Monday, September 30, 2013

Getting back to dating?

I went on a date. 

It was my first post-relationship date. We have mutual friends and after we met he got my number and texted me a picture of his dog. (As far as I'm concerned, that's like sending me flowers.) We met for drinks that weekend and we talked for a few hours. He made me laugh and then drove me home. 

It was remarkably normal. It wasn't dramatic, sweeping love at first sight, but it wasn't a disaster. I didn't do anything stupid or embarrassing. I didn't talk about my ex. He didn't say anything that threw up a red flag. He was really cool and I had a nice time. I smiled when he texted me a few days later. 

And while it did make me realize that I'm fine "getting back out there" or whatever nonsense everyone keeps telling me, it also made me realize that I'm totally not into anything serious right now. So it wasn't a total loss. 

The other thing I keep hearing is to try internet dating. I'm telling you, I am the worst candidate for internet dating. I'm not saying that because I'm terrified I'll meet a serial killer and have my story told in a Lifetime movie, although that thought does live in the back of my mind. (Get someone awesome to play me. Seriously, you have my permission to start weird internet campaigns, in the event of my untimely internet dating demise.) I just know myself, and I know that I'm way too quick to judge when it comes to reading bios. I can find something wrong with every profile and never feel the need to talk to anyone. I do much better in person. I give people more of a chance when I meet them face to face. If your profile is all about your love of football, I'm clicking away immediately. But if I meet someone who's really into football but he talks about it in an engaging and interesting way, then I'm considering him. 

Internet dating just makes me feel like I should take a self-defense class. Besides, who has time for internet dating when there's a neighbor to stalk? 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Mountain Day!

Today is a major holiday. At least, for myself, fellow alums, and current students of Smith College. It's Mountain Day! Mountain Day is one of the best traditions from my alma mater...waking up to all the college bells ringing on a lovely, random fall day because, according to the college president, it's too beautiful to go to class. Everyone gets the day off. We spent my Mountain Days going to brunch, apple picking, a trip to Shelburne Falls, and always frolicking outside. It's a wonderful tradition, made even better because Smith emails all the alums to tell them it's Mountain Day and then I spend 20 minutes on facebook liking everyone's nostalgic Mountain Day updates. We live vicariously. I'm hoping to find time to go outside and frolic later. It's good for the soul. 

As long as Mr. Darcy isn't in his yard when I do. If he is, I'll have to frolic in the front yard or in the park. 

Find some time to sneak outside for some fresh air today! 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Stalking Netherfield

I saw Mr. Darcy's roommate twice this weekend. (At least, I'm guessing it was his roommate. I have no idea what the living situation is over there.) On Friday, he was on the phone in front of the house. It was fairly dark, which is fine as I was in yoga pants with dirty hair and not a stitch of makeup, carrying the ice cream Twin and I brought home. (Whatever, if he hates ice cream and being comfortable he sucks anyway.) It was light enough, however, that I could tell he is not a troll. 
On Saturday, he was mowing the lawn. Non-troll status confirmed. He can stick around. 

My Thursday book club discussion took a brief turn as everyone shared ideas for further stalking Netherfield. The ideas ranged from simple (stealing mail to conveniently return later), to complicated (I don't even feel good sharing that one), to classic. (This one requires following the sage advice of Cher Horowitz. I'm supposed to show him how desired I am by sending myself flowers and candy.) 

What could possibly go wrong? I mean, other than becoming a full-on stalker. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

An Open Letter to Facebook

Dear Facebook,
I am mad at you. You have been, by far, the most annoying part of my breakup. When I changed my relationship status from single to the coveted “In a Relationship” you made a huge deal about it! Large font, big stupid heart next to it. It showed up on every newsfeed around, so they could like it and tell me how happy they were. You announced it to everyone! My sort-of-new relationship was on display for the world. Or at least, the part of the world I allow access to my profile.

But that's where you stop being involved, huh? You're only in it for the praise. None of this "for better or worse" between us, I see. You're happy to throw confetti in the air when I finally announce publicly that I'm dating someone. 

But then, when things get ugly? I have to change myself back to single and where are you? Nowhere. I'm on my own with this announcement, in more ways than one. All those people who clicked like...I have to tell them myself. You can't even find our mutual friends and send them a heads up? Nope. Apparently that's beyond your skill set. Identifying everyone in my pictures? Sure, you can handle that. Creeping my internet history so the ads on my newsfeed hit my interests? Yeah, you can do that. You're basically a stalker I signed up for, facebook. But freaking telling people I'm single again is too hard? Give me a break.

Instead, it falls on me. I'm single again (my natural state) so I'm on my own with this mission. Now every time I catch up with someone I get to have that fun exchange where they ask how my boy is doing and I get to say, "Fine, maybe? I wouldn't know, we haven't spoken in months." 

