The Search for Love in Manhattan A gay odyssey of neurosis
Friday, January 31, 2003
N.B.: This is today's second post.
Among the many, many, many things I don't understand in this world is why gay men hate country music. Two out of every three online profiles, under "music I don't like," list country music, usually along with some witheringly disparaging commentary.
I can only assume that these people have never heard real country music. I don't think there's any other music that so eloquently expresses the laughable despair of the human condition. (And remember that I not only compose for the musical theater but also make money singing Bach, Mozart, and all those other guys, so I know what I'm talking about when it comes to music.)
Take, for instance, the following lyric (the song is by Hoyt Axton and Renee Armand), the chorus of which has been my world view since I was six:
Rain's comin' down and the roof won't hold 'er.
Well, I lost my job and I feel a little older.
Car won't run and our love's grown colder.
Maybe things'll get a little better in the mornin'.
Maybe things'll get a little better.
The clothes need washin' and the fire won't start.
Kids all cryin' and you're breakin' my heart.
Whole damn place is fallin' apart,
But maybe things'll get a little better in the mornin'.
Maybe things'll get a little better.
Work your fingers to the bone, what do you get?
I've been broke as long as I remember.
Well, I get a little money, I gotta run and spend 'er.
When I try to save it, pretty woman come and take it,
Sayin' maybe things'll get a little better in the mornin'.
Maybe things'll get a little better.
Work your fingers to the bone, what do you get?
Grass won't grow and the sun's too hot.
The whole darn world is goin' to pot.
Might as well like it, 'cause you're all that I got.
Maybe things'll get a little better in the mornin'.
Maybe things'll get a little better.
Work your fingers to the bone, what do you get?
I defy you to tell me that isn't as accurate an encapsulation of how hard it is to live on this earth as anything Dorothy Parker or Oscar Wilde ever wrote.
N.B.: This is today's first post of two. I posted last night in praise of a good friend of mine but have deleted the post because I realized that she would be uncomfortable with being discussed online in this context, even anonymously. The 45 people that sitemeter says had already visited my site by the time I removed the post are sworn to secrecy.
Remember that e-mail forward list of Children's Books You'll Never See? It had things like The Day Katy Was So Bad her Mommy Stopped Loving Her and Daddy Drinks Because You Cry. I contributed a couple when I forwarded it on to others, namely (if memory serves) You're the Reason Mommy Left and You're Different and That's Bad.
For those of you who enjoy such things, go here for nine pages of children's book covers twisted and warped by Photoshop evil geniuses. Here is my personal favorite:
If only I'd had books like this in my childhood, I might be neurotic and obsessive instead of the healthy, well-adjusted man I am today.
He e-mailed me today and said he was sorry for taking so long to respond, but he was in first-week-of-school mode. I would have a harder time forgiving him if I didn't suspect that he was secretly a spy and had spent the last two days on a top-secret mission to shore up the government of a politically unstable Third World nation.
We're going out this weekend. Unless he has to topple a dictator somewhere.
In other news, I left my wallet in Starbucks this morning, packed with money I'd intended to use to squire my Czech houseguests around New York. By the time I realized where I'd left it, I'd already cancelled all my credit and bank cards and the money had of course all been taken.
Clearly the lesson is that I should stay away from Starbucks.
After our Saturday night date, I e-mailed him Sunday morning saying I'd had a nice time and he should let me know if he wanted to get together again. He e-mailed me back a half hour later saying he'd had a nice time too and he did want to get together again. I e-mailed him back later that afternoon suggesting that we go out on Saturday.
I haven't heard from him since.
It's been more than 48 hours.
There are three possibilities:
1. He is dead.
2. He reads this blog and realized when I posted about him that the guy he went on a date with is the same guy who writes the blog and he doesn't want to date the guy who writes the blog.
3. He is a psychologically healthy person who doesn't check his e-mail obsessively every 42 seconds and so he hasn't gotten the message yet.
I wish I could say I hoped that the third option was true, but I don't know that I am capable of dating somebody that well adjusted.
