the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: men and women (Page 2 of 2)

Very Vague Dispatch from L.A. — #4

Possible Position Soon Available:   Rebound Woman

Wanted:   Attractive,  educated, and good-humored woman who wears glasses, but takes them off in a sexy manner, who enjoys watching Flight of the Conchords and classic James Stewart movies, being felt up while baking cookies (no oatmeal cookie lovers need apply, large nipples preferable), and angry sex against the living room wall with a depressed, unpaid blogger until he overcomes the hurt of his recent past involvement and dumps you as you become emotionally involved with him, destroying your sense of self-worth and identity, and leaving you in debt, but giving you the satisfaction of knowing that you have helped another person move on to a more realistic and fulfilling relationship.

No benefits.


There has been a lot of talk lately about CHANGE.  Voting for Obama is for Change.   Yom Kippur is this week — a time for change.   Fall is about change.   The leaves have already started to change colors in New England.   Overnight, the dress code went from t-shirts to sweaters.
I need to embrace change.  My fear of change is one of my biggest faults.  Sophia and I cannot live in limbo-land forever.  It is frustrating for both of us.  Man cannot live without woman for long.  It is one of the few Biblical statements based on fact.  Look at Adam.  He had the wondrous Garden of Eden and the first human Penis – the prototype – and still it wasn’t enough for him.

“WHAT do I do with it, brainiac?” Adam asked God in a sarcastic tone.
God did not like Adam’s pissy attitude.
“No problem,” said the Big Prankster, ” I will give you a Wo-man!  Good luck, sucker!”

Within days of Eve’s arrival, Adam was so pussywhipped that he was doing her bidding.

“Eat this Apple,” said Eve.

“What for?” asked Adam.

Eve removed the fig leaf covering her nakedness.
“F*ck!” said the dumb-as-shit Adam, as he bit the apple.  “You always win.”

It is hard being alone.  OK, I did tell you about that one sexy email experience that I had a few weeks ago.   We did have another encounter after that, but I need her approval before I write about it.  But it was more depressing than fun.   What’s the point of virtual sex?  More frustration?
“Seriously…” I said to nice girl who I don’t really know, “Why would we want to send sexy emails to each other.  We live thousands of miles apart.  We’re not going to hook up in real life.  We don’t even know each other.  It’s just going to make us feel lonelier!”

“I love it!” she said.  “There is something so sexy about frustration, a fantasy that can never be fulfilled.”

WTF?  I could hear God laughing at me, just as he once did with Adam.  You wanted Wo-man, you are stuck with her, sucker!  

Last night, I watched Now, Voyager, starring Bette Davis, on the Turner Classics channel.  This is the famous film where Paul Henreid lights two cigarettes in his mouth and hands over.  He does this not once, but about fifteen times in the course of the story.   I’ve seen this film many times and always found it a corny, melodramatic girl-flick.    But have I officially changed?  Have I become an adult who enjoys crap like this?  I was completely taken in with the story about marriage, commitment, secret love, and lust.   For the first time, I UNDERSTOOD THE STORY!   No wonder I am having such a hard time writing a script about two single guys trying to get laid.  I’m not that person anymore.  I have joined the ranks of  adult “complications” where the getting “laid” is not the goal anymore.  I’ve already gotten laid, and I know what happens afterwards.   It is Wo-man!  The apple is never free.  They are trouble.  Thanks a lot, God! 

What was I talking about in this post anyway?  Oh right, change.  You see, I can’t even stay focused on talking about “change.”  I avoid it by chatting about Adam and Eve and Adam’s penis.  Let’s get back to the point. 

I need to embrace change. 

I came to New York to embrace change.  But so far, I have failed.   All that happened was that I got into another rut, another routine.  

For example, every day I take a walk, but it is always the same path, always encountering the exact same individuals. 

My Daily Walk by Neil Kramer

I leave my mother’s apartment building.   As I step out, I run into Juan, the building’s effective but hated super.  Juan works hard for the building and takes great pride in his work, but so much so, that he thinks he owns the place.   He treats the tenants — his employers — like shit.   He yells at them for walking in the lobby after he washes the floor.  God help you if you take a short-cut across the lawn.  He sees you with his third eye.

“Get off the grass, you jerk.  I just cut it!” he bellows.

In August, I got stuck in the elevator for fifteen minutes.  It was an unsettling experience.  When he finally “rescued” me, he blamed ME for taking the elevator.

“Kramer, didn’t you know this elevator had a problem?  You’re wasting my time!  I have work to do.”

“How was I supposed to know that?” I answered, still dizzy.  “There’s no sign on the wall.”

“I’ve been telling people all week.   You need to listen!  Don’t they listen in California, or are you too busy drinking margaritas by the pool with Tom Cruise?”

The “Board of Directors” of the co-op has tried to fire Juan from his job, but he is PART OF THE UNION, which means they have to come up with some legitimate reason to dump him.   Unfortunately, he does an excellent job and is a great super.  What can they say to the union – that they want to fire him because he is rude and obnoxious?   This is New York!   The supers have more power than the tenants!

OK, back to my daily walk.

