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I'd like to see more enthusiasm

Women who didn't work and spent their days playing tennis started matching with me like all get out. Ladies of leisure so to speak. I was kind of fascinated as to what these women's lives were really like because I never hung out with any, let alone dated one. I decided to dive right in.

My first encounter was with Ms. Match Point who was from Greenwich. I agreed to lunch, an away game near the Connecticut border and drove The Vessel up there. I think the town was called Rye. She was blonde and blue eyed with leathery, tanned skin.

As soon as we sat down she launched into a story about how she only plays competitive tennis at the club. Has played competitively for years. And she's not used to losing. She never loses in fact. There was this about the club and that about the club. I asked what her friends do. "They don't work" she blurted out, sounding insulted, "none of us do."

She scanned the menu and proudly announced "I'll have the Ni-chy-oise salad!" I realized that she clearly meant Ni├žoise salad. While I would never fault someone for imperfect French pronunciation, coming from a woman who was the embodiment of total pretension, it struck me as hilarious. Obviously trying to impress me with her French skills, she felt the need to announce her salad choice two more times, each time emphasizing all three syllables, each time with a more pronounced drawl. Ni-chy-oise! Ni-chy-oise!

I hated to eat and run but...

*****

Then along came Ms. Reflex Volley, who was just like Ms. Match Point except she lived on Long Island instead of Connecticut. She was a very athletic blonde, with toned muscles, blue eyes and tanned leathery skin, who also spend afternoons at the tennis club. This one however, had no pretension whatsoever. We had a decent first date at a wine bar. Looking back, I think I was relieved to be with someone who wasn't obsessed with her career and the number of stamps in her passport. Our wine bar rendezvous ended with a major make out session and we agreed to go out again.

For our second date I took her to one of my favorite restaurants, Print on 11th Avenue. It's a foodie paradise, with all kinds of interesting dishes and flavors. I thought she would be excited but I quickly learned that she was an indiscriminate eater and drinker. Comfort food and white table wine was all she wanted. The restaurant may have dazzled Anthony Bourdain, but didn't impress her.

Once we exhausted the subjects of her tennis club and newly single crazy friends, there wasn't that much to talk about. I thought it was pretty much game over when she insisted on organizing our next date and made of point of saying "and it will be a sleepover!"

That was attention getting!

She reached out a few days later and asked if I was still up for a trip to Long Island. "Sounds good" I said. Then a few hours later this surprising text came in from her "I have to say, I'd like to see a little more enthusiasm."

This was the downside of a woman with too much time on her hands. While I was working, raising a kid, and managing an active social life, she was analyzing every word in every text message we exchanged. If I didn't respond fast enough, or didn't show enough enthusiasm, she had the same response one would expect from a 7th grade schoolgirl.

The needy texts put a damper on things and I was planning to cancel when she messaged to say that she not only made dinner reservations, but booked a non-refundable hotel room for us to spend the night. Now what? My choices were 1) cancel and leave her standing at the altar with a prepaid hotel room or 2) dine with her, fuck her, and then totally disappoint her.

I picked option number 2.

The night played out as expected in three classic acts. Act one: she prepared a lovely wine and cheese spread for happy hour. Act two: we jumped into her Mercedes convertible and ate a nice dinner. Act three: We went back to the hotel where she tore my clothes off and acted like the repressed suburban housewife I was hoping for.

The next morning, during my drive of shame back, I started thinking, for a few minutes anyway, that maybe we could date. She was after all a nice person. But 5 hours after leaving her this text came in: "I'm really surprised I haven't heard from you. Thought you would have made more of an effort to reach out today. Thought the physical relationship meant more."

To all you ladies reading this, if you want to lose your new lover immediately, copy the above text, paste into iMessage, and click send.

*****

I should have started looking for a more intellectual type with common interests, but instead pursued a romance with an esthetician from LA. As they say "old habits die hard." A licensed esthetician as I learned, is a person who scrapes the pubic hair off the private parts of posh women.

Ms Max Wax and I had been out a few times during my trips to LA, usually winding up at Wabi Sabi on Abbot Kinney because we both loved the yellowtail and Jalapeno sashimi. This time however, she invited me over for dinner which I gladly accepted.

She was a good cook too. In a room enhanced by pillar candles, we had tasty chicken stew with yellow saffron rice. I contributed the Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon. We were well into bottle #2 when we started a make out session on the couch that ended with a stream of clothes leading to the bed, and some serious bathumping.

I was in a delightful, post-orgasmic sleep when I heard a buzzing sound coming from the other side of the room. I ignored it and eventually it went away. However, it started again and stopped again, and that cycle continued periodically until I finally realized it was her phone. I had to wake her up, just to shut the damn thing off.

Half asleep, I heard. "Police? Arrested? Felony?

"How bad is a felony," she asked me.

Apparently, her 16 year old son went to a party that was posted on Facebook while a classmate's parents were away. When the cops busted the party, everyone ran like cockroaches, except her son who stayed to explain the situation to the cops, thinking he was doing the right thing. He obviously never saw the video Don't Talk to the Police. Since some jewelry was stolen, he automatically became an accomplice and was arrested on felony charges.

Back at the apartment, more phone calls ensued and crazy panic set in.

"My ex-husband is on his way over and he is a psychopath" she hollered. "He is in a state! You have to get the hell out of here."

I jumped out of bed totally naked and started looking for my clothes when the downstairs buzzer rang.

"That's him!" she cried. "You have to go!"

Wearing only a dress shirt and underwear, I grabbed the rest of my things and popped into the stairway of the apartment building to finish getting dressed as I heard the elevator heading up. Then, I took the stairs down to the 1st floor and was ready to pop out into the sweet bliss of freedom when I saw the flashing lights of a cop car through the stairway window.

"Better wait this out for a bit," I thought.

I waited for 10 minutes but the cop car was still there, officer in the front seat. And then I waited 10 more minutes. No change. Being stuck in the stairway gave me too much time to think about my recent pattern of poor decision making. I was getting really depressed. Better to make a move and forget this ever happened. The plan was to innocently open the door, walk slowly to my car parked around the corner and quietly drive off. Even though I was still a little drunk, I didn't have far to go; I had to get from Pico and Bentley to the W Hotel in Westwood.

Just as I drove off, I heard tires screech and gasped when I saw the cops were right on my tail. I then realized a classic difference between LA and New York. In New York, if someone is on the street at 3:00 AM, it is assumed that they are heading to the Korean grocer to get a pack of ramen noodles. In LA it means you are up to no good.

My heart was pounding.

I turned left onto Olympic and then right onto Sepulveda. The cops stayed right behind me, borderline tailgating me.

I knew that any infraction would give them due cause to pull me over. I was still buzzed and feeling both tired and jacked up on adrenalin all at the same time. I made sure not to go over the speed limit, and rather than avoiding pot holes I plowed through them so it didn't seem like I was swerving and driving recklessly.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the coppers took a left on Wilshire and I was clear.

The next afternoon, bleary eyed and exhausted after restless sleep, I sat down at a generic restaurant in LAX while waiting for my flight back to NY. The waitress asked what I wanted.

"I'll have the Ni-chy-oise salad" I answered.

In good health, wine, and tequila,

— JJF


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