Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Maybe the Grass Isn’t Greener

I have always thought lesbians were the smartest women because they didn’t have to deal with man’s bullshit.

Well, I think I have changed my mind.

The other day I was walking to the Field House to meet Pepper and the Duchess for the Eagles’ game. Along the way I came up on a young woman that looked as if she was walking home from the gym. Her phone rang and she answered it. We were keeping about the same pace so I got to eavesdrop on a good bit of her conversation.

After all there are few things in this world I enjoy more than eavesdropping on strangers’ conversations.

So, from what I gathered, this woman was talking to a friend and this friend had asked her about her ex-girlfriend. Things are not so great with the ex. It seems whenever this girl starts to get serious about another, her ex miraculously shows up to mess with her head and heart. Once she just called her, out of the blue, when she was getting ready to go out on a date. Another time, she showed up at a bar, where my fellow side walker was waiting to meet someone new. She didn’t know how ex knew where to show up or if it was all just a coincidence but she really needed to do something about it because she just couldn’t handle any more of the heartache or the drama.

I shook my head as I passed the poor, young thing.

We all know how crazy girls can get. Hell, I bet we all know some just plain ol’ crazy girls. Crazy girls are attracted to me like moths to a flame, but fortunately Bridie is like a big bug zapper when it comes to crazy. Not only can she smell them as soon as she walks into a room, once she drops the therapist card, they run away faster than Victoria Secret’s models from carbs.

Still, even with Bridie at my side, I know a couple of really crazy girls. And as ridiculous and unfathomable as guys can be at times, I don’t know any that would send their guy friends over to an ex’s house to urinate and defecate on her stoop.

And for the record, that wasn’t something I overhead the lesbian complain about to her friend. That is something one of my crazy friends did when her boyfriend dumped her.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Republican By Osmosis

I think my parents have a secret plot to convert me into a Republican.

Or at least a Fox News watcher.

I was home for a few weeks while I finished my grad school applications and my little brother Ivan visited. While there are a lot of lovely things to say about Allentown, one thing I don’t like is how quiet it can get at my parent’s home. As you know, I live on Broad Street and so I am used to the background hum of traffic and ambulances and the occasional drunken screaming match to lull me to sleep.

In my old bedroom, however, all I can hear is the wind and the noises of wild nocturnal animals which I somehow don’t find relaxing or soothing or especially conducive to sleeping. So when I am home, I often fall asleep with the TV left on.

Well, the third or fourth morning I woke up and the TV was on the Fox News Network.

I know I didn’t go to bed watching that. In fact, I was pretty sure I went to bed watching an old episode of Law and Order and so how the TV magically switched to FNN is beyond my understanding. I surmised that maybe, MAYBE, at one time it was on FNN and in my sleep I hit the last button on the remote (that, yes, I fell asleep on top of) and that is how I ended up waking to Fox and Friends.

Though this seemed highly suspicious as I was pretty sure I was watching a movie before I switched on TNT, but nonetheless, I gave my parental units the benefit of the doubt.

That is until it happened again the next morning.

Seemingly, it would be even more likely that I accidentally switched back to this channel in my sleep as I obviously had recently watched it. But, I distinctly remembered the last channel I was watching before TNT the night before. It was one of the Showtimes. I remember because whatever movie I was watching was followed by some soft porn series and I was worried that one of my parents would come in to turn off my TV after I had fallen asleep and walk in on the porno. So, instead of facing that potentially very embarrassing situation, I sacrificed the end of the movie and drifted off to an episode of Bones instead.

The gig (or is it jig?) was definitely up the next day, when sitting in the living room with my mother she turned and asked, “doesn’t that worry you?”

I looked up from my book to see my mother, clearly troubled by something that she just heard reported on FNN. “Clearly, I’m not paying attention,” I responded. I then watched for a few moments as some man yelled and screamed and made me feel really stupid. I then looked over at my mother again and offered, “actually it makes me really proud of you and daddy that you aren’t living in a bomb shelter yet.”

She laughed. I returned to my book.

The next morning I woke up to Without a Trace.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

My Whole Bed

It is a bit of a cliche isn’t it? That after a break-up one struggles to sleep on the other side (or in the middle) of your bed. Well, at least I thought it was.

That is, until I found myself propping pillows up on my side of the bed.

It was a long day, and there was absolutely nothing on TV. I was about to settle in with some Law & Order reruns, when it occurred to me that it had been awhile since I had read and as I was approaching the middle of Norman Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song, I decided it was time to pour myself a glass of wine, get in my jammies and settle into my bed with Norman.

I put the glass on my nightstand, and started propping up my pillows to make the perfect back rest. As I reached for an extra pillow from the other side, it hit me -- why the hell am I only using one side of my bed.

I had never spent enough time in a bed with one guy to have a side of the bed until Houdini. Before him, I slept right in the middle unless someone else was in it, in which case I would lie awake on my side, worried that my tossing and turning was keeping my partner awake.

But with Houdini, I crossed some grown-up threshold and actually slept with a guy; not just passed out next to him. Once he was gone, I guess I never crossed back. Or at least, I never crossed back onto that side of the bed.

It seemed ridiculous that I had been using only one half of my bed for so long. I rearranged my pillows, creating the perfect prop right in the middle of my bed. I crawled in, pulled the covers over my legs, and double checked that I could still reach for my glass of wine.

That night, I fell asleep in the middle too. Sure, I woke up the next morning right back on my side, but I’m still counting it as a success.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Twins

So, I have been feeling kind of down on myself lately, with no real apparent cause.

I’m not saying I am perfect. Quite the opposite. I don’t have a real job or a real boyfriend and I haven’t been running all that much. Really, the only thing I have going for me is my hair and even that has been boring me lately.

My point is, this situation is not new. I haven’t had a job since March and a boyfriend since a long time before then.

Maybe it is the weather. Or the Eagles. Or that I have been spending so much time holed-up in my apartment studying for the GRE. Whatever it is, I needed a boost.

Now, I don’t know about all of you, but for me, whenever I start feeling this way, I like to blame something that is completely out of my control (so I can't simply stand up and say, Tatiana, you should go for a run -- it will make you feel better) and absolutely ridiculous when spoken out loud (or in this case printed in black and white) but at the time, it made complete sense to me. And my favorite thing to blame my woes on is my lack of a chest.

That’s right, I wrote it. Sometimes I think my life would be better if I had bigger boobs.

This past weekend I took myself off of social probation to go out for Theresa’s birthday and a benefit for the Mummers with the Duchess. And because it was my first big weekend out in a long while, and my last for the foreseeable future, I decided to do it up really big; really, really big. Like almost a size C big (though the bra promised to make me almost a size D, I think that is pushing it).

I don’t know what I expected.

At first, I was impressed; particularly when I put on a new top. For the first time in my life I had cleavage. I wasn’t used to it. I kept looking down at it to make sure it was still there.

But it didn't make my life any better. In fact, my night ended much the same way it always ends: talking to some guy I have no interest in whatsoever. This time there was a twist, we had met before, he just couldn't remember.

The next night, at the Mummer’s event, you couldn’t see the cleavage. Just the girth of the girls. Every time I got the chance to look at them in a mirror, I didn’t feel sexy or more confident. Just big. Maybe it was the tunic, though the last time I wore this exact outfit, I felt little and cute. Worse, the long necklace I was wearing with the sweater kept falling to the far side of my fake breasts, instead of just laying in the middle like it was suppose to.

I also kept bumping into them. With my arms or on tables. And when I pushed them the wrong way with my arm, the underwire would dig into the skin of the opposite boob and it hurt damnit.

Finally, there was the heft of them. Now, it was just padding, but it got pretty heavy. I can only imagine what carrying around real ones would be like. I was complaining to the Duchess about this, when she laughed. The Duchess is naturally endowed and always says, “You can make them bigger, but you can’t make them smaller.”

She was saying something to this effect when I sighed and responded, “Yes, but when I do, on nights like tonight. I feel a bit phony, like I’m falsely advertising myself.”

The Duchess smiled, “Yeah, but if that is the case then you know the guy isn’t really interested in you. Would you want to be with a guy like that?”

Man, the Duchess can be so smart.

Now if only I could get a refund on that bra. Then again, I may find some future use for it.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Meet Brandi

I have a new upstairs neighbor that I’m going to call Brandi (mostly because the first time I met her she said her name and in my head I said, huh, she looks like a Brandi). I’m sure Brandi is a fine girl, but I won’t be serenading her this morning.

Brandi moved in with what I can only assume is a 500 pound dog from what I hear through my ceiling. When they first moved in the dog barked incessantly and howled whenever Brandi left. I rolled my eyes, but I was patient. Moving is hard on animals. I knew after a short adjustment period the dog would settled down. And it has. Now it only barks when someone comes into the building.

Though, it stills runs around the apartment above me, wrestling down chew toys, beating them into submission.

And that was fine, until last night.

Last night -- or more accurately, 3:30 this morning, Brandi came home with a guest and the dog, predictably, barked until she and her gentlemen friend made it to the second floor.

Fine. I get it. I lived with a dog. There is really no controlling their barking. And maybe I would have fallen right back asleep if they didn’t decided 3:30 in the morning was a good time to play catch with the dog.

Playing catch with a 500 pound dog in the room above my bedroom at 3:30 in the morning. Awesome.

When they got bored with that, the dog took whatever toy was being tossed around and chewed and beat it, just above my head, until he felt victorious -- about 15 minutes later.

Then the dog and the party were moved to another room where I got to listen to Brandi have sex.

