Friday, August 27, 2010

How Old Were You The First Time You Fell In Love?

Everyday I get an e-mail alert from Women’s Health. Some days this alert promises me new sex positions I have to try tonight (fat chance of that happening) other days they are offering me the best workout for my body type. One may wonder why I don’t discontinue these alerts to my inbox. Simple really (no, I am not just a glutton for punishment) the alerts also include reminders to sign up for Women’s Health’s daily giveaways.

Everyday Women’s Health gives away some really cool prize one cannot live without, with a grand prize drawing once a month. All one has to do is answer a poll question and then click submit. Have I ever won – no, but still I play everyday. It’s like my version of playing my numbers everyday.

So today, I got my alert (Five Ways to Look Better Naked – an article I devoured having recently learned men do internally criticize our naked bodies and just don’t think “oh my god she’s naked” as Cosmo had promised me). The giveaway was a picnic blanket – maybe not the coolest prize ever, but I have been meaning to take in more shows at the Mann Center and a picnic blanket would come in handy for that sort of outing. So I clicked on the link and the poll question appeared: “How old were you the first time you fell in love?” with the options: Elementary School, Teenage years, College, Post-college, Still waiting!, and Doesn’t apply to me.

Forgetting about the option “Doesn’t apply to me” (when I hit submit 2 percent of the respondents had replied this way – that makes my heart hurt. How can this not apply to you? I think I fall in love all the time. Just this morning I thought I could love a tall guy with a beard at Fourbucks who also ordered an Iced Chai latte with soy.), I paused, wondering just how to answer this question. Typically, I don’t have to give these questions much thought (unless I’m trying to remember just how long it has been since I have had a date or sex). But this one – what do they mean by love?

My gut said elementary school; kindergarten, actually. Michael L. He lived down the street from me. He had red hair and a carrying case with 99 different colored crayons. I used to walk by his house wearing just my purple Miss Piggy bathing suit until he came outside to talk to me, which is when I showed him how good I was at turning cartwheels. Then one day, while playing Farmer in the Dell, Michael broke my heart and picked Jaime K. to be his wife instead of me. Worse than that – I ended up the cheese. For those of you that don’t remember this game – at the end, the cheese stands alone. Oh the humanity.

Was my first love Jason D, the skateboarder I fell for as a teenager? I met him during the summer. He was riding his skateboard, I was walking my dog. He followed me home and wrote my address on his skateboard so he would never forget it. He told me he loved me the moment he first saw me. I thought he was so sweet I let him stick his tongue in my mouth. But was that love?

Did I love the One, or did I love the idea of the One? Did I love Wharton or did I love the way Wharton made me feel? Did I love the Douchebag? I trusted him, but is that the same as loving someone?

Mind you, I have never actually uttered the words “I love you” to anyone outside of my family so maybe I should have hit the “Still waiting!” button. But I hate exclamation points (as most of you know), especially unnecessary exclamation points.

So, in the end I went with elementary school when I remembered that I may have written “I love you” on the back of my school photo that I gave to Michael. That and he always let me color with his pink crayon (before he dumped me for that slut Jaime). And if that isn’t love, then I don’t know what is.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I Got A Magic Skirt

Some of you may remember that a couple of months ago I was debating moving from my pad on Broad Street to somewhere a little bit quieter. After getting some feedback from you, I decided it was time to fly the coup.

Oh, just a quick side note here: for any of you out there in cyberland that find yourself in a situation similar to the one I was in – don’t be afraid to talk to your landlord when the time comes to renew your lease. I didn’t (because I was afraid and because I had already found a new place) but when I gave my notice, he was very amenable, asking what he could do to keep me. As I later learned from friends of mine that are also landlords, good, paying tenants aren’t always easy to find, so when they have one, they want to keep him or her. Important note for landlords out there: if you have a good tenant that you want to keep because she is quiet and never complains and always pays her rent on time, you may want to rethink raising her rent every year. Just sayin’.

Okay, now back to my skirt.

One of my last nights at my old place, I had the girls over to sit on my stoop, drink wine, reminisce and make some last minute decisions about what to do with things I wasn’t sure about taking to the new place – including some clothes. So, a la Carrie and the girls in the first Sex in the City Movie, Salty, Marie and Bridie laid across my bed as I pulled the unloved items from my closet.

Somewhere in the middle of this mayhem, after we determined I only need two (not six) strappy, black mini-dresses and that I would never be preppy enough to wear argyle, I pulled from my closet my lucky skirt.

My lucky skirt, soon to be referred to as my magic skirt. I bought her when I was still in college and needed something fun, but dressy, but also sexy without being slutty to wear to a banquet where both my parents and CK would be. You would think something I bought more than 10 years ago would be hopelessly out of style, but she is just a simple greenish-blue, wrap skirt that still looks pretty good – mostly because I rarely wear her. She is much to powerful to wield regularly.

