Friday, March 28, 2014

What Kept Me from Blogging This Week?

Sorry if I got your hopes up for some interesting content today. (And most of you are like, yeah my hopes are never very high when I click here WELL GOOD low expectations from the start is also my tactic for impressing men.) 

So what kept me from updating this week? 

Well, on Monday I was totally useless following a weekend-long training. I was going over my notes and working on the to-do list that my weekend created. Also I was recovering from late nights sitting on cement floors with my friends, very few hours sleeping on a bunk bed, and long productive days. Then I met some friends for a beer, which included spying on/live-tweeting a couple dates at the bar. And doing a shot with one of the couples?? And panicking that he somehow knew I was tweeting about his date? And a lemon drop was his way of saying, I'm on to you and I'm not as weird as you're telling the internet? 

It's not like I gave away any identifying details about him, his date, or their location. But when a stranger talks to you while you're composing a tweet about him winking at his date, a bit of paranoia steps in. I think everything is ok though. 

The rest of my week was full of meetings, fundraiser stuff, puppysitting, mile-long to do lists, and potential job stuff. I wish I had more scandalous things to tell you about, trust me. 

And now here we are, with a disappointingly short** blog post. I'm trying to make this quick as I was just flirting with a migraine for a few hours and I'm planning on getting away from screens for a while. 

**Don't you dare make the obvious joke that I've accidentally set up here. You're better than that.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Thoughts on Casual Relationships

I spent my weekend at a training in the middle of nowhere. Despite how that sentence sounds, I had a great time. Between sessions, I got to hang out with friends I seldom see and some new friends. We sat up far too late on Saturday, talking in between games of Spaceteam. (Look it up. Trust me.) At 1am, one of the college students in our group received a text. Two of us went into Mom Mode and demanded to know who was texting him at such an hour.
"Just a friend from school!" 
We shared a look. "What is she texting you?" 
He laughed at us and said it was just asking when he was getting back. I informed him that I rarely text my friends at 1am, and if I do it's because one or both of us has been drinking, and if it's a man then I'm definitely not casually chatting. 
My young friend insisted that "it's not like that" and that he "sister-zoned her a long time ago." 
Again, my fellow Mom looked at me. At the same time, we told him, "She doesn't know that."**

The conversation that followed, about hooking up and the games we play with each other, got me thinking. In case you hadn't noticed, I am not of the opinion that you have to be in love with someone, or even want to head in that direction, in order to kiss someone. (OR I WOULD NEVER KISS ANYONE.) You can be attracted to someone and enjoy being around them without wanting to create a relationship. I say as long as you're both interested and honest about what you want, the idea of a casual makeout or even the clich├ęd friends with benefits is totally fine. You're all adults and you can make your own choices. (All of this is irrelevant if one or both of you is in a committed relationship, since I have a zero tolerance stance towards cheating.) 

And yet so often it fails. Because none of you are listening to me. I have told you repeatedly, through text messages, in person, via email, and probably here: you really can't keep things casual if one (OR BOTH) of you wants more. I have nothing against romantic relationships, except that they're gross and sometimes lead to things like marriage and babies and lengthy discussions about feelings. If that's what you want, go look for it. But I'm talking to people who aren't looking for serious. Whenever you talk about things getting weird with someone you hooked up with, I'm going to tell you that person is struggling with a serious case of Feelings. (Or a case of Thinks YOU Have Feelings--did you text too many times the next day?) When I tell you to be honest about what you want, you have to start with yourself. Some people can't handle casual--and that's fine. You can't force something you're not into. Some people say casual is fine because they want more and figure they can morph the situation into a relationship. 

I know every situation is different blah blah blah. My advice to you, however, remains the same. Be clear about what you want and what the other person wants. Could this turn into a Real Relationship? Sure. Romantic comedies certainly think so. (I also know real people who've been though that, if that makes you feel better.) Is it guaranteed? Absolutely not. If that's your endgame, you have to be careful--you might be disappointed. 

Otherwise you might find yourself texting some boy at 1am while his friends judge your actions. 

**Ok fine. If this is the sort of thing you do, maybe you do know you've been sister-zoned. Maybe you don't have feelings for the person you're casually texting at 1am. Just know that your behavior is suspect. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Kissing Strangers

I tried to resist. I stayed away from the topic for as long as I could, thinking it would go away. But if my facebook newsfeed is any kind of indicator, we're still talking about that First Kiss video. Parodies are still popping up, so I guess we're not quite over it.

In case you've been living under a rock, this is the video I'm talking about: 

So twenty strangers are asked to kiss each other for the first time in front of a camera. Of course there was more to it: turns out it was put on by a clothing company, which explains why everyone is well-dressed. And they used actors and musicians, so of course they're all quite lovely. (Can you spot Damian from OkGo? I missed him the first time. Sneaky.) So is it exactly as advertised? Lots of people are saying no. I maintain that yes, it is--they're still people kissing for the first time on camera. (I was going to say they're strangers to each other but I can't back that up.) 

