Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Letting Go Without Guilt

I have a friend who is teetering on the edge of a breakup. He and his girlfriend have been having issues for several months, and he’s finally had too much. It’s not that they don’t love each other or that one of them is a bad person—it just isn’t working. Or rather, it’s requiring way too much work.

So he’s ready to move on. But he’s struggling with the fact that he may hurt her. He may disappoint his family. Let down their mutual friends. And on and on.

I’ve been there. I sat on that cliff for months, dangling my feet over the edge, digging one hand into a puddle of pride and wrapping the other around a sprig of fear of failure. I didn’t want to move because it would mean I’d made a mistake. It would prove that I’d jumped into something too fast. Blindly. Without knowing the full story.

If I admitted that he was the wrong fit, I’d have to acknowledge my lack of good judgment. I’d have to risk hurting his feelings. And I’d have to tell my family, again, that I had moved 10 steps backwards from engagement and marriage and kids. That was probably the hardest part to deal with.

My friend has been divorced already, so his baggage is even heavier than mine was. He’s afraid his parents will be crestfallen that he is choosing to end yet another relationship. But I think, better that he end it now than lead his girlfriend on—or worse—marry her and then decide it’s definitely not going to work.

The bottom line is that we have to take care of ourselves. We cannot worry who we disappoint. (Note: I believe the rules change after you are married, but dating is a whole different game.) You cannot feel guilty for being true to yourself. For backburnering marriage because the person you are with is not a perfect match. It’s far better to cut things off than live in continuous strife and misery.

I stayed in my ill-fitting relationship far too long and when it ended, it hurt everyone much more than if I would’ve put the kabash on it in those early days.

I guess the old analogy is right: the faster you rip off the band aid, the less it stings.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mincing Words


This past weekend in beautiful Solvang, California, I met a new pastry that Mr. Wonderful affectionately referred to as “a little doughy ball of pleasure” (to which I of course said, “Oh you’re my little doughy ball of pleasure!” and he said, “Doughy?” Anywhoo…) It’s a Danish breakfast treat called an aebleskiver.

Best word ever, right? I have officially added it to my personal dictionary and have been calling Mr. W, the cats and anything else that strikes my fancy, “Aebelskiver.”

This morning in the shower, I realized you can easily substitute my new favorite word into Lionel Richie’s Penny Lover and Peaches and Herb’s Reunited. (Sing it in your head right now: “Aebelskiver and it feels so good…”)

Past terms that have made it into my everyday vocabulary include:

Krayzelburg: Attributed to Soviet Olympic swimmer, Lenny Krayzelburg, and used as a synonym for ludicrous. I.e. “Getting back together with your db ex-boyfriend would be totally Krayzelburg.”

Radicchio: A synonym for Krayzelburg, this one is derived from the lettuce.

Kife: Back in high school, my friends and I watched The Breakfast Club about 487 times. There’s a scene where Bender (Judd Nelson) says to Brian (Anthony Michael Hall), “Can I have my doobage?” But he says it so fast, it sounds like “Kife my doobage?” We adapted this faux verb to mean “steal.” I.e. “Someone broke into my locker and kifed my Taco Bell hot sauce supply!”

Poptard: This is another newish one for me. I often refer to Mr. W or other friends by the tasty term of endearment, “Poptart.” However, sometimes people act a little retarded—in a lovable way of course—earning them the “PopTARD” moniker instead.

Help me out, folks—what are some of your silly words I can add to my list?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Romantimortification

I debated back and forth whether to write this post, and after carefully considering what it would feel like to put an extremely embarrassing moment out there in front of strangers, coworkers and high school friends, I realized a very important point: this has to happen to everyone.

