Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Rave Run

On the last page of Runner’s World they feature a famous runner; not a runner that is famous for running (those people are on their cover) but famous people that also run. A while back Tom Cavanagh was one of these runners. For those of you that don’t know, Tom is on some show on TNT about an ad agency that is not Mad Men. He was also Ed on my old favorite show Ed.

So, Tom said he thinks the best way to see a new city is to run through it. He mentions that once, when he was on location, he was somewhere near water (I can’t remember all the details) and, while running along the beach, he came across an old shipwreck. He adds that he would have never seen that if he weren’t a runner.

Two years ago I ran the New York City Marathon. I have been to NYC a dozen times, but until I ran through all five boroughs, I had no idea just how wonderful a town New York really is.

I’m in Allentown again (what can I say, mom needs more help around the house and she pays me in dresses and shoes) and because I have started training for the San Francisco Women’s Marathon, I have had to run through my old stomping grounds.

Today, I chose to run through the Parkway (kids from A-town know what I am talking about). It is hilly and hidden by a lot of trees and follows a creek that the county stocks with trout every season. The trail is used by mountain bikers, walkers, dog owners and a lot of runners.

So there I was, being passed by some high school kids, enjoying the cool air that all the trees created and the fat man standing in the creek, fishing and smoking. I was dodging horse dung (did I mention that the trail is also used for horseback riding) and snakes (no not skeevy guys that turn to check out your rear as you cross paths, but actual snakes) when I heard shots ring out.

Oh right, I forgot to tell you -- the trail also runs by a state police barracks where there is a gun range.

It sounded like automatic weapon fire, but I couldn’t be certain. I was once out with a guy that could name the type of gun by the sound of it. He was from Nebraska. After I picked myself up off of the gravel path and brushed off my scraped knees, I almost wished he was there to tell me what the officers were shooting.

The best part of this whole scene, the beautiful woods, the green lawns, the serene fishermen and the families walking dogs, was that I was the only one startled. I was the only one that hit the deck (okay, not really, but almost).

I am also wiling to bet I was the only one that ever lived in North Philly.

If Ed, err, I mean Tom, were to run in my hometown that is what I would hope he would take away from it. That at times it can be absolutely breathtaking and frightening at the same time.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Very Productive Trip To Borders

So I have officially run through the relationship books my mother has purchased for me. Well, maybe not really. I thought there was one more, written ages ago by three successful men giving it to women straight about what they want in a mate, but I can’t find it. I swear I lent it to Lana, but she says she doesn’t have it.

Worse, from what I remember of the book (yes, it was another one that Bridie and I may have paged through while drinking wine at the old apartment) is was really good. Of course by really good I mean it was three self-important men telling me I am not good enough to even look at them but maybe, maybe, if I read this book, take their advice and am lucky, one day I will be worthy of them.

However, I didn’t want to leave you readers without something to laugh about, so I ventured down to the Borders on Broad Street to see what their Sex and Relationships section had for me.

When I walked in, a man standing at the door handing me a sheet of coupons. I crossed my fingers that there would be one for self-help books, but sadly there wasn’t. There was a $2 off coupon for all fiction, and so I started there. I can always use another fiction book.

After cruising through the many literature aisles, I finally settled on Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera (I have been meaning to read it for some time). I then made the long escalator trek up to the third floor.

The Sex and Relationship section is in the way back and while it says it is organized by author, I got the impression that it was organized by subject matter -- finding a man, keeping a man, keeping your man happy, getting over your man, having sex with your man, and at the very end a small group of books about being happy with yourself (personally I think these should be at the start of the section).

It made me smile, as I started to search the finding a man section, that there were shelves and shelves of the Steve Harvey book not being purchased.

I continued browsing, wondering if I should call my mom and ask her how one goes about buying a relationship book. None of the titles really appealed to me and all the covers looked a lot alike. Then I saw a bright pink cover that stood out from the others -- mostly because I had seen it before -- Why He Didn’t Call You Back.

I remember seeing this scut on the Today Show telling me about how she runs a matchmaking service and how she interviewed thousands of guys after first dates with her clients to research this book.

It is on, I thought, as I picked up the book and skipped back down to the first floor.