My next encounter is with Eleanor, a retired woman who sits on the benches in the courtyard between the “A” and “B” buildings of the co-op.   We live in the “A” building.  Eleanor lives in the “B” building.  Her husband has been in a wheelchair since his stroke, so the best they can do for getting out of the house is sitting outside, watching everyone walk by.    My mother also plays Mah Jongg with her on Tuesday night.

Now my regular readers have read a lot about my mother.  You all seem to “love” her.   You think she is fun.    She is fun.  She is also cool enough to read my blog every day.    But she is private.   She would never keep a blog.  When I asked her if everyone at Farrar, Straus, and Giroux had seen the pictures of her retirement party that I had posted, she said no.  She revealed to me – for the first time ever — that she never told most of her co-workers about my blog.    

“Why not?”  I asked.  “Because of the cursing?  The sex talk?”

“Nah,” she said.

“So, what’s the problem?”

“It is none of their business to know about you and Sophia.”

I learned something new.  My mother has not been forthcoming with her some of her friends about our separation.

“Are you ashamed?” I asked.

“No, of course not.   You should hear about some of their screwed up kids?  Divorced, in rehab, Scientologists… you’re pretty normal in comparison.”

But it bothered me that my mother was hiding the truth, especially with those in the apartment building.   But then, I realized – so was I!   My mother was right… why does everyone need to know your business?!    There are a lot of yentas in my building, always prying for personal information.  Whenever I meet one of these yentas in the elevator, I freeze up, knowing  that she is going to grill me like an attorney questioning a witness on “Law and Order?”

“How’s your beautiful wife — Sophia?”  one yenta asked recently.

“She’s doing fine.”

“Is she in New York with you?”

“No, she’s in LA, working.”

“You’ve been in New York a few months now, haven’t you?”


“You must miss each other.”


“Will she be coming here soon?”

Luckily, I live on the first floor, so my elevator ride is a short one.

“That’s my floor!” I shouted as I jump off.

“Send my regards to your beautiful wife, Sophia!’ 

There are some days that I take the stairs, just to avoid meeting these yentas.

I eventually convinced my mother to tell her friends at her weekly Mah Jongg game.    After all, if they are truly her “friends,” they are not going to mock her or think she did a crappy job as a mother.    I am separated.  I didn’t rob a bank.

Eleanor, the woman who sits in the back with her husband in the wheel chair, is one of those who knows the real story about why I am in New York.   After all, how long can I really be “visiting” for?  But good intentions have bad results.  Since then,  I cannot walk past Eleanor without her calling me over for one of her “helpful” lectures about marriage and relationships.

“I have been married for fifty one years,” she told me a few weeks ago, her husband nodding in the background.  “And let me tell you, it hasn’t always been easy.    But it wasn’t until about five years ago that I truly understood what marriage is all about… what makes a marriage work.  It was all because I read a book.  You must read this book.    This book changed my life.  I don’t know if you ever heard of it, but it is called… “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.”  Have you read this book?”

I have read this book and thought it was hogwash, so I lied.

“I haven’t read it.   But I have heard of it.  It is about how men and women are different.”

“Exactly.   After reading this book, everything about men and women became clear to me.  This book is as important as the Old Testament.  Let me give you an example of why.    A husband and wife are getting dressed to go to a Temple function.  Everyone who’s anyone is going to be there.  The husband says, “Let’s get going.  We’re going to be late.”  The wife is busy putting on her make-up, wanting to look her best.   The wife asks, “How do I look?”  The husband says, “Fine.  Now, let’s go.”  And then the wife is upset at her husband for the rest of the night because he said she was looking “fine” and not “beautiful.”  “What did I say?” asks the husband.    He doesn’t get it.   That’s because he is from Mars and she is from Venus.  You are from Mars.  Your wife is from Venus.  Always remember that.”

Frankly, I think a big problem with my marriage is that I’m from Venus and she’s from Mars, but I kept that to myself.

Every day, every time I take my walk, she is sitting on the bench with her husband, waiting for me.

“Did you read the book yet?” she asks.

“I’ll get it this weekend at the library.”

“You must.  You are from Mars.   She is from Venus.  Remember that.”

Only once she did try to be a matchmaker.    She has a granddaughter who is interested in television production, a “beautiful redhead” who is having trouble finding a “Jewish man with a good soul.” 

“But she’s just 22, so you are too old.” she added at the end. 

“No, she’s not,” screamed my Penis, but the muffled sound from inside my pants never reached Eleanor and her hearing aide.  Eh, her granddaughter is probably a Wo-man from Venus anyway, which does not bode well for our relationship.

Onward, with my walk.

A few blocks after meeting Eleanor, I pass another apartment complex, one for lower-income tenants.   The complex has many buildings, and looks like a typical urban housing project.   In front of one of the buildings, I always encounter Charles, a friendly tenant, working on his garden.  Charles takes great pride in caring for his flowers.   He can be interesting to talk to, but he is also mentally-challenged, so he tends to be long-winded and repetitive, going into the same details about his flowers.

“These are gladiolas,” he would say.


“I water them a lot.”

“Do they need a lot of water?”

