,” he said.  They clinked glasses.

“How sure were you the day after you married me?” she asked.

“Doubly sure.”

By God, these two, rounding 80 years of age and flirting shamelessly.  Wonderful.

She pulled his present from her purse.  It was wrapped in the same red paper.  Though he had a touch of the tremors in his arthritic hands, he ripped off the paper quickly.  “Frank Sinatra CDs!  You know what I like!”

“I ought to after all this time.”  They clinked glasses again.  “That’s all you get,” she said.  “And you’re paying for dinner. I love you.”

“Sounds about right. Order my usual.”  The waiter arrived as though on cue.

“He’ll have the steak.  Rare.  I’ll have the salmon.  Thanks.”

I finished off my coffee.  I’d finished my meal ages ago and had already paid the bill.

“Happy anniversary,” I said to the couple as I stood to go.

“Why thank you,” they both said at the same time.

“I have to ask,” I said, picking up my purse, “how many books a year do you order from Amazon?”

She beamed.  “Two or three a week.  I can’t live without books.”

“She’s an expensive broad to keep,” he chimed in.

As I walked to my car, I wondered how one could go about getting married, skip the first 20 or 30 yeas and just get to the good stuff there at the end.   My marriage notions got a lot of clarification that night at Bloomsbury Bistro.  And I figured maybe it ain’t all that bad all the time.  Wait, what am I saying? Sure it is.  Damn those charming old folks.

Sexy scenes from a gym: chapter 11

I’m listening to T Rex on my headphones and pumping iron to the beat when he struts past me:  40-ish, moderately attractive, muscular arms, beer belly, and a grown-out fuzzy buzz cut.  But here’s the clincher – he’s sporting a grey and white striped terry cloth headband, emerald green velour sweat pants, and red Crocs.  White footie socks.   This dude’s get up is whatever the opposite of giving two flying fucks is.

I love him.

I hope I run into him on one of my dating apps so we can chat flirt.  I mean, you don’t ever, ever talk to a dude in your gym.  Because if you end up sleeping with him, inevitably, one of you has to change gyms.  Them’s the rules of muscle-bound road.  sweatpants


Your day job vs. gardening – when your wife will only suck the tip

When the Life Path Genie appeared before the man in his dull grey cubicle there on the 39th floor of the office building, it really was quite a shock. He had never complained about his work.  And while pushing cyber paper and assisting Vice Presidents with important needs and gentle egos wasn’t what he’d dreamed of being when he grew up (he’d planned to be a sexy astronaut or a real pussy magnet in a loud and famous heavy metal band), well, he was never the type to complain.

And while his job wasn’t necessarily as fulfilling as his hobby of raising 20 varieties of daffodils in a tiny hothouse he’d built in the backyard, his job paid the bills and provided decent health insurance for both him and his wife of 10 years.

Although he was middle-aged and in full health, he knew it was just a matter of time before he needed pills of all sorts and regular rectal exams.  “That’s the aging process love!” his mother told him before she died last year.

The man often found work fulfillment by sometimes attending a monthly whiskey club some of the lower-level employees on his floor had put together.  But he wasn’t much of a drinker so he didn’t always go.

The Life Path Genie showed up the moment he clicked on the third job listing on LinkedIn.  POOF! The genie appeared next to his computer. Only 10 inches tall. The man was startled but he didn’t cry out.

“Since you’re in a cubicle, I’ll have to whisper,” whispered the genie. “I see you have been looking for jobs while you’re at work.  You know, you could get fired for that.”

“You aren’t wearing little shiny pants,” said the man.  “Or a little turban. Where’d you get such a tiny business suit?”

The genie tapped the computer screen impatiently.  “These things are of no importance.  What is important is that you looked for jobs three times three days in a row from a work computer. Such actions immediately summon me, your personal Life Path Genie.”

“Wait, are you from human resources?” asked the man, looking around nervously.  “Are you here to fire me?”

“No, no, no,” said the genie, laughing just a bit.  “I’m here to help you find your true life path.  Obviously this isn’t it, or you wouldn’t be looking for jobs.  At work.  That’s really taking a risk you know.  IT and human resources could find out and then it’s the axe.”

