Posted by Elliot Steingart
I was asked to sit on a panel about being single. I’m like an expert at not having a girlfriend. I’m honored and look forward to sharing personal stories about my sex life in front of strangers, like when I perform comedy.
I have nothing to hide, and try to always be honest. I would say I’m honest except if I’m uncomfortable telling the truth. At the end of the work day on Friday our CEO’s daughter and her Girl Scout troop infiltrated my cube.
“Do you want to buy some Girl Scout cookies?”
“Sorry girls, I don’t have any money on me.”
“Oh! That’s okay. You can pay when you get the cookies!”
I was caught in a lie, so I told the truth. “Thanks, but I’m trying to lose weight.”
The girls ran off to Matt’s cubicle where I overhead them giggle and shout “He’s not buying cookies! He wants to lose weight!”
I was the only one in the office to reject these cute little girls right to their face. I felt bad, and as I was leaving I overheard one of the scout’s mothers announce the proceeds of the cookie sales will be sent to the troops. I left for the weekend rather quickly!
I appreciate being honest because it gives an indication of just how weird you are. I’m fine being vulnerable if it leads to sex. There are so many girls in their 20’s around town who’ve gotten to know me. They didn’t sleep with me, but at least they know how I felt after my grandma died.
On a second date with Lori, we saw a play at the Skylight theatre in Los Feliz then sat in a romantic outdoor space between two heat lamps. Lori and I had a connection rather instantly. Both of us couldn’t stop smiling when we met for coffee a few days earlier. Lori, unlike many of my previous dates, asked wonderful open ended questions that kept me guessing.
“What do you like to eat?” she asked.
Not an easy question to answer, but I answered the best I could.
“Now that I live on my own I eat a lot of weird food because no one is there to judge me. I’ve been eating a lot of green beans and Kashi. My move is eating handfuls of Kashi crumbs over the sink so whatever doesn’t land in my mouth falls in to the sink. What kinds of foods do you like?”
“I like all sorts of food.”
“Do you like Thai food?” I asked.
“I’ve actually never had Thai food.”
“Wow!” I exclaimed.
If I had more time to think I wouldn’t have described Thai food as a “Cousin of Chinese.”
“You’ll love Thai food,” I assured her.
I barely knew her, so I really had no idea if she would. I just knew I loved Thai food.
We talked about work, and she asked me another riveting question to which I had never before answered. “What is the worst job you ever had?”
“Hmm.” I thought. “Probably working as a waiter at a country club. I would wait on a member named Dr. Gross. I didn’t know his name for the first couple months so I called him Mr. Davis.”
“Why didn’t you know his name?”
“I don’t know, but he never corrected me. The first time he ordered chicken he told me he wanted it rare. ‘Can you make sure it’s a little pink?’ he asked.”
“Wait. What?” She interrupted.
“Yea, I know. So I said, ‘you sure you don’t mean beef?’ He insisted he wanted chicken. It’s a country club so if he wants raw chicken, we’ll give him raw chicken.
“That’s how you know you’re not at a top tier country club. When you’re members eat raw chicken and don’t even know their own name.”
She laughed, and I did too.
We walked to another of my favorite spots in Los Feliz, “The Drawing Room.” I offered her a sip of my Pabst since she never tried one before.
“It’s great. Isn’t it?”
“Yea, it is.” She remarked.
“Do you like to walk?” I asked.
“I love to walk. How about you?”
“Me too. I especially like walking away from my problems. ‘You need to talk to me about something important? Actually i’m just going to walk over here for a moment.”
“You’re funny” she said.
Lori’s questions lead me to think that she is in fact interested in getting to know me. I too am interested in getting to know her, but will take things slowly for fear that if things do work out then I may not have much more to write about for this blog. Just being honest.
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January 18, 2012 | 11:50 am
Posted by Elliot Steingart
Life is hard sometimes, especially when you have irritabile bowel syndrome. As a long-time survivor, I’ve learned to cope. Though this past week my irritibilty went straight from my bowels to my head.