“Yes, that’s why I water them a lot.   I use the hose, but I have to be careful not to put it too high because then the flowers don’t like it… and the manger says I use too much water… but the flowers like the water… but not too much water…”

Sometimes I speed up as I pass, giving a quick “hello,” making believe I’m in a hurry to catch the bus.   I feel like a jerk, but so what… proof that I’m not THAT nice.

As I turn the corner, I enter an area of look-alike garden apartments, townhouses, each with two families.    All summer, at the third garden apartment from the corner, sat a little Puerto Rican girl on the lawn,  who had set up a table and was selling lemonade for five cents.   On the porch, was her grandmother, watching closely.   I found this scene very quaint.  I don’t remember anyone selling lemonade when I was a child.  It seemed very middle-American, like in a Dennis the Menace comic book, not an activity you would see in New York.

For some reason, I always said hello, but never stopped for a drink.  I think the main reason was because the grandmother gave me an evil eye whenever I approached.  It sucks being a guy nowadays.  You can’t even say hello to a little girl without being thought of as a predator.    I feared  buying a cup of lemonade, thinking the grandmother would send her German Shepherd, who was waiting inside with his black eyes, to attack.

On Friday afternoon, I took my usual walk in the neighborhood.    It was the same as every day.   I met Juan, the cranky super, Eleanor, the Men are from Mars Yenta, and Charles, the retarded gardener.      The sun had come out, giving New York one last gasp of summer before Fall took permanent residence.    As I rounded the corner, I noticed that the Puerto Rican girl was still in business.    I figured that today would be her last hurrah as the colder weather crept in, and the lemonade lovers went into hibernation.

I thought about my daily walks all summer.  Always the same.   Same path.  Same actions. 

“Whatever happened to my commitment to change?” I asked myself.   

I decided to break the pattern.  No more procrastinating.  I was going to start my change NOW.  I was going to fight my fears and have myself a lemonade before it was too late.  After a summer of passing by the little girl with just a smile, I was going to act.  This would have a domino effect on my life, creating changes everywhere as one tile fell, creating a chain reaction in my brain and in my heart.

I stepped onto the lawn and approached the little girl.

“I’ll have a cup of lemonade.” I said.

The grandmother, who was sitting on a rattan chair reading the National Enquirer, put down the paper, and leaned forward, her neck stretching outwards like that of a Bald Eagle.

As the girl poured me some of her lemonade from a plastic Tupperware pitcher into a Dixie cup, I realized that I had been reading the price wrong since day one.  It was 50 cents a cup.  The cardboard sign was folded, making me think it was just 5 cents .   50 cents for a Dixie cup of lemonade?  I thought it was a bit of a rip-off, but maybe I was living in the past.   After all, Lucy from the Peanuts used to give Psychiatric Advice for 5 cents.   Now, I bet she is $200 an hour!

But I didn’t protest.  This cup of lemonade was not to quench my thirst.  It was a symbol of change.

The little girl handed me my drink.  I handed her two quarters.  I had a tremendous urge to make some sort of traditional toast before I drank the elixir from my holy grail, the way I might before drinking wine at a wedding or at a Passover seder.    I lifted my glass to the young girl, making sure I kept my distance for the sake of the staring grandmother.

“Thank you sincerely for this fine lemonade.”  I said, speaking in a pompous tone, as if I was performing in a Shakespeare play at the Old Globe.  “My I just say that this lemonade is extremely important to me today.  It is more than a cool drink on a hot day.  It is about CHANGE.”

“No change,” the little girl said, angrily.  “It is FIFTY cents.”

“I didn’t mean that.”  I muttered.

The grandmother stood up, her National Enquirer falling to the ground, her hungry dog appearing behind the screen door of her garden apartment.

“Is there anything wrong, Lizzie?” she asked.

“He paid fifty cents.   Now he wants CHANGE!”

“NO CHANGE.  NO CHANGE!” yelled the grandmother.

I wanted to explain more, but it was hopeless, and I could already see the dog salivating. I drank my lemonade, and quickly left.

Any adventure requires an obstacle, and here was mine.    Just when I made the choice to change, the forces of the status quo were striking back, telling me “NO CHANGE.  NO CHANGE!”

Well, screw you, forces of the status quo.  Just you wait!

The Sexy Email Exchange

Hi, this is Neil’s Talking Penis.  Remember when I used to post ALL the time on “Citizen of the Month?”  You haven’t heard from me in quite a while.   Why?   Well, frankly, there has been nothing to report.  Unlike Neilochka, who likes to hear himself talk, I only speak when I have something to say.

Another reason is that Neilochka has been infringing on my free speech.  He hated all the attention I got back in the good ol’ blogging days, when he was mostly known as “the guy who wrote the Talking Penis blog.”  Now he wants to be more “sophisticated,” like the classy bloggers who get book deals.  He doesn’t realize that the only freakin’ book deal that he’s ever gonna get is a book about ME!

Neurotic Jewish guy from New York — BORING! Seen it, done it, read it — snore!   But — Opinionated hard-on with a knowledge of the Kama Sutra, fine wines, and 80’s music? Now that is a best-seller!

Today, I have returned to the Blogosphere to complain about Neilochka.  He does not deserve to have me.  It is like serving the finest steak to an anorexic vegetarian.  It is like buying shoes for someone with no legs.  It is like writing a comment on Dooce’s blog, expecting one in return.