I do not know how a moment like this can be avoided. Maybe I’m just telling myself that so I don’t feel alone. But it seems to me that every person, at some point in a romantic relationship, will have to jump this hurdle. And maybe for some of you, it might happen like this…

You are away for your second weekend with the guy of your dreams. You’ve spent the entire day drinking wine and acting schmoopy with each other. And you’re laying on the hotel bed, watching the Discovery Channel, resting before you leave for dinner. It’s all fantastic. But you’re feeling a little bloated. So you go to the bathroom. And you think, hmm he’s occupied with the TV, maybe I can very quietly and nonchalantly take care of business without him even noticing I’m gone. Sneaky poo, you might call it. Like the Stealth Bomber, you get in, you get out, you reach for a book of matches in your toiletry bag on the sink, light one, blow it out and turn to throw it in the trash. And when you turn back, he’s standing behind you, rifling through his toiletry bag. You feel your eyes turn saucer-sized at the sight of him. You’ve been caught.

“Did you just stink up the bathroom?” he grins. You whimper out an answer that sounds like “yesh” mixed with “waaaaaa.” All you can do is scamper past him and throw yourself, mortified—more like rigor mortisified because you fall so stiffly forward—onto the bed and bury your face in the pillows. Like a cat, hiding halfway under the couch, you think if you can’t see him, he can’t see you and it’ll all just go away.

But you hear him laughing, “Woo, yeah you did!” And although you try hard to camouflage your face-down, stiff as a board self into the color of the bedspread, he finds you and starts telling you it’s okay. And you can’t help yourself anymore, you start to laugh. And he laughs and he kisses you on the cheek. And then you realize that this probably isn’t any worse than the time you accidentally farted on his leg in your sleep...

Friday, April 25, 2008

This Is Why I Call Him…

Mom: Dirty Talk Ahead. Read At Your Own Risk.

Mr. Wonderful is taking me away this weekend to Santa Ynez. Being the most thoughtful guy ever, he planned this surprise trip as my birthday present. (There’s a whole back-story on this, involving a puzzle and Google Earth, but I don’t have time for that now.)

We’re going wine tasting, so he needs his nose and mouth to be in proper working order—but unfortunately, this week, he’s been feeling like he is coming down with a cold. So yesterday, we were discussing all the things he should be doing to get better (chicken soup, green tea, sleep). Our IM exchange went something like this:

Him: I think drinking plenty of wine will help.
Me: I think having plenty of s*x will help. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you, Mom.)
Me: Maybe we could try to drink wine and have s*x at the same time and you’ll get better immediately.
Him: We could wear Camelbaks so we don’t spill.

And THAT is why he has earned the name Mr. Wonderful.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

That’s What Friends Are For

Saturday night, my friend Lara and I had a karaoke party to commemorate our 32nd birthdays. About 45 minutes into the party and 6 minutes into a rousing rendition of Copacabana, I had the startling realization that I forgot to put on deodorant. (I later realized that I had in fact applied Degree, but it was earlier in the day when I had a different shirt on, therefore confusing my armpits' memory.)

Anyway, Mr. Wonderful hadn’t arrived yet, and I was sweating up a storm and really didn’t want to be stinky or have to go wash my underarms in the bathroom sink every 20 minutes throughout the rest of the night. So Lara offered up a brilliant solution.

She said, “Here, rub your armpits against mine and see if you can scrape off some of my deodorant.”

If that’s not true friendship, I don’t know what is. I just hope someone got a picture.

Happy Birthday, Lala!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Statute of Limitations on Dating

I’ve been dying to write about this for a couple of weeks now, but somehow time got away from me. Two Thursdays ago, a familiar old name appeared in my email inbox. We’ll say that name was Ira Rubenstein.

Ira and I met online about 3.1 years ago and went out on about 3.1 dates. On the first date, I thought he was funny (he told me I was so adorable he wanted to carry me around in a satchel – who says that?!) and cute (balding with a nice smile) and I was very taken with his creative career (camera man) and background (Art Center grad). All that mixed with a few glasses of wine led me to break one of my (always attempted) rules of dating: no kissing on night one. I had high hopes for date two, as we had gotten along so well on the first go. But night two seemed to be all about trying to seduce me—complete with some laughable dirty talk and a bit too much groping for my taste (sorry mom). Unsure of how to proceed, I told him I wanted to get to know him (not his tongue or trouser snake) better and asked if we could go hiking on date three. We went, and he tried hard to charm me with his life story, but there was just something amiss. When he called for date four, I gave him my standard break-up line, “I just don’t feel like I’m connecting with you in the way I’m looking to connect with someone.”

