Thursday, June 20, 2013

An Explanation.

Remember that time I told you I had been hiding a relationship? 

It was not fun to write that. It took me more drafts than I ever write. I debated even writing it. It felt maybe too soon. But then I realized two things: 1. I like writing honestly here. You guys are a weird little social circle for me. 2. You HAVE to hear this. Seriously. I saved part of the story for a separate post. And that's what brings us here today. 

Things ended because of the silence. He stopped communicating with me. That's probably the shittiest part of it. I fought for him, fought for our relationship, and he gave up on me. Two months of silence, excluding a couple "I'm sorry for being bad at this relationship" texts. 

AND THEN...I got a text that changed everything. 

We exchanged a few messages, where I essentially asked where the hell he'd been. I didn't hear back--but time zones. I woke up that Saturday morning to a reply. 

"I guess I just needed some space." 

I shit you not, internet. SPACE. My long distance boyfriend, literally THOUSANDS of miles and the Atlantic Ocean away, needed space. (He guessed.) 

HOW COULD I GIVE HIM MORE SPACE? After thousands of miles, it's really moot to want MORE space, as far as I can figure. More space than that is...single, right? 

He had two months to come up with an answer--he had to figure I'd ask, right? Because I'm human. This man had two months to formulate his reply and the best he can do is SPACE. That's ballsy. It led to quite the rant in my neighbor's driveway as she worked in her garden. (Yes, I went over and stood there yelling in my pajamas. We're really casual in the suburbs.) 

I never got more explanation. That's the last message I got. 

So I gave him more space.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Surviving a Wedding: Fifteen Easy Steps

I spent a long weekend in New York recently for SP's wedding. It was my second wedding of the season, and more are on the horizon. Since I'm sure many of you are in the same position, here are my tips for surviving a wedding.

One: Put on your war paint (er...nail polish) and fly to wedding. Caffeinated. 

 Two: Bachelorette brunch! 

Three: Pick the best seat at the table. 

Four: Brave the elements to complete bachelorette adventures.

Five: Put on your matching bachelorette t-shirts at the table. Act confident that surrounding tables find you just as charming as your find yourselves. Who cares, this is about the bride--not them. 

Six: Toast the bride! Several times. Extra toasts and high fives when you learn that the bride is NOT doing a bouquet toss.

Seven: Head to wedding venue, relieved that the rain you previously endured has shown no sign of returning.

Eight: Collect your wedding accessories. Note that the rice you'll throw later is candy! 

Nine: Watch your friend get married. Mentally thank her for the short ceremony and for leaving out any "love is patient, love is kind" nonsense. Also mentally thank her for picking an awesome husband. 

Ten: Hello, gorgeous.

 Eleven: "All couples to the dance floor." 

Twelve: Contemplate how much of the table setting you could stuff into your clutch, out of sheer curiosity. Finish your wine and introduce yourself to tablemates instead. 

Thirteen: Dance. Dance a lot. 

Fourteen: Learn from the groom that the candy from the ceremony is edible, but actually bird food. 

Fifteen: Head home. Clean wedding accessories out of your purse. Remember that you have the best friends ever, even if they're all getting married. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day

This was written two years ago for a friend's website. (Same site as this Mother's Day post.) The site is no longer up, so I thought I'd share it here. 

My dad and I don’t really chat. Sure, we talk and we know what’s going on in each other’s lives and I critique the foods he eats and he checks that I have $20 in cash whenever I’m going to the bar…but we don’t shoot the shit the way I do with my mom. I assume this stems from my father being very manly and me having zero interest in any of the things he likes to do.

I tried to learn fishing from him when I was little. I learned very quickly that we suffered from a fundamental difference in methods: I mainly go fishing to be social and talk about my day…and my dad goes fishing to, you know, catch some fish and sit quietly for a while. I quickly gave up fishing.

I was never into sports growing up, but we found ways to blend our interests in that department. I joined the marching band in high school and gave him a great reason to go watch football. When it came to televised sports, I used to sit and watch a few innings/periods/insert the proper sports vernacular and try to ask pertinent questions. (It should be noted that, “What are you getting so upset about?” was not and is still not considered a “pertinent question” in my dad’s opinion.) As I got older, Dad would call me in to watch golf and point out which players were young and handsome. He soon learned that I always asked their height and marital status, so he did his best. I tried to give my dad approximately 2 minutes of face time with my high school boyfriends when they came to pick me up, in order to allow for some man conversations. You know, how’s the track team and all that. It had nothing to do with me finishing the application of mascara. Nothing at all.

