Wednesday, December 10, 2014

BREAKING: Terrible Marriage News

Here's some shitty news about marriage. 

No, I'm not talking about the divorce rate. This is much worse than that. I'm talking about remarriage. Some study found that 40% of marrying couples have at least one spouse who has already been married. FORTY PERCENT*. And apparently, it's becoming increasingly common for those 55 and older to get remarried. 

DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS? MORE WEDDINGS. I hadn't even considered SECOND marriages yet! I'm still deciding if I want chicken or fish at your FIRST round of weddings! But ohhhh no, it's not over when I'm the last single one standing! Then I'll have to console you over your divorces, which I'm sure will suck and I'm sorry about your emotional roller coaster, etc. But then you jerks will fall in love AGAIN and have ANOTHER wedding and you'll send me ANOTHER save the date and WHEN WILL THE CYCLE END? And on top of that, it seems you'll be continuing to plan weddings well into your 60s so I'll be attending weddings until the end of time. 

I can tell you one thing, friends. I'm not fucking around at your second weddings. It will be my opportunity to fix all the mistakes I made at your first wedding. I'm wearing my converse. I'm snapchatting and tweeting everything---for your scrapbook or whatever. I'm bringing a onesie to wear on the dance floor. I'm appointing myself flower girl. Oh, your daughter is the flower girl? Fine: HEAD flower girl. I'm choosing my own seat. I'm sneaking drinks to the slightly underaged children from your first marriages. I'm not getting up for the fucking bouquet toss, even if you call me out. (IT WILL ONLY BE ME ANYWAY, JUST HAND ME THE FLOWERS.) I am coming to party. And since I'll be the only single human in attendance, I don't care about impressing your groomsmen. (But if any of them are divorced please shoot me an email in advance. Be a doll.) 

You better hope your first marriages work out, friends. 

I'm not making a scene, you're making a scene.

Good news: this article got me on Huffington Post's radar and they keep asking me to sign up for their divorce newsletter. So...there's that. 

*I found it on Huffington Post, guys, so I have no idea how they conducted the study or who they polled. Just go with my righteous indignation here. FORTY PERCENT. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Not your typical Thanksgiving post.

This has been sitting in my drafts for weeks. I come back to it frequently, but my words are always a tangle. I want to edit it and finish it all the time. Last night I decided that perhaps my words on this issue will never untangle, but that I might feel better if I just post the damn thing. 

I'm not here to list all the things I'm thankful for this holiday season. Because honestly, there are a lot. I'm a lucky woman with a pretty awesome life. But that's not what I'm here to say. 

Not in this moment. In this moment...I am sad. I am sad in a way that cannot be expressed. I am sad and frustrated and angry in the pit of my stomach and it radiates outward to my whole being. I look at the world around me, and know that we can do better.

Earlier this month, I spent a day at the hospital while my niece came into the world. It was 11 hours in a hospital waiting room and even though that sounds uncomfortable and boring, it was one of the best days I've had in a long time. I spent it with my family and everyone was full of joy and we didn't argue once and yeah, that's something of an accomplishment. She was born into a beautiful, loving, strange, wonderful family. I adore her; she's perfect. I made a collage for the background of my phone, of her and the other babies in my life. And it probably looks weird; I probably seem like I'm one step away from building a house of candy in the woods somewhere. But I look at them, the children of family and friends--these pieces of my heart--and I want them to be safe. I want to know that when they grow up it will be in a world that's just and kind and supportive. I want more for them than what we've cultivated.

I come here and rant about my ex boyfriends and I whine about being single and we joke about my fear of commitment and yes, it can get a little bit angry. It's all love life is abysmal and I have dated some dickheads, but honestly, I believe in kindness and treating people with respect. (Sorry if that shatters any illusions for you, but please know that I will always complain about my exes and being reprimanded for forgetting to flush** when I got up to pee in the middle of the night. I remain terrible at dating. Rest easy.)

We're not doing a good enough job. We treat people who are different from us like shit and we treat a lot of people who aren't different at all like shit and we treat the world around us like shit and in the end...a lot of us treat each other badly, far too often. The sadness and anger I'm feeling threaten to become toxic. I worry that if it stays too long it will infect everything good in my life. I have the same worry for everyone I hear crying out that things have to change. So we need to try. We need to find ways to love each other and fix what's broken. We need to help each other figure it all out and try to understand each other and lift each other up instead of stepping on each other. We have to try. I know that's a very broad, sweeping, naive, privileged way of looking at it...but it's a start, right? It's all I have in this moment, besides sadness and anger and frustration--and I'd rather not pass those along. 

We need to do better. I have a tiny niece who deserves better from this world. 

**Yes that happened. It was just pee--it's not like he had to face a tampon in the morning. SORRY I'M NOT AT MY BEST AT 3AM, YOUR HIGHNESS. Put on your big boy pants and flush it your damn self. 

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Casual Weekend in Guatemala

I just spent five days in Guatemala, for a wedding. As you do. At least a third of the guests were American, most of the rest were Guatemalan, and there were a handful of internationals. (I spent the rehearsal dinner with a Colombian, a Czech, and a German.) It was one big, awesome adventure. However, I arrived home exhausted. Blogging was lower on my priority list than sleep and laundry and getting to work on time. So now that I've recovered, let's review the highlights:

I was reunited with friends I haven't seen in six years. They're amazing people. It's funny how six years felt like nothing, as if we'd been apart just a few days. I've said it before, but my friends are truly the most remarkable thing in my life. I don't deserve them. I also made some new friends. The universe put me in the right place, ok? 

I stayed at this fantastic hotel. 
Just, you know, stepping stones over a pond to get to my room. Whatever.

My friend has a great new husband, even if they tricked us to do the bouquet toss--using Beyonce! I felt so betrayed. 

Coffee, dancing, drinks, way too much food because they fed us really well, and handsome Guatemalan men. 

Yes, I know--my weekend was better than yours. 

During all the wedding events, we had some conversations about wedding customs in different places. It was rather fascinating, since you know I've become a bit of a wedding connoisseur. One thing that I love is a German tradition called Polterabend. On the night before the wedding, friends of the couple come over and eat and hang out, then they smash porcelain on the ground! Plates, cups, sinks, toilets, whatever. They smash it. And make a loud mess! And it's supposed to bring luck? And then the couple has to clean it up and that's some kind of bonding experience about all the shit they'll have to clean up together in their lives. That part sounds less fun, but the smashing! Sounds great! 

Just throwing out the idea in case any of my many engaged friends want to consider it. I'm totally ready to break shit, In honor of your love. Or whatever. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

On a serious note.

Alright guys, Real Talk. 

I've seen a lot of articles floating around lately about the terrible lesson we're teaching men by constantly turning them down by saying we have boyfriends. And I have concerns. 

