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You Don’t Need to Be Childless or Motherless to Dislike Mother’s Day

We interrupt our seeming endless bitching about men to bring this important bitchfest about Mother’s Day.

Not about the concept behind it, per se…I’m totally cool with taking a whole day to raise a toast of Bloody Marys, mimosas, or craft beers to appreciate the women who birthed and/or raised us, even though my relationship with my own was…complicated, to say the least.

Not even the fact that Hallmark came up with the holiday with the blatant intention of selling cards–in fact, I almost applaud their business sense!

My issue, rather, is with the attitude that sprang up around the idea. Getting your mother a card? That’s fine, as long as you get a pricy bouquet of flowers to go with it. But you’re not really going to simply drop them off and leave, are you?! A good child would’ve booked champagne brunch at the nicest restaurant in town, followed by a spa day at the fanciest resort in the state, followed by dinner at the second fanciest restaurant in town, but only because you don’t have enough money to convince the fanciest to break their “Closed Sunday Nights” policy and do a private event for you. You slacker…how could you ever hope to measure up to the saint who brought you into this world?!?

I understand that plenty of mothers don’t buy into that crap. Plenty of mothers are happy for whatever acknowledgment they receive today or any day. Those are the mothers who are truly worth the appreciation–the ones who love their children no matter what, and in turn have children who will love them just as unconditionally.

And then there are the ones who fall hook, line, and sinker for the Hallmark hype. Every holiday becomes a struggle to put on an appropriate display of adoration (adoration, fear of passive-aggressive consequences…same thing, right?). And no matter how high you build the shrine, it’s never enough.

As you might have gathered, such was my experience with the likes of birthdays, Valentine’s Days, Mother’s Days. It got to the point where it elicited something resembling PTSD in her family; my father happened to be in Denver for his birthday, and when I offered to take him out to breakfast, he pursed his lips and said, “A call and maybe a birthday card is really enough. Your mom was into the whole elaborate production, but I am not.”

And I knew exactly what he was talking about. While this did not occur on our near a holiday, my father and I took a cruise to Alaska shortly before I left for college. While I certainly enjoyed myself (I got to fly in a helicopter to hike on a glacier during one expedition!), my dad and I spent the whole time fretting over what to bring my mother as a souvenir. You obviously don’t love someone if you don’t bring them a souvenir.

Alaskan ports lacking the proliferation of cheap tourist crap abundant in their Caribbean counterparts, we finally settled on a framed photo of me in formal wear. It’d be a nice gesture, we thought–she was taking my upcoming departure for college kind of hard, and it was a rare picture in which I didn’t look completely goofy. “You’ll like this gift!” Dad and I promised.

When I got home, I presented the picture. My mother picked it up, scrutinized it, and shook it a couple times. Finally, she put it down. “That’s IT?!?!!!?” she shrieked.

So one can only imagine the joy I experienced on any holiday for which Hallmark made a card, save, thankfully, the religious ones. And one can also imagine why I feel a sense of solidarity with Mother’s Day Scrooges whose mothers are no longer in their lives after decades of mistreatment. Because while I never had to fear being beaten or missing a meal when I failed to live up to my mother’s nebulous expectations, I did spend quite a bit of time wishing the holiday would disappear so I could avoid all the perky questions of, “What are you doing for your mom on Mother’s Day?”

If your answer to that is offering a cool, “Appreciation is a two-way street, Mom,” when she calls to scream at you for being an ingrate, you have my sympathies. Let’s share a Bloody Mary for no reason besides the fact that we can.

…Get out the Lighter Fluid and the Matches Anyway, ’cause We’re Having a Bra BONFIRE!

So last time around, I hinted that I was using the tale of Big Spender (the guy spent a whole $55 on a 5 x 10 room frequented by married couples [married to other people, that is], folks!!! Big round of applause!!!!) as a prelude to delving deep into my own navel to discuss my real reason for taking a leave of absence from NT,NA: another dude with bigger issues, though not as big a budget.

I envisioned Big Spender’s story as being like The Hobbit to this other dude’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. But because I believe wholeheartedly in my equally illustrious, equally Jewish BestBroForLife (he’s not dead, he’s just on another plane of existence in my mind) Albert Einstein’s proposal that the only two things that are infinite are the universe and human stupidity, and we can’t be that sure about the universe.