I thought we were done. But then he dumped the mother of all ridiculosos on me. He called me one day to tell me that he met Bono. Anyone who knows me knows that I think the sun rises and sets with dear Bono, so Ira was definitely trying to stick it to my sweet spot. He told me that B had flown in on his private jet to do some clean ocean PSA (what?! right—because that’s where his passion lies—in keeping the Southern California ocean clean…). And, THIS IS THE BEST PART, when Ira met my Irish Prince he said, “I’m a huge fan, but I know an even bigger fan.” Meaning me. SERIOUSLY. SERIOUSLY?! WHO WOULD SAY THAT IF THEY MET BONO? No one, that’s who.

So here it is, three years later and Ira emails me to see if maybe we can pick up where we left off. He seems to remember things being really great between us. And I think there should be a law in place that prevents dumpees like Ira from contacting their dumpers outside a 6-month window after the break-up.

It’s different when you’re the dumper. Then it’s okay to track someone down and say, “Man, I was in a bad place back then and I didn’t know what I had when I had it with you.” (Yes, I’ve done this before.) But to email someone who clearly did not want you THEN, well that’s just crazy talk. Or in this case, type.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Worst Blog Ever

My friend Jon just IMed me to tell me that the post below was my worst blog ever. Sorry, Jon but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

Flat Hair. Striped Eyelids. Pores Galore. Help Me.

1. Can anyone recommend a good, affordable shampoo and conditioner?
Call me a creature of habit, but I’ve used the exact same shampoo and cond. for 10 years. Herbal Essences Citrus Lift bodifying formula. I {heart} my shampoo. It treats my hair well, and over those 10 years, no other shampoo (or conditioner) I’ve tried has done my hair the justice my beloved Citrus Lift does.

When Herbal Essences rebranded and rebottled their products, they did away with Citrus Lift. So I tried their volumizing formula. No good. Strengthening formula. Flattastic. Then I bought Pantene for highlighted hair. Also not quite right. Today I bought regular Pantene and am hoping by some grace of hair god, it works like my old Herbal Essences—because I only have 2 bottles of the good stuff left. If any of you have suggestions of a good bodifying (not volumizing) duo, I’d love to hear about them. Because my shower is beginning to look like a CVS pharmacy.

2. How can I prevent the end-of-day eyelid streak?
I wear smokey eyeshadow every day and at the end of each day I have a really nice black line gunked into the crease of my eyelid. I’ve tried putting powder on my eyelids before applying shadow. I’ve applied the shadow wet. I’ve put foundation on my eyes. Nothing seems to work. Help. Me. Beauty. Queens.

3. What should I be putting on my pothole-sized pores?
Okay fine, maybe they’re not that huge but they definitely seem extremely visible every time I look in the mirror. I tried the Biore strip thing and that did nothing. I have relatively sensitive skin, so a lot of stuff makes me peel. But doggonnit I’m tired of the polka dots! Right now I use Neutrogena Healthy Skin Night lotion, but if you know of something that works really well, I want to hear about it. Or if I should be going to a facialist, just tell me that.

Thank you and goodnight.

Monday, April 21, 2008

No Joke

Do guys joke about marriage?

Maybe I'm wrong here, but I think the answer is no. I think the M word and all related subject matter is so scary and life-changing, that men don't go there. If they do, it could open up a nasty can of worms they're just not prepared to deal with or bury in the flowerbeds. Right?

On our very first date, my ex said, "Maybe we should just get married." Given that it was so early in the relationship, it was pretty safe and funny to say that. He knew he didn't have to worry about the statement's validity.

But today, 5.5 months into the relationship we haven't even yet defined, Mr. Wonderful dropped a beautiful little pixie dust-covered wish nugget on me over IM—and maybe he wasn't thinking about it, but the lid to the worms did a full quarter turn. It started when he sent me a link to some crazy coworker's wedding website, and we were joking back and forth about how silly it was.