So at cheerleading practice tonight the captains gave out the first ever spirit stick. They've decided that each month they'll give a spirit stick to the squad member who's worked the hardest, shown the most enthusiasm, been the most positive, etc., etc. I got very excited when they started talking about this, because it was obvious to me that I was going to get it. I've been working my ass off (by the end of last week's practice I was doing standing back handsprings), and I'm so enthusiastic my friends are starting to worry about me. The coach even sent me an e-mail telling me how much he appreciated my hard work and what a valuable addition I was to the squad and he hoped I'd stay for a long time. So when the captains started describing (without naming names, of course) my dedication, my positive influence on my teammates, my general willingness to give 110%, I made sure not to look them in the eye and force them to betray ahead of time that I was going to get the spirit stick. They wound up their speech of appreciation and indicated that we should all do a drumroll, which we did. I shifted my weight to step forward and accept my award, the corners of my mouth creeping up in an anticipatory smile I couldn't keep off my face. "And the spirit stick for February goes to . . . G.G."
G.G. no more deserves the spirit stick than William Rehnquist does. God damn G.G. to hell. I hope he drops it and is cursed forever and goes to Hades.
And I'm going to start plotting now to make damn sure I win it next month.
I was so nervous the whole evening, in fact, that I barely said a word, and when I did manage to talk it was in strings of such absolute incoherence as to rival a Pentecostal speaking in tongues. I kept starting stories and stopping them midway upon realizing that the punch lines made me look stupid or judgmental or prissy or weird; this gave my conversation the grace and ease of, oh, say, the Hunchback of Notre Dame attempting to do the time step. I listened in horror as I uttered foolishness after foolishness, and when I was finally able to stop myself, it was only to lapse again into a practically Benedictine silence.
But he did pretty much exactly the same things, so maybe he likes me too.
I have eaten two pounds of chocolate chip cookie dough today and am incapable of forming grammatical English sentences, much less blogging. Besides, it's far more important that everyone go here (via Useless! Worthless! Insipid!) to see and hear quite possibly the most extraordinary thing ever to appear on the web. (Warning: it's not entirely work-safe.)
I have tried for about fifteen minutes to come up with something witty to say about this, but honestly I think it defies commentary. There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio. . . .
Last night I got the following e-mail from the Republican I went on a date with last week:
"Am frankly surprised I have not heard back from you after an email, a phone call, and an enjoyable dinner. You seemed to have indicated or I seemed to have believed you had a nice time meeting and wanted to meet up again for something healthy and fun. Should I take this to mean you are happier 'doing the slut thing,' as you refer to it?
"For someone who professes to be such a unique individual, you exhibit the ultimate clichéd gay boy response. I certainly hope your musicals are more original than your response, or lack thereof."
"Thanks for your e-mail and call. I'm writing to let you know that I was actually just pretending to have a nice time and that in fact I found your person almost as repulsive as your politics and would sooner be forced to live the rest of my life in a Family Circus comic strip than spend another evening with you. :) Have a nice day!"
I mean, come on.
Though it would almost have been worth sending that response to him simply to use the smiley face emoticon in that way.
The one small mercy in last night's Hurry Date event was that I got a blue nametag rather than a red one, which meant that I was sitting down the entire evening and people with red nametags were rotating in front of me every three minutes.
The problem is that three minutes, while possibly enough time to be able to tell that you don't like someone, is by no means enough time to figure out if you actually do like him. Out of the 25 men I met last night, there were about five or six with whom three minutes seemed like an eternity; I couldn't circle "N" next to their numbers fast enough. The man who told me he'd recently left his alcoholic partner of seventeen years and said "I just love COMPANIONSHIP and SHARING" was one of these. For the remaining nineteen or twenty, I pretty much had to guess. I deliberated for a while about the guy who'd just released a CD and who, when I asked what instrument he played, said, "I play the skin flute," but eventually I nixed him. I enthusiastically circled "Y" for the cute guy who is a publicist for All My Children but I suspect he circled "N" for me.
I was comforted to find that virtually everybody there seemed as bewildered and dazed as I was. There was only one guy who had clearly thought up a conversational tactic beforehand; this would have been effective if he hadn't been so smarmy. "SO," he said smoothly as he smiled and sat down in front of me. "What do you like to do outside of work?" I stuttered some stupid answer about going to the movies and eating out and he said, "I like to cook and travel. I like to blah blah blah blah blah" and kept on going and I wanted to put my eyes out with a carving fork.
Conversations generally proceeded along one of the following lines:
--where are you from and why did you move to New York? (Most popular answer: I'm from [insert midwestern state here] and I moved here because I've always wanted to live in New York.)
--what do you do? (Most popular answer: I'm in investment banking.)
--why did you come to Hurry Date? (Most popular answer: because online dating can't tell you if there will be any chemistry between two people.)