Now, I know Brandi was not the first person to have sex in the apartment above me. The last tenant and her boyfriend moved out because she was pregnant and they needed more room. However, Brandi is the first person I heard. My point, well, if I wasn't already awake, I probably would have slept through it as she really wasn’t loud.

But instead I got to listen to that unmistakable, rhythmic squeaking of a bed being rocked back and forth. Up and down. Back and forth.

It was really difficult to get back to sleep after that as I started practicing my math skills, calculating how much time I had left before my alarm went off, how many times I could hit snooze before I had to get out of bed, just how long it has been since my bed springs squeaked like that.

When I did get up this morning, after a simultaneously relaxing and reviving cup of chai tea, I heard Brandi and the beast return from their morning walk. I wanted to step out into the hallway and have a talk with Brandi, but I thought better of it. Give her time, see if this was a one night thing or if she plans on partying like this every school night. I got the feeling that Brandi had enough regrets this morning.

It did sound like stranger sex, after all.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Good Touch Bad Touch

For the record, yes, I am procrastinating again, but I also really wanted to share this moment from happy hour.

So, I’m standing with Marie and a couple of other former co-workers when another walks up, stands next to me, places his hand on my lower back and joins our conversation.

By now you should know I am not one for being touch. I’m also not a huge fan of public displays of affection. But this specific touch, when a guy I’m with or into firmly places his hand on the small of my back, typically makes me weak in the knees.

Wharton was the first guy that this happened with; I remember because when Bridie pulled me aside and asked me what the heck was going on with me and Wharton (we were broken up at the time, but not acting like it) I said I couldn’t help myself, when he touched my back like that, shivers ran up my spine.

She said that was my self-respect leaving my body. She was probably right.

However, when Creepy-Co-worker placed his hand there, there were neither weak knees, nor shivers. Well, there were shivers, but a different sort.

When he finally walked away and Marie could ask what the hell was wrong with me (obviously my face was contorted into a why-is-he-touching-me-there grimace) I told them where CC’s hand had just been. She rolled her eyes. She was used to CC’s weird and inappropriate touches. I then maneuvered so that my lower back wasn’t exposed when CC returned from his cigarette.

As upset as I was at CC for turning my previously good touch bad, it could have been worse, at least there were no good looking guys in the bar misled by that very possessive move.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I Am A Terrible Blogger

I know, I know. I don’t bring you flowers, I don’t sing you love songs, I hardly talk to you anymore.

But I can explain.

See, I have been working on Plan B.

I know. I know. I was going to shun Plan B until my unemployment ran out and I was facing eviction. But I can’t do it. I’m a planner. I need a back up plan.

At first I was going to make Plan B finding a new job. But then, as I was searching job listings, I remembered I really don’t want to work in PR anymore. Even if it is for a really terrific company, it is still not the creative outlet I seek.

So, I’m doing what countless others have done before me. I am going back to school. Specifically, I am hoping to get into an MFA program for creative writing.

And since I waited until the eleventh hour to do this, all of my time, recently, has been occupied with studying for the GRE, writing personal statements (why I can’t just direct them to this blog is beyond me) and creating short fiction for their consideration.

By the way, I am really bad at writing short fiction, which is why I am putting that off by writing this post.

But, you argue, I can always find time to post. True. But I have nothing to post about because literally all I have been doing is studying vocabulary words and rules for right triangles.

I even turned down happy hour with the Duchess and assistant DAs the other night. Believe me, reading her texts about the tall, hot guys there was like taking a bullet.

I promise I will be back soon with all sorts of fun stories. Just let me get through the GRE.

Oh, and if I can ask you a favor, please keep you fingers crossed that I get in somewhere. As finding a real job has been relegated to Plan C.

I really don’t want to implement Plan C.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A Bitch is Born

So a friend (and by friend I really do mean a friend and just not me in disguise) was recently on a date with a gentlemen (used very loosely in this context) who asked her not once, not twice, but thrice, how it was that she wasn’t married.

The first time she giggled it off.

The second time she smiled and answered “I guess I have just been lucky.”

The third time, having now learned that he was previously married answered, “I have better judgment than you.” She then downed the rest of her scotch and called out to the waiter for the bill (or at least that is how I imagine it).

Despite her obvious contempt for her date, he has called her everyday since.

I wasn’t going to write about Why Men Marry Bitches. One, because it didn’t tell me anything I hadn’t read already, and two, because I think I am done reading these books. None of them tell the truth -- that there is no formula for falling in love. That you can do everything right and the guy still may not call you for a second date. Or you can do everything wrong and six months later your walking down the aisle.

Except, I’m not sure I believe that anymore. I am starting to think game playing is the way to go.
Stanley called me a couple of weeks ago because he wanted to fix me up with someone. Mind you, he didn’t know this person, only spoke to him once, but since he sounded nice and Stanley knew he was tall, he thought of me.

I said why not. I decided to try this new thing where I actually try new things. The next day I got a call from him -- still working on a nickname, so for now we will just go with Him.

Him and I spoke for about fifteen minutes. We laughed a lot and before it ended, Him said he would call me in a couple of days to plan to get drinks.

Then he friended me on Facebook.

I was in a cab on my way to a wedding when I got the e-mail alert. I wanted to click accept, mostly because I was interested in knowing what Him looked like. But then this tiny voice inside my head said, “this is a bad idea. You shouldn’t friend Him. Remember what that book said.”

See, bitches don't accept friend requests from would-be suitors. Bitches always allow for a little mystery.

What? I was really listening to the advice from this book. Obviously I have read too many of these. I immediately clicked accept.

I haven’t heard from Him since.

Now, I’m not unattractive. There aren’t any pictures of me on my Facebook page surrounded by cats and knitting. Nor are there any pictures of me drunk, squatting in an alley taking a dump. My interests do not include weddings and babies and crying during Kleenex commercials. For the most part, I think my Facebook page is pretty unremarkable and so I can’t understand what about it would make Him not call.

Well, except for the fact that I suddenly became too available to him. The kiss of death according to everything I have read.

I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t.

So, I am reconsidering my approach. Which is why the next day, when Mr. Tuesday Night called to see if I wanted to get dinner, I didn’t take his call. I also haven’t returned it. I figured in a couple of days he will call again, begging me to let him buy me dinner.

As for Him, well, we’re still friends on Facebook.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Forget Swine Flu -- There Is Another Epidemic Sweeping The Nation

I can confirm a third reported case of Boy Disease.

I spoke with Grace last week. I wanted to check in and make sure she was okay. Turns out she wasn’t feeling so hot. See, the guy she had been seeing recently, and whom she was friends with for a lot longer, suddenly dropped off the map. No calls, no texts no emails. Nothing. I could hear her smile as she said, “Part of me hopes he has the Swine Flu, at least that would explain things.”

I shook my head. Boy Disease.

Like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, BD encompasses a variety of symptoms ranging from inability to tell time to inability to commit to a color for the bedroom. Also, like CFS, there is no treatment. Sometimes, the afflicted will wake up one morning, completely cured. But more likely than not, they just continue wreaking havoc and driving the women that try to love them crazy.

Unfortunately there is not much you can do to combat the spread of this disease. Just sigh, drink lots of wine, bitch to your friends and hope that the next guy you meet will be immune.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Kill Your TV

I’m beginning to think television might be the work of the devil.

During my date with Mr. Tuesday night he mentioned that until recently he didn’t have a TV. He also discussed all the amazing things he has done already in his life -- seriously at one point I started to wonder if I wasn’t on a date with a smarter Forrest Gump.

Then, on my way home from San Francisco a guy that was sitting behind me was chatting up the good-looking girl sitting next to him. He too had a long list of accomplishments and adventures. Later in the conversation, when the television screens lowered and an old Office started showing, she asked him if he was a fan of the show. He answered, “I’ve never seen it. I don’t own a TV.”

At this point Lana and I were both trying to get to sleep and thus annoyed by the budding couples chit-chat. Lana opened her eyes as did I and we gave each other knowing looks, complete with raised eyebrows.

See, because I share everything with my mom and Lana (and the world) she knew that Mr. Tuesday Night didn’t have a TV. And as his exploits were already under suspicion by my mom, Lana and I started to wonder if it was really all that unbelievable. That maybe, when you don’t have TV sucking up all your time, you find time to do all sorts of other things. With this second young, world traveller now behind us, claiming he never watched TV, it was no longer mere speculation -- we have a pattern developing here.

Now, when Bridie and I first moved in together, we didn’t have cable. At the time it was a matter of money. Neither of us had it before (well, Bridie did, but I think she was stealing it) and so we didn’t see a reason to get it at our new pad. But those two months or so that we didn’t have cable didn’t prove all that productive for either of us. In fact all we really managed to accomplish was a lot of wine drinking.

Still there was no ignoring this new evidence. I wonder if I could do it, get rid of my cable live without TV. It would sure save me a bundle -- oh my god, I just did the math and it would save me more than $1000 a year. That’s a Marc Jacobs bag.

I would probably also lose weight. I do a lot of snacking on my couch, while watching Law & Order reruns. Plus, most of the time that I am watching, I am sitting. And I just read recently that the amount of sitting we do has dramatically increased over the last several years and with that, so has our collective waistlines.

Not to mention with all me free time I just might finish my novel.

I just may have to try this.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I Run Like A Girl -- And I’m Damn Proud

My freshman year of college I was in a women’s studies class when the professor asked us to go around the room and introduce ourselves, as is customary for the first day of class. It got to my turn and I smiled and said, “Hi, my name is Tatiana, I’m a first year Journalism, Public Relations and Advertising major.” I then smiled again.