I said, "whatever, you know you're going to do the same thing when you get your Romanian mail order bride." (The coworker's new wife is Romanian.)

He replied, "True. But she probably won't be Romanian."

"Oh, sorry," I said. "Italian."

Then came the sentence that paralyzed me and sent me into a full-body hot flash: He said, "How about a Montrosian mail order bride?"

Montrosian. Montrose. I live in Montrose. I am that mail order bride.

"For the right price, I'll dye my hair black and learn to speak Italian," I wrote back.

But what I meant to say was, REALLY? SERIOUSLY? YOU PROMISE? NO JOKING? MY FINGER'S A SIZE 4.75.

I hope there was a tiny part of him that meant it. I hope it wasn't equally as ludicrous as my saying he'd order a bride from Romania. I hope when he says he's planning to live in the house he and his roommate bought for 2 more years, he actually only means 9 more months. And mostly, I hope he is not reading this post.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Fish or Flush?

I really like the earrings I wore today. I made them myself, which means no one else in the world owns them (okay fine, maybe someone else bought the little filigree dangles and gold earhooks at the bead and gem store, but theirs probably don't look exactly like mine...)

Anyway, this afternoon I went to the bathroom (number one) and when I turned around to flush, one of my precious earrings slipped from my ear and fell...in slow motion...as my heart fluttered and I scrambled towards the rim of white porcelain...right onto the paper seat cover. Without hesitation, I quickly snatched it up and stuck it back in my ear hole. Then I thought, Was That Gross?

I mean, the only other thing that actually touched that side of the seat cover was my butt cheek and I know that's clean. At least as clean as my ear. (Read: my rear is as clean as my ear.) So it seemed okay to stick the earhook back in its hole. Truth be told, I was prepared to plunge my hand right into the toilet to retrieve my beloved goldie if necessary. Although I probably wouldn't have written a blog about it if I had. And I probably wouldn't have replaced it directly into my ear.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wonderful Birthday Wishes

Today is Mr. Wonderful’s birthday. Yes, he is a mere four days shy of being exactly two years older than me.

I can think of countless reasons to celebrate him today…his adeptness with power tools, his ability to make spaghetti sauce from scratch, his continuous thoughtfulness, his finger-tantalizing McDreamy-esque hair…

But instead of gushing on about all those things, I want to commend him for being such a good sport. He puts up with a lot from me—teasing, potty humor, requests for more wine and chocolate—and this past Saturday, he proved that his good sportsmanship goes above and beyond that of most people I know.

As part of his birthday present, I took him to the spa for a couple’s massage. He had never been to a spa before, and I was delighted to be sharing his first time with him.

After checking in, we changed into our robes and rubber slippers and were cuddled up on one of the waiting room couches when I said, “I really hope I have a female masseuse. I had a guy once and I didn’t really like it.”

Not two minutes later, our masseuses walked in and introduced themselves: Mark and Michael. Both men. Both gay.

Now, I haven’t done an extensive poll, but the few guys I’ve told this story to seem to get the same scared look on their faces and say something like, “Oh man, I would’ve been outta there.”

But Mr. Wonderful got up and followed Mark, Michael and me out to our massage cabana like a trooper. He and I chuckled as we slipped out of our robes and under the covers on our respective massage tables, but he was a perfect patient after that. Aside from telling me the scalp massage “did nothing” for him, he was completely gracious and appreciative that I had given him this gift for his birthday. Sure, he may have wanted to ask for a hot chick masseuse in place of sweet, lispy Michael, but he didn’t. And I think he didn’t for me. Because that’s the kind of guy he is. Wonderful. Just wonderful.

Happy Birthday Sweet Pea!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Dating Chronicle 2: Dirty Boots*

When I was doing the online dating thing, my “handle” was hikerliker76. As an avid outdoorswoman, I thought it was good to put my affinity out there right away, right in my name. I can’t remember whether I contacted him or he contacted me, but Dirty Boots’ alias and profile seemed like a great fit. I was thrilled when we set up a date to tackle the Arroyo Seco trail one Saturday afternoon.

