Thursday, July 31, 2008

A Road Map to Washing That Man Out of Your Hair

When Houdini disappeared I fell apart a little bit. I was despondent and drunk and in general, just asking why. The following morning, despite Svetlana’s advice, I went into work. Big, puffy eyes and all. Marie, who had recently experienced a similar disappearing act felt terrible for me and halfway through the day sent an e-mail checking in on me. I responded that I was fine, that I had a plan. Well, this plan just tickled Marie to her very core and so she sent it off to her best friend, whose boyfriend had just dumped her (there must have been something in the water that week).

Anyway, fast forward a month and Marie has another friend sitting through another vanishing act. Her friend asked just how long one should be miserable about this, to which Marie sent her my trusted timeline. And because this timeline seems to be helping all of Marie’s friends through their time in need, I thought I would share it with you.

Keep in mind, this is not tried and true or tested at a top-notch University. It doesn’t date back generations. It is just what seemed reasonable to me the morning after. For ease of reference, I was dumped on a Tuesday. Those of you dumped on a Thursday or Friday or Sunday may need to adjust accordingly.

I just told Bridie, today and tomorrow I get to be gross about all of
this. I get to drink and eat whatever I want and cry if I have to and
wonder what the eff happened and be a total drain to my friends. Then
Friday, during the day I get to be hungover. Friday night, Bridie and I
are going out with the gays and that is when I am going to celebrate being
single again. No more feeling sorry for myself or wondering what the eff I
could have done to change things. Saturday and Sunday I jumpstart new me
-- back to the gym and the pool and writing and reading and all the other things
that fell to the side since Houdini.

Oh, Saturday is when I officially stop smoking (again) too.

In the interest of total disclosure, I didn’t stop smoking for another two weeks.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Big Hands Trump Expressive Face

I was recently in a meeting with my boss when she said something so absolutely horrifying I felt the need to retell it to Bridie over a couple bottles of wine.

Bridie asked, “Oh my word, what did you do?”

“Nothing. I just sat there and pretended to take notes. I couldn’t look up at her for even a second. I was so afraid I couldn’t control the look of horror that was surely distorting my face.”

To which Bridie responded, “Tatiana! God gave you big hands for a reason.”

Let me explain.

My face expresses every thought I am having at the very moment I am having it. And it is almost impossible to control, because most of the time I don’t know it is doing it. Rather, I am now aware that this sometimes happens, and can even sometimes fake a blank look (that really isn’t blank so much as a cross between upset and bored). But there are other times when I have a thought that I wasn’t aware there was a face you could attach. Like the time a co-worker walked into a client meeting wearing pink pants. I thought (not out loud) “ Really, pink pants to a client meeting?”

He looked at me to say hello, but instead asked, “What is wrong with pink pants?”

Until recently, my only remedy was to look away until I thought I had it under control and even then I would often have to look away again to make adjustments.

That is until I learned my big hands were the antidote to my anti-poker face.

Oh, right, I also have abnormally large hands for a woman.

I was dating Houdini for about a month when he come over with a “surprise.” Only seeing bags and fearing the worse, I hid in my bedroom until everything was in place, trying to focus all of my strength on keeping a straight, excited face. A happy, you-are-the-best-boyfriend-in-the-whole-world face.

Houdini finally gave the all clear, I stepped out and much to my wondering eyes did appear a coffee table covered with happy holiday hoopla. Really, hokie holiday hoopla. The sort of set up you would have for a seven-year old.

And here's the thing, for me, faking an expression is worse than just having the negative one. Because the negative one is still there, underneath the "oh so happy" face, thus mixing to create a face that makes babies cry.

So I threw my hands up over my mouth, exclaimed, "oh my god," and then ran up to him and kissed him so my face would be too close to see. While we kissed I tried to compose myself. Then I looked again at the coffee table, felt my face twist up into "what the fuck" and pulled him close to me to kiss again. That went on for another fifteen minutes.

The next day I was over at Bridie's drinking more wine in an effort to kill the brain cells that harbored the memory of that coffee table. We were out on her deck, smoking, laughing and retelling the story as more and more folks joined us. Each time my hands covered more and more of my face until Bridie pointed out -- my hands can cover my whole face.

Seriously. My. Whole. Face.

Our eyes grew wide at this discovery. Never again would I have to worry about reacting to anything. I would just overreact and cover my face until I could compose myself.

