Saturday, November 25, 2006

986 Home Again

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Blogger is getting rather insistent that I move to Blogger Beta.

Uh uh. No way. I worked for "A Large Computer Company" long enough to know better. You want to test it, Blogger folks, test it yourself. Professional testers get paid. I'm not going to volunteer.


I picked up Sister at the Newark airport on Wednesday. Her plane (almost all the flights, in fact) was more than an hour late, so we didn't get to Daughter's until after 10 pm, then she had to lead us to the motel where she had she had reserved rooms for us, because we'd never have found it on our own.

In fact, Sister and I got lost heading back to Daughter's on Thursday morning, and again going to the motel Thursday evening. One of these things where you say "Gee, I don't remember seeing that...." Mostly we just headed the proper compass direction until we found a route number we recognized. The whole area's bounded on the west by route 9 and on the east by the ocean, so how lost could we get? (A lot, as it turns out. We got to see the ocean.) We don't get excited about stuff like getting lost. Sometimes it's fun.

This was Daughter's first "formal" Thanksgiving dinner, and Son-in-law helped with some recipes of his own he wanted to try, and everything turned out wonderfully. SIL's employer had handed out turkeys, so we had a 20-pounder for the four of us. Except for the stuffing, which Daughter had specifically asked me to make, I knew well enough to stay out of the kitchen.


Friday morning, Hercules was a bit put out because their electricity had dropped. I guess that's unusual for them (my electricity drops frequently). I couldn't understand what the problem was. I'm always resetting clocks, so what's the big deal? Well, I've got twice the rooms, but 1/5 the clocks they have. In four rooms, a kitchen, and two bathrooms, Daughter and Hercules have --- ready? --- 35 clocks! Real clocks, appliance displays, timers (like on the aquarium), clocks in electronic dodads. Some are atomic reset and some have "holding" batteries, but even so, you have to check them to make sure. No blinking 00:00s or surprise mistimings for Hercules!

Friday late afternoon we went to "Grounds For Sculpture", a beautifully landscaped sculpture park. There were bamboo groves with sculpture in the center, and strange shapes hovering in the density, gaps in the hedges that perfectly framed a glimpse of a mysterious bronze woman, soaring shapes reflected in still pools, you'd turn a corner and find yourself inside a 3-D recreation of a famous painting. The settings superbly complimented and complemented the sculptures, even to the quality of the light. If you're ever in central New Jersey, check it out.

I had said that I would spring for dinner (to spare everyone leftovers), so we ate at Rats, the restaurant on the grounds. Daughter had always wanted to eat there.

The food was very good, but I sorta dislike having to deconstruct an artsy-fartsy creation on my plate. Like, when the string beans are tied in a bundle with some kind of green stringy thingy, are you supposed to pull the beans out? Or untie the bundle? Or cut bits off? And is the stringy thingy edible? (It wasn't - it was too stringy.) When your escargot and wild mushrooms arrive spilling out of a hollowed out squash, are you supposed to attempt to eat what little is left of the squash insides? Or is that just decoration? Is it akin to trying to eat the napkin?

Speaking of napkins, it was a little disconcerting when the waiter shook out the napkins and tucked them on our laps. Most disconcerting to Son-in-law. And every time anyone left the table, the waiter refolded the napkin (fancily) and placed it on the table. It got to where Daughter refolded it herself before she got up. Not wanting to leave a mess, I guess. Son-in-law didn't leave the table the whole three hours - maybe he was afraid he'd get re-tucked.

For dessert, I had "Panko crusted apple cranberry strudel with carmel apple ice cream, cider reduction and star anise sabayon". What's sabayon? The strudel was like 8 inches tall, with six or eight different structural components, some of which I had no idea what they were and wasn't sure I should eat, but I did, and it was all very good. (Dinner menu here, desserts here.)

I've had things "with truffle" before, but my twice-baked potato with black truffle had CHUNKS of truffle, so I finally got to really taste truffle, as an identifiable entity.

Yeah, truffle does have a distinctive flavor, but I don't know what all the fuss is about. I like chocolate truffles better. Maybe it's one of those things snobs like simply because it's expensive? Sorta like caviar - another thing I don't understand the fuss over. Whatever.... Perhaps I'm just hard to impress.

Dinner came to $374.05 for the four of us, including drinks and tip. Now THAT'S impressive!