He hadn’t lived in the area too long and when I asked him if he’d been on many of the local trails, he admitted that he had just taken up hiking as a pastime. This could explain why he was wearing jeans. I suddenly had an urge to turn him into the match.com username police for false advertising.

As we crunched through the pine needles and gravel, he began to tell me about his childhood. And how he got beat up a lot in high school and had a hard time making friends. Not exactly the best way to sell yourself on a date—and also a bit of warning sign that he might be a seemingly harmless serial killer who was going to eat my eyeballs and leave me in a ditch on the side of the trail.

I remember trying to change the subject, but somehow we kept landing on unfortunate incidents. I was on a date with Awkward Victim Guy.

After about 45 minutes, I suggested we backtrack. We approached the river crossing we had successfully traversed on our way in, and began to step across the makeshift bridge of boulders back toward the first bank. The flow was strong with springtime runoff and some of the rocks were slightly submerged in water.

I had just balanced myself on a rather large, flat piece of granite, when suddenly I heard a scuffle behind me and felt Dirty Boots grab at my shoulders. I tried to hang onto him; steer him onto my boulder, but it was no use. His hands slid down my arms and he slipped into the river with a splash. I don’t know if he fully made contact with the ground, he bounced up onto my rock so fast. He was wet up to his knees and embarrassed to his core. And I was feeling adamant that—like pilots and psychologists—people should not be allowed to call themselves hikers unless they have accrued a substantial amount of hours (in the forest).

When we got back to the trail entrance he said, “So what do we do now, like make another date, or something?”

“Why don’t you email me. I don’t know my schedule by heart,” was all I could think to say.


*Per Mr. Wonderful’s insistence the last time I was writing about a date, this guy’s name has been changed too…but it was close to Dirty Boots, I promise.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Thirty T-ewwwww

Remember the scene in When Harry Met Sally when Sally is crying because her ex-boyfriend Joe is getting married?

She's sniffling away about how rejected she feels because Joe never wanted to get married to her, and then she adds, "And I'm going to be forty!"
Harry says, "When?"
She replies, "Someday!"
He says, "In eight years."

When I saw that movie in high school or college or whenever it was, I thought man, Sally is old. She's thirty-two and not married. That's really sad.

Well guess what: Today's my thirty-second birthday.

My ex-boyfriend from college is married. My on-and-off again man from my mid-twenties is getting hitched next month. I'm actually one of the very last people I know who isn't engaged, married, or toting around a couple of kids.

Does this bother me? Not really. Sure, thirty-two feels a bit dusty, a little gapey in the waist. Not quite my size yet. But it's cool; I'll wear it. The sun is shining today. Mr. Wonderful and I have an appointment at the spa for massages and a reservation at an Italian place in Hollywood for dinner. If this is what thirty-two feels like, I'll take it. No Sally tears here. Even if I am going to hit the big 4-0 in eight years...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Turning Points

Last night I took my 13-year old niece to Open House at the local high school. My high school. The campus has been dramatically altered since I went there—at least three new buildings have popped up and the number of classrooms is probably double what it was. But as I guided her around the halls and grounds, I could still identify important landmarks: the locker my friend Lara and I shared in 9th, the darkroom where I made out with my photographer boyfriend, the slouching oak tree I backed into with my Ford Escort.

It flooded me with memories and I was reminded of how, if it weren’t for a few fateful weeks at that school, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

It was Spring of my sophomore year and my BFF Lara and I decided to try out for the Junior Varsity cheerleading squad. We practiced almost every day in my parents’ family room—committed to perfecting our jumps and hurkies and spirit fingers so we could stand together in front of football, baseball, basketball crowds.

When tryout day rolled around, we put Vaseline on our teeth to make them extra shiny. We cheered our little hearts out and kept our arm movements sharp. We both got called back for a second cheer. Had to be a good sign, right?

That night, I got a phone call letting me know I hadn’t been selected for the squad. Lara cried. And her phone never rang. The current cheerleaders kidnapped her in the morning to welcome her aboard. I was happy for her, but hated her for being better than me.