There was no line at the registers, so I walked right up to the one-third nerd that was behind the counter. He asked me if I needed any gift cards or gift receipts and I said no. He then took my books and scanned them. He looked up at me and asked again if I needed a gift receipt. This told me one of two things. Either I don’t look smart enough to read Love in the Time of Cholera or I don’t look like someone who needs Why He Didn’t Call You Back.

And while I wasn’t wearing my glasses, I was wearing a smart looking trench coat and my hair pulled back in a bun. So I am going with the latter.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

If We Were To Touch Would We Collapse The Space/Time Continuum?

It’s confession time again, kiddies.

As you all know I have been rowing. Not only have I enjoyed unleashing my inner competitor, I have enjoyed the camaraderie of being on a team again. There is just something absolutely wonderful about starting your day with a workout followed by fifteen minutes of people telling how great you are and what a terrific job you did and how they can’t wait to see you at the next practice.

It is almost as addictive as crack. Not that I know anything about being addicted to crack. I just hear things.

So this past weekend I got to race with these women (we won) and after, some of the women decided we had earned pancakes. We were in Princeton and stopped on the main drag at PJ’s Pancakes.

I was the youngest person at the table. The other women ranged in ages from mid-thirties to mid-sixties. Only one of them was married.

I couldn’t help but smile as these women talked about the race and the other women that were there and the other boats we beat and, of course, the men that we all saw. Then they talked about our boat and making it faster, the politics of the boathouse and eventually they moved on to talk about their own lives and what they would be doing the rest of the day and the rest of the week.

Why was I smiling? I mean sure, there were parts that were funny. But mostly I was smiling because for 30 minutes I was not even a little bit afraid of growing old single.

Yes, I am admitting that I am scared of growing old alone. Sometimes, the fear is just a little, shy voice I can easily silence. Rarely, it is a loud, cackling, evil sounding person that keeps me up at night, reminding that I am terrified of cats -- which is why it is so funny that I am headed straight down the road to becoming the crazy cat lady.

It is easy to talk a good game when making fun of the jerks that write relationship self-help books and the idiots that read them. But the truth is it scares me at times too.

I worry about what happens when I am the last single girl standing. What happens when my girlfriends can’t spend all night at a new bar getting their drinks paid for by 25 year-olds anymore? What do I do then? Find younger, single friends to hang with at the bars? Will I ever get tired of spending my nights (and money) at bars, meeting guys I know will never call?

I rode back to Philly with one of the women from the boat. She is tall like me, with naturally blonde hair like me, she grew up outside of the city like me, and our coach has commented that we would make perfect pair partners because we have nearly identical strokes. He even went so far as to suggest we could be sisters -- even if we are more than 20 years different in age.
I will call this woman Senior -- as in the senior version of me.

After a few moments of silence, Senior commented on how good the food was, and I agreed. Then she noted that I didn’t eat a lot (see, Senior also likes to look out for me). Then she added that it must of been a lot of fun for me to sit at a table listening to a bunch of old ladies gossip (the women in the boat love to call themselves old).

I laughed and said, “Actually, I really enjoyed it.”

She laughed and rolled her eyes. “I remember when I was your age and would see women my age and would just shudder to think that I would ever be like them. Now I am them.”

I disagreed. “No, really. I mean, I know there is a good chance I will be fifty and single one day, and it sometimes scares me. But sitting with you guys, I wasn’t scared. I realized there is still so much life to be lived.”

And there is. Senior owns her own home, drives a really nice car and to hear her tell it, has really come into her own in her forties and now fifties. She doesn’t worry about the little things that used to bother her so much and she is just really focused on making herself happy. If that means breaking it off with her boyfriend of eight months because he wasn’t capable of giving her what she needs, then so be it.

I breathed in deep and decided growing up to be Senior was not a terrible thing.

It is certainly nothing to be afraid of.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Admit it, You’re Just Not That Into You

For the life of me, I couldn’t understand the purpose of the book He’s Just Not That Into You. I thought Berger did an excellent job giving out this sage advice on what had to be one of my favorite Sex and the City episodes ever. So why the book? Six words, says it all. What else is there to discuss.

Then I got through Chapter One and realized there wasn’t anything else to discuss. Greg (the comedian/Sex and the City consultant that first uttered those six words) was just going to keep yelling them at the reader, while Liz, the executive story editor on SATC, was going to explain to me why his advice was so hard to take.