We're talking about men who hit on you and only back down when you say you're in a relationship--because it can't possibly be something to do with them, but simply that you're taken. First of all, yes I think it's atrocious that a significant other, either real or imagined on the spot, is the only thing that will stop some men from hitting on you. I also think it says something terribly unflattering about those guys--that they don't respect you and your no thanks, but they will respect whatever guy you tell them you're dating. It's awful. Ok? 

So what I keep reading is that we as women should stop playing into this and making up boyfriends or husbands or girlfriends or anybody at all. We should teach this lesson that our no should be just as powerful as our no I'm in a relationship. We should change the culture around being hit on and let these men learn to deal with a little rejection. I'm all for that. 

In theory. I want to be a part of this movement. I want to help now, because I don't want the toddlers in my life to be in their 20s and still making up big, muscular, jealous boyfriends just because they don't want to dance with some random. But the practice of this is a little less...practical. For me, anyway. And maybe for you too. 

There are times when I'm happy to stand behind my no just because I'm not interested, and not feel this pressure to lie to a grown man who can't take a little bruise to his ego. Then...then there are times when a big, tall guy wraps his arms around me to ask if he can take me out. And I assess the situation, trying not to panic. In that situation, I'm not about teaching anybody any lesson. I'm about getting out of the situation and back to my friends. I'm about taking care of myself. So if, in those situations or anything remotely similar, I think that the quickest way out is to say I have a boyfriend, then I will absolutely do it. Every single time.

Because it's a good lesson to teach. And I'm all for doing my part. But it's just that--part. We can't be expected to do all the work. And we can't be expected to feel unsafe while we do it. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Flying Solo

I've never lived alone. I've always had family or roommates or a dozen other summer camp counselors. The closest I've ever gotten was living in a single room in my dorm in college. (Mere feet away from dozens of friends.) So when I agreed to house and dog sit recently, I knew it would be a whole new world.

It was eye-opening. Here are some things I learned about myself:

1. Some of my standards are lower than I thought. I only flush the toilet when it's necessary or when I'm entertaining guests. (On the plus side, I know how and when to clean.) Is this gross? Maybe. But at least it's earth-friendly. And yesterday I wanted to take a nap. I arrived home from work to a bed covered in books, my laptop, and laundry baskets full of clothes I washed last week and didn't bother to fold. I looked at that and thought, hey I can take this nap if I move everything. Then I imagined myself taking the time to do that and thought again. I napped on the floor directly next to my bed. I didn't even consider moving to another room to find a couch. I would make the same decision over again. 

2. I really want a dog.*

3. I am not shy. Ask how many doors I closed during those ten days.**

4. If I could get all my exercise via solo dance parties, I would be much, much happier. I pretty much dance partied around that house every day, despite my dog friend not giving a shit. Sorry not sorry neighbors.

5. I talk to myself, out loud, all the damn time.

6. I may not know how to use every corkscrew I come across, but I'll figure it out. Because I'm highly motivated. 
Way more complicated than it looks. 

7. Did I mention I want a dog?

*Not a new discovery but still worth noting.
**If you guessed 1-3 and only when other people were in the house, you'd be correct. 

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Learning my "love type"...

When I discovered Lovebirds by Trevor Silvester at work, I knew I had to read it. Written by a couples therapist/bird watcher, it promised to identify my love type from a set of birds--AND how to live with me. I mean, come on. I NEED to know my lovebird. Need. Must know. I didn't even know that "love types" were a thing. 

And so I shamelessly checked it out from the local library. Yes, people I know at the checkout desk, I AM reading self-help relationship books. FOR RESEARCH AND SCIENCE AND STUFF. 

We got off on the wrong foot when Silvester states, on the first page of the introduction, that I'm not so much living a life as a slow, painful pre-death coma. 
"If you live in a supportive, loving state of intimacy you live longer, healthier, happier, and more successful lives." How dare you, sir. 

Things improved a bit on page 13 where the author says the first stages of a relationship actually make you a little crazy, since your body is going insane with love chemicals*. (See? SCIENCE.) So he basically says people in love are nuts, which I can totally see. It's something I've been saying for years. 

I took the quizzes to learn my lovebird, which I'm a little disappointed to report feels a bit Myers-Briggs-esque. Not because I'm against the Myers-Briggs, or because it was poorly done, but because I was hoping for more straight up bird behavior comparisons. ("Peacocks look gorgeous but if you approach them too quickly at the zoo they'll go apeshit and make scary noises until you run away. Sound familiar?") I wasn't disappointed enough to stop reading the book though. I told you, I had to know my lovebird. 

The good news is that my prediction was wrong--I'm not a crow. (Loud, obnoxious, and who really wants them hanging around for very long?)

I'm an Owl/Dove. (Owl is my first one, but Dove was two points behind, in which case the author recommends reading both profiles. Here's a cool fun fact: I'm a rare bird. No, really. Apparently I'm not a common combination? LIKE YOU DIDN'T ALREADY KNOW THAT. 

So, I'm an Owl/Dove. I didn't even have to read the profiles to know that makes sense. Think about it. Owls are a symbol of wisdom and they have an outstanding Resting Bitch Face. Doves are symbols of peace who are forced to attend a lot of weddings and flee the scene as soon as they're allowed. Sound like anyone you know? 

(I actually thought the profiles for my types were pretty on point. Particularly the Owl part. In particular...
"Owls spend a lot of time talking to themselves." Accurate.
And the best possible analysis. "And then there's the foreign world of emotions." 
Additionally, Doves need puppies. "A lack of physical contact will leave them feeling lonely and they'll often have a pet to provide a source of affection." The author is telling me to adopt a pack of dogs. You're getting that vibe too, right? Trevor Silvester, I was a little skeptical, but it is clear that you get me.)

The cool part about reading this book if you're single is that a good portion of it is dedicated to how to handle relationships for every bird combination. Since I'm perpetually alone, I skipped this part and finished the book in like 45 minutes. New record! 

If you're curious, you can take the lovebirds quiz--let me know what you get! 

*Technical term. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Friends with Exes

You know that period after a breakup, where you fantasize about various situations where you run into your ex, and finally get to tell them off or get your revenge or whatever? (One of my more elaborate ones involved me actually suggesting a Kickstarter to friends to make it happen. I would tell you I'm not proud, but to this day I'm pretty sure it would be funded.) Those fantasies help you get through your breakup, because imagining your ex begging for forgiveness in front of all your coworkers until you tell him to stop, he's making a scene and then security escorts him out...I mean, that feels pretty good. In your head. Because in reality, if your ex showed up at work, it would be a total nightmare. 

And exes do show up. It's not usually at your parents' house during Sunday family dinner so he can apologize for ruining your life. It's usually accidental and messy. Oh yeah...and online. It'll happen online. We all know it's the worst. And yet...when we're on the other's so tempting...

Well it's his birthday. I should tell him happy birthday. Just because I ended our relationship doesn't mean I want him to have a shitty birthday, right? It's harmless. 

