Archive | Etiquette Matters


Since returning from the desert, my already limited ability to tolerate mansplainers has evaporated entirely. Exhibit A: I was just cowering at Oslo coffee shop, waiting for the thunderstorm to subside while working on an overdue essay. In sails a former suitor, and by this I mean a man with whom mildly flirted for years though I’ve always rebuffed his direct invitations. I call this man The Crossword Bandit, or Bandy, because he often fills out the New York Times crossword incorrectly in ink, a transgression some may consider a dealbreaker in and of itself.

 Today he started to hold forth on his favorite topic: the toxicity of any diet containing carbohydrates, “even whole grains.”  He delivered this lecture while staring pointedly at my body, which was looking especially matronly in the tent dress in which I like to write. Suffice it to say I cut him off at the knees. Continue Reading →

The Ultimate Bad Date

I am sorry to report that last night I dreamed I was brought into the Oval Office to help Donald Trump with the crossword and it was the blind leading the blind. The most embarrassing part of the story is not that I couldn’t do the crossword–it sprawled over three card tables and was full of Russian terms–but that I kept referring to him as President Trump while we stared at it glumly. DT had even worse skin up close, astoundingly slumped posture, and was pouting the whole time. As I sat with him, I realized his primary approach to sex was to guilt-trip women into bed, and that he treated the entire country as his sexual prey. Self-pity is a truly dangerous weapon in the hands of the malignant narcissist. So is unnecessary obfuscation–not something my unconscious ever practices, though my suitors often do. As I woke, I could hear those Rosemary’s Baby lines in my head: “This is no dream. This is really happening.” Exhausting.

A Few Notes on Mating Rituals

The other day, I met a cute guy in a luncheonette. We exchanged numbers and flirty texts. Then he started messaging about video-gaming and I went radio silent. I am an old-school dame, and old-school dames don’t date boys (cis or trans) whose mating rituals include Mortal Kombat. Old-school dames prefer gentlemen who phone rather than text, speak in complete sentences rather than monosyllables and GIFs, and listen and learn as much as they hold forth. Old-school dames prefer suitors who ask, don’t tell, and old-school dames don’t chase so much as stride. Really, I most prize notes hand-lettered on engraved paper and stately walks through parks, but I’ll accept any heartfelt exchange that makes me shine, not shrink. True courtship entails communion, not coercion.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy