From Janis Joplin to Johnny Cash

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All nestled in our cozy red velvet seats at Broadway’s Lyceum theater last Saturday night, we eagerly awaited the rise of the curtain for A Night with Janis Joplin. We had braved the first few snowflakes of winter to get there and had exchanged the tickets from an earlier date, so being there felt good—we were ready. Unfortunately, the leading actress, Mary Bridget Davies, wasn’t. Neither were three of her supporting players.

Four– not one, not three—but four rectangular slips of paper indicating understudies cascaded down from my date’s playbill like confetti as I felt the stress beginning to course through my blood. “No, please don’t tell me, not the lead, anyone but the lead!” He picked up the first piece of paper. At tonight’s performance the role of Janis Joplin will be played by…

We had eight minutes ‘til curtain. What to do? I had paid close to $200 for this, our second round of seats, and they jacked the prices up for Thanksgiving week for us to end up with worse seats. What’s more, the Telecharge agent questioned my suggestion of a matinee informing me that Mary Bridget Davies doesn’t do the matinee performances; it would be the understudy. So I told the agent: well, we definitely want the evening performance then.

The clock was ticking down. Four minutes ‘til curtain.  Would we still be able to get a refund after the curtain went up? Would we be able to get one at all? What else would we do that night? So many questions. The couple seated next to us was busy searching and texting on their smartphones talking about going to see Hot Tuna at the Beacon Theater instead. Hmmm, that sounded like a good idea. The point was—they weren’t staying. That only fueled my urge to flee. My date said it was up to me.

Two minutes to go – Jami, decide! I stood up and made a beeline to the box office.

imageA cast of characters lines up for refunds

Well, we certainly were not alone as a bunch of raving, determined theater-goers (what, who? me?) were storming the box office, so much so that they corralled the lot of us and moved us outside the theater to stand in the cold while they figured out what to do about our tickets. Now, it’s not like I’m a theater snob, okay, maybe a little. Hey, I saw A Little Night Music with the understudy for Catherine Zeta Jones, but as it turns out the understudy, Jayne Paterson, was lesser known but arguably better in the role. But when a show is based around one central singer as this one is, and that singer is said to be a must-see, then I must see that singer.

imageThe line to get out…

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gets thrown outside…

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and clamors to get back in—for a refund and some warmth.

Finally, they let us back into the lobby like Noah’s ark, two by two, to exchange tickets for another date. The drama was not over, now we had to pull out our smartphone calendars to figure out an alternative date. The conversation went something like this:

Me:“How about January 24th?”
V: “That should be good.”
Me: “You sure? You sure that date is good? “
V: “Yes I’m sure. I’m going away for a week in January but it it’s earlier in the month.”
Me: “You sure?”
V: “Yes.”
Me: “Okay.”

I turned to the sales agent. “Two tickets for January 24th please.” She was nice enough to put us in the orchestra when our original seats were in the rear mezzanine. Score! Then V looked up at me from his phone with an “oh shit” look on his face.  “Does the 24th fall within the week of the 20th?” He was being cute, which doesn’t take much. “Ah, yeah, I think it would,” I said, adding, “That’s the week you’re away, isn’t it?” I didn’t wait for an answer; I just grabbed his wrist and looked at the calendar staring back at me from his palm. ARRRRGGGHHHH!

The tickets were still hot in my little hand and I hadn’t even moved from the line yet. So without thinking I asked the couple in front of us, who hadn’t yet completed their transaction, what date they wanted—and out of all the dates in the calendar from now until the show’s final performance—what do you think they said?  “January 24th.” Without hesitation, I said, “Wait, take these!”  shoving the tickets under their chins. Stop the presses! I looked at the ticket agent as if to say, okay? She nodded. I gave the couple my tickets and proceeded to pick up two more for the following week. Still orchestra seats. Whew. I don’t care if I have to jump on stage and sing “Me and Bobby McGee” myself, I am not exchanging these tickets again.

As for what to do with our Saturday evening in Times Square, we didn’t want to chance it with Hot Tuna so we opted instead to check out B.B. King Blues Club on 42nd St. They had a Johnny Cash tribute band rocking the house better than Joaquin Phoenix. From the “Queen of Rock” to the “Man in Black,” not bad for a night out.