“Well, it’s not so much that I want to quit. I mean, I have great benefits, the pay is decent.  Higher than average really! I’m low-level so I’m not really on the radar of the really super important people in the top levels of management who ensure the continued success of this operation.”  The man paused for a second and continued.  “Oh, and there was this one woman who was only about 30 years old working in the cubicle next to me and one of the new managers really liked her blonde hair and cute pants and noticed her talents and raised her several pay grades.   She was moved up, not for looks, but for talent.  It shows that you can get ahead around here if you have talent and combine that with the right pants!”

“Sir,” said the genie, “you’ve been here six years. The flowers of your labor are in full bloom. You come to work early so that the important managers can see you and you stay late, laughing loudly at co-workers’ jokes that aren’t funny, so the managers know you are working late. When, in fact, you are playing solitaire, updating your Facebook page, reading the New York Times online and talking about sports.  Is this how you want to spend your life?”

“Well, genie, there ARE worse things to do with yourself,” replied the man.  “Like working for the state or with people who don’t speak English.”

“I also know that your wife doesn’t have sex with you anymore because she also isn’t happy in her office job,” said the genie.

“Well, she gives me hand jobs some mornings,” said the man sheepishly.  “Sometimes she gives the tip of my dick a right good sucking.  What business is that of yours?”

“Good sex is important to finding your life path,” said the genie matter-of-factly. “Well, sir, I think I know all I need to know about you.  Get ready, my friend.  Your life is about to happen!”  And with that, the genie disappeared with a poof that was no louder than an unobtrusive fart.

The man had no time to figure out what had just happened because he had an important meeting to attend that was actually really very unimportant.

That night after arriving home and tending to his tender daffodils, he walked out of the hot-house and stood very still in the quiet of his backyard.  It was dark already and the stars were clear and bright.  He looked over into the neighbor’s yard and there was the pretty 24-year old school teacher who had moved in only 3 months earlier.

She was naked and looking directly at him. He walked over to her.

“What are you doing?” he asked, feeling blood rushing into the tip of his rather unused penis.

“I’m going to fuck you right here in my backyard,” she said, wrapping her lithe young limbs around his body. “And then I’m going to kill you.”

The man turned to see if his wife was peeking out the window.  She was not. He turned back to face the school teacher.

“That’s fine,” he said. “I very much want to stick my cock into you and see where this goes.  But please don’t kill me.”

“We shall see,” she uttered softly. “We shall see.”

The next morning, the man’s wife found her husband dead in his hot-house, stabbed in the stomach presumably by the clipping shears protruding from his belly. He was sprawled across the Hoop Petticoat variety of daffodil.

The police speculated that this was most certainly a suicide. When they questioned his wife and the neighbors, including the school teacher, no one knew of any reason that the man had to kill himself.

“We loved each other,” sobbed his wife. “We went to the movies regularly and ate out at lovely restaurants once a week.” When asked about how he felt about his job she replied, “He’d just gotten a 3 percent cost of living raise at work. They allow him access to social media. It was all going so perfectly.”

“He couldn’t have suffered from any kind of despair or disillusionment. Why, why throw our life together away?” she wailed. The wife was inconsolable but comforted by all of the gluten-free and free-range gourmet duck fat casseroles that friends and family had started to bring over to express their sorrow at her loss.

Later that week, at the man’s office, as his department’s administrative assistant cleaned out his desk (there were mostly clip binders and soy sauce packets in the drawer), she found a sticky note addressed to the VP of Human Resources.

“Dear important sir. I did not attend the three meetings I had on my Outlook calendar for tomorrow. I didn’t want to work here anymore.”

“Tsk tsk,” said the administrative assistant. “What could he have wanted to be, poor dear?  A VP perhaps!” She was going to give the message to human resources but remembered she had to put out coffee in the conference room because four very important managers were scheduled for a meeting in 10 minutes.

Just let well enough alone: a one-minute tale of weight loss and gain and loss

Sometimes, you just need to take a compliment with a simple “Thank you” and let well enough alone.  Especially when you’re weight has gone up and down and all over in the last year and a half.  This happened last night:

Friend (who hasn’t seen me in 5 months):  Whoo, girl, you look good!  You look skinny!
Me:  Skinny?
Friend:  Skinny.
Me:  As compared to what?
Friend:  Uh…as compared to last time I saw you.
Me:  Skinny?
Friend:  Well, I mean…skinnier.
Me:  But use of that word implies a degree of svelteness.
Friend.  Okay, why don’t you just shut the fuck up?  How ’bout this – you ain’t as big as you were. You look so good so please shut the fuck up.
Me: Let’s start over.