So, sit back, grab a Diet Coke, and let me tell my tale of how pathetic Neilochka can be:

Last week, Neilochka received an email from a nice, very attractive, intelligent, single girl in her thirties who lived in another part of the country.  She was a blogger who he had only read infrequently.  She knew about his frustrations living away from Sophia.  She also had her own frustrations.  She had recently broken up with her boyfriend.  In a polite manner, she suggested a remedy —

“…how would you like to send “sexy” emails to each other? Believe me, I have never done this before. I hope you are not offended. It would be fine if you said no. I just thought it would both do us some good… and it might be fun.”

Neilochka stared at the monitor for a long, long time.  He had never received an email like this, other than spam trying to sell him Viagra.  Neilochka has emailed and IM-ed with many female bloggers, but usually it about them complaining about their boyfriends and husbands, not wanting virtual sex talk.

Neilochka went to this girl’s blog and read a few posts. She seemed totally normal.

I screamed to Neilochka from inside his pants.

“Do it! Do it! For god’s sake, do it!  It is better than me sitting around her doing nothing but playing Sudoko with myself!”

Neilochka, as expected from a man who never takes action without mulling over it for ever, took forever to take a baby step.  He emailed the girl back.

“Hi, there!  Thanks for the email.  I am very flattered.  And it is very brave of you to be so assertive, especially for a woman.  I think it is really cool…”

And then he blabbed on some more, ass-kissing her and comparing her to what he loved so much about Sophia, exactly the wrong thing to be saying to a horny babe who obviously wants some sex talk.

She emailed back, saying that she loved his blog.  That was very clever on her part, as every guy loves to have his ego stroked.

But Neilochka, still with his head in his ass, emailed back, saying that he’s not sure he is the “right person to be doing this with.”

“I mean even though I’m separated, I’m still technically married, even though I am living apart, but I still…oh, I don’t know…”

After I bit Neilochka on the leg, he quickly changed his mind —

“Why not — let’s give it a shot!”

I did a little happy dance in his pants.

Now from my experience, women like a confident man in the bedroom.  It is like ballroom dancing — there are times where the man should lead.  Every romance novel has a man carrying his woman into the bedroom, sometimes even against her will.

“You brute!”

But then he kisses her, and she changes her mind, as quickly as Joe Lieberman changes political parties.

“Take me now, you hunk of manhood!”

Sadly, Neilochka is not that kind of man.  Ask Sophia.  Wait, forget that. Do NOT ask her.

Neilochka worries too much.  About making everyone happy.  If he was smart he would just worry about satisfying one person — me!

So, instead of Neilochka writing back —

“I am so hot thinking about you, I can’t wait any longer.  I want you.  I am ripping open your blouse – I don’t care how much it cost at Nordstrom — my hands NEED to explore your every curve…”

He wrote back a lame, flaccid message —

“So, what do we do now? Are there some… like… rules?”

You ever hear a Penis sigh like Charlie Brown.  Good Grief.

Neilochka waited for the return email.  She finally wrote back:

“Rules? Well, I am reading over the rulebook now, peering over the top of the book with my librarian glasses.”

Neilochka was impressed.  She used the word “peering” which is a cool word.  And he always had a thing for those sexy librarian types, who pull down their hair.  Neilochka decided he should show the girl that they were relating well —

“We have a lot in common! I wear glasses too!”

WTF?! A minute later, there was an email response.  The mood had changed.

“I just wanted to tell you, so you’re not disappointed later, but I really don’t wear glasses.”

Neilochka appreciated her honesty.

“That’s OK.  You have virtual glasses!  Cheaper that way.  Glasses are so expensive nowadays. Guess how much my glasses cost?”

Her response —


Neilochka’s response — (It was turning into a game show)

“No, almost $600. I have astigmatism so I had to get these superlight lenses from Germany.”

Neilochka and the girl exchanged a few more emails about the eyeglasses.

I was going crazy.

“Forget the optometry talk!  Talk about her tits.  Say you want to stick your face in her p***y!  She wants to get virtually f**ked, not talk about Lenscrafters!”

I tried to remind Neilochka to keep his eye on the prize, and not to let this unique opportunity fall off a loser’s cliff.

And then, IT HAPPENED.

It was 6PM. Neilochka’s mother called from the kitchen.

“Neil? You want dinner?”

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, at this point Neilochka sent this hot and horny girl the ultimate sex-killing email — a statement that should be written on his tombstone as a warning to future generations of men —

“My mother is calling me for dinner. Gotta go!”

“OK. Later!”

Three days passed until Neilochka remembered about the emails.  Three days!  Let me just repeat it to you to show you how pathetic this is — Some intelligent, hot babe WANTS to send horny emails back and forth with a man — even initiates it — and praises his lame-ass blog — and she tells him that HE TURNS HER ON — and he actually FORGETS about it for three days?!

You would think after this utter disaster that Neilochka would say “I’m sorry” TO ME?!  But no!

He thinks about the girl.

