Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Moxy Hotel by J.W. Marriott is a Hundo

The Moxy in NOLA.
When I made hotel reservations for our recent trip to New Orleans for my daughter’s freshman orientation, I called the Marriott toll-free number, considering I participate in Marriott Rewards. My first choice hotel didn’t have the room type I preferred, so the agent suggested a nearby property known as Moxy, with which I wasn’t familiar. The agent, however, suggested that it was “different” and, after asking a little bit about my trip, said that she thought Katie and I would enjoy it.

Different was an understatement.

From the airport, we Ubered (yes, I used Uber as a verb) to Moxy. As we entered the unambiguously unusual exterior that wrapped around a block corner, we were greeted with an equally distinct interior. Rather than seeing a lobby, Katie and I saw what looked like a bar that had an elevator bank on one end.

Not seeing a front desk agent or even a front desk, I walked over to the barmaid and asked, “Where’s the lobby.”

The front desk at The Moxy.

The youngish woman answered, “Right here,” as she looked down at one of two laptop computers dust down from the beer taps.

After taking my credit card and giving the two of us our key card, the barmaid/front desk agent said, “You get a free drink with check-in.”

I thought, “Huh?” I said, “Well, my travel partner is not yet of legal age, but I’ll have one.”

She offered me the house special, “The Moxy,” which, apparently, has to be the only free cocktail they could offer. After the barmaid described the contents, I decided it was too sweet for my taste. I made a much simpler order, which I was happy to charge to the room.

Cool room, huh?
The target market for The Moxy Hotel is absolutely Generation Y and Millennials, but there is a lot for a more seasoned traveler to appreciate, as well. A distinctly minimalist d├ęcor, the elevators and hallways feature mirrors and modern art reproductions. The rooms are spaciously and feature Pergo faux hardwood floors, hanger hooks spanning an entire wall, wood and leather hangers, a deep, wire, bucket chair, and reasonably comfortable beds.

My only concern is the size and amenities in the exercise room. At least in The Moxy in New Orleans, the small room only includes two treadmills, one bicycle, and a decent array of free weight. Any more than three is a crowd.

Notwithstanding that relatively minor criticism, The Moxy price is right. Recently, I checked the room cost. With a month’s notice, the lowest rate for a room with one queen bed for a weekend with a Saturday stay is just $82 plus tax in New Orleans. It’s tough to beat that price in a metropolitan area.

Overall, including price, location, and customer service, The Moxy and Marriott get a five-star rating.

Oh, by the way, "Hundo" is the Millennial word for fantastic.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Chivalry Isn't Dead, But It May Be Unrecognizable

Zafirian single father, Zorn, and Son of Zorn is, for all intents and
purposes, the extent of my interest in television.
A while back, I posted an Elite Daily article on The Single Father's Guide to Life, Cooking and Baseball Facebook Page written by John Picciuto, “Why Chivalry Is Dead, From A Man’s Perspective.” In the article, Picciuto laments, “. . . it’s pretty obvious that chivalry is completely dead.” He continues, “It’s all about hooking up, grabbing a drink and getting down. I think I’m the only single guy I know that actually takes a girl out to a restaurant on a first date.”

Well, John, there may actually be two of us.

So, look, I’m no choirboy. Never pretended to be. If I’m attracted to a woman and if she wants to be intimate after a first date, I’ve been known to oblige. (See, "First Date Sex and The Single Father.") Regardless, I do actually start out with a real date, you know, coffee, lunch, drinks, dinner, conversation, gentlemanly behavior, and such. On the other hand, if I believe there is a chance for an authentic connection and a long-term, committed relationship, then I tend not to sleep with a woman on the first date. Why? Well, frankly, I’m not worried about physical intimacy in the short-run. For me, it’s not all about “closing the deal.” When I am genuinely attracted to a woman emotionally, intellectually, and physically, (which doesn’t happen very often), I want to give that initial connection a chance to evolve. I’ve noticed that having sex on the first date isn’t always conducive to creating intimacy in other areas of a relationship.