I told Sister about how I was told I was indiscriminately flirtatious, and how it finally sank in, and how it explained so much that had happened to me in the past.

She really didn't say much of anything, kind of went sideways on unimportant bits of the story. That kind of let me know that she recognized a parallel experience but wasn't ready to look at it, so I didn't push it.

But if people think I'm flirtatious, they should see her in action! Now I know what Angela meant by "indiscriminate".

Sister's flirtation is different from whatever it is that I do. When talking to someone, anyone, she will raise one shoulder and tilt her head so that her cheek almost touches her shoulder. That's a very child-like gesture. She'll tilt her head down so that she's looking up under her eyelashes. I sort of do that, too, but with me it's a glance. With her it's a stance. She'll raise both shoulders, tilt her head down, and then make a kind of S-movement of her head side-to-side as she's talking. She speaks very slowly, a drawl, always smiling. She'll hold her forearm parallel to the floor, with the wrist bent at a right angle so her fingers dangle. That's a helpless-looking hand. She'll roll her shoulders forward and curve her elbows in, so she looks smaller, takes up less space. With a few drinks, she leans on people, or pats them. I mostly don't touch anyone, ever. I even avoid hugs if I think it might be misinterpreted.

The main difference is that she comes across as very gentle and childlike, whereas I present a more challenging sexuality. We both had the same parents and childhood. We both grew up afraid, feeling of little worth. Our actions come from the same place. We are both saying, in our own way, "Please love me. Please don't hit me."

She's definitely indiscriminate. So I guess I must be, too. I watched her the past few days, now I have to watch me.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

985 Packing

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Packing to go to NJ. I have to pick Sister up at the Newark airport at 8 pm, so normally I'd have to leave here by 5:30, but I'll be hitting rush hour Thanksgiving eve traffic, so maybe I should leave by 4. It's now 3 pm. Ack!

Probably no further updates until Saturday.

You know, I find my sister to be very seductive, but in a different way. She touches people with her hands, where I don't. Together we might be lethal.

She had pretty much the same childhood I had.

Something to explore with her, what does she know of other people's perception of her?

Something else to think about - Daughter is the antithesis of seductive. She pushes away. Is that because of me?

984 Second Thoughts

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I wrote the previous entry in the wee hours (regardless of the time at the bottom - Blogger logs the time you start, not finish, an entry). I got to sleep about 5 am, woke at 11, and my very first thought was "OMG, gotta delete that post!" I'm afraid someone might read and misunderstand it.

I use this journal to think about stuff sometimes, to record and order my thoughts, and sometimes I forget that it's available to others who may not understand.

Back when I was in therapy (1977 to 1982ish) I kept notebooks. They helped. I still have them, but many of the pages have been stapled shut to prevent accidental reading by others, and to keep them away from me until I was ready.

I felt like maybe I should staple that post.

Nah. It is what it is.

The word I was looking for and couldn't find, by the way, is "seductive". I've heard that word applied to me before.

So, I'm thinking, how do I change this perception of me?

When I thought about changing it, I got a little bit panicky. Very strange. The thought of dealing with people without seduction is scary. Do I really want to change this perception? Is there another way to feel safe?

I was about thinking that when I walked out to the kitchen and flipped the TV on, right into a monologue by Rachel, accusing Russ of rejecting her for the very same qualities that drew him to her, and she didn't know how to change that, it is what she is.

I think that's one of the things that troubled Roman, my indiscriminate seductiveness. Maybe it made him uncomfortable, like he couldn't trust me. I know he's not all that sure of his own worth. Perhaps he didn't want to commit to something he wasn't sure he could keep?

So, what now?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

983 Flirting?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I went to dinner last night with Angela. She wanted to know about the gath3ring, and when I told her about The Officer, and that I was so frustrated because I don't know how to flirt, I've never known how to flirt, her chin dropped, and she about fell off her chair laughing.

She said that I do! too! know how to flirt! That I'm about the most flirtatious person she's ever met. That I flirt constantly, with everyone, all the time. That I flirt indiscriminately. Male or female. That if she swung that way, she'd have long ago taken me up on it. She was very emphatic and definite about it.

I didn't understand.

I've heard that before, although never so succinctly put. But if it's true, then why are there so many men in my past who wanted me, and whom I wanted, and whom I tried to flirt with, but they never got the message? They never knew I liked them, until much later, in a different life situation, when we talked about the old days.