Before the next woman could begin, another student, who had spoken earlier but whose name I could not remember piped up, “People like you disgust me.”

I was startled. What did I say? Oh my god did I accidentally say freshman instead of fresh-person?

She continued, “You call yourself a feminist, but you’re not. You look like they want you to, you act like they want you to, you even dress the way they want you to. And one day you will take a job, maybe even an important woman, and you will think you are doing something great for the women’s movement but really you are just a pawn in the men’s game.”

Wow, she got all of that from my name, year and major. I wanted to say as much to her, but I didn’t. She was ugly and wouldn’t understand.

By ugly I don’t mean she was actually ugly. Truthfully, she was quite attractive. But she was one of those women that believed if she brushed her hair and put on mascara she would no longer be taken seriously. She looked at me and saw my clean hair, my freshly glossed lips and my clothes that weren’t purchased second-hand and decided I couldn’t be taken seriously.

And that pissed me off, but it wasn’t the first time (nor would it be the last) that I ran into a woman like her.

I have also experienced a similar phenomenon -- I’m not sure if it is a double standard or a dichotomy or what -- in athletics. You know (or maybe you don’t) that I was a student athlete and it always got under my skin when people were surprised to learn I was attending school on an athletic scholarship because I was so girly.


Yes, I’m girly. I love being girly. I do my hair. I wear perfume. I get dressed up and put on shoes that aren’t comfortable but look really good. I just don’t understand what any of this has to do with my ability to row a boat. Or more recently my ability to run very far.

This is why I loved running Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco last weekend. Finally a race that celebrates being a girl. The slogan was “Run Like a Girl” the colors were all purples and pinks and teals. There was an entire mile where they handed out chocolate and in lieu of a finisher’s medal, we all got finishers’ necklaces by Tiffany’s, handed to us by firefighters dressed in tuxedos. The race also heralded girl power -- about half way through the 26.2 (because the point two is very important) race, the runners came to a bridge wearing a banner reminding us all that the god of victory is a goddess. How cool is that?

Instead of separating the woman and the athlete, the race (which was also open to men) appealed to the woman in the athlete and it was awesome. Not only the chocolate mile or the signs that said “Run Like a Girl” “Dance Like a Girl” or (my personal favorite “Overcome Like a Girl” but also the volunteers that cheered us on with signs that read “Pain is temporary. Tiffany’s is forever” or shouts of “After this run you are going to look so good in all your outfits, even the ones you don’t like.”

Because what is wrong with wanting to run to look good. I mean, in addition to all the other reasons we run.

Monday, October 12, 2009

It’s Official: Romance is Dead

When do you think is too soon in a new relationship to ask for a DNA swab?

I have a first date tomorrow night. And while yes, my past history would strongly indicate that this will be a first and last date, you all know I have been voraciously devouring dating and relationship advice books and so I am feeling very confident that this could be the beginning of something truly wonderful and magnificent.

Or at the very least that there will be a second date.

And while every book I have read has taught me to withhold sex until I get a commitment, none of them have mentioned when it is okay to ask for DNA to test for sexual compatibility.

What? You didn’t know you could test for that?

Okay, so neither did I. But then I read an article in this month’s Women’s Health and apparently, now you can. There are even Internet dating sites straight out of the movie Gattaca that use this testing as a way of matching you with potential life partners.

According to the article there are three pairs of genes that make up MHC (Major Histocompatibility Complex) and the more different yours and your mates MHC the more you will enjoy each other’s scent, more you will enjoy having sex with each other, and the more likely you are to produce healthier offspring. No lie. 

Back in 1994 some really bored scientists discovered (using a bunch of smelly t-shirts) that women have the natural ability to detect men with opposite MHC as the women sniffing t-shirts belonging to guys with opposite MHC and similar MHC found those t-shirts worn by men with opposite MHC sexier. That is, women who were not on the Pill. Women on the Pill choose poorly, picking t-shirts belonging to men with similar MHC. But really, aren’t women on the Pill always making poor choices?

The problem, of course, is that it is allergy season. And despite my homeopathic remedies, I have been really stuffy lately. So, I am not entirely sure I can rely on my sniffer to determine if Mr. Tuesday Night and I will be good in bed together. Hence, my question about the DNA swab.

I imagine I could find out the old fashion way, but god, now that seems so 1993.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Everybody Else Is Doing It

I have decided to fill the void left by Miley Cyrus this week when she decided to quit Twitter. So, for those of you that can’t get enough of me here, feel free to follow me here. You will have to bear with me in the beginning though -- I am a Twitter virgin.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fashion Emergency

Bridie will tell you, I am a bit of a victim when it comes to fashion. I try and try to resist the latest trends, but I almost always fail.

For instance, I promised I would never wear skinny jeans, now I own two pair and am looking for a third.

I swore up and down I would never tuck those jeans into boots, alas I have bought boots for just that reason.

At least the new tunic/long sweater craze looks good with both of the above.

This of course brought on a whole new set of problems for me last weekend.

So the skinny jeans I was wearing last weekend were on their very last day before I had to wash them (read shrink them back to being too tight). The sweater I was wearing over them required a skinny belt to give me some shape. And here is where it gets tricky. As I stood at my sink, applying my mascara, I had to keep hiking up my jeans. Normally, I would just slide on a belt to hold them up, but I was already wearing a belt -- a completely useless, just there to look good and make my waist look slimmer, skinny, shiny belt.

I cursed that I didn’t have any suspenders and debated wearing a second belt. Unfortunately all my belts had sizable buckles and I was convinced one would be able to see the bump under my sweater. Which made me worry that it was simply unacceptable to wear two belts.

I picked up my iPhone. My first inclination was to text someone to see if anyone else had run into this problem. I thought better of it as I didn’t want any of my friends making fun of me. I then looked at all my applications -- I have an application that can put together a recipe based on the ingredients in my fridge. I have an application that can tell me where the closest coffee shop is. I have an application that can transfer my contact information by bumping another iPhone. But where is the app for fashion emergencies?

This only made matters worse. Now, in addition to my sagging bottom, I was wishing I had the technological wherewithal to develop a fashion emergency app.

Just as I was contemplating changing into a skirt and tights and ankle booties, Marie texted to see what I was wearing. Marie is as much a victim as I am (the other day she was wearing harem pants) and so I felt safe confiding in her.

She responded immediately -- throw them in the dryer for ten minutes.

Man, she is so smart. I wonder if she knows how to develop an iPhone app.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Thanks Mom And Dad for Never Making Me Eat Margarine for Dinner

Anyone reading this blog regularly would think I only read self-help books and teen vampire novels. But that is not true. I love to read and read lots of different types of books. In fact, most of my Friday nights recently have involved a good book, a nice glass of red wine and me curled up on my couch.

My mom and I were talking about books one day, when she asked if I had read the Glass Castle, a memoir by Jeannette Wells a writer and correspondent for MSNBC. I hadn’t and she started to tell me about it. I promised to pick it up and low and behold, the next time I was at Borders it was sitting on the table of buy one get one half off books -- along with My Sister’s Keeper, another book I have been meaning to read.

So, I picked up the book, picked up a bottle of carmenere, got into my jammies and settled in for the night.

Now, I didn’t have an ideal childhood. Both my parents worked for the most part, we ate a lot of fast food, my mom and dad were rarely at any of my field hockey games in middle school and sometimes they fought about money or my brother or sister (never me because I was an angel). I even had to take the bus home from school on occasion. However, after reading Jeannette’s story, my family look like the Cleavers.

What struck me about her memoir, beyond the poverty and craziness and determination of her and her siblings, was that Jeannette wasn’t blaming her parents. She wasn’t even criticizing them. She didn’t whine about how hard she had it, nor did she allow her tough childhood to hinder her in becoming a very successful adult. She was just telling her story and in the end, her and her siblings managed to get away from the madness and make happy lives for themselves.

That is one thing that really bothers me -- when adults blame their parents for their problems. Mind you, I recognize that there are the outliers -- Mackenzie Phillips for example (and yes, I have read her memoir as well), but for the rest of us, I have to believe our parents did the best they could with what they had and we have to forgive them for their shortcomings and move on.
I mean, even in his craziness and alcoholism, Jeannette’s father managed some truly remarkable dad moments. You read these scenes and you see that he loves his daughter and are rooting for him to clean himself up and bring his family back from the ashes. Then his disease takes control again and you wonder how anyone could stand by this man.

But if Jeannette can forgive and still love her mother and father despite all that they put her and her siblings through, then I suppose I can forgive my dad for once telling me I looked like a linebacker in my new jeans and my mother for buying me a Thighmaster when I didn’t make the volleyball team.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Oh, Dave, Dave, Dave, Dave, Dave

In the interest of full disclosure I should start out by saying that I love David Letterman and, if given the chance, probably would have let him do creepy things to me.

That being said, I am torn about this whole controversy. My feminist side is telling me I should be outraged. But the thing is, I’m not, or at least, I’m not angry for the reasons one would think.

When the news first broke on his show, I immediately thought of his wife and child and wondered how he could do this to them. I’m still a bit shocked that that angle hasn’t been covered more by the media. Is that really how far our society has fallen that cheating on your wife is no longer disgusting enough? We need to go digging for something worse?