Note:  This is still way better than how some of my Southern friends and family back home greet you when you visit for the holidays: 

My 300-hundred pound diabetic cousin donning a muumuu:  “Whoo, Lord, you have really packed on the pounds since I saw you.  Lookin’ just like your big Aunt So-and-So.”
Me:  You haven’t seen me in a quarter of a century.  Since I was in high school and weighed 100 pounds.
Cousin: I know. Girl, ain’t no slim folks in your family. Wasn’t never meant to last no ways. Seen this comin’. Weight Watchers, girl. Weight Watchers. We got to stay on it in this family. (She says she eats the top off of a red velvet cake.)
Me: Hand me that whole tomato.
Cousin: Girl, is that all you’re eatin
Me: No, I am about to shove it in your mouth so you’ll shut the fuck up. Pass me the mac and cheese.

extraordinary me: does he take his pants all the way off to do it

Tonight, while creating categories within my new dive-themed move to the Caribbean blog (sex, dating, diving, all-things-Curacao), I decided to be true to myself – the flaming liberal, social justice side of myself – and include a section about that.  Much of this particular section will be focused on ocean conservation but there will be many jabs at Trump. Conservatives may freely enjoy the dive-instructor-dick stories, but might want to judiciously avoid the “From the Mind of a Flaming Liberal”  category. And, to kick off the new blog category, I will share a little poem I wrote just for such an occasion:

extraordinary me
by angela perez

when trump eats breakfast
who sits next to him does he
crack a hardboiled egg on the presidential plate and pick up
greasy fried hashbrowns with his little orange nubs
does he watch t.v. while some kind of brown man fills
a crystal cup with ice cold Diet Coke.
last night did trump dream of lady pussies with
no hair and no body cajoling him
to press his cheek against a frozen window pane
and speak of joy not monstrously stitched
to that gray-gold empire where a Slavic wife scowls
in gossamer Dolce & Gabbana

is there a tanning bed in the white house
and does he tweet while shitting in the toilet
when he makes love, in what direction does his hair flow
Mr. President, do you fuck all-the-way naked or just pull your junk through an open zipper

oh people, my people, my bony heart is a graveyard of fake news and tan liars
who run away but don’t get far and then wither. Believe extraordinary me.

A Tinder conversation: lesbians and spider webs

Dude:  hey sexy, my lesbian girl friend and me will go out tonight.  care to join?

Me:  Why are you telling me that she’s a lesbian?

Dude:  just ’cause 😉 😉  she’s hot though 😉

Me:  Are you telling me to let me know that you aren’t homophobic?  Because that’s awesome if you’re an open-minded person.

Dude:  hell yeah LESBIANS

Me:  Your lack of capitalization except when it comes to LESBIANS is quite troubling.

Dude: you wanna come 😉

Me:  And gay men?  How do you feel about them?

Me:  naw son not down with that some wrong shit

Me:  Do you mean being a homosexual is wrong?

Dude:  not if you got big titties 😉

Me:  What else have you got to entice me to go on this extraordinary date?

Dude:  I am all tatted up and am hung big dick baby.

Me:  I noticed the tattoos on your arms in some of your photos.  What other tattoos do you have?

Dude:  just got two spider webs

Me:  On your elbows?

Dude:  nah around BOTH NIPPLES ha ha ha

Me:  So basically you now look like you’re wearing a spider web mesh BRA all of the time?

Dude:  you down or not

Me:  Let me mull this over.  [UNMATCH WITH MUCH HASTE]


Oh, what a tangled web we weave whilst single.

That day in the gym: a hot blonde girl with a peach of an ass, 10 studly firemen, and KISS’ Strutter

As soon as I see the tiny tight hot-assed blonde chick get out of her car, I know what to expect.  She’s dressed for the gym in white miniscule skin-tight shorts and a hot pink sports bra.  Her long, silky golden locks are tied up in the cutest, bounciest ponytail you’ve ever seen.

Wait.  Let me back up.