This is a flawed system. And you're on my shit list, facebook. 
Solitarily yours,
Bitter Amanda

Thursday, September 12, 2013

40 Days of Discussion

WAIT. Have you finished 40 Days of Dating? If not, A. why? and B. are you the kind of person who hates having the ending ruined? If you are that person, then you should go finish 40 Days before you come back here. We'll still be here when you're done. 

Moving right along...

This blog had my number from Day One. I couldn't look away. It's a great theory on paper--these two friends who suck at relationships for really different reasons, trying to date each other for the first time. I was nervous about them falling into the romantic comedy trap. If you set something up like a movie, suddenly everybody expects you to play it out the right way and end up falling in love. It's dangerous territory. A lot rides on those expectations. 

One of the rules Tim and Jessica set for themselves at the start of the project was to see a couples therapist once a week. I immediately hated that. I'm sure couples therapy has benefits...but I struggle with the idea that it will be helpful for people who just started dating. Do you remember in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days? When Kate Hudson is turning up the crazy and suggest couples therapy after a few days and Matthew McConaughey sort of freaks out because it's only been a few days? That's my reaction too.

Is it bad that I'm relating to Matthew McConaughey's character in that movie? ...Let's come back to that another day.

During their first therapy session, the therapist asks a series of questions about the project and each other. There's a huge gap in their reactions...Jessica seems to think it was a good way to get that stuff out in the open, while Tim has a panic attack. This isn't surprising, based on their general relationship issues. (Jessica throws herself in to a relationship, falling hard and fast. Tim dates around and doesn't stick to one woman.) It stands to reason that of course Tim doesn't care to talk about his feelings--that's middle of the relationship stuff. The stuff that Jessica wants to get to--she's not into the flirting and the chase. I totally understand Tim's reaction. 

First I relate to Matthew McConaughey and now Tim. I think you've learned quite a lot about me in this blog post...

Over the course of the project, I can see how some parts of therapy help them as a couple. They're dating in a very unusual reality...they're constructing this relationship, so it makes sense that a third voice could help them through it. I guess. I'm still sweating at all the feelings talk, though. 

The best part of this entire project, for me, was reading two different accounts of the same events. It's fascinating to see that some things were important to one person but were ignored or glossed over by the other. In the final days, when everything was falling apart, Tim details the conversation they had in bed. Jessica doesn't mention the conversation about break-up sex or anything they said. 
You can also see where there are communication breakdowns. There were times when I read one half and just knew it was the wrong thing to say and that the other person would be upset. I found myself speaking to them, more often than I'm proud to admit. "Tim, you should have said goodbye!
Written communication is often the main source of trouble for them. (And by them, I mean everyone.) One day Jessica writes about going dancing with friends. Tim stops replying to her messages, leading Jessica to believe he doesn't care for dancing. Reading Tim's account of the day, you see that Jessica was out with her ex-boyfriend who hates Tim--which is why Tim ends the conversation. (Jessica is one of those people who stays friends with her exes. I want to know how.) Has anyone not fought over misinterpreted texts? 

There were times when I had trouble reading the blog. Sometimes Jessica gets caught up talking about non-relationship issues. She explains in great detail how she and Tim felt about a play they saw. We learn all about Tim's breakfast. She details the plot of her favorite book. Listen, I don't care if Tim likes cheese puffs, you know what I'm saying? Talk about your relationship! (The last time I said that was never.) Her tendency to detail actions is particularly evident at Disney World. Jessica likes to talk about every little thing they did at Disney, while Tim focuses more on their interactions with each other at Disney. Then again, it's also interesting to compare what they focus on, so I guess there's some value in it. (I still don't care about Tim's breakfast, though.)

As the relationship continues, they both start to overthink everything. They're so focused on their past relationship shortcomings, looking for the same patterns to emerge. They get in their own way sometimes and both need to chill the fuck out. For weeks, Tim can't decide if he wants a physical relationship with Jessica because he's afraid he'll lead her on and she'll fall in love and they'll both be back where they started.** Even him holding her hand becomes such a big deal that it doesn't happen until Day Eighteen. 

Another source of stress on their relationship was the question looming over their heads for forty days--what about day 41? A good, solid question, to be sure. Once the project was over and the rules were no longer in play, what did they want? I suspected it wouldn't last, because I'm a bitter, cynical woman with a robot heart. What did you think? 

Before I turn this over to your opinions, just a few random notes I made as I read....
--Tim, you look like Macklemore. That's ok by me.
--Not a fan of Jessica's attitude towards Tim's dating history on Day Five. "What a man whore." No slut shaming, Jessica!
--I will choose not to comment on Jessica's parents' point system to keep "balance" in their relationship. (Day Ten)
--Tim, did you really think using the same cutesy date invite you used on some random in the past would be a good idea? Come on now. 

Overall I have to say I loved this blog and project. I'm all about anything that lets me openly judge another relationship. So, readers--what about you? What did you think of Forty Days of Dating? 

**Spoiler alert.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Book Club Discussion Reminder!

If you've been keeping up with the 40 Days of Dating blog, you'll know the final days were posted last week. If you're around here a lot, you might remember that I issued the challenge to read 40 Days of Dating! 

