Chinatown & The Happy Ending…

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I should have known this was going to be a strange day….any day in New York City can turn into an adventure quickly…New York City is a bitch, but I love it.

As I stand waiting on the platform, I notice the train schedule time is not changing frequently, it’s actually saying 2 minutes, but it’s now been 5 minutes and the time is now going up. There is a strange amount of traffic walking into the subway platform, which is a bit concerning to see it filling up so fast, with no relief of a train…meanwhile, we hear a muffled message about local trains being delayed downtown. This is when simultaneously, two older men, one to my left and one to my right start screaming obscenities about the costs of the subway and the “God Damned Delay’s!! We pay money for this shitty service!” one screamed, while the other screamed, “God Damn It! I got delayed 3 times yesterday on the fucking bus!! What the hell is wrong with the MTA!?!?” and he throws his paper into the subway tracks. Note to self, do not sit next to these men.

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Meanwhile, I am monitoring the platform fill up more and more and wait patiently for the train.  It finally arrives and to my surprise, it’s not a normal 6 train with the blue newer seats…it’s one of the older subways that runs on the west side with the brown panels and orange and yellow seating, no electronic messaging or notification of the times, delays, or next stops…which means that the speaker system is not the best either. I think, “Shit, what in the hell am I doing on this train!?”

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As we finally get moving, the conductor tells us that we are now running express from 42nd to Brooklyn Bridge due to an accident at 33rd. Then, we get another message as we are being held again that there is now “No Service below 42nd on the 4, 5, or 6 trains and the train is being re-routed for uptown when we get to Grand Central!” WTF! I think to myself, “Damn…it must be a jumper”…and exit at Grand Central. I call my friend that I am meeting for lunch and tell her I’m delayed and walking there…meet me in 30 minutes, as I have to walk there.

I walk west across Bryant Park to head south to Eataly to meet my friend for lunch, when I finally make it there, this place is so fucking crowded with tourists and she is nowhere in sight. I text her and she says that, “she cannot talk now, but will call/text soon?!” WTF?!  Today has been a complete shit show…I need a drink.

When she arrives, we have a bit of a wait for the table, then I order my food with a huge glass of wine, then another.

At this point, I’m being grilled by her on the trade secrets of dating in the United States, well specifically in New York City, as she is from the Philippines.

I’m like, “well… It’s difficult to meet people at our age, let alone date.” At this point in my life, I settle for a good book, a hot bath and a bottle of wine most weekends.  However, she knows that I have been actively dating and have been in relationships, as the 2 times that we have both met and gone out, I have been involved with men. Yes, the only 2 men that I have been with in over a year happened to be timed right around the same time that she has been visiting in the New York City area.

She asks way too many questions. At some point, I tell her this. As she asks me more questions, I am reminded of needing another glass of wine. Yes, if they could pour the entire damned bottle in my glass, I’d be happy at this point.

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The constant grilling of questions is reminding me of an interview and quite exhausting. Especially, when I cannot seem to figure out the “code to dating in NYC, let alone in America.”

I have been really good at being single most of my adult life. I could be voted off the island for this, I presume. One of my guy friends, recently told me that he needed to start lying to people about being “divorced” now, as people look at him funny because he’s in his 40’s and has never been married, let alone engaged. It’s sad because I can definitely relate to his dilemma, as I’m in the same category.

After lunch, we walk down the Highline, through the West Village, The Village, and Soho and to Chinatown, where she wants to buy me a Bubble tea and the plan is for us to get cheap massages. After walking 8-10 miles today…

I think to myself…”A massage does sound nice.” In my mind, I’m thinking spa…this is where that phrase, “Little did you know” comes into play. Let the fun begin.

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We walk down Canal Street, and then we wind through the back alleys of Chinatown that I have never explored before. Imagine a fucked up maze of tiny streets with bright neon signs for massage parlors that are lit up and you know, they don’t look very clean, nor do they look very legitimate. My inner American girl that grew up in a middle class, southern/midwest family is screaming, “What the hell are you doing here!?! GO HOME!” However, she’s leading us deeper into the evasive maze and says that she always goes here when she is in New York. So, I let her lead the way.

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As we wind through the streets, we pass many massage parlors, nail salons, hair salons and etc. all on the left side of the narrow street.

