Lover Vs. Girlfriend
Everyone needs a good read when traveling, and a few years back I was killing time waiting for my flight by browsing the bookstore at Cincinnati International Airport. I stumbled across Savage Love, which seemed like a juicy read of a then-unknown sex advice columnist's columns. Dan Savage wasn't familiar to me, but the author and columnist was syndicated in many alternative papers around the country. I instantly was jealous of those cities. This was good stuff, and I forget where I was going at the time but the book got me there fast. Hell, I needed a cigarette after reading some of the chapters.
Imagine my delight when CityBeat picked up Savage Love weekly for me and other Cincinnatians! Now I could simply pick up CityBeat, turn to the back and settle in with a cup of java to read the latest, best advice around. Dan has become my weekly fix, just like my horoscope is my daily habit. Neither always fits my life, but it's entertaining just the same -- plus every girl needs a few new tricks in her arsenal.
Dan Savage was in Cincinnati last Friday night to promote his new book, Skipping Towards Gomorrah, with a book signing at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Rockwood Pavilion followed by a personal appearance at Hamburger Mary's on Vine Street. I decided to hit the bookstore first to buy the book as a Christmas gift and have Dan sign it. The perfect thing about buying the book now is that I have time to read it myself before I wrap it to put under the Christmas tree. I'm not sure I've committed all seven of the sins that Dan writes about in this book, but, hey, I don't mind reading about others doing them.
Figuring that other fans might be more inclined to hear Dan do his advice "live," I headed down to Hamburger Mary's at 9:30 to make sure of a good parking space and a good listening space at the bar. The bar side at Mary's was bustling and the DJ was warming up the crowd. I ordered a drink, walked around and read some of the reviews of Mary's framed on the wall. Who knew that we were the only Hamburger Mary's in the chain to land in the Midwest? God, Cincinnati is so progressive yet so provincial at times.
I overheard that questions could be submitted at the bar, so I bellied up to write one down. Wendy is dying to know why it's called "tossing his salad" and if anyone knows it would be Dan, right? Well, the gal standing next to me while I was composing my question was intent on holding my hand. She kept leaning over and yelling in my ear all the while grabbing for my hand. If she'd looked like Salma Hayek, I might have been OK with it, but I decided it was safer at the other end of the bar. Plus it was getting mobbed in anticipation of Dan's arrival.
Perched on a cushion all by my lonesome since none of my so-called friends like Dan like I do -- though I know they all read it too -- I glanced around the room and decided that gay men are infinitely better dressed than straight men.
Suddenly Dan was front and center with microphone in hand, starting the session with an opening that includes "fisting" and "butt sores." I guess that's his idea of foreplay, but everyone snickered, and soon he was off and running with a witty commentary on both gay and straight life. He carried on for an hour answering questions written and verbalized, but the point that hit home was that monogamy is just not practical or logical in male vertebrae. He elaborated for a moment before he went on to say that it opens a man's eyes to be held down and fucked, but let's think about this and not get sidetracked.
My newfound girl pals asked me to join them for a bite to eat on the food side of Mary's. Sounded good to me, as a hamburger at 11 p.m. was just what my thighs had been yearning for after all this sex talk. Six of us sat down, ordered drinks and food and got back to the fidelity issue at hand. If men can't be faithful -- and obviously we aren't commenting on whether women are faithful -- would we rather be the girlfriend or the lover?
Ego told me that I chose girlfriend. She's the one who shares holidays and gets the escort to parties. Plus, doesn't she have more longevity and stability in her position? Jen to my right disagreed, "No, she is in the dark about the lover."
Carrie went on to add that the lover is the confidante and shares secrets that the girlfriend doesn't get or in some cases things she doesn't do. Hmm. Are we talking about the fact that he likes his salad tossed or that he's secretly planning to skip New Year's Eve? Ali laughed and agreed with Jen, "I pick lover."
Yeah, maybe girlfriend is overrated. Besides, isn't the girlfriend supposed to be loyal and true while the lover can do whatever she wants, including the cute straight waiter who just reappeared?
All six of us would have liked him on top of a hot fudge sundae. Skip the cherry, please!
-- Wendy Robinson
The Eye of the Beholder
According to the newest issue of Men's Health, the best place to meet women is at a museum. It seems that two-thirds of museum patrons are female. With this in mind, I made plans with my gal pal Cathy to check out the opening reception for Rock posters at SSNOVA on Saturday. Cathy decided to invite three married couples who are mutual friends of ours to tag along.
We all met at Pomodori Pizzeria & Trattoria for a pre-show dinner at 7 p.m. I was surprised to see how crowded it was in there. The only table that was still open was the one right in front of the huge wood fire stove as you walk in the front door. The table could seat six comfortably but it was a little snug for our party of eight.
I'm not very good company at dinner when there are that many people all sitting at a table together. I can't focus on any one conversation, so I just end up daydreaming and people watching.
While our waitress was taking our drink orders, I had the strangest feeling that she was looking at me, and only me, while she was talking to each person at our table. I thought at first that she might have recognized me from somewhere else, but I couldn't place where I might know her. When she came back with our drinks and began taking our food orders, I felt like she was just looking at me again. This made me even more convinced that I knew her.
While we waited for our entrées, I decided to tune out the conversations about work and relationships that were the main topics at our table and get in some good people watching. The most interesting person by far was a very strung-out-looking girl who was wearing a dirty, fake, Dalmatian coat Cruella DeVil wouldn't have been caught dead wearing. She staggered into the restaurant, ordered a pizza to go and sat at the table in front of us with both hands around a can of Sprite with her chin resting on top of the can, not moving a muscle until her food was ready. I couldn't help wondering what mischievous activities she was going to be involved in later that night.
Our waitress came out with our food, and once again it felt like she was only looking at me. When she handed me my food, however, it look like she was looking to my left. I then realized that her right eye was a little lazy and always drifted to her right, and since I was sitting on the right side of the table it always looked like she was focusing on me.
After dinner, we consolidated cars and headed down to SSNOVA. It was the first time any of us had ever been there. The gallery is separated into four huge white rooms with curved ceilings that used to store wine and beer in the building's past history. The posters where mainly from Rock shows in Seattle, Minnesota and the New York area that I would have died to have seen. My favorite posters were from shows by Bootsy Collins, Nick Cave and The Hives. I wanted to buy one, but they were all selling for over $100.
As I walked around trying to put the advice from Men's Health to good use, I realized I already knew most of the women at the gallery. I did get a chance to talk to one girl I met a while ago when I used to drop off film at Norton's on a regular basis. My friend Mike and I were walking around when I noticed her and we started talking.
I told her I recognized her eyes, but she must have changed her hair since the last time I went to Norton's. We then started talking about photography. But then Mike inadvertently cock-blocked me. He jumped right into the conversation and soon took over. I know he didn't do it on purpose. He's been married for so long I don't think he remembers what it's like to be single.
-- R.L. Newman
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