And what is this something worse? So far none of the women (and are we even sure there were multiple women) have come forward to complain about sexual harassment. I know that it is not easy for women to make a complaint, despite all the discrimination and harassment policies that corporate America has put in place. I also know that, even with all these policies forbidding it, men and women (and men and men and women and women) still enter into consensual sexual relationships with coworkers. We spend eight hours or more in our offices. We have lunch with these people. We go to happy hour with these people. Is it any wonder that we sometimes fall into bed with these people. And if your bedfellow happens to be your boss, does that automatically mean you were pressured to be there. Absolutely not. Sometimes you are just hot for your boss. Much the way we were all once hot for a teacher.

Which brings me to the one thing that really did get my blood up the other day. I was watching one of the news shows when a female anchor implied that this intern got perks, including appearing on TV and traveling to the Olympics, because she was sleeping with Dave. And that others, those that didn’t get to go to the Olympics, might have a case for sexual harassment.

Wow. That is quite a leap.

I mean, yes, I know others will have a cause of action if in fact this intern did receive a promotion or special assignments due to her sexual relationship with the boss. However, we know nothing about this affair yet. We don’t know when it began or how long it lasted. They could have started sleeping together after her trip to the Olympics for all we know. Yet, already we are ready to label this woman as one of those girls. You know, those girls. Those girls that are willing to do anything it takes to get to the top.

And maybe I am extra sensitive to this because I was once accused of being one of those girls.

It was my second gig in a law firm. There was a lot of turnover of assistants, so the women that had been there for a while didn’t warm up to the new girl until she had been there for six months or so. Lucky for me, the lawyers that worked there were very welcoming. And since most of them were closer to my age than the other assistants we became very friendly.

As a result of these friendships I was given better assignments and put on interesting projects. The other assistants saw this and suggested that I was getting special attention because I was sleeping with one of the attorneys.

Oddly enough, this rumor was started by an assistant that was sleeping with one of the lawyers. But I guess that is neither here nor there.

Of course, the major difference between me and Dave’s main squeeze is that I wasn’t sleeping with the boss or any of my coworkers for that matter. She did and so maybe she deserves being labeled as someone that slept her way to the top.

And let me tell you, fair or not, that label will stick with her long after this scandal has passed.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My Magic Number

So Hoda and Donnie were on the Today show last week talking about the American male’s average number of sexual partners. Admittedly, I missed the first half of the segment (which means I don’t know how they came about this number or if there was an age range or a geographical element to it), but when I did start to pay attention, I learned that the magic number was nine.

Hoda couldn’t believe it either. Donnie then polled the audience, asking any man that had more than nine sexual partners to raise their hands.

According to Hoda, only one guy raised his hand.

I turned off the TV and took another shower.

It’s not as if I am embarrassed by my number. I just don’t think it is an actually reflection of who I am. I had a couple of really wild years in my early 20s, but have since settled down significantly and think there should be a way for my number to reflect the same.

The same thing happened to me with credit cards. I got out of my parents’ house, was offered all sorts of free gifts when I applied for a credit card. And before I knew anything about FICA scores or how they would follow me around for the rest of my life, I had a lot of debt, no way to pay it off and nothing (really) to show for it.

But I learned my lesson, set up a budget, paid off my debt and after a few years of great behavior, I no longer cringe when someone mentions a credit check.

So why can’t I do something similar with my other number that affects my relationships and hurts my pride? Well, this being the land of the free, I decided I can.

Because the people that keep records of everything we buy, how we buy it and how long it takes us to pay it off have decided that a negative mark will remain on your report card for seven years, I have decided that after seven years your bad sexual history should be erased as well. So now all those drunk idiots you hooked up with in college, but wouldn’t throw spare change at today no longer count. You no longer have to worry about remembering the names of all those guys whose names you aren't really sure of, so long as the last time you spoke with them was seven years ago or more.

And yes, before you ask, if you have gone seven years without, you are a born again virgin in my book. So feel free to make the second time you lose it just as special as you had hoped the first time would be.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

An Open Letter to Tiki Barber

Dearest Tiki,

I am really angry with you. Okay, not really, but seriously, how long have we known each other? Ten years maybe? And never once did you tell me that you suffer from reverse-poker-face syndrome?

Don’t deny it, Tiki, I know all about it. That is the problem with our illness -- we can’t hide it. Sunday night I saw you on Football Night in America, and every time Keith Olbermann called you “T” you flinched. Not just a flinch, but you made a face that clearly said, “Really, Olbermann? Is Tiki is so hard to say you have to reduce it to T?”

I will admit, at first I was hurt. Why couldn’t you come to me about this? You know I have been advocating for this illness for sometime -- demanding the scientific community recognize our plight and work to end it. Which is when I had the best idea EVER. What has my cause been sorely lacking from its inception? No, not a cheap colored rubber bracelet that people buy and wear in show of support, but a national spokesperson. A face America can attach to this affliction. Tiki -- you are that face.

I imagine you will be in town the first week of November when your g-men take on my birds. We can hash out all the finer details then. I am just so glad, as I am sure are you, that we will finally be able to shine a national spotlight on this curse that has haunted the both of us for too long.



Friday, September 25, 2009

Obviously I Need A Towel Holder in My Bathroom

I think the single worst thing about being single is that moment when you finish your shower and you pull back the curtain and realize you don’t have a dry towel handy. Hell, you don't even have a wet towel in arm's reach.

There is no one around to scream to, no one to bring you a dry towel. Instead you have to walk to wherever it is you keep your towels, dripping the whole way and then walk back to the bathroom, careful not to slip in the puddles you created.

And if you do slip, there is that moment, just before you catch yourself that you wonder, what if I fall and hurt myself. How long will I lie here before someone finds me.

I took solace in the fact that Bridie and I were suppose to meet for drinks that night. But then I remembered it was only a tentative plan and really, there is a good chance that Bridie wouldn’t think much of it if she couldn’t get in touch with me tonight. She might assume I ended up going out with my mom’s coworker. In fact, there is a good chance no one would alert the authorities until I failed to show up for the Eagles’ tailgate on Sunday. I mean my friends know there is nothing that would keep me from a bird’s game.

And of course there was the realization that when I was found, I would still be naked.

Fortunately for everyone involved I was a stunt person in another life and was able to catch myself before I fell to my doom.

I Need Your Help, People

So, I was in line (or on line for you Philly folks) at the Acme yesterday, when I came across the cover story of Ok magazine about Rob and Kristen’s Twillight Wedding.

While the line was long and I did have enough time to read the cover, it wasn’t long enough for me pick up the magazine and read the story -- I was in the 20 items or less lane. And I couldn’t buy the magazine because I am on a very strict budget which only allows for one trash magazine a month and I usually reserve that money for picking up Cosmo -- a girl can never have enough "drive your man wild in bed tonight" tips.

Do any of you read Ok? Perhaps one of you was unfortunate enough to be caught in a really long wait at the super market and got through the whole story? From the cover I gather that the magazine has behind the scenes pictures of the filming of the wedding that happens in book four of the series. Which is fine. But the cover itself seemed to suggest that these were photos or an inside look at this couple’s actual upcoming wedding. And if that is the case -- what the what? They are really getting married in an almost identical fashion to the characters they play in the movies?

Because if that is the case, I smell another letter writing campaign coming. This time to my U.S. Representatives. Surely, this sort of thing is banned by the Defense of Marriage Act, and if not, it should be.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

You Want Me in That Salon, You Need Me in That Salon

So, my mom has decided to fix me up with a co-worker.

My mother is rarely impulsive, usually only when diamonds or white zinfandel is involved. Considering she was at work I assume the former was at play, as in she was thinking about the three karats she would like to see on my ring finger some day.

And because I love my mom and there aren’t many things I wouldn’t do if she asked, I agreed to let this guy “facebook me.”

The next morning at breakfast my mother began filling me in on the details of my would-be suitor. I will spare you the itemized list of just how wrong this guy is for me and skip ahead to my favorite part. My mom added that he asked about me. Specifically he wanted to know if I was high maintenance. My mom told me that she responded that I was a pain in her a$$, but I wasn’t prissy, if that is what he meant. He clarified, wanting to know if I was the sort to work in the yard.

Umm, what yard?

Here’s the thing, where does normal maintenance end and HM begin? Seriously? Bare minimum I think a girl has got to wash and wear deodorant. I mean no one wants to make-out with someone that smells like an Italian hoagie. But, what if, during my shower I used a scented body wash? And then put on perfume? Have I crossed some invisible line that makes me too much trouble to date?

I can’t recall any guy ever saying he liked it when a girl showed up to dinner with dirty, chewed to the nub nails and uncombed hair, so we’ll add neat hair and nails to the list of okay. But, if in addition to keeping my nails clean I keep them polished and one length (pretty much), is that too much? And because my parents’ DNA combined to give me hair that needs a lot of work to look natural, I have to go to a salon every month or so and need special products that make it look this nice and shiny. Does all this work make me high maintenance? I don’t think I look like I’m high maintenance, but it takes a lot of work and products to make it so.

What about dressing well? Would guys really prefer us looking like we are fresh from the 80s or like we are currently with fashion, and dressing in retro 80s duds? Dr. Phil said guys want fashionable women, but when does fashionable end and HM begin?

And how does enjoying yard work qualify me as low maintenance? Because I know Martha Stewart likes working in her garden and somehow the LM label just doesn’t fit the domestic goddess.

At the end of the day, I don’t think most guys realize what they are asking for when they are asking for a low maintenance girl. No, guys we date don’t typically know our Louboutins from Louis Vuitton, but I have to believe on some subconscious level they appreciate the effort we make. Even if they can only muster the occasional, “You look really nice tonight.”

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Open Letter to the Pennsylvania General Assembly

Fellas, and by fellas I mean you ladies too, what the hell are you doing?

