Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday August 24th

Question I got asked recently - So how does a guy invite a lady back to his place after a night out without coming across as crass or sleazy?

So let's say you're on the third or fourth date (or more depending on the girl), you've had a really good dinner and now it's time to move on to the next stage. How should a guy initiate proceedings and set the right expectations for what's to come?

I guess if a guy were to invite a girl back to his place, it should be understood that he wants to have sex that night. And if she didn't feel like it was right, she could always say no. And generally, guys would be gentlemenly enough to accept that and perhaps even want her more the next time. So there isn't really a right or wrong way to ask the question.

Lesson learnt: always keep things in public spaces, even if it means you spend an hour making out on your sidewalk in full view of your doorman.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Wednesday August 22nd

I was interviewing for jobs during the last downturn in 2002. That and my state of depression for not having found a job made it very difficult to find a job. During that period, I considered alternative non-banking, non-consulting careers including becoming a Singapore Girl ("Coffee, tea or me?") and becoming a bartender (they just looked too cool). Fortunately or unfortunately, I eventually found a job in i-wanking.

But there's always been a part of me which wondered how it would have been like if I'd pursued alternative careers. Which is why I particularly enjoyed reading "Cosmopolitan" by Toby Cecchini. He is a a bloody good bartender who also writes bloody well.

And last night, I met the guy! :) I felt like a teenage groupie when I walked up to the bar and asked, "You don't happen to be the guy who wrote the book right?" Anythin that came out of my mouth to him the rest of them night just sounded so juvenile and lame. I was in the presence of one of my heroes. *gush*

FYI, he bartends at his Chelsea bar, Passerby, on Wednesdays and Thursdays.


I was at Passerby to attend networking drinks for the Slow Food Convivum of NYC. I met some pretty interesting people there, including the guy who heads it and his wife. This blog did start as a documentary of my efforts to make new friends in NYC, after all. Anyway, I will be trying to get involved with the Slow Food movement in future. It's a cause I can actually identify with and potentially feel passionate about.


So shall we grab that drink tomorrow?

Grabbing drinks with Porsche Guy tonight. I'm nervous, more nervous than I have been for other recent dates. There was just something during the conversation we had on the ride back to London, something that makes me want to find out more about him. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wednesday August 22nd

In addition to becoming a hotelier, I have also become a Post Office. Friends are getting all their online shopping shipped to my place for collection when they visit. Currently, I have:

- 1 x iPod
- 1 x Cranium
- 1 x set of 5 measuring cups
- 1 x portable hard drive
- 1 x mouse

with more on the way including 2 more iPods, conditioner (?), VS bras.


This morning I emailed a delivery status update to my friends. Amongst them was an update on a Dutch oven which has not arrived.

My other friend, not knowing what a Dutch oven was, decided to google it. Guess what she came up with?

"Farts can bring more excitement into wedlock if administered in a Dutch Oven: this is where one partner lets go a huge fart, pulls the duvet cover or bed sheets over the head of their loved one, trapping them in a confusion of methane, while shouting triumphantly, 'Dutch oven! Dutch oven!' The person trapped will wriggle like an eel, the trapper will then nearly die laughing and it will all end up in a really boisterous play fight. Of course, this is all in questionable taste.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Monday 20th August II

Monday 20th August

I am on my way to becoming a hotelier extraordinaire. Me and my extraordinarily comfortable couch on which an increasing number of friends have gotten rest in between their shopping and partying in this city.

This weekend I had two friends staying with me.

A girl friend from London who was determined to party in NY. Very drunken burgers at Corner Bistro at 1am on Thurs night. 4am on Fri night - "We can't go home yet, I haven't even danced!" Brad Pitt lookalikes on Sat night. Because of her, I am going to need a weekend to recover from the weekend.

Also a friend from Singapore whom I've known for over half my life. In fact, I used to pull his hair and kick him in primary school. In Sec 2, we started writing letters to each other and having long conversations over the phone when our parents had gone to bed. And somehow, we've stayed friends.