I asked her to tell me what I do when it looks like I'm flirting.

She said it's the way I use my hands. The way I move my body. My posture. The way I look at people.

She said that I exude sex. All the time.

Nobody ever said exactly that before, but it explains a lot of other comments.

(Note to the world - exuding sex is NOT the same as flirting.)

My analysis:
  • Hands: I have graceful hands. When I touch or handle something, I seem to fondle it. It's apparently seen as very sensual. It's actually just nerves. If I touch someone, perhaps their hand, it will be a light stroke. It's because I'm not confident of their permission.
  • Eyes: When I'm unsure of my reception, I'll tilt my head down, and look up at the other person. It's something a child would do. I'll express shared amusement by turning my head slightly away and glancing from the corners of my eyes. This might be genetic - my mother did exactly the same thing. I guess it comes across as very kittenish. I tend to look people in the eye when I talk with them, perhaps too intensely. It's because I'm unsure, and I need to gauge reactions.
  • Posture: I've always had a heavy bust, and I have severe badly-healed back injuries. I have to hold my shoulders back and stand straight or I will suffer. So I'm often rolling my shoulders back and down. Perhaps this is misread as display?
  • Hair: I fiddle with my hair a lot, tucking it behind my ears or behind my shoulders. Rather than trying to draw attention to it, I'm trying not to be shamed by it. It's pretty unruly. Sorry. Mostly it's a nervous habit. One habit I did break was twirling it. I used to, when I was nervous, twirl a lock in my left fingers, or draw it across under my nose, like a moustache, until my psychiatrist asked me to please stop that, because when I was doing it, he couldn't hear a word I was saying. When he told me why it was so distracting, I stopped that very day, and I try very hard not to do it ever. Sometimes maybe I still do it unconsciously.
  • Walk: "They" say I wiggle when I walk. Lots of hip sway. Roman accused me of carefully cultivating it, because I have the "model walk", where the feet swing in front of each other, so the footprints would form a straight line, and "that's just not natural". In the Orlando hotel, there was a long hallway with reflective doors at the end, and I watched me walk the hallway to see what I do. Actually, what happens is that the left leg swings straight from the hip, but the right leg swings around to almost in front of the left, which makes my weight swing to the left to compensate/balance. But keeping my shoulders and head in line means it's the hips that swing. So actually, I'm sort of lopsided. I don't know how I avoid falling down. It may have something to do with the fact that the nerves in my lower right leg and ankle are dead, and I have no innate sense of where that foot is.
  • Talk: When I come off with a naughty comment, it's obvious, 'cause I'll have an evil little smile or an exaggeratedly innocent look. But a LOT of what I say is taken as having a double meaning. It doesn't. I think that because people expect it from me, they hear it when I didn't say it. Sometimes it's even a far stretch. I don't engage in small talk. Partly it's insecurity and social ineptitude, partly it's that talking about things of no consequence annoys me and I don't understand why people do it (The Kid said almost the same thing Saturday evening). Men who are used to women who natter apparently find this extremely sexy. Duh? Maybe brains are sexy?
I guess a lot of what I am and do is misunderstood. But maybe I am in fact flirting with everyone, because maybe I'm still afraid of getting beaten. Piper said pretty much that at lunch today (and it surprised me because I don't think I ever told him any details about my childhood. He's very perceptive. Or he has a better memory than I.) Maybe all these little habits started innocently, but became ingrained and habitual when they seemed to soften people toward me.

Until they tried to rape me, that is.

In my 20s I was often forced into sex, in what then was considered the girl's fault, but much later came to be recognized as "date rape". Many times. Many many times. I have often, when the guy didn't forcibly prevent me, and I wasn't completely lost, climbed out of a parked car and walked miles home in the dark (very dangerous, inviting stranger rape), or took a bus home. Almost invariably, when I said no, the guy would say, and it was almost always these exact words, like they got it from a book or something, "Oh come on. Nobody can walk around looking like you do and not want it all the time."


I never understood what they meant.

Well into my 40s, I couldn't keep female friends, because as soon as they got a boyfriend or husband, they accused me of trying to steal him. I suspect that's why the old girlfriends from high school and college whom I've recently located won't reply to me, maybe because one of the first things I mention is that I'm a widow.

