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June 21, 2001

When Booty Calls

http://www.jewishjournal.com/singles/article/when_booty_calls_20010622

Sometimes, a Booty Call can sneak up on you.

Case in point: a second date with a guy I met at a bookstore. He was running late, called to say he'd have to baby-sit his niece and nephew and wouldn't be available until after 10 p.m.

No problem, I said, grateful to be able to watch the tail end of a "Law & Order" rerun.

He arrived, and I got a little nervous when, instead of sitting in a chair or on the couch, he sprawled out on my rug, making himself very, very comfortable.

"Do you have an Aleve?" he inquired.

"Is that like an Advil?" I asked.

"No, no. It's nothing like an Advil. It's way, way better, it's..." he trailed off, in that defeated, my-dad's-a-doctor-and-you'd-never-understand- basic-pharmacology sort of tone.

I gave the guy a subpar Advil for his "headache," and he ambushed me with, "Do you have any wine?"

Now, I know what you're thinking. When a guy comes over to take you out for a drink, and instead requests Aleve and a bottle of wine, perhaps he's not really going to work out.

Luckily for him, I can turn giving a guy the benefit of the doubt into a six-month relationship. I give out slack like Mother Teresa gave out hugs to leprous babies. He's got a headache, I thought. Poor guy. Can't face driving to a bar. He can't be that bad, I told myself. He went to Harvard (as Harvard alum generally point out in some unit of time shorter than a nanosecond after meeting you); he reads Stephen Jay Gould, he teaches at a Jewish day school. Is this the profile of a player?

I poured him a drink, and we talked for a couple of hours. I started to relax, as there were no other obvious dating violations to ignore. That's when he took himself on an uninvited tour of my apartment.

"How much do you pay for this place?" he asked, strolling down the hallway into my bedroom. I followed him nervously and watched, horrified, as he flopped down on my bed. On my bed.

When he pulled out the old "I think we're both attracted to each other," it all came together; there was the headache, the stopping by at a late hour to not take me out for a drink, the flopping on my bed. This, my friends, was a textbook Booty Call.

"What's the problem?" he asked. To which I replied that I'm really not a Booty Call kind of girl, that I'd need to get to know him, that there would have to be some sort of courtship.

"Like, what, you want me to come over and paint your bathroom or something?"

That would be a start.

I walked him out, and I've never wanted to Lysol my bed so much in my life. Nothing had happened, but I was still two degrees of grossed out away from slumping down in my shower with a loofah and some Ajax. Of course, we have another date next week, but that's something I'll have to take up with a well-qualified therapist.

Just a week before the ill-fated Accidental Booty Call, I met a guy at a party. He had enormous hands and, for a guy that handsome, a decent sense of humor.

"Would it be OK if I kissed you right now?" he asked.

"Uh, no," I said. Embarrassed, he pointed out that several women had given him a dressing down for not -- well, dressing them down -- fast enough.

The point is, everyone's in a big hurry, aren't they? I have to include myself. While I'm not into Booty Calls, I have been guilty of wanting to rush the emotional quotient of relationships, as in: add water, make instant boyfriend.

If I were writing a doctoral thesis, I might suggest that my generation is influenced by our consumer society, by fast modems, cell phones, PalmPilots, Amazon.com and Federal Express. We're accustomed to convenience. We want our social lives to be as trouble-free as getting a Happy Meal at the drive-through, extra sauce, hold the bathroom painting.

Somewhere inside of us, we must know that the important things can't be rushed. Still, we rush. Maybe we're not just hurrying to get to the good stuff, but also sparing ourselves the emotional exposure that comes from getting to know someone, putting in the time.

Let's look at the case of Mr. Aleve. Let's say he had taken me out for that drink, painted my bathroom, met my mother, petted my cat, written me a love letter or two. What if, after all that, I rejected him? Now, this is unlikely, due to my aforementioned affinity for slack-giving, but he doesn't know that.

When you rush in, you get to the soft chewy center with a minimized output of emotional energy. You risk little.

You just never reap the rewards of plodding effort and dedication, the kind of dedication you need to stage a prison break, write a novel, grow an orchid, forge a friendship, or even just paint a bathroom.

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