Moving out of the darkness into the light

Depression cripples you… it’s like this dark secret you hide deep within, but it’s always there in the shadows lurking and pulling you back with a few whispers… “You’re worthless… you’ll never amount to anything… come back inside this shell with me… no one cares for you out there…you’re all alone!”

It always appears like a fog creeping in overnight and there is a crow making noise reminding you that you belong with them in the darkness… far from the light. The emptiness inside your soul, bones, mind and heart creates pools of tears at the drop of a hat to slide down your face…without notice, you’re pulled back into the abyss of familiarity that you once climbed far away from.

Yes…. I have a history of depression or just being sad…anxiety. Maybe it’s because we moved around so much in my childhood and I was always forced to reinvent myself, new friends, new life, and all during my high school years.

I remember my earliest memories in my early teens and my wanting to get lost in a sea of sleep. I just couldn’t get myself out of the feeling of melancholy and sadness that would overcome me like shackles…I carried the weight with me for years. Who knew then, that this would be a lifelong battle with periods of desperation and times that were so low, it’s miraculous that you made it out alive.

Well, my old nemesis that is Depression has shown its ugly head again over the past few years.

When things were not going well in my life, financial issues, when my apartment caught fire, or the ceiling caved in and I had to move quickly, or the time that I lost my love, or I was in so much pain that I ended up needing surgery on my spine…the other time I lost my love, plus the struggle of recovery to the time that I lost my job with no severance and lost my insurance 60 days post surgery. I’ve lost so much over the past few years…my house, jobs, pets, loves and have literally had to abandon things and walk away just enough to survive the flames called my life without getting burned up myself.

My challenges with depression have been a lifelong struggle. They go in waves, but lately and especially this year, it’s been severe with every hurdle, every path that I take is a journey on survival.

This was also why I went dark over the past few years and stopped writing… hiding the words and avoiding the voice inside me begging to come out.

There was a time that I wished that I would be able to fall asleep and wake up with all of this washed away. Then there are other times that would hold onto this like a long lost friend.

Lately, everything is better when it’s time to go to bed…I hate waking up and struggling with my plans for the day, reading my emails, applying for jobs, scheduling interviews, then seeing my bank account and knowing my best bet is to stay in bed.

My wish is to regain myself in 2018, get back to my core being, better health, heal my body, listen more, help more, be kinder, better, go to yoga more, date more, explore more, Love more and travel more. Let go of the things that are not serving me well and be more of a minimalist in some ways. Life isn’t about things…it about the moments.

Every day is a struggle, people are fighting silent battles all around you and in the end, try to be kind and be grateful for the people in your life that are there to help.

When you’re at you are feeling close to rock bottom, you’ll find out who your true support system is. These are The keepers… friends and family. Without them right now, I would be lost. I’m at my most vulnerable and am grateful every day that they haven’t given up on me yet.

I am so thankful that I have my family and friends in my life. With the holiday season upon us, they’re bringing in the light to my life right now.

Xx

He gave me butterflies & made my heart race

He gave me butterflies from the first time that I set my eyes on him… I think that I always knew he was going to be trouble, how you know in your gut that I was going to love every second spent with him.

After some back and forth, a few phone calls and some photos traded, we decided to meet for a drink. It was only fitting, since he was my neighbor living only 2 blocks away.  We decided to meet after his event/my dinner plans later that night. I’m typically not one for these meetings, I like to have dates and well, I was nervous that he was just a fuckboy seeking all of the wrong things, but perhaps this wouldn’t be a bad thing for a night… or three.

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He not only looked like his photos, but was better in person. This tall, dark and handsome man had a smirk and the way that he looked at me was completely disarming. After a drink or two, we went back to my place…the whole night, I was hot and cold on how I felt about him. He pushed my limits, was very respectful, but there was something about this guy…and we talked for what seemed like hours. I didn’t think that I’d ever see him again… He felt like a Fuckboy and I wanted to kiss every inch of him. I had not felt like this in a very long time…

Here I am in my 40’s, curvy, and this 33-year-old successful, smart and hot younger guy was with me? What is he thinking? Yeah… my only conclusion…, Fuckboy.

I remember kissing him goodbye that first night and sending him on his way with a smile. I never thought that I would see him again.

The next night I met up with a girlfriend for happy hour, dinner and some much-needed girl time. We were exchanging dating stories about the men we’d been seeing, and I had downloaded all of the details about him, our night and well, the glow and smile on my face was already giving me away. Hell, I was glowing after that night.