After the first two chapters of Greg yelling “He’s Just Not That Into You” (of which what is it with comedians and catch phrases?) my eyes were asking for the sweet relief that would come with being gouged out with a spoon. Instead I opted to take my contacts out.

Then I wiped down my bathroom sink.

Hmm, I wondered, when was that last time I cleaned the toilet?

Oh, look, that unused wax from my home waxing kit. Well, I guess I could use some freshening up.

Finally I was out of excuses and had to sit back down and read on. But not before I poured myself a glass of wine.

By the end of Chapter Three, “He’s Just Not That Into You If He’s Not Dating You” I started to wonder if I was too smart of these relationship books.

Then I remembered I haven’t had a date since February. That and when I am in a relationship, I suck at it. So, maybe only stupid people are in relationships.

Oh right, I know a lot of smart people in relationships.


I moved on to Chapter Four, but first I poured another glass of wine, I then thought better of it and decided to just bring the bottle into the living room with me.

By the end of Chapter Four I had had it with Greg and Liz and all the letters and all the stupid advice that ended with “face it, he’s just not that into you.” I was so annoyed I wanted to call up the Republican because I knew it was exactly what Greg wouldn’t want me to do.

Here’s the thing, Greg, I know the Republican is not that into me (and yes, I knew this before I read your stupid book). But I am going to call him anyway just to prove to you how little I value your stupid opinion.

Instead, I put the book (and bottle of wine down) and went to bed.

Day Two -- He’s Not That Into You If He’s Having Sex With Someone Else.

I finally realized why this book bothers me so much. It’s not all of Greg’s yelling (surprisingly) or Liz’s sum up sections titled “Why This Is So Hard” (umm, Liz, it’s not hard). It’s the “letters” from the women justifying their boyfriend’s terrible behavior.

For instance, in Chapter Five, Beth writes that her boyfriend of TWO YEARS admitted he slept with someone else because Beth has gained weight and he no longer finds her attractive. Now Beth wonders if she should break up with him or go to the gym.


Beth, you are so lucky you are not my friend because I would have beaten you until you were dead. Hell, I still might.

Are you kidding me? Greg, Liz, please, help me out here. Tell me that these ‘letters” are really just exaggerated, composites of stories you have heard a friend of a friend tell you. These women aren’t real, right?

Regardless, I settled in my head that the women were either phony or there were only five or six of them, sitting around a table trying to out-do each other with their stupidity. I could handle five or six women like this. So I read on.

But by the end of Chapter 11, I start to fully see what is going on, thanks to Liz. Chapter 11 is dedicated to selfish jerks, bullies and freaks and why you wouldn’t want to date any of them. During Liz’s summation, she states “there aren’t that many good men around.” Which is why she excuses staying with a guy that is really nice to you when you are alone, but belittles you when you are out with your friends. She runs through all the reasons why women must not be too choosy when it comes to finding a guy (including the fact that men want to date younger women so the older you get that fewer options you have). That and being alone sucks. So, why not share your time with a guy that can be really nice at times, even if he completely sucks at other times.

Ahh, now I get it. This book was written for women that don’t like themselves.

Because here’s the thing. I agree, being alone sucks a lot (though sometimes it really rocks -- like when I just want to sit on my couch, drink wine and watch NCIS. If I had a boyfriend, he might want to watch the baseball game -- or knowing my luck -- Fox News). But you know what sucks more -- going to jail on felony assault charges.

Which is what would happen if I was out with my new Ivy League-educated boyfriend and friends and he started correcting my grammar.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thank God That Is Over

Before I begin, I should warn those of you that haven’t read the fourth book of the Twillight series that I am not going to hold anything back in this post. So if you plan on reading it and don’t want anything ruined, hit your back button now.

For the rest of you, read on (that is if you want to -- if you don’t, that is okay too).

So, my dad has this saying whenever I make a decision he doesn’t necessarily agree with. He says, “Tati, you are the only person I know that will fall in shit and come out smelling like a rose.”

He’s a Marine from coal mining country, so this constitutes a compliment from him.

It seems Bella has this same lovely quality, except instead of fixing her mess herself, she finds others to fix it for her. In Book One it was Edward. In Book Two it was Jacob and then Alice. In Book Three it was Edward’s whole family and Jacob’s pack. Now in Book Four, Bella has a baby to make all her problems go away.