The first night I wore the skirt I swear to god CK flirted with me. Of course, it is only in hindsight that I realize he was flirting, at the time, I was so nervous that he was talking to me, I smiled, nodded and walked away. I still shake my head in disgust about what a dolt I was.
The second time I wore her, when crossing Walnut Street, Bridie and I overheard some guy exclaim to his car full of friends, did you see that girl’s skirt. Bridie stopped me, “Did you hear that guy?”

I smiled.

She looked down at my skirt, “That thing is magical.”

The third time I wore the skirt – I met Hung. I don’t think I need to go into any more detail about why that night was awesome.

The fourth (and final) time I wore it was to Wharton’s going away party. Except I never made it to the party. Wharton was being a bit of a jackass (at least in my mojito-clouded opinion) and I decided he didn’t deserve to see me in the skirt.

I’m not sure why I never wore it again. Maybe I was afraid it’s magic had worn off or maybe I just didn’t have the occasion to wear it. But when it came time to clean out the closet, I decided it was time to pass the magic skirt on to someone else.

When Bridie saw that I was giving it away she was shocked and asked me what the heck I was thinking. And maybe it was because I had too much wine. Or maybe it was because I was surrounded by the women that love me the most. Whatever it was, I decided to be honest. Because the truth was it had nothing to do with passing the magic on to someone else (have I ever been that magnanimous?). I just didn’t feel like the same girl that wore that skirt.

Worse, I wasn’t sure I could ever be her again. So why have that reminder hanging in my closet.
A couple of days later, Salty was coming over to help me take my oversized, industrial trash bags to the Goodwill. I was pulling the third bag from the back room when I noticed my lucky skirt had escaped and was half hiding underneath a bookshelf. I inspected the bag for tears but found none. It seems, while I was ready to be done with the magic skirt, she wasn’t done with me.
I scooped her off the floor and stuffed her into my pocketbook.

Maybe there was some space for her in my future after all.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Jason Statham Exception

Did I ever tell you how much I love a good action movie? Well, I do. I even love a really bad one.

So when Bridie suggested we could see a movie this past weekend, my eyes lit up. “Can we see the Expendables.”
Now, I expected her to say, “Absolutely not.” I didn’t expect her to then look the movie up online and say, “You know what? Sure.”

I could hardly contain myself. At the pool on Saturday it was pretty much all I could think about. So much so, that when we walked by two guys that were just hanging out and Bridie asked, “were either of them cute?” I had to quickly make up a lie to cover-up the fact that I didn’t even notice them. My mind was too occupied with the thought of seeing Sly and Bruce and the Governator and Jason all in the same movie.

Now, before you all start in on my about just how terrible and misogynistic these sort of movies are – believe me, I have heard it all before. And I simply don’t care. I love action movies. I love the explosions and the excessive violence and the way they snap people’s necks and break people’s backs and the impossibly convoluted plotlines and the improbable way that all the good guys come back to life in the end and yes, even the terrible acting. The terrible acting is what makes all those one liners so effin’ funny.

After all, would “I’ll be back,” be half as catchy if it were delivered by a good actor? I’ve never actually noticed but I bet that phrase is uttered in dozens of movies and t.v. shows by countless actors – yet we all associate it with Ah-nold.

Not to mention, I really don’t think the acting is all that bad. For instance, while watching him in Expendables, Jason Statham totally sold me as a badass by day, broken-hearted guy by night. I had no trouble believing that if he were my ex-boyfriend and I called him up because my current boyfriend hit me, he would pick me up on his motorcycle and we would go find the creep. And after putting a serious beat down on him and all is Adidas track pant wearing punk friends, he would say something clever – yet menacing – get back on his bike and we would ride off into the sunset.

I believed it so much that when Jason was telling his on-screen ex-girlfriend (the chick from Buffy the Vampire Slayer that got migraines and could see the future) that she should have waited: that he was worth it, I felt like he was looking into my eyes and saying, “Tati, you shouldn’t have a stupid rule about dating guys under six feet tall. I understand it means giving up all your favorite heels, but believe me, I’m worth it.”

You know what, Jason? I agree. You are totally worth it. For you I will date someone that is 5’11”.

So long as that someone is either you or also a mercenary with a really cute British accent.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Me, The Jerk and

Contrary to what you may believe, I didn’t leave because the only guys “winking” at me clearly hadn't read my profile – that, or they didn’t believe me when I said I wasn’t looking for someone in their 50s with kids and cats and a house in the suburbs. The ones that really made me laugh were the ones that were also 5’8”.