I never went after a friend's man. I never flirted with them. I never understood why my female friends got mad at me.

"Exuding sex". Explains a lot.

Flirting comes from me. It's an internal action. Exuding sex is NOT the same as flirting. That's an external perception.

I think. I've got to think about this a lot more. It's all new to me. It also explains perhaps why I didn't mind gaining all that weight after Jay died. It insulated me.

But it doesn't fit with the other perceptions of me - that I'm a bit of a prude, that I am withdrawn and unapproachable, that I am not to be touched. Isn't that a contradiction?


On a lighter (or maybe not) note, later last night Angela told her boyfriend what I had said about not knowing how to flirt. Quote from her email to me: "And [he] agrees with me: you know how to flirt. Which makes me wonder how he knows you know how. Hmm... "

Sigh. I swear, Angela, I never, ever, not once, not even thought about....

Thank goodness she's smarter than most.

982 Flirtations

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I got exactly what I needed last weekend to pull me out of the funk I was in - a little male admiration. It doesn't take much to cheer me up. A little will do. And coming from four different directions helped a whole lot.

The Officer - stare and smile.

Within an hour of my arrival at the gath3ring I noticed "The Officer" (TO). He was average height, very broad shoulders with small hips, strong face and nose, piercing eyes, shaved head, heavy cotton long-sleeved shirt, military bearing. (By military bearing I mean upright posture and a certain "definiteness" of movement.) No rings.


I'm not very good at judging age at all. I'd have put him at maybe early fifties. His face was lined, but with no sag.

I couldn't stop looking at him. He was sooooo nice to look at. I wanted to crawl onto his lap and curl up against that strong chest. (Well, not really. What I really wanted to do was hit him over the head, and drag him out behind a bush somewhere.)

I sat at his table, a few seats away, and learned that he was a national board officer. (Each gath3ring is supposed to have a national and a regional officer in attendance. Many don't.) He was explaining his duties. A little later, I got up to go to a presentation. He got up too, heading for one of the game rooms. We walked together for a short distance, and spoke about three sentences before he peeled off.

I didn't hear much of the presentation. I was mulling over what I could do, what I could say. I really wanted to get to know him better. I am absolutely no good at small talk. If I meet a stranger, we'll sit there in silence until the other speaks. If the other person is willing to initiate topics, I can participate. I hear I'm good at conversation, but only with the other person's lead. From just that few minutes at the table, it appeared to me that he was a bit shy, too.

Worse, I don't know how to flirt. I seem incapable of letting a guy know I'm interested. Over and over there have been guys (high school, college, coworkers, even Jay!) that I had unrequited crushes on, and years later we'd be talking, and I'd say something about it, and they'd be shocked. Over and over I've heard "Wow! I liked you, too, but I never thought you would be interested. Never thought I could ever get anywhere with you." Even with Jay, people thought we were having an affair literally years before WE found out how the other felt. I just can't seem to convey interest, availability. I think I'm flirting with a guy, and I think I'm doing just fine, and then some other woman comes up and hangs all over him, and I'm left sitting there alone. I don't know how to "get" a guy. I refuse to drape myself all over them. I don't invite touching, I guess.

So, I'm sitting in the presentation wondering how to show interest. Small talk's out. Attaching myself to his body is out. Then I remembered a TV show where they were teaching some women how to flirt (yeah, I taped it!) and they said that the way to indicate interest in a crowded club was to stare at a guy for 10 seconds. A long time, but count it off, no less than 10 seconds. If he looks away, stop counting, but keep staring, and eventually he'll look again to see if you're still looking. In the last two seconds, give him a smile that crinkles your eyes, and glance down and away. If he's available, and if you look anything like his type, he'll come over.

So, for the rest of Friday night, and all day Saturday, any time he was in the vicinity, I looked and smiled at him. (Just one 10-second one. The rest were long or short glances.) If we passed each other, I looked into his eyes with a small welcoming smile the whole time we were walking toward each other. He was smiling back. When I'd look over at him, I'd find him already looking at me. A lot of eye contact. Anyone seeing us would think we were passing silent coded messages. By 9 pm Saturday evening, when the open bar and karaoke started, I was getting frustrated. Ok, he knows I think he's pretty, and he must think I look ok, so what next?