When a guy who sat down in front of me was a slow starter, I generally said one of two things: either "I'm SO BEHIND!," frazzledly indicating the sheet of paper on which I had to circle "Y" or "N" for people, or "My head is SPINNING!," shaking my head in charming and good-natured befuddlement. I said "I'm SO BEHIND!" six times, with exactly the same vocal inflection and desperate grin each time, and "My head is SPINNING!" eight or nine times. I was a little worried that somebody I'd just said it to might hear me and realize that, rather than the original product of my charming psyche, this was just a line, but the place was loud enough that I figured I was probably safe. At one point the guy who sat down in front of me pointed out that the seat next to me was empty. I was so taken aback by this departure from what had become the standard script that I said the first thing that came into my head, which was, "He was too cute, so I killed him. Eliminating the competition, you know." I should have stuck with "I'm SO BEHIND!"
So in a day or two I'll get an e-mail from the Hurry Date people with the names and e-mails of my matches, but it actually doesn't matter anymore, because I'm in love with the guy from gayjews.net who just sent me an e-mail in which he used a word I didn't know. This has never happened to me before. I'm already picking out suburbs to live in and names for our two dogs.
N.B.: I posted twice yesterday, in an attempt to make up for accidentally not posting on Sunday. I get so confused. . . .
Tonight is the Hurry Date event I signed up for. I don't want to go. I don't ever want to meet anybody ever again, much less 25 men, which is what the organizers claim will happen. I want to stay in my room and never come out and eat nothing but chocolate and get monstrously fat and then die.
Which means it must be Tuesday.
But I've already paid for the event, so I'll suffer through it somehow. At the very least it should yield some good blog material.
Is it possible for me to be on a search for love and have lost all desire to find it?
This year I decided that, since new year's resolutions offer far too many opportunities for failure and self-loathing and punishment, I would make new month's resolutions. I have been remarkably successful at keeping January's, which is "I will not leave dirty clothes on the floor." Today I came up with February's, which will be "I will not leave little pieces of paper in my pockets." My intention and hope is that the effect will be cumulative, leading me to become, by the end of the year, a reasonably tidy person. I'm pleased, because both the plan and the resolutions themselves are specific and manageable.
But my friend L.N.'s new year's resolutions are masterpieces of inspiration.
Two years ago, her resolution was "I can open anything."
Last year, it was "Between any two options, pick the one more likely to make me pregnant."
This year, it is "No thinking."
Unfortunately, she is already failing miserably at this year's, and last year's wasn't a great success either, but still, I bow down before her.
Note: This is the entry I thought I posted yesterday. Somehow I failed to do so. Perhaps it's the Alzheimer's setting in. Consider this today's first post, to be followed later in the day by a second. Because God forbid anybody should miss a single word I write. I mean, what if Colin Farrell is reading this and today's second post is the one that would make him realize he is my soul mate but he didn't know to read it because he didn't know there was going to be a second post and we would never be together?
On Tuesday I am going to a Hurry Date event. This means that over the course of an evening I will have 25 three-minute dates. Apparently a whistle blows to tell you when your three-minute date is over and it's time to move on to the next one.
The more I think about it, the more absolutely ideal this whole setup seems for real dating. Because although three minutes isn't enough for you to find out if you like somebody, it's often more than enough for you to find out if you don't like him. For example, if he says any of the following things:
"It's not that I disagree with you. I just think you have a lot to learn, is all."
A chance examination of my site statistics has revealed to me that I may be in the running for a Bloggy Award. I am thrilled at the prospect of winning a Bloggy, but the knowledge that it's a real possibility has given me the worst case of performance anxiety I've ever had, even worse than when I played the part of Litter in the second grade Arbor Day pageant and at the climax of the piece, when I was supposed to throw a piece of litter at the hero (a move I executed with great panache in the dress rehearsal), I missed him and threw the litter in the garbage can instead, thereby ruining my character's credibility and the dramatic arc of the whole play.
Not that I've been beating myself up about it ever since or anything.
Anyway, the possibility of winning a Bloggy Award has caused me to develop a horrible case of writer's block, which in turn makes the pressure to write well even worse, because of course people are judging me now, not that people aren't always judging me, of course they are, aren't they?, because I am certainly always judging everybody else, but there's an actual AWARD at stake now and writing badly could RUIN EVERYTHING and mean the difference between living a happy, fulfilling, glamorous life and dying friendless, unprotected, and alone.
Today I went to a dance class that started (as, apparently, it starts every week) with a quote read aloud by the teacher and then posted on the wall. This week's was: "Failure is only postponed success as long as courage coaches ambition."