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Not Johnny, not even Joaquin, it’s Johnny Kinnaird, a great stand-in for both. 

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Little-known lessons learned when it comes to the thee-a-tuh :

Generally speaking,

  • You can exchange theater tickets even though it says “No exchanges” on the tickets. You just have to go to the box office and do it in person, or if you ordered online, Telecharge will need to check with the box office first to make sure you really did buy them in the first place.
  • You can exchange tickets if the lead in the show is not performing the night you go to see it.
  • Understudies can still be great, so give it a chance. Even though I didn’t.

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Me in Times Square after the exchange. They say the neon lights are bright…

26 November 2013 ·

Looking for a new book to jumpstart your life—and your love life?

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Read the full interview on ShelfPleasure.com

From Shelf Pleasure:

We love the premise behind this book—doing one new thing each week for 52 weeks (and doing it with a friend!) to help get you unstuck. Like us, two friends who share a common passion, authors Karen Amster-Young and Pam Godwin of  The 52 Weeks forged the idea over drinks one night because they were both feeling “stuck” in their lives. They pledged each other’s support right then and there to get “unstuck.” This book chronicles their 52 week search to find something different to do each week whether it was big or small, scary or uncomfortable, so they could grow as mothers, wives, friends and just the awesome women that they are. Then they included some advice from experts and tips for how anyone feeling like they did can move forward in their lives.

We are even more excited about this book because our very own roving reporter, Jami Kelmenson, has contributed to two chapters based on her own expertise in getting unstuck. We sat down with Jami to ask her about the book and her advice for getting unstuck.

Read the full interview on Shelf Pleasure!

5 November 2013 ·

Read: (And See!) the Latest from Joyce Maynard by Jami Kelmenson

See what happened at Joyce Maynard’s book launch for After Her in NYC and find out whether or not Josh Brolin was there in my latest post on ShelfPleasure.com!

12 September 2013 ·

When is it “Settling” and When is it…Growing Up?

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In the book Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough the author Lori Gottlieb makes the case that women looking for a life partner should stop holding out for a “10” and go for the “8,” otherwise they might regret it down the line. She got a lot of flack for it, but I’m guessing it was mostly because of the title, which to me, is a brilliant marketing move since it stirred debate and conversation which landed her on plenty of morning shows which sold plenty of books.

The reason I was reminded of this 2006 book is because the lucky Match.com fellow (see my Stir event post) whom I am currently dating (oh, let’s call him GF for guyfriend) believes strongly in her premise. What a huge ego boost for me, right? In his own words as a divorced male in his fifties (guess I’ve brought out the writer in him, huh?):

“The possibility of finding one’s soul mate is very slim and until one understands his or her chances, they will never be happy.” By “chances,” GF means that since everyone’s wish list includes to one degree or another, “attractiveness, age, race, religion, geography, job, socioeconomic status and mental health issues” (never mind that bipolar disorder tends to run in my boyfriends’ exes), the population of available mates dwindles with each category resulting in the simple fact: In order to meet someone you must “hit rock bottom, make a decision to settle and admit you will not meet your soul mate.” Chalk up another point for me, my head is exploding! (Just kidding, he wrote all this before he met me so hopefully he feels a bit more optimistic about the ability of a single man of a certain age to meet a single woman he may be interested in.)

GF goes on to say, “I can hear you saying, ‘settle, I will never settle.’” Plenty of Lori Gottlieb’s readers said exactly this. But, he counters this with, “When did ‘settle’ become such a bad word? It’s a warm comfortable word meaning you are satisfied with something.” (Okay, if he’s settling for me, I suppose I can live with that.)

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As for online dating (one of my favorite topics!), GF makes a case for technology being the death knell for social interaction. “Where is everybody? They are at home online trying to meet you while you are out looking for them” in a bar, supermarket, speed dating event, whatever. GF suggests - Wouldn’t it be great if there were a new holiday called “Date Me Day” when all online dating sites went down and everyone had to actually go out and try to meet someone? (Hey, if they can get thousands of people to dress up like Santa Claus and all go out on the same day, why not?) Think of it, GF continues –“single people of all ages out on the beaches, in the malls, at the movies, in the bars, even walking down the streets where you live…dating nirvana, single people interacting the way it was intended.”

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But since Date Me Day doesn’t exist yet, we may have to settle for settling.