Which is to say that Big Spender is getting the Hollywood treatment he so deeply desires and being stretched out into (at least!) two parts where one would have sufficed, while his successor’s saga is now expanding to A Song of Ice and Fire proportions. This is because I can quantifiably prove that, just like the universe, human stupidity is as well, or at least if these two douche-bros are anything to go by.

When I left off last time, Big Spender, who shall henceforth be termed BS, was calling me intermittently for reasons I had yet to ascertain. Early this week, exhausted after driving for two days on sticky Southern pavement, I saw that I had missed a call from him for about the tenth time. And for the second time, I’d had enough.

I sent him a text politely outlining that I no longer wished to hear from him, as I thought I’d already made clear. And by “politely,” I mean that I may have referred to him as a “stupid piece of shit” and an “ugly…slut” in all caps.

“Just trying to keep things professional,” he sniffed, the butthurt oozing through the lines from 2000 miles away. Apparently he’d been calling because he had a gig for me, presumably the one I originally met him to discuss.

Work is great. Work in a field you enjoy and are qualified for is even greater. Work in a field you enjoy & c. but with a boss who can’t seem to see past his boner sucks even harder than he wishes you would on the aforementioned boner.

“You had two months to keep it professional. You failed. Good luck with your future endeavors,” I shot back, assuming that would be the end of it.

We all know what happens when you assume, only I wasn’t getting any ass out of it. He still thought he was, however. “You have little faith in me. Seriously I’m done with the BS[sic][also the acronym, not the proper noun]”

“You’ve given me no reason to have faith in you,” I typed as I tried to ignore the grinding of my own teeth. “I take it this means you’ll finally be leaving me alone.”

Frankly, I’m suprised I still have teeth, or gums, or a jawbone left. Because I immediately heard back: “Not necessarily, I may have phrased that wrong. Answer my call…Listen seriously, I’ve put all of that stuff behind. I’m legitimately calling you neutral[sic][also, WTF?]”

And he did. And so he has done. And so he will continue to wander the woods with his cell phone in hand until the twilight of the Earth…or perhaps I’m confusing him with Arwen Evenstar, who doesn’t even appear until the next analogous saga, so fuck BS anyway.

Because frankly, I have enough drama to deal with right now, drama that I specifically and explicitly stated I want no part of. And I don’t mean the kind brought to life under the pointed but tender care of Peter Jackson and the presences of Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, and Sean Bean (may I say, that man is deadly to his characters!). More like the kind fomented in high school by that one smarmy-looking weasel with the bad attitude who nevertheless managed to act as flypaper for the opposite sex.

But more on that in good time. I need to see if I can commission Enya to write an original piece for the soundtrack.

I’m Really Not a Man-Hating Bra-Burner, but…

I returned to Baltimore, my home of six years during college and grad school, for the first time since 2010. The excuse for doing so was my college’s alumni reunion, which takes place a mere week before I get paid go to Tampa for a month to house- and dogsit for my cousin, who lives a mile and a half from the beach, and work on my novel. Yes, dear readers, the hardships have indeed been numerous since I last updated you on my non-dating life.

The reminiscence of my college days during current circumstances does, however, remind me of a few of my youthful ideals once again. See, I went to a small liberal arts college with a dearth of men and minorities (so much so that my longtime friend, follower, and sounding board, who can check off both boxes and whom I met at this institution, was asked twice at an alumni gathering where exactly he’d attended school) and a plethora of majors and minors in women’s, African-American, and queer studies. But for such specialized focus, the devotees were enthusiastic preachers in the name of liberté, egalité, and fraternité for all. Let no one be denied a voice simply because of her/his/xir/their race, orientation, or preferred gender identity!

All of which is a long-winded way of explaining that much of the reason for my near-abandonment of this blog is that I feel somewhat guilty because the next series of posts will boil down to this: men suck.

Yes, I did indeed say series. Because there were two incidents which prompted my decision to throw in the towel on the notion of feminism being about parity between the sexes and declare that my true motivation for calling myself such is that I am a man-hater, even though I swear I do not hate all men, just the white, straight, cis, able-bodied men who happen to have Category 5 crushes on me. (It’s also worth noting that I do not burn my bras. My adventures in cooking have led me to conclude that they must be lined with asbestos, else I would’ve singlehandedly brought a pornographic rendition of Suzanne Collins’ Catching Fire.)