This means I am not failing to find a boyfriend.
I am simply postponing success.
The problem is that I don't know if courage is coaching ambition and, if it is, what happens if it stops? Does failure, instead of being postponed success, become just plain failure?
Or does postponed success become actual success?
The class was way too hard for me and made me feel like a complete loser but the only way I will get the answer is if I go back next week.
My acupuncturist has put me on a liver-cleansing diet for a week. One might be led to wonder, since I don't drink, why my liver needs to be cleansed, but she insists that it will do me a world of good, and since following her advice has so far cured me of my allergies to any number of unpleasant substances (including apples and cats but not, alas, Antonin Scalia), I have chosen to place myself completely in her hands.
The problem is that the main feature of the liver-cleansing diet seems to be that one isn't permitted to eat anything that resembles food. No wheat, no sugar, no dairy. No eggs, no beef, no pork, no corn. Bizarrely, no peanuts and no oranges (though other nuts and citrus fruits seem to be okay).
So this is what I have had to eat today: puffed rice cereal with almond milk, carrots with hummus, celery with cashew butter, some dried apricots, and a piece of grilled chicken.
Understand that I usually have Coke and M&Ms for breakfast.
I was going to write a long and amusing post about the gay slumber party I had for my birthday last night, which involved watching teen movies, eating pounds of junk food, giving each other mud-mask and peel-off facials, telling fortunes, and talking about boys, but this picture of me from the mud-mask facial portion of the evening says it all:
If that isn't enough to make men fall in love with me, I don't know what is.
Okay, next time I agree to go on a date with a Republican, will somebody please SHOOT ME?
I would have done it myself this evening, only I didn't have a gun. As it was, I was within seconds of stabbing myself in the jugular with my fork or attempting to choke on my chicken biryani just to put myself out of my misery.
And, for the record, the correct pronunciation is ELL-ee vee-ZELL, though wee-ZELL is also acceptable.
I am translating an article about ecologically healthy farming from German for a friend of mine who works for a textbook publishing company. Now, I first learned German from singing a lot of Schubert and Bach; I studied subsequently at college and in Berlin, but my German (and, for that matter, my French and my Italian) has always been at its best with texts about broken-hearted lovers and the comfort the tender soul receives after death. So you can imagine my dismay when confronted with things like this:
The cattle’s position as consumer of field grasses and producer of fertilizer is the basis for a far-reaching, closed nutrient cycle.
The reason I am blogging about this, however, is that the article mentions, I swear to God, an annual Organic Potato Day.
It's on July 16.
My new goal in life is to make Organic Potato Day a national holiday.
The only question is figuring out how to market it in our consumer culture. I mean, it's not a holiday if they can't sell things, right? I suppose Whitman's could make little chocolate potatoes, but how would they make it clear that they're chocolate organic potatoes and not just chocolate regular potatoes? Chocolate is a magical substance that can work all manner of wonders, but depicting the absence of carcinogenic pesticides might be beyond even its considerable powers.
Perhaps the answer to the marketing issue is to create a mascot, like the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus. Of course Mr. Potato Head is the first thing that occurs to me, but that seems far too obvious. Maybe he should be a negative mascot, like Mr. Yuk or the evil genius in the dishwashing powder commercial in the late 70s (his moniker escapes me at the moment) who left glasses streaky until a savvy housewife used Cascade to flush him down the dishwasher drain. For Organic Potato Day we can have the DDT Monster and his evil but bumbling sidekick, the Potato Aphid. Starting weeks before Organic Potato Day, stores can sell organic-potato-growing kits. The kits themselves can vary in ornateness and therefore in price--sterling silver pots for rich kids, clay ones for middle class kids, and ugly plastic ones for poor kids. When the day arrives, children can put the potatoes they've grown in all the windows of their houses as talismans to prevent the DDT Monster and the Potato Aphid from getting in and destroying the potato crops and giving everybody cancer and birth defects. Then, in the morning, assuming the potato crops have made it through the night and nobody has gotten cancer or birth defects, families can celebrate by frying up the potatoes into yummy organic latkes.
Last night I ended up speaking on the phone with two of the three interesting-seeming guys from gayjews.net. One of them, it turns out, is actually the most boring person on the face of the earth; just in case this isn't bad enough, however, he's also a bankruptcy lawyer FOR THE CREDITORS. He spends fifty hours a week hounding lower middle class people who have been taken advantage of by evil credit card companies.
So I have a date with him on Saturday.