The two rows of treadmills and elliptical machines at my gym face a glass wall that overlooks a busy strip mall parking lot.   The glass allows you to see who is coming and going into the gym or what lazy slough is passing it by on the way to either the Subway on one side or the Ace Hardware on the other.   The blonde parks her car in front of the gym just as I enter into my 20th minute on the elliptical machine.  I am drenched in sweat.  It’s pouring down my face.  Down my back.  Between my tits.  No cute ponytail bouncing up and down on me.  No, my black hair is pulled up into a no-nonsense severe, German dominatrix bun.  I come to the gym to kick ass, not titillate muscle-bound men.  But every day in the gym (and I go to the gym six days a week), I notice women all kitted up and outfitted to make those boys in tank tops drool.  These gals are wearing full lipstick and eyeliner and next to nothing.  Granted, they look fabulous.  Sweaty svelte women are never a bad thing.

But, dammit, those hard little half-exposed peach bottoms on these bitches are wreaking havoc in my gym and it’s fucking up my work out.

Okay.  Back to the blonde ponytail.  She parks her car in front of the gym and hops out.  There I am on the  2nd row looking out the window at the McDonalds across the parking lot wondering if I could possibly have a Big Mac and not gain weight if I work out for over an hour.  And then I spot her.

And then I look for it.  I look to see what the middle-aged men on the treadmills in front of me do.  And they do not disappoint – about three of them almost trip and fall off the machines.  They are mesmerized by the taut ass in tiny shorts.  All of these smitten fellas are wearing wedding rings but they just can’t help it.  Ah men!  Ever predictable.  I do love them so.

I’m listening to Der Kommissar on my headphones and smiling.  Smiling because I can’t wait to see what happens as soon as she walks into the gym.

She was young her heart was pure
But every night is bright she got
She said sugar is sweet
She come rappin’ to the beat
Then I knew that she was hot

And, without fail, all of the guys on the treadmills in front of me try to surreptitiously sneak a peek at her.  They start puffing out their chests.  One even slows his gait so he can better follow her movements with his hawk-like gaze.  I don’t dare turn to look at her to see if she notices all of the cocks standing at attention upon her arrival.  Because if I don’t stay focused, my sweet soft uncoordinated ass will flip off the treadmill and break something important.  So, I continue to huff and puff and blow my middle region down.

I’m getting tired, legs on fire, sweat burning my eyes…thinking about giving up and just working out my legs on the adductor machine and calling it a day…but then a song comes on my iPhone

KISS.  Strutter to be exact.

Everybody says she’s lookin’ good
And the lady knows it’s understood

I am renewed.  Rejuvenated.  A fucking machine.  Wait, not a fucking machine as in I have a lot of sex.  I mean “fucking” as an adjective to stress just how in the zone I am.  No, no, no.  I’m no James Brown sex machine.  Not yet.  I have 2,567 more workouts to go before I can aspire that earn that moniker.

Back to Goldilocks.

I’m done with the elliptical and head over to do some bench presses.  She is standing beside me.  Preening in the mirror, a Love’s Baby Soft vision of pink skin and Gaudi curves and  Toulouse-Lautrec sinew.  She is breathtaking.  It’s inspiring.  “Aw, shucks,” thinks I.  “If I keep bench pressing, I too will possess a body like this.  A body so distracting that men can’t even focus on pumping iron.  That preempts their drive to tear up muscle tissue.”

So I add some more weights to the bar to speed the process along.

Nazareth’s Hair of the Dog is next in rotation on my song list.  I add 10 more pounds to the bar.   Now you’re ALL messing with a son of a bitch.

Red hot mama
Velvet charmer
Time’s come to pay your dues

There’s no need to go into all the peacocking and twirling and flirting and smoldering going on between Goldilocks and many of the fellas in that gym.  You know the drill.  But there in that moment, watching all of those men watching this women, I am having a revelation.  That is, I realize I love this woman.  For her power, for her self-possession.   Because whatever else she is doing in that gym, she is bad-assed.  And she has worked hard to get into the shape she’s in.  She’s a powerhouse of chickdom.

And, I won’t judge men for objectifying.  For not 30 minutes earlier, while sweating to Johnny Thunders lamenting about “the way it goes,” I see about 10 hot volunteer fireman, dressed in their sexy fire house attire, clamber out of a bright red fire house van.  Agog at such a bevy of studs, I almost drop the free weights on my feet.  They are all heading into the Subway next door.  Which is why I cut my workout short that day.

Because I know, that if I hurry up, I can get into that Subway, all aglow and sweaty from my workout, and do some preening of my own.  I may not look like Goldilocks in my work out shorts, and there may be mustard on my black t-shirt from the Sonic hot dog I ate yesterday after working out, but I can damn sure make that eating a whole wheat bread toasted roast beef sub into the sexiest damn spectacle you’ve ever seen.