A while back our mutual friend, Michael Nutter, announced that the city was facing a major budget deficit. He came to you, asking you to pass legislation that would increase in our city’s sales tax to make up the difference.

Now, you know math hurts my head. And you also know I have had my problems with Mayor Nutter -- who can forget my drunken outburst at my Mummer’s Party last year when he showed up and I threw a bottle of Prosecco at his head, accusing him of ruining my life. But here’s the thing, he’s right. We need $700 million. And if we don’t get it, he’s not bluffing. He will shut down libraries and recreation centers and parks and layoff cops and firefighters and other city workers.

I understand there is some hold-up because of pension rules and who should control the funds and how the funds are dispersed and cops and firefighters are pissed off and you say you can’t get a compromise passed in time for Mayor Nutter’s September 18 deadline for implementing Plan C.

That doesn’t sound like the can do spirit on which this country was built.

See, back when I was still working, we would sometimes have a big, daunting project that needed to get completed in what seemed like an impossible deadline. We called these “fire drills.” We would move all the necessary materials we needed into a conference room, gather the necessary employees there as well, order dinner, lock the doors and only let people out to pee and smoke (that part is important, you have to let smokers have their cigarettes).

Sure, after several hours in that room together things would get ugly. Particularly when makeup started melting and deodorant started to wear off. There was also almost always an instance when some idiot would say or do something stupid and one of us would have to be restrained less we kill him or her. But in the end, the job would get done. And here is the important part -- the client would be happy because they got a finished product. The attorney would be happy because attorneys love happy clients, not to mention they love wielding their power to make us all change our plans at a moments notice. We were all happy because we were hourly employees and were expecting a big fat paycheck that we were going to use to buy another expensive pocketbook. And the idiot was happy because he/she was still alive and really, idiots are always happy. They are too stupid not to be.

Do you see where I am going with this? If you don’t pass this budget (or at least these two provisions) Philadelphia will be forced to close all of our libraries. We all know, libraries make people smart and so without them, our city will be overrun with idiots. Simple, smiling idiots. Oh, and we will have fewer cops and firefighters on the streets to deal with the idiots, which is never good.

So, now go, stop reading my blog, find a big room, get the necessary players together, order some Chinese and extra strong coffee, and don’t come out until everyone is happy.



PS -- If you won’t listen to me, maybe you will listen to my local readers who I am urging to write to you with their concerns. Of course, if you are too busy passing this budget to respond, that is okay. Just remember what month comes after October and what happens that first Tuesday (that follows the first Monday) of that month.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I’ve Got Issues

I think I'm coming down with something.

I don’t know why, but suddenly I have an almost irresistible urge to watch romantic comedies. And not just any romcoms, but movies starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. One in particular.

It started this morning. I was in the shower, washing my hair when I wondered if You’ve Got Mail was available On Demand. I then started to plan my whole day around watching this movie later tonight. I was actually looking forward to getting back home tonight, making dinner and relaxing on my couch with this movie.

What the hell? Just yesterday I actually yelped when I saw an advertisement for X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Finally, I would be able to watch Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber in all their hotness battle it out in the comfort of my own home. Not 24 hours later, I am picking out a bottle of red and fantasizing about the meal I am going to enjoy with Tom Hanks. TOM HANKS!

I got out of the shower and decided I would work from one of my satellite offices today. Less the urge come over me again and this time I wasn’t able to smack myself back to reality. But my desire to see You’ve Got Mail would not desist. Instead, it only increased as everything I saw somehow reminded me of scenes from the movie. In line for my venti chai with soy I even found myself smiling as I remembered clever dialog from that stupid film.

Now my family has all sorts of home remedies for various illness. Most of them involve lots of clear fluids and layering on lots of clothing until you sweat out whatever it is that ails you. I'm wondering if this panacea will work for my current plague. Maybe I should just crawl back into bed and hide under my covers until whatever it is I caught passes.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Levi and Me

I hate Levi Johnston.

I hated him before I even saw him and then, when I first did see him I felt justified in my disgust. Mind you, I had no reason to hate him. He just looked like a douche bag to me. And you know how judgmental I can be at times.

But now I have a reason for detesting him. Levi Johnston actually had me defending Sarah Palin. Just for a moment, mind you. But it happened.

When I heard about the interview Levi Johnston gave to Vanity Fair, I breathed a sigh of relief. I am a subscriber to Vanity Fair and so I wouldn’t have to suffer the moral debate as to whether or not I should go out and buy a copy of the magazine. It would be delivered to me.

Still, it sat on my coffee table for a couple of days. The red corner banner screaming the exclusive with Mr. Johnston.

Finally, I poured myself a glass of wine, turned on my iPod and opened to the “Me and Mrs. Palin” spread. Immediately my stomach turned. Really? This guy is being offered modeling jobs?

The editor’s note on the next page told me that Levi was going to give us a behind the scenes look at the woman that might have been our vice president, and who will most likely run for president in 2012 (though that is never actually mentioned).

Instead, Levi starts by telling us how he found out that his life was going to be changed forever. He was hunting when Bristol called him. When he refused to make the trip to Ohio to be there when Sarah Palin was first introduced to the world at the Republican National Convention, Sarah herself got on the phone and insisted he be there. See, poor Levi didn’t want the thousands of people looking at him. He was just a good ol’ boy from Alaska that wore Carharts and flannels and cowboy boots. Of course this begs the question -- then why, Levi, when you have the opportunity to fade back into obscurity, don’t you take it. You know, instead of giving exclusives to Vanity Fair and offering to let it all hang out in Playgirl.

But that is not what had me yelling at my magazine. Yes, in addition to yelling at my TV I sometimes yell at reading materials. What can I say? I am a very passionate (some say crazy) person.

No, what annoyed me was Levi’s behind the scenes details. First, it seems Levi just read every bad thing that was ever said about Sarah Palin and reiterated them for the interview. I mean, is it really all that shocking that she said stupid things around the house all the time? Second, he starts talking trash on what a terrible mother she was/is. That she was never home, never cooked, never cleaned and often relied on her family to help her around the house.

Oh my god, really? A working mom expecting help from her almost grown children? Shut the front door! I can’t believe it!

Oh wait, I can. Just ask Lana. She wasn’t even an official teenager when my mom and dad expected her to watch me and Ivan after school and when they went out in the evenings. And we were all expected to clean up around the house -- it was called doing our chores. I think most kids have them.

Please don’t get me wrong. I don’t like Sarah Palin. I think she is dumb and I disagree with almost everything she stands for and it feels very dirty defending her. I didn’t vote for her nor can I imagine circumstances in which l would vote for her. However, she was governor of Alaska, and the governor’s mansion is a notoriously difficult place for women to ascend to. In the history of the U.S. I think there have been maybe 10 women governors, and at least two of them only held the office because their husbands were governors and died during their term.

I eventually calmed myself down by reminding myself that she did campaign as a hockey mom and according to Levi she was never at any of Track’s hockey games. But still the whole article left a bad taste in my mouth. This is, after all, his son’s grandmother that he is talking trash on for all the world to read.

I mean, I get it Levi, I do. You cut your mullet and you saw how much better you looked sans hockey hair and realized you could probably get much better tail if you left Alaska and took advantage of your new fame. More power to you. But there is only so far you can go with the whole badmouthing your would-be mother-in-law. Maybe this will get you a spot on the next celebrity Big Brother or some other stupid reality show featuring people we wish we could forget about.

After that, if there is a god and she is good, you will go back to being an electrician in Alaska. And if god is really good, Bristol will have moved on but not before telling Vanity Fair just how disappointing it was to lose her virginity to such a loser.

I think I would buy two of that issue.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Talk

So my mother and I had the talk recently.

No, not the “sex talk.” Cripes we had that talk when I was five years old. And no, I wasn’t a slutty lil’ kindergartner, I just had a very active imagination -- I wanted to grow up to be a duck.

In my five-year-old head, ducks had the life. They got to swim all day long, live in my favorite park and ate bread that visitors to the park fed them. When it got cold, ducks packed it up and flew south where I assumed they lived in another really pretty park until it was warm enough to return to Allentown.

So whenever anyone asked me, “What do you want to be when you grow up? A nurse like your mommy.” I proudly announced that I was going to be a duck. Most people found this cute. My mom found it embarrassing. And so one evening, after I spent most of my bath time practicing being a duck, my mom sat me on her bed and explained that only mommy ducks and daddy ducks could make baby ducks and only baby ducks could grow up to be big ducks.

An hour later, after many questions on my part my mother the nurse had told me everything I needed to know about sex. Well, not everything. She didn’t tell me it was enjoyable. She also didn’t mention anything about oral sex.

The talk my mother and I had recently was about who was going to take care of them when they could no longer take care of themselves.

It started out innocently enough. She was telling me all about the houses she was finding on the Internet in South Carolina and how in just a couple of years her and my father would be able to retire there. Then she asked if I would visit them in South Carolina and I responded, “of course.”

“You will? You promise?”

“Of course, I will.” I hadn’t looked up from the magazine I was reading, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t listening.

“Tatiana, this is very important.”

I put my magazine down. “Mom, of course I will visit you. You will be near a beach won’t you?”

She sighed. “It’s just that with Ivan so far away and Lana, well, you know Lana,”

I do.

“I just think that most of the responsibility of caring for us when we are older will fall on you.”
The room started to spin and my vision started to cloud. I grabbed my glass of wine and took a large sip.

“I’m not worried so much about me -- I don’t have longevity on my side, but your father. I need to know that you will be there to take care of him.”