At one point, two guys were singing "I'm an A55hole", and doing a very good job of it. I'd never heard the song before, and I was leaning on the brass rail between the floor levels laughing, when he leaned on the rail next to me, to my right, elbow barely touching mine, and asked what I thought of it. We passed another few sentences, and then I turned back to watch the show. Now, I figured the neat thing to do would be to take my left arm off the rail, turn slightly, and lean back against his shoulder. Body contact, but subtle. So I did it, and almost fell backward. He was gone.


A few minutes later he was sitting at a table, talking to a couple who were from his local group, and legends in the society (I was at their Rennaissance-themed wedding, 20 years ago, and attended some of their anniversary parties). I sat directly across the table from TO (a distance of about 5 feet), and joined the conversation. This time, he initiated most of the glancing and smiling. Now, most of the time Friday and Saturday he had been in and out, visiting various activities, fulfilling his national responsibilities, but this evening he sat there for three solid hours, talking to the same people. Unusual. The glances and smiles were getting hot and heavy, near to smoldering. And then suddenly, about midnight I guess, he stood up and left without a word to anybody. I figured he'd be back, but he hadn't returned by 3 am, when I went to bed.

I decided that come hell or high water, I was going to sit next to him at Sunday breakfast, and I was going to talk with him!

Didn't see him at all Sunday. He must have gone home Saturday night or early Sunday.

When I got home I looked him up on the internet.

He's 64. I'm gonna revise my age limit upward. 64 can be very sexy.

Either he's married, or the daughter who lives with him was born when he was 8. Or it's his sister, who happened to have a different maiden name and now has the same last name. Yeah, sure, that's the ticket.


The Kid - Wherein I can't help but wonder what he wants.

Ok, 42 isn't a kid, but close enough. That's 20 years younger than I. He could be MY kid. During the conversation he said he doesn't discuss ages, that he's "on the cusp" of baby boomer and gen-x and comfortable with both. I found out his age when I got home and looked him up on the internet. He told me he writes music, but according to what I found, that's a hobby - he's got an impressive resume in advertising. Or something like that. I forget. But what I found did surprise me.

Average height, thin, pleasant face, dark hair. He has a very unusual name. Seems like a nice guy.

Another case of trading glances, mostly on his part. He was next to me in the Saturday lunch line and struck up a conversation. Later, in the evening, when I was sitting across the table from The Officer, he sat next to me, and really concentrated on me. For the next six hours. For three of those hours, I was flirting across the table with The Officer, and The Kid either didn't notice or ignored it. We talked about everything under the sun, (but now I realize there was no personal info) and laughed a lot. He said that he had seen me at the Orlando gath3ring. After I got home, I realized he was the guy who chatted me up in the whirlpool spa at the Orlando gath3ring one evening. Made me feel good then, too, even though I wondered what he wanted then, too.

When at 3 am I announced I was tired and going to my room, there was an awkward pause. It would have been the time for an invitation. But I don't "do" casual. Sorry fella.

We traded email addresses. He's going to be at a few of the gatherings I intend to attend within the next four months. This could get interesting. If I'm not careful it could get beyond casual.

I don't know whether I want to take it any further than conversation.

The Un3xploded C0w - wherein I am not as I first appear.

I went to a Saturday presentation on "Meta-Forms", a logic teaching tool for children. We learned how to "play" it. There were five people at my table. The guy next to me was dark-haired, maybe late 40s, wearing a t-shirt and a kilt. Nice legs.

He and I picked it up very quickly. The other three people at our table seemed confused. As we went up in complexity, he and I were racing each other, then explaining it to the others. He was impressed. We started working them together, and he challenged me to compete in the Meta-Forms tournament that evening. (They changed the time of the tournament, and it overlapped dinner, so I couldn't go.)

After dinner, along with the Karaoke and open bar, there was a costume competition. The theme was "games". You were to come as a game or toy theme. There was a woman wearing an 8-ball costume, and if you shook her up and asked a question, she'd choose a random answer on her chest. Another woman was all in red, as Miss Scarlet (I think - I don't really know the game) from Clue. (I thought she was rather unimaginative - just an opportunity to wear a tight sexy dress, like those women who always show up in body suits with animal ears.) A small group came as Monopoly pieces, and there were a few video game robots and warriors.

The very best, however, was The Un3xploded Cow, from the game of the same name (click for synopsis - it's a funny proposition).