It’s all in how you handle the extra mayonnaise.

Sexy fitness girl is working out with weights

Sexy fitness girl is working out with weights

More online dating: too fast for love

Dude:  Hey girl, I wanna a piece of you.
Me:  Are you paraphrasing from “I want a piece of your action?” I like that one Motley Crue record. I appreciate both the reference and the innuendo.
Dude:  What?!?
Me:  Too Fast for Love.
Dude:  Whatever, bitch.


The Summer of ’88: W.A.S.P., weed, and Governor’s School


In the spring of 1988, when I was a junior in high school, I found out I had been nominated by my AG history teacher, Mr. Morgan, to attend Governor’s School West for the summer.   AG stands for “academically gifted” and somewhere back in the 4th grade about 15 of us schoolkids had been designated as super smart and we’d had the same classes together pretty much ever since.
The rest of the poor bastards at school were deemed “average” or “remedial” and since they were obviously never going to college, the teachers let them do fun things like take naps during class or color with big giant fat crayons. I should note that this was in high school. Meanwhile, the AG kids had to take endless quizzes about Shakespeare and the history of how happy the slaves were in the South.

One day, during history class, when we were supposed to be reading quietly about George Washington but I was drawing the Van Halen logo on my blue cloth 3-ring notebook, Mr. Morgan came up to my desk and in his very Southern accent said, “Angela, my dear, I need to talk to you about something after class.” He looked at me very seriously. Though, with his carefully coiffed bouffant dyed black hair, tightly trimmed thick mustache, and effeminate lisp, it was hard to take Mr. Morgan seriously.   “It’s VERY important,” he said, raising his eyebrows and tapping his college class ring on my desk.   My best friend Laura had once told me that grown men who wear college class rings after they’ve graduated from college are gay. I wondered if Mr. Morgan was gay and what gay men got up to when they took their clothes off together.

“Angela,” he said. “I mean it. This is serious.”

“Oh shit,” I thought. Had someone told him about me smoking weed up in the light booth with Wayne Phelps in the drama room? (Note: the drama classroom also served as the actual theatre where plays were performed. As you can see, our school administrators placed tremendous value on the dramatic arts.) Had he heard about me smoking cigarettes in the girls’ bathroom? Or maybe he heard about me copying April Trueblood’s answers to the algebra test we’d taken yesterday. No, wait, he wouldn’t care about algebra.   He was a history teacher.   Whatever Mr. Morgan wanted, I was sure it couldn’t be good because I had done too many bad things all year long. My days of weed, and cigarettes, and swilling Boone’s Farm in my boyfriend’s Camaro during lunchtime were numbered.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, the bell rang and everyone packed up their books and left class. Mr. Morgan came and sat at the desk next to mine. “Angela, I want to talk to you about something. I’ve nominated you to attend Governor’s School at Salem College in Winston-Salem this summer.”

“What’s that?” I asked incredulously.   I wondered if this was some kind of reform school for the intellectually gifted.   I wasn’t far off the mark. Mr. Morgan had plans for me.

“It’s a school for the best and brightest. You’ll be attending with other rising seniors from schools from all over the state. You’ll study art, music, literature, dance.   And the teachers are top notch. Plus, going to Governor’s School makes you a shoo-in for college.”

I furrowed my brow. I already had summer plans: slather myself in baby oil and bake to a dark brown in the front yard of my house and also to have lots of awkward sex with my boyfriend every day until he went off to college at NC State in the fall.   “Why me? There are lots of other AG kids who are doing better than me in school.”

Mr. Morgan nodded. “Lord knows, that’s true. But I happen to think you have more promise than any of them. We just have to get you away from this little town and away from that bad-news boyfriend of yours. He smokes pot, you know.   And I’ve seen him flirting with a lot of girls since you two have been dating.”

I felt sick. “Flirting with WHO? WHO?” I was going to knock some bitches up beside the head with a can of AquaNet that night at the softball game. I just needed some names.

“Don’t worry about that, Angela. Let’s just agree right now that you’ll go. Promise me. It won’t cost you anything.   Be sure to tell your parents that.”

“But I was going to make some money waiting tables at Mamma’s Pizza this summer,” I said plaintively. “Last summer Mr. Chalmer’s gave me a $50 tip and all he got was sub sandwich.”