Recently I reconnected with an old friend whom I hadn’t seen in over ten years. As I filled him in on my life, my jobs, my attitudes about relationships, etc. he looked at me with a wistful eye and declared, “You’ve grown up.” Maybe I have. And maybe I’ve dated enough to know a good thing when I see one. Even if it doesn’t match the list I have on Match.com. So much for technology aiding and abetting our search for love.

Some parting words from GF on the subject of settling (spoiler alert: you may start singing like Frank Sinatra after reading this): 

“Fairy tales can come true and people do live happily ever after but only if you’re satisfied in the relationship you’re in. Know who you are and where you belong and when you get there, be there and stay there. Be satisfied in your decision to commit to whomever, however and wherever you meet them.”

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Hmmm…no mention of “settling” there at all. I’ll settle for that.



31 January 2013 ·

Is That My Butt in Your Photo on Facebook?

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Photo: My trip to Greece in 2006

In my last post, I told you about a photographer who approached me via Match.com to do a photo shoot with him for free so I can make my profile photos even better than currently.” Evidently the photographer really wants to get his lens in front of me as he keeps contacting me, a total of five “connections” now. It seems he was delighted when I actually viewed his profile and wanted to thank me for doing so. Again and again. Little did he know the true purpose for me scrutinizing his words—so I could repeat them to you in that blog post. Which brings me to another issue:  privacy on the internet.

Recently, a friend of mine got some slack for posting vacation photos of women on his Facebook page as a study in bikini bottoms on the beach, or lack thereof. It caused a bit of a stir. While some of his “friends” (including me) were amused by his accompanying caption, others found it incredibly “creepy” that he would go around taking pictures of women’s’ behinds without their knowledge. I can see both sides, but then again I am the third child in my family, so I’ve had to see both sides of everything my entire life.

I was reminded of what happened to me when I took what I thought was a harmless picture with an iPhone at a Match.com Stir event. Let’s just say the iPhone was nearly confiscated and thrown away–and not by the Match staff, but by an agitated blonde who was part of said photo.

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Photo: Match.com

I will admit when I posted those quotes from the men who contacted me on Match in my last post, I wondered if what I was doing was creepy. Most of those poor fellows were really well intentioned in their approaches, and I’ll bet they really do want to find someone special. It just that their means of going about it may be construed by some (alright, me!) as a little creepy as well! But if any of those guys happen to come across my blog and are offended that I wrote about them, I think I would be more elated at them having found it in the blogosphere than anything else! And since I didn’t include names or profile names (well, not complete profile names anyway) I figured it made for a good story. But at what expense? What if it was my butt in those photos on some stranger’s Facebook page? I think both cheeks of the debate are best summed up by two of the comments on my friend’s Facebook page, the authors of which shall remain absolutely anonymous.

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Photo: tata_aka_T from Flickr

Pro-privacy:

“The comment was funny, you taking pictures of people without their knowledge and posting them on line is what is creepy, and an invasion of their privacy.”

Pro-public domain:

“When you are out in public your right to privacy is not protected, basically you are public domain, (and) would only have to get (the) person’s permission if you were publishing the photos for profit, and really that girl with her big butt sticking out really wasn’t protecting her privacy when she was putting it all out there for all to see, really she should have been fined for offending people’s senses.”

So where do we net out on this debutt? Is it creepy that I even re-posted the Facebook quotes? Weigh in below…

 NOTE: In case you’re curious, here is the caveat that accompanied the green bikini girl shot in terms of photo rights:

This image, which was originally posted to Flickr.com, was uploaded to Commons using Flickr upload bot on 18:38, 10 January 2009 (UTC) byTinTinTwoTone (talk). On that date it was licensed under the license below. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

You are free:

—to share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work
—to remix 
—to adapt the work

under the following conditions:

—attribution – You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).

19 January 2013 ·

A Picture’s Worth a Thousand Words (Most of Which I’d Rather Not Read)

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My Match.com profile had been growing a bit stale as of late (i.e. - no new emails, winks or likes) so I decided to shake things up by changing my profile picture. It was really more of an experiment than anything else, student of cultural sociology that I am, since I’ve been spending time with a friend I actually met offline – at a Match.com Stir event. (Our little jaunt in Florida is a post for another time, sorry.)