“Should I apologize to her?” he asks himself.  “It wasn’t that I wasn’t attracted to her.  Well, actually that WAS the problem.  I wasn’t really attracted to some person I hardly know. Maybe if we IM-ed for a couple of months –”

Oh yeah.  Cool Hand Neilochka.  Maybe if they IM-ed for a couple of months, and then exchanged photos, and then spoke on the phone, and then sent Christmas-Hanukkah cards, and then went to the movies a couple of times, and then watched “Dancing with the Stars” at night, laughing at Susan Lucci, and then kissed under the stars during a fireworks display–


Yesterday, Neilochka emailed the girl.  They both laughed about the sexy email exchange.  They both thought it was their fault that it was so short-lived.  He did ask if she was wearing a bra, but that was as far as the sex-talk went.  She wasn’t.

And then, of course, Neil asked the most important question of all:

“If I don’t use your name, can I, uh… blog about this?”

What I Can Teach Neil About Making a Women Really Really Happy!

Today’s guest poster is Linsey from Uncouth Heathen.  I knew she was special from the minute I read her About page:  “I began with a major in Biochemistry, switched to History, then Political Science, Philosophy, Psychology, English and finally settled on Humanities, graduating after eleven (11) years of haphazard learning. I now possess a degree that qualifies me to do exactly nothing at all.”  Now that’s my kind of blogger.  When I noticed that she was gay, I decided to get personal — and make her write an entire post for my benefit:  “What I Can Teach Neil abut Making a Women Really Really Happy! ” After all,  most of my male blogging comrades seem to be clueless.  “If you want to impress a woman online, send her a photo of dick!” said one guy.   “The way to make a woman happy is to jump on her the first thing in the morning and three minutes later ask “What’s for breakfast?”  Oh, and driving her around in a sports car.” said some male blogger who went to BlogHer this year to pick up women.  Linsey ended up writing a wonderful post that completely gets to the point.  It also taught me something important.  Linsey, why aren’t you a therapist?

What I Can Teach Neil abut Making a Women Really Really Happy! (or “For The Record, Asking If She’d Have Sex With A Mannequin Will Only Make Her Really, Really Uncomfortable”) by Linsey

Before I started to write this on Sunday night, I asked my wife, Janie, if she was happy. I didn’t tell her why I was asking because I wanted an honest answer. Perhaps I wanted to feel like I had something to say here and her happiness was some sort of special credential I needed to carry on. I was certain she’d tell me she has never been happier in all her life; that she would go on about how every day with me is like nothing else in the world that matters and nothing can dampen her joy, not even the asshole who keeps cooking hamburgers in the bathroom at her work. As it turns out, my wife is not happy, generally speaking. Ain’t love a bitch. Thank you, Mr. Citizen of the Month!

After a long discussion into the wee hours of Monday morning about how Janie can be happier, I decided to attack it at another angle. I thought I’d get better feedback (feedback that didn’t involve my crying wife asking me how she could have wasted her best years) from my sister and her husband who have been married for over ten years. On our ride into work Monday morning, I asked them what they thought it took to make a woman really, really happy. My brother-in-law said that asking a question like that was akin to asking who God was. My sister shot him a look the likes of which I hope never to see again, there was some cursing, a few hurtful things were said at high volumes and then they stopped talking for the last 15 minutes of the ride.

On Tuesday night, I asked my dad how he has managed to keep my mom happy for the 41 years they’ve been married. He couldn’t hear me. His eardrums are damaged from 41 years of my mother’s screaming and I suspect that his refusal to get a hearing aid has something to do with that, too. I can’t ask my brother because we don’t talk anymore. Besides, his current girlfriend has broken up with him no less than 30 times in the last year and, well, that doesn’t sound like happiness, to me.

If you’re looking for an answer from me or anyone in my family, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. I’m with comedian Wanda Sykes on this one: “You can’t make a woman happy. That’s like trying to cure a fatal disease. The goal is to treat the symptoms so you can comfortably live with the illness.”

What I think she means is that I am not responsible for the happiness of any woman other than myself. That’s the same thing my therapist has been telling me for five solid years. What I guess I’m trying to say to you, Neil, is that you can’t be responsible for the happiness of any other woman than yourself, either.

In the absence of any personal or familial wisdom on the matter, I did some serious Internet research and found this article dating back to the summer of 2006. If you don’t want to bother reading it, let me just skip to the part I think you may want to know. The article quotes a gentleman who heads up something called the Happiness Project wherein he states that “the major cause of unhappiness for women in the 21st century is a lack of meaning: What’s the point?” Maybe if you want to make a woman really, really happy you have to help her find meaning. But you know what? You can’t always help someone find meaning in their life. Like my wife, for example. She’s a librarian. She has a degree in motherfucking Information Science and she hates that god damn library. That doesn’t have anything to do with this, I just wanted to say that because what the hell is that about? I want my $20,000 in graduate school payments back, with that attitude.

