An overstatement to be sure, but one that’s nice to make in the other direction than I usually do.
“Looking good, Feitel.” My friend Bobby Olsen told me. “Looking like girls are going to start just eating you up.”
“Well, ya know.” I replied. “I’m feeling pretty good actually. I’m worried, but feeling ok.”
And I was. It feels good to lose weight, to feel like you are lighter than a month or a week before. The opposite worry comes from feeling heavy or guilty that you ate something, assured that your one transgression will cause those 20, 30, 40 pounds to reappear instantly, waiting for the sin to push you over the edge.
In some ways, this diet is as close as I will ever get to being a Catholic.
“Alright,” I told Bobby, revved on myself. “It’s time to start playing that game. Am I skinnier than my friends? What you got bro?”
“Well what do you guess?” Bobby asked jokingly.
I guess around… 170?” I said.
“Yeah, sure.” Bobby said blowing this off and I contemplated my 188 weight as if I had a ways to go.
Then again, Bobby could just have been sick of standing in front of the ATM I wasn’t using in order to ask him such a question.
But nevertheless, I had been getting comments. Frequent invocations of “you look great”, or “you look buffer”, or “slimmer” or whatever. I tend to blow off compliments and internalize criticism as many people I think do (especially those with depressive tendencies), but just as criticism can chip away even at a guarded defense, if repeated over-and-over, compliments can too, eventually even enlivening the glummest of us grouches.
When I went to tape another episode of the TV show I am on, I got even more compliments, questions about “how did I do it?”, asking again if girls were “throwing themselves at [me]“.
Which I keep on looking at in some sort of strange view.
I didn’t get in to this diet to get girls, necessarily (though the spark was a bad dating experience) but while I’ve managed some amount of discipline and serenity about maintaining my eating habits, I’m not really sure how or if it’s supposed to change my life, particularly my dating life.
I still had two girls I dug express in (appreciably awkward) ways that they weren’t in to me, either by not responding to messages or erratic behavior, but that feels just like normal anyway.
I’ve stayed away from OKCupid for about a month now and when I went back to look it today, I first wondered if I should update my pictures, then if I should take a look at my profile, then how this could in any way be representative of me at all.
I almost called this post “My Inevitable Return To The World Of Online Dating” only to realize in going there that it didn’t appeal to me anymore.
Something has changed in me it seems like, a lack of immediate neediness, I guess. Or maybe just an unwillingness to search.
This weekend I found myself acting in my friend’s grad-film project for NYU in an improvised scene where I had to kiss a young lady for 6 or 7 takes, after terribly demeaning her on a badly-gone OKCupid date (The phrase we found through improvisation that I repeated over-and-over to make her break down was “You are an emotionally void person”). As I did it, in character of course, it made me realize how easy it was to just kiss someone. How, with some confidence or just the expectation that you will, it was possible to just sweep someone up and kiss them.
Now, of course, this does not disrupt the Solondzian fantasies of me and my fellow nerdy or once-nerdy brethren, who imagine a comical resistance and a slap from any lady we might try to kiss, as well as some sort of expression of disgust (such as “Ewww!” or “Gross!”) for good measure.
But it just makes a self-conscious guy think, huh, well, what if I just did it? Of course, self-conscious or awkward guys are often told “be confident” or “confidence is sexy”, but since there is a lack of experience to found that in (unlike compliments or insults which reinforce or dissolve self-created ideas and boundaries), it’s a difficult note to take.
But as I said, as I gave what I kissed a girl a bunch of times, as I gave a funny performance, as I got on stage 3 times this weekend (and later tonight!) for shows, with some confidence and poise, I felt my general confidence rising. Experience seemed foundational and just like doing improv, the more you do it, generally, the more you feel you can.
All of this, of course, is super creepy.
I kissed a girl in the context of a weird improvised comedic grad-film acting project, not in any sort of real sense. And it’s super creepy to take from that, agreed upon experience, that I could kiss more girls.
But maybe this is how people get to be creeps: they get skinny, they get some false confidence and they start kissing people for some reason.
I guess we’ll have to see if this happens and the (inevitably disastrous) results.
For now though, I don’t want to go back to online dating, to something strange and unrepresentative.
Not for at least 20 minutes.
This was the note I tried to tape to the exterior of my building in the mad rush surrounding my experiment with CLEAR mobile internet.
I had decided (or was conned or convinced) on a cool fall evening to try CLEAR 4G internet, a mobile version of WiMax (which is really interesting and runs on the wavelength that old antenna-era TV used to) which took little convincing since I am a hater of Time Warner Cable and how it seems to represent “the man” in general.
Growing up over in the West Village, I lived in a building littered with Time Warner outages, from expensive “on-demand” services that rarely worked to internet that I, as the designated “techie” (I’m not just a “foodie”, guys) of my family was forced to constantly attempt to fix and reset. I actually memorized the number for Time Warner from the old daytime commercial jingles to begin with (TV growing up), but then just out of use (it’s still 212-674-9100).
My usage of them in my apartment gradually degraded as I read an NYTimes article about cutting your cable and purchased my outstandingly cool Mac Mini-home TV system (which I feel like I could do a whole self-congratulatory blog post about) which has been saving me money ever since and has made me virtually nauseated when I am forced to watch cable at the houses of others with its commercials and its non-optimized programs. We can see whichever movies we want when we want and Netflix is on more devices than ever (not to mention Hulu), so why do we have to endure commercials and reruns and millions of channels of crap? Why can’t cable look more like Hulu Desktop with interspersed commercials and a slick shopping-mall style interface of what we might want to watch, along with commercials targeted towards our demographics?