Did I like the video? Surprisingly, yes. But Bitter Amanda, you're saying out loud looking like a weirdo, you can't stand people making out in public! In fact you're rather rude to people kissing in front of you. What made this different? Great question, readers. And part of my answer is that they weren't actually kissing in public--not counting the camera, of course. They weren't blocking my path to the restroom or exit. But that's just part of it. 

The main reason I liked it? These people are having a real moment with each other without a romantic backstory. Kissing strangers if often portrayed as a pathetic, lonely, (drunk) experience. And that bothers me. 

Why? Because I like kissing strangers. Kissing strangers can be awesome. I don't usually kiss them right away, since that's tough to get away with unless you have some romantic comedy plotline to help you out. (You know, oh that guy over there won't leave me alone and I said you were my boyfriend kiss me so I can prove it to him!)** I usually engage in a bit of flirting first...then I kiss them. 

Some people want to criticize that. Some people believe that you have to create these moments using a relationship algorithm. Smile, introduction, flirting, phone number, three days, dinner, kiss. They want to see the experience as pathetic and desperate and sloppy. And maybe it is, sometimes. (Then again, there is value in those moments too.) But as First Kiss (and my personal experiences...) show, it doesn't have to be. It can be sweet and fun and sexy and yes, it can be intimate. And you can walk away and never see them again and it doesn't lose any value! 

My point here? Despite what movies show us, you don't have to be long suffering star-crossed lovers for a kiss to be worthwhile. A kiss isn't better if you know their middle name. It doesn't have to be about love at all. It just has to be about does this person want to kiss me and do I want to kiss them? (Alright, YES, sometimes there is a bit more to it--is it permissible/legal/whatever--that's a bigger topic for some other time. If you're not sure about those issues you should hold off on kissing. You're getting distracted.) 

Calm down, committed couples. Your kisses are good too. (AS LONG AS YOU'RE NOT HOLDING UP THE LINE AT STARBUCKS.) Kissing someone you have feelings for--ugh--or whatever is great. As long as you can convince yourself that your relationship isn't a lie. Of course I don't mean your relationship--yours is fine...I mean other relationships...

So weigh in here, readers--what did you think of First Kiss

**Wait, do you guys think I could get away with using those kind of lines? 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Weekend Updates

Have I been neglecting you, readers? I feel like I have. Here are a few updates and things you might have missed...

1. I still haven't taken my Chia Pet out of the box. I'm afraid. But I will! Do I have to name it or anything, or will just keeping it alive be enough? 

2. I spent a lovely, freezing afternoon shoveling snow with Mr. Darcy. We made eye contact once but he preferred to shovel in silence. How smitten he must be, to persist in ignoring me even as circumstances pushed us together! Any day now I believe we'll have our second conversation. 

3. My ex popped up on a mutual friend's facebook last week and it was just annoying. A matter of, ugh, get off my computer screen. Then I noticed his new profile picture and thought, I'm not attracted to this man. Then over the weekend, it was Overshare Story Time with my cousins and I mentioned something about him. Saying it out loud made me realize that our relationship probably wouldn't have lasted, even if he had been speaking to me. It was pretty great! 

4. St. Patrick's Day was Monday and I met a few friends for a beer. We skipped our usual spots and hit up a place we seldom visit. The people watching did not disappoint. Not only did it inspire a new project, but it provided hours of entertainment. St. Patrick's Day also creates crowded bars, which is a perfect setting for my favorite public place game. And yes, the holiday also makes me miss my year in Ireland and yes, I'm that horrible person who wants to tell you how much better Guinness tastes in Ireland SORRY I CAN'T HELP IT IT'S TRUE. 

5. Here's a fun video you should probably watch. I'll never be over this song. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Beginning of Time and Internet Dating

I'm single. 

I know I'm single and that stalking Mr. Darcy does not count as a relationship. I'm only telling you this because a lot of people think I need a reminder. Your relationship status is not something you casually forget. (Unless you're my ex, but that's beside the point.) 

A fair amount of people have taken it upon themselves to help me find my next relationship, despite a lack of interest on my part. I'm even having dreams about friends throwing me under the dating bus. (You'll all be hearing from me regarding your dream behavior.) One suggestion I receive all the time is to try internet dating. 

No. I've probably talked about this before, but it's not for me. I read profiles and find things I hate and never feel the need to talk to anyone, let alone meet them. But that's not the only reason! Guess what? I've tried it. 

OkCupid launched ten years ago, and I tried it. I tried in in those first few months. I was the guinea pig for my friends, many of whom started their own profiles as a result of me not being murdered. We crafted my profile and wondered if anyone would contact me.  My profile said I was only looking for pen pals and I heard from guys all over the country/world. And you know what? I loved it. I would meet my friends for lunch and they would ask about the grad student and the comedian and the English pirate. (He wasn't really a pirate, but he was English. He looked like a favorite pirate of ours.) I was having some pretty awesome conversations with cute boys and it was wonderful. Occasionally I would get messages from local guys, which sucked because they always wanted to meet for dinner or invite me to their frat party after sending me one message. One guy asked if I wanted to meet to watch the sunrise and I laughed for fifty years because are you kidding me. I also had a local guy send me a few unsolicited, very graphic, disgusting poems he wrote about women masturbating, but I reported him. Mostly, my messages came from guys out of range. 