My kilted Meta-Forms friend arrived in a black and white cow suit (rather like footed pajamas, with a zipper up the back and a hood with horns and ears). He had a magnet attached to one foot, and a metal bomb, complete with fins, that latched onto him every time he kicked it away. The concept itself was funny enough, but it was funnier because the cow suit was a "G0th Milk" costume. (He didn't wear the nose - instead he wore white makeup, black eye liner, black lipstick, and a ring in his nose). Please do click through to the costume photo. Note the pierced ears and tail, and the pierced and chained teats that stick straight out. The writing on the chest of his suit was much smaller than in this photo.

I had purchased a copy of the Meta-Forms set, and The Kid and I were working some of them when The Un3xploded Cow (TUC) arrived. He reached between us and moved some of the pieces. I turned, and saw the teats right at face level, from the side. A startling view! I laughed and turned red. Every so often, he'd come by and move some more pieces. I'd never heard of the cow game, so he explained it to me.

I'm still smoking, so every so often I'd go across the hall and outside for a cigarette. TUC smoked, too, and pretty soon I noticed that every time I went out, he did too. We chatted. I wasn't very encouraging, because I noticed that every "two blue dots" woman (see prior entry) in the place rubbed against him at least once. Ok. He's a player? I'm not interested. Even though he sang (karaoke) several times, and was really good.

Late in the evening, we're outside again, and I noticed that one of his teats had lost its ring. The ring was dangling from its chain and that teat was drooping, no longer ... um ... erect. I pointed it out to him, and tried to reattach the ring, but the threads were broken. He took the ring and slipped it over the teat down to its base. A few minutes later, I pointed to the teat and said "It didn't work. It's still flacid."

You know, he didn't get it for two beats. I don't think he expected that from me. I have often been told that I can come across as a prude. When he got it he roared. He reached out and looked at my badge, and said "No dots?" I said "I'm a tease", and he did exactly the right thing. He stepped back, opened his arms, and said "Come in to me." So, of course, I did.

I got thoroughly hugged. All over. For a long time. By a cow wearing black lipstick and a nose ring. And a bomb attached to his foot.

When we stepped apart, all four teats were flattened. We both looked down, and I laughed and said that I was sorry I'd had such a negative effect. He said, no, quite the contrary, there's been a definite positive effect. "This udder acts like a cup." He excused himself to go to the men's room, where he anticipated a struggle with the zipper up the back of the suit. I did not volunteer to help.

He left about an hour later, during which time I did not go out for another cigarette.

The Big Guy - With whom I did not want to play.

There was a very large guy who, every time I passed, followed me with his eyes and if I looked his way, patted the seat next to him and invited me to sit. I mostly did, and we talked a little, but I didn't want to encourage play. It was still nice to be noticed, though. Flattering.


There are gath3rings within 250 miles of here every other weekend (except around Christmas) from now until April. I think I'm going to start attending more of them. Maybe all of them.

Monday, November 20, 2006

981 Boston

Monday, November 20, 2006

Well, not really Boston, thank goodness, the Boston Men5a R3gional Gath3ring last weekend was in Braintr3e, MA. I didn't have to go through Boston at all. (Note how I've cleverly disguised the words above - I'd prefer that others who were there didn't Google them and find this journal. It happened with a few other events I've commented on lately, local people have found me, and I'm going to have to either start censoring myself, or disguise the topics, and I don't want to censor me.)

As of Thursday evening, I still wasn't sure I wanted to go. I've been unhappy lately, feeling old and haggy and saggy and fat, and wanting to just go back into hibernation. The only reason I hit the road Friday morning was that I hadn't canceled the hotel reservation in time to avoid a charge, so I may as well go.

It was the best thing I could have done. The weekend was good for me.

I had heard that the Boston gath3ring was a good one, and it was. Not for the speakers and programs, the national gath3rings do that better, and not for the food, the northern New Jersey regional gath3ring did that better, but for the PEOPLE, and the fun.

Since I came out of mourning last summer, I have been to two regionals (usually 100-200 people) and two nationals (900-2000 people). I was joined at the hip with Roman at the regionals, so I didn't socialize much. At the nationals, New Orleans last year and Disney/Orlando this year, the hospitality rooms were huge, and they had a very strange atmosphere. There'd be people sitting at tables talking, and if you joined a table, they'd stare through you. It was very hard to make eye contact with anyone, let alone "break into" a group. Someone commented at the New Orleans gathering that it was as if the vastness of the room shell-shocked people, made them close ranks with familiar faces to keep out the cold. (Ok, it was I who said that, but others agreed with me.)