As we began to play with Snapchat filters and then, my phone starts blowing up…. It’s him. I remember feeling butterflies, and being so nervous…my heart was racing just replying to this man. He was asking if we could get together… he was on his way back up east… Next thing you know, I am in a taxi home… he arrives with 2 Bottles of wine and a bottle of Veuve. A man after my own heart… I love my wine.

After another amazing night, we ended up spending the next week together non-stop, when he went to Boston with friends… he even called and talked with me all night long and as soon as he was back home, he was at my side. I was beginning my new job soon, so my nights were filled with him and days on getting the much-needed rest, as well as preparing to start my new role.

Even when either was out late, he would come slip into bed with me in the cold weather and cuddle until dawn and we would part… after a while, we had a routine, and after a few weeks, I had to implement some rules and a curfew. Although I loved having him over, a girl at my age needs some sleep.

This went on for over a month…. and then, he went dark. Nothing…No replies….he disappeared. My heart was crushed… had I caught feelings for this man? We did meet on Tinder, so what was I thinking would happen?

After a week, he reappeared with an apology and told me, “I’m sorry…. I sometimes do this to friends and they know, but I regret doing that to you.”

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That made my heart melt…He returned…we continued as we were…. Seeing each other 2 to 3 nights a week for the next few months. Things finally came to the point where we both were together so much, but still able to date other people… so, I finally asked if he was seeing anyone else or what we were doing… He goes… “I’m not seeing anyone, but you right now. I think that we should see other people either together or apart still though and just be honest about it. “

This was when I started realizing that this needed to lighten up, pull back on the number of nights that we were together, and I needed to try dating multiple people…After all, he is 33 years old, still lives with roommates, a strict bachelor lifestyle and I’ve flat out refused to come to his place. I justified this to myself, as I needed to let him be himself… a 33year old single man, and if he wanted to be with me… it would have to be his choice.

At this point, I started dating other people and accidentally texted him thinking it was a friend that I had a date and he replied faster than I could blink with, “You go girl!” … I was mortified.

As things go… he pulled away, I pulled away and yet, we still saw one another one to two nights a week on average. We had some of the most amazing times together and this went on the have some hilarious types of scenarios together, but we stopped talking as much as we once had… I eventually started dating other people, and there was one guy that I will explain, but we were better as close friends and so, I kept seeing The Boy and told him everything about my dating the Banker… and one night, when we were laying together talking… he told me that, “I could date anyone that I wanted, but he was never going to leave me. He would always be around in my life.”

Over the next year, we ended up having periods of time where things were more serious and others where we managed to see one another if not weekly, every other week a few times. I woke up on Christmas morning with him, we boarded ourselves into my apartment during a blizzard together, and other times…it was just a drink. I won’t lie that he held my heart at times, but it was very casual between us. There were times between that we would get very intense for a few weeks, then take a break for a week or two… always in cycles. We were the same, yet different. He still lived the bachelors life and is much younger. I refused to come to his apartment unless he was sick and needed me, which he would always tell me after the fact.

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I always had to remember he was also in the lifestyle of going out all the time… I had myself become more of a homebody in the past few years, preferring a bottle of wine and the sofa to a lounge that was loud and crowded. This is where the age difference would come into play.

On or around the year anniversary, we shared some Veuve and had an amazing evening…then, things went back to normal…. Casually seeing each other, yet when we were together, we spoke our own language and no one else would understand it. At times, he would be hot and cold, but there were more discussions around plans, etc.

By late May, things went on as usual… even with some late-night talks about our feelings for one another…giving into the admissions that neither was good with feelings.

After Memorial Day, when I got uncomfortable with pain, he disappeared. He went dark without any communication, no words, just silence. Nothing hurts more than this.

I had let myself fall in love with this man.

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I imagined somewhere inside of him there was the man that I had spent all that time with… so, as I had news on my illness, I would text him to let him know… never received a reply until the day before my surgery… He wished me, “Good Luck and apologized for going dark and was sorry that I was going through this.”

I was heartbroken that he’d done this to me. He had broken me in every way possible. How did I let him have this power over me? I was humiliated and yet, loved every inch of his soul.

About 60 days post-surgery, I nearly had a heart attack when he texted me to see how I was doing. My heart was racing, my body was a mess and I replied… He asked to stop by. It was probably the most awkward time that we have ever had together… He was only here for about 20 minutes and we just talked small talk… he was assessing me and by this time, I’d already taken a muscle relaxer and was ready to go to bed. Alone.  When he left…he kissed me and said, “I’ll see you again soon.”

