Monday, February 24, 2003

Reality Culture, My Dinner With Amy Sohn & Spanky the Sociopath

The obsession of the media, television as well as print and radio, with the every day people of late seems a bit out of control. It seems like everyone and then some are getting their 15 minutes of fame, either through a "Reality TV" dating program or an expose on a dating service. Ironically enough, while initially it only seemed that Hollywood retreads would subject themselves to it, now all of a sudden after denying access every star now wants you to see their “real life.”? Why? Very simple, there is even a greater fascination with the lives of real people who are also clamoring for the spotlight, at a far lower cost. The fact is that many would rather watch Joe Millionaire, Evan Marriott who does not command a salary or wage in the realm of any real actor or personality than they would the “Bling Bling” of Sean P Diddy Combs. Production costs are low and profits are high. Plus the media have figured out that what people want most is to have their voyeuristic appetites fed. While it may be cool to watch your favorite movie stars, it’s far more juicy to see your next door neighbor, ex girlfriend or boyfriend on TV making a fool of themselves. Next up….it could be you.

The ultimate irony with “Reality TV" programming, however, is that more often than not it is simply NOT real; individuals are willing to act or play a part that they have essentially been cast for. After all it still must appeal to audiences and advertisers must see a point in buying air time. While reality culture is good economics for the entertainment industry and perhaps even entertaining, the lives of most people are not Jerry Springer shows and the attempt to turn them into such events defeats the whole purpose of “reality programming.” Who are we kidding?

This is just one mans observation who got behind the scenes and watched fictional scripted 8 Minute Dating Events, casting for reality TV shows, served as a reference and commentator in the New York Magazine Cover Story, "The Casual Sex Revolution", and was himself the subject of an article in New York Magazine entitled the “Pickup Artist” and labeled as somewhat of a “conundrum”--- "a pickup artist with the heart of a woman, a sensitive guy who can turn on a dime, an anti-materialist who woos by sending [gifts]. Beneath all his warmth, he seems to have a bitter core, as though his years of playerly ways have made him lose respect for any woman who would have him. It’s obvious he wants love, but I know from firsthand experience that it’s hard to find love when you’re busy hitting on everyone in the room."

I read her “Female Trouble” Column regularly in the 90’s many times over late night eats at The Viand Diner on 86th street or the Corner Bistro if I happened to be out downtown. Prior to becoming a noted novelist, author and weekly columnist for New York Magazine, Amy Sohn’s Female Trouble column first appeared in New York Press, the newer and edgier version of the weekly newspaper which had a fresher more unique voice than the Voice. Amy’s column served as a good compliment to the New York Post Sports section and Page 6 at 3 a.m. over Eggs and coffee.

Her Female Trouble column was essentially voyeurism into one woman’s journey, sexual and otherwise leading to female adulthood. Amy was honest, bluntly so and refreshingly glib. Her soul was out there for all to see. She spoke to us all like we were her special girl friend or confidant. On more than one occasion, I found myself wondering whether the vulnerable but seductive little tigress was hot looking and what it would be like to be her “Novel Lover”, or at least one of the guys that she encountered on her journey.

Recently over cocktails at the Tribeca Grand, I finally had that opportunity. Out of the blue I received an email and then a phone call from Amy Sohn which ultimately led to our agreement to meet. Amy had informed that she potentially wanted me to be the subject of a piece that she was writing about how some of the more “average” vs. Joe Millionaire men were faring in the dating scene in Manhattan these days and how some guys who seemingly did not “have it all” somehow managed to get more than their fair share of “play.” Was I walking into a trap?

She seemed perplexed and intrigued why a man like me apparently fared so well with the opposite sex. Why did I have so many female friends and lovers? What was my secret? After all, I was attractive, but certainly no movie star, and intelligent but certainly no Einstein nor a multimillionaire (sorry ladies, that’s the truth). I am surprised she did not ask for a measurement of my "Johnson" to give her further insight (no its not that big). In fact, in her piece entitled "The Pickup Artist", I was referred to physically as a slightly less attractive
Anthony LaPaglia. I did not know whether to be flattered or insulted by that characterization. But then I realized, Anthony La Paglia is a pretty damn good actor. He has a certain unforgetable intensity, passion and sensitivity, with a dark edge. He is typically not the main character or star attraction (but more like the Paisan Kevin Bacon) who's name usually escapes everyone but you remember having seen him. I can relate to that. Anyway, I was intrigued by Amy's style, intellect and manner of inquiry. Maybe I was empathetic to the angst she exhibited in her columns of her enthusiastic pursuit of love, life and experience but often only getting sex or less permanent liaisons. But like me..she still had fun and lived in the moment. Maybe I have had a certain degree of Male Trouble similar to her "Female Trouble." Maybe I identified with that aspect, a lot of play leading no where ultimately.

I genuinely just liked Amy. I wanted to assist in her quest to write an accurate and truthful piece about one mans experiences in NYC. After all I am a true Scorpio and somewhat of a frustrated creative type myself. Scorpios are known for being persistent, loyal, consumed with uncovering the truth and to a degree led by their libido or their “lower half.” Nevertheless, I consider myself highly evolved and possessing a strong will and constitution. My life’s passion is to connect and inspire others to achieve greatness in every aspect of their lives. At times, I will be the first to admit that I have a primal passion for life and that my sexuality is a deep, all-consuming and intense part of that.