Stop that. I'm saying this to you and to me. It's a tough decision, I know. But when do you let go of an ex? I'm not talking about avoiding them, because that's basically impossible. Given geography, mutual friends, and technology, you're probably going to run into an ex somehow. (Particularly technology. At least your mutual friends KNOW you broke up and don't want to see each other. Facebook is like, hey you have 37 mutual friends with this guy--maybe you should friend him! YES FACEBOOK I KNOW HIM. WE BROKE UP. YOU KNOW THAT, TOO. YOU KNOW EVERYTHING. You can keep track of what dresses I'm checking out on ModCloth but you can't remember who I digitally broke up with? I call bullshit.) 

Occasionally, an ex of mine will pop up somewhere on the internet I forgot about when I cleaned him out of my life. He recommended a book on Goodreads? He still uses Goodreads? Delete. Oh yeah, we WERE connected on LinkedIn...not anymore. I don't need to see that. 

There's no solid rule about contact with exes, and every relationship and subsequent breakup is a special little snowflake, blah blah blah, so you can't exactly go around making up hard and fast rules. So I don't have anything useful to tell you, as usual. But since this issue came up recently for a friend, I thought I'd tackle it just in case. 

Here are the few rules I use when it comes to getting in touch with exes. 

1. If I did the dumping, I let him come to me. He gets to set the terms of our post-breakup "friendship." Sure, maybe I said let's just be friends, but after that I'm letting him take the lead on it. If and when he's ready to be friendly, he can let me know. (And you're sitting there like, well what if he never calls? Then you really, really broke him and he never calls. Get over it.)

2. If I was dumped, then I cut off contact. No drunk texts, no sad voicemails, no tweets, and for god's sake no poking on Facebook. None. Shut it down. When (if) the time comes that I am no longer still in love with him and can really, honestly be just friends with him, I'll test the waters. (TEST the waters, not dive in headfirst.) You'll notice the emphasis on honesty here. You've got to be genuinely over him in order to forge a new post-relationship friendship. Sorry.

3. If I work with him, in any way, including volunteer stuff or him coming in to my place of work as a patron/customer, then it's polite civility. He's not worth having to chat with my boss about casually calling a customer a dickhead. 

Sometimes you can be friends with an ex. And sometimes you really, really can't. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Throwback Thursday

A few years ago, I met my mom at work for some retirement party or holiday party or some other event. Whatever, it was a social function after work and I worked in the neighboring building and was tight with a lot of her coworkers. During this party of questionable origin, one of her coworkers I wasn't particularly approached me and naturally asked if I was single. (And I won't leave you in suspense, dear readers. Yes, I was single.) So she starts going on and on about her single son and she shows me his picture and I say yes, he's very handsome and cool he has a career that's great and she fumbles with a cell phone she doesn't know how to use and snaps what I'm certain was a mediocre photo of me to show him. 

A couple weeks go by and I get this facebook friend request from the guy so I accept him. I immediately stalk him an appropriate amount: enough to get a sense of who he is (what I'm saying here is does the guy have a million profile pictures with his arm around a woman, you know that's the first thing you look for) and he seemed normal. I figured him friending me was the equivalent of asking for my phone number and so when I accepted the request, that was me saying, here you go call me sometime

Apparently not. I waited like three days and heard nothing so I figured, ok fine I'll like his profile picture or something to get the ball rolling. Only when I searched for him he showed up NOT MY FRIEND ANYMORE. That guy unfriended me within three days without saying a word. 

New record. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Alone at a Wedding

I've never planned a wedding. Well...actually I have. What I mean to say is that I've never paid for a wedding. But even without that hands on experience, I am certain that getting married is expensive.

For this reason, and for the sake of not having a bunch of randoms at "the most special day" of your life, I'm not offended when I don't get to bring a date to your wedding. (I'm assuming you don't give me a +1 because you're trying to save money, right? It's not because you don't think I could find a date? Because trust me, I could find a date if I had to. I totally could. I could find like ten dates.)

Wait, what were we talking about--oh right. I totally don't mind being invited by myself to a wedding.


You knew there was a "but..." right?

But sometimes a date would be awesome. For example, at a family wedding. Unless you're really close to your cousins who will also be attending, family weddings can get really boring, really fast. It's not like you can flirt with anyone there, either, unless you're 100% positive you're not related to them. 
Or a wedding where you don't know a lot of people. Sure, you and the groom are really good friends,but you guys don't hang out with anyone else from the office fantasy football league where you met. It's not like you'll know anyone else at the wedding. Who will you talk to and judge people with? 
Or, you know, the most common one lately, weddings without many single people. This keeps happening. It's simple, really. The more weddings we attend, the more of our friends are married. People couple up. They don't need to find a date. They have a date. Permanently. Legally. But not everyone! Some of us are in this for the long haul, vying to win Survivor: Forever Alone. (AND I. WILL. WIN.) Now I'm not saying I want your wedding to be a speed dating event, but let's be real--the DJ will play slow music and all the couples will dance. At weddings back when lots of us were single, this was a good opportunity to find a cute boy and flirt with him on the dance floor. But as the crowd slowly evolves into a more married, coupled sort of group...who the hell do I dance with? The answer is I don't. I either sit at the table and hope your weird uncle doesn't come ask why I'm not dancing, or I escape to the bar and make poor choices, or I go to the bathroom just for something to do, or I sit there and send rude snapchats of happy couples dancing and snark on them on twitter. And while some of those are fun, it's a little...boring. A low point at your wedding. If you're not going to invite some other singles (preferably handsome, eligible men...just saying) you're kind of making me the 101st wheel. And it's kind of a bummer.

I'm not saying giving me a date is mandatory. But if you're dooming a wedding guest to an evening of solo activity, consider throwing them a bone and putting +1 on their invitation. Or, you know, make sure at least one of your groomsmen is single and handsome. I'll personally settle for that.

**I KNOW I KNOW you have to worry about how many people the church will seat and the reception hall capacity and the cost per plate of food and I GET IT OK you don't have to remind me. It's just a thought. 

Thursday, September 04, 2014

How NOT to Internet Date...

...part 45 of 1,000,000 I guess. 

Twin got a message on OkCupid the other night, the first she'd gotten from this particular guy.

"What's your availability tomorrow night?"

This has been bothering me ever since she told me and I've been trying to figure out why. It's not obscene or rude and on top of that, it's not even my message! So why has it been silently pissing me off?

My first thought was that I disliked his abrupt introduction. Or rather, a lack of introduction and jumping right into the next phase. This guy skipped a greeting, a half-hearted compliment, a common interest, and a witty remark that you're wrong in your opinion of the best Back to the Future. He went all in. You busy tomorrow? He wants to do all that Dating 101 stuff in person. Screw typing. 

It's true that I find his approach to be a bit clumsy. It lacks finesse. This is not a guy with a lot of game. And it's sketchy. A lot of my friends are nervous about internet dating because the person you meet could be anybody at all. (And all of my female friends are nervous that your internet stranger might kill you. Yup.) He could be exactly who he says he is. Or the complete opposite. Or some great combination of lies and creep. It's a gamble! The first conversation(s) at least start the elimination process. My girls will still likely meet internet dates in a public place and have friends on standby ready to break you out of a terrible date. But at least they know that person made it through round one of cuts. 