I never thought that I would see him again and I was at peace finally with it, but the heart wants what it wants, and I’ve decided that I don’t really think that we have much choice in the matter. There are people in your life that you connect with, really connect with and he and I were that. He was to me more than I had ever thought he would be…there was a level of need at times, he fulfilled parts of me that I never imagined, yet broke me in every way at the same time.

He waited almost a month before contacting me and as fate would have it, I had a tough day and had been drinking … he was out with colleagues in midtown and asked to stop by, and explained that he had a curfew and would not be able to stay but about 15 minutes. Haha…

As soon as the door opened, he saw me and pulled me close to him and kissed me… he didn’t leave until he had to go home to get ready for work that next morning. We stayed up talking about everything… he kept trying to explain why he went dark, apologized and instead of fighting… I just let him get it out and was grateful to have him back in my life. Late at night when we are laying together talking…he reminds me that I am his…he tells me that he owns me,…body, soul, heart and mind. and I don’t disagree. I just smile and tell him that he is mine too.

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He’s back in my life, but we’ve made some changes… I have promised to come to him more and finally met his roommate, and we have been around a few other people, which is weird. Everyone that sees us together says that we really “have something or a strong connection” because we are in our own world when together… I’m not sure where it is going, but I’m not forcing anything…and I am finally learning to just let things happen, as I’m grateful for our time together. While laying in bed, I did grab his balls in my hand, while looking into his eyes and told him if he ever ghosts me again, I’ll come find him. He’s promised he won’t, so here’s to hoping…

Somehow this man has slipped under my skin, invaded my blood and seized my heart.

I’m still trying to meet other people, as I need more than he can offer, but for now, he’s mine and I am his.

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The Boy…

The Boy

He was the first one to write… we both swiped right on one another… flirted back and forth… established where we both lived compared to each other…. Then, he vanished…like people do.

The next was a playful Ivy league graduate in Mathematics, soccer player, worked for his own Investment firm…very cute. He was about  9 years younger or less…We flirted back and forth, then he asked me out. We went on a few dates and all of which, he was a complete gentleman… after a few nights of drinks, banter and not even a single kiss… I kind of wrote him off. After days of silence, he started texting me again… flirting…. explaining he was courting me… so the affair begins… He was definitely responsible for getting my groove back… it was like delivery. All I had to do was text him and he came running over…sometimes bringing wine with him.

He even met me after a flight home… wished me a happy birthday, and you ask, “what happened to him?”  He ended up going on a series of trips and one of them was over a month gone… with this, I ended up answering other men… and well, things happen for a reason…

This is where, “The Boy” entered my life… he’s 10 years younger than me.

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The fountain of youth…

Where to begin…. I’m still single, so the long-distance thing never worked out…as it never really does, does it? Now, after sharing so much of yourself with someone and dreams, hopes, and experiences… then, it just disappears…evaporates and you’re strangers again. I ended up giving up dating for a while…I believe that I went almost 2 years without intimacy or any kind of romance in my life, other than some random dates that were less satisfying than a hot bath and glass of wine.

 

I have tried to build out a career, where I thought that I had one, but in the end…that didn’t work out as planned either, yet then I will become one of those people quoting cliché’s… “Everything happens for a reason”, “Another fish in the Sea or Plenty of fish in the sea”, “Just when you stop looking…love finds you”… it’s like finding a fucking apartment in New York City.. That shit doesn’t happen easily, and it doesn’t happen without investment… like 3 months’ rent or approximately $15-20K USD. Lol. Don’t get too excited…that doesn’t include the broker fee or moving costs.

I literally had so many bad dates that I will highlight in time, I met an old colleague out for drinks and she enlightened me on her success with online dating and Tinder. So, I begin….

After several glasses of wine and tapas… the conversation moved to the new adventures of dating… We had both had bad experiences with men our own age and older, but after our storytelling… I explained… how I was literally made to feel guilty for being from one man our age because he had erectile dysfunction… he turned it around to acting like I was some sex hungry slut and if you know anything about me, well… I don’t put up with this shit…I hit back and below the belt and managed to pull out a PowerPoint quickly in my head on his inadequacies, yet explained that I dated him anyway…by this point, I knew there was no coming back. He had treated me with such ugliness to have me come back that I was beyond consoling… Then, I’d met another man my age that decided to lie about his being married, another who completely was lying about living locally and managed to tell me later it took him 4 hours to get home to Boston, as he thought that I was going to let him stay over??!?! WTF.