It started at 9am when my co-worker Greg popped into my neighbor Matt’s cubicle to analyze the play “Clybourne Park,” which I was hoping to see at the Mark Taper Theater.
“I really appreciated the metaphors about gentrification,” Greg began.
“Yea, it’s one of those plays that really makes you think.”
“I like how the play shifts from the 50’s to present day.”
“Yea, you realize not much changes in terms of class struggle.”
“Do you mind not giving away the ending?” I interjected.
“Wo! Elliot, the grouch.”
“Sorry, I want to see the play and you are giving a scene by scene synoposis. At least give me a spoiler alert!”
Then my company hired another Elliot without consulting me first. A slap in the face if there ever was one. He’s a sports writer and also a Steeler fan and to his credit, seems like a really nice guy, but every time I heard my name I turned around and found the team shaking Elliot’s hand and patting him on the back. What did he do? He’s only been here a day.
“How are we going to tell the Elliots apart?”
“It’s kind of obvious. He’s the black Elliot.”
That isn’t p.c. so he’s Elliot S, the Steeler fan. That’s also me!
For our company meeting we ordered chinese food – Mongolian Beef, Orange Chicken, Shrimp with Walnuts, lo mein, string beens. There were three giant trays left over. My plan was to eat the leftovers for lunch. Since my cubicle is closest to the kitchen I know the shelves. I know who the Almond milk belongs to, I see Kimi’s Pomegrenate juice. There is an unmarked chicken pot pie in the freezer. If that was mine I wouldn’t put my name on it either. For all intents and purposes the company’s chinese food was mine, that is until Tracey noticed the Chinese food in the refrigerator. On her way back to her cubicle she announced, “I’m going to eat leftover Chinese for lunch. There is a lot left!”
Way to steal my idea! “Jesus! If you tell the whole office, there will be nothing left over.”
I calmed down until the morning of “Bagel Thursday.” The office rushes into the kitchen spreading their flavored cream cheese and sharing their plans for the weekend. I’m trying to cut down on carbs so I pretend I’m not temped by the nearby sesames. It’s hard to to focus and harder making a phone call when co-workers are yelling, laughing, and singing during bagel mania and then leaving one of the poppies to burn in the toaster.
“Jesus, Christopher! Who left the toaster on?”
“Elliot the grouch is back.”
“Yea, I’m the bad guy!”
My buddy Richard came over to pound me up. “How are you, sir?”
“Yo, not great. I know I’m supposed to be in a great mood because I work in an office, but I’m a human being. Sometimes I’m not in a good mood. ”
“Like today?” Matt yelled.
Fortunately, I had a date that night. I picked up Jessica en route to an indie rock show at the Echo. I drove a block past the Echo, the biggest mistake of my life.
“Wo!! Is that a space??” She yelled. “How about that?? How far are you driving?? You can park on a side street you know!”
“Yea, you may need to relax.”
Jessica complained about walking three blocks, the weather, waiting in line, the crowded bar and being tired. Was she also suffering from Irritible Week Syndrome? Worse, was this how I sounded all week? She downed the $13 “Old Fashioned” I paid for in three gulps.
“I’m tired. Do you mind taking me home?”
“It’s safe to walk.It’s not like Echo Park is a sketchy part of town.”
I went home, did a few pull ups, and checked my Facebook and saw a status update from Richard.
“Two years ago my life was taken advantage of in the worst possible way,” It read. “Since then, although life has thrown some curve balls my way, I can’t be happier at the fact that no matter what happened in the past has only made me a stronger, more resilient person.”
Thanks to Richard for putting my own struggles in perspective. Next time I will plug my ears when co-workers reveal important plot points, and accept that other people in the office are entitled to the same Chinese food that was not even mine to begin with. I appreciate that there is now another Elliot in the office and the fact that he is black is awesome. And any female who would complain as much as Jessica will make it easier for me to ask Jdate for a full refund.