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Then, we go into the smallest, thinnest store front with some strange writing on the wall and a fake rose bush on a table to the left of the hallway with a bright massage menu that I glimpse at as my friend is barking commands to the man and ladies in waiting area, that are greeting us as we walk in. The people that work here do not speak much English; they speak some words, but nod a lot; they smile and bow.

My friend seems to raise her voice louder to them acting like it makes them understand her more, since her voice is raised…this reminds me of something my mother would do and I laugh to myself.

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The girls that work here are dressed in a strange “dirty” girl kind of looking way, maybe it’s to entertain the big, older gentleman that I just saw dive into one of the stalls with a younger girl for a “massage”.

The area that you walk in has some strange pleather sofa’s to the right, then you walk through a doorway with beads, yeah beads like the 70’s draping down to a darker area with red lighting and there are strange curtains hanging up on both sides of the room separating the massage tables, I guess.

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They point me to one on the right. Mind you, it’s fucking freezing outside, so I have got a huge puffy coat, pants, sweaters, boots and etc. on and have a huge bubble tea in my hand. I walk beyond the curtain to undress and the space is obviously where they store crap, as the massage table is pushed up at the end against a small sofa with big bags all over it and shit everywhere. The massage table is so close to the curtain, that my legs hang out of it into the middle of the walkway and hands keep coming through the curtain as I undress. I place my belongings at the end of the massage table on the sofa with the other junk. The area around the table is about 6-12 inches from the wall/curtains on all sides. I finally get down to my panties and think, “Damn, whoever is massaging me must be in the Circus, as they’re going to have to trapeze into this tiny area and hang on strings to get around me to massage me! What in the hell did I agree to?!?”

Then, as I lay there practically naked, someone comes into the area around the sheet and for all that I know, my arse is possibly able to be viewed by anyone in the walk way. I’m trying to relax enough to enjoy a $40 hour full body massage.  Someone starts rubbing my back and maneuvering around the table…I’m a ball of pins & needles and I cannot relax.

In my mind, I’m thinking…”What the fuck am I doing here!? Only $40? Am I still in New York? This place is scaring the crap out of me…are these people legal? Are they slave labor? Is that grunting that I’m hearing in the other stall? For fucks sake, what have I agreed to?!”

Then, my concentration is broken by my friend yelling in the opposite stall that she needs someone new. Well, that meant that the person that she didn’t want was then exchanged with the person that I had at present, so they swapped.

Then, I get a woman…the only reason that I knew this is because she has her hair down and keeps draping it over my back as she rubs my shoulders and at some point, she directs me in a movement.Wait a minute, is there a monkey in here, someone just hoisted themselves on the table with me! What in the hell just happened?

Meanwhile, a man interrupts the massage through the curtains to ask me, “HOW LONG YOU NEED ONE HOUR?”  I reply, “Sure, whatever my friend has agreed to!” This was a strange reply that they did not understand, so they keep sending people over to ask in different ways, so I finally reply, “Yes. One Hour!” What am I doing here?

I’m being rubbed, groped, pushed and pulled all over my body and she is pulling down my panties and accidentally touching me in areas that she should not be that close to, so I keep shifting by body around the table and moving my head. Let’s just be clear, I am not here for any happy ending folks, nor do I care to get massaged in my nether region by a chick for cash. What in the hell is going on here?

After my massage is finally finished, I am shuffled out to the seating area on the pleather sofas with the strange Chinese woman that gave me the massage.She keeps showing me her hand and making a face. Apparently, she has been doing so many massages that she has injured her hand and She tells me, “You pay my boss! You pay my boss!” and then goes, “You tip me?!”

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So, I hand her a $20, and she hides it after looking around in both directions, then I sit and check my phone, foursquare, face book and wait for my friend to return and finish while listening to strange music on the sofa with this woman, while she puts on makeup and primps for the next person to enter the parlor.

As I sit there, I wonder about the big man that I saw going behind the curtain with the other young girl when we walked in, what in the hell kind of service is he getting? As, I started after and had an hour massage and I’ve been sitting here over 30 minutes now… Is this place a brothel too? Is he getting a happy ending? Gross.

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Once my friend finally comes out, she doesn’t stop there with the body massage, she has the owner giving her a 10 minute foot massage and her feet are on an ottoman, as he gets on his knees in front of her rubbing. She tells him that I need one and tells me that it’s included, I opt out, as it seems completely demeaning at this point, plus I’m ready to get the hell out of this place in fear that some authority will come in and bust it up at any moment.  I make an excuse, “that I don’t want to take off my boots again.”