I brought this up to some guys at the bar, a couple guys I've met before and a random guy I've never met and hopefully can avoid for the rest of my days--who invited himself into the conversation. They didn't see a problem with asking someone to meet up before you really chat. They made a decent point.

But I was STILL bothered by this guy--until today, when I realized why I hated his message so much. He does it all wrong. Sure, you know why he's asking if you're available, but he's also making it really hard for you to say no. (Or so he might think.) He asks about your availability tomorrow and you say yeah, I've got no plans. Then he asks if you want to get a drink. Well now you're screwed. You've painted yourself into a corner. If you don't want to see this guy, it just became really tricky. No thanks, you tell him. Well you just said you were free tomorrow! Why don't you want to see him?!** Because it must be him. You said you didn't have plans. What, did you make plans in the last 30 seconds??

Public Service Announcement for anyone throwing out date invites: We don't WANT to hurt your feelings, you know. Not all the time. We might like to give you an out! GIVE US A CHANCE TO REJECT YOU GENTLY. This guy took away any possibility of a graceful exit strategy.

Sure, I might turn a guy down because he's a disgusting ass. But I also might turn down a guy who seems perfectly nice but isn't a guy I want to date. Maybe he misread the situation and thought I was interested. In these cases, I'm not looking to be a bitch. 

Here's my tip for the day: if you're going to ask someone out, don't trick them into saying yes. "Do you want to get a drink tomorrow?" is perfectly acceptable. It leaves the other person a lot of options. They can say yes, or I would love that but tomorrow doesn't work, or no thanks I'm not interested, or no thanks I'm really busy, or fuck off you're a weirdo, or hey I'm in a relationship but thanks for asking, or any number of other responses. And they have the option of letting you down gently--and you'll both feel less awkward. "Are you available tomorrow?" should only be used as a follow-up question. 

I know you don't usually take my advice but please, try and remember this bit. Try really hard. 

**This might seem harsh but I had a guy demand why I didn't want to go out with him one time. Um, maybs because you're super aggressive and childish about rejection??

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

A quick update on real life...ALSO A PUPPY.

What do my blog and the night you lost your virginity have in common? 

We're both disappointing even though you heard it was going to be really magical. 

I know I haven't been around much. For the past couple weeks, I've been spending a lot of time with my family, helping my dad after he had knee surgery. (He had to be at the hospital at 5:30am and since I'm The Best Kid I went along to keep my mom company while she waited. I drank shitloads of coffee and was positively zombie-esque at work that evening. It was all worth it when my dad told me I was his favorite kid. Suck it, three siblings! I think it's important that we skip the part where he was under anesthesia just prior to saying this.) 

I've also been planning a lot of baby shower stuff, which is exactly how I like spending my free time, as I'm sure you can imagine. (I was put in charge of games. MISTAKE. Are drinking games appropriate at baby showers? No...?)

I've got real blog posts coming soon, but I figured you at least deserved an acknowledgement about my ignoring you. Which is more than my ex was able to do. 

Here, look at this puppy while you wait and everything will be fine. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Pickup FAIL

We have our fair share of regular faces at work, and Waldo is one of them. I've assisted him a couple times, so when he approached me on desk last week, it was not unusual. I mean...that's why I'm there. 

"Do you guys have a bandaid?" 

"Oh...I'm not sure, actually.** If you check with--" 

"I skinned my knee when I was falling for you." 

YES REALLY. I laughed and all I could manage to say was yikes. So you're thinking this is a generic story about Waldo using a generic pickup line on me while I was at work. Why am I wasting your time, right? (Well, for one, a lot of you are at work dicking around right now, so don't play. You were looking for ways to waste your time.) 

So you're thinking, hey good for you! Is Waldo cute? Do you think he was attracted to your fanny pack? 

False. Stop right there. Because he wasn't even really hitting on me. He laughed and apologized and told me his friend sent him that line and said he had to use it right then. And I was "the only viable candidate." I mean are you swooning yet? 

THE ONLY VIABLE CANDIDATE? I looked around the room--and yeah, I was the only woman not eligible to collect social security. I didn't realize I could be MORE turned off by a pickup line--but that did it. 

Waldo introduced himself. "Out of curiosity, would that have worked?" 


"Are you married?"

"No." I assured Waldo that laughing at him would have garnered five seconds of face time before I rejected him. He walked away, apparently satisfied with that result. I, on the other hand, was slightly less satisfied with the interaction.

But yeah to answer your question I do think the fanny pack helped. 

**I actually carry one in my fanny pack and I'm so upset with myself for not remembering that.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Wedding Tips for Singles? Yes really.

I don't know about anyone else, but my facebook feed was blowing up with engagement announcements and wedding photos this weekend. It was a busy weekend. Not for me, of course. I watched a bunch of Disney movies on ABC Family and cleaned my house. (No fighting, boys.)

Thinking about the next round of weddings fills me with a sense of dread. And I'm not just talking about the usual "what if I can't escape the bouquet toss" dread. I mean, yeah that's there because I HATE THE BOUQUET TOSS, but there's more to it this time. It's because I have noticed a disturbing new trend at weddings.

Readers, there is a serious lack of single men at weddings. I was just at one where there was literally ONE single man. I'm not kidding, I did the research. (And it should be noted that there was NOT just one single woman.) A friend attended one with no single men at all! And what's worse, she was the only single person there! What is happening? How can this be? I mean, what's the point of weddings at all, if there are no single men in attendance?

Oh, right.

This disturbance in the Force is going to ruin my usual wedding reception plans. What's a girl to do, if not select a handsome single man and spend her evening flirting? (I know what you're going to say, but cake is only a small part of the reception! What of the rest of the night, hmm?)

Before you, too, find yourself in a barren wasteland, here are some tips that might help pass the time! 

  • Befriend the DJ and request only party songs. No slow dancing around here!
  • If slow dancing does occur, don't worry about finding a partner. (Not that you'll be able to, unless some grandparent takes pity on you.) Instead, interpretive dance around all the couples. Not only does it make couples feel a little awkward, but it's mad fun. 
  • Make the rounds and greet every table. The bride and groom are doing it, and look how much fun they're having! 
  • If the couple put those disposable cameras on the tables, appoint yourself unofficial photographer and get some really good pictures of you standing between any couple who tries to take a nice photo. 
  • Cake. Obvi. 
  • Live tweet the wedding. People love that! (Right? You guys loved when I did it at your weddings, right?)
  • Recruit the children to take over the dance floor with you. The DJ will hopefully have your back on this and--you guessed it--continue to avoid slow songs, as long as their interest holds. 
  • If they lose interest, time for a field trip. More cake. 
  • Cocktail. 
  • You know that really annoying tradition where you clang on your glass and the couple has to kiss? And it interrupts everything? Well that's super annoying when you're trying to get your flirt on, but guess what? You don't have anybody to flirt with! Make everyone suffer with you. 
  • See how far you can move the centerpiece to the left before other people at your table realize and correct it.
Good luck, fellow wedding guests. And remember--as soon as the bride picks up a bouquet and starts towards the dance floor, it's time to use the rest room. Don't run. Just be casual. If you're worried about being called out, hold a tampon in your hand on the way. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Not into texting? Not acceptable.