End diatribe, but don’t think this is over TV. Don’t think this is over at all.
Anyway, when I cancelled my cable, I kept my internet, but ever since I read about WiMax I imagined getting rid of that too, shedding their cable-bound internet and ethernet cables and reducing my invasive attachments to a simple black box that I could just take around with me wherever I went. CLEAR offered me a month to try their service, contract-less, and I took them up on it, with their “Apollo” 4G Hotspot shipping to me the next day.
Thus the note and the panic.
I had to go to work finally and I wasn’t going to be at my apartment. The peril of ordering things online in a door-man-less building! You have to take a little sticky note they may or may not leave at the exterior of your apartment (and wait for it to arrive), call them, ask them to hold it at their facility, go to their facility in the evening (but not TOO LATE in the evening), bring some government ID and then hope that the driver didn’t just lose it or the guy behind the counter waiting to get off cares enough to look those two extra minutes to find your bo in a pile.
This would not happen to me. I would not allow my wireless liberation to happen one-three days and a lot more hassle later.
I tried knocking on my neighbors across the hall who had been leeching my internet (another NY social-tech phenomenon I found out about through an NYTimes article) but the woman there was leaving in 30 minutes! Too much of a risk! I tried calling up friends before realizing the folly of it; they wouldn’t wait for my router! I even considered knocking on the door of the cancer patient on the first floor and asking her but I just didn’t have it in me to bother her, hear about the chemo and then ask her to hold my package.
Desperately I darted around before realizing what people do–yes! The Coffee Shop across the street where I got my morning imbibe-able! I ran in and begged Lucas (who I used to call Tats for his tattoos, punk demeanor, i.e: “What up, tats?”) if he could do me a huge-huge favor and hold my package for me if the FedEx guys came after explaining to him the depths of my conundrum and my quest to free myself from cable as I did here and he said:
And I raced outside to place the note on my door, grabbed tape from my apartment came outside and–
There. There was the FedEx Man.
I signed in gratitude as he looked at me with the raw look of a man witnessing a tech-crazed man-child on the verge of salvation and allowed me to sign after some cursory questions.
I was free.
In the time since, I have taken around my square-shaped router on adventures in New York City, testing out the internet. It’s uneven, less consistent than my earth-bound modem. But it’s more wide-ranging and portable and, most importantly, at home it offers me roughly the same speed as my current Apple router does (Ethernet would be faster but that would mean more wires!!).
I am still embroiled in my month, still carrying around my router-puck sharing wi-fi and offering it like chocolate in the ASSSSCAT line and coffee shops trying to make friends and conduct social experiments, as well as testing the puck’s limits.
There’s still that last cord of resistance to get through that worry that I’ll wake up one morning and my internet will be out and it’ll be a huge mistake and I will search in vain for my cable, just as I felt like I’d lost a friend for a while after I cut my TV channels and HBO.
But just like my worry that my pounds’ll come back, it’s a fear to be overcome, not acceded to.
I should point out that friends Rob-Bearded-Still Malone and sometimes-villain Andrew Parrish fear this transformation. They want me to stay tethered fearing this will accelerate my transition from man into hyphenated man-machine.
“Or just make you into a lamer person, bro.” Rob offered.
But in that direction, I hurtle, un-Maloned.
Here’s to a wireless liberation, frantic SoHo packing problems, and geeking out, for sometimes, man.
Thursday was a good night.
I did a genuinely good show on two Whiskey-Diet Coke’s out of a house that looked dim, packed with no one but a few performers, assorted girlfriends and a particularly beardy Rob Malone, who generously came out to support and fulfill the two-drink minimum (of which he still owes me for one drink, I’m reminding him now).
(Also Sean Taylor and Shawn Amaro who were our great hosts, http://www.varietyunderground.com)
But somehow my group–full of a brit, a fiancee, a depressive writer type, and an Actor–all really gelled and we did a crazy set about late-30s romance involving S+M gunplay, gay-hate-speech against robots and even a meta bit that went over well. My good friends Shaun Farrugia and Woody Fu were also there, playing with their team Honey and gave me punches and pictures after.
We all took a cab to Greenpoint on Rob’s decision to meet a girl, Shaun’s desire to get home and my lack of sobriety/high off having a good show. It ended up being fun as we ragged on each other in the cab, talked lady issues and improv and Rob did his best to add beardy comments.
We ended up at a Korean joint called Mrs. Kim’s on the beautiful fall evening as we all had the sort of “giving each other shit” conversations that I love having with my friends. When Rob’s lady friend arrived Shaun took me aside, between our attempts to use my 4G modem (to Rob’s chagrin) to stream “The Princess and the Frog” on Netflix.
“Beard guy over there’s a baller.”
“Yurp.” I replied.
We ended up ordering the restaurants Brunch-meets-Korean fair and while my friends got a chorizo-based “Kim-Dog”, I got myself the Chicken Caesar, which arrived pleasantly at the table, an unexpected treat.
The chicken was cooked in a soy-glaze, happily, which it made it more tender and less dry than “salad-variety” chicken and the caesar dressing had the fishy tang of a highlight of sardines, again adding nice touches to the “still-asian” part of the item.
And for a “fourth-meal” I felt happy that it conformed to my diet and didn’t feel too-guilty sopping up my stomach-whiskey with it.
Eventually Rob left and Shaun went home and I hopped own cab back to the Magnet for a Thursday night Inspirado.
When I got home, I was full of funny and food.
Chicken Caesar Salad- 11 bucks
Corner of Franklin and Kent Sts, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, NY.
G to Greenpoint Av, or really, just when you’re in the neighborhood.