He also did his best to get into my interests. This included things like driving me and my friends to Hanson concerts and showing the patience of a saint while we waited to see if the band would come out to their tour bus. He listened to long, dramatic stories of what everyone at school said, particularly if I waited until he was trapped in the car with me. He responded appropriately, siding with me when necessary, assuring me that boys were stupid, and flat out lying by telling me I didn’t need to worry because one day I would be a “heartbreaker.” (ANY DAY NOW, DAD.) He bragged about marching band and honors societies with more pride in his voice than any athlete’s parent ever did.

We found our common ground in other ways. The original Star Wars trilogy. Chinese takeout. Baseball, which I came around to even though we support different teams. I don’t like old cars but I like taking pictures of old cars, so we wander around them together.

I have only once asked my dad for relationship advice, and he was pinch-hitting for my mom. (Hey Dad, check out that totally appropriate sports comparison! I know it’s appropriate because I googled it for confirmation. But you’re impressed, right?) He stood there, baffled by what to do with the crying teenager in front of him. “Well…” he started slowly, navigating this minefield of emotion, “it sounds to me like this young man is acting like an idiot.” I was horrified. I was SMITTEN with that boy, that idiot! My jaw dropped. “But,” he continued thoughtfully, “he’ll realize that he doesn’t deserve you and work a little harder. Boys sometimes need time to figure that out.”

Father/daughter relationships are a tricky thing. Some dads, like mine, get tripped up trying to find the right words; words that won’t be dismissed by teenage girls (who are smarter than parents, didn’t you know), words that will instill a respect for the rules, words that will show a daughter how proud he is without being too sentimental. Dad came through that day. Just like every other day of my life, he showed up and did exactly what was needed. Maybe I’ll never take him up on his offer to teach me golf. Maybe he’ll always ask why I have to wear my jeans so low. Maybe he’ll never stop telling me I don’t need makeup. But now I can see that teaching me golf is his way of asking if I want to spend time with him. Saying I don’t need makeup is how he compliments me. And asking why I don’t wear my pants up higher…well, I’m pretty sure that’s just an overprotective, paternal instinct hard at work, actually. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

This has been bothering me for years.

Ok. Before you read this post, go check out this post on my tumblr

That's from High School Musical, in case you have no taste and aren't familiar. Or, you know, if you weren't teaching second grade when that movie premiered on the Disney channel. Whichever. 

SPOILER ALERT: This scene is the end of the movie, which is high school kids fighting against the boxes society has put them in, through reflection, song, and choreography. And basketball, I guess. That athlete there is all, hey guys, I like playing basketball but also I like baking. The blonde doesn't really learn anything. 

BUT. This scene is totally unbelievable. I mean, first of all, I want to scold all his teammates for trying to talk him out of baking, even though that kind of skill is a lady magnet. (SEE FINAL SCENE.) Moreover, the blonde is a problem. She's all, oh this cookie is the greatest thing I've ever put in my mouth so far, and then throws it

No sane woman, or really, HUMAN BEING, would be eating the most delicious cookie on the planet and toss it aside carelessly--even to thank the creator (of the cookie, you guys) and ask him to make more. What really happens in this scenario is you finish the cookie and then, probably with your mouth full, thank and hug him and trick him into making you more. Like a normal relationship.

Just in case you were looking for my thoughts on High School Musical today. I feel like I don't address that enough around here. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Let's talk about prom.

I don't do a lot of high school reminiscing. I'd say on the average day, I spend zero minutes pining for those glory days. My time, passed in marching band and the Science Olympiad and that term I served as German Club president, was fine. Some stuff happened and sometimes it was good and a lot of the time it sucked. But it's over! 

But I have to tell you, a recent trend is making me really appreciate a part of those days. 


Let me preface this forthcoming rant: I heard about this trend. I've witnessed it. But it is a difficult idea to grasp, so I asked some young people in my life, fresh out of high school. Even hearing from them, I don't get it. 


What's that, you say? It sounds like I just combined the words "prom" and "proposal"? Why yes, I did. Apparently the new thing is to not just ask someone to prom, but to stage an elaborate scene and then ask them to prom. And here I was happy when a cute boy was waiting by my locker after school one day, confirming the giggling rumor mill I'd witnessed all day. I guess that's lame now? 

No really. I know a guy who said he burst into his intended's classroom with flowers and song and asked her to prom. In Denver, I saw a guy on a busy street corner near a mall holding a huge sign with a girls name and PROM? in neon letters. He was dancing, waiting for her to drive by, and passers-by were honking at him in encouragement. And these are tame compared to what you see on youtube. Apparently there's a whole movie about this as well, aptly titled Prom. (It was put out by Disney a couple years ago.) 