After these stories, she recommended that I get over the whole issue that I had with dating younger men and open my search criteria to 10 years younger and 10 years older. Me, dating younger men? Jesus, did these men really want to meet an older woman?

So, after a bottle or three of wine, I changed my Tinder settings and on the Uber ride home…. I had a series of matches with very attractive, educated men… all 10 years younger… all flirting with me….

 

Could this be the solution to my dating dilemmas? Forget the crotchety older men with families, issues and that were resentful for the uninhibited younger men that are still enjoying their lives?  J

Let the fun begin… My journey to dating younger men…..does this mean that I’m a Cougar? Meow… :

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About Me

I’m just a girl living in NewYork City trying to  survive. This is my journey into my life and all things dating, my thoughts, love, life and more. 

New Life, New Land, New Love & New Beginnings… Happy New Year

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It’s been awhile… 2014 was a year of loss, pain, hard work, struggles, battles, there were a lot of tears and times that I was tested beyond my own beliefs.

I endured a difficult year, starting with a new job, struggling with difficult people, had my heart broken into several pieces, mourning the loss of a dog, a cat, family and friends, there was an injury, surgery, a new job, an old job, another new job offer, then another job offer to stay with the promise of many treasures should I build the castle as deemed.

My struggles were mine, they were both internal and external, yet I held myself to be true to who I was, kept my strength and proved that I was beyond being defeated by them. I traveled to Europe, across the states, made new friends, lost some friends, fell out of contact with some, and built a new plateau of which I needed to rise to.

In helping friends, I gained a cat and found a new love in something so innocent. #sparecat

I lost love, mended my heart, received redemption, a sweet goodbye, validation and walked away with pride. I met old loves from my past as new friends, and I went on many, many first dates and with each one getting worse and more comical, I never let it kill my belief or sense of wonder that there was someone out there.

I spent time with my family and friends and was lucky enough to hug them all.

In the end of the year, I look back and realized that I made several new friend’s last year, most of them have proven to be the best parts of 2014 and renewed my faith in people & new connections in this life.

With all of the lessons of 2014, I have no regrets. I’m ready for a new year… new beginning and I am on a new track…. Over time, I will catch up on the stories of 2014 and the new adventures to be had in 2015.

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Thank you for the follow and the support…

xx

When did LinkedIn become an online dating site?!?!

Online dating typically leads to a great story or three, so when I ask the question, “When did LinkedIn become an online dating site?” I’m being sincere.

In my professional life, I tend to work on LinkedIn quite frequently as a networking tool; however, lately, I have been receiving email’s from men that send what seems to be legitimate invitations to “connect” and once we do, they email me seriously odd emails about my photo that I have posted. Which is odd because it’s not a sexually explicit photograph and it’s actually a selfie that I took of myself last year, if you want to be specific of its origin.

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Anyways….over the past year, I have received several email’s that I’ve shared among my friends and coworkers as humor. Men…you should know that if you send something this ridiculous, it will be shared…that is just human nature.

Recently, I’ve ended my current consulting engagement and have received no less than 3-4 emails in the past 3 weeks from random men asking me about my marital status, telling me that I’m attractive, or… I love this one, “you have the most beautiful eyes, face & lips.” Really?!

Well, as I was sitting there last night, drinking a cup of tea and following up on my email, I accepted a few invitations for connections on LinkedIn, not thinking anything odd about them, until later I read the following email from Scott:

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Date: December 2, 2013

Hello beautiful, staring at your lovely eyes for the past five minutes has been one of the most wonderful encounters i have had in quite a while, you make me think of the world like it is not gonna be a nice place to live in for the next 50 years without you in my life, your smile is like one of my best memories,i know this might sound hilarious but believe me its the truth i think you are the kind of woman i would want to wake up to see her beautiful face for the rest of my life, pardon me my name is scott

Ummm…. Well, let’s see Scott, first of all, “I sincerely thank you for the creepy email on Linked In and I do apologize that your next 50 years will be without me in your life. However, unfortunately,  I have met enough crazy people recently.”

Best wishes –

H

The photo of Scott was quite interesting as well, and it offered up some good banter between myself and some friends.

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No, I didn’t send this email; however, this morning, I got an email notification that my Match.com account (that I did not even know was still active) was automatically renewed. After an exhausting phone call, they wouldn’t refund my money (F-ck!). Therefore, I may be forced to try online dating again soon enough, if I don’t find love, well…maybe I’ll find a good story or three. With this being the case, maybe I am ready to try the whole online dating strategy once again in search of love…what is the worst thing that could happen?!?

