Thursday, January 27, 2011

Truth Changes

Back when I still thought being head cheerleader would solve all my problems, I had a teacher that wanted to explain truth to a bunch of 17-year-olds.

She asked us, using me as an example, if my mother came into my bedroom when I was sleeping and told me she loved me, and the following day I was asked “When was the last time your mother told me she loved me?” What would be the truthful answer?

Then, let us suppose, that I went home and my mother told me about her late night visit to my room and its purpose, did that mean I lied earlier?

I know I have been talking (err, writing) about truth a lot lately, and there is a reason for that.

I recently learned that Houdini is dating someone I find absolutely deplorable. What bothers me isn’t that he is dating someone, or that he is dating her, really. What bothers me is trying to figure out how Houdini -- or who I thought Houdini was -- can date me and then date her. How can he possibly be attracted to both of us when we are so completely opposite? Was the time Houdini and I spent together a lie or is the guy this despicable woman dating not Houdini?

It would be lovely if it were that easy. But I realized, it’s not. Truth changes.

I think we all want it easy. We want people to fit into neat little boxes. We want the good guy. The bad boy. The hero. The villain. Sadly, however, we aren’t characters in a bad romantic comedy. We are a little more three dimensional than that -- and maybe that is a good thing.

Eff that -- it is a good thing.

See, if we were just characters in a movie, then I would be relegated to the weird, cold, strangely obsessed with things no one else cares about best friend that you like and think is funny, but never know what really happens to and after the credits roll, you completely forget about until you see her again playing another quirky best friend. But I’m more than that.

And so is Houdini.

Whatever he has done since the break-up -- and whatever he does in the future -- doesn’t change what happened between us. It doesn’t make his I love you’s a lie. And if they were a lie, it doesn't change my feelings for him. It doesn’t make my feelings for him stupid or me stupid for having them.

Same holds true for your exes; whether you spent three months with him/her or three years. We can’t know the whole truth. We can only know our truth -- and we have to trust that. And that is true not just about relationships, but about life.

So, I’m not a hypocrite for thinking I could be single and happy forever and now desperately wanting a boyfriend. It also doesn’t mean I can’t be single and happy forever. It just means that who I was when I was 23 isn’t who I am as I turn (cough, cough) 33. And thank goodness for that.

It also means that I may have to find a new way to be happy and single. It may also mean not casting every guy I meet into a convenient role so I don’t have to actually get to know him.

I know it is too late for New Year’s resolutions -- thankfully it isn’t too late for Chinese New Year’s resolutions -- but I think I finally have one (above and beyond the learning French and tennis and loosing a ton of weight). In 2011, I resolve to not dwell in the past and just try to live in the here and now with all the beauty (and sometimes ugliness) that it brings. I'm also not going to spend so much time in the here and now trying to figure out everything I don't know.

Because tomorrow could change everything.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Is Adapting The Same As Evolving?

I’ve been thinking a lot about Bridie’s comment on my last post – and not just because she called it a great post. It has me wondering – has my truth changed?

When I first read the comment I breathed a sigh of relief. Of course. My truth has simply changed. I haven’t been lying to myself. What was fun and exciting when I was younger, simply isn’t any more. I really do have no desire to randomly have sex with strange guys. That I can say for certain because it has been a very long time and I know it is very easy for girls to get action. Still, I refrain from going out and simply saying yes to every quasi-attractive guy I see because I know I won’t enjoy it.

Okay, I might enjoy IT, but I won’t enjoy the next day, or the day after that, or the month after that.

So, yea! I’m not a hypocrite. I celebrated.

Then I got a text message from a friend of a friend saying she was in town, at a bar, watching football and did I want to join them.

Of course I did. There are few things I love more than watching football (doesn’t really matter the team) in a bar, surrounded by people cheering and booing and high-fiving. And since none of my friends were going out for the game, this text message seemed to have come from above.

However, it was a Sunday and I was on my way home from grocery shopping with a reusable bad filled with the makings for a healthy dinner when I got the text message. My responsible side thought I should respond immediately, saying no thank you, go home, make my super healthy dinner, and watch the game while knitting a hat. But The fun side of me started playing the If … Then Game. You know the game – if my hat is already 6.5 inches, then I can go out to the bar. Or, if I get home before kick-off, then I can go out to watch the game. Or, if I get home and Stewart Bradley has not sent me a text message inviting me out to watch the game with him, then I should go meet up with the friend of the friend.

When I got home, the hat was just under 4.5 inches, but the pre-game coverage had just started, and I didn’t have a single text from Stewart Bradley.

Still, I decided not to go. Instead, I put my groceries away, grabbed a beer and sank back into my couch to watch the game at home.

See, the rest of the way home I came up with two pretty good reasons for not going. One, this friend of a friend is in her 20s and my guess was the friends she was hanging out with were all in their 20s and the last thing I wanted to be was the old lady at the bar. Two, I was pretty sure one of the friends the friend of a friend was hanging out with was my brother’s friend, