The meanderings of a recovering ex-expat with the occasional identity crisis
Recently, the guy I’m dating asked me whether I’d ever mention him in my blog. This got me thinking about dating and why I’m still dating at my age and why this man would choose to date me over a woman with bigger breasts and a smaller waist.
If you’re like me, you probably get into a relationship hoping that it would (should) last a lifetime. But unfortunately for some of us, it just ends up FEELING like a lifetime.
Ladies, how many times have you gotten together with your girlfriends and one of you has said, “I can’t believe I didn’t break up with Dopey / Sneezy / Sleepy / Mopey / Gropey sooner! That was just too much drama!”
But then, in less than three months this same woman is enamored with “Ricardo”. And the “C” in his name is pronounced like an “S”, because he’s a Rebel with a capital “R”.
RiSardo collects scrap metal, “Penthouse” magazines, pen caps and empty Lean Cuisine boxes and turn them into lawn sculptures, except he hasn’t quite gotten the inspiration for his first sculpture yet, as he finds your friend to be too “clingy” and is blocking his creative process.
You may laugh, but how many of us have been there? I know I have.
Now, older and less desperate, I find it amusing to still be single, because I’m discovering this whole new realm of “eligible” men – older married men, who are completely obsessed with taking me to expensive steakhouses.
I am a creature of habit. Every time I visit Hong Kong, before taking the ferry back to China, I try to make a pit stop at the Dan Ryan’s in the Harbor City Center and sit at the bar. Although I’ve never visited a Dan Ryan’s in the States, the heavy-wood,deep, upholstered booths and Chicagoan, art deco decor are comforting to me when I’m abroad. I also have my equivalent of comfort food there – a glass of California white and a salad, or a big burger with everything on it and fries.
One time while sitting at the bar, an American from either Alabama or Atlanta – it was a city or state that began and ended with an “A” – struck up a conversation with me. He said he traveled every other week between China and his home in the US, where his wife was waiting for him. But they’d been married for decades and really weren’t “MARRIED married” anymore, but just “married”.
He’d met all these “girls” in China, and they were cute – and he likes Chinese woman, because they’re so feminine and delicate – but none of them spoke English as well as I. It was so refreshing for him to talk to someone who “got” him the way I did…which his wife obviously could never do.
Since I had a lot of time before my ferry, I bantered with him for a while till he grandly asked whether I’d ever been to Morton’s Steakhouse.
Morton’s Steakhouse is a high-end American chain with pretty expensive steaks. I’d actually been to the Morton’s at the Sheraton in Hong Kong a number of years ago, and it cost about US$370.00 for two people.
At that time I didn’t “put out”- a fact that my dining companion reminded me of (again), when I asked him how much he spent on the meal for the purpose of this post. (Get over it, Steve. I’ll get you something nice for X’mas.)
I told Atlanta/Alabama that I had, in fact, been to Morton’s and, although the steaks are very good quality, I couldn’t justify paying so much for a piece of meat that’s just going to end up in the sewer.
“Oh… but man! They have good steaks. Boy, do they EVER have good steaks!” declared Atlanta/Alabama. “You can’t tell me their Filet Mignon doesn’t just make your mouth water… it is cooked to per-fec-tion. How do you like your steaks done? I’ll bet you like your steaks bloody and with lots of juice, huh? You look like that kinda crazy gal!”
“Uhhhh….well…noooooo, I actually prefer MEDIUM rare….”
“Well now that’s because you’ve not had a good piece of steak done RARE. Once you do I know you’ll never want to go back. That tender, succulent meat just melts in your mouth when it’s that rare. You just want to suck all the juices from your plate up….”
Suddenly, I realized that this conversation was no longer about steak. I mean, I knew we were never really talking about STEAK – at least, that wasn’t the goal. But the conversation now was just getting a little too weird for me.
Plus, heavy foods like steak do nothing for me sexually. I mean, how romantic is the notion of my lover and I canoodling in bed after ingesting a 10oz NY Strip, with a side of Idaho Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans, a bottle of wine, and a Double Chocolate Cake for dessert?
And after a meal like that, we’d lay in bed listening to all that food gurgling and sputtering, like the little engine that could, as it courses its way through our baffled digestive system – while we’re trying not to succumb to the food coma that inevitably follows such a meal.
The next time I went back to Dan Ryan’s I made sure to get a seat at the end of the bar and placed my purse on the stool next to me.
Unfortunately, the restaurant was packed that day, so I couldn’t refuse the American with a Red Sox baseball cap, when he asked whether the stool next to me was taken.
As soon as Red Sox sat down (and he was from Boston) – he tried to cover his left hand (with the wedding band) with his right.
We had the usual chit chat. His company had sent him to China to help in the acquisition of some chemical factory in a town near Shenzhen. He’d been there about 6 months and China’s kind of dull and very polluted, but Hong Kong is a lot of fun. He tries to make it to Hong Kong any chance he can get. Plus, the Chinese girls in Hong Kong are better looking and better put together than the ones in China.
But finally, he asks the golden question, “Say, you like STEAK? Cuz I know this GREAT place for steak. We should go sometime.”
I looked at him straight in the eyes, “You mean Morton’s Steakhouse at the Sheraton?”
“Yeah! Yeah! How did you know! That’s exactly what I was going to say, Morton’s!”
Then, I ventured to test my theory of married men using steaks as their come on line:
“You’re married, right?”
Red Sox suddenly lost his sparkle, “Well…yeah, I’m married. B-b-but she’s not here, or anything…if that’s what you mean. She’s back in the States. You…you don’t have to worry about her.”
“Well, I don’t think my boyfriend would like that…and he’s a Yankees fan, too.”
And I wasn’t kidding. The guy I was dating at the time was a native New Yorker and a rabid, die-hard, fight-to-the-death Yankees fan. You could insult his Mother, but never the Yankees. I was even trying to find him Red Sox toilet paper as a X’mas gift.
After Red Sox slunk out of Dan Ryan’s, I asked the bartender whether there was some prostitution ring operating out of Dan Ryan’s, where married American men try to pick up Chinese women and then take them to Morton’s, where they get a discount and a kickback.
Except I don’t know the word, “prostitution ring” in Chinese and I think it came out prostitution “circle” (like a prayer circle).
The bartender just kind of looked me funny and poured me a big cup of black coffee, which I didn’t ask for.
I have to say, the margaritas at Dan Ryan’s Hong Kong aren’t bad, but the bartender there has no sense of humor.
Anyway, I’ve now been sarcastically single for so long that even my exes are now unhappily married and giving me the “grass is greener on Susan’s side” spiel.
Just last week, one of my exes from way long ago, nicknamed Jocko in college – as his last name is “Jacques” and he played football in college – found me on one of the computer messenger chat programs, even though I’ve had him blocked for years.
Jocko: Hey, cutey, it’s me. When do you get back to Seattle? We should get together when I’m up there some time.
Me: I don’t think so, my BF wouldn’t like that very much. How did you get this account anyway?
Jocko: What, you have a BF?! I thought I was the only guy in your life!
Me: How did you get this account, I thought I blocked you years ago!
Jocko: Are you going to be back in Seattle in December? I’m going up there for a week then. We could catch up.
Me: Fat chance.
Jocko: I thought we could go to el Gaucho. They have great steak.
Me: Jesus Christ, what is it with YOU MARRIED MEN AND STEAK?!
Jocko: Huh? I thought you liked steak. We could go to Daniel’s Broiler instead, if you prefer. I like the Metropolitan myself.
Me: Look, I am an educated, single, childless, professional woman. I’m not living in desperation in China, I don’t want a Green Card, and I can afford to buy my own $300-steak if I wanted to. Why in HELL would I ever want to mess around with a married, middle-aged guy like you? What could POSSIBLY be the attraction there for me?
Then I blocked Jocko’s email, reported his email address as Spam, turned off my computer and made myself a big, steak-free salad.
Oh, but getting back to the guy I’m dating now – I don’t think the subject of steak has even come up, and that’s refreshing. Our first date was at a French bistro, where neither one of us had steak, even though I think some version of it was definitely on the menu. But we were also very happy to discover that neither of us is a vegetarian.
Maybe one day I’ll find out something unsavory about him – like, he wants me to dress up as a ham sandwich for his sick sexual pleasure. But so far it seems the only reason he’d ever want me to dress up as a ham sandwich is to probably crash a Bar Mitzvah…which, actually, is probably the only reason why I’d consider dressing up as a ham sandwich as well.
However, one thing’s for sure. After he reads this post, he’ll know he has a pretty low bar to live up to…and, I know that can’t be a good thing.