“Trust me,” said Mr. Morgan getting very red faced, “Mr. Chalmer’s does NOT like girls.”   To this day, I wish I’d followed up on that particular reference by Mr. Morgan.   I wonder if they dated and it ended badly.

“Promise me, Angela, you’ll do this. You need to get away from the drama club miscreants and think about your future outside of this town.”

“Okay. Okay,” I nodded. “I’ll do it. Could be fun.”

And boy howdy, was it ever.


Early in the summer, I arrived on campus at Salem College having never been out of eastern North Carolina except for that one time when I was in 8th grade and my mom and her girlfriends took me on a road trip to Raleigh to shop at Crabtree Valley Mall.   On that particular trip, I got some neon green legwarmers and a portable butane-powered curling iron and we even ate at a Mexican restaurant called Chi-Chi’s.  After four margaritas, my mom exclaimed, “You know, chi-chi’s is the Mexican word for titties!” Her girlfriends giggled. I was mortified and asked for more nacho cheese dip. I’d never been to a Mexican restaurant before. Whatever those beef fajitas had to do with titties, it was damn sure good. I couldn’t wait to get home and tease up my hair with my new curling iron.

But I digress. So I arrive on campus in Winston-Salem.   After all the flurry and hubbub of my parents and brother moving in my suitcases and make-up cases and saying goodbye and after all the crying by my mom, they left and I sat there alone looking around the dorm room feeling very sad and uncomfortable and lonely.

My roommate, Heather, hadn’t arrived yet. I had received a letter from her in the mail one month before. The information packet we received from Governor’s School told us the name of the person we would be sharing a room with for five weeks and that person’s address in case we wanted to get to know one another beforehand. Heather had written me evidently the very day she received my address because I received a letter about four days after we’d all gotten our packets. The letter was written in a very large, curly-q cursive script that slanted oddly to the left.   It read:

“Hi Angela!!!! We’re going to be roomies soon. It will be totally like college!!! It’s going to be totally rad, don’t you think. I am from the big city of Charlotte! I have a boyfriend named Jeremy and I am going to super big-time miss him (we haven’t gone all the way! We are waiting until we get married after college. I’m going to be a doctor and he wants to be a lawyer. I want to have three children, hopefully all girls. In my free time I sing at church and volunteer at the hospital, which can be kind of gross sometimes but it will look good on my college applications. I plan to go to UNC-Charlotte or Harvard. I like all kinds of Christian music like Amy Grant.   I hope you like music because I am bringing all of my Amy Grant tapes with me and a boom box. We’re going to have SO MUCH fun!!! I can’t wait. TTYL (that means Talk To Ya’ Later in case you don’t know!!!). Bye – Heather”

I reread the letter.   I looked through my cassette collection: Dokken, KISS, Blondie, Def Leppard, Rush, Winger, Cinderella, AC/DC, Michael Jackson, Tears for Fears.   Fuck. I hate Amy Grant, thought I.

Back to Governor’s School. So there I sat on my very narrow bed waiting for my new best friend Heather to arrive. I must’ve fallen asleep waiting because the next thing I know, I feel a gentle pull on my hand and hear a girl squealing, “Angela, get up! I’m here. I want you to meet my boyfriend.”

That’s right, Heather was so mature and worldly that her parents had allowed her boyfriend to drive her up. My parents had barred my boyfriend, Tommy, from coming anywhere near the College. He and I had a tearful goodbye the night before (well, I cried and he mostly just tried to feel my boobs. “God, I’m going to miss these!” he moaned) and he vowed to sneak up every weekend and get us a hotel room. I didn’t know at the time these hotel sex fests were to be funded by his selling of weed and crack. Yes, that’s right. The entire time I was dating this fella, he was a crack head. I thought he just looked sleepy and mysterious, like Daryl on The Walking Dead. Little did I know, he was just high and tired and run down all the time. Still, his was the first penis I had ever seen and I didn’t question much beyond that.

So, I met Heather’s boyfriend who looked to be old to me. Like, maybe 21 or something. I remember he had a ponytail and wore cowboy boots and looked very stern. He shook my hand. “How do you do? I’m Jeremy,” he said in a voice way too serious. “I want you to keep an eye on Heather this summer. Keep the boys away.”

I looked at Heather and thought, that won’t be hard.  She was no looker. She resembled a run-down, overweight Molly Ringwald but with a perm.   The two of them sat on the bed and hugged and whispered and cried. I thought it was very unbecoming of a man to cry.   I wrinkled my nose in disgust and excused myself to the bathroom in the hallway.