I knew this gathering would be different the minute I walked into the hospitality room. The room was about the size of my living room, dining room, and kitchen combined, divided into two levels. The upper level had maybe four large round tables that could seat 10, and four tables on the lower level, with a small dance floor. Up a few steps to the side was a kitchen/bar.

People were sitting at the tables spread with M&Ms, nuts, cookies, and chips, just like always, everywhere, except that most of them looked up and smiled at people walking in. I hadn't made it halfway across the floor when at least five people introduced themselves and asked where I was from.

I talked to a lot of people. I felt included, appreciated, accepted. They fed us all the meals except Saturday dinner - for that you could buy a ticket for a group dinner at a local Chinese buffet, or go somewhere on your own. I bought a ticket, and (for once) it was easy to join a group car pooling to the restaurant without feeling like I was intruding at all.

I was very happy.

I didn't feel saggy, baggy, fat, or old. In fact, I got hit on by three different guys, even without dots**, and I practiced flirting myself with another - a guy I wanted to drag away the moment I saw him (yeah, lust at first sight). I had recently cut my hair shorter around my face, and somehow that weekend it finally hit its stride, the natural curl took over, and it looked fantastic.

Queen Mum, you'll be happy to know that the man who pursued me most persistently was --- ta ra! --- in his early 40s. Very early. 42, I think. He and I had conversed one evening in the whirlpool at the Orlando gath3ring. He has actually seen my legs and is still interested? (Hmmm. He had also seen me sit on a whirlpool jet and go into a trance.)

By damn, I can still attract healthy nice-looking intelligent men. Given the way things had been going recently, I had been thinking those days were over.

Details in the next entry.



At gath3rings you wear a badge, usually a plastic or canvas envelope on a cord, hanging down your front, handy for holding things like room keys, schedules, and meal tickets, with your name on the front. Then you can decorate it with sticky dots.

Mensans are huggers. They had to come up with the dot scheme to prevent screaming and slapping in elevators.
Geen dot - Hug Me.
Yellow dot - Ask Before Hugging.
Red dot - Respect My Personal Space. No Hugging.
Blue dot - Single.
Two blue dots - Single and Looking.
Three blue dots - Single and Willing.
Four or more blue dots - Desperate.

There were orange dots on the table, too, just because they came in the package with the others. EVERYBODY asked what the orange dots meant. (If I had been behind the registration table, I wouldn't have put them out.) There were two French Canadian men there, and we tried to tell them orange meant into gay S&M, but then we noticed some people had happily stuck them all over their badges, so....

I don't use the dots. Well, I did when I went to the NJ gath3ring, I stuck a blue one on, but that was because I was there with Roman, and I was angry with his running hot and cold, and wanted to make a point.

So people (men) would gallumph up to me, arms outspread, pause, study my badge, and say, in confusion, "You don't have any dots. What does that mean?" I'd say "Oh, I'm such a tease", and smile sweetly, and ask where they're from, and usually the gallumpher would forget that he didn't get a hug.

Actually, it means I prefer to initiate any hugs, and yellow doesn't work because I don't like to say no to some and yes to others. This way I never have to actually say no, and nobody's feeling are hurt. Being very small, I seem to be a target for bears with enormous soft bellies. They like to engulf me. Smother me.

Self defense, folks.

980 Lipstick

Found this one on a Mensa joke site:

According to a news report, a certain private school in Victoria, BC recently was faced with a unique problem.

A number of 12 year old girls were beginning to use lipstick and would put it on in the bathroom. That was fine, but after they put on their lipstick they would press their lips to the mirror leaving dozens of little lip prints. Every night, the maintenance man would remove them and the next day the girls would put them back.

Finally the principal decided that something had to be done. She called all the girls to the bathroom and met them there with the maintenance man. She explained that all these lip prints were causing a major problem for the custodian who had to clean the mirrors every night.

To demonstrate how difficult it had been to clean the mirrors, she asked the maintenance man to show the girls how much effort was required. He took out a long handled squeegee, dipped it in the toilet, and cleaned the mirror with it. Since then, there have been no lip prints on the mirror.

There are teachers, and then there are educators.