I had to find something else to do. Someone else to be.

I tucked my cheer tears into my pockets and headed to Yearbook tryouts. Given that my nerd quotient is much higher than my bouncy blonde rallying capacity, it wasn’t a surprise that the Yearbookies invited me to join their staff as a writer. The following year, I was co-Editor-in-Chief. And suddenly I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life crafting headlines and copy.

I majored in Communications and Advertising in college, and worked for a great direct marketing shop after graduation. I’m still writing every day and absolutely love my job.

Getting that apologetic phone call turned out to be a defining moment in my life. Still I wonder sometimes where I would be if I’d spent a year in that blue and white skirt…but deep down, I'm eternally grateful things worked out the way they did.

What were some turning points in your lives, lovely readers?

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Because We Can


The first time I went to NYC, I was 23 and fresh out of college. In addition to being instantly enamored with the city’s energy, I was so taken by how glamorous the women seemed. Their Chanel sunglasses, perfectly tailored dresses and suits, heels clacking on concrete sidewalks.

When I came home, I felt such a yearning to be a “grown up” like the ladies of Madison, Park and Fifth. Urgency pounded in my gut. I was starting my first real job and was in my first serious relationship, and it just seemed like I finally needed to act my age. I needed to act like an adult. So I began wearing lipstick and sweaters tied around my shoulders.

Two years later, when I started dating a man 7 years my senior, it got even worse. I had to up-step the grownuposity even more to stay on his level. I became more serious and pushed myself to read nytimes.com every day so I could have mature conversations with him about important world topics.

Now, here I am three days shy of my 32nd birthday and I’m more of a kid than I was at 12. I recently bought a box of Trix cereal to eat as dessert or a midday snack. I’m bringing a bag of “dress-up clothes” to my karaoke birthday party. And Monday I spent 13 hours with a friend (who told her 2 children she had a special all-day business meeting) at Disneyland.

Sound bites from the day included:
“That scary man over there is your twin brother-dad.”
“Go lay on the pirate’s booty like George Kastanza and I’ll take your picture.”
“I’m that firework.” (AKA “If I were a firework, I’d be that one.”)
“I totally want to play Barbies here.” (noted on the Storybook/Whale ride)
“Your hair is going down my throat.” (screamed on the Matterhorn)

To pass time in ride lines, we read my junior high diary. Times haven't changed. We did find about 30 minutes during dinner to have a detailed conversation about politics and the U.S. education system. But by the end of the night, my girlfriend took us right back to our youth, insisting that we each take a picture in a Disneyland bathroom stall. I shook my head. And then I obliged. Because I don’t have to grow up if I don’t want to.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Lost Stooge

I think Mr. Wonderful brings out the spaz in me. I've had stuff like this happen in other relationships, but it seems to occur more often than usual in this one and I just can't figure out what's going on.

Last night, in the darkness of his room...as things were getting very romantic...I went to shift positions and caught my pinky in his left nostril. It was like a bad cartoon. I couldn't even fully see what happened, I just suddenly felt something warm and moist around my finger and heard him moan, "Owwww!" Although I felt terrible for hurting him, I must have laughed for 10 minutes afterwards.

Later, he went to gently lay his head on my tummy and I clocked him in the jaw. It's like the pathways in my nervous system that connect brain to limbs just shut down in his presence. I feel like a big, gangly, 14-year old. Maybe that's a good thing. But poor Mr. W is going to start looking like an amateur boxer if I keep this up...

Friday, April 4, 2008

Grounds for Decapitation?

Yesterday, a coworker of mine found a document on the printer titled “The Great Mystery of Marriage.” Below its bolded header was the Bible verse Ephesians 5, 2.21-33.

Now, I’m not someone who should be interpreting the Bible by any means. I did not grow up attending church, and nowadays I only go to see my nieces sing or to observe the Christmas holiday. But even with my pitifully cursory knowledge of the subject, I am certain this excerpt just can’t be right…

“Wives should regard their husbands as they regard the Lord, since as Christ is the head of the Church and saves the whole body, so is a husband the head of his wife; and as the Church submits to Christ, so should wives to their husbands in everything.”

