Keeping it Real

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon, Liz Maverick and Hope celebrate Liz's birthday in style.
Elizabeth Kerri Mahon, Liz Maverick and Hope celebrate Liz's birthday in style.

I recently met a female writer buddy for Indian food in the West Village.  Over a leisurely dinner of vegetable samosas, curried shrimp, and palak peneer, we chatted about a host of topics–our current writing projects (a given), restaurants, a lecture she’d  attended that day addressing psychoanalytic perspectives on attraction and mating, an award she’d just received for her excellent blog on women in history, and the upcoming national presidential election,  including yes, The Palin Factor.  After exhausting these topics, we took the conversation down a notch–okay, several notches–to yes, men and dating.

Elizabeth and Hope exchange serious looks.
Elizabeth and Hope exchange serious looks.

No matter how balding, paunchy and yes, middle-aged a man may be, no matter that his job may suck or that he may not have a job at all, he still operates on the principle that he has a God given right to date twenty-somethings and models.   

It seems that while my friend and I write fiction, a disturbing number of single men are living it.

Case in point, my friend recently attempted to fix up her attractive, got-it-going-on male co-worker with her attractive got-it-going-on female writer friend.  The man, who works in the finance industry, was so open to the fix-up that on his lunch break he pulled out his Blackberry and went to said writer’s web site.  Sufficiently intrigued, he went on to read her bio, which briefly mentions her graduate degree.  Finishing, he turned back to my friend, smile dropping, and said, “Sorry, but she’s too smart.”

Okay, so once a woman is over thirty-five, dumb is what, the new sexy? 


On the extremely off-chance any single men are perusing this post, listen up, guys.  Whether you’re in your 30’s, 40’s, 50’s or older, the time has come to get real about this dating-slash-life stuff.  You are not going to end up with a model or an A-list actress.  You are not even going to start out with one.  Even if Brad Pitt was to be taken completely out of the picture, even if you were to step in and be Angelina Jolie’s shoulder-to-cry-on, her rock, she is still not going to have you.  Ditto for supermodel Heidi Klume and A-list actress, Jennifer Aniston.  Your chance of scoring with these babes is not only remote.  It is nonexistent.

These women are simply not going to have you, so get over it.

I realize that for many of you this comes as a shock, one that you will need some time, anywhere from the next few minutes to the rest of your lives to absorb.  The good news is that there are actual, real life women who maybe just maybe might be persuaded to have you or at least to take you for a test drive–think Zip Car versus the longer-term commitment of say, Hertz.  Generally speaking we’re Manhattan single women 35 and older, and as a cohort we’re well-heeled, well kept, well read, and well employed.  We’re smart.  And sexy.  Like Forest Gump’s peas and carrots, like peanut butter and chocolate in a Reese’s cup, smart and sexy aren’t mutually exclusive.  They can go together.  In real life, they usually do.  Still have doubts?  Then check out these photos of my buddy, Liz Maverick’s birthday bash at Shalel last Saturday.

Dorchester author, Leanna Hieber takes Liz's Steampunk goggles for a test run.

Real life isn’t so bad, now is it?


Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder?

When romance author buddy and fellow Manhattan singleton, Liz Maverick called me up last week and said, “This new absinthe bar just opened up in the Lower East Side. Wanna go?” there was really only one answer that sprang to mind.


Maybe Liz’s um…maverick spirit is just contagious or maybe it was my own residual curiosity from high school Art Appreciation Class–Degas’ painting, “The Glass of Absinthe” is well, pretty haunting–but either way I was totally game to go.

On Saturday night I met Liz and our mutual friend, Bonni at White Star on Essex Street. White Star isn’t a terribly big place, but it packs a pretty powerful presence, sort of Prohibition era speak easy meets uber cool Manhattan “secret bar.” Proprietor and yes, mixologist, Sasha Petraske patiently briefed the three of us on the history of absinthe before settling in to make our drinks.

Up until Saturday night, I was an absinthe virgin. I remember absinthe being illegal in the US “back in the day” but beyond vague allusions to blindness and brain function loss, I really didn’t know much about it. The official Webster definition of absinthe is “a green liquor flavored with wormwood or a substitute, anise, and other aromatics.”

After Saturday night, I strongly recommend Webster and Company update their definition. As it turns out, there are various types of absinthe. White Star serves the traditional green “Parisian” variety as well as a slightly less fortified clear type.

The flavor didn’t shoot me over the moon but it wasn’t bad, either, quite pleasant in point. To me, absinthe tastes like licorice only without the syrupy consisteny of sambucca. But what I really dug was the whole ritual of preparation and presentation, complete with 1930’s-esque bar gatchetry. That Sasha kind of looks like Brendan Frasier in the Mummy movies didn’t hurt, either. But I digress…

Preparing absinthe is fairly labor intensive. You do it by the glass and there is absolutely no rushing the process. Basically, about three-fingers’ worth of the actual liquor is poured into a glass. Ice water is then drizzled over a single sugar cube set atop a strainer, slowly infusing the absinthe with an almost fairylike foaminess.

I didn’t experience any Green Fairy sightings, I’m happy to say, though the absinthe I drank was the clear variety and I only sampled one before switching to a tried-and-true clear alcoholic beverage–champagne. Still, White Star stands out as the highlight of the evening.

But like intrepid cultural anthropologists, our data collection and cataloguing didn’t end there. Afterward, there was a dinner at a nearby Afro-French bistro, Les Enfants Terrible (the grilled calamari with chick peas are to die for), followed by dancing and people watching at The Cellar in the Bryant Park Hotel. The near naked chics, The Cellar’s answer to the Solid Gold Dancers, had me swearing to pull out my yoga mat and weights the very next day. I could say more but better yet, check out Liz’s blog at the Rebels of Romance for the um…unexpurgated story.

Happy (post) Labor Day,