2008: Year of the Slap

It’s that time of year again, when I cast my jaundiced eye back and reflect on the ups, downs and moral turpitude of the last 12 months. One thing I can unequivocally say, it was the year of the slap—between my girlfriend and other people’s, I learned the art of the slap is alive and well.

Best slap:You go four decades without ever being slapped, and then all of a sudden everyone’s slapping you. I guess I could sort of understand my girlfriend reacting violently, as she did a number of times, to my many insensitive remarks, but my former wing-man’s girlfriend? Where does she get off? All I did was imply her boyfriend occasionally had a special needs look about him.

Best line: From an essay (by Rachel Donadio?) in the New York Times Book Review: “If I went over to a guy’s place and he had one of those books about life lessons learned from dogs, my clothes would probably stay on.” Especially funny in light of all this Marley & Me hoopla.

Best seminar: This was the year I finally got my fill of Neil Strauss and all those self-styled dating gurus that have arisen in the wake of his book The Game. My last (more or less) venture into this realm was a seminar in San Francisco held by Lance Mason, the entrepreneur behind something called Pickup 101. Sure, I picked up a few tips from Lance Sauve, but what I really learned was that these guys are even better marketers than they are pickup artists.

Best party, skinny-dipping division: The Global Warming Party in, if memory serves, February. An outdoor heated pool full of skinny-dipping Burning Man enthusiasts, along with a “play room” (and all that implies), a bar, a masseuse, and a full-on dancefloor with DJs.

Best first date: Was with my girlfriend, Nicole. Because she’d slap me (again) if I said otherwise.

Worst first date: I met A. in the self-help section of Chapters. After calling her up and arranging to go to a concert, I suggested she invite a friend along, and I would bring one as well, my then-trust-worthy wingman. The four of us went to a concert, followed by a late-night eatery. The next day, A. Facebook’d Wingy to ask him out for a drink. Wah-wah.

Best excuse: “I didn’t know it was a date.”

Worst chip on shoulder: Me, I guess. Gotta work on that.

Best wingman: Hart, my eight-year-old “Little Brother” (for a few months this year, I was part of the Big Brothers program).

Best weekend getaway: Sonoma, California, where Nic and I (in the full bloom of early passion) were treated like royalty at the Fairmont Sonoma. We’ll always have that hot-air balloon ride.

Worst weekend getaway: American Thanksgiving, when I was unceremoniously ejected from Nic’s mother’s boyfriend’s 200-year-old stone house into the Pennsylvania countryside, in the middle of the night.

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