Friday night turned out to be an impromptu trip to Riverbend for the Cincinnati Pops concert featuring Michael Feinstein. I wouldn't say the Pops are all that attractive to me, but the publicity shots of Michael weren't too hateful and I do like the classic ballads he sings. I was thrilled when Rick gave me the option of the concert or twilight golf. Golf isn't appealing when the weather is hot and humid, and rushing for the last rays of light would make looking for my ball unbearable. I preferred strings and piano, thank you.
It felt odd being at Riverbend when the lawn wasn't completely full and my eardrums weren't ringing from rock music. It was refreshingly laid back for this event. Michael was cute in person, but looking around the audience I realized he probably plays in the other sandbox. Too bad. I'd love to hear him sing in the shower as he soaped my back.
We headed to Michael G's post-concert for a drink, the last refrains from their combo playing as we arrived. We would have loved some grub, but no such luck as they don't serve dinner past 10 p.m. Stomachs growling, we headed downtown to Shanghai Mama's because they serve the latest meals around.
There must be a call for late night food in Cincinnati, because we were in good company there even at midnight. The menu gave a ton of choices and we quickly ordered a sampling of Mama's best. As I looked around at the other patrons, I was drawn to the couple one table over. He was decidedly arty and she was conservatively dressed. Maybe it was a pure case of opposites attracting or maybe she really does get on top, but one sure thing is he definitely could get creative with me in another life.
As it was, my dinner companion wanted me to help him with something. "What is it?," I asked, bringing my attention back to him.
"Are you attracted to me?," Rick pointedly inquired. "Am I your type?"
Hold on. How did a late night supper turn into an investigation of my desires? Could I slip over to the table with the artist and the prep without Rick following me?
Don't get me wrong. I like Rick, and the evening was going famously as all our outings typically do. I just wanted to eat crab rangoon, sip sake and scratch the surface. Why did I have to clarify whether I wanted to jump his bones?
The truth is these days I'm a little confused on the subject of who I'm attracted to, not to mention who I'm attached to.
My friend Mike explained to me that, if it doesn't happen after three or four dates, he loses interest and moves on. Well, if that's the case, Rick was being fair in asking, as we've been hanging out for the better part of a year. Rick's divorce, however, had just been finalized Wednesday. Yes, he was legally separated for over a year and the entire time I was his companion for this event or that night on the town -- but he was still technically married in my book, which breaks my rules.
I live by two rules: safe sex and no sharing, which means no married men and no threesomes. The first is obvious. The second is that I always figured someone would get jealous and it would probably be me. Maybe I'm missing out, but it keeps life simple.
This question of type, though, isn't simple. I like men a lot. In fact, I'm a flaming heterosexual. Mostly I go for successful and ambitious types, though it's more a symbol of them having their shit together, which is key at this age, and being passionate about what they do.
The guys I date tend to be intelligent and inquisitive but come in all shapes and sizes. Some have long hair, some shave their heads. I love piercing eyes of any color and a Brooks Brothers suit. I like guys who swear like sailors but also ones who wouldn't say it if their mouths were full of it. Younger is good, but older is secure. Some I take home, others I only smile about. Do I have to pick one?
Honestly, sometimes I just like to break type and visit the other side. There's something to be said for diversion. My girlfriend called one guy I dated for a year "the vacation." He wasn't really suitable for a long-term relationship because he was the eternal playboy, but he was a great companion on trips and entertaining just like a vacation. My mother called him "the gigolo," and ultimately he probably was, but he was memorable and suited the moment.
But I digress. The truth about Rick is that the jury is out. I like his company. I care about his life. Am I ready to take a roll in the hay? Not exactly. It changes things, and things are already in flux.
A friend got tickets for the Cincinnati Opera last weekend and I was going along. Having never been to an opera, I thought Romeo and Juliet was a good place to start.
They weren't very good seats, the kind that make opera glasses not so much cool as necessary, but as I said, I'd never been to the opera, so I was left to squint.
We thoroughly enjoyed the first two hours of the show and were overjoyed to see that the production comes with subtitles they should put that in their ads but by the third hour the rumbling in our bellies was louder than the warbling onstage. When the words "A Brief Intermission" appeared above the stage we squinted and saw "Last Chance to Leave Without Being Noticeably Rude."
Once outside we felt overdressed for the stroll along Washington Park, but no one else seemed to care. We wanted to eat and we wanted to drink, but we weren't sure were to go. I suggested Palomino -- the atmosphere fit our dress and the price fit our wallets. Well, I did have to convince my friend of that.
It seems to be a little known fact that the bar side of the restaurant offers two-for-one appetizers and $3 draft beers after 10. OK, maybe that's regular price for beer, but not for theirs. Anyway, it's affordable and fun to sit up high over Fountain Square and glance at the miserably few people who wander downtown on the weekends. On a busy night I can feel like I'm really in a bigger city when sitting here.
This weekend was a little better than most for city walkers because of the Billy Graham mission at Paul Brown Stadium. But inside Palomino there were a measly six people in the bar. We sat back and ordered a couple of beers, a pizza and some sort of salmon skewer I didn't really care for.
We were surprised to see a few crusaders wander in post-event. They were easily spotted by their lack of beers and eyes peering for the nearest salad bar. We poked fun at the uncomfortable way they sank into the round chairs and the screwed-up faces they made as they pointed at and talked about the menu.
We realized we'd gotten that chichi feeling we were looking for, not because we were surrounded by the chichi but because we were surrounded by the decidedly un-chichi.
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