So there's this guy from my past and things between us were brief, really casual, and undefined. You know, my favorite kind of relationship. I ran into him recently and he was all, "Call me sometime." I didn't really have any reason not to, so I did. (Well, I texted.) What the hell, right? (Regular readers can probably guess that the scenario was more complicated than this--it always is--but you get the idea.) 

Oh you guys, it was bad. Bad. The whole conversation fell so flat I couldn't believe it. I mean, here's this cute (NOT RELEVANT) guy I've flirted with many times in the past, telling me to get in should have been better. I mean...he TOLD ME TO GET IN TOUCH. He started that ball rolling again. And I'll admit that maybe it wasn't my A game flirting, but like...I put in some effort. I tried. I'm not even sure this guy realized there was a game going on. 

My sister witnessed the steady decline of our conversation during lunch and uttered a sentence that brought back a flood of memories. "Maybe he's not into texting." 

NO. No no no. This was a sentence I heard, said, thought, and wrote in my diary throughout high school. And college, let's be real. Texting wasn't that common and was honestly sort of a novelty. I got my first cell phone when I graduated high school--and I was far from the last of my friends to get one. "Not into texting" was an excuse we also used while IMing. We were constantly advising each other to see how he acted in person before judging him--because maybe he's not into typing out his feelings, ok? And ok, so it was new and we were all trying to figure out how relevant it was to text or IM or anything other than a face to face conversation. Maybe it was a valid excuse back then. 

But this is 2014! EVERYONE has a cell phone. Your ten year old cousin can troubleshoot your iPhone issues at Thanksgiving dinner for crying out loud. If you're reading this blog, there's a digital component in all your relationships. It's how we meet each other, select the right person for us, get to know each other, stalk each other, communicate with each other, and if you're my ex it's how we break up with each other. Relationships all rely on technology in some way. 

So I am sorry, but "not into texting"? Is no longer a valid excuse. It's 2014. There is no way it's acceptable to have a weak digital game. It's fine to be better in person (I am) but if you're trying to meet someone, you better be able to flirt using a keyboard. It's fine to prefer face to face conversations, or even phone calls although I haven't met a guy like that in a minute. The thing have to hold someone's interest long enough to get to that point. If you're meeting online or you're a setup or however else people're probably going to have to type a conversation at some point. It's just how things are done. 

So if you can't hold your own via's time to step up your game. Because otherwise I'm going to sit there wondering why the hell you asked me to get in touch.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

A song for a friend.

During the summer that "Call Me Maybe" was unavoidable, my friend M had somehow managed to avoid it. We introduced him to Carly Rae Jepsen at the bowling alley one night because really everyone should know that song. Weeks later, I got a phone call. At a niece's wedding, he'd heard "Call Me Maybe"! And he knew the song! It was the only song he'd known! He signed off, as he would for the next few years, by saying "call me maybe." He called when Glee covered the song a few weeks later, repeating that it was the only song he'd known. In a new aspect of our friendship that I still find charming, he'd call me whenever he heard it. It was a strange homing beacon between us, advice that he took literally.

I don't remember meeting M, but it probably followed a couple showtunes and preceded a few often-told jokes. I'm sure I heard those jokes more than once over the course of our friendship. He regularly asked why I was laughing at such terrible jokes. I never had an answer. Not great with an RSVP, M would breeze in, serenade the crowd, tell the jokes, and settle in. He usually disappeared without fanfare, having mastered the Irish goodbye.

M was fiercely loyal and dedicated. Learning about a problem with a friend, or a hiccup in a project we were working on, he would call and ask what we were going to do to fix things. He gave advice not when you asked, but when he thought you needed it. He asked questions you didn't want to--but needed to--answer. "Why haven't we found a job?" "What's the deal with the boyfriend?" He would also call or show up occasionally, looking for advice for himself.

These stories feel random and haphazard, even to me. But as I try to comprehend that M has passed away, they are the stories I can anchor myself to. It is easier to focus on them than on the cancer that took M from us. It is easier than thinking about his family--his lovely and brilliant wife, his sons and grandson. All the pieces of his life that are now missing him. And writing has always been the way I process. Feelings don't make sense until I can write them down and arrange the words, put them in order.

So here I am. I have other blog posts on the way--I know this isn't what we do around here. Don't worry...I did some flirting and went to a wedding, so that's all on the way. But for now, thanks for sticking around while I try to make sense of real life. Until then, have some Carly Rae. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Why I'm Skipping Fifty Shades

Real Talk: I did read Fifty Shades of Grey. All three books--wait, were there three? Whatever, I read the series. After ignoring the hype for a while, I decided to read them for two reasons. The first was that I was still teaching at that point and most of the other teachers in my building were reading them and going apeshit. I wanted to join the veiled conversations at lunch. But what really made me submit that Amazon order was reason two: the Twilight connection. If you're not familiar, I read that Fifty Shades was originally written and published on the internet as Twilight fan fiction. (Yes, I also read that series.) 

At that point, I HAD to read these books. I had to know. I had to know how close to the Twilight series these books would be. I mean, I understand the general premise: instead of a controlling vampire, he's a controlling business guy with particular sexual interests. It's a jump, but I can kind of see it. 

Have you read both books? Anyone? Feel free to chime in. 

THEY'RE SO SIMILAR. I'm not talking about the general story line. I'm talking about all aspects, minus the sex. He's so mysterious! With copper gleaming hair! And unusual eyes! And no one can figure him out! She's clumsy! And plain! But not really plain because she's actually super pretty! He should stay away from her! But he just can't! And they live in the Pacific Northwest! And EVERY SITUATION IS THE SAME AS TWILIGHT. As I read, I would say, oh we're going to meet his meddling sister now and BAM there she was. That guy will definitely be the bad guy and what do you know, HE WAS. 

So there. I read the books. And yes, you read right--I bought my own copies. After hearing the way my colleagues spoke about these books, and learning how long the wait list was at the library...I decided I really didn't want to handle copies read by dozens of middle aged women. I've heard these books described as mommy porn and porn for bored housewives. Um, I'll take fresh copies thanks. 

So...did I enjoy the books? Nope. I was bored and disappointed. (Hey, more in common with Twilight!) Not to mention a super unhealthy relationship and a portrayal of the BDSM lifestyle that's widely criticized as inaccurate. Sexy!