This conversation has haunted me ever since.

Not that my parents are in bad shape. Quite the opposite, they are both in great health and only getting better since they joined a gym near their house.

I’m just not ready for this sort of responsibility. I remember when Wharton and I were breaking up and he said something about not being able to handle a serious girlfriend at the time because his life was so in flux and he couldn’t be responsible for someone else’s feelings when making the decisions he had to make over that next year.

At the time I thought it was a line. Hell, maybe it was. But it was a good one because now I know exactly how that feels.

It was these thoughts, in part, that shut my brain down a few weeks ago. When I finally rebooted, I realized I have been spending so much time trying to control thinks I can’t while letting the things that are in my power to change get away from me. For instance, while worrying myself sick about my future as my parents caretaker, I wasn’t writing -- at all. The thing is, the only way this novel is going to get published is if I write it. And the only way I am going to become a rich and famous writer is to publish my first novel.

Once I am a rich and famous writer I won’t have to worry so much about whether or not I will be able to visit my parents in South Carolina often enough. After all rich people don ‘t have to worry about old parents -- they pay big bucks to make them someone else’s problem.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Is This Heaven? No, It’s South Philly

Sometimes I have to sit back and marvel at how, if you allow it, the universe will make sure you are exactly where you should be, exactly when you should be.

Or, at least I like to think so.

More than two years ago, now, I was living with Bridie in Queen Village. We had a lovely little house, but we both knew it was time to move on, grow up and get our own places. At the time I was a bit freaked out. I mean, I had been living with Bridie for more than five years (more than six years maybe, now that I think about it). She cooked for me and listened to me when my family was driving me crazy and whenever I wanted to get out of the house, there she was, my willing partner in crime.

Plus there was the matter of finding a place I liked that I could afford.

This fear of never finding a place intensified with every awful apartment I saw. There was the place that was lovely and shiny and new but had no closets. Then there was the place not quite as shiny and new but with terrific closet space -- so long as I didn’t mind leaving my apartment to walk down a communal hallway to get to my kitchen. Bridie knew from experience that wasn’t going to work -- see I really hate wearing pants and for the most part won’t when I am home.

Then there was the Grover apartment -- which got its name from the royal blue, wall-to-wall shag carpeting in the living room.

And then I found this place. Shiny and new and continuous, with a lot of really big closets and a lovely back area where I could grow lots of lovely things. I have yet to grow anything back there, but every spring, I make the attempt.

The only problem was that this perfect place for the perfect price was a little farther south than I had imagined myself living.

My fears worsened when Lana told me that her friends called my new neighborhood Little New Jersey. To this day, I have heard no one else refer to this part of town as anything but South Philly. However, if there is someone out there that has also heard it referred to as Lil’ NJ, please let me know.

Still, I moved in and now, more than two years later. I couldn’t be happier. What inspired this wave of domestic bliss. This morning’s trip to a new coffee shop. Well, not new, but new to me.

I knew my neighborhood was vegan and vegetarian friendly. In fact, I would guess it is one of the friendliest places in the city for herbivores. So, on my way to the Italian Market this morning, I knew I would have little problem stopping in somewhere for a latte with soy milk. By the time I got to the coffee shop, however, I was also a bit hungry. I figured I would also order a bagel with peanut butter, to go. But then what to my wondering eyes did appear but Tofutti cream cheese on the menu board.

I was so happy I had to sit down. You mean now I can eat my bagel and cream cheese in a public place the way god intended? Oh happy day. When the gentlemen behind the counter asked me if my coffee and bagel were for here or to go, I said for here. I was going to enjoy this moment damn it.

I spent the rest of the day feeling connected and whole and reassured that I was exactly where I was suppose to be. I know, it’s the little things. That is why I find it so hard to believe guys would consider me hard to please.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Behind Enemy Lines

So, during my up-all-night session for F-Squared, we got to talking about movies. He and his main squeeze had just seen The Ugly Truth. I asked him what he thought, because that is what polite people do, and he said he thought it was okay, but there was another movie that he thought was a lot worse -- as far as giving away guy’s secrets.

Really, I thought. Which one?

He couldn’t remember the name, but Drew Barrymore was in it and the kid that is the Mac in all those commercials and Ben Affleck and Jennifer Aniston.

Oh, He’s Just Not That Into You?

That’s the one. He wanted to punch in the face the guy that wrote that movie. He gave away too much.


Yes, I read and critiqued the book. And no, I had no interest in seeing this movie. But, maybe I missed something. Maybe I underestimated what the authors were saying. Maybe the movie gave away something that wasn’t in the book.

I made a promise to myself that I would On Demand the movie at my earliest convenience. After all, as GI Joe once told me, “knowing is half the battle.”

As it turns out, the first night I was free to really sit down and take in this movie, was this past Friday.

I brought in reinforcements -- a chocolate, chocolate vegan cookie from Whole Foods (I know I am suppose to be boycotting them, but I really love their vegan cookies) and a bottle of red wine. Hey, if I am going to spend a Friday night alone, watching a romantic comedy, I am going to need back-up.

Thank goodness it was raining. It seems so much less pathetic on a rainy night.

Honestly, I didn’t hate the movie. Which is odd, because I rarely like romantic comedies. Maybe it was the wine -- it was a really good red I picked up when I was in Nags Head.

As for insider information -- not so much. Justin Long (my new Hollywood crush, I can totally see why Drew Barrymore loves him) provided most of it to Ginnifer Goodwin’s character Gigi, after she shows up at his bar looking for a guy that she had a really good date with, but never called her. Ginnifer is enthralled when he tells her that her date is never going to call her. They become fast friends and Ginnifer starts calling him whenever she finds herself unsure about a guy’s intentions.

Predictably, Ginnifer then develops a crush on Justin after over-thinking all the “obvious” signals he has been throwing her way. She throws herself at him, he rejects her, angry that she hasn’t been listening to anything he has said and she gives a great speech about preferring to look like a jackass again and again and still have hope of finding someone than be him -- cynical and alone.

The movie then contradicts the book, not just by having Justin Long’s character falls for Gigi. But also when Ben Affleck asks Jennifer Aniston to marry her after seven years of dating -- umm, okay, I get the first one, but the second? Cripes that is actually a chapter in the book -- He Is Just Not That Into You If He Doesn’t Want To Marry You. Though, I was happy it worked out for them. I am totally Team Aniston.

Ooh, maybe I should have started this post by saying I would be spoiling parts of this movie. Yikes. Oh well, I mean it is a romantic comedy, I am sure most of you could predict the ending.

So it seems the movie had to tone down the rhetoric to sell some tickets. And sure, it didn’t really teach me anything I didn’t know already. Still, it wasn’t a terrible way to spend a Friday night. Certainly better than the way I have spent the last few Friday nights.

Wait, is that pathetic?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Hugging Me Is Like Hugging a Porcupine And All The Other Reason Why He Never Called

Confession time again, kittens. I have been on 47,000 first dates and only about 6 second dates.

Which is why I was so intrigued by Rachel Greenwald’s book Why He Didn’t Call You Back. It was tough getting through the first couple of chapters of surveys and percentages and research methodologies. Still, I persevered, as much for you as for me.

The basic gist of Rachel’s book is that dating is a numbers game (I concur) and that the more you date the more you are likely to meet the one (I don’t believe there is just one, but I will agree that the more you date the more likely you are to meet a great guy out there in the land of duds). In our current dating environment, men have a lot of options (thank you online dating) and are of the mindset that someone more perfect is just a mouse click away. Because of this it is incumbent on us women that are looking for a mate to make the best possible first impression so as to make the first round of cuts. Then the ball will be in our court and we can turn down the duds and continue to see the ones with potential (obviously I am a fan of empowering women, so this part sounded good to me too).

But here is where it gets tricky. Because it starts to sound like Rachel is telling you to change who you are. She claims she isn’t and I believe her. She just wants the whole you to hide until he gets to know you better.

Yeah, see this is the part I had a problem with -- I think that is a very fine line to toe.

Rachel then goes on to list and describe the top 16 reasons why he didn’t call you back -- what she refers to as stereotypes your dates developed based on things you did during the date. The stereotypes range from the Boss Lady (the number one reason) to Bitch-in-Boots (number seven) to the Wino (number 15). The top 10 came with in-depth descriptions, real-life examples, a quiz to see if you were that type and possible ways to not be perceived as such.

About those quizzes, yeah, I fell into almost every stereotype. I wasn’t the Closer, as it turns out my dates probably never perceived me as baby hungry.

Reading the reasons and the real-life examples from men, I understand why she choose some that she did, but I think it did a poor job illustrating her point in that it made it easier to dismiss the guy as a jerk. For instance, under reason number 11 -- the Seinfeld, which encompassed strange little “ticks” the women displayed that turned their dates off. One guy had a problem with his date because she wouldn’t touch public handrails. That’s just the dumbest thing I ever heard. Umm, Buddy, do you have any idea how many people don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom? And there’s this little bug called the Swine Flu that is going around and it can be deadly. So maybe your date was just smarter than you.

I also have a question about how Rachel defines intimidation. A lot of women cited this as a possible reason they weren’t called back, but Rachel dismisses most of them. Again, though, reading through the examples, some men sure sounded intimidated to me -- even if they had another name for it like Park Avenue Princess.

Of course, this could be my cynical side talking which is why I tested positive as a possible Debbie Downer.

The top 16 were followed by the top five ways you could have screwed things up post date. Maybe it was because I could take this a whole lot less personally (though, I have totally made these mistakes too) but this is the part of the book where Rachel started to hook me. Maybe she just did a better job selecting real life examples.

