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Clean It Up For the New Year

Or at least watch what you're saying

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At times when I'm tired of the uptown bar scene and don't want to hear the thumpity thump thump thump all night, I'll head to The Wine Vault. Good jazz, fine wines, good conversation, it's a fun place. It was during one of my visits there, though, as I was standing in line waiting to purchase a bottle of Merlot, that I overheard the crudest of conversations from two guys standing directly behind me."She's pretty attractive," advised one guy to his friend, obviously commenting on a girl they both knew who had just passed by, "but the first thing you need to decide is whether she's relationship material, or just a piece of ass."

Without thinking, I turned around to view the source of these refined sentiments, and saw the two culprits looking up at me -- both with crimson faces at the discovery that their otherwise-private conversation had been overheard.

"Sorry," one finally confessed and looked down, as he realized that his voice had violated the recommended whispering levels.

I smiled back, paid for my wine, and as I was in the process of pouring the first fruitful glass, I had a thought that made me furious: Is this how all men categorize women? Do they just automatically put us in the "piece of ass" versus the "relationship" category?

I began to think about what normally goes through my mind whenever I encounter a new man whom I've decided is downright delicious. I am a proud member of the female gender and thankful that we don't have an extra body part that might divert the blood flow from our brain to someplace else. Because of that little quirk, the first thing we tend to do is to listen and learn.

Any healthy adult with a pulse knows how powerful sexual attraction is. I enjoy a great all-nighter as much as the next gal, but what defines an appropriate period of time for getting to know someone before having sex with him? Two months? Two weeks? Two hours? Not that many women are adept at running through a bed-hopping phase without any thought of developing more than a passing fancy with their partners. Men seem to stand alone in mastering that task -- and as often as the opportunity presents itself.

To me, the two guys I overheard committed a crime that's the equivalent of wearing jeans to a black tie event. I readily admit that not everyone thinks about sex the same way, but what bothered me about these two wasn't just their conversation being a little too public, but what it told me, in one soundbite, about their attitude toward women.

Women don't really expect men to lay down the red carpet for us. These days, I just about hyperventilate from shock when guys open car doors for me. But referring to women as a piece of ass? Jeez, what's wrong with having a little class?

I can't even remember the last time I made a similar comment about a guy I thought was attractive. I think "Boy Toy" is the closest I've gotten. Even that nickname had some level of dignity to it, and at least I could say it in public without someone staring at me. I mean, I always used it with at least a little affection, and most certainly never used it in a degrading manner.

Men, though, have all kinds of pet names they give women they're currently having sex with but not dating: "Trick," "Fuckbuddy," "Freak-of-the-Week," "Hooker," "Main Bitch," and the list goes on and on. "Piece of Ass," I've unfortunately discovered, seems to be the nickname of choice. I have a feeling that these same classless guys also have it in their small heads that the word "pork" is a verb.

As I watched the final drops of my wine trickle into my glass, I looked around at The Wine Vault crowd and tried to find a guy that I not only found attractive, but would dub "a piece of ass." I saw guys who were flamboyant players, gym rats, guys that were way too young for me, and yes, many, many hotties.

Then I came to the realization that I probably wasn't comfortable referring to any prospective date of mine as "a piece of ass" because maybe, just maybe, women like me have. . .uh. . .respect for men? As much as I like to torment the opposite gender from time to time in this column, I confess that probably not many women have the appreciation for men that I do. They've brought me too much immense pleasure in my life to have it any other way.

Men. (sigh) OK, you win. . .I'm whipped.

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