I feared the new picture I chose (included below) might be a bit, oh shall we say, risqué for Match purposes?  I looked “hot,” but hotter than I’d want to look in my profile if that makes any sense. I feared I might attract the dogs but hoped I’d be wrong. I wasn’t.

The result? Ten new e-mails (including three VIP e-mails–that’s “Very Interested Person”–all from the same VIP), ten new winks, and five new picture “likes.” Sweet nothings (and I mean nothings) written to me in three languages: French, Italian and Hindi. Great results you might think and you’d be wrong. Not one of them was worthy of a response back. Except for one—a photographer who thought he could “represent (me) even better than currently” by inviting me to “do a photo shoot…gratis,” with him as the photographer of course, since “your photos are the first thing guys look at on this site.” And in case I wasn’t quite up to the task, he wanted me to know, “it’a lot of work and you’ll need to dress nicely, groom your hair and nails, etc.”

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C’mon dude, are you serious? Have you used that line before and has it worked? I’m pretty sure such “solicitations” are against Match’s user guidelines and I was ready to report him at worst and email him a piece of my mind at best. Instead I just vented about it here. And as for his comment regarding the promised picture quality, “these are not basic hand-held self-done iPhone camera pics,” I’d like to say that I think you should look good in your Match pictures, but also natural. They should be iPhone shots, Mr. Stieglitz-wannabee, so as not to deflate expectations once you walk into the restaurant and your date is looking for sultry Megan Fox instead of sassy Tina Fey. (I don’t really look like Tina but I can do a mean Sarah Palin imitation.)

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One of the tip-offs to me that they were all dogs was their profile names. Things like MrFixIt, MickeyMaxx, CinderellaMan and my personal favorite, Broads. You can’t make this stuff up, that’s why I blog about it!

And if you’re thinking I might be too picky in my choices, here are a few choice quotes so you can see for yourself:

“You are a sweetheart material.”

“Your personality whispered to me: “Come XX, I want to know you, I want to go to Ruby Tuesday with you.”

“If you do not feel lonely, you are not the right person for me.”

“What else can I say that is exciting, sexy or tempting?”

So much for my little experiment. I’m not changing out the picture again; I’m fine letting this one go stale too.

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So there you have it - an iPhone shot of me on a good day. What more could any guy want? Okay, they could want Megan Fox. Or Tina Fey.

16 January 2013 ·

Match.com Wants Me to Stir it Up; I Caused a Stir Instead

So this blog is supposed to be about travel, life, love and the pursuit of getting published in NYC. And those of you faithful readers (all four of you) might have noticed it’s been a bit scant on the “love” part. So I owe you one and here it is.

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Times have changed, but not that much. We might not be going to dances in regal ballrooms to find a mate like they do in Downton Abbey, but thanks to Match.com’s new Stir events, we now can do something like that, sans hoop skirts, tailcoats and knowing how to dance.

You’ve seen the commercials for Stir events, Match’s answer to speed dating–in which fun, cool, nice-looking singles mingle and laugh with each other at a friendly neighborhood hotspot. My friends have seen the commercials. And my relatives. And my coworkers. They all say, “You should go to one of those” with a vicarious flourish in their eyes that I return with a roll of mine.

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But with those banners continuously appearing on the top of my screen every time I log into Match, I figured what the hell. So I went to one at Macao Trading Company, a brothel and opium-themed den (that should have been a clue!) near Canal Street.  From their website: “An exotic time-out-of-time place…mysterious, adventurous…decadent.” I dragged my friend S. for moral support, and boy do I recommend bringing a friend to these things, especially the decadent ones. (Events, not friends.)

There is some scuttlebutt on the web about how some Match members feel people shouldn’t bring guests because it’s harder to mingle when you’re with a friend. Well I say it depends on the friend. And on you. My friend S. was the perfect companion–confident, open and secure on her own. We were there for each other when needed, but it was also fine for either of us to take off to talk to someone should the opportunity arise. When I asked her if I looked like a floozy in my dress, she said “only a little bit.” Now that’s a friend.

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Folks happily “stirring” at Macao

So yes, we both met “fun, single people in a casual setting,” as promised on the Match website. Including people I would like to see again, and that even includes a few men!