Because that is what babies do. They solve problems.

Salty and the Duchess both warned me that Book Four was the most outrageous of the books. And I’m not going to lie, I doubted them. I mean, really? How much more outrageous could a vampire/human/werewolf love triangle get?

Well, for one, the human can get pregnant by the vampire. She can then decide to keep the “baby” not knowing if that is what is growing inside her, despite the fact that it is killing her and will mean, if she can keep her heart beating, becoming a vampire a lot sooner than she had wanted.

What? So she won’t get to go to college or say good-bye to her dad or her friends. Oh, and let’s not forget that your werewolf friends have vowed to kill your vampire friends if they make you a vampire.

No, don’t worry about any of those things when making your decision Bella; just remember that babies make everything better and hide behind Rosalie and die a slow, painful death.

Then, my favorite part, when the little girl is born (while Bella, is burning alive on the inside but staying brave on the outside so Edward doesn’t have to see her hurt) Jacob, who was dead-set on killing the thing, imprints on her. That’s right, kids, Jacob and the baby, Nessie, are soul mates.
And thanks to Nessie being Jacob’s soul mate, the other werewolves can’t kill her as that is an ancient werewolf rule.

What about Charlie? Well you know how dads are. They just want grand-babies. They don’t care if you have to die in the process.

At least she had a little girl. Because if Stephanie Meyer made me believe that Edward was going to be okay naming his son Edward Jacob, I would have thrown the book in a fire. I mean I get it -- Edward is the perfect man. But so is Peyton Manning and I am pretty sure that when Peyton and I have twin boys, he is not going to let me name one Peyton Manning Jr. and the other Tom Brady Manning Jr. And I have never professed to loving Tom.

Of course babies also bring a whole slew of problems. Nessie brought the wrath of the Voultari who decided to kill the whole Cullen clan for allowing this abomination.

For the record the abomination was not naming the little girl Renessme.

But don't worry about that either. Because Nessie (like all babies) was just so cute and lovable and darling, no one could say no to her. Not the other vampires that came to "witness" that she wasn't a vampire baby, but only half-vampire. Not the other witnesses that came to watch the Cullens get torn apart and definitely not he Voultari. I mean come on. Who doesn't love a baby?

I guess a small part of me knew that there was just no way the author was going to kill them all at the end. But still I hoped. After all, I had heard that Book Five was suppose to be Book One again, only this time through Edward’s eyes. That is, until parts of Book Five were leaked and Stephanie announced she would not finish Book Five and that the Twillight series was complete.

Of which, person that leaked that book -- I owe you a steak dinner.

Of course, a sick part of me wants Stephanie to write one more book. Because I really want to see how she deals with Jacob and Nessie taking their relationship to the next level.

Just how would that go? Jacob and Nessie are making out in Nessie’s bed (maybe a sunny day when Edward and Bella decide to go out to their field and just stare at each other’s sparkling body). Nessie puts her hand to Jacob’s cheek and in his head flashes the question, how many other girls have you been with? Jacob hesitates and says only you, Nessie. She presses, wondering if he has ever kissed a girl before and, because Jacob would never lie, he admits he made out with her mother -- twice!

I don’t care if you are soul mates, that is going to give a girl pause.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Rules

I used to have a long list of guys I would and would not date (okay, mostly guys I wouldn’t date).

Some were obvious -- for instance I wouldn’t date men that were shorter than me or men that were married.

Others were less obvious, but none the less important to me. For instance, years and years of experience taught me never to date lawyers, guys that wrestled in high school or guys that grew up in Michigan.

And then I started dating online and none of my rules seemed to help -- not even the one about not dating guys shorter than me as the guys online all lie about their height.

So I threw out all my rules. Well, not all of them. I still wouldn’t date married men. But I did lower my height requirement to 5’10” (yes, I know that is still taller than me, but before this by taller, I always meant taller than me in at least 40 percent of my shoes which meant the guy had to be 6'). Also, I stopped asking my potential mates their thoughts on hunting.

But I didn’t fare any better.