I’m happy to share the irritability has returned back to my bowels. It’s nice to be back to normal.
January 11, 2012 | 11:34 am
Posted by Elliot Steingart
Dating artists is a way for me to support the arts and get great deals on paintings.
I emailed an artist I know named Amy to paint a picture for my apartment for $100. I gave her a two week deadline and offered to take her out for drinks. She replied that her paintings normally go for upwards of $4,000. In my next email I told her that her talent warrants that kind of money. I just don’t have it.
“I may have something in my studio I can sell you.”
She sold me a painting for $150 and agreed to go out with me. After picking her up, I said “I’m new to Los Feliz so I figured you could show me around.”
“No, I’m not good at that.”
“Not to worry. We’ll drop my car off and have a drink. You can see your painting and then we can go out.”
I opened my most expensive bottle of wine, a $12 Bordeaux. “Pretty good, yea?”
“It’s sour and it needs to breathe.”
“Of course,” I pretended.
“I know that your art work deals with the relationship between architectural spaces and the psyche. What were your intentions behind this painting?”
“If I wanted to paint an elephant I would have painted an elephant.”
“Of course.” I decided to delve further. “So what’s it like being an artist?”
“I party at night, and sleep until 10am or sometimes 1pm. All depends how I feel. Why? Do you have a job or something?” She finished smoking a cigarette on my balcony. “Where are we going?”
“We’ll take a little walk to get a drink.”
“You didn’t tell me we would be walking. These shoes aren’t for walking.”
“Sorry, I thought shoes were for walking.”
We secured a booth on a crowded night at my new favorite bar “Ye Rustic Inn.” I ordered vodka sodas and chicken wings. “So what kind of guys do you normally go out with?”
“I like older men and bad boys. You’re too nice. I like guys who treat me like sh*t. I have to go to the bathroom. Where is it?”
She came back from the bathroom and ordered another drink. “So you know, I’m not going to sleep with you.”
My phone vibrated. I looked and saw that Amy who was sitting right next to me had sent me a nude photo of herself.
“What do you think?”
“I like it.”
“I have lots of photos like these. That’s all I’m going to show you.”
“Will these be on exhibit any time soon?”
Over the weekend I went out with another artist, Jill, a 30 year old grad student who drove an hour to meet me at The Dresden, the classy 1950’s era night-club where “Swingers” was filmed. I ordered a Vodka Collins and she ordered a Whiskey Sour and fried zuchinni. The Jazz band played so loud I couldn’t hear what she was saying. I could hear a few key words and responded back the best I could I while eating her zuchinni.
“Near Wilshire and La Cienega.”
“Of course,” I nodded in agreement.
The Jazz flute softened to the point I could almost hear her mention that I look like Seinfeld. “Did you use to wear braces?”
“Yes, but I’d rather talk about you. Do you have a favorite painting you can show me?”
She scrolled through her Iphone showing me a neon painting of a guy and a girl kissing in front of a volume equalizer.
“This painting would look great in my apartment.” I complimented her earrings before asking the price of the painting.
“This one is going for $1,050. I think I price my art too cheaply.”
“Yea, for sure,” I pretended.
We ordered another drink before walking over to “Ye Rustic Inn” where we sat in the same booth I sat with Amy. After showing her pictures of my week-old niece, Dylan, she said she was tired and that she should go. “I’ll buy this round,” she insisted.
A girl sitting at the bar shot me an evil look and then interjected. “No, you should pay.”
“You should go back to eating your quesadilla,” I mumbled under my breath.
Later that night I looked at Jill’s website where I discovered her series of nude self-portraits. They were colorful, to say the least.
Getting to know both artists made me realize I am less of an art enthusiast and more of a naked enthusiast. For the female body is the greatest piece of art. And I’ve been to LACMA with an Art History major so I’ve seen my share of art. After noticing many phallic paintings I said, “I didn’t realize this was Los Angeles County Museum of Penises?”