But let’s talk about the pre-event preparation for a moment, in particular, the anxiety that builds up before actually getting your butt in the door. It’s hard to put yourself out there–literally. So we can get all duded up in our fanciest duds, only to go out and meet a few duds, most likely. It’s funny, just about every guy I’ve gone out with likes the casual. un-primped version of me (“you don’t need all that makeup”) and all of the guys on Match say they want a natural girl (you know the “looks good in a cocktail dress as well as jeans” type of girl.) Really, can you even picture Angelina Jolie in jeans? So ignoring all of my ex-boyfriends and the guys on Match, I slither myself into a tight, somewhat revealing knit dress with a barely visible slip underneath and slightly more makeup than usual. What? I’ve worn the same dress to work, it’s not that revealing! And the lights were dim anyway.

But it must have done the trick since everyone from the bouncer to a sweet Latino cutie who might have been young enough to be my son approached to mingle with me at some point. Some also over-stepped, the gropers I call them, the guys who think because you wear a nice dress and you wear it well, they have an invitation to touch your body when you talk to them. Not! My motto of the evening was “Stoptouchingme!”–delivered as one word through gritted teeth and hunched shoulders more than a few times to said gropers.

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Two of my favorite people of the evening were these awesome guys from Brooklyn who were were sitting at a table in the back by themselves. Usually only women do that at these things, so that was essentially my opening line. They invited me to join them at their table once we started chatting. I’m also from Brooklyn originally, real Brooklyn, not fake Cobble Hill Brooklyn, so we spoke da same language if ya know what I mean. One of them was a mixture of Jay Thomas, Tim Allen and Tony Danza. My closest celebrity resemblance would be Marlo Thomas, with her “That Girl” nose, not with the nose she has now. So the the Jay Thomas/Marlo Thomas thing was kind of cute, at least to me. (Yes, you know who Jay Thomas is – from Murphy Brown and he was Rhea Perlman’s husband Eddie LeBec on Cheers.)  

So Jay/Tim/Tony and his friend became my guy pals for the evening and at one point they were chatting it up with a coupla cute blondes, so I wanted to take a picture. My ancient iPhone doesn’t have a flash so I borrowed one from the gentleman who I was chatting it up with. Harmless enough right? Wrong!

Two blondes barreled over shortly thereafter like Jerry Orbach and Chris Noth storming into the apartment of the one who really did it (at about 43 minutes into every episode of Law & Order.) What? I’m innocent! I practically had my hands up. They asked, no, demanded, that we not doing anything with the picture I took of them. “Okay, okay, I cajoled, you’re absolutely right, I should have asked for your permission, but you see I thought it was so nice that my friends over there were talking with all these hot women…” They were unmoved. They wanted the picture deleted–clearly, my promises to not do anything with it were not enough. And what’s worse, it wasn’t even my camera! Yeesh, this blogger stuff in NY can be dangerous. If one of us was Lindsay Lohan, they’d have been talking about us on The View by now.

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So a few minutes of back and forth “I want that picture deleted” on their end and “okay, give us a minute!” on our end resolved with them literally taking the blackberry out of my gentleman friend’s hands to delete the picture, since evidently he wasn’t moving fast enough for them. At this point, he got defensive, (rightfully so!) saying “you are going through my emails now–enough!” before grabbing the phone back. Picture still not deleted. Girls still going wild. Me still sucking down Chardonnays aghast at what I started in the name of having a cute picture for this blog. Finally, I got up some courage and said, “Look, honey, your picture is all over Match.com, who cares if you’re at a stupid party?” The real Brooklyn was coming out at this point. She became incensed–“I’m not on Match!” she shouted back at me. Her more reasonable friend explained conciliatorily, “oh, she’s just my guest, she’s not on the site” with a look of I’m-so-sorry-for-my-crazy-ass-friend all over her face. (One for the “no friends policy” at Stir Events!)

Finally, they let it go, and I looked at the photo. “Oh, I can crop them out, no problem!” I exclaimed happily to my gentleman friend. “No, I’m deleting it,” Gentleman Friend was adamant. “You don’t trust me?” I retorted. We had known each other maybe 30 minutes by this point. “It’s not that,” he said. “This is a NYC issued blackberry, I don’t want any trouble.” Turns out he works for the City of NY–as a lawyer no less. Oops! Lesson learned. 

imagePermission-based photo of me and Jay/Tim/Tony

So would I go to another Stir event? You betcha. (Oh yeah, Sarah Palin is another celebrity look-a-like when I make an effort, which is usually only on Halloween.) Maybe I’ll upgrade my iPhone by then and report back with more photos; I’ll be sure and have folks sign a release first!

