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My friend Julie in Baltimore decided to dip her toes in the OKC waters, which inspired the two of us to go at this together. Much like workout buddies, we are there to remind each other to hold our heads high and not to give up — and to share some of the insanity that runs rampant on the Internet. We also thought it would be interesting to compare and contrast the Los Angeles and Baltimore dating scenes.

Because some of this material is too good not to share, we’ve decided to share it with you in the form of weekly highlights. You’ll get them until either one of us finds love (don’t hold your breath) or gives up (more likely).

From Julie:

Fuck you, Valentine’s Day. It’s no coincidence that your initials are VD.  You are an insidious contagion that tries to wind your way into our bodies, our minds, our souls and make us itch and burn. The only protection? A full-being prophylaxis of cold detachment and hardening our hearts against your perverse definition of “romance.” Social isolation works. Chocolate and booze are palliative.

And what I hate the most? You are an evil Hallmark perversion of a martyr’s feast day, itself a compromise between the Church and its infinitely better pagan past.

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Lupercalia.  Wolf festival.  Celebrated by having young male priests dressed in goatskins run through the streets of Rome and flog women with thongs cut from the skins of freshly sacrificed animals (februa).  The lashes from these whips were supposed to impart fertility and protection in childbirth, so girls and young women would eagerly crowd near in hopes of receiving this blessing.

Now that seems much more reasonable than candied hearts and roses and an insane pressure to pair up to stave off the horrors of being alone, no?

Truth be told, I could use such a flogging. Some lashes for the 21st century. However, my proclivities do not run to goatskin cosplay and whips. Well, not yet. But this gifting of power and protection from male priests to eager women does appeal to me.

Okay, fine, I’ll be honest with you all.  I’ve given this a lot of thought recently, even before I made the Lupercalia connection while planning this blog. I have a confession to make. Here goes:  I’m pretty sure I’m a succubus.

For those of you not familiar with this “mythical” creature from Dungeons & Dragons or the SyFy channel or Judaic apocrypha, a succubus is a female demon who seduces men with sex to feed upon the male life force. I haven’t done 23andme yet, so I can’t confirm or deny my human vs. demon provenance, but I am guilty of using sex with guys to fortify myself as I search for the woman who will make me truly happy. I’m not proud of this, and it’s never just sex, as I explained last week. I’m not a selfish carnal monster who gives nothing in return.  I’m up front about what I want, what I’m looking for, and what I’m willing and able to give in a relationship.

But when it comes down to it, what I want from men is to provide me with the distraction, the pleasure, and the ego-boost I need so that I can charge back onto the front and do battle once more. Because every carefully-crafted OKC message not responded to, or responded to and dismissed, or responded to and then that response ignored, is like another shrapnel wound. I long ago gave up trying to harden my heart against these dating slings and arrows, and my reserves of confidence and self-esteem are deeper than most. But they still need replenishing. And guys, well, they’re like the International Red Cross. I can leave the battlefield for a little while and be tended to, fluids replenished, wounds bandaged.

A lovely dinner with someone who thinks I’m smart and pretty, a night of passion with someone who wants me, flirting through texts and emails about how I’m sexy and special, these things feed me. And I give as good as I get, I swear. Like the mythical succubus, I give pleasure in return for strength and sustenance. I may very well be a monster, but not a bad one.

So, yeah, I’ll take goat-skinned lads and female demons over cards, candy, and platitudes any day. But especially this day. Fuck you, Valentine’s Day.

WEEKLY RECAP
Dates:  1 (well, “dates” is a strong word)
Phone Calls: 1
Messages: Too many (from guys); Not enough (from girls)

PROGRESS (OR LACK THEREOF)
I’m going to wait until next week to reveal the results of last week’s survey.  First, I need time to process and analyze.  Second, I want more data.  If you haven’t already completed it, please take a few minutes to do so.

WHAT I LEARNED FROM OKC THIS WEEK
As I said last week, OKC does seem to give you what you need.  This week it did so with a perverse twist.

So after waxing poetic about how I have high standards for whom I will have sex with and how love needs to always be part of the equation in some form, I was presented with a true test of what I wrote.  We’ll call him Patrick Bateman.

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Mr. Bateman, whom I met on OKC, is charming, smart, honest, and super-confident. For me, this equates to super-sexy. He wrote me a lot. And not a few sentences, but actual electronic letters, full of stories and analysis and heart-felt honesty. I was smitten. But, of course, there was a catch. Red flags. Several. He’s married but told me he and his wife have agreed on polyamory. Well, there’s no real way to check that, his wife isn’t on OKC. Hmmm… He was special ops. It’s likely he’s killed people. Well, I’m a pacifist, but I can’t fault the military for doing their jobs, right? So what if he’s all ego? Confidence is sexy!

Then came the dealbreaker. We talked about his age (he’s 44) and my age (40) because he said I’d be the oldest woman he will have ever “dated.” And then he said that, lately, it’s been mostly girls in the “18-28 range.  I think that may just be a function of me being lazy and picking the low hanging fruit. It’s far easier to impress an 18-year-old just out of high school than someone like you, both in and out of the bedroom.”

My heart sank.

And all the other red flags lined up to present a picture of an ego-driven guy in his 40s who fucks girls right out of high school.  Ugh.

(Editor’s note: Dahlia saw this coming.)

Everything else was superfluous. It ended there. We have messaged since then, he sent another long letter trying to explain how 18 year old girls have agency (which I understand, but that’s not the point), I sent him some drunken messages about how I was disappointed and had wanted him but no longer did.  What a mess.

I spoke to my closest male friend last night who, while defending the age thing per se, reminded me of who I am, what I want, and what I will and will not do. There were some tears, but there was also closure and unwavering confidence that I had chosen well.

So, if you’re reading this, Mr. Bateman, I’ve made my decision. I don’t need the whole weekend to ponder. I can’t be your Valentine. I have to be my own.

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