The first seemingly one-off incident took place in February during one of my trips to LA. I had arranged to meet with a young filmmaker who wanted to find a writer/actress to work with on a film he hoped to expand into a series of his own, though one presumably with a message friendlier to a whole half of humanity than mine. Like all the best first meetings in film history, this one took place in a Subway. There wasn’t much privacy to be had there, of course, so we absconded for a location nearby where the man in need of a muse “knew the owner” and so would “only have to pay $55 for two hours.”

Even my socially stunted self could see where this was going. And yet…he was 22, clear-skinned, and ripped, and I am even shallower than a layer of cooking spray on sizzling Teflon. If ever there was a decent opportunity to reach deep down past the crusty, blackened outer shell and find a trickle that might turn into a pulse of desire, this was it. Plus, I thought, he’s in LA, and I’m usually in Denver. He can’t possibly bug me about the prospect of this going anywhere else because I’d be somewhere else that was a thousand miles away in a week!

If I’d only been Gollum and could therefore have animated conversations with my split personality, I could’ve totally saved myself. After a few hissings of, “Everybody loves us, precioussssss,” I would’ve sharply told myself that thinking I could have a one-night stand that only lasted one night (or a one-lunch hour stand, as the case may be) reeked of a painful naïveté that belied my then-27 years, although I was all too happy to belie at least five of those years anyway for the prospect of engaging in a little consensual cradle-robbing.

But of course, I should have told myself so. One of my objectives in going along with this foolishness was to see if I liked sex better in practice than in theory. I do not, no matter how young and strapping the human strap-on is. I like the follow-up cuddling even less, making me happy that I’d parked in a two-hour only area so that I could use the need to avoid a ticket to cut out early. That, I hoped, would be the end of that.

Two days later, I received a text: “Ever hear of morning wood? lol” I declined to respond.

Two weeks later: “Good morning! Hey I think I found a place it’s no fancy room [Ed. note–!!!!] but it’ll do :)”

“Sure hope it’s in Denver,” I texted through gritted teeth.

“Nope! It’ll still be here when you get back ;)”

I felt the mentally therapeutic thing to do would be to put the phone down and go rip some hair out.

Two months later, as I was trying to finalize plans with a friend by text and therefore whipping out my phone eagerly each time it chimed, I received this in lieu of my desired confirmation: “Hey, when are you back?”

I’d had it. “I don’t know. Do you like anal?”

“Do you?”

“Oh, yeah! There’s nothing quite like the feeling of dry-fucking a guy with a ten-inch dildo while shoving his face into a pillow. The muffled screams really turn me on.”

Amazingly, he kept texting until I slut-shamed him. More amazingly, he has now decided to start calling me every couple days. Thus far, I have yet to pick up, but I do believe I’ll answer with, “I’a, I’a, Cthulhu f’taghn!” if I happen to have my phone on me next time. Usually works on telemarketers.

I do apologize for the inconclusive nature of this tale of woe, though in my defense, when I first conceived of it, I assumed that since he wasn’t interested in my proposed encounter at our next meeting (for which I would have to pony up the $60, I was informed), he must not be a masochist and would therefore leave things be. Alas, this proved but a taste of the misery that was to come in the none-too-distant future. Suffice to say until next time that if I run into of my intersectional literature-women’s studies professors while I’m in town, I will happily decree to them that the plot of the graphic novel series Y: The Last Man currently sounds outstanding to me.

Digging a Bigger Hole as I Scramble to Escape

Ah, the whirlwind world of social interactions. I’ve been assured that it’s not just people with Asperger’s who occasionally miss a step and wind up falling down a steep, pitch-black staircase of stigmatized despair.

But man, it sure seems like I miss more cues than the rest of the population.

Take, for instance, when I was recounting to my cousin my too-eagerly accepted invitation to see some Christmas lights with a guy I barely knew. She guffawed and asked me, perfectly seriously, “How could you not know what he meant when he asked that? Going to look at Christmas lights is one of the most date-like things two people can do!”

I shrugged helplessly. “I used to look at Christmas lights around the neighborhood with my friends–my purely platonic friends!–when we were bored, which happened a lot out in suburban Nowheresville. And sometimes I’d be in the car with my dad when we’d see a neat display of lights we wanted to investigate more closely, and I can assure you there was no Freudian business happening there!”

She conceded how I could have made that gross error after I presented my case, but neither she nor I could come up with a strategy for de-grossifying it. After all, I had accepted–with an exclamation point, no less! And we all know I’m NEVER prone to excessively hyperbolic uses of the shift key and punctuation marks!