As we caught up over drinks on Fri night, he said something which I've been mulling over the rest of the weekend.

"If I'd stayed in the US after graduation, I probably be as lost as you."

Said friend graduated from a top Ivy in the US. I recall at graduation, he wanted to work in media/advertising, live in Brooklyn and see the world. I've always thought of him as cosmopolitan, urbane and sophisticated. Probably the kind of guy I would like to date if I moved back to Singapore. Since then, he has been back in Singapore for three years, is working in investment banking and is dating a "hometown hunny" from church. He's thinking about real estate in the near future and potentially marriage in two years.

Lost... That sounds so judging and my initial response is defensive. Yes, I work in a job I don't exactly like but am happy to stay in it for the next little while. I just moved cities, still in search of a place to call home. And I am still single, still out there looking for Mr Right after a number of mistakes. But I am not sure I would call myelf lost though.

I have learnt a lot about myself and the world around me in the past few years. I know who I am, I know where I am. I am not sure where I will be, but I have a good idea of where I would like to be.

There are days when I wonder if I would have been better off living out the stereotypical Singaporean path. I'd be married to my first boyfriend and probably even have a kid already or on the way. We'd be living in a nice apartment around Holland V and be at his parents's place for yummy double-boiled soup every evening.

And I would not have met even half the people, each with their own amazing stories, that I have. I probably would not have travelled to three-quarters of the places I have been to. I would have been a rather different person.

I could potentially be happier. But how does one judge that? As the person I am today, I know I would not have been happier. But perhaps as a different person with different expectations, I could have happily lived that life?

But please don't judge me against the life I never had. If you must judge, judge me against the life I have now.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Wednesday August 15th

Bulgarian is not on the list anymore. If there is one thing I have low tolerance for, it's flakey people. I don't think the Bulgarian was ever in serious contention for dating, but as a friend, he is super flakey too. We'd agreed that we would catch Bourne Ultimatum (great show btw!) over the weekend. Didn't hear anything from him so I decided to go watch it with my other friend on Sunday. And out of courtesy I texted him to see if he wanted to join. He replied that he'd already watched the film on Sat. This seems minor, but not so trivial when you consider that he's generally like that. He doesn't bother enough to stay in touch, but sporadically calls, has a great conversation and promises to call again soon. I have enough other friends to hang out with and a busy enough life that I dont have time to keep on being the one to make effort to stay friends. And this applies to old friends and new friends. I will make effort if I know you are going to make effort. Reciprocity.


I met some random people from asmallworld for drinks on Sunday night. Amongst them was this American guy with cute eyes and a soft American accent tempered by six years in England. We hung out for a bit after the others left. And then he started coming on to me. Properly making the moves. And that was a right turn-off. I am not exactly Miss Prude, but I don't sleep with guys the first time I meet them. I definitely don't sleep with guys who still try to make the moves when I tell them that it ain't happening tonight. "Let's go to your room to listen to music." You take me for a wide-eyed 14-year-old?! Patience would have gotten him some way. I guess we live in an instant gratification society and forget that the payout could be bigger if we invested a bit more time and effort into things.


Talk is cheap. I've come to realise that as I've gotten older, I am able to have conversations with almost anybody for a relatively sustained period. Last night, I went on a date with this lawyer I'd met in a cafe near my place. We chatted for almost three hours, about American politics, cultural differences etc. Great intellectually stimulating conversation with sufficient bits of humor too. But no vavavoom feeling. By the end of the night, I didn't want to reach over and rip his clothes off. But anyway, the point is that great conversation on its own means nothing. I was hung up on some guy for two years because we had great conversation. In retrospect, how unwarranted.


This entry has turned out to be a little bit of a dating rant. Dating life is still a novelty to me. But for now, I'll go on all first dates I get asked on, for the experience.* Who knows? My One True Love may be out there.