Then the other day, as I was making dinner, Mary J. Blige’s voice came through my Bose speaker. I walked into my living room, turned the volume up and danced and sang back into my kitchen. As I belted out the lyrics along with Mary J. I remembered a guy I dated telling me he hated Mary J. Blige. I shuddered to think that I would spend the rest of my life never again doing what was making me so happy at that moment (yes, dancing and singing to Mary J. when no one is around to judge or laugh at me makes me very happy).

That is when it hit me. I didn’t need less rules. I need more.

In addition to reinstating all my old rules (sorry Michigan), I will gradually add to my list, starting with must not hate Mary J. Blige. I understand if he doesn’t love her or appreciate her, but if he says he hates her -- he’s through.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Chicken Soup for the Single Person’s Soul

I love browsing books.

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself in Rittenhouse Park with no sunscreen and pink shoulders. Unfortunately I had another hour before I had to meet Marie for happy hour, so I stopped into Barnes & Noble. In addition to giving me something to pass the time, B&N has a half decent bathroom where I could freshen-up on the off chance Mr. Tatiana would be out that night.

I started at the Jane Austin table they had set up in front. I then glanced at the covers of the magazines to see if there was anything I had to have, cruised the bestsellers and the new fiction, and eventually found myself on the second floor, facing the ”Relationships and Sex” section.

I appreciate that B&N is so progressive as to separate the two out like that. I imagine there was a time when sex books were just assumed to be in the Relationship section.

Anyway, thinking naughty thoughts I walked over, wondering if I would get up enough courage to pick up and openly read the Cosmo Sutra that was screaming my name. As I turned the corner I saw two teenage girls giggling over a copy of The Joy of Sex. Feeling I needed to set a good example and wanting to believe I was more mature than the two of them, I thoughtfully perused the titles, planning to walk away, “satisfied” that this section held nothing that would interest me.

That is until I came across Dating Makes You Want to Die But You Have to Do it Anyway.

It seems they finally wrote a self-help relationship book for me. I wondered why my Mom had never picked this one up for me as I pulled it down from the shelf and started reading.

With chapter titles like, “We Are in Love (Maybe)” and “It’s Not Me, It’s You -- and Your Erectile Dysfunction,” I could tell this book was like no other. That the back of the book compared itself to a Belarussian arms dealer, was just icing on the cake. I took my copy of the book, and headed to the cash register.

While I don’t know that I believe the premise of the book -- that we all have to date or we will die sad and lonely. I did agree that reading all these other relationship books was creating in me a pit of despair. So I read on.

I then took the first of the books many Cosmo-like quizzes -- am I ready to date -- complete with one correct answer, one brutally honest answer and one that you know (or rather hope) is the really wrong answer, and the answer key for the “mostly A’s” “mostly B’s” and “Mostly C.”

Turns out I am ready to date (or I have perfected my Cosmo-quiz taking technique). I read through the reasons why I am not having sex, and none of them seemed to apply to me (I do know how to dress, thank you very much), so I skipped ahead to the part about meeting my mate (but not before I learned that my (almost) long hair tells guys I am probably high maintenance).
Not too much in this chapter that I didn’t know either. Though, I did laugh out loud a couple of times, and aced another quiz “Do I Make a Good First Impression” (this one was all my quiz-taking skills because I know I make a really lousy first impression).

Then there was information about where to go on your first date. Of course, I am not there yet -- but still it was funny to note that the authors hold alcohol in the same high esteem I do. There was also a debate about whether or not he should pay for the first date or not -- not surprisingly, she said yes, he said no.

The rest of the book goes on like this. Advice you already know on the crucial third date, on saying “I Love You” for the first time, meeting the parents, breaking up, moving in together (though obviously not if you just broke up) and getting married. I stopped taking the quizzes (yes there was a quiz on how to know if you are in love), however I look forward to taking them in the future -- should I ever need to know definitively that I am ready to introduce my fella to my parents (and my Magic 8 Ball is broken).

A point the book made that was near and dear to my heart -- Don’t Cheat. They listed it in the final “don’ts” section, which included “Don’t Get Pissed Off” and “Don’t Kill Yourself.” Finally a book that doesn’t tell me how to deal when my partner cheats or how to prevent my partner from cheating.

After finishing Dr. Phil’s piece of crap book, Dating Makes You Want to Die is exactly what I needed. No, it didn’t provide any sort of insight into the male mind or answer definitively “Why Am I Still Single?” However, I did make me laugh a lot and feel less crazy.