“No, this is art.” she shot back.
Receiving a text of a naked female is art. Sending a text of a naked male is harassment.
Who knew such insight could come over fried zuchinni and chicken wings? I’m just supporting the arts.
January 4, 2012 | 12:01 pm
Posted by Elliot Steingart
At 5am I awoke to the news that my sister, Ariel gave birth to a healthy baby girl. It was an easy birth. I slept right through it. There was a rumor that the baby’s name was Blake. I like the name Blake, but Blake Silver is the kind of girl who thinks she is always right and never returns texts. Much like Ariel.
I started a rumor that the baby’s name was Blair. It spread like wildfire to my mom and then my dad, but was dispelled by my sister. Fortunately I can name my own daughter Blair. I just know she will excel at winter sports. Her brother, Bart Steingart will be the comedian I never was. His blog for the Jewish Journal will get so many hits and even an occasional share on Facebook.
My niece’s name is Dylan Silver, a great name. It serves her right. She was a wonderful fetus.
At 5am Ariel is describing the feeling of giving birth. Before hearing about the opening of my sister’s cervix, I asked to speak to my brother-in-law, whom I call Billy. He calls me William. Not sure how this started it just kind of caught on and has continued since the first time I called him Billy Boy. This time he addressed me differently.
“Mazels, Billy! How’s it feel? Did you cry?”
“Yes, I did. It feels great. We’re just tired, but it’s awesome. You have no idea. It’s just crazy.”
“What was it like seeing your wife give birth?”
“We took a video of the birth. I’ll send it to you.”
“You can send me the edited version. Waist-up, please.”
My parents flew to Chicago earlier in the day and were at the hospital for Dylan’s birth. We decided I could be more helpful to Ariel and Brian once the baby is a couple months old. I would have liked to have been there for the birth. Years later it will help me when Dylan becomes a teenage truant journeying around Chicago in a red Ferrari with a hipster and his hypochondriac friend. Uncle Elliot could say “Dylan, this isn’t like you. I’ve known you since the day you were born.”
Now I’ll just have to lie.
“What’s breast feeding like?” I ask my sister.
“It feels like someone sucking on your boob. Are you going to include that in your blog.”
My sister is a breast feeder and my parents are now grand parents. I’m good with “uncle,” a title I share with Billy’s two brothers, Scott and Robby. I call Robby “Cousin Rob” since we are buddies and it’s kind of hard to define how we’re related. I’m excited that Robby and I will go halfsies on birthday and Hannukah gifts. I’m thinking it’s best if we start off small. Gap Kids, then work our way up to Lululemon and later a whistle she can wear for her teenage years.
In most of the pictures I’ve seen of Dylan she is wearing a pink “Metallica” beanie. I never thought my sister whose bedroom wall consisted of Vogue Magazine Covers would have a baby with the same fashion sense as “Beavis.”
Dylan pulls it off. I’m sure later in life she’ll day be swept off her feet by a nice young man in Pre-Kindergarten, or some six year old punk with temporary tattoos who can’t even tie his shoes.
It’s an exciting time for our family and for everyone who knows Ariel and Brian. I’ve received more congratulations on Dylans’ birth than any other time in my life. I’ve appreciated all the well wishes, but I really had no part in making the baby. Thankfully.
“Ariel is very relaxed, and very happy. She is already a great mother” according to my mom.
I can’t imagine Brian is relaxed since he is the most hyper person I know, but I know he will be a great father.
Over the four years I visited Ariel and Brian when they lived in Palm Desert, they did a pretty good job of feeding me, and giving me clean towels. I know they will provide a good home for Dylan who I will meet for the first time in March.
I’m excited to be Uncle Elliot, and look forward to making funny faces and giving Dylan weird nick-names. I can’t wait to teach her how to crawl.
I already love this little girl who I haven’t even met. Till that day comes, Uncle Elliot is just a phone call away.