But now the movie is coming out! And we finally saw Christian Grey! And the Beyonce song! And everyone is losing their shit

There is no way you'll get me to watch that movie, ESPECIALLY in a theater. I WILL NOT sit in a theater and watch socially acceptable porn. Have you ever watched porn with a bunch of other people? I have but we knew it was ridiculous and NOT SEXY and we laughed and cringed the whole time! (I mean, when you rent Shakespeare porn I guess that's to be expected.) I don't think Fifty Shades moviegoers will be joking around. So if you think I'm going to sit in a room with a bunch of strangers who are hot for this character (YES MIDDLE AGED WOMEN I MEAN YOU sorry not sorry. I saw Twilight in the theater and you were everywhere.) you are dead wrong. 

I'm not spending $10 to be uncomfortable for 90 minutes, thanks very much. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

"Once upon a time I was falling in love..."

I'm home from summer camp! Hooray for you! (Not really hooray for me, because I super miss my friends and running around in ridiculous outfits and you know, sleeping on the top bunk isn't so bad once you assess the situation for bugs, and I DID manage to avoid the poison ivy scare. Narrowly, but avoided all the same.)

Between a dumpster fire (long story) and singing songs about poop (not as long a story as you'd imagine), I did some thinking about my ex--accidentally. One night the kids sang a song that wasn't necessarily "our song" because not only does that idea gross me out but we never agreed on it anyway, but it makes me think of him. Because of unimportant reasons. "You had to be there" kind of stuff. Anyway it's Adele. "Someone Like You." And I know what you're thinking--that song is really sad!!--and I KNOW I AGREE but hold those thoughts for a second. 

Another night at camp, we were having a dance party and naturally that led to some interpretive dancing. Our DJ took my request and played "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and let me tell you, that's a very respectable interpretive dance song. My dancing led me into the arms of a charming Italian man, as all good dancing ought to do. We sang to each other and he told me "Total Eclipse of the Heart" was his and his ex's song. 

"It's such a sad story. I should have known it would end," he said. That really hit home for me. Even while we were dating, I thought of my ex when I heard "Someone Like You." Like, it made me smile. EVEN THOUGH THAT SONG IS REALLY SAD. It's definitely about a break up. I mean, without a doubt that song is about the end of a relationship.Come on, Adele sings it. It's sad. Is that weird? That such a sad song ABOUT BREAKING UP made me think of my a gross happy way? During our relationship, I never even stopped to consider the meaning of the song, to be honest. WHICH IS DUMB I KNOW. How did I not notice that I associated my boyfriend with a really really sad song? I keep telling you I make bad choices in relationships. I mean, it's not like that could have actually been Our Song. What, if we got married we would have danced to Sad Adele? (HAHA MY WEDDING j/k that was never going to happen.) People would have judged us so hard, and probably tweet about it and I'm saying this with 100% confidence because I would absolutely do the same thing. Sad Adele can't REALLY be your song. 

So I've been thinking: does your song set the tone for your relationship? Should I have known we were doomed? If you pick a sad song to represent you as a couple, are you saying you're a sad couple? Maybe you're an idiot like me and never really put all the pieces together? Or maybe you just don't have any shits to give? Or is this a sign that I spent too much time with teenagers this month? I have so many questions about this!

Although ultimately I suppose I just have one--what does it say about you as a couple if your song is sad? Feel free to weigh in on this...

Monday, July 14, 2014

Everything I Love Leaves Me

My last relationship ended because my long distance boyfriend needed space. You know, in addition to the 4,000 miles he already had. 

Until then, I never realized my love was so aggressive, so overbearing that I could drive people away with the sheer force of it--and from so great a distance to boot! I should put that on my resume. Is it a marketable skill? Let me know. 

I thought it was the first time my affection has been cause for flight, but a conversation with Twin made me remember an old mp3 player sitting in a desk drawer. 

When I went abroad in college, I bought an mp3 player--but not an iPod. I didn't want that. Instead I got myself a Rio. And I loved that thing. (Still love. Present tense.) It served me so well. Production on Rio mp3 players shut down before I finished college. Undeterred, I used my Rio Karma until a new laptop (and thus, a new unsupported operating system upgrade) facilitated the purchase of a new device. It was so sad, but without updated software, I couldn't add or delete music from my player. (My Rio still works just fine, for the record. I just can't update it--it's a time capsule for my musical taste in college.) 

Still determined not to buy an iPod, I got a Microsoft Zune. Another player I loved. I loved it until it died suddenly, with no warning. Once again, my love was too much to handle. Production on the Zune halted. There was no replacing mine after that. I had loved it too hard. Twin found me looking for an ipod alternative after that and gently suggested that while my love was too much for Rio and Microsoft, perhaps Apple could hold up under the staggering weight of my adoration. 

I admitted she might have a point and thus, settled for an iPod. (No offense, Apple. I'm just not an iGirl.) Things are fine. I enjoy it, feeling fairly confident that it will still be around in the morning. It's reliable. It's probably for the best. 

Before you go assuming I just have terrible taste in electronics, I should tell you that my love drove away a favorite shampoo, which I spent a couple years importing from Canada whenever we crossed the border. (Border proximity perks.) 

Given this history, I should not have been surprised by the text from the man I love, explaining his need for space. (Or rather, not explaining it. Just mentioning, more accurately.) Apparently, I just love too hard. 

Watch out, Apple. I'll try to play it cool this time. 

Monday, July 07, 2014

Updates from the Austen Suburbs

I met Mr. Darcy almost a year ago. (Check out the Netherfield tag if you want to catch up on the Mr. Darcy saga.) And to this day, we've only had the one conversation. 

You guys, I'm not sure he's playing it cool. I read the book, he's supposed to knock off the aloof act after a while. He's supposed to learn to love me and then awkwardly confess his feelings! 

He might...just be ignoring me. Seriously. I don't even know what to do with this realization. Although I did learn that I have a mutual friend with the roommate. Maybe I was right, maybe Mr. Darcy really is Mr. Bingley and this mystery roommate will be Mr. Darcy and fall weirdly in love with me**? That could happen, right? 

It's time for some Mrs. Bennet level scheming, readers. No concrete plans yet, but there are weeks of beautiful weather ahead of us and I WILL come up with a plan. 

**And by fall weirdly in love with me, I mean put his face on mine. I'm talking about a loose adaptation, ok? Nobody here is looking for a husband. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Most Asked Question: Is this a date?

There's a blog post making the rounds among my facebook friends--I'm sure some of you have seen it. On his blog, Matt Walsh is calling for single men to stop hiding behind the phrase "hanging out" and call a date a date. Admittedly, this is the first I've read on his blog so I don't know how many opinions we share. But on this issue, we have some common thoughts.

He's right: dating is confusing. Because most of us aren't 100% sure when we're actually on a date. I get A LOT of letters and questions from people asking me "was that a date?" I don't understand why this is so unclear, just that it is. It's almost like each of us is so afraid of rejection that we think keeping it vague is better. Or maybe we're so afraid of commitment that we keep everything really casual until, what, someone proposes? I don't know the answer here. I can only join the millennial masses and speculate.

Walsh gets it half right when he calls for men to be clear and make up their minds. He's half right because women need to do it too. Despite the fact that it means talking about feelings, we as a population of single adults need to be honest about the status of things and ask the questions that lead to knowing if you're on a date.