I also found some comfort knowing that I am not the only one giving it up on the third date.

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Favor

Dear Readers, I need to ask you a huge favor. If I ever start sounding like Arthur Kade, please put me down.

I read about him in this month’s Philadelphia Magazine and immediately detested him.

Tatiana wanted to get online and tear this guy apart. I managed to talk her down with a couple glasses of wine and some rational thinking -- after all, isn’t that exactly what this guy wants. More press.

I then thought about it some more and realized that even though this guy lived in my city, and was only a few feet from my house when the article was being written, there was a good chance I would never have to see him. That his existence would have zero effect on my life. It isn’t as if I hang out at the G Lounge or the Spank Bank or any of the other way-cool, exclusive spots this guy hits up. So I would never have to worry about passing by him and hearing him snicker, “she’s a four. She could be a six if she would lose some weight, bleach her hair, get bigger boobs and wear something tighter and lower cut.”

Because you know, if I heard that it would be on like Donkey Kong -- though, when you think about it, if Angelina Jolie isn’t a ten, maybe I should be happy with a four.

But then Theresa read the article and out of boredom googled the son-of-a-motherless-goat. Which is when she learned that he goes to my pool.

And that is when I started to worry. What if that level of douchiness (I know this is not an actual word) is contagious and not something killed by chlorine? Come to think of it, I wonder if the STDs I’m sure he is carrying are killed by chlorine. Can you catch chlamydia from a swimming pool? Man, I should have paid better attention in sixth grade health class.

The thing is, I am totally addicted to my pool. I love lying there, on the white resin chairs, imaging my life is more fabulous than it really is, judging the others around me, all the while baking my skin to a warm, golden brown.

Plus, the day after I have imbibed in maybe a tad too many libations, I find nothing refreshes and renews like a dip in the unheated pool.

So, it looks like I will have to risk catching douchiness (and chlamydia). Fortunately, I am pretty sure penicillin will clear up the clap. I am not sure they have found a cure for DBS (douche bag syndrome).

This is where you come in, Dear Readers. Maybe you won’t want to commit homicide (even though you would be doing the world a great service). At least promise that you will pepper my comments section with such gentle nudges as “umm, honey you are getting a little Artie on us.” I will know that you don’t mean interesting or obscure (that would be “arty”). If that doesn’t work, get tougher. Call me names and point out my grammar errors, question my sexuality. If I still continue to blog about all the amazing times I am having at really exclusive clubs, where everyone knows me, the owners comp me and I have to spend most of my night snapping photogs with guys that I totally could bang, but won’t because they aren’t 10s, well then, just leave. Stop reading me, stop commenting, eventually (fingers crossed) I will fade into oblivion.

Oh, and a word of warning, if you don’t know who Arthur Kade is, and you are going to google him and see what I am talking about -- take my advice, get something to throw up into first. It would be a shame to ruin your keyboard/desk/blouse and skirt.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Where's The Love

Have I ever mentioned that I live on Broad Street?

I do. It is my favorite street in the city. I know there are prettier streets to live on in Philadelphia. Lana lives on Spruce -- that is a very lovely street. And then there are the other streets named for trees, Pine and Walnut, even parts of Chestnut. Then there is Delancey and Green and countless others, I am sure.

But Broad Street to me is the truest representation of our fair city. It encompasses the good and the bad and the ugly, but it is all beautiful to a lover.

I love Philadelphia, not just the pretty parts, but the ugly parts too.

I remembered this last night as I was getting out of my cab after having a late dinner with Salty and the Duchess. It had stopped raining for the moment, and as I looked north to make sure no cars were coming before I crossed, I could see the tall, majesty of Center City. I scurried to the middle of Broad, looked right and took in the grit of South Philly.

I smiled.

The warm feeling stayed with me as I finished crossing, bounded up my stairs and put my key in the lock.

That is when it occurred to me, what was really bothering me about all these relationship books I have been reading. No, it isn’t the notion that I can seemingly trick some poor fellow into marrying me, though that is bothersome. It is that none of them mention love -- or if they do, it is so fleeting I can’t remember it.

Now, I am not so naive as to think as John Lennon did that all you need is love. I look at my own parents marriage and know it was more than love that got them through the last 40 years.
But shouldn’t it start with love? Shouldn’t it start with a tight feeling in your stomach and the uncontrollable urge to smile whenever you are around that person; not some math equation where you determine what x equals when y is what you are willing to do without and z is your future happiness.

