November 27, 2005

Engage, marry, divorce, repeat

There's more than a Y chromosome differentiating the men from the women, Alice has rediscovered. More prisms through which to view Alice's parents' marriage, the same one that her younger brother witnessed. What Alice saw did not appear enticing. What her brother saw apparently did.

Since Alice's brother either was pushed or jumped out of his marital home in early October (the details are fuzzy, but ending up at a Holiday Inn Express at 2 am simply because it had availability suggests more pushing than jumping), she had been concerned that he would be alone on Thanksgiving.

Silly Alice. She forgot that her brother's favorite hobby is women. He's on his third divorce, this one contested. Since her brother detests confrontation and waited for his to-be-ex to serve him with papers, the ex is asking for four years of alimony on a two-year marriage. (His lawyer had drawn up the papers, but presumably failed to suggest the process server might have given brother the pre-emptive strike.)

Prior to the papers, his not-soon-enough-to-be-ex-wife had asked for $50,000 to walk away from the marriage. At that point, she dropped from sister-in-law to c*nt, a term used sparingly but at critical moments. He doesn't have that kind of cash, for one thing, and for another, she's not worth it.

Why is Alice so surprised that brother found a new family with whom to celebrate holidays almost as soon as the papers spewed out of the laser printer? History does repeat itself. Again. And again.

Within six weeks, brother has acquired not only a girlfriend (promoted a week ago from "a date"), but he also had an invitation to join her at her family's Thanksgiving dinner. So brother was not all dressed up with no place to go.

He celebrated Thanksgiving with a girlfriend half his age, a child with the feminist consciousness of a rock. (Her current occupation is cook at Hooters. If she were old enough to serve liquor, she might graduate to Hooters girl, depending on breast size.)

In the past 16 years, Alice's brother has been engaged four times, and married three. She don't know why he bothers with legalizing these endeavors. Living with a woman is something he does well; marriage is a skill at which he does not exceed. Fortunately, he has no children.

Alice is wondering if a box of condoms would be in order for Christmas.

November 16, 2005

2,000 dates!

Let us return to 1970s television, specifically The Mary Tyler Moore Show. In one episode she determined that she had been going out twice a week, since she was 17, and was then 37, and that she had had, with much dismay, 2,000 dates.

Two or three years post-Croquet Player and many years post-Clover's Companion, I hit up the home-shopping network of dating -- -- whenever I think I should meet someone. I have met someone. And someone else. And someone else. More someone elses than I would care to know. Enough to make me realize men lie as much as women, if not more -- the one advantage to dating in this century is that I have realized I don't lose feminist credibility when I let a man buy dinner for me.

I compare, which would I rather do, go out with a stranger for brunch, drinks or dinner, or stay at home at watch the umpteenth rerun of Law & Order and its offshoots?

Some of those detectives and A.D.As are looking pretty damn good, and sounding quite witty. Should I ever be called as a witness in a murder case, I'm set. I feel qualified to be judge, defense attorney, defendant, prosecutor and/or jury as needed.

I do not feel fit to go on that two-thousand and first date: my last time out, I begged for an early evening because an old friend had called, crying, on my way out the door, because her husband had left her, and I had promised to call her back that night.

Okay, the facts are jumbled. But it took a lot of self-control not to reply to the observation, "You seem kind of distant. Are you worried about your girlfriend?" with the response "she's never been my girlfriend." TMI for a guy I knew I'd never see again. A topic for later introduction. I did, however, mutely agree about my concern -- easier all around, and a faster route home. I said my good-bye and thank you, then hailed a cab and bailed.

At least I left before he had a chance -- shades of a Roseanne episode -- to ask how many people I'd slept with.

And Clover's Companion and I have, after several torturous years, been able to resume our friendship -- so that when Thanksgiving rolls around, I know what I'll be grateful for.

November 06, 2005

Bombs bursting in air?

Whoops. Not the rockets' red glare. More like purple, green, and white with an occasional dash of red thrown in, without a splash of blue to bring out the patriot in all of us. Just fireworks blasting off in the perilous night in Central Park.

How festive to celebrate the New York Marathon participants and send them on their five-island run. From the cab, heading down Fifth Avenue last night, it sounded like bombs exploding. Fortunately, the color sparkles in the sky brought Alice to her senses.

Silly Alice. What other way to invoke the annual 26-mile insanity than with gunpowder? Pasta isn't sufficiently photogenic.

You can't set off fireworks in a municipal park without benefit of a license from the city. Therein lies Alice's curiosity.

How best to reconcile a municipality whose mayor thinks it's fine and perfectly constitutional to conduct random searches of the bags and backpacks of those who enter the bus or subway system with that of a mayor (the one and same) who thinks it equally fine and dandy to offer citizens the benefit of the sounds of bombs bursting in the night?

What color terrorist alert was on last night? Did Alice not get the memo on pre-marathon activity? Alice forgot, for an instant: she lives in Wonderland, where all processes governmental can be rationalized. She doesn't particularly want to join this dance, but no one's letting her sit this one out.

She can't help pondering: is this still the land of the free and the home of the brave? 'Cause she didn't get that memo either.