After her massage, we walk through the streets and wind back to the main streets and get back to Mott Street to modern day civilization. This is when we determine that we should get some food for dinner.

We see people standing in line for dumplings and dim sum and opt for another szechuan restaurant that looks pretty popular. Again, I need to explain that I am American, now this means that I’m somewhat adventurous, but only to an extent and fish is a touchy food item for me. I love sushi, love sashimi and I love meat, but mine comes in pretty pieces, in packages in the store and etc. I think you understand.

My friend keeps asking about sharing food and I tell her that I’ll just order something, as I’m funny about eating fish. I look at the menu and it’s huge…opt for spring roll’s, something similar to Kung Pao Chicken and she orders some fish dish and other dishes.  She refers to me as such an “American”, and I think to myself, “Why yes, I am.” And I tell her about the time that someone tried slipping me some catfish to eat 20 years earlier and how upset that I was.

The spring rolls come, Dumplings come, I eat them too, then the Kung Pao dish, and I’m eating some green beans that she has ordered to share and it’s a huge plate. At this time, I have no idea what is about to happen. This little waiter comes with a HUGE platter with a WHOLE FISH ON IT and puts it in front of me, in between the two of us. Then, she looks at me and says, “Dig In!”

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My face must have said it all…the waiter cut it in the middle exposing the bones everywhere and leaves it. She asked for Soy Sauce and rips into the fish like she’s never eaten before.

First thing she eats is the entire head, face, eyes and all with soy sauce, as I watch wondering about the bones, eyes and lips…then, eats the fins and explains that in Asia, this would be something that is fought over first in a meal.

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Meanwhile, she is asking me if I want some. I reiterate that I’m funny about certain foods…fish, being one of them and the fact that she just ate the entire face off the fish…it’s messing with my appetite. You see, I’ve realized that American’s, or at the least, this one, we do not like to eat things that look back at us on the plate. I explain this to her as well, then as she goes back into the banter of asking questions about dating American & men in New York City while devouring the remainder of the fish. I am thinking to myself, I wonder if any of the men that I know and have dated would react well to someone eating a whole fish in front of them, let alone the head first. After we are finished, she had the server package up the remaining food, both the fish and the food that I had not eaten to take home with her.

This evening was good, but a very strange adventure in New York City…. When I got home, I seriously scrubbed my entire body clean in the shower to ensure that I was clean before getting into my bed for the night.

As I’m dying for another massage, I’m still not tempted to return to this land of the happy ending.

Bad Choices…always make Good Stories…

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I recently found myself entering a Sex Club or Sex Party in New York City.  This is not a typical Saturday night for me. No, I’m not a Swinger. I’ve never had a threesome; I’m actually extremely loyal and very committed and monogamous when I’m involved with someone. I’m not addicted to sex and I don’t watch porn. However, I’m no prude, I have always been adventurous in a normal way, but nothing could be classified as strange or close to that category.

You see, I met up with a friend, a guy that I dated briefly- turned just friend and after we had a few glasses of wine, he talked me into going to another bar with him. He knew me all too well and knew that I’d be open to an adventure, so he asked me earlier in the week if I’d go to a party with him, and then it turned into a “Couples Party”, then “Swinger club”, after telling him that I was not comfortable going earlier in the day, we ended up just meeting for some drinks and catching up. After a few drinks and sharing our photos and stories of the past year with one another, he told me about the club that he was talking about and that he’d been there before with an ex and it was “interesting people watching and a good story”. So, being the adventurous one that I am, we took a walk in search of a bar/party. After walking around midtown, we walk by a building and as we spied some rather suspicious/sketchy people entering into the building and getting in the elevator, he tells me that it’s the place. This is Swingers Bar that he told me about. The place is BYOB, so we go get a six pack of beer and I already lay down the rules that I am under no circumstances getting naked or walking about in my lingerie in front of people.. He tells me that I can wear a robe, if we get that far; however, we will just hang out in the bar area first to “people watch”, meet a few others and if we are comfortable…then, “go with it, but only if I’m comfortable.” otherwise, we just have some beers in the bar area and leave.

This is where the adventure begins…or the lack there of one.