Sure, maybe it is the person’s Rittenhouse Square that first attracts your attention. But as you grow and get to know each other more, you start to see your lover’s flaws, your lover’s Kensington, if you will. And they see your Gray’s Ferry. But soon, you can even appreciate those parts too, because you can see beauty in them and you understand that they are part of the whole and without them, he or she just wouldn’t be the same.

None of the books talk about this. They talk about what to wear and what to say and where you can go to mix and mingle. They take you from the first date to several dates, to taking it to the next level to forever and ever. But never do they mention love. Could it be that love doesn’t follow rules or fit into any equations? Maybe you can’t trick love into a commitment. Really, why would you want to? After all, if he or she loves you, shouldn’t wanting to spend the rest of his or her life with you be a no-brainer.

These books are marketed to people looking for love; they are in the “Love and Relationships” section of Barnes and Noble for crying out loud. But I am beginning to wonder if all these books aren’t really written for folks that have given up on love and will settle for companionship.
Maybe I will never find a man that make me feel the way I do about Broad Street, but I think that is a chance I am willing to take.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Ahh, Daddy, Not You Too

I feel terrible for my father.

See, my dad is on Facebook.

This is my own stupid fault. I was home one weekend, talking about our cousins, explaining to my mom and dad how we all came to be back in touch (my extended family is not what anyone would describe as close). They were both intrigued by the social networking site I kept referring to and both wanted to know more. I showed them Facebook and my dad asked how he could join (and what it would cost).

I signed him up, set-up his profile and not since I showed him how to text had I ever seen him so happy.

My mom was relieved, as it would give him something to do on the computer other than look at their dwindling stock portfolio.

I was apprehensive. I received a lot of flack from Ivan and Lana after teaching “crazy-fingers” how to text. I worried they would be equally as annoyed with me about this invasion.

But nothing prepared me for what I fear my dad is now doing on Facebook.

Yesterday, as I sat blissfully staring at the new Starbucks’ barista who isn’t as cute as Zac but is so funny that I can’t help but love him, when my text alert went off.

I expected it to be the Republican, but it was my dad.

“Igor who?”

See, earlier I sent my dad a text letting him know that I had invited my cousin Igor to join our family’s group on Facebook. Something he had asked me (and Lana and Ivan) to do the day before.

So I responded, your nephew Igor.

“Oh.” I could almost hear his sigh across the more than 50 miles that separated us. “I thought maybe it was a rower friend of yours.”

Daddy, I responded, why would I invite a rower friend of mine into our family’s group?

“I thought maybe it was a surprise.”

I rolled my eyes. This is the sort of crap I expect from my mom. She has been pushing marriage on me since I was 17. But my dad? He sends me texts about stupid trades the Eagles make and how he is doing on the erg. When my mother would give me stupid relationship books for Christmas, I would look at my dad and he would throw his arms up and exclaim “Oh, why did you give her that? I told you not to.”

I am daddy’s little girl for Christ's sake. He is suppose to be content being the only man in my life.

But it seems that is no longer the case. Instead he is anxiously waiting for me to add a new member to our family’s network.

And that is when the image of my father, in front of his laptop, scanning all my male friends, looking for Igor and wondering what he would be like for a son-in-law settled into my brain and a tear almost welled up in my eye.

I wondered if, every time his home page announced I made a new male friend, he immediately jumped to that profile to ascertain if this could be his princess’s Mr. Right. Did he stalk all my guy friend’s profiles? Had he already weeded out the the married ones? Oh my god, did he stalked CK’s profile. See, CK and I went to school together, so my dad knew CK and CK’s dad from four years of regattas. Was CK’s profile public? Did my dad know he was single and thus every night before he went to bed, did my dad pray that CK and I would be together forever the way I would if I believed in a god? Would he friend CK and start suggesting he take his daughter out on a date.

Why? Why did I introduce my dad to Facebook?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Why Thank You, Dr. Phil, I Would Love Another Glass of Communal Lemonade

So it took me a while to finish the Dr. Phil relationship book, Love Smart. Not because it was filled with esoteric notions that took time to sink in, but because my years of watching Law and Order has taught me many things, including how to spot a cult leader.

