Last week I went to New York City to give a talk on dating for seniors. It was my first trip to the city without friends or a conference to attend so I spent way too much time stressing. How comfortable would I feel wandering around alone? What part of the city should I stay in? And so on.
As it turned out I shouldn’t have worried a bit. I’ve been to big cities alone, but New York seemed bigger and more formidable. It was a piece of cake. My boutique hotel was in a lovely part of Manhattan–a block away from the Peninsula and St. Regis hotels and situated near nice restaurants on safe streets. Yes, I went to the Peninsula–most expensive glass of bourbon I’ve ever had.
But what was more memorable, in some ways, were the varied conversations I initiated with the men I ran into along the way. Wednesday night a nice looking guy leaned away from his dinner meeting, at the table next to mine, to catch my eye and talk a little. I had overheard him say something about sex and swinging, I think, so I started that conversation. Sadly, he was married.
Thursday night I gave my presentation at the Center for Ethical Culture, a block away from the Lincoln Center. After running overtime answering questions and listening to the crowd of older women (and 2 men), I wandered up the street to a recommended bar where I ran into the prototypical Sleazy Man in a Bar. In his mid-40s, he lacked discernment, sensitivity and the ability to keep his mouth shut. Or his hands to himself. The only positive I can find in this is that he was undeterred by my age! Fortunately, the nice couple to my left rescued me, offering me a ride in their taxi, as Mr. Gold Chain kept moving in, arm around my chair, leaning in and protesting that he’d be glad to give me a ride. I’m sure I could have managed the situation, but it was nice to have someone come to my rescue. Mr. G. C. was a good example of how not to pick up a woman…and for women, a study in how to tell if a man will be a good lover or not. (Article to follow)
The mistake was mine, so I accept that the above man may have misinterpreted me. He asked me what I did? Why was I in NYC? Yada, yada, so I told him. He heard the word SEX and took off from there! I need to craft a plausible alternate story for the next such occurrence.
I like telling people what I do because of the conversations that typically follow. I’m not embarrassed about my work, to the contrary, I could become the Sex Ambassador to compliment my title of Sex Goddess. After leaving the bar, my rescuer escorted me to his cab, dropping me off about a block from my hotel. I wasn’t sure whether to go left or right and it was too late to be fumbling around with Google maps so I stopped 2 nice guys on the street (gasp) and asked directions. They offered to walk me down the street and we had a conversation that started with, Where are you from? And, what are you doing in the city? We ended up in a bar at my suggestion where one of the guys bought us a round of drinks and we talked about sex. Delightful to hear their perspective. One of the guys, I’m guessing mid 30’s, was really proud of his ability to get an erection–8 times in one night and wanted to share that with me. My suggestion that ‘we’ broaden our idea of good sex to incorporate more than intercourse fell on deaf ears. Fascinating. It was a late night, but great fun. And informative.
Saturday I met one of my editors at a cute little coffee/pastry shop in Soho, Once Upon a Tart. If I were blogging again that would be the name I’d choose. After our visit, I meandered around Soho and popped into a hip restaurant for a late lunch where I met 2 male couples; all four dressed in navy blue shirts. I had to ask! They had come to NYC to see Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga and were full of energy and chit chat. The man closest to me began talking about sex from the point of view of his experience growing up in an open household, as compared to his partner’s very conservative upbringing. Again, a glimpse into the world of male sexuality.
What I loved about the whole big-city experience, aside from seeing the look on someone’s face when I explain my work in sexuality, was the ease with which people were able to talk about sex. Sure, in a couple of cases it was ego-driven. Overall, there was a sincerity about it that revealed a genuine desire to understand our sexuality. I think I make people comfortable by normalizing sex and taking it out of the prurient and making it accessible. And acceptable. Men open up to me; they ask questions and they talk about sex as it really is–a real life, normal thing.
As for Mr. Gold Chain? Well, because I brushed him off, I deprived both of us of that ‘teachable’ moment where I explained how to draw a woman’s attention, not repulse her. He was never going to score with me, but I hope he has some idea of what he missed out on.