I found myself in a bit of trouble recently when a man told me about an event he and a bunch of friends were attending. As a group. It sounded fun, so when he said I should join them, I told him I would consider it. He asked for my number. Halfway through the digits, I felt the all too familiar Commitment Panic, realizing he might have wanted it for date purposes. But how do you make that clear? Please only use my number for platonic group events, thanks? That's not normal. I can't go around saying things like that and still make friends. Not to mention...what if he didn't want to ask me out? Then I would sound like that girl who assumes every man wants to be her boyfriend. Once I started giving him my number, I couldn't turn back. I just had to wait and see what happened. Because I was totally in the dark.

No, he wanted to ask me out. His message that week was a clear date invitation, so points for that. But if he had been clear from the start, we could have avoided that situation.

In his blog post, Matt Walsh is appointing men with the task of being clear about their intentions. And I'll give you that most of the "is this a date?" questions I get are from women, but my audience skews more female, if stuff like my facebook page is to be believed. (Boys, you need to be more vocal out there!) I'm not sure if guys have this same "are we on a date" anxiety--my guess is yes. And "are we on a date" doesn't even compare to "are we in a relationship" concerns. Can I call him my boyfriend? My friends are calling him my boyfriend but he's never said it, and I've never said it, so maybe he's not my boyfriend? One time I didn't address this issue until my dad started telling everyone I had a boyfriend and then I asked the guy if that was true. And no, I absolutely will not tell you when this happened in my life.

So here's my suggestion, single readers: make it clear. If you initiate hanging out with someone but really you mean it to be a date, call it a date. If you want to keep dating them, make that clear too. Then they can answer you honestly about whether or not they'd like that, because they will KNOW it's a date. They can adequately prepare for a date and stop texting me mid-date from the bathroom listing details of the outing and asking if I think they're on a date. Yeah, that happens. (I'm fine with you messaging me mid-date if you want my help, but it's probably a little weird and maybe our relationship should have some boundaries? I don't know, we'll work on that.)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

In a Relationship? Or is it Complicated?

I overheard someone saying that a sign of a healthy relationship is no sign of it on facebook. This has been bothering me, for a couple reasons. (Yes, I know I went off on keeping your romantic shit off my newsfeed--I stand by that. But NO sign of it? I take issue with that, too. No, you just can't win.)

My first question for anyone keeping their relationship totally off facebook is why? What's your reasoning for keeping his par of your life invisible? Because I'm not gonna lie--that seems shady. My gut reaction would be to assume you're ashamed of being with them.

Now, if both of you mutually and honestly decide to keep your relationship social media-free, then cool. I guess. Still seems weird. Like if you're going to use social media and create lists of your favorite movies and choose a profile picture...why are you actively leaving this part off? (Unless you work together or something else that would necessitate some secrecy because you're not ALLOWED to be together. As long as you're both available consenting adults I'm fine with that.)

But that's all a personal choice, yeah? You do you But if you're maintaining a facebook page and leaving off your relationship status, we need to talk about my second concern.

Everyone else.

I'm talking about creeping on your page. I'm talking about meeting a handsome man and trolling his page to learn about him. (If he's available.) The Facebook Stalk, guys. It's one of my big moves. People look for a relationship status! It's the internet wedding ring, the first thing we look for. We look at that and we scroll recent profile pictures for any reoccurring person who may or may not be your significant other. And if your page has NO mention of a relationship, then we will probably assume that's a green light for our incoming flirting efforts.

Then we learn that you ARE in a relationship. Here come the questions. Why isn't that mentioned? I checked the profile! Why the secrecy? Does this significant other actually exist? Or are we talking about one of those "she lives in Canada, you wouldn't know her, we met this summer" kind of people, which we all know means she doesn't exist. Does this guy not care that he's dating someone? Is this his way of potentially cheating? Wait, does that mean I'm not worth cheating with? Stop that, I would never be the other woman. But still, this guy doesn't know that! What the f-- wait seriously why wouldn't you just click the "in a relationship" box?? I can't be alone in this thought process.

You're just making it difficult for everyone else by hiding your relationship from social media. And that kind of behavior gets you blogged about around here.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Dangers of Picking Up a Stray (Person)

If you were to ask my twin about my bad habits, I'm sure she would produce a long list with sources and proper references. I can't even guess what a lot of them are, since so many of our own bad habits do not seem bad in our own perspective--just to everyone else. However, one bad habit I am confident she would name is my tendency to, as she calls it, pick up strays.

I'm not talking about pets, although that would be awesome and maybe I should look into a new habit...

Anyway, before I find myself with a pack of dogs...back to my point. When Twin tells me not to pick up any strays, she's referring to the person equivalent. Just like cats and dogs wandering around the neighborhood often return back to the houses where people pet them or leave out food and water, some people return to the places they find friendship or attention--or even what just appears that way.

I'm a social person. I like to talk and I like to listen to people and if some of those people are new to me, then that's great. I regularly find myself having conversations with the people next to me in line at the grocery store, the people at the next table in the bar, my airplane seatmate...anybody. Unfortunately, this habit also makes you susceptible to strays. Strays are the people who return again and again, hoping you'll eventually just adopt them and bring them into your house--or your social circle. Sometimes they end up thinking you're really close friends but really you just talk to them because they're nice enough, they go to the gym when you do, and you run into each other regularly. It's fine until they start to ask you if you want to see a movie or something. When that happens, you know you've picked up a stray and you have to decide what to do. And maybe you're going to go ahead and be real friends, not just waiting in line at Starbucks every morning friends. Maybe you won't. It's a personal choice. But just know that strays are really, really hard to get rid of.

I'm not bothered by essentially being a cat lady for people. It's led me some interesting places. I've lost track of the number of times people have told me about losing someone they love or fighting with their siblings or quitting their job or other really personal things. I've talked to people on their way to weddings, funerals, and hospital waiting rooms. And sometimes they want to talk a lot after that or sometimes they go their own way and I never see them again. But no matter the outcome, I've come to realize that sometimes you just have to share the burden of your story. That might mean turning to someone you trust. Other times, you tell a stranger--someone next to them on an airplane or behind them in line at the grocery store. If I can give that to someone...I'm definitely ok with that. 