SAY WHAT?

If this is how churches really view marriage, I extremely thankful I don’t attend one regularly! When I’m married, I’d like to keep my own head and continue making my own decisions. Or at least be a two-headed monster with my hubby.

And I CERTAINLY don’t want to submit in EVERYTHING. That’s just crazy talk.

Come forth, Christian female readers—tell me what you think about this! Do we need to start giving guillotines as wedding presents or what?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Perfecting the Backhand

One of my very favorite and frequently mourned TV shows was VH-1’s The Pickup Artist. If you never had the pleasure of watching the show, its goal was to turn one of 8 nerdy guys into a failsafe pickup pro.

Among many surprisingly effective tactics Mystery introduced to the boys was, my ultimate fave, the “neg.” A neg is comment you make to elicit feelings of insecurity in a girl, therefore making yourself seem more confident—and hopefully more attractive—to her. Examples of negs could be, “that crooked tooth is so cute,” “do you know you blink a lot?” or “you kind of look like a penguin trying to fly when you dance.”

These provide great entertainment (and perhaps dating success) when mentioned by men. However, when a woman gives you a neg, it just ain’t cool.

This morning, as I was walking past a coworker’s cubicle she said, “Did you change your hair?” not in an oh-it-looks-really-cute kind of way. “No,” I said, “it’s pulled up on the sides, but I didn’t change anything.” She wrinkled her nose, “Oh, it looks different.” I immediately went back to my desk and pulled out my compact mirror. It didn’t look different to me…why did she have the crumpled paper face?

This happened once when I was working in advertising too. A female coworker who had at least 20 if not 30 years on me walked by one day when I was wearing a (knee-length) skirt and sandals. “Aren’t you cold without pantyhose?” she scowled. But what I heard was, “You skinny 25-year old bitch, cover up your legs at work!”

As Mystery taught us, there is a time and place for backhanded compliments. But I’m here to say, the office isn’t it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Online Dating is for Desperate People

Yup. That’s what I used to think. For years I vowed to never ever sink so low as to try online dating. A few of my friends tried it and who did they find? Losers.

Then one night, I got drunk with my ex-ex-boyfriend (who’s a great platonic pal) and he showed me a girl he had met online and was going on a date with. She looked normal. “You should try it,” he said between swigs of Corona. I took the mouse from his hand and clicked my way through “female seeking male” results. To my utter astonishment, there were some cute, interesting guys on the site.

All it took to push me over the edge and into an online profile was my sister’s encouragement. She could live vicariously through my adventures if I tried Internet dating. I went out with 4 guys. I will probably chronicle a couple of the dates in future posts, but I’ll tell you that one of the boys would not show his top teeth when he spoke (did he have braces? an unfortunate accident with Krazy Glue toothpaste?) and the other guy had a dimple that completely altered the entire structure of his face when he smiled. It freaked me out.

When I started my current job, I took down my profile and again declared online dating to be for the birds. Then thirty started approaching… It was out there in the distance like a train coming to flatten me on the tracks. And again my sister offered her opinion.

“You’re turning 30 soon, why don’t you just let me sign you up for online dating and I’ll find a boyfriend for you?” We compromised. Instead of giving her complete control of the reigns, I wrote my own profile and gave her my password so she could look through the pickins whenever she wanted and weigh in on who I should or shouldn’t contact.

This time, I was on a different website, and the dating took off like a rocket. In 2.5 months, I went out with 10 guys. It was almost more fun than I could handle—partly because (you guessed it) I came home with hysterical stories. Among my online man finds: An ex-professional male ice skater, a “waterfall hunter,” a CalTech PhD student, and my favorite, the Vice Mayor of a city near where I live. The last of the 10 was my ex-boyfriend (a fireman) who in the span of 14 months led me to believe the Internet could connect me with my future husband and my worst relationship nightmare.