As might be obvious by this point in the post, my very own Mr. Would-be Ho-Ho-Ho-Bag returned from Florida and immediately struck up a text conversation. I have pretended to be stuck in the mountains with a lousy cell connection (which, rather like the cough that prevented me from risking a make-out session by the multicolored glow of a staggering Xcel Energy bill, does have some basis in reality) that only permits me to respond to texts once a day.

The problem is that this is not simply some deranged stalker-type who got the wrong idea because he mistook my grimace for a game grin in a bar. This particular dude-bro happens to be in my line of work–we initiated contact over a video shoot–and Denver is a small enough town that, while the “You’ll never work in this town again!” cry doesn’t apply, it’s never good to burn bridges with nuclear warheads.

And since he has indicated an interest in talking more business (or was it simply a ruse to lure me out of the mountains and onto a now-dimly lit street where we could swap saliva samples in peace? I’m even worse at reading sublinguistic cues in text messages than I am at doing so face-to-face!), it’s not in my best interests to block his number or text him back with a totally-not-exaggerated, “Dude, FUCK OFF.”

Which leaves me scratching my socially oblivious scalp and wondering what move to try next. Do I respond to his inevitable next text with, “Yeah, swapping ideas sounds good. By the way, I guess you thought looking at Xmas lights was supposed to be a date, but I didn’t think it was at first, and I don’t date”? Or do I pick a grungy dive bar where you can see the STDs frolicking about the establishment and lay it on him in this sex-negative atmosphere that I do not want to get laid?

Or maybe I will find an abandoned cellar or bomb shelter to camp out in until he loses interest. At least I can’t dig myself in deeper once I hit concrete…not without that nuke, at any rate.

In the New Year, I Plan to Lose Friends and Alienate People

So here’s a nice little counteraction to all the affirming, inspirational New Year’s resolution treacle that’s doubtlessly clogging your Facebook and giving you cancer of the heart: my goal for this year is to be an even bigger jerk.

To backtrack into Auld Lang Syne territory for a minute here, this marks five years since the first time my now-ex-for-good-boyfriend and I broke up. Naturally, had I known then what I know now, it would also have been the last time, but life lessons and all that affirming nonsense.

This also marks five years since the last time I dated anyone not previously known to me. After a few false starts, I had yet another false start, only this time, I continued huffing and puffing for another three weeks out of the gate. This fellow was all wrong for me–quasi-religious, wanted kids, believed in traditional gender roles–but he got one thing right: He really pushed all my then-ex-but-soon-to-be-current-later-ex-again’s buttons to the point where the poor fellow (he of many hyphens, that is) had to dig deep down, find his inner alpha male, and win back the hand of yon faire maiden (i.e., Yours Truly, though I freely admit to the risibility of both the “faire” and the “maiden” parts. Also the “yon,” seeing as how this is America, goldurnit, and we say “that thur”).

However, those three weeks with Mr. Rebounded-Right-into-Hyphen-Boy’s-Arms got serious enough that we exchanged books. Or rather, he dropped a book on me that, let’s face it, I was never going to read, and I certainly wasn’t going to read after we were no longer an item. Rather than make the trek to his house to drop it off in person, I decided to ship it, and in doing so, I figured I’d give this smarmy charmer a little bonus since I’d be paying for postage and packaging anyway. Being the queen of generosity that I am, I wanted to make sure that he had an opportunity to finally find the lady love of his dreams, the woman who would cook his meals, bear his children, and laugh politely instead of pitching a fit when he played hide-and-seek with her glasses, so to help him achieve his goals, I gifted him this book:

Screen Shot 2013-12-05 at 3.34.03 PM

 

Whether he used it or not, I cannot say. I never heard back from him, perhaps because he was unsure how to address the thank-you card, as I thought I’d have a bit of fun by hyphenating my last name to Mr. Hyphen’s on the return address of the package.

The point of this tangent being that I now wish I hadn’t wasted such a marvelous find on such a loser. I really think I could have used the book myself.

Now, I’m sure, in light of all this take of changes and being a jerk, I might be conveying the message that I intend to be less of a jerk in 2014, but being the somewhat Aspergery sort that I am, I find it easier to learn how to interact with people by reading a book than by actually interacting with them.

But no. I want to learn people skills so that I can learn to better read people’s interest in me…and learn how to jerk it off at the pass.