Next, I came across this BBC article from 2002, wherein so-called scientists “discovered” that semen makes women happy because “the mood-altering hormones in semen absorbed through the vagina help to boost women’s mood.” What this looks like to me is that some guy got tired of wearing a rubber and wanted to prove to his girlfriend that really, in the end, it was going to benefit her. Sure, there’s the off-chance there might be unwanted children or a burning itch in her genitalia, but she’ll be so happy on account of that semen that nothing else will matter! Well, let me just tell you something to prove this bullshit wrong, and it isn’t about me and how happy I am without semen in my life because, you know, if I had some of that I’d impregnate my wife and save us a few thousand dollars in fertility treatments. I’d be able to spend that fertility money on better things like booze and Ikea furniture. Let me share a story about my friend. We’ll call her Karen. You see, Karen and her husband are trying to have a baby. Trying really hard. They’ve each had fertility tests, she’s had surgeries and, apparently, a lot of the sexual relations, but she’s not happy. A neighbor recently offered her husband a “#1 Dad” Mariners t-shirt and she started to cry because she thought he was mocking their misfortune, their inability to have the child they so desperately want. A child they’ve been having so much sex in an attempt to conceive that she should be shitting rainbows and unicorns and mountains of whatever mythical creature signifies happiness to you, on account of all that sperm being showered into her vagina. But she’s not. In fact, she’s now refusing to allow semen into her body more than once per week because, in her words, “please, who needs that much spunk in their hoo-ha?” It doesn’t seem like semen is the answer to me, or to Karen.

The search for meaning seems like a good starting point to finding happiness. I know that I’m constantly searching for meaning. Why am I here? What is this life all about? Why is Living Lohan still on the air? There are so many questions and, I believe, we are all asking them, conscious or not. If you want to make a woman happy, you need to work on two separate things: First, search for your own answers, and then help her along, supporting her as you travel that path together. The reward of relationships is the journey, in discovering together what it means to be alive, to have a purpose. It’s like they always say in those episodes of (NERD ALERT!) Janie’s favorite show, Xena: Warrior Princess, especially the ones where I’m certain that during the commercial breaks Xena and Gabrielle are enjoying relating to one another, if you know what I mean. And what I mean is that they’re sweaty and naked and having dirty homosexual lesbian lady gay sex. I’m sorry, I got distracted. Lucy Lawless has the nicest teeth. Anyhow, relationships are about what you can learn from one another, how each can make the other a better person. It’s like how Xena is less murdery because Gabrielle is such a pussy and how Gabrielle finally learned how to kick a guy in the balls because Xena told her where they were. Lesbians don’t always know that sort of thing.

The truth is that I don’t know how you or anyone else can make a woman really, really happy. I know that I’m happiest when I find a purpose to my existence, however small it may be. Tonight I brought my beautiful wife some M&Ms because she was having a bad day. When I gave them to her, she looked at me with joy in her eyes and said that I always knew just what she needed at any given time. For that brief moment I knew my purpose was to bring bags of candy-coated chocolate pellets to the woman I love. Then she took her shirt off to reward me and I had a whole new purpose that I can’t talk about here.

Not Playing By The Rules

Important Update: Monday 1:15PM — Before you read any further, I have been reminded by a friendly caller from the Los Angeles area that I have called HER as much as she has called ME, and that this post is completely one-sided.    She is right.   OK, now continue:

Important Update 2:  When Sophia called about the lizard in the garage, she just wanted to tell the story.  She never asked me for advice on how to capture it or to insinuate that I should do anything to help her — other than look on the internet and google “lizards.”

I am going to get in so much trouble for this post, so be nice and don’t take sides.  These are more philosophical questions than anything else.

When a married couple separates and moves 3000 miles away from each other to “get some space,” is it really appropriate for the female party to call twice a day and then get upset if the male party would rather chat with some blogger than play online backgammon with her?

If a man is walking in Manhattan enjoying the sites and he gets a call from his separated wife 3000 miles away that there is a “lizard” in the garage, what the hell is he supposed to do?  Take a flight home to kill it?

If a man buys a webcam at Radio Shack (on sale!) thinking he might “communicate” with his separated wife 3000 miles away on Saturday night, is that wrong?

Other than that, I’m doing pretty good.  I forgot what being with myself all the time was all about.  Well, myself… with my mother cooking dinner.   OK, I know that is hurting my sexy quotient with some of you, so let’s just keep the information about me living here with my mother for the summer very quiet… at least until BlogHer is over.   From now on, I will refer to her as “the older hipster/roommate who was written about in the New Yorker magazine.”

On Saturday night, I went into “the city” and met a group of really cool bloggers — Miss Britt, Karl, NYC Watchdog, Poppy Cedes, Cissa Fireheart, and hellohahanarf, as well as some strange overly-friendly guy we met walking on the street who ended up coming to dinner with us and hitting on both Karl and hellohahanarf!

I always find it so much fun to meet bloggers for the first time.    Sometimes, they are more shy than their online personality.  Other times, it is the complete opposite.  It is always the one who writes the knitting blog who ends up standing on the bar stool, waving her blouse in the air.  Unfortunately, nothing that dramatic happened on Saturday night, other than someone kissing that strange guy we met on the street.   The New York heat was oppressive, so we didn’t want to walk too much (Note to visitors:  come to New York in the fall, spring, and winter.   Avoid the summer!   This is when everyone leaves.)   We ended up in a karaoke bar.  It was a decent place, but the contigent from Florida was insulted that they charged two dollars just to sing a song.

Welcome to New York City!