Oh yeah, so this post was supposed to be about love…I did hear from Gentleman Friend and Jay/Tim/Tony–so stay tuned for more adventures of travel, life, love, and the pursuit of getting published in NYC.

For other stories from chicks who attended Match Stir events, have a looksee:

Adventures of my first Match.com Stir Event
Behind the Scenes: Match.com Stir Events
Online Dating Goes Offline: Mix Up Your Dating Life With Events by Match.com
Match.com Stir Events: My Experience

5 December 2012 ·

Single on the High Seas

If you’re looking for my tales from my RV trek out west this past August, click here!

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Proud to be an American

So I dragged, and I mean dragged, my friend S. on a “Singles Boat Cruise” courtesy of a Groupon offer.  During the cab ride over to the pier, she admitted she was going to call and cancel until she heard me all spritely on the phone figuring out what time to meet, and couldn’t go through with the cancellation. Like she said, at first the idea of taking a boat ride and catching up with me was, “Great!” and then when she saw it was a singles thing, her reaction changed to “Ew.”

I was of the it’s-a-boat-ride-on-a-nice-night-and-we-can-catch-up mentality myself. Plus, we were destined to be on the far side of the age range so the likelihood of chatting it up with any age appropriate men was dim. And that was just fine with us; we had a lot of catching up to do with each other.

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Brooklyn Bridge at dusk

Our instincts were right. We were old and it was fine. The only man worth chatting it up with was the captain. So we did. We caught a glimpse of him with his legs up in the cockpit (or whatever it’s called on a boat) and were musing to each other about how he was kind of cute and the only age-appropriate man on board. Turns out he could hear us through the window and motioned for us to join him in the cockpit  (what’s the word?) through a two-foot door that looked like something out of Alice in Wonderland. The views from in there were terrific and Captain Roland offered us a nice respite from the bustling crowd and throbbing beat of the dance floor. S. asked him if he could drop her off on 53rd street since we were passing pretty close to her apartment.

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(Captain) Roland on the River

By 8:30 or so, once the sun had gone down, we positioned ourselves comfortably in two cushy lounge chairs to take in the gorgeous views of the east side at night – so much better than the views of the west side by boat. Captain Roland was rocking us to sleep.

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Oh what a night

That would have been enough of a night—and a blog post—but wait, the night’s not over yet! We had about twenty minutes left to the ride and since we really were falling asleep in the cushy chairs, we got up to move into the center where more of the action was. Just to wake us up, we really weren’t interested in any action. And we started talking with this guy who was looking for his match. I should explain, as an icebreaker, they gave each of the women a playing card, and a corresponding playing card to each of the men. If you found the person who had the same card as you, you both got a free cruise – to try and meet someone else next time! (Gives new meaning to the phrase, “Can you give me your card?” )

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The Brooklyn Side

So anyway, Mr. Two of Hearts asked us what our cards were to see if either of us was his betrothed. We both struck out, but the conversation grew interesting when he confided, “Why is it so hard to meet someone in this city?” I took a look at him, and figuring he was at least 15 years younger than me, said, “Sonny” (I didn’t really call him Sonny, but I thought it) “you’re too young to be talking like that. Have a seat.” Making room on the couch between between S. and me, and yes, I tapped the couch–I knew that together, we would set him straight. He was a decent guy. And not bad looking. And older than I thought. And he seemed seriously interested in meeting a nice woman.

So I had a breakthrough and decided to set him up with my friend L. The more I thought about it, the more I thought they might hit it off. I texted him her number so he could text her. And he did. I’ve never fixed anyone up before, but this seemed so natural. All in all, I’d have to say, for two gal pals content to sleep through a singles cruise, our evening on the Love Boat turned out to be a success!

To be continued when I find out how Two of Hearts and L hit it off…`

12 September 2012 ·

About Me

This blog will start off with my RV trek in Utah in the Summer of 2012 and then lead to other travels, stories of life and love and the pursuit of getting published in NYC.

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