Honestly, though, I probably could have suffered through another month of that. I probably could have also endured another month of e-mailing with potential matches, wondering when the heck he was going to ask for my number or try to set up a date.

Yes, I could have endured all of that and so much more had I never stumbled upon the Jerk’s profile.

The Jerk, I really wish I had a better name for him, but I don’t, he is simply a jerk, is an acquaintance of mine – a friend of a friend of another friend that I see out occasionally and after he leaves I ask the friend – why the hell do you put up with him? She just shrugs her shoulders and says she doesn’t know. The Jerk is tall, with dark hair and dark skin (thanks, I'm sure to a tanning salon membership). He has an impressive job and I even thought he was good looking, once upon a time.

Then he opened his mouth.

The Jerk knows more about everything than everybody. The Jerk once argued with me about trends in pocketbooks. Women’s pocketbooks. He thought he knew more about women’s pocketbooks than me.

The Jerk loves pointing out the designers he is wearing – even when it is obvious by the little guy on the horse stitched on the breast of the shirt.

The Jerk also likes to name drop. Mind you, we live in Philadelphia, so you can only imagine the names he is dropping. Most days I don’t know the people he is talking about and I make a point of asking him, “who?” His other favorite thing to do is just say a person’s first name. “Oh, yeah, I was at this party with Chase and Jen.” Umm, yeah, sure you were.

And then one day, I log onto and see that The Jerk viewed my profile.

At first I didn’t recognize him – his profile shot has more scenery than face in it. So I clicked on his screen name and then through his photos. And since I was already there and since was going to tell him I was there, I figured what the heck, let’s read what he has to say. I really wish I hadn’t.

By the end of the profile I was nauseated. Not by what he said, but by all the stuff he didn’t say. Where was the line about only dating “women” in their early 20s because they “aim to please” and come with significantly less baggage? Or the stories about dropping hundreds of dollars on bottles of vodka to skip the line at a club in South Beach. What about the fact that one of his favorite things is to pause during sex to check himself out in one of the many mirrors set up around his room (or so I heard).

None of that was there. Instead it was all “enjoying good food and checking out new restaurants in the city,” and “hanging out with friends at the shore,” and “watching foreign films and reading the classics.” He listed his favorite book as The Fountainhead. I could taste vomit as I realized if I didn’t know better, I would probably e-mail this guy. I would probably spend 20, maybe even 30 minutes working on something clever and cute and charming but not crazy or over-telling to send him and then would obsessively check my e-mail and account to see if he returned my e-mail or viewed my profile again.

And down the rabbit hole my mind went. All of these guys that I'm e-mailing, every last one of them could be just like the Jerk. Well, maybe not just like him – I have to believe he is one of a kind. But they all could be really cool and funny and interesting online, but complete weirdos in real life. No body is going to list their bad traits. I didn’t include the fact that I like the smell of my own hair, except on most Sundays when I tend to not wash it and I write a blog about my life so if you go on a date with me chances are my 27 readers are going to hear all about it. So what is hiding behind their profile smiles and list of favorite hot spots?

I know that there are just as many fakes and phonies in the real world – but here it is easier to see through them. I knew the Jerk was, well, a jerk, after only listening to him for 15 minutes. In world, it could have been a month (or more) before I figured that out. And I’m paying for that time, where as in the real world, I got a free drink out of it.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

This Year's Birthday Present to Myself

I was sitting at a table with four of the greatest women I know, having just polished off a fantastic meal, some decadent desserts and a couple bottles of wine. Bridie look over at me and asked, “So, any plans for your thirty-second year?”

“Yeah,” I nodded. “I’m going to try to stop obsessing over things I have little or no control.”

Salty nodded, “That would be nice.”

“And,” I smiled. “I’m going to stop being so mean to myself.”

“I like that,” Bridie smiled and lifted her glass in my direction.

However, I can’t take complete credit for that last one.

I recently read Women, Food and God, a book I keep mistakenly referring to as "Women, Love and God," a Freudian Slip the author would have a field day with if she ever heard me make it. I never considered myself an emotional eater, having been raised by one I know what they look like. But when I was laid-off last year, I found myself eating to excess every a lot. I started to notice that every time I got anxious or scared or upset, I would get something to eat. So when I heard about this book, I was definitely interested in reading it.

In the book, the author writes about how we talk to ourselves. The things we say to ourselves everyday and how hurtful and awful they are and how we would never let anyone ever say anything like that to us, but we take it from ourselves all the time.