* Someone actually wrote a book about her experiences. After a bunch of bad dating experiences, she wonders if she's been too critical about the men she dated. So she decides that she'd go out with everyone who asked her out, including a aged Latino man. The book is a rather entertaining read and is called The Year of Yes.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Thursday 9th August

I nearly got into a bar fight last night. You heard it here first. Actually I might even have had a choice of bar fights last night.

We had some work drinks last night and one of the analysts punched some random short fat guy who had the misfortune of being from Greenwich. There was blood and the police came. But this was after I'd left. We were at a cheesy karaoke joint and the beer and bad singing were a sign of times to come. In my usual avoid-trouble-before-it-hits manner, I made an early exit to meet the Bulgarian.

The Bulgarian was having drinks with his friend in the Lower East Side. I would be lying if I said I didn't hope for some developments with the Bulgarian, but I think we are probably long past that by now. A shame because I usually have fun when I am out with him.

Anyway, he was spoiling for a fight last night and deliberately provoked the guys next to us at the bar. At one point, there was some pushing ad shoving. But the Bulgarian is experienced in provoking fights, and he not only managed not to get into an actual fight, but he also convinced the bouncers that the other guys were the aggressors and got us free drinks.

I guess my opening sentence wasn't entirely true, I was just hoping to shock you.

New Friend tally: none, only office colleagues and an old friend

Drinks tally: 2 rum-based long drinks, half a martini (ironically named Detox Delight) and 3 glasses of champagne


I find nightfall to be a witching time, somewhat hyper-real and somewhat surreal. It is the time when people are most honest, but it is also the time when things said need have no correspondence with things to be said in the day. What should you believe?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Tuesday 7th August II

"Did you go like that to make a statement that you are strong enough to resist?"

"Where are you now? Have you reached home yet?"

"No, actually I am still downstairs in front of your place."

"OK, stay there."


"What do you think is going on?"

"I don't know. What do you think?"

"Obviously, there is a connection."


"I feel like I am a teenager all over again, standing in the street kissing and not able to go inside."


I am usually very good at avoiding trouble when I see it coming. I inadvertently let my guard down and allowed time to stand still and myself to be vulnerable. At some point, my self-preservation instinct kicked in again.


"Good night..."

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Tuesday August 7th

This is a situation I have never been in. I have choice, choice of male companionship. Wow!

During the day, I'd made plans to go for dinner with my VP. (OK, bad idea but I was bored during the day)

And just as I got home, I got a call from Bulgarian Hedge Fund Dude ("Bulgarian" henceforth) whom I knew from London but is also incredibly inconsistent - very attentive and charming company at some points and plain MIA at other times. He also wanted to have dinner tonight. I was tempted to suggest post-dinner drinks with him to ensure I behave after dinner with VP, but then I also have a regulatory exam tomorrow morning so I should not stay out late.

Not long after that, I got another phone call from Cafe Guy. (We were at the same cafe near my place on two occasions and ended up chatting). And now I have Saturday night sorted. I will probably move that to early next week instead. First date on a weekend night may be a little too much. I am learning the NY dating rules.

And I am also trying to avoid one-on-one meetings with Short Ugly Guy who was a little too keen about setting up another meeting.

Yes, Sex And The City might be closer to reality than I'd expected after all.

It is simply not possible to make new male friends in this town without them having romantic ideas. No wonder I am fast becoming a faghag in this town. And in fact, I might actually have more gay friends than girlfriends. Yes you know who you are, I am keeping my eyes open for hot guys in anticipation of your future visits.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Monday 6th August

It's the weekend round-up.

I met up with a bunch of Singaporean friends on Friday night, including a guy I went to primary school with. Whom I used to bully. Yes, once upon a time, I was bigger than most of the guys and was feisty already from a young age. Fast forward 15 years and we're sitting in a Persian restaurant in NY laughing and having a great time. I am glad we all grew up.

Saturday was spent in Central Park. Tres lazy!

And on Sunday, did you know they have a Law and Order: SVU marathon on one of the channels? So bad for you. Just when you think the episode is over and you can finally move on to doing something more useful with your life, the next episode has started and you're obliged to stay and watch another episode. And before you know it, it's 4pm and you've watched about 6 episodes of Law and Order.