I am looking forward to this with all the anticipation one might feel for, oh, say, liposuction performed without anaesthetic, but since we had already said we'd meet, I didn't know how to get out of it once I found out what he did for a living.
The other is even worse. I spent half an hour on the phone with him and he actually sounds incredibly sexy, so of course he is going on Thursday to his FIRST MEETING OF THE LOG CABIN GAY REPUBLICANS CLUB.
Plus he mispronounced Elie Wiesel's last name.
Jesus Christ, I sure know how to pick 'em, don't I?
So three interesting-seeming guys have responded to my ad at gayjews.net. I called them all yesterday, left messages, and then instantly lost all desire to meet any of them--or, for that matter, anybody else, ever again.
I am utterly baffled by this paradigm shift.
Perhaps my subconscious, having watched me make a total mess of my search for love, is taking over and following the lead of the eponymous Carmen in Bizet's opera:
L'oiseau que tu croyais surprendre
Battit de l'aile et s'envola.
L'amour est loin, tu peux l'attendre;
Tu ne l'attends plus, il est là!
Tout autour de toi, vite, vite,
Il vient, s'en va, puis il revient.
Tu crois le tenir, il t'évite;
Tu crois l'éviter, il te tient.
The bird you thought to take by surprise
Beat his wings and flew away.
Love is far away, you can wait for him;
You stop waiting, and he's there!
All around you, quickly, quickly,
He comes, he goes, he comes back.
You think you have him, he escapes you;
You think you've escaped him, he has you.
I can only hope my subconscious knows enough to diverge from Carmen's path before my lover stabs me to death at a bull fight.
2. If anybody can help me figure out how to get the sitemeter counter down below the "visitors" tag rather than up where it is now, I would be most appreciative.
3. Nominations are open for the Bloggy Awards. For those of you who don't know, these are the blog versions of the Oscars/Tonys/Emmys/etc. I have hesitated to write anything about them, because of course my intense desire to win one--over the smoking corpses of my competition if need be--has been warring fiercely with my intense fear of not winning one, which would mean of course that nobody loves me and I will be alone forever. But desire won out over fear, so if you like my blog, go and nominate me before 10:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Sunday, January 12. (You can nominate more than one blog per category, so you won't be slighting anybody else.)
I believe I am eligible for the following categories:
best lgbt weblog
best american weblog
most humorous weblog
best-kept-secret weblog (though I don't know what the criteria are for this one)
best new weblog
weblog of the year
I will tell you frankly that I am angling for "best new weblog."
That way, if I don't win that one, I can spend all year wondering how I wasn't good enough for you.
Yesterday I went clothes shopping with my office crush, who has a terrific sense of style. Afterwards we came back to my apartment to have fondue. I discovered to my horror that he had never seen Auntie Mame. I put this down to youth and inexperience on his part rather than an insurmountable character flaw (he is 22--though perhaps being 22 is an insurmountable character flaw in itself) and rushed out to rent it. To his credit, he fell in love with it immediately.
Now we just have to work on his falling in love with me.
This little drama in turn put me in mind of a former student of mine, who at age fifteen went around saying things like, "My last ex-boyfriend and I blah blah blah." I was delighted that the world has changed so much as to allow adolescents to experience and own their sexuality so openly; I was dismayed, however, to learn that the trade-off for this, at least in his case, was that he had never heard of Dorothy Parker.
My theory is that, as gay people are coming out younger and are finding more societal acceptance, they don't need to turn as much to older mentors for emotional support, which in the past has always also come with an introduction to the canon of gay culture and history. It is of course wonderful that kids today have an easier time being gay, but it's sad that something is being lost as well.
On the eve of gay middle age (I turn 30 a week from today), I am in a mood to tilt at windmills. Therefore I have compiled a thoroughly subjective and not at all comprehensive list of required reading/viewing/listening for all gay men, in particular gay men 25 and under. When options are given, you get extra credit for exploring all choices.
I've left out anything that everybody today seems to be current with (Will & Grace, David Sedaris, etc.). The inclusion of a person or work on this list is not an indication that I approve--merely that I think he/she/it occupies an important place in our cultural history. The list entries are in no particular order.
Earlier in December, I wrote about painting a Little Mary Sunshine mug for a friend whose husband has been diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. Here are photographs.
The first panel:
The second panel (the first word in the fifth line, which people seem to have trouble reading, is "agonies"):
The third panel:
Note the red and green plague pustules to symbolize rot, and the angular hair out of which the cheerful curl has been driven forever. The black lines near the bottom indicate the stench of decaying flesh.