The Pickup Artist was a more titillating and humorous account of my personal experience through the eyes of one writer. In fact, I enjoyed reading it and she was liberated to take artistic license by creating a fictional persona, identifying me as "Tad Brock." To me the name sounds very "Boogie Nights" or like a Gay Porn Star. Speaking for "Tad Brock", I can honestly say for the record that:

Whatever “success” that I have had has less to do with trying to hit on every woman in a room and more to do with the fact that I focus first and foremost in approaching people, engaging them in a dialogue and finding out what they are about rather than "working" them over in some insincere fashion. Its simply misguided to even infer that my style is similar to these clowns who wrote a book entitled “Make Every Women Want You” which outlined their "CCR” principles.

The only thing more lame and disingenuous than writing such a book is having the need to read such a book. In this arena, I do not need the unprincipled frat boy guidance of a couple of simpletons who created a thesis or book of rules on how to stealthly manipulate the opposite sex in order to get laid. Just one mans view but if you need Dr. Phil (or Oprah in Drag)
John Gray
or the lame dudes who wrote this book to help you relate to the opposite sex, just start over and crawl back into the hole from which you came. These clowns with their "CCR” mantra claim as if they have hit on some magical formula. Hey man, plain and simple, it’s called converse, connect, be real and stop viewing every woman as a piece of ass. Try talking to people rather than at them.

Because I genuinely like people, I actually seek to connect with them first on some meaningful ground. In fact, I have often taken my contacts and introduced them to other people for business, life, friendship and love; essentially as effective a matchmaker as any Yenta without the massive overhead which is why I make so many friends as well. It does not hur to be in my network. While I am not always truly altruistic, I simply love women. I have no double standards and in some respects that makes me a feminist. The only anger or resentment that I have towards women is not directed towards womankind (or truly independent women like Amy Sohn or Elizabeth Wurtzel) but rather the "Vapid Princess Social Set in Manhattan" that views men as an extension of their wallets or walking ATM machines.

On top of that what is notable about the column is that one of my ex girlfriends who was interviewed for the piece lampooned my generosity as self serving and annoying but necessary because I am so "desperate for love." Bitch, spare me. How convenient, the same ungreatful women who make such remarks gladly accepted all these forms of generosity, including one girl I shall label SPANKY THE ROLEX QUEEN, a petite brunette NYC Investment Banker resembling Betty Boop who essentially barters and negotiates her love, passion and commitment with her fetish for watches and fancy vacations, while offering little in return other than a firm round bottom which she likes to have spanked regularly (for being such a "naughty girl") and excellent oral skills. This girls is an Engima but basically a prostitute of a different stripe; completely submissive sexually and utterly manipulative socially. Escort Services are cheaper and there is more integrity associated with the transactions. After the end of an undefineable but nevertheless psychologically twisted involvement with "Spanky", a couple of years later we reacquainted as friends. I consoled her through her impending divorce and other life problems. After allowing her access in to my life a second time, I watched her use the same barter system with her estranged husband in an attempt to emasculate him while simultaneously pursuing opportunities to get spanked on as well as with several friends of mine that she dated or played with her. All the while she professed her secret devotion to me repeatedly informing me that she was so much more attractive, intelligent and succesful than my present girlfriend. While dating my friend and simulataneously working on a strategic reconciliation with her husband "just in case" the single thing did not work out with my friend or the people she was meeting online, Spanky offered me oral sex in her apartment as a "Christmas Gift." Her expressed interest in my friend was because a) unlike her husband he was NOT jewish (and she did not want to get involved with any more "Jews") and b) my friend was a "Power Broker" who could take care of her in the style that she had becomed accustomed to as an Investment Banker. She delayed the divorce proceedings with her husband because she knew he was due to inherit several million dollars and if she divorced him prematurely and nothing materialized with anyone else, she would be out a husband and some significant cash. I was also further subjected to a conspiracy between her and her female friend to undermine my relationship with my then current girlfriend/princess. I became so disgusted with her and remember asking her if she had a soul and whether her materialism out weighed her racism. When I was left with no choice but to tell my friend of her agenda, her response was incredulous disbelief and the assertion that she was never really interested in me to begin with because I was not enough of a "Power Broker" like he was. You think I would have learned my lesson? The irony is that this "Sociopath" goes to church on Sundays and considers herself a good catholic rather than just another simplistic hypocritical golddigger. Reality is sometimes stranger and more frightening than fiction. I wish I could say I made this up but it is just the truth.

So you tell me if after a couple of experiences like that there is anything wrong with the fact that I want to make sure to steer clear of those with a Princess entitlement complex. That does not make me anti-female nor does it make me bitter, or less generous it makes me a strategic pragmatist who has learned his lesson. I can understand that Amy’s motives were sound and she had no ill intent, so perhaps to her I was a “conundrum.” Maybe because Amy’s experiences with men have been less than ideal, she projected a degree of cynicism for men in general on me? Reality is but ones perspective of it. But the long and the short of it I cannot deny that her perspective is entirely inaccurate or without merit. Her portrayal much like an artists portrait may not look exactly like me but there is enough of a resemblance that you have to give some due to the artist for her portrayal. And yes Amy Sohn is hot in a artsy, intellectual, confidant way.

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