See, due to this general social awkwardness, I found myself in quite a muddle a week ago. A guy I had met who was directing a short video I appeared in had my number so he could text me details of the shoot, and, presumably because he was bored, also happened to text me passing thoughts that crossed his mind. Since Jewish atheists rarely have much to do around Christmas when all their friends have parties to attend, I had little else to do but text back.

At one point, he mentioned how he’d found some nice Christmas lights south of Denver. I may be Scrooge reincarnated, but I do appreciate shiny things as well as the next person, so I texted something back about how neat they must be.

He then offered to take me to go look at them.

“Sure.” I replied.

Oh, for an un-send feature on iMessage. Because as I watched the agonizing white scroll bar work its way across the top of my phone, telling me that my message was toodling along unyieldingly toward its recipient, I naively wondered how we were going to work it out. Would I meet him somewhere, then follow him in my car?

Then it finally sank in. He probably meant for the two of us to look at the lights together. Like, in the same car and everything. And we all know what twentysomethings do when they’re alone in cars together, if they’re not rocking out to Queen.

He confirmed my suspicions by asking if I’d ever ridden in a Jag before, at which point I panicked and turned my phone off. The next day, when I turned it back, I was able to legitimately beg off due to having a particularly tubercular cough that could have made me the subject of my very own opera had I lived a century and change ago, a cough that just won’t die, but is at least giving me fabulous abs.

Alas, there was no way of rescheduling, as he was going on vacation the next day, so I had at least a short reprieve in which to pack all my personal belongings and move to Santa’s home in the North Pole, since I’m sure he’s renting that shit out on AirBnB and making for the Bahamas. But I couldn’t find enough boxes in time, which means at some point, push might very well come to shove. I have yet to decide if it will be easier to try and explain that I’m sort of asexual or if I should simply arrange a date and not shower for the days leading up to it, eat beans right beforehand, and order something with corn or another product that I can magically manage to spray in my eyelashes during. I’m leaning toward the latter.

And since it’s obvious I’m just not that into anyone, I need to figure out some strategies so I can avoid this sort of thing altogether in the future. Since I’m not fond enough of beans to eat them with every meal, I’ll need to find some other strategy of being anti-musical to guys’ ears.

Maybe I’ll try communicating only in opera. Contrary to what Verdi and Puccini would have you believe, those high notes don’t sound so good when you’re trying to get them around a thick coat of post-nasal drip.

How to Tell When She’s Just Not That into You, Bro

I would hope that I have done my part to inform the dude-bros and broskis of the world that when a woman is wearing a team’s colors or logo and is actively yelling at said team in a sports bar, it’s a pretty clear indicator that she came to said bar to see them, not to talk to you.

But what about the other myriad situations in which a woman might have gone out to an establishment by herself with every intention of ending the night still by herself? I have used this blog to gripe incessantly about societal dating and mating games that require men to be all manly and not stop until they have successfully browbeaten a woman into being swept off her feet, while the woman in question must giggle and coyly decline because she doesn’t want her feet, or any other body part, to be swept so easily.

My basic problem with this setup is, as evidenced by my horrible experience in that L.A. bar–well, besides the Patriots winning the game (insert grumbling about Massholes here, as I’m failing to think of any Boston team that hasn’t somehow fucked over a Denver team at a crucial moment in the last decade)–is that an eventual “yes” is always presumed to emerge from the woman’s lips. Any other answer is her playing hard-to-get.

So as a further PSA to the hapless male victims of societal conditioning, Not Taken, Not Available would like to once again present, in list-errific form, 5 ways that you can tell right off the bat (or kickoff, if it’s football season still) that she would rather eat lead paint chips than go home with you:

1. She says no to your suggestions.

This should be a no-brainer, but see aforementioned gripe about societal conditioning about how “no” really means “yes, if you just try harder, tee-hee!” If she doesn’t want to go for another drink with you after the game, or exchange numbers, or share some chips and salsa with you, etc., don’t push it. Even if you THINK she might be hinting at a “yes, if you try harder,” take her at her word. If guys started saying “okay” and walking away when they got turned down, maybe we could end this bullshit once and for all.

1a. She turns down your offer to buy her a drink.

I put this as its own category separate from the rest of #1 because the general consensus among my female friends who have been in a similarly awkward place as I was two and a half weeks ago (that is to say, in L.A.) is that you should just accept the drink, even if the dude’s not to your liking, because free booze!