Today I cancelled my subscription to men4sexnow. I haven't really been using it that much lately anyway, so it's more symbolic than anything else. Symbolic of what, I'm not sure. My friend M.N. thinks that all the casual sex I've been having is getting in the way of my search for love.
But when it comes down to it, as much as I enjoy meaningless sex, it's never quite as good as Pride and Prejudice.
1. I have spoken with Milksop, and he has expressed his intention to start a blog at some point in the not-so-far future. When this happens, I will make sure to link to it and we can all live in harmony together.
2. The magical hair product that prevents sex hair is called--I'm not making this up--göt2b glued. Below this title on the bottle are the words "styling SPIKING GLUE [water resistant] 4: screaming hold-->spike, grip, chunk." It is in a yellow bottle, part of the göt2bme brand put out by a company evidently named FatBoy. I swear, with this stuff in your hair you could stop a battalion of Panzers. Or of pansies, as the case may be.
3. In order that you might understand more clearly how phenomenally fucked up I am in my daily interactions with practically everybody I speak to and, in fact, with most people I don't speak to, I am sharing with you a lyric I have recently finished:
I stopped by to tell you I'm not neurotic.
I mean, you probably think I'm neurotic,
Especially after what I said this afternoon.
I mean, you laughed, but I wasn't sure you meant it,
Or if you were thinking, "What a neurotic freak!"
But it's okay and you don't have to, 'cause I'm not.
I came back to tell you I'm not obsessive.
I'm not obsessive, no, I'm not, I'm not obsessive.
I mean, sometimes, yes, it's vital that I think a lot
About important things, like did I leave the stove on?
And what if you like me less than you did yesterday?
But that doesn't make me obsessive, 'cause I'm not obsessive.
But you've been acting strange
Since that day three weeks ago
When I didn't smile when you said hello.
I should have known that you'd get mad.
You're just so fucking sensitive.
You take offense, you don't forgive--
Well, I'm not sure I want to live
At last I can tell you: I think it's over.
I'm sick and tired of you making me crazy
When I am not the one who has the problem here.
If I've been anxious and upset and weird, it's your fault.
But I'm starting over. As of today, from now on,
I'm going to a different postal worker to buy my stamps.
This is the problem when you go away for a week and leave your blog in the hands of somebody who is both cooler and sexier than you--all your readers, including most probably your soul mate, will fall madly in love with him, and since the entire purpose of your starting a blog was to make everybody love you the most, you will be left with a strange and empty feeling of purposelessness in life.
But since a strange and empty feeling of purposelessness in life is pretty much par for the course for me, I don't suppose this is any different.
The second most important thing I learned on my visit to Prague was that if there is any chance you will be visiting a sauna, perhaps in hopes that you will find yourself in the middle of a Bel Ami video, make sure to bring your contact lenses. If you don't, you will end up either having to wear your glasses--and no matter how good they look on you when you're dressed, they look ridiculously unsexy when they're the only thing you're wearing--or not being able to see a goddamn thing. This will render you completely incapable of picking up on the subtle visual clues that are the entire basis of cruising, which means that every man in the place could be staring at you with undisguised lust, and you won't know it, and you will instead be filled with despair and self-loathing because you are absolutely certain that no one wants to have sex with you.
Furthermore, when you find someone who gives you unmistakable clues that he is interested--by, say, sitting down next to you and starting to jack you off--you will have no idea whether he is young, handsome, and lithe, or old, ugly, and fat.
I discovered eventually, using senses other than sight, that he was far closer to the former than to the latter. This was lucky, because by that time, given the extremely low probability of his having five hands and three penises, it would have been awkward, to say the least, for me to extricate myself from the situation without offending any number of people.
Then, in our chat afterwards, he revealed that his grandmother had been an inmate of the concentration camp I'd spent the day touring. I was very careful not to ask any questions for fear of discovering I'd just had sex with the grandson of the Holocaust survivor I'd interviewed three hours earlier.
So the thing about contact lenses was, as I say, the second most important thing I learned on my trip.
The most important thing I learned was that I have finally found a hair product strong enough to prevent sex hair.
When I was six, I picketed my house, hoping to be allowed to eat breakfast before getting dressed rather than after.
I marched back and forth in front of our front door, carrying a sign that said "BREKFAST FIRST DRESSED LATER."
My parents, being civil rights workers, didn't cross picket lines, and that was the only way into or out of our house,
so they were trapped there until they acceded to my demand.