It’s in the low 40’s temperature wise and I am freezing usually, but while we walk, I am sweating monkey balls in anticipation for the evening, plus I’m not convinced that this is something that I’m game to experience right now, I’m not feeling too sexy…I have some weight to lose (after steroids in spinal injections and etc) and my confidence is not what it once was. So we walk to the closest deli, we debate on the brand of beer that we’re buying and he pays for it. I make small talk with the guys behind the counter selling some herbal liquid ginger concoctions displayed all over the counter…to help with the nervous energy that I’ve got at present in the circumstances ahead.

When you move to New York City, people tell you about the terrors of apartment hunting, weather, cost of living, people and etc., but no one prepares you for surviving a Sex Party, which is not uncommon here. There are all varieties of these, some like the movie’s that you’re imagining to lower level Sex Club’s that cost a couple $100-1000+ entry and they have buffets, BYOB, different lounge areas, dance floors, acts, locker rooms, sex room’s where all must be naked and or in lingerie and the men get to wear robe’s… you get the picture. No single men allowed, single women are and couples. The men like watching “girl on girl” action, or in some of these clubs the couples actually go off together to make out, fuck, suck or heavy touching in the corners…I hear that some parties couples do swing and swap partners as well.

So, we have the six pack of beer and walk towards the place and have to walk through a crowd of people waiting to get into a club for bridal parties and etc. As we enter the building, I’m nervous…he’s leading. We get into the elevator and I’m nervous as all hell, but we go to the floor that the club is on. However, we are talking about the other names of the clubs in the building, one being “E E Club” and we are speculating what that could be as well. Then, the elevator doors open and my friend is quite tall; he’s over 6 ft and his head is almost hitting the ceiling. The doors open to a 1980’s décor and there are several naked mannequins draped in beads with a few disco ball’s hanging and weird lighting and Christmas type lights on the backdrop, then a door with a buzzer. We enter and behind the counter is a woman…. There are security cameras as well watching the elevator. Lovely.

I stand back and let my friend lead the way and do all of the talking. First we are greeted, the woman asks if we are member’s and tells us it’s a private party this evening and unfortunately, we cannot come in tonight, but urges us to come back the following week. She tells us that Friday’s are especially open, since most have private events on Saturdays. Meanwhile, I’m standing a few feet behind him and taking in the scenery and experience.  There are signs on the counter that say,” No jeans, no tennis shoes and etc.”, which is interesting as basically, since the ultimate goal here is to remove the clothes that you come in anyways, so what does that matter?

Since they have a private event, It offers me some serious relief as I’m realizing that even with the open mind that I have, this is not the time/night for this to be experienced. As my partner in crime continues speaking with the woman, I’m watching people come out of the elevator to be greeted by a man. The man, who obviously works there or is the host for the party looks at me in a most devious manner up and down and smiles at me like a Cheshire cat. He’s greeting couples of all sorts most that are toting bags for changing clothes, I’m guessing and imagine Euro trash looking, or older couples, an older man, younger woman very much throwback’s from a different time, but you get the point. As we walk out to leave and catch the elevator, another couple steps into the lobby from the elevator and we notice two men in leather in the elevator waiting. This is when I ask, “Hey, do you know what the E E Club is?” and the reply is, “Umm… No, I don’t”; however, that was obviously where they were heading. This is funnier because it’s 11pm on a Saturday evening…haha.

After the adventure, we catch a taxi back to my place, drink the beer and have a very PG rated evening on my sofa watching a movie, then he passed out on the sofa and I, was alone in my bed, well…with my cat.  🙂

The next morning, I looked up the “E E Club” and it was a sex club for gay men only…bath house of sorts and we both had a good laugh before he left for home and we were making sly jokes about the whole experience and evening.

Bad Choices…always make for Good Stories…

What good memories

If it’s supposed to happen….It Will.

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Life is full of surprises….as you may, may not know that I have a long history of working in technology and consider myself somewhat of a nerd at times; however, when I’m working, I always have a difficult time with managing work/life balance. However, once I’m unemployed or on a break between contracts, I’m the most open to romance, happiest girl in the world…elated really and I guess that my energy is at its  best when I’m in search of my next big step.