Rachel then suggests that the really, truly best way to learn what I am doing wrong is to enlist an interviewer and have him or her call a handful of my first dates (those that I thought were a good date or that I hoped to see again) and ask him why he didn’t call back. First, no. I am not going to do that. I am tough, but not that tough. Second, I can’t do that. I don’t have their contact information any longer. It was one date. I gave it two weeks and when I didn’t hear from them, I deleted the number. Another possible misstep, by the way, not giving him enough time to call me back.

Man, was dating always this hard?

My other question for Rachel, when we become friends, because despite her bad haircut I think she is pretty cool, is what do I do after date three? I mean, all this advice is aimed at giving him a chance to get to know the real me by putting my personality quirks on hold and showing him just how kind to other human beings I can be. Not to mention funny. And not the least bit sarcastic.

Because, I am not really that caring a person. And while I am pretty funny, it is mostly because of my sarcasm. I also really like to win and am capable of flagging down my own cab. So, what? On date four I just let the real Tatiana loose? I can almost picture it now:
“Cheese and rice, Tatiana, I had no idea you were so opinionated and capable with such a busy social life and an irrational fear of cats. You seemed so kind and docile and needy and I mean, who doesn’t like cats? Remember our first date when I talked about Muffin and Fluffy -- you acted interested in them. Why didn’t you say something then?”
"Umm, because a book I read told me not to?"

The thing is, I learned a long time ago that I am an acquired taste. Just interview any of my friends. At least 50 percent of them will tell you they hated me when they first met me. But if a porcupine like me can find best friends, including at least two that hug me every time they see me despite how horrible and awkward it must feel, I have confidence that there is a guy out there that can love me for me too.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Science of Romance

So, after cleaning my apartment, doing all my dishes and laundry, clearing out the ‘fridge, scrubbing the floorboards and still feeling a bit antsy -- I decided to tackle my office/spare bedroom/nursery. Some people have a junk drawer or two in their apartments -- I have an entire junk room.

I never use this room which was suppose to be my office. For one, it isn't part of the original structure of my building so it is almost always too hot or too cold to be comfortable. Two, my kitchen table, where I never eat, makes a great desk.

The climate factor is why I hesitate to put an extra bed in there -- I don't think it would be very polite to makes guests sleep in this room. Plus, you have to cross through this room to get to my bathroom. Bridie thinks it would make a lovely nursery -- despite how cold it gets in there in the winter, so she calls it the nursery. My mom thinks this is funny and has also started referring to the back bedroom as the nursery.

I shudder at the thought.

So, first up in my junk room -- my piles of magazines. I collect magazines the way Britney Spears used to collect court dates. I have every intention of reading them when I buy them (or they come in the mail) but most of the time, I just page through them and then add them to the pile until my living room looks like a doctor’s office waiting room. Which is when the magazines get collected and moved to the back room until I can deal with them.

In this pile of good intentions was a Time magazine from the beginning of last year. The cover looks like a Lichtenstein painting and the coverlines read “The Science of Romance: Why we need love to survive.” I remember standing in line at the Whole Foods when I first saw this cover and thinking to myself, wouldn’t it be wonderful if it was all as easy as a science.

Seriously, what if people that are smarter than me figured out the formula for why we find some people attractive and pass over others? Why it works for some couples and not for others? If they could reveal that if you put on A, smear on B, give X look while standing in position Y, mix until smooth and creamy and bake at 450 degrees until warm and bubbly you will have love everlasting.

Okay, so I am mixing my metaphors, but you get what I mean. My interest in this magazine renewed and I set out for my sofa; this time I was going to actually read the article.

After all, information is power and I can use all the power I can get in this silly little game of love.

Sadly, there were no equations or recipes. Just a lot of hypothesizing as to why we put ourselves through the whole process and some really interesting facts about it. For instance did you know that strippers that are ovulating average more in tips then strippers that are menstruating or strippers that are neither menstruating nor ovulating? Mind you, I didn’t realize that strippers worked when they were menstruating.

There was also a section on flirting, but again, less a how to and more an everyone does it and here is why we do it even when we are happily married. Did you know the first how-to guide to flirting was published more than 2,000 years ago? That raised an eyebrow (which is a nonverbal flirting cue) as I may be able to use that as an ice breaker the next time I am out and near a cute boy. Of course I won’t. But it is good to have. Less I start racking my brain for something interesting to say and the tid-bit about ovulating strippers blurts out.

There is just nothing hot about a girl talking about ovulating strippers.

Otherwise, there really wasn’t much I could use as I embark to find Mr. Tatiana. Which is good in a way as I would have been really angry with myself if the secret to finding couple bliss had been sitting in my junk room for the last year and a half. Maybe I will run out to Borders and see if they have a copy of that 2000-year-old guide to flirting.

I mean, really, how much could have changed in the last two millennia?

Monday, August 24, 2009

I’m Sorry, You Have Me Mistaken for Someone Else

I’m used to other people’s misperceptions about me. After all, I was blonde for most of my life. I’m used to being mistaken as stupid or helpless or klutzy -- okay so I am klutzy, but never have I ever been mistaken for a republican service woman.

See, I don’t own a car. And my family drives down to Nags Head, N.C., every year for a week’s vacation. So I borrowed my father’s jeep and made the trip by myself.

My father’s jeep -- it’s green, with a tire cover that reads “Once a Marine Always a Marine” a sticker in the window proudly declaring the driver is a member of the National Rifle Association and a McCain/Palin sticker on the bumper. I call it the Republican Mobile. I told my mom I felt dirty driving it. She rolled her eyes and said I could always walk.

I sighed. I was hoping she would offer me her car -- instead she offered me her gas card. My dad brags that the jeep gets 17 to 18 miles per gallon.

So, there I was on I-76 cruising around the turns, singing along to an artist I am too embarrassed to say I like, when a young man in a dark sedan pulled along side me, turned and saluted me.

No. I’m not kidding.

And, no, it wasn’t the one finger sort of salute. Believe me, I am used to those. It was an actual salute.

This is when I realized that so long as I was in this car, all my feminist rants and liberal beliefs no longer mattered to those around me. Those driving past me assumed I was a marine (or married to one) and would treat me accordingly. I also worried that I didn’t respond properly to the young man that saluted me but I checked with my brother and he said it definitely would have been wrong to salute back. Particularly since I am not even sure I know how to properly salute.

Of course it seems this misunderstanding between me and my fellow road-mates had its perks. I am a decent driver. That’s not to say that people don’t occasionally beep at me when I pass or shake their fists at me when they pass. However, in the Republican mobile it didn’t happen once. Did they see the NRA sticker and think twice about messing with me?

I also have a bit of a lead foot. I don’t like driving and so the sooner I can get out of a car the better. When I drove Rosie, I was pulled over ever other week for speeding (though I only ever received one ticket, thank you very much). While I passed several cops with their radar guns out -- I wasn’t pulled over in the Republican mobile. Could it be they saw that tire cover and decided I earned the right to drive just as fast as I want to?

While I certainly appreciated the fringe benefits of pretending to be someone I wasn’t, there was one moment when I truly felt like a fraud. I pulled into a service station looking for fuel that didn’t contain 10% ethanol (according to Daddy, the ethanol negatively affects his jeep’s delicate engine). A man and his girlfriend/wife pulled into the pump next to mine. He got off his Harley, took his helmet off, looked at me and said, “Thank you.”

I just stood there, blank for a moment. The woman he was with had her helmet off at this point and thanked me as well, you know, for my service.

I smiled and debated whether or not I wanted to engage these two in a conversation about misperceptions and my father and just how far this piece of fruit fell from his tree. Instead I just nodded and started washing the windows of the jeep. I also made a silent promise to myself to relay this couple’s appreciation to all the actual servicemen and women I knew.

Of course, the dirty, long-haired biker and his girlfriend/wife in her too tight tank top and too short shorts could have been really nice, really smart, really interesting individuals. Had I engaged them in that conversation maybe I would have learned that his father was a crazy radical conservative that worked on Wall Street and is disgusted by his Harley-Davidson-riding son that lobbies for PETA.

A thought that didn’t occur to me until after I pulled away from the fill-up station. I made another silent promise to stop pre-judging people and then realized just how impossible that sort of promise would be to keep. Aren’t my rules about who I will and won’t date just a form of prejudice? When I claim I have a good instinct about people, where does that instinct come from? Its not as if I know these people all that well when I declare “there is just something about him/her I don’t like.” It’s based on how they look or act or talk or in some cases smell.

So, instead I promised to be more open to the idea that I could be wrong about people and not get so defensive when someone incorrectly assumes something about me.

I then turned up the radio, the performer that I will never openly admit to singing along with for fear of how people will judge me was on again.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fruit From The Forbidden Tree

So I learned something about myself this week -- when I am sexually frustrated I turn into a clean freak.

Here all this time I just thought I was naturally neat.

See, Thursday night, just like all the other nights last week, I was hanging out with my brother and his friends. As the night progressed, Ivan and his fiance went to bed. Then my brother’s best friend Larry went to bed; that left me and the Forbidden Fruit.

See, Ivan and I are only two years apart so growing up we hung out with a lot of the same people. But after a short relationship he had with one of the Chrissies we developed an unspoken rule about not dating each others friends.

This was never a problem for me until Thursday night.

Forbidden Fruit is younger than my brother and my mom thinks he is really good looking. I get the feeling that lots of moms think he is really good looking.

I never saw it.

