Wednesday, March 30, 2011

More dating tips for women and the man chore that can be seen from space

Now let’s suppose you have a man currently in your life who is not a pseudo-boyfriend (see definitions), and you are interested in trying to move the relationship toward something a little more intimate but you don’t want to seem too obvious, so you invite him over for dinner. However, to blur the possibility of the dinner being clearly and correctly construed as an overture by said man you incorporate a man chore (see definitions) favour into the evening. If this is your tactic of choice, your handling of “the favour” makes all the difference.
My experience whether with a female friend, a girlfriend or with some type of relationship in between, has been that women get it wrong every single time. Yet it is so simple to get right. Ask “the favour” at the time that arrangements are being made for the date not, I repeat not, at the time of arrival. If “the favour” is asked at the time of arrival it can be a little deflating. And I assume, perhaps presumptuously, that your first choice for a date would not be a deflated man. If it is, then I say: to each her own sister. And you are soooo reading the wrong blog.
Free, Public Domain Image: Man Using a Grinder at WorkThere is nothing that makes me cringe more, to this very day, than when I enter a woman’s home as her guest, and she speaks those dreadful words which go something like: “While I am preparing dinner, I was wondering if you could do me a favour.” “The favour” more often than not frequently required tools which she did not posses and therefore must have assumed that I, as man, carry around at all times. This is akin to my asking a female friend to knit me a sweater the moment she walks into my house. After all, don’t all women innately know how to do this? Are they not ever vigilant with assorted yarns at the ready and needles, like Japanese Chokuto blades, sheathed across their back?
During the single episodes of some of the women in my life I have unwittingly slipped into the role of their pseudo-boyfriend and “the favour” became my nemesis. Oddly I continually fell for it. There was never a free meal. One would assume that once a woman has a man in her life that “the favour” would no longer be a concern but this, I learned, is a dangerous fallacy. The scope of “the favour” may actually grow exponentially in this situation. “While I am basting the chicken can you put a shelf up for me?” can explode into “While I am basting the chicken can you help Jack put up a retaining wall?” I did eventually catch on and required that certain of my women friends explicitly state that I would not be ambushed by a chore of any sort upon arrival. They have respected my wishes, though admittedly through avoidance.
Comparatively, on the rare occasion when a gay man required help with some type of luger work, not only would he ask while extending the invitation but also take part. Imagine. I still get misty when it happens.
From my experience I can guarantee that it is a misnomer to think that some emperor or other had decreed that the Great Wall of China be built. I know differently. It is the only man chore that you can see from space. “While I am basting the chicken can you help my husband and brothers put up a retaining wall?”

Great Wall of China

Monday, March 21, 2011

Linen napkins and dire circumstances

Robert recently decided that it was time to hire a housekeeper and, thanks to Craigslist he has found his man. Strangely, this event was presented to me as being my "early Christmas present".
It wasn’t our home’s state of cleanliness which prompted his decision but rather the state of our ironing - specifically, our napkins. He is able to rectify a less than pristinely clean home by simply removing his glasses. But napkins are another matter entirely.
Robert claims that he was brought up so poor that they didn’t even have paper napkins. When he eventually discovered linen, he swore never to endure less. His collection is vast and can be traced to the four corners of the globe. Robert is very tactile and therefore texture is quite important to him. As far as he is concerned, it is a much overlooked part of gracious living.
To his credit, Robert has taken to doing the laundry periodically, up to the point of folding the clothes and putting them away.  This is his line in the sand. Once dried, the clothing is no longer of concern until he goes to dress, whereupon he discovers that everything is neatly awaiting him. I’m not sure if he gives much thought about how the clothing gets from the dryer to his closet. Magic perhaps, with ironing being the most mystical, post-drying, wonder of all.
He has either convinced himself or is trying to convince me that I love to iron. I do not. I like the outcome, but I do not like the act. The difference is significant. Early in our relationship he had tried to persuade me to do all the ironing at once - thus resulting in all of our shirts being pressed for the whole week. This mindset had resulted, just prior to departing for a month, in his leaving a ball of shirts in a shopping bag with a note saying, “You are too, too angelic”. And there they remained until his return. I believe he quietly sends his shirts out now.
Although I don’t mind ironing a shirt for him, on an as required basis, in the absence of an impending dinner party, I don’t plan to spend any of my time ironing napkins. Through use the crisply ironed stacks that he brought from Venice have been slowly whittled away one-by-one. This has left Robert in quite a conundrum. I won’t iron napkins, he won’t iron period, sending them out is a little excessive, and he refuses to use a “tactilely unacceptable” wrinkle free poly-blend. Under these dire circumstances the only rational solution was, of course, to hire a housekeeper. He starts this week.
Stay tuned….

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Eat, drink, laugh and sit in the coolest, most Euro- suave ways possible

Not too long after arriving in Venice, Robert and I were invited to lunch by an acquaintance of his. It was a societal gesture suggesting that we should make an effort to move from the “cocktail party” circle to the more intimate “dinner party” circle in each other’s lives. She is an American, who owns a place in Paris but prefers Venice and so rents a palazzo that fronts onto the Grand Canal. (The most lavish facades of palazzos are always on the canal side.) And if you are not familiar with the terrain, renting a palazzo on the Grand Canal is akin to renting a condo on Madison Avenue.

Robert and I arrived by the garden entrance to find the table set, with mimosa chilling, on the patio. However it was not long before we came to the general consensus that, even under the awning, the sun was making it far too hot. So the luncheon was moved to the shade at the front of the palazzo.

Throughout Venice the canals are flanked by fondamenta, which represent a dry land hybrid of street and sidewalk. However, as is the case along the entire Grand Canal, there was no fondamenta in front of her palazzo merely a large concrete platform that is only accessible by boat and therefore would only ever be used by visitors. It is in effect a large porch.
The Grand Canal is a busy place being plied by gondolas, private boats, and tourist laden vaporetti (the public transit water buses). While watching the ebb and flow of traffic I soon noticed the cameras and camcorders. The number of lens pointed in our direction defied chance, we were clearly a photo-op! I won’t even attempt to suggest that I felt scandalized or that the entire scenario was horribly invasive for I’d risk being struck by lightning. Self-conscious doesn’t even apply, but I did try to eat, drink, laugh and sit in the coolest, most Euro- suave ways possible. After all, I didn’t want to let my public down! I sincerely love each and everyone one of them. Kisses, kisses....