It’s been a few months since my heart was ripped out, stomped on and made to feel like a dog’s chew toy. I am feeling much better health wise, as I’m back in Physical Therapy… I had a bad MRI last year, after limping and going through challenges of dealing with pain, numbness and etc. I was to learn that I have Spinal Stenosis (narrowing of my spinal canal), my L2-L5S1 are herniated, I have arthritis and slight scoliosis. As I was seeing, “The Diplomat”… I learned all of this and managed to go through 3 rounds of Spinal Epidural Injections (2 each time)…which are such fun. Imagine this, sitting on a gurney on your stomach in front of an X-ray while someone numbs your spine and back as they wait for the numbing to occur, they draw on your spine for entry points to stick a needle into the area’s between your discs to puncture the spinal area and first shoot a dye that they watch on the X-ray and then insert the steroids to try to help the injured area. The process while being numbed is frightening thinking that they’re working so closely on your spine, yet it’s oddly simple and complex at the same time. The pain is indifferent because I’m generally in a lot of pain and at the time, I was in a lot of pain. So, anything is worth trying to help ease the discomfort that I was in constantly.

As you can imagine, steroids manage to escalate your emotions, wreak havoc on your body, and you are only allowed so many during a specific time period because of the damage that could occur. Well, being alone living in NYC, living in a walk up, having no family, finding out that I had such issues that could result in worse issues…my mental state wasn’t the greatest. This man could’ve told me anything…I was not in a place to date anyone. It was clearly an emotional high to have him in my life…the one thing that I looked forward to, actually quite sad. My work life was dwindling, I felt as though I had a limited work/life balance, but would try to remain extremely driven and ensure that I was able to not only add value, but be able to deliver during this time, to not hinder my job as well.

I sought out a Therapist that specialized in working with people with illness and helping them manage the pain, then helping with their abilities through dreams, mental exercises in uplifting these issues. My only regret is not looking for him sooner.

At present, I realized that had I not been in such an ugly place mentally with my health, I never would have allowed such back/forth to happen in my personal life. I was a mess.

Since, I’ve been recovering, evolving, and gaining back my strength; my energy has been lifted… I took off on a vacation on my own for a week to Punta Cana, DR and loved it. My days were filled at the pool, near the beach and relaxing.

Why am I telling you this….as a result of working not only on myself mentally, but physically I am healing.

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I’ve not continued to online date recently; however, I’ve been on dates two Saturdays in a row without me leaving my apartment or doing anything different to be asked out.

Date #1 was with “The Name Changer”… haha. We ended up just meeting for drinks and having a few glasses of wine, catching up and realized that we are and will always be “just friends”. Nothing More.

Date #2…. Was a HUGE Surprise… It was with a man who I had met when I first moved to NYC and still had an apartment in St. Louis. We met online at Match.com, went on a great date, but due to timing…it just never worked out for us. We kept in touch and over the years, he would reach out and ask me out, but it just never happened. I’m not going to say too much about him, but after not seeing one another for 3 years, we had a great time together… It was a comfortable night, we talked, cuddled and kissed so much that I will smile thinking about him for the rest of my life. My friends keep asking me… “Are you going to see him again?”… My reply, “I don’t know… if he asks me out again, definitely. However, after everything that I’ve learned is that you cannot rush something or force it to happen. If it is meant to be, it will happen!”

He returned into my life for a purpose though and I think that all of the times that I have been talking to my angels and asking for Love, Passion, Kisses, Hand holding, hugs, and intimacy… they sent him to remind me what that felt like again. He taught me more in one night what I wanted and what I did not want. He reminded me that the “love” that I’d thought that I had with the guy I’d last dated aka “The Diplomat” was lacking the passion and sweetness that I yearned for.
Yes, we had sweet moments and he always told me that I was beautiful, but his actions did not always show this. He was always holding back and never gave me an entire evening talking & etc. There was always an end to the evening usually with me getting into a cab and crying myself back home. However bad it was in the end, I loved him, but it hurt me and he abandoned me without as much as a text goodbye.

However, Date #2 -The Dad, we can call him… He did. He met me at my train, hugged me, kissed me…took my bags, took me out, held my hand, watched me, he told me how happy he was to see me after 3 years and how much he’d thought about me over the years since and how many times that he’d wanted to call me. He held my hand, touched me and held me close, while we just sat on his patio talking and sharing stories…He’s shown me that I was worthy of love and that I could love someone again, my heart may have been hurt, but vulnerability is a beautiful thing, so is trusting someone with your heart….when they look you in the eye, take your hand and kiss you…. It is a promise. It may only be for the date, the night or a short time, but in the end… I will always know that he meant it.

I don’t know if I will see him again, but either way…I’m just going with it, letting go of everything, enjoying the ride and happy that it happened.

You see, sometimes you just need one person to remind you that you’re still capable of hope and open to love.

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