I think I stuck with that for maybe three years? I didn't use it much after the first couple years...I got bored. I think more people found out about it and joined and I found that the quality of men was decreasing. Near the end, I was getting more and more messages that read, "cool pic wana chat" and to be honest that didn't do much for me. Where were the English pirates and the stimulating conversations? These guys sucked. Fortunately by then Facebook was open to everyone**, so I actually kept in contact with a few of the guys I met on OkCupid and didn't feel bad when I deleted that profile. 

There you have it. I tried internet dating. The local guys were unimpressive and creepy. I didn't want to meet any of them for dinner. The interesting ones were far away. Please stop suggesting I try this, both in real life and also in my dreams. I'm tired of your disapproving looks. 

**I'm older than the internet. Of course I remember when OkCupid and Facebook started--or as we called it then, The Facebook. 

Thursday, March 06, 2014

"Easy To Do...Fun To Grow!"

If you've spent any time here, or on my twitter, you'll know that I attend a lot of weddings. (Also bridal showers and bachelorette parties.) I have dodged a lot of bouquets. But now...things are changing. 

Don't misunderstand me--I'm still attending a lot of weddings. Save the date cards have been rolling in since Halloween, although there is at least one I'm skipping this year. (Believe it or not, I don't usually RSVP no. I'm a sucker.) 

The change is that these candy colored invitations that arrive in my mailbox so often are no longer just invitations to bridal showers and weddings. Oh no. Now they are also invitations to baby showers. (Also known as the worst social function in existence.) I like babies, but a baby shower doesn't include any of those! I mean...they do, but the babies are attending inside the mother. Before they're--YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN, OK? Baby showers are sitting there watching people get excited about bottles and onesies and tiny socks. It's a real riot when someone buys the new mom anything related to breast feeding. Because I wasn't uncomfortable enough already. 

So that's my newest forced hobby. Baby showers. Because all those weddings I attend? Yeah, now they're having babies. Everyone I know is having a baby. They are creating and caring for a little human for YEARS. 

I, on the other hand, received a Chia Pet for Christmas. (It's a long, weird story.) I didn't even know Chia Pets still existed! But now I have one. AND I GOT NERVOUS ABOUT THE COMMITMENT. Honestly. I was like, "Ughhh do I have to take care of this?" I am nervous about committing to a terra cotta hippo shaped planter for seven days

I'm going to be 30 in a few months and I don't know if I can handle a Chia Pet.

 Let that sink in.

But 2014 is the Year of Progress! So go ahead--have your babies! Me? I'm going to commit to this hippo! I'm growing a Chia Pet to prove that I too, am an adult. 

Stay tuned...

Monday, March 03, 2014

Prince Charming does not go to dive bars.

A charm grenade exploded at my feet on Friday. I was assaulted by wit, chivalry, and overall gentlemanly behavior. Twin (also known as Amy) and I went for a drink, to see our bartender friends (C and D) and also pick up the Girl Scout cookies we ordered. (Bartender friend whose daughter sells Girl Scout cookies? Ideal.) We sat at the end of the bar and chatted with an acquaintance. It was a perfectly nice evening at a somewhat quiet dive bar. 

At first. 

After a while, three guys barreled in with a rallying cry of WOOOOO like sorority girls on spring break. Twin and I shared a look, already disappointed by this turn of events. They sat at the bar a few seats away from us. Leaning over, one of them pushed his dirty hair out of his face and shouted, "What are your chicks' names?" (From now on, I'll call that one Casper--and you'll learn why in a moment.) I stared him down, debating which was more important to me--correcting his sentence structure or a diatribe on calling us chicks. "Your. Names?" I spared myself the headache and we told him our names before turning back to our conversation. "Amy." "Amanda." "I'm going to call you Ann Arbor." (That's a city in the mitten, if you're not familiar. It's also not a clever nickname for two girls with A names.) Twin and I shook our heads at each other--no, you won't. 

Later, as the unwashed manchildren were busy making fart noises, because obviously that's what adults do when they're in public, our acquaintance suggested that we should order shots. He was correct. As D brought them over, Casper called out, "Hey Ann Arbor, where's mine?" Casper was informed that I do not buy drinks for strange men. He didn't seem too sad, since he continued to make fart noises. 

Casper had asked the bartenders to charge his phone, which alerted us to a text message. D looked at it and announced, "Your message says Hey Casper what's the plan? Why do they call you Casper?" Casper came over to his phone, and sadly us, and told us. Are you ready? "Because I have a bleach stain on my dick." 

Um. Ok. That's...a lot of information. Twin turned to me and said, "Well my panties are on the floor." We paid our tab and stood to leave. Casper seemed to remember that he hadn't spoken to us in a while. Sometimes it is very annoying to be the only women in the bar. "Hey Ann Arbor. Um...Amy. And...I don't know, I forgot two years ago. It has an A." I said he didn't have to remember it and said my goodbyes. "How old are you?" "Casper, don't ask that question to women you don't know." "No, but I like to guess.

Gotta go. Casper started guessing ages as we walked out. He shouted after us, "Come on, you don't come to this bar to meet Prince Charming!