My plan is to post my thoughts/review/whatever on Thursday. That means you have until then to go finish, if you haven't! Otherwise...spoiler alert. We'll treat the comments section like a discussion, which means you should definitely feel free to throw in your two cents, bring up anything I missed, and let us all know what you thought! After quick conversations with a couple friends about this blog, I'm really excited to see what you all thought. 

Get reading and I'll see you Thursday! 

Monday, September 09, 2013

On Family and Feeling Back to Normal

Guess what I did this weekend? 

If you didn't guess "attend a wedding" then you must be new here. Because that's all I do. It was actually a 50th anniversary vow renewal for an aunt and uncle. And it was actually a pretty awesome time. Vow renewals are the way to go--they're so much better than weddings. It was way less sappy and a lot shorter and no bouquet toss or any of that nonsense. But there was still a bar, good food, cake, and loads of my cousins who are the greatest in the world. All the parts of weddings that are fun but none of the crap. (Still have to get fancy, though. No yoga pants allowed. Not that I asked. It was implied.) 

We all got together the night before the ceremony, since so many family members came in from out of town. My aunt brought a home movie she recorded at another family party in 1994. (I was 10 years old.) It was...well, I think we can all just admit that the early 90s were a rough time. We saw a lot of shoulder pads and a lot of very large glasses. I regret nothing about my choice of dress, I remember loving that dress and thinking I was pretty fashion forward. 

All the cousins in my generation crowded around a dining room table, away from the older and younger generations, beers in hand. One of them asked about my boyfriend, and I explained that we are no longer together. She asked what happened and I tried to use polite grown-up conversation words to describe the situation. It's a hard task for me. After I finished, she said, "Well...that sounds like...a dick thing to do." I breathed a sigh of relief that cousins can be counted on to be awesome. "YES it was a major dick move. Thank you." All the others nodded their heads and murmured "dick move..." in agreement. 

The rest of my weekend was full of meetings but I have serious issues and love things like that. On Saturday morning, everyone gave their status reports on various projects. Coffee in hand, I listened as B reported that we have a potential director for something coming up in the future. Without looking up from my notes I asked if he was single and attractive. It was an instinctive move, back to the single person I used to be. And it felt awesome. It felt awesome to not think about my ex for once, who still invades thoughts more often than I care to admit. Maybe this normal feeling will stick. We'll see...

Friday, September 06, 2013

Purging My Facebook

I have a hard time deleting people from my life.

I have no problem cutting things off with a guy (which should not surprise you after all we've been through), giving the cold shoulder to someone's ex, or ignoring people in public when I don't care about how many times your baby pooped today. But when it comes to getting rid of their digital presence in my life, it's harder. 

I can tell you my reasons, of course. I keep phone numbers in my phone for a long time because I want to know who is calling--an ex pocket dialed me the other day, which I figured out when he hung up after two rings. (Unless he really does want me back and is just nervous...hmm...) If I had deleted his number, I would have considered calling him back after seeing my area code. Awkwardness avoided! 

I keep some exes (mine, Twin's, that sort of thing...) around on facebook so I can creep on them and feel superior. I can tell someone her ex has gained a lot of weight or is dating someone far less pretty. I keep these cards in my pocket for moments of low self-esteem or boredom. (I know, that's rude. Whatever.)

I think all the rest of my excuses are pretty lame, though--because basically I just want the option of seeing what you're doing with your life. Maybe I want to make fun of your ugly bridesmaids dresses or call a real friend and marvel that you're pregnant again. (OK, I'M A TERRIBLE PERSON, I GET IT.)

But you guys...I must be going through some maturity growth spurt or something because I just cleaned up my facebook a little. I was checking the privacy settings on a status update I was about to make, when I realized how dumb it is that I have people on my "friend" list who pretty much don't see anything of mine, ever. WHICH IS REALLY DUMB and also they are not people I would call friends, to their face or anyone else's. 

So I clicked on that unfriend button. Someone's asshole ex? Gone. Woman I HATED in college? Bye. JYA bitch? You're out. Annoying girl I worked with a million years ago? Unfriend. 

It felt awesome. Why was I keeping those people in my life? Growing up is easy

We won't talk about how after that I shamelessly facebook stalked not only a guy from my past but also a guy I met recently. Not at all. We're going to focus on the first part of this blog. PERSONAL GROWTH.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Book Rant

I read this book and it was fantastic and I couldn't put it down. But the last page, the last lines of this wonderful book, boiled everything down to a romance. It ended the whole story on this sugary line and left a horrible taste in my mouth. 

I hate romance. I hate what romance is supposed to look like, according to movies and pop songs and books, apparently. I hate that no matter what adventures this book holds, it all comes down to finding a man. There is so much more. My own adventures have certainly been about more. And all that, in the book I just finished? Yes, I saw it coming and yes, I think it was nice, before the ending. But the book would have held up just as well if no man came along and completed her life.