Now, young people, I'm not saying that your ideas are dumb. (I mean...some of them are. But that's not ALL of what I'm saying here.) I'm just trying to educate. You haven't thought this through. 

In ten (AT LEAST TEN, do everyone a favor and take your time) years, some of you will be considering another, much larger question. Trust me, a marriage proposal is actually much more significant that an "Enchanted Evening" themed dance. Right now, you're grooming a generation of high maintenance women with grandiose visions for their romantic futures. Your flash mob scavenger hunt hot air balloon ride musical numbers are setting a very high expectation. You think prom matters to girls? That is just the teaser for a wedding. Weddings make women (and men, let's be real) crazy

So feel free to continue choreographing a scene from Glee to get a date. Just know that in a decade, you had better be ready. Bring your A game. Bring more than that, because these girls will be waiting to Instagram every second of it. 

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Wedding Recap (Wedding 1 of 4)

As you might recall, I found myself at my ex-boyfriend's wedding recently.

I'll preface everything by saying that ultimately, I had a pretty good time. The DJ was awesome and pretty much catered to the groom's friends when it came to his music selection. 

However. The whole thing started with an air of uncertainty, as we were told it was not a sit-down dinner reception, but rather a "strolling dinner"--we were also led to believe this would basically be heavy appetizers. Twin put some granola bars in her purse, particularly for our friends in the wedding party who'd been at the venue for hours. (Drinking.) There had been no rehearsal of any kind, which lent to the potential chaos. Everyone was milling around chatting, not sitting. The clock ticked closer to the 4pm start time. A few of us decided that maybe we could start the sitting down process? It didn't exactly start a trend and nobody else sat down until 2 minutes before 4. 

That ended up being ok, since the groomsmen and groom didn't appear for 10 more minutes. It should be noted here that of 5 groomsmen, one was the brother of the bride, three were good friends of mine, and the best man was a horrible human being. He happened to be carrying a plastic water bottle. Up to the altar. At a wedding. 

Drink when your OCD tendencies kick in!

It took every ounce of self-control I possess to not go up and smack that water bottle out of his foolish hand. The girls next to me were ready to move out of my way and support my choice. 
He did, finally, put the damn thing away. And then we were ready! 

Well. We'll be ready when the bridesmaids come down the aisle! 


Here's someone--oh, nope. She's got the boutonnieres for  the guys.  They forgot about them. 

Five minutes later, flowers on, we got started. Bridesmaids arrived, bride made her entrance, and I tried to memorize her face. (We've only met for about 10 seconds and I'll never find her again unless she's wearing a wedding dress, so this seemed like a prudent move.)

The ceremony was short (hooray!) and the vows were written by the bride and groom. I couldn't really hear them but I'm sure they were...fine. The groom's ring was MIA, so there was a short break while someone ran to get it. It was over within half an hour. While we all waited for pictures to be done and car seating to be arranged, flasks were broken out. We had plenty to go around. Snacks were also handed out. 

Given the nature of the reception, there were limited tables (the small kind you stand around) and even less seating. The first of our friends to arrive staked out a table. We basically made a blood pact that the table must not go unoccupied--we were not giving it up. 
Cheers to the bride and groom. And the bar. 

Thanks to the heavy-handed bartender for that one. When the groomsmen arrived late, we were correct in assuming they'd stopped for food. We learned that the McDonald's employee helping them asked if they were attending prom. Sure, ten years ago. 

We got through the formalities--taking turns safeguarding our table. The first dance (generic song I've never heard), mother/son and father/daughter dances (groom chose Daft Punk, a solid decision), and speeches (the maid of honor gave sexist, generic advice she googled, including telling the groom that the bride is always right and that she can never have too many shoes ARE YOU KIDDING WITH THIS DRINK WHEN YOU'RE BORED). 

Then we ate. And ate. And ate. The food was delicious and I'm sorry I doubted it. There was a breakfast station with french toast and bacon. And buffalo chicken sliders. And mac and cheese. My humble apologies. 

We tracked down the dessert station and learned that we would not have to endure a cake cutting or the dreaded bouquet toss. 
Excellent. Let's eat our feelings. 

We moved onto the dance floor when Beyonce got involved, and didn't move from there for an hour or so. Until we were forced. Because the bride's brother proposed during the reception and DJ Fun Killer played a slow song for them. I went back to my date, Jack Daniels, and we repopulated our little table. (Which by then we were treating like a small island nation.) The bride's friends got their claws in the DJ, who played the kind of country music you can't even dance to for 4-5 songs. 