It should be noted that my attitude towards strays DOES NOT extend to men trying to date me. Those kind of strays aren't confiding in you or trying to be friends. They're the ones who sprinkle a sort of awkward conversation with very awkward questions designed to find out your age, marital status, the kind of men you go for, and sometimes--fingers crossed!--your sexual preferences. (Yes that has really happened to me. With strangers. Awesome.) These men are not very smooth about getting to know you and don't read your cues very well, so they don't seem to care whether or not you're actually interested. Which is why you ask if the book in their hand is worth reading and they ask if your boyfriend likes books too. ...What? They say they were at work and you ask what they do and the reply is something about pleasuring women. (YES THOSE PEOPLE EXIST.) These men are pretty much going to ask for your phone number at the first opening, despite your bewildered expressions and uncomfortable attempts to change the topic. But you were nice to this stray and they were encouraged. So the longer that conversation lasts, the greater the chance of that guy asking for your number. Decide right now--do you want this guy calling you? If yes, proceed. If you're like me and no no no don't call me I don't believe in phones, then you need an escape plan. Now. You have to get out before he can ask and really it's better to avoid him for the immediate future. (Until one of you leaves the bar or the flight lands, for example.) From personal experience, it is less awkward to get out before he can ask than to tell him no, you can't call me sometime. I mean, if he's a douche then don't worry. But if he's just kind of clueless and you think he's really not picking up on your disinterest and you want to be kind to him...just get out. (STRAYS LOOK SO SAD WHEN THEY CAN'T COME INSIDE YOUR HOUSE, OK?)

Ok, I can hear complaints coming. 

I recognize that it's hard to put yourself out there when you're attracted to someone. And I applaud honesty. But I have a big problem with continuing to try when the other person rejects you or does not return your sentiments. If you're talking to someone and keep trying to ask what he's doing on the weekend, and he keeps changing the subject--he does not want you in his weekend plans. He doesn't even want to tell you that. I'm just saying you should respect the unspoken boundaries that are being set by your conversational partner, you know? But that's getting into a huge topic, so we'll save that for another day...

The thing about strays is that I have a really hard time identifying them until surprise! they keep coming back. And by then...

What I'm saying is you need someone like Twin who has your back, because she pretty much hates strangers and also sees the strays coming and tries to warn me. (You can guess how often I listen, but she tries.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Countdown to 30

I'm turning 30. 

As in, my birthday is this month and I'm turning 30. I think it'll be great. I've been thinking about it a lot, and as long as the grey hairs cool it for the next few weeks, I'm optimistic. (Yeah, I find them every once in a while and have a mild panic. Did I ever tell you guys that I found my first grey hair on the morning that The Astronaut told me he needed space? It was quite a morning. And then the next weekend I went to my ex-boyfriend's wedding. Really I guess what I'm saying is how could turning 30 be WORSE than all that?)

I've been running across a lot of lists of things you should do in your 20s or stuff you should know or things you can only do in your 20s. I'm happy to call this bullshit, but then on those occasions that I find a grey hair and see my youth slipping away from me, I take a look--just to make sure I've got my bases covered. And you know what I've learned? 

It IS total bullshit. All the stuff on these lists covers one of three areas: 
1. Stuff I've already done. Hooray! Crossing items off the 20s bucket list as ordained by Cosmo and Thought Catalog! And that's good because at 29, I'm already too old for a lot of this stuff.
2. Stuff I wouldn't want to do ever. "Wear neon crop tops to music festivals." That's rather specific. I'm hoping this is more about "Now is the time in your life to wear crazy things!" and not just neon crop tops, because even in my early 20s, and really at all points in my life, no one wants to see this girl in a neon crop top. Including this girl. 
3. Stuff I have no intention of cutting out of my life once I turn 30. Take a lot of instagram photos? Keep a journal? Go on a roadtrip with your friends? Why exactly would I stop doing those things? There's nothing wrong with those things. I LIKE those things. I mean, Cosmo says I should date or hook up with someone "ridiculously hot" in my 20s. Not to brag, but I HAVE, and also would totally do it again if given the opportunity. I'm not sure why I can't do that later in life, Cosmo. Are you suggesting that I can't have a string of ridiculously hot boyfriends once I turn 30? Or that I can't marry someone ridiculously hot? Are you saying attractive people aren't the marrying kind? And that SURELY I'll be getting married by my 30s so I'll have to give up hooking up with crazy hot guys? What are you really saying, Cosmo?

You know what? It's probably better that I continue to ignore these lists. They may or may not be causing early onset Old Lady Rants. Bring it on, 30. 

Monday, June 02, 2014

Time Travel and Relationships

I think about time travel the same way I think about relationships. They sound great in theory but we can't really agree on a way to go about it and there is so much potential for disaster. And I've been thinking about time travel a lot lately. My book club read Stephen King's 11/22/63 most recently, and we met last week to discuss it. (Not spoiling anything, don't worry! It's about time travel but that's on the inside cover so I'm not telling you anything Stephen King didn't want you to know in advance.)

One aspect of time travel that comes up a lot in the book (and most other books/movies/TV shows that explore time travel) is the ramifications of screwing with the order of things. I'm a big believer in not screwing with history. (This is, of course, operating on the imagined reality where we could change history through time travel.) No matter what you change, it sets off a domino effect of other changes. Sure, maybe some of that would be good--we've all heard the why not just kill Hitler before he comes into power? Or admit the guy to art school or something? But you have no way of knowing how things would shape after that.

Why are we talking about time travel, nerd? Great question. I've been thinking about these changes in history as related to regrets.(And more specifically, relationship regrets.) As in, "I wish I hadn't done that" kind of regrets. As far as I'm concerned, there's no point in all that. First of all, because time travel doesn't exist.* We can't wish stuff away because a DeLorean driven by a young Michael J. Fox has yet to park outside my house.**

But second of all, I wouldn't go undo stuff even if given the opportunity. I've thought about this a lot because one of my college admission essays posed the question. It stuck with me. Yeah, there's stuff in my past that I hated. Things that hurt and made life a lot harder. But I still wouldn't change it, because it's all part of the journey and part of who you are. I don't think everything is fate, but I will say I think we find ourselves in certain places at certain times because it's important. And if you change your path, you can't know that you'd still find yourself in those places at those times. And to be honest? Despite all the pieces that aren't perfect, I have a pretty awesome life. I'm not sure I would want to be in a different place. Because that place might suck.

That was my long-winded way of saying I don't do regrets, particularly in relationships. Sure, I learned that The Astronaut was a dick, but there was value in that relationship. I learned a lot from it, which is how I try to look back at mistakes. You can't beat yourself up over them, but you can make them useful experiences. For example, I learned that I still suck at relationships and that I'm really much better off sticking with short term. See, useful!

(None of this is not to say that you're wrong for wanting to wish away parts of your past. I don't know what you're carrying and I'm sure there are things in life that are so heavy it would be easier to go on if you could drop them off in the past and leave them there. I can only use my experiences as an example, and of course that's limited. If there's stuff so hurtful in your past that changing your path wouldn't matter, I hope Marty McFly shows up. You can have my turn.)

When it comes to time travel...I'm sticking with the answer 17 year old me provided. Whether we're talking the Kennedy assassination (Also not a spoiler, unless you were unaware of the historical significance of the date 11/22/63, in which case...well, spoiler alert but that was the date President Kennedy was assassinated.) or a terrible ex-boyfriend, I would still choose to not change the past. I'm all about learning from it. 

You can take the girl out of the classroom, but you can't take the classroom out of the girl. 

*At least, not commonly. If it's happening, no one is letting me in on the secret. Rude.
**Also rude.