The Last Few Days

Valentine’s Day has always been tough for us.   The pressure of Valentine’s Day, with all the hullabaloo and candy-giving, makes us question our already unsteady relationship.  How can we ever live up to the romantic images on those Hallmark cards? 

Sophia and I got into a fight on the night before Valentine’s Day.   I went to find somewhere else to sleep.   I felt uncomfortable calling up a friend, so I drove to the nearest Holiday Inn to see if they had any availability.  All the rooms were booked except for the “Honeymoon Suite” with a Jacuzzi for $250 dollars.  See: Irony.  I was too tired to keep on driving, so I went back home and parked my car in the driveway, exactly where I started.  I went into the backseat, curled up, and decided to go to sleep, using my sweater as a pillow.  I had always heard of people sleeping in their car.  Hey, it was almost cool – like I was in a rock band!   I was woken up a few hours later by the metallic sounds of a torrential rain storm pounding on the roof of the car.  I felt like I was stuck in a car wash that had been taken over by HAL from 2001.  It was noisy, the rain and wind shaking the car.  I don’t know how I did it, but I fell asleep again.

In the morning, I woke up.  Have any of you ever opened your eyes in the morning and realized that you were sleeping in the back seat of your car?  If you have, you will understand how I felt.  I stumbled out of the car, my legs all stiff and asleep.  Standing a few feet away was my next door neighbor, a well-dressed attorney in her business suit, heading for her Lexus.  I stuck my head back into the car, moving my hands back and forth, making believe that she just caught me “cleaning out the back seat” of the car.

“Good Morning, Lindsay,” I said.

“Hello, Neil.” she said, sternly. 

I’m not sure I fooled her – at all.

I walked over to Starbucks, where I peed and washed my face, like a homeless man, feeling like Starbucks Inc. owed me for all those overpriced lattes.  A few hours later, I headed to Beverly Hills for a meeting with a Hollywood producer!   The meeting went well.  Maybe he mistook the “fire in my eyes” for my bloodshot look from sleeping in the car.

I’ve been in a hotel since then.  

Why am I telling you all this?  I probably shouldn’t be.  I have all these new, wonderful people coming here to read interviews, so it is a bit uncomfortable airing my dirty laundry, but as every blogger knows, a personal blog is about both the good and bad of life.  We’ve all been there, and I am inspired by the openness of many of you.

I love Sophia.   We have some problems.  Some of you have been reading about us for three years now.  We both attend therapy, but are finding it difficult to fix things.  Maybe living together while “separated” is not the answer.

Who’s at fault here?   Well,  you would hear very different stories depending on who told the tale, but basically we are both responsible for our own marriage. 

Today is Sophia’s birthday.   She’s probably upset.  I hope I get to see her later, but if I don’t, I hope she does something fun to celebrate her special day.  Please wish Sophia a happy birthday.  She’s a big part of this blog and I know many of you care about her.  

Happy birthday, Sophia.

I Love You


This afternoon, Sophia and I watched some reality/food TV show called “Take Home Chef” on TLC. In the show, hunky Australian-British chef, Curtis Stone, accosts clueless women shopping in a Los Angeles supermarket and invites himself over to their home to cook an elegant meal. In the episode we saw, Curtis finds a pretty brunette in the cereal aisle, a stay-at-home mommyblogger in the making, who finds it impossible to say no to Curtis’s offer of a “surprise” dinner for her vegetarian husband (or be on TV).

As Angelenos, Sophia and I recognized the supermarket as the upscale “Gelson’s Market” which must have assured the producers that the “victim” would be in the right upscale demographic. As Curtis and the wife drive home (from now on I will refer to her as FM — future mommyblogger), Curtis asks FM to call her husband to make sure he won’t be home until five o’clock, plenty of time to prepare the surprise meal.

FM calls her husband on the phone. They blab a bit. Before FM hangs up, the husband says, “I love you,” and FM answers, “I love you, too.” How cute!

Later, in the show, as Curtis prepares his eggplant and risotto, FM calls her husband again, to double check his arrival time. Just like before, the conversation ends with mutual “I love you”‘s.

As Sophia and I sat on the couch, watching this nonsense:

Neil: “Did you see how they always said “I love you” to each other? Every single time. Maybe that was our problem. Maybe we didn’t say “I love you” enough.”

Sophia: “We always said, “I love you.”

Neil: “But not after every phone call.”

Sophia: “That was not our problem.”

Neil: “Maybe we should try their technique. Always saying “I love you” at the end of every phone call.”

Sophia: “Now?”

Neil: “Why not?”

Sophia: “We’re separated. Just because you’re here doesn’t change our status.”

Neil: “We still love each other, right?”

Sophia: “Sure… but…”

Neil: “Maybe this will just help us to relate better…”

Sophia: “It’s cute, but…”

Neil: “But don’t you love me, regardless of…”

Eventually, I wore Sophia down and she agreed to try my experiment.

The rest of the TV show sucked. The dopey husband came home to his big surprise, tried to look happy while really looking pissed, and the couple ate their vegetarian meal while Curtis said goodbye and left their lives forever.

Later, I went to Starbucks for a cup of coffee. As I tried to do the crossword puzzle, Sophia called me up and asked me to pick up some groceries at the supermarket (not Gelson’s).