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The irony is that since I wrote this story, I’ve received no less than 4 more..these are to become the sequels.

Free Drinks…What’s not to like?!?

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So, Friday comes around, and I invite a friend to join us at the party in Chelsea. The night seems simple enough, catch taxi, pick up friend, and get to Art Studio in Chelsea to a magazine party. Typical Friday night in New York City, right?

Whilst we were on our trek in the taxi, we get stuck in stand still traffic on 5th Avenue around Rockefeller Center and opt to get out and take a subway downtown. At some point, my phone rings while on the Subway and it’s my friends at the party telling me that “They’re leaving because there is a huge line and its bullshit!” Then, the call drops and I haven’t a clue where they are heading…so, we decide to go on to the party to meet them or wait to get above ground to call. As we’re walking in the freezing temperatures to the event, we get to the event and there is a massive line to get in.

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My friend sends me a text to come to the backstage and come to the seats (bypass the line).  At this point, I’m in no mood because I’m sober, starving and this place is a shit show full of a people standing in line for something.

After a long stretch of exhausting texts, my friend comes to the line to retrieve us to enter the party….we bypass the line, gate keeper, walk through a maze of hallways into a strange room, where there are half-naked men/some women changing (presume they are model’s). I spy one guy with his hands down his knickers playing with his balls and wondering, “What in the hell kind of party is this?”

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There are some people drinking, and then I realize that we are in the back stage area and it is separated by a sheet to the fashion stage (front).  We walk through the sheet and are seated to the right front row seats for the show that is about to start.

Imagine an extremely hot and overcrowded room and there are people all around standing; photographers to the left waiting for the fashion show to begin.  It’s hotter than hell in this tiny room…I’m pulling off my huge coat, and presume that I look like I’ve just worked out with the amount of sweat rolling down my back.

I am completely mesmerized by the people watching here tonight, there is a cross dresser in a strange dress, makeup melting with the high heat and the Adams apple and goatee are clear giveaways.

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Then, I’m caught staring across at a woman in a moo moo type dress with zebra’s stitched in the dress (What in the hell kind of outfit is this?) and she is wearing some strange shoe hybrid that is a blend of a high-top sneaker and wedge. Around this same time, I catch another woman giving me the stink eye or possibly, that is just the way she look’s normally, and she is wearing a huge necklace resembling medium sized bowling balls around her neck and I’m wondering how much it weighs…as it is awful.

I’m thinking to myself and by this time, and probably saying it out loud, “Why am I Sober? Where are the free drinks? ” At some point, I know that I was thinking that this is why flasks were invented. I was definitely complaining about the fact that I was too sober to be in the venue with this show and I was trying to hold back my laughter as there were serious fashion people taking photos and among us waiting to see this new line.

I’m sitting in a chair and the show begins with a brief show with clothed models…then, they announce that we are preparing for the second show to begin in 5 minutes. There were random men walking about in their underwear.

Then the lights are lowered and within minutes and low and behold, there is a cock in my face. I am staring at men modeling briefs as they walk by me…his junk is in my exact line of vision, approximately a few feet from my face, and I am asking myself, “How funny is this? Wait, is that a tattoo on this guy, or is he wearing a tiger tooth?”

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I’m trying to do anything that I can, not to laugh.

Yes, you are thinking Marky Mark (Mark Wahlberg) wearing boxer briefs in the Calvin Klein ad, aren’t you? Well, if that were the case, I would be smiling and content. However, imagine a dirty version of juveniles, covered with tattoos, and wearing sneakers and jungle themed jewelry. Hahaha… some of my friends would love that image, I imagine.

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Then, even in the hottest venue I realize, ”Hold On….I’m going to take photo’s as no one would believe this is how I spent my evening.”

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I know that you’re wondering… how did I end up here? Oh yeah…

 

The Email:

Hey guys,

Let’s go to this party on Friday! What’s not to like? Free drinks and all…All you need to do is send a confirmation message with your names.

See you Friday!

-X

(No mention of men in underwear)

Me:

Sounds Great!! I’ll touch base on Friday and see you there!

-H

In looking back at this invitation, there is no mention of underwear clad young men traipsing about showing off their manhood, but it was a great night with friends and every time I think about it, I laugh.

I finally got that drink after we finally left this place, but managed to be home and in bed by midnight with a great story; however, not before sending cock shots of my evening to my friends to share the love. 🙂

This event was a complete shotshow

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.

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