Over the next few days, I was introduced to some seriously smart kids.   Looking back, I didn’t realize how smart. They had been exposed to EVERYTHING already. Some kids sat around in the dorm lounge and traded stories about trips to France, Germany, England, New York, and Tuscon, Arizona.   They pontificated on the composer John Cage and the book Fahrenheit 451. Some played the flute and cello and some knew the choreography of Martha Graham. Me, well, I knew all the lyrics to “Animal: Fuck Like a Beast” by the hair metal group W.A.S.P. I also was one of the few girls I knew who could successfully use hot rollers and who had read Lord of the Rings 30 times.

Heather and I fought endlessly over what music we were going to listen to in our room at night while we did homework. I was already pissed that I had homework. It was the fucking summer, for Christ’s sake.   I kept putting in my heavy metal tapes and she kept putting in her Amy Grant tapes.   It was war. I hated that straight-laced fat-faced Christian with the old man boyfriend.   His ponytail was S-T-U-P-I-D. If a dude had long hair, surely he should tease it up and dye it blonde and have bangs.

To make matters worse, I really missed my boyfriend, who I just knew was probably wearing the purple jogging pants and sweatshirt that I gave him for Christmas and flirting with other girls. I was miserable. He hadn’t come to visit like he’d promised and three weeks had gone by. And only two or three phone calls. I didn’t know at the time that being a crack-head takes up a lot of your free time and spare cash.

One day, I received a call on the pay phone in the dorm lounge. It was Tommy! He announced that he would indeed be coming up on a Friday afternoon. He was skipping school and planned to get us a hotel room. He was bringing Bartles and James wine coolers and we were going to party all weekend.   I found out later that he’d gotten the money for this trip by selling some of his mother’s gold necklaces and the family VCR.   But, hey, anything for the woman he loved!

I lied to the RA on my floor and told her that Tommy was my cousin and he was picking me up to go and stay with family in Greensboro for the weekend. I’m not sure how I got away with getting off campus but I remember realizing even back then it was easy to fool anyone if you just said your piece with confidence and an unflinching eye.

We leave campus and after about a 10-minute drive, Tommy pulls up to the “King’s Arms Motel” and says, “Come on, babe. Let’s get in the room. I’m ready for some sweet poon-tang.” Tommy was nothing if not a romantic.   Later, five minutes later to be exact, after we’d made sweet love and lounged naked on the stained, thread-bare polyester comforter, he lit up a cigarette and exclaimed his love for me. “I miss you so much,” he said. “Let’s get married before I go to college. I leave in a few weeks and I don’t want you having sex with anybody else.”

His reasoning seemed to make sense. Getting married so that I don’t screw someone else while he was away seemed a true vow of love.   He told me about the cover band he’d started since I left that summer. “We do Slayer songs and King Diamond songs,” he announced proudly. “I’m the lead singer. Though, I could be the lead guitarist too. David sucks at it but he’s the only one of us who has a guitar.” And then he serenaded me with his best heavy metal high-pitched falsetto voice: “Missy, I miss you so little sister!”

I immediately said yes to the marriage proposal.  We made love again, this time for 20 whole minutes.

Needless to say, Tommy and I never did get married. Because something changed in me during Governor’s School. Despite my best efforts to ignore the annoying nice people around me, I was exposed to authors, music, and film in ways that took some of the vague longings I’d been pushing back for years and concretized them into something real and urgent. The things I learned made the future very clear – I wanted knowledge. I wanted to explore the world. I wanted college. I wanted to be, above all else, a writer.

I don’t know whatever happened to Tommy. Someone told me that he’d briefly dropped out of college because he smoked too much weed and spent all of his money and time on it.   I also heard he eventually got his act together and went on to get his MBA, which makes sense because he’d run a pretty lucrative crack business when we were in high school and managed to keep it very secret from his girlfriend.

Heather and I weren’t speaking by the end of the summer.   Mainly because she was pretty sure I was a Satan worshipper. She found the back of my KISS Alive II cassette tape highly disturbing. Of course, to be fair, Gene Simmons’ hellish visage is covered in blood.

Since that summer, I have indeed traveled much of the world, lived overseas, learned to speak Russian fluently, and, well, I never did become a writer. But maybe one day. Maybe one day.
Oh, and by the way, thanks Mr. Morgan. For everything.