After he and I ended, I again swore NEVER to go online. But ah my beloved alcohol pushed me into peeking around and the next thing I knew, I was posting a profile all over again. (This time it was because I saw a hot guy from my company on there…he never wrote me back…) Anyway, I went out with 4 more eligible bachelors and well, the rest is history…

The point of the story here is that there are plenty of non-circus freak amputees on the Internet. There really are some great guys on there—so we ought to scrape that sticky stigma off with a razor blade and throw it right into the trash. There’s nothing wrong with lookin’ for love online. And really, in our world of long work hours, overbooked social calendars, continual interaction with technology, and love of instant gratification, why wouldn’t we quickly search for mates and dates in an online catalog during our lunch hour?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Dating Chronicle 1: Hozienoggin

Let me start by saying that although it is April Fool’s Day, this post is not a joke. Driving to work this morning I was thinking about all the great awful date stories I have—and I felt compelled to start sharing them. So this is the first in my series of Dating Chronicles. To me, bad dates are some of the best dates.

It was 2004 when my sister-in-law told me she had finally found me a medical resident at the hospital where she works. I was ecstatic. She said he was attractive, outdoorsy, ├╝ber intelligent…but there was just one catch. His name. Yes, he had a normal first name. But his last name was Hozienoggin. (Note: For embarrassment protection reasons, I have changed the name slightly. But it was just as funny as Hozienoggin.)

He was new to the area and didn’t own a car, so I told him I was more than happy to be his tour guide/designated driver for date #1. Adding moniker insult to injury, when he gave me directions to his apartment, he led me to Hurlbut Street. Dr. Hozienoggin on Hurlbut Street. Seriously? SERIOUSLY?

I arrived at his place right on time, however he had just arrived home from a bike ride and was still wearing sweaty spandex shorts and a jersey. Kinda bad form for a first date. He escorted me to the couch, telling me he’d take a quick shower and be out in a flash. I grabbed a coffee table book and started thumbing through it, feeling quite awkward sitting in a stranger’s living room while he bathed himself. He disappeared down the hallway but returned to say, “I promise I’ll be fast.” I looked up to tell him it was okay and was met by a hairy chest and a short strip of terry cloth. Paralyzed by the fear of coming face to face with an unfamiliar pee-pee, I was rendered mute with only my world photography book to cling to. Who parades around in a bath towel within the first 5 minutes of a first date?!

When my adrenalin finally descended from Fight or Flight, Hozienoggin reappeared wearing real clothes. Needing a dose of alcohol, I asked him if he’d like to try my favorite wine bar. “Fine,” he said, “sounds great.”

We sat down on the outdoor patio and I ordered a glass of Pinot Noir. STAT. He ordered water. He didn’t drink. Why did he agree to go to the wine bar? No idea.

Trying to be gracious, I offered to relocate us to a nearby Mexican restaurant. That was much more his style—as soon as we were seated, he began talking up a storm. He was smart and interesting, my sister-in-law was right. We talked about travel and I told him how I love New York. He said the city was too overwhelming to his senses. The sounds, the smells. Then he said, “I can smell pheromones, you know. I once smelled that my friend was pregnant.”

What is the proper reaction to that statement? I don’t remember now how I responded. But I do remember trying to shut down all pheromonal production in my body so he couldn’t smell whatever I had goin’ on.

There was nothing that could top that declaration. There was no way he could possibly say anything weirder than “I have the ability to distinguish undetectable animal scents.” Wrong.

We continued to talk about sense perception and how body hair must have helped with this—because when you’re in danger, your hair stands on end. I asked him about people with less body hair—were they less able to use this type of physical awareness? Asians don’t have much body hair, are they evolutionarily stunted?

I was putting a bite of burrito into my mouth when he replied with this random fact: “Did you know Asians have different ear wax than all the other races?” WHAT. “Theirs is much more dry and crumbly while other races are usually greasy.” My bite of burrito almost tumbled off my tongue back onto my plate.

He had beaten the pheromone remark and I had the mother of all stories to take home to my family. Who’d have guessed the name Hozienoggin wouldn’t be the weirdest thing about him?

The best part: I agreed to go out with him again. Simply because I couldn’t resist finding out what he might say on date #2.