A thousand years ago (or nine) Bridie and I were at a bar with friends. One friend was talking to two guys and as I headed towards the ladies’ room, I stopped by to make sure she didn’t need rescuing. One of the two guys, we’ll call him Mutt, turned to me and asked, “Which of us do you think is the most athletic?” I looked at Mutt, tall, well-built, attractive in a frat-boy sort of way, then at his friend, we’ll call him Jeff, shorter and skinnier, but also cute in geeky sort of way. I immediately knew what the answer was supposed to be.

However, I have never been a fan of doing what I am supposed to do, so I asked, “Of the whole group or just between the two of you?”

Mutt shrugged a shoulder and said, “The whole group.”

I nodded and replied, “Me.” Maybe I also smiled.

Mutt was aghast. “How can you say that? You don’t even know me.”

This confused me, seeing that Mutt didn’t know me, which is what I tried pointing out to him but he just kept insisting that I couldn’t possibly answer that way since I didn’t know him. I then countered, that in all fairness, then I shouldn’t have been asked the question. But since I was, I gave my best answer. I then walked away, wondering what those two guys could have been saying to keep my friend interested.

A few minutes later, Bridie walked by the group, and Mutt grabbed her arm and asked, “Where did your stupid friend go?”

Bridie, admitted later that she said a silent prayer that this guy was talking about me because she knew it would be fun watching me rip him apart, asked, “Who is my stupid friend?”

“The blonde, with all the hair.”

She smiled. “Let me go get her.” Bridie then found me, relayed the events that just transpired and watched as my face turned red, my eyes narrowed and my nostrils flared. At this point, some of our guy friends had joined us, so as I turned to find Mutt, they followed. I would like to think they did this to protect him, but it was probably to keep me from getting hit.

I won’t detail the barrage of insults I threw at this guy. I’ll just say this: I really don’t like being called stupid and I think I made that very clear to him.

Now, I haven’t thought much about Mutt in the last several years, for a while we would run into him and he would yell loudly, “oh look, it’s the smart girl,” but even that hasn’t happened in some time. Still, when I read this bit about the things we allow ourselves to say to ourselves about ourselves, I immediately thought of him. I almost physically assaulted this complete stranger because he called me stupid – once. I call myself a lot worse things several times a day.

But all that stops at 32. If I even so much as think about insulting myself, I have promised to unleash my 23-year-old self, complete with her denim tube dress and Christina Aguilera fro (what? I thought I looked cute).

Of course, I’m not really sure what my 23-year-old self will do other than hurl more insults, but who knows. She’s had nine years to learn some new tricks. Plus, it seemed to work for Mutt – he never said another nasty thing about me again.

Oh wait. Come to think of it, he did call me a bitch. But I took that as a compliment.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Lesson From My Little Brother

“So, is it weird for you, having Ivan get married before you?”

It was after midnight. I was standing outside my hotel with a number of my brother’s friends contemplating whether I should continue to drink with them or I should just go up to my room, get out of my uncomfortably tight dress and get into my not so comfy bed. Andy, one of Ivan’s Allentown friends, was sitting on a low wall in front of me, smoking a cigarette. He was the one that just asked me whether or not I was upset about Ivan getting married before me.

Now, natural order sort of dictates that I should have attended by younger brother’s wedding with my husband, and possibly a baby bump. Instead, I showed up solo with a bit of a beer (and wine) gut. So I was prepared for this question because I had been asking myself it a lot.

This is the time of year when I typically do my self-assessment and so it was only natural for me to add this to my list of questions: like, how are you feeling about turning another year older? Am I happy where I am at, both physically and metaphysically? Am I still okay being single? Am I still sure I don’t want kids? Then, when I’m not quite sure about any of the answers, I do something to ensure I do have answers the following year. For instance, this year I joined Yeah, I’ll be quitting that real soon.

However, unlike all the other questions I am constantly asking myself, I had an answer for this one.

I nodded down at Andy and said, “You know what? I am.”

The best part is, I meant it.

Most days I am unsure about what I want from my life. Sure, I would love to be a world famous writer, but this new job I have isn't so bad. Maybe it would be okay if I never published a novel, never meet Stewart Bradley, buy a big house in East Falls and have two of his babies. Maybe it would be okay to just stay in South Philly, with my friends and my new apartment, and maybe one day a new puppy. Or maybe that is the worst thing that could possibly happen and in a couple of months I will be bored out of my mind and I can't possibly be happy unless I am a real live writer, touring the country, signing books, and having people as important as Oprah hang on my every word.

But watching my younger brother get married I was suddenly sure of one thing -- I want what he and Alexia have and I’m okay waiting for it. If that means waiting until I am 60 or 70 to get it, that’s fine. If it means I won’t have kids because of it, that's fine too. If it means never getting it because I just never find it – well, I’m pretty sure I’ll survive. Because after seeing how happy in love those two are, I just can’t imagine settling for anything else.