See, sometimes alcohol really does make you smarter.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Well, At Least I Didn't Catch the Bouquet

Friday morning, my source at the City Hall subway stop told me the party was in Philly this past weekend.

Of course none of my friends could confirm this. No, they were either down the shore or sitting in air conditioning.

I was at a wedding in Pennsyltucky.

It was a lovely wedding, for all the reasons that everyone always lists. Oh, the bride was radiant, the groom so handsome, the flowers were gorgeous and the view of the golf course and surrounding valley at sunset, with a cool breeze blowing on a hot July evening was absolutely breathtaking.

And I really do mean all of that. But that is not why I thought it was lovely. I mean all of that was nice, but it paled in comparison to all the young, lovely men that were surrounding me. See, the groom was a rower, and all of his friends are rowers. And for those of you that don’t know, rowers make the most excellent wedding guests.

See, rowers are tall with broad shoulders and sun-kissed skin. They are born and bred to wear suits and look good doing it. And there I was, suddenly single and surrounded by young yummies. It was as if I was starring in my very own J. Crew spread.

But along with looking so good, Rowers have a tendency to be whores. Oh of course I don’t mean the groom. Or most any of the married rowers I know. Mostly I just mean the young and/or single ones.

So even as I breathed in all the young dudes, I smiled, knowing I was much too smart to fall for their charm.

That is, the radical feminist me that everyone at that wedding thought I was, smiled and ignored just how good they all looked. Real Tatiana, the same Tatiana that has fallen for their charms oh so many times before, worried and sweat. . .a lot.

Let’s fast forward to the reception. I knew a large number of the guests from my days on the water, but I hadn’t seen many of them since I moved out of the neighborhood (Fairmount then, East Falls now) and so, all of the conversations went a lot like this.

“Hey, Tatiana, you look great. Are you back in Philly?”

“No, well, yeah, no. I never left Philly. I’m still there.”

“I thought you moved.”


“No, really I thought you moved out of the area.”

This is when I would purse my lips, shake my head and swallow some more wine.

But as tedious as all of this was, I welcomed the distraction from the really smoldering hot, tall, well-dressed rower in the corner that just looked like he was born to get me in trouble. This is the part that the real Tatiana worried about. The part where you mix a really hot rower with music and me, add alcohol and shake well.

The result is Radical Feminist Tatiana’s kryptonite.

It’s the reason why I am not allowed in Fairmount after midnight. No, I don’t turn into a pumpkin – it’s much worse. The next morning I find myself hailing a cab, sans my dignity and at least one item of my clothing.

Fortunately I made it back to Philly with my bra, underwear, dress and both my shoes and most of my dignity.

But what can I say, I hear Bon Jovi and I have to dance.

But back to the reason I didn’t jump across smokin’ hot rower’s table and sit on his face. It had less to do with my own resolve and more to do with a) his date; she looked like another rower and probably could kick my ass; and b) my best friend from college would catch my eye, every time I tried to catch his, to remind me what a really, really bad idea that would be.

And while I am glad I made it back with the matching lingerie I had just purchased; don’t think for a minute I haven’t thought about the big dumb animal almost every minute since.

I’ve tried not to. I know it is a really, really bad idea. But then I think this may be just what I need to celebrate the big 3-0. A himbo.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hair of the Dog that Bit Ya

I am hungover.

We went out last night for Center City Sips and kept sipping ‘til just past my bedtime. So, on mornings like this one, it's the little things that get me through.

My pretty, flirty skirt to make me look nice on the outside, despite feeling haggard on the inside.

My neighbor singing along to the 60s hit, “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” off-key with her windows open and without a care in the world. It got stuck in my head as I walked the pooch this morning; a welcome relief from “Amish Paradise” which was stuck in my head since Saturday.

Yes, “Amish Paradise” by Weird Al Yankovic.

Then there is the guy that sells newspapers in City Hall. Not talking to anyone in particular, he gives passer-bys a taste of what they are missing not buying the newspaper – complete with his own editorial. Today he was rather cantankerous about all the press coverage of Christie Brinkley’s divorce, noting that literally thousands of people get divorced, why should anyone care about Brinkley’s? I don’t know why, but that man makes me smile.

Oh, and of course, the first thing in the morning e-mail exchange with Bridie and Salty about plans for this evening, since they both missed out on last night’s festivities.

And here I thought it was going to be a bad day.