Follow me on Twitter: @MattFieldAuthor

Some time ago, I connected a beautiful, intelligent woman through one of the more exclusive on-line match-making site. Let’s call the woman, "Fia." (That’s not her name, by the way.) Fia and I talked on the phone and it became clear that the two of us shared a mutual attraction. It turned out Fia was (is) Ivy League educated and a working actor. 

SAG actor and handyman,
Robert Vincent Smith, who
actually is a pretty big deal.
It’s not terribly unusual to meet actors from time to time given the fact that I live about 40 miles from Manhattan. Heck, I’ve seen my friend, handyman, and Screen Actors Guild member, Robert Smith, on Law & Order and in small role in a feature film from time to time. In other words, I’ve known a few actors and, for the most part, it’s not a big deal.

After talking on the phone several times with Fia during a period of couple of weeks, the stars and our schedules aligned. The two of us planned to meet at a restaurant in Midtown Manhattan.

Given that I’m the only one of my close circle who isn’t married, I occasionally talk about the women I date with my friends who vicariously enjoy the stories. I mentioned to a friend, Joe, (that is his real name), who lives in Chicago that I had met a woman, Fia, and that she and I planned to have dinner. Joe asked with some incredulity, “Don’t tell me you mean Fia _______ who plays ________ on (television show)?” I answered, “Well, yes, that’s Fia’s last name, but I had no idea she was on (television show).” Frankly, other than a few shows that includes animated series The Simpsons and Son of Zorn, Zach Galifinakis' Baskets, and now Brockmire, I don’t watch a lot of television. I had never seen Fia on the big or small screen, but turned out that Fia had had a regular gig on a somewhat popular, long-running television series. The show had very recently been cancelled, but Joe had apparently been a fan.

Fia was waiting at the Saturday night-crowded restaurant bar. A more accurate description may have been that Fia was hiding at the crowded restaurant bar. I’d walked through the bar from end to end, but didn’t see her. Since there wasn’t a spot at the bar, I decided to walk back to the door in case she hadn’t yet arrived. I’d hoped she hadn’t stood me up or, worse, saw me from her spot and decided not to come out of hiding. Then, suddenly, Fia caught me at the front door just before I walked back outside. Apparently, I’d passed the first test. And, wow, so had Fia. She was more attractive than her dating profile pictures had suggested.

The two of us were seated at a table on the second floor, made small talk, and ordered. Fia wore a form fitting, ankle length summer dress with spaghetti straps and open heels and, I was fairly certain, nothing else. The best word I can imagine to describe her, from her deep, dark eyes to the bottom of her long, lovely legs, was “graceful.”

Fia ordered a small steak and vegetables, which she explained in spite of the low carbohydrates, were more calories than she’d normally eat in three days. Suddenly, next to us, a gentleman at a table of six men asked Fia if he could have his picture taken with her. It turned out that the table of six were extremely entertaining gay men who were celebrating a birthday and at least a couple of them were among Fia’s devoted fans.

Fia and I spend the rest of dinner talking and laughing together with our new friends. I even bought a drink for the birthday boy, with whom I'm still a (Facebook) friend. A bystander might have thought I’d found the cure for cancer by the guy’s extravagant but unpretentious appreciation. After dinner, Fia asked me if I’d drive her to her apartment Uptown. Apparently, I passed the second test.

We walked hand-in-hand the couple of blocks from the restaurant to the lot where I parked my car. I opened the car door as Fia elegantly slid the hem of her dress to her knees, revealing just a little of her toned, honey-colored legs, while sliding into the passenger seat. When we reached her apartment located on a tree-lined city street, I parked and the two of us spend the next twenty minutes or so in a somewhat, (ahem), passionate embrace. In other words, we snogged like teenagers.

It was pretty clear that Fia wanted more and, let me tell you, I was torn. I wanted more, too, but I wanted more than more. I really liked Fia and thought she and I just might have potential for something meaningful. There was clearly a mutual physical attraction. Although we'd only spent two or three hours together, it appeared we also got along in other ways, as well. I wanted her to know that I wanted her. I wanted her in a way that would include not just sex, but something that would include intimacy on all levels and for more than just a night. I walked Fia to the door and, with a plan to see one another again and after recognizing a bewildered look on her face, watched her walk into her building.

