Dating Without Novocaine
  • Dating Without Novocaine
  • Dating Without Novocaine

Dating Without Novocaine

3.8 6
by Lisa Cach

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For twenty-nine-year-old Hannah O'Dowd, finding a decent man in Portland, Oregon, is like pulling teeth!

Luckily, the self-employed clothing designer has a job she loves and friends to help ease the pain: oversexed Cassie (always good to have the opposite perspective, Hannah notes), analytical Louise (too much perspective not always good) and

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For twenty-nine-year-old Hannah O'Dowd, finding a decent man in Portland, Oregon, is like pulling teeth!

Luckily, the self-employed clothing designer has a job she loves and friends to help ease the pain: oversexed Cassie (always good to have the opposite perspective, Hannah notes), analytical Louise (too much perspective not always good) and an in-the-flesh tooth puller, dentist Scott (could prove useful). But as she nears the big 3-0, she begins to realize that dating frantically may truly be the only solution to finding Mr. Maybe.

So, pumped up on nothing but drive and determination, Hannah cuts loose on her romantic quest. In fact, she kisses so many frogs she fears she'll turn green. (Note: While paling in comparison to her paralyzing fear of anything dental related, acquiring froglike qualities from hanging around losers—still not good.)

And she's only just begun!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Talented seamstress Hannah O'Dowd cuffs men's pants to pay the rent, but while her hands hover at ankle-height, her attentions are focused a bit farther up. She's 29 and hasn't yet found her backyard barbecue guy: "I don't want to turn thirty and still not know who I'm going to marry," she gripes, setting the tone for this mild single-girl tale set in Portland, Ore. At least she has company in her loyal but flaky roommate, Cassie, who is taking belly-dancing classes to unblock her "sex chakra," and the more sensible Louise, a phone counselor at a crisis center. It's immediately obvious that Hannah is going to fall for their mutual friend Scott, a sweet and successful dentist who's allegedly off limits because he used to date Louise. Although there's never any doubt she'll end up with him, it's still satisfying when he gets her into the chair. In her first contemporary novel (after five romances), Cach is funniest in her descriptions of Hannah's dental phobia, and she adds a few touching scenes when Hannah's mother suffers a stroke. Unfortunately, the characters tend to toss around clich s rather than engage in meaningful dialogue. Even the young, single audience to which the novel is clearly pitched will find the heroine's dating fiascoes the gay guy trying to go straight, the cop with attention-deficit disorder old hat, but those in need of a dose of the tried and true may appreciate the familiarity. Agent, Linda Kruger. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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I was horny, I was lonely for a man, and there was no solution in sight. No fun for this girl.

Or was there?

Rising out of the murky gloom up ahead was a phallus-shaped tower, outlined in tiny white Christmas tree lights. An illuminated sign beneath it read, The Purple Palace, and in smaller, capitalized letters, Adult Superstore.

The traffic gave me plenty of time to contemplate as I approached the entrance to the parking lot. I'd never been in such a place, and imagined it was mostly middle-aged men who frequented them. I pictured private movie booths in back, complete with tissue dispenser and vinyl seats, a bulletin board with the names and numbers of escort services and rack upon rack of pornographic magazines.

But I also imagined they'd have vibrators and dildos.

My heart thumped in my chest as the turnoff came nearer. Was I really going to do this?

I flipped on my blinker and turned, and told myself that a browse inside would get me off the road and allow the traffic a chance to thin out. And if I didn't buy anything, I could entertain my friends telling them about my visit.

I pushed the door open, and was greeted by glaring white. Fluorescent lighting reflected off white walls and white tile flooring with a brilliance that put Target and Kmart to shame. A heavy-set woman sat in the center of a round cashier's island, reading a book. She looked up at my entry, and smiled a greeting.

I slunk down the first open aisle. What could I possibly ask her? "Excuse me, but could you recommend a good vibrator? I'd like a moderate amount of flexibility, variable speeds, and, above all, reliability. I'm going to put it to hard use, and don't want it breaking down on me. Ability to simulate a G-spot? Why, yes, that would be nice."

I moved on.

To dildos the size of which I had never seen, and could imagine no earthly use for, unless one wanted to keep one by the door to use on intruders. The sight of a woman confidently holding one of those monsters in her hands would be enough to scare any man away. And if it didn't, a smack on the side of the head with it and he'd be out.

I could see the headline: Woman Subdues Attacker with Giant Dildo!

I was almost tempted to buy one of the monsters, but the one I liked — it had grotesque, finger-thick veining up its sides — was eighty-five dollars. Pity.

There was no one in the vibrator area, and I made my choice as quickly as I could, getting momentarily stuck over which diameter to buy. Too small, and what was the point? Too big, and it would be uncomfortable. I ended up with one of the bent ones meant for hitting the G-spot, gladly passing by the pink ones with the little latex animals squatting at the base, their tongues sticking out to lick your clitoris and get you off.

Boxed vibrator in hand, the clear side turned toward my body so no one could see it, I headed toward the cashier.

A pimply-faced guy who couldn't be more than twenty-two was sitting behind the counter, scratching at his erupting skin.

Oh, jeez. It was just like the grocery store. I always ended up buying a box of tampons when the only cashier available was a teenage boy, with his snickering friend doing the bagging.

This was a sex shop. The guy's job was to ring up sex toys and videos. There should be no embarrassment here, no sniggering, no smirking. I made myself walk up to the counter and put down the box, cellophane-side up.

He turned the box over. "We just got this model in. Haven't gotten any feedback on it yet, but it's a good company."

Why didn't he shut up? Shut up!

He pulled a basket out from beneath the counter, full of batteries of various sizes. "Still, we have to test the things before we let them out of the door. Sometimes they're faulty." I stared in horror as he opened up the box and with his bare, pimple-picking hands took out my vibrator and twisted it open at the base. He slid in two AA batteries.

The vibrator hummed to life.

"There we go. It's a quiet one, isn't it? Good company," he said.

"Kkkk," I said, a noise meant to be affirmative. I wanted to shove it down his throat.

"You want to be on our mailing list?" he asked as I paid.

"No!" I said. I grabbed my bag and scooted for the door.

I shoved through the door and out into the brightly lit parking lot. A very brightly lit parking lot, and crowded with chanting people.


Twenty or so women were marching in a circle, carrying signs:

No Sex Shops Near Our Schools!
Protect Our Children!

Do You Want This in Your Neighborhood?

Kids + Porn = Bad Idea!

The bright lights were from the news vans. Oh, God. I felt faint.

I tried to sneak by the protesters, most of whom looked like soccer moms, the type whose lives revolved obsessively around their kids. They came to within six feet of my car.

I was almost there when a light shone in my eyes and a woman in a Gore-Tex jacket with the logo of a local news station on one breast stepped in front of me, holding a microphone.

"There is a school four blocks from here. Isn't The Purple Palace a danger to them? Doesn't it encourage the presence of sexual predators?"

"I don't think I saw any predators in there," I said, fumbling for my key.

"Kids walk by here every day on their way to and from school."

"Yes?" I said, finally fitting my key into the lock, not able to concentrate.

"So that doesn't concern you?"

"It's not like they'd be allowed in," I said, feeling a little braver now that freedom was almost at hand. I opened the car door. "I'll bet the kids see more porn from their dads' stashes than they ever will from this place."

I dived into my car and slammed the door.

That vibrator had better be worth it.

Copyright (c) 2002 Lisa Cach

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