Which should be a clear indicator that if the woman whose tab you’re offering to pick up is flatly refusing, it means she really, truly doesn’t want to have anything to do with you and would like to make that obvious from the first sentence. If she won’t let you buy her a drink with no explanation (no hasty addition that she’s a recovering alcoholic, is allergic, etc.), back right the fuck off.

2. She’s reading a book. 

…Or an iPad or Kindle. Or working on her laptop. If she brought something to occupy herself with and is hunched over and focused on it, you could risk a glare that will cause your testicles to retreat inside of you and make your penis fall off and scramble to the nearest corner for safety.

3. She’s already having an intimate conversation with someone else. 

It doesn’t matter if this person is just a friend, or there’s a “boy” or “girl” attached to the front of the word. Unless she and her friend are dressed to the nines and are clearly scanning the crowd for prospects, chances are she went out to spend time with the guy or gal she’s already with–not you.

4. She ordered food and is eating it.

In my family, the table goes silent when dinner is served. We taking eating very seriously, and woe betide the wretch who tries to make the food go cold by starting a conversation. Even if you weren’t raised by feral wolfhounds, eating is generally messy and not a time when one feels at their peak standards of attraction, so if the object of your affections is tearing into her meal with gusto, there’s an exceptional chance that she’ll be tearing into you–and not in the sexy way, unless you have a really strange fetish–if you try to interrupt her special moment.

5. She responds to all your remarks with grunts, monosyllables, and a lack of eye contact.

Ah, dating advice from men and women alike. It generally poses quite the dilemma, since it does encourage guys to keep persisting even after a firm “no” has been issued, and since the law dictates that it’s not okay to unprovokedly haul off and punch someone no matter how annoying they’re being, we naysayers are left relying on what should be a clear lack of interest to try and reinforce what we’ve already stated.

So if you totally ignored numbers 1 and 1a, pull your head out of your ass long enough to pay attention to what’s going on after whatever offer you made got declined. If she’s responding as tersely as possible, looking at anything in the room but you, responding to your lame jokes with stony silence, or pulling out her phone as soon as finally shut your blowhole (most likely to text her friends about this cumsock who won’t take a fucking hint), she does. Not. Want. To. Talk. To. You. Take a deep breath, realize you’re not the ladykiller that the Jager Bombs you just threw down made you think you were, and beat a retreat.

I hope this clears a few things up, dudes of the world. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to keep them to yourselves, because I’ll be too busy loudly asking the refs how much the opposing team’s QB had to suck their dicks for them to make such bad calls.

How (Not) to Approach a Solo Woman in L.A.

Earlier this week, I got back from spending Thanksgiving in Southern California. On Sunday, I was lying on a beach, soaking up the sun and 75-degree weather. On  Tuesday, I was back in Denver, where it was snowing to beat the band and cheerful meteorologists were projecting a high of 4 degrees the next day (it turned out to be 9. Woo-hoo?). So if you see a lot of references in upcoming posts how wonderful life is now that I’ve moved out to San Diego, you’ll know exactly why.

SoCal was a learning experience, and not just regarding the consistently pleasant weather. I learned all about more revitalized terms I can add to my lexicon–the last time I’d heard “far out” used unironically was when I listened to The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars on the drive out.

But I also learned about essential cultural differences in approaches to mating rituals. And no, I’m not referring to the fact that David Bowie may or may not have made sweet, sweet, glamorous music with Mick Jagger. Rather, in spite of the fact that the populace of Colorado and California is overall similar in composition (most people who live in both don’t come from either), men in California–specifically, L.A.–have, shall we say, different approaches to women than men in Colorado–specifically, Denver.

To illustrate, I have two examples from one day when I was visiting a friend in L.A. It was the day of the Broncos-Patriots mashup (may Tom Brady’s and Bill Belichick’s souls rot for all eternity), and as is customary on game day, I was wearing my Broncos sweatshirt.

Now, I will never in any way say that women somehow deserve assholish behavior based on what they’re wearing. But compared to the other women around me who were dressed appropriately for the 70-degree weather in shorts, tank tops, and skirts, the lucky sweatshirt I was sporting is long-sleeved and two sizes too large because I bought it knowing I had tickets for a Broncos home game in November. Weather in Colorado being a bit unpredictable, I wanted to be able to bundle up in layers of ski gear while still being able to proudly my team spirit, which would necessitate wearing the ski gear under the sweatshirt. Hence an outfit that was baggy, shapeless, and bright orange to boot.