Sometimes, a guy wants more than
a perfect stranger.
Our schedules prevented us from connecting at any time sooner than two weeks. Once again, I found myself on the tree-lined street in front of her building, this time to see one of my favorite, small venue musicians at one of my favorite small venues. We had dinner on the veranda of a restaurant closer to my home before we continued to the concert.

Our seats were near enough to the stage that, after the encore, I thanked the performer for a great show and he nodded to me and replied genuinely, "Thanks." It was clear after the curtain closed, though, the magic between Fia and me was gone. I didn’t press for anything more after Fia made a not-so-veiled reference to “men who lack confidence.” Apparently, Fia confused chivalry and respect with timidity. I have to assume she hadn’t experienced many instances of a man who postpones gratification or just wasn’t familiar with a gentleman when she met one.

When I saw my friend Joe and some other of my best friends a few weeks later in Chicago and told them the story about Fia and I was roundly chastised for not, well, closing the deal. I don't know. Had I been intimate with Fia that first night, she likely have always been "a perfect stranger" to me anyway. Besides I think I'm in the "been-there-done that" category in terms of putting a notch on my bedpost. Frankly, I want something more substantial and I'd still rather make my best effort to have a loving, committed partner in lieu of a fleeting tryst.

Chivalry may not be dead, as John Picciuto suggests in his Elite Daily article, but it is apparently rare enough that some women, even an intelligent and educated woman, don’t recognize it when they see it.

So, it goes.

I can’t say that I haven’t looked Fia up on IMDB.com. She's had another recurring role in a new television series. Not surprisingly, I haven’t watched the show, but I hope she’s breaking one of those long, beautiful, graceful legs. (Sigh.)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

There Are a Lot of Ways to Steal a Base

If you're a regular reader of The Single Father's Guide and have been paying attention, you know that I've coached Little League Baseball for more than ten seasons including Fall Ball and a year as a player/manager when I was 16 years old, which was a lot of fun and quite a learning experience.

Little League Tee-Ballers, The Express in 2009.

Anyway, the mantra I've used with my young players, which has evolved over time and which I send to parents at the beginning of each season, includes:

1. Respect the game. Respect parents, coaches, and umpires. Coaches are volunteers and umpires are, typically, teenagers or young adults. Don't argue calls.

2. Love the game. Hustle on and off the field. Run, don't walk, to first base on a "ball four" call. Have fun.

3. Pick-up teammates. Everyone makes mistakes. Stay positive with teammates after either a great play or an error.

4. Hit the cut-off man. This is a new one for me and not a euphemism. Reinforce getting the ball to the cut-off to save bases and get more outs during the game.
In the context of  "Love the game," I coach players to sprint to first base, a la Pete Rose, after a walk or a dropped third strike. If the catcher takes his time to pick up the ball or isn't paying attention, then, as the first base coach, I send the runner to steal second base even before the next pitch is thrown. My teams have grabbed quite a few extra bases by loving the game, hustling, and paying attention.

St. Louis Cardinals' relief pitcher Al Hrabosky.
Once, the father of a player on another team whose son I'd coached years earlier grabbed my ear and told me that he didn't think that teaching kids to steal second base after a walk or a dropped third strike was good "baseball fundamentals" because those sort of things weren't done at higher levels of baseball. In fact, he was more than a little indignant. My team had probably stolen a few too many bases against his son's team that day. I disagreed and cited an instance that I recalled in the '70's when Al Hrabosky was doing his "Mad Hungarian Psyche" between pitches and wasn't paying attention to the players on base. During Hrabosky's "show," the opposing team's runners advanced.

The guy didn't buy it, rolled his eyes, and reinforced his disapproval. I continued to coach the game and my players to take advantage of the opportunities that the game provided. I wish I could have pulled out my phone and showed him this video.

 Jose Bautista hustling to second base.

Respect the game. Love the game. Pick up your teammates. Hit the cut-off man. Of course, take advantage of the opportunities that the game gives you.