New Friend tally: random lawyer I met in a cafe (we'd met previously over a conversation about sleep studies in the same cafe), ex-roommate's ex-gf, (rediscovered) primary school classmate, other singaporean, another gay singaporean. Not too bad after all!


I recently came across this quote from Hilary Clinton on Huma Abedin, her travelling chief of staff for her presidential campaign.

"Huma Abedin has the energy of a woman in her 20s, the confidence of a woman in her 30s, the experience of a woman in her 40s, and the grace of a woman in her 50s. She is timeless, her combination of poise, kindness, and intelligence are matchless..."

This quote took my breath away. It encapsulates exactly how I would like to be described/remembered.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Friday 3rd August

So how did I get to eating greasy pizza after having 1.5 glasses of wine and between 3-4 vodka tonics?

The night started in the West Village where I met up with 2 guys from ASW who also live in the hood for drinks. As expected, both were non-Americans. Why expected? Well, coz natives don't tend to go out to meet strangers and make new friends. Why should they? They already have their own social groupings. More musings on being an expat to follow in later post.

I headed down to a cheesy lounge in the Lower East Side as it was the farewell drinks for the 1st year analysts who were in NY for training. To keep up with the crowd and maybe also to appear cool, I had to keep up with the kids in drinking.

So, sorry to disappoint but there were no scandalous stories from my evening. As I said in my previous post, I am good at takin myself home before I get into trouble.


Only in New York - FlexPetz!!

"a new membership service coming this fall that lets you reserve doggy time to fit your schedule. New Yorkers can pre-register now to select a fully trained rescue pup — like Pirate the Boston terrier or Jackpot the Lab — and fetch him for a few hours (or a few days) of playtime."

The four-legged friends come with beds, water bowls, and GPS-equipped collars, not to mention custom leashes for walks, so you can continue to keep your place spotless.

Someone once commented that many New Yorkers have pets because they are such lonely individuals. Which makes a lot of sense except most New Yorkers live in tiny cramped apartments with little space for themselves, let alone a pet. And most New Yorkers are at work most of the day, with limited time to spend with their pets. So from a purely pragmatic point of view, this pet rental service is a great business idea. But pet rental??!!!

Only in New York.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Thursday 2nd August

OK, I confess. I may not be entirely sober when typing this entry. I am also negotiating a piece of greasy pepperoni and jalapeno pizza, which is excellent BTW.

But if there is one thing I am good at, if I am good at anything at all, it is taking myself home before I get into trouble.


This week has been a fairly active one in terms of the social calendar.

Monday was the designated stay-at-home-and-stay-sober night.

Tuesday was Curry Night with 29 strangers from ASmallWorld. The food was pretty good and the company was sufficiently entertaining. Guy next to me was decent eye candy. But I didn't really make any real new friends from that evening.

The more significant thing about Tuesday night was the couple who'd organised Curry Night. They'd met on a forum on ASmallWorld last August, and started exchanging emails. He was based in Manchester and she in NY at the time. She flew out to see him twice in Manchester and then London. The he flew out to NY for Christmas and proposed then, only the third time they met up. And he moved to NY in May this year.

On hearing that story, there is a part of me which is goin ' schweeet' and then there is the other part which is skeptical that you can decide to get married on only the third time you've met in person.

Anyway, Wednesday night, I went to watch a play with a friend of a friend from London. The play, The Year of Magical Thinking, was superb. It was a one-woman show about a woman who lost both her husband and daughter within a year. Vanessa Redgrave was outstanding even if her faux American accent was disturbingly bad at the beginning. We went on to have dinner. We had great conversation tc, but ohmigod, my friend's friend was UGLY. He had awful sideburns and a big nose, not to mention the fact that he was shorter than me. As a measure of how superficial I am, I think I will definitely see him again, but as friends and no more.

Thursday night, and here I am. I've finished my slice of pizza so it's time to go to bed. Goodnight people.