To top that off, I haven’t washed said sweatshirt since the season started. To understand why, you would probably have to find hilarity in those Bud Light commercials where a sports fan continues a ridiculous and seemingly insufferable ritual every game day because whenever they do so, their team scores, and you’re laughing because you do have an equally ridiculous and seemingly insufferable ritual that you keep doing in spite of its ridiculousness and seeming insufferability:

I laughed particularly hard at this commercial because of the Broncos connection as well as the memes going around after that pitiful Pats game with screencaps and captions to the effect of, “Should’ve stayed in the basement, bro!”

But on the day of the game, I obviously had no idea what the outcome would be, so I cheerily helped out the Broncos in my own stinky way: I wore the sweatshirt I have not washed in months because it seems like it helps them win.

Apparently three months is just enough time for creep-attracting pheromones to seep through even the thickest clothing, because as I sat down at a coffee shop a few hours before the game to check my email, a fortyish dude sat down next to me, observed me typing, and asked, “So…they got wi-fi here?”

“Mm-hmm,” I tried to reply noncommitally.

“How’d you get it?”

I can’t help but feel like my face must have automatically squinched itself into my just how many times did your mother purposefully drop you on the head as a baby? expression as I replied, “Well, I clicked on the wi-fi button and found the network labeled ‘free.'”

He left it alone for a few seconds, but seeing as how he was still sitting right next to me, and seeing as how I was trying to check my email in peace, I shifted my body so the computer was angled away from his line of sight.

Noting this, he quipped (or I assume it was a quip): “You know I’m totally reading over your shoulder.”

That did it. I gave him a full-on blast of bitchface.

“I’m just kidding,” he hastily added.

I maintained my stare for a full five seconds until he quickly realized that there was a more promising looking seat across the shop and scooted that direction.

I probably wouldn’t have given much thought to it if not for what happened when I went to a sports bar later to watch the game. In Denver, if you go to a sports bar alone and wearing your Broncos colors, guys tend to assume you’re there to–gasp–watch the game and will limit their contact with you to a cheers or high-five for a touchdown.

Not so much in L.A.

“Watching the game, huh?” asked the smarmy man in the Green Bay jersey who sidled up next to me.

“Yep.” And to his apparent surprise, I continued to do so.

“What’cha drinking? On the house.”

I’d been warned by the friend I was staying with that this might happen and I should simply take him up on it because hey, free beer.

“I’m good, thanks,” I managed to get out through gritted teeth. Scoring drive for the Broncos = STFU, everyone else in my book.

He didn’t get the hint. “Oh, come on, let me buy you a drink,” he oozed.

If I let you buy me a drink, you’ll get the impression that it’s okay to continue talking to me during the game, which it’s totally not, I thought, but then the Broncos scored a touchdown, and my distinctly indelicate and unladylike yell when this happened seemed enough to deter him for the time being.

But I guess some guys just don’t learn. Not only did he introduce himself to me twice and receive a curt nod both times because I was way more interested in Peyton Manning than him, he also left to try chatting up a waitress, flub horribly, and come back at the end of the game, when the Broncos salvaged a bad second half by tying the game and sending it into overtime. In sum, I was only watching two of the hottest teams in the NFL in a hotly contested game that was, for the Broncos at least, the first to extend past regulation time this season. I bit my knuckles as the Broncos started to make a slow advance–the first for either team in OT–across the field.

Green Bay FudgePacker fan sat down next to me again. He glanced at me, then at the screen, then back at me.

“Close game, huh?”

It was the second time that day I had deployed the bitchface. It was the second time it worked on the guy at the bar, though it didn’t do a damn thing to deter either Tom Brady or Bill Belichick. I watched helplessly as the Patriots kicked the game-winning field goal that would leave me texting my best friend gloomily, “Well, I guess I can wash this sweatshirt now. Maybe I’d at least have better luck with the guys.”

I didn’t wash the sweatshirt, of course, which clearly helped the Broncos rally last Sunday to defeat their hot-on-the-tail division rivals in Kansas City. But be warned, men of L.A. and everywhere else when I come back, whether for a simple onetime shot of beachface or permanently to avoid single-digit temperatures: if you ignore my lack of interest and keep pushing me, you’re going to make the Broncos lose. And if that happens, I will spend most of my waking nights from then on contemplating what poison to use on you, because stabbing you would get the wrong team colors on my lucky sweatshirt.