And Love Smart is an induction into the Dr. Phil Cult.

First, he starts by complimenting you. You are a fabulous, wonderful woman that certainly doesn’t need a man to complete her or make her happy. Then he turns on you. But if you insist on wanting a man in your life, then you are going to need to do a lot of work. You are desperate and everyone knows it and nothing repels a potential mate like the smell of desperation. You also have to start loving yourself, because right now you don’t. Oh, and you are going to have to stop making all those same stupid mistakes you have been making. Don’t know what I am talking about? Well, why don’t we look at all your failed relationships and see what you did wrong. Finally, he reassures you that no matter how screwed up you are (and believe him, you are screwed up) he can save you.

So every time I found myself thinking, “Wow, that makes a lot of sense.” I forced myself to put the book down.

Unfortunately all this stop-and-go reading left me a little befuddled at the end of it. The last line in particular, “And on a cold winter’s night a lonely dog howled at a distant moon” made me wonder if I hadn’t accidentally finished the last of the Twilight novels instead.

As such, I had to go back and review my notes and my worksheets (yes, I completed the worksheets. I take loving smart very seriously) to fully understand just what Dr. Phil was telling me.

Okay, I now knew that my Mr. 80 percent (because, ladies, there are no perfect men out there, we have to be willing to compromise and settle for Mr. Almost Perfect) would be social, intelligent, funny, honest, supportive, motivated and tall (I decided I could live with a guy that wasn’t street-smart, unpredictable, disciplined or still have a full head of hair).

In Chapter Three I learned more about who I was. According to Dr. Phil, dating was little more than marketing yourself. And to better market yourself, you had better know the product. So I am smart, pretty, athletic, competitive, social, funny and tall.

Oh, and did I mention I like to have sex.

You would think this last part wasn’t very important, but after i got through the marketing myself section and the “finding your inner bride” section where we worked on my domestic skills and my looks and my weight and my style. We then covered where I should be hunting (man, do I love hunting metaphors), and we reviewed my “Guy-Q.” Dr. Phil then taught me how to determine if the guy I caught measured up or if I should throw him back (oh good, a fishing metaphor too), we finally got to the “Bag ‘em, Tag ‘em, Take ‘em Home” section where I learned how to get him to take it to the next level. Also known as the art of the negotiation section.
In this section I learned that men aren’t necessarily afraid to commit, they just don’t share women’s sense of urgency. After all, they are not sitting there with a big expiration date stamped across their bellies. So, we need to make them sense our urgency.

How do we do that? By withholding sex of course.

Oh, and appealing to their competitive side by not always being available to them.

And this isn’t just Dr. Phil saying this, he cites a survey done by Rutgers University which lists as the number one reason why men will not commit to marriage is because they don’t need to buy the cow when they can get the milk for free.

Did I mention I love being compared to a cow. Seriously, I do. Almost as much as I love being compared to fried fish.

But wait, in the last chapter (which of course was most fresh in my mind), Dr. Phil also told me that I don’t need to try to be someone I am not. And I am someone that likes sex. So, how am I to get a commitment from a man if I want to have sex just as much as he does. Does this mean I don’t deserve a love to last a lifetime? Didn’t Dr. Phil tell me I was wonderful and fabulous and deserved just that sort of love.

And that is when the wheels in my pretty little head started to turn. Of course. It was right there the whole time. I need to keep a piece on the side until I get the three karats on my ring finger.

Dr. Phil really is a genius.

I mean, how else am I suppose to get the one I want, without sacrificing who I am. When we get to the point where I am ready to take it to the next level, and so is he (so to speak), I will simply tell him that he isn’t getting any nookie from my cookie (or whatever) until I have a ring on my finger. Even then, we should probably wait until the honeymoon, I mean, wouldn’t that make it more special. I will then go on to explain that until he is ready to make this commitment to me, I will continue to utilize my booty call (whose number I haven’t erased from my cell phone), because honesty is always the best policy and this knowledge of another man getting my goodies will appeal to his competitive side. Right?

I’ll even let him keep a piece on the side until we make the long walk down the aisle. After all, if they are having sex, I obviously don’t have to worry about him leaving me for her.

If only I had known how useful this book was I would have read it when my mom first got it for me.