Suddenly, the music got louder and Britney Spears started. We looked at each other-- "He wants us back." We got back to the dance floor and were heartily welcomed by the DJ. We spent another couple hours dancing, except for when he played Africa by Toto and two of our friends protested at a table because they hate that song--and fun, I guess. 

It's also important to note that, despite issues in my personal life, I didn't have any breakdowns in the ladies room or anything! Self five. 

Wow, Amanda, you're not talking about the bride much. You're right, readers, I'm not. Why is that? Probably because she didn't come talk to us at all during the entire reception. Three groomsmen and one bridesmaid and over half a dozen other friends of the groom spent pretty much the whole night together and she couldn't quite make her way over to us. 

We didn't talk to the bride at all. I'm going to leave that without commentary. I feel like you all understand what I'm getting at with it. Right? 

Enjoy those kitchen towels and mixing bowls, I guess. 

Monday, June 03, 2013


I have a confession to make.

Last summer, I met a man. I met him at one of the camps I do every summer, while I was in Europe. He’s funny and has a great accent and plays awesome pranks. Friendship was fast. I definitely had a camp crush on him. But I don’t have time for that kind of thing.

And then we kissed. (Gross, I know. Bear with.) We kissed and held hands and snuck away for walks at night and had stupid jokes and shared looks from across a room full of kids who had no idea. The only thing better than kissing a cute boy is kissing a cute boy who makes you laugh. But I was leaving, and that sucked. It sucked every time I thought about it. As I got on a bus to the airport I tried to say goodbye and he told me he had feelings for me. He broke the “we don’t talk about feelings” rule we’d quietly established. He had Feelings and I had to get on a bus. But his Feelings made my Feelings ok, so I texted him from the bus and I didn’t realize how much I’d started when I kissed him.

We didn’t decide that we were going to try a relationship, because we didn’t really have a choice. We were in a relationship and he was my boyfriend and we were making plans. It was going to be hard but not trying was even harder. I could let him be a part of my mess because he wanted to be. 

I went to see him in the winter. I was anxious on the plane, about to see this man that I had Feelings for, in real life. I was so used to seeing him through a screen. He’s tall. Tall in a way I’d nearly forgotten. We did couple things. We went out and celebrated the new year and he tried on new jackets and bought the one I liked best. We took stupid pictures and cooked and remembered how it felt to be in the same place. He made me happy.

We made more plans. We skype-met family members and best friends. We talked about places we should visit. He called me late one night (late for him…time zones are one of the worst parts about long distance relationships, other than the actual distance) and told me we were getting a dog. It was silly and he might have been drunk but it was all part of this thing we’d created and I loved it.

I loved it so much that I let myself forget that things end. Despite everything we’ve talked about around here, I forgot. I forgot that people leave you.

He stopped talking to me. Stopped answering my messages. Every attempt I made to contact him was met with total silence. So I stopped trying. I was suffering an overflow of feelings because I had no idea how to feel. It was two months of silence. For a while I wasn’t even sure if he was alive, but hoping his family would call me if something was wrong. We finally had three short text conversations, days apart. (I’ll save that for another day.) I was left without answers, crossing a trip together off my calendar.

I don’t know what happened. I’ll probably never know. But I do know that I deserve better. I’d rather be alone than this. I’ve been slowly removing evidence of him from my life. Things went in a box. I changed my facebook status. I don’t need two time zone clocks on my phone anymore.

I know telling you about all of this must be surprising. It goes against everything we’ve talked about around here for so long. It felt weird to not tell you, but I set certain rules for myself when I started writing this blog, and I’ve been pretty good about upholding them. Also, the Long Distance aspect totally set this apart from other relationships. You’re not alone!!! but you’re alone. It’s not like I was having regular, smug makeouts and then coming here and telling you all how much I hate seeing couples make out. (EVEN THOUGH I DO.) It's hard to tell you this because it's hard to tell anyone. It comes dangerously close to talking about feelings. It's shitty to talk about. And it's shitty to go to your ex-boyfriend's wedding while all this is happening. But we're into the honesty thing, right? 

So…it’s time to get back to our roots. I’m fastidiously avoiding trips to Sad Town, where Adele is the queen and Hallmark movies are too much to take. Instead I’m living comfortably in Angry. It’s a lot of Ke$ha and P!nk and vengeful T@ylor Swift. (Girl, you should consider that name change.) It’s a lot of rage-fueled workouts and yes, ok, a few peanut butter cups, you don’t get to judge me, and that’s all WAY EASIER to deal with than Sad Town. So let’s move on and complain about PDA and the wedding bouquet toss. You with me?