Neil: “Sure.”

Sophia: “Thanks.”

Neil: “I love you, Sophia.”

Sophia: “Oh, right. I love you, too.”

As I drove to the supermarket, Sophia called me again.

Sophia: “You know, I’m actually pretty hungry now. Rather than going to the supermarket, could you go to the Thai restaurant and bring back some soup and a noodle dish?”

Neil: “OK.”

Sophia: “I’ll see you soon.”

Neil: “Wait… wait…”

Sophia: “Yes… yes, I love you.”

Neil: “I love you, too.”

I made it to our favorite Thai restaurant, which we think is run by three Thai teenagers, who take turns cooking, serving, and singing Thai karaoke.

I ordered some spicy noodles.

“What type of meat?” asked Thai Teenager #1.

I called Sophia on the phone and asked her the same question. She wanted “beef.”

“Beef,” I told the Thai Teenager, then sat down to wait for my order. As I listened to Thai Teenager #2 singing some Thai disco song, I realized that something was wrong with the world. I quickly dialed up Sophia on the phone.

Neil: “You forgot to say “I love you.” at the end of the last conversation.”

Sophia: “No, I did say it. But you hung up too quickly to hear it.”

Neil: “No, you didn’t. I said “I love you,” and then I was waiting for your response.”

Sophia: “You never said ‘I love you!” You asked me “What type of meat?” I said “Beef.” And then you hung up.”

Neil: “No, you said, “Beef.” I said, “I love you.” And then nothing.”

Sophia: “You’re crazy. You didn’t say anything after I said “Beef.””

Neil: “Maybe you didn’t hear me. Maybe it was the reception. Or you thought I said “Beef” when I said “I love you.””

Sophia: “I’m not going to mistake “Beef” for “I love you.””

Despite wanting to continue with my experiment, I knew this was not for us.

Neil: “You know what? I think if we continue saying ‘I love you” after every phone call, we’re not only going to get divorced, we won’t even want to talk to each other.”

Sophia: “Thank God you realize that!”

Neil: “Do you want white rice or brown rice?”

Sophia: “Brown rice.”

Neil: “OK, see you soon.”

Sophia: “Bye.”

Later, I went home and we enjoyed our Thai food lovingly prepared by Thai Teenager #3. The rest of the night was very nice and we didn’t say “I love you” even once.

Sometimes, love is never having to say “I love you.”

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: Dating for Liberals

What Size Dress Would I Wear?


I recently ate in this breakfast place called CJ’s Cafe (5501 Pico Blvd.).   It’s been on this corner for years, but I always passed it and never thought of going inside.  To be honest, the reason I never went in was that it seemed like a black and Latino hangout and wasn’t sure if I would be welcome.    Finally, I said to hell with it.  This is L.A.   They’d be happy to take my money, too.  I went inside, and found myself in a simple, but comfortable cafe.  I really liked the place and I had a great breakfast (an omelette with spicy turkey sausage). 

Today, Sophia was passing by my apartment on the way to a job.  I suggested we try CJ’s together.   We got to the cafe at 7:30 AM when most of the customers were blue-collar guys who worked at the body shops and carpet stores on Pico Blvd. 

Sophia had a meeting later in the day, so she was wearing a new dress that was flowery and tight.  As we walked inside, every guy turned to check her out.   These guys were not shy about it.    These guys ogled her breasts.  As the waitress took us to our table, their eyes followed her ass.   As we sat down, I leaned over and quietly whispered to Sophia:

"Those guys were really checking you out."

"I know," she said, smiling.

I felt jealous — but not of the men looking at Sophia, the woman I shared a bed with for years.   No, if anything — I was jealous of Sophia.   I’ve never had the opportunity of stepping into a room filled with women and have them check me out head to toe.  I have a feeling that even if I looked like Brad Pitt,  it wouldn’t happen.  I know it’s politically incorrect to talk about gender differences, but men and women are wired differently.  

Although I don’t often show it, I have a flamboyant streak in me.  I’d like to walk down the street wearing some cool flowing outfit and have the women "ooh" at my presence.   I wouldn’t be surprised if they found out one day that gay men became gay not because they like sleeping with men, but because they can wear yellow in public.

As I sat in CJ’s with Sophia, I thought about what it would be like to be a woman for a while  — sort of like those awful body switch comedies they made in the 1980’s.  And I don’t mean just dressing up like a woman, like in Tootsie.  I mean actually be a full-fledged woman, hopefully a sexy one with a great ass.   Don’t get me wrong, I love being a guy.  I’m just curious to learn more about the world of a woman.   Would I like wearing high heels?   Would I get a bikini wax?  What does a period really feel like?    I wouldn’t mind having breasts to play with.  

But would I really want to sleep with… a man?   Yuch.  Men are so hairy… and they smell bad.

I would’ve been too embarrassed to write this post, that is until I accidentally found a talented female blogger from  Albuquerque named Jo-Anne who was asking the same question — from a woman’s POV.   She was wondering what it would be like to be a man.     I know my female readers are obsessed about penises.   Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have one hanging there?  Would it be fun to aim and pee?  Would you really want to feel like a man — with all that testosterone? 

Have you ever wished to be the opposite sex — just for a little while?

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