But then I was never drunk with him discussing books and life and relationships until 5:30 in the morning.

I didn’t even know how late it was until he mentioned that it was getting light out.

The next day (or rather, later that day) he was up before me and must’ve told my parents about our night.

I spent that day reading and avoiding my family, until my mother came into my room and laid in my bed with me.

“So, you and Forbidden Fruit were up all night talking, huh?”

“Yes, mom. Just talking.”

“About what?”

“Stuff. Books and movies and his girlfriend. Nothing major.”

“What did he call you this morning?”

I rolled my eyes. Does she miss anything? “Ellsworth Toohey.”

“Who’s that?”

“A character from The Fountainhead.”

“Oh, he read The Fountainhead?”

“He did.”

“What did he think about it?”

“I don’t think he got it because he said some terrible things about Howard Roark. I told him he should re-read it.”

“Well, that is because you are in love with Howard Roark.”

“Every woman should be in love with Howard. Ayn wrote him to be the perfect male.”

My mom rolled her eyes and moved to get out of bed but not before she uttered the accusation I had been hiding from all day. “You’re a cougar.”

For the record, I think one has to be in her 40s to qualify as a cougar.

The next day my parents left and I came out of hiding -- it was my last day at the beach and there was nothing my brother and his friends could tease me about that would keep me out of the sun.

But they didn’t tease me. It was just like any other day; but then I noticed Forbidden Fruit wasn't wearing a shirt. Did he not wear a shirt the whole week? Huh. Well, we are at the beach, no one wears a shirt at the beach? But in the house? I mean most of us had the decency to put on our cover-ups as we were making our lunches and taking a break from the sun.

Then he took a shower and came back downstairs in just low-slung shorts. When he walked past me I closed my eyes and reminded myself of all the reasons that I am not interested in him. And then wondered if he always smelled that good.

That is when I got up, put my book down and started cleaning the kitchen -- sanitizing is more like it.

When I asked Ivan is he saw a vacuum cleaner and he responded yes, Larry chimed in, “Wow, Tati, you are quite the Suzi Homemaker this evening. What is up?”

I made up some lame but possibly true excuse about being charged if we didn’t clean up the house before we left.

Once the kitchen and dining room and living room and two of the bathrooms were spotless I decided the best thing to do was go to bed.

I was washing my face when I heard FF calling my name. I stepped out of the dirty bathroom. Oh, sure, now he puts a sweatshirt on.

“What time are you leaving tomorrow?”

“I don’t know, early-ish.”

“Because Ivan thought you might want to follow me home.”

We had a brief conversation about my getting lost (it was the stupid Garmin’s fault) and whether or not I would feel better following him home. I told him I would survive.

“Are you sure? Because if you aren’t going to follow me, I am probably going to leave really early and I don’t want to leave and have you change your mind.”

“No, really, I think I’ll be fine.”

“Are you sure? You aren’t doing that chick thing where you say one thing but expect me to do the exact opposite are you?”

I smiled. “No. Actually, I think it would be less stressful to not follow you.”

He looked at me. “Okay. That is completely contradictory.”

I wanted to say, “Yeah, ask Ivan, when Calvin Klein came out with 'Contradiction' he joked that someone had finally created a perfume perfect for me.”

Or, “Well, here’s the thing. For the past two days I have been having really inappropriate thoughts about you. I have tried to stop thinking these things, but I can’t. And so I think the only way to stop is for you to go downstairs and get back on the phone with your girlfriend and for me to go to bed and try to think about anything else and for us to not see each other again for a long, long while.”

But for the first time in my life (probably) I managed to just say nothing. He looked at me for a while, then turned and yelled downstairs, “Ivan, she said she doesn’t need to follow me.”

By the time I got home I hadn’t gotten FF completely out of my system which isn't terrible because my apartment can use a good scrubbing.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Vacation All I Ever Wanted

I know, I know, I have been totally out of it lately. I would like to say it is because I have been on vacation -- but the truth is I only have been on vacation this past week.

More truth is my brain has been all over the map recently. What, with the novel and the blog and rowing and crushes and the Republican and my family and my friends and my future and my past and I think I have finally figured out why.

Because I just turned another year older.

Don’t you hate that? Not turning another year older. I mean, sometimes that sucks. But this year I am pretty okay with it. What I mean is I hate when some small part of your brain you don’t even know about takes control and starts making you do and think things you aren’t ready to do or think.

Worse, you start to wonder why you are doing and thinking these things and you can’t figure it out. That is until you wake up and the reason is sitting on your chest, smacking you in the face.

That happened to me Tuesday morning. And just like the time my TV screen was skipping and so I got up and hit the side of it in an effort to make it stop; my brain just stopped working. Of course this time there was no final flash of light before it just went black.

Since then I have tried to use my brain as little as possible. I’ve been reading trashy beach reads, drinking more than I should and playing the occasional game of Asshole with my brother and his friends. It seems to be working as my brain finally feels ready to be turned back on again.

So, now I am trying to sort out all my thoughts and feelings and prepare myself for this next year in my life. Hopefully you can forgive my absence and hopefully I can get my head back on straight and start writing again.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Well, That Didn’t Take Long

So, I was Facebook-Stalking R 2.0 today -- what else am I suppose to do, work on my novel? Oh, right, I am suppose to be working on my novel. I promise to get right back to that once I tell you this.

I found him, it was quite easy as his real name is not John Smith and his profile was public (it is almost as if he is begging girls to stalk him). First thing’s first -- I checked his info page, where, what to my wondering eyes did appear but a relationship status Married to Some Skanky Girl. I’m kidding. I’m sure she is lovely.

My point? My crush is over just as soon as it began. Oh well, at least I got a good run and two days of pretty out of it.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

L Is for The Way You Look at Me

Man, there is nothing like having a crush. And boy, have I missed this feeling.

I have missed this feeling so much that I tried forcing myself to have a crush on CK but to no avail. CK is just too damn perfect to be crush-worthy.

However, this weekend I have found my crush -- Rower Version 2.0 or R 2.0 for short.

I raced this weekend, twice; a women’s eight and a mixed eight (mixed as in there were both men and women in the boat). As I sat in one of the boathouses waiting for my second race to launch, a woman that was waiting with me introduced me to R 2.0. I was told he would be in my boat later.

I looked up (it was almost a strain on my neck as my new crush is very tall) and a little voice inside my head sang, “ding-dong.” I had found him.

I think he felt it too.

The next morning I woke up and the whole world felt lighter and brighter, despite the severe storms that were rolling through. It didn’t matter. I have a crush again.

I know it is silly. It is one of the things I can’t stand about myself. But having a crush makes me want to get up and workout. It makes me want to get gussied up and go out. I know I should want to do these things for myself, and I do. But a crush is such better motivation then training for a marathon or simple self-improvement.

Sigh. Maybe one day I will matter enough to myself to want to do these things just for me. But until then, I will use the fact that there is a chance I will run into R 2.0 to keep me running and rowing and applying mascara.

Is it really that terrible? After all, I am the one who is improved by all my effort.

Now, not everyone will be happy about this new crush -- Bridie for one thinks hanging out in Fairmount, making out with rowers is a step backwards. For the record, I haven’t made out with anyone -- yet. Nor do I have plans to hang out in Fairmount -- a lot.

Still, I have spent the last few years denying that I was a rower or an athlete, but I finally accepted that and look how happy I am. Maybe finally admitting that I have a thing for rowers will bring me the same sort of joy.

Friday, July 24, 2009

If Only Ikea Sold Disposable Boyfriends As Well

It’s a very rare occasion that I actually miss having a boyfriend.

I am not a huge fan of sharing a bed with someone, so I don’t wake up wishing there was someone next to me.

I don’t travel all that much, so I am almost never in an airport, walking through the crowd of people wanting a significant other to run up to me, hug me and tell me how much he missed me.

I big hands, so I have never needed someone to open a jar for me.

Finally, I am very good with power tools.

However, yesterday I wanted a boyfriend; I was at Ikea.

See my mom has had me running all sorts of errands for her this past week. Yesterday, her Tati-Do list took me to Ikea to purchase a new kitchen island for her. Now, on the surface, Ikea seems like the ideal place for single people. A warehouse filled with disposable furniture -- perfect for the commitment-phobic single person that is not ready to pluck down serious dinero for a couch that could last a lifetime.

However, the self-serve area is really a place for two (or more) people.

I found the island with no problem, wrote down the aisle and bin number and then wandered through the showroom to see all the other wonderful things I could build myself. Finally I found myself in the self-serve area surrounded by large, flat boxes. I located a cart and wheeled it to aisle 19 bin 28 (or something like that). That is when I learned that the new addition to my mom’s kitchen came in two boxes.

I sighed. Looked at the boxes, looked at my cart, looked back at the boxes and that is when it happened. I wanted a boyfriend there with me. I wanted someone to help me pull the heavy box from the pile and put it on my cart. I wanted someone to help me steer the unruly cart to the check-out area. I wanted someone to wait with the cart as I ran out to the parking lot to get the car and pull it into the loading area.

And then when I got to the car I realized I really wanted a boyfriend. My whole body slumped as I closed my eyes and wondered why it didn’t occur to me sooner that I would need someone with me on this mission from mom.

I silently cursed Ikea and their anti-single ways.

But then the universe showed me just how silly I was being.

Before I began my struggle to get the first box into the back of my mom’s jeep, an old, overweight man that was wearing a knee brace asked me if I wanted help. I looked at him and almost laughed. Instead, I thanked him but assured him I could handle it. I then bent over and muscled the heaviest box into the trunk.