Sugar Plum Daddies
It's the time of year when visions of sugar plum fairies dance across the minds of little ones. 'Tis the season to be jolly, too, and this week would be prime time to get the merry, merry spirit if it ever was to get you. Running around, madly dashing through the snow grabbing presents wasn't doing it for me, but all the while I was secretly wishing for an elf.
I even went so far as to sit on a very authentic looking Santa's lap in Carew Tower downtown. He seemed all too happy to oblige in asking me what I wanted Santa to bring this year, so I closed my eyes and saw the vision of a pure white beach with gently rolling surf. "Santa, I would like a bulkhead aisle seat headed to the Caribbean. You can pick the island, just be sure it's hot and arid."
Santa needed assuring that I'd been a good girl this year, and of course I replied with a sly smile that when I'm good, I'm very good, but when I'm bad, I'm even better. He laughed his little ol' jolly laugh and whispered in my ear, "You don't need Santa, honey, you need to find yourself a sugar daddy."
Really? Do I have to? Is this the answer to my sun-drenched dreams? I gave the old guy a chaste kiss on the cheek and went off to meet Susan for lunch at Palomino's. She arrived in a swirl of shopping bags. She ordered a Bloody Mary, saying a little tomato juice improves one's color. I promptly joined her as I hate to miss out on the rosy cheek thing.
Susan had me laughing as she told me how an acquaintance of hers had shown up to an opening in a dress that was way, way too tight. "Not to be catty, but she looked like a sausage about to pop out of her casing."
We both agreed that's not a good look -- the one look that sends us screaming from the fitting room every time. She told me a tale or two about her venture into online dating and how she wants Santa to bring her a man who knows how to hold his fork and a guy who puts a photo that remotely resembles him on the dating service. Why do all men think they still look like they did 10 years ago? I guess some women are guilty of that, too, thinking back to the previous giggle.
I don't know if it was the mushroom bisque, Fountain Square, Susan or the Bloody Mary, but I left downtown feeling merry and bright. I even was looking forward to putting on my dancing shoes for the last-minute invite from Richard. It appears I'm his date-on-call this year. With my own boy woes, it suits me fine. All I have to do is show up. Perfect.
We decided to meet at Nick & Tony's, the new place on Seventh Street. We debated on the phone whether it was the old Playboy Club location or that dive bar whose name we couldn't think of, but we figured we can always smell a good spot.
Sure enough, they have valet parking and for a mere $6 I don't need a winter coat after all. Lucky for me, as my cocktail attire was short and wrap-style. Who needs eye contact with people you don't know anyway?
Richard was at the bar chatting with Feather, the bartender with whom he'd traveled in Europe last winter. She was every bit the doll he described. Yes, Feather is her real name, and she's way cute. Way young, too, I might add. The interior is to die for, and Feather assured us that everyone is saying it reminds patrons of Chicago or simply out of town. My vote is that this is the most stylish place to have a drink downtown and we'll definitely return for dinner soon or maybe lunch, since she mentioned that suits are lining up at noon.
Our chariot was just outside waiting to carry us to the party of the night. While we drove, I threw the wine in the party sack complete with tissue and streamers. We found the street and debated which house, eventually landing on the correct porch to be greeted by the host and hostess all decked out. It was a festive atmosphere and, while I could have done without the chatter about Richard's ex-wife and whom she is, was or will be dating on the guest list, I headed to the bar.
Drink in hand and surveying the crowd, I wondered if this was where Santa wanted me to shop. Surrounded by silver hair and black turtlenecks, I wished the men were European and 10 years younger. The women were closer to 20 years younger and shop where Susan's friend shops for Lycra wonders. There was plenty of skin showing and it was all tan, but I had the distinct feeling it was the shake 'n bake tanning bed variety as these girls were tan everywhere.
It goes without saying that they probably give amazingly attentive hummers to their dates by the look of adoration they were getting from the men at their arms. Or maybe the men just can't figure out what pretty young things would want with old farts like them.
Hmm. Should I direct them to Santa? No, I'm going to tell him myself. While this party was priceless, for me, thank God, there's American Express.
-- Wendy Robinson
The Beat of a Different Drum
Dating for me is never a straight path. Last Saturday ended up being another example.
After a month of failures, I gave up trying to meet women at art galleries and museums. Of course, the day after I made that decision, I started talking to a girl in my monthly book club who is really into art and going to museums. After three glasses of wine and two beers, I finally asked her to go out with me on Saturday to a couple of galleries during the afternoon and maybe dinner afterwards.
When I called her on Thursday to finalize our plans, she asked if I'd mind inviting our mutual friend Cathy. I agreed, even though I was really hoping it would just be the two of us. On Friday, Cathy invited her friend Sue to go along with her. Instead of a nice romantic afternoon with Anne, I had a girls' day out on my hands.
The first place we went to was RoHo Gallery on Central Avenue near Music Hall. My friend Andrea has a photography exhibit there I've been dying to see. Unfortunately, the gallery was closed.
We decided to drive around the West End and look at the new condominiums that are being built. It's strange to see the old project group houses being demolished while three-story townhouses are being built. I really like the fact that they're building decent housing down there, but I still don't think I'd ever live there until they build a grocery store where I don't feel like I need a flak jacket to go shopping.
Anne suggested we go check out a holiday concert that was being held at the Peaslee Neighborhood Center in Over-the-Rhine. I agreed to go along, even though I'm still bitter about having my car robbed the last time I visited Over-the-Rhine.
The program actually took place in St. Francis Seraph Church on the corner of Vine and Liberty. I've driven by this church over a hundred times and never noticed it before. It's so much larger on the inside than I ever expected. I'm not Catholic, so I'm always in awe when I see a church with a huge vaulted ceiling, 5-foot tall statues of Jesus and gold paint highlighting every corner of the building.
The first act was the Over-the-Rhine Youth Steel Drum Band, who were great as usual, especially the kid who was barely tall enough to see over his steel drum. They even played a song by Sonny Rollins.
My favorite part of the program was the three youth poets. It was hard to hear what the poets were saying at times due to the extremely poor microphone and acoustics in the church, but they definitely had a message.
I think the three women I went with liked the Mallet Music Makers the best. They were four 7- to 9-year-old girls who played xylophones and metallophones and did little dance steps. I have to admit I've not seen anything as adorable as those girls in quite a while.
Even though I didn't have the date that I was looking for, I was happy that I went to the concert. It showed me a totally different side of Over-the-Rhine that I didn't know existed. I still don't think you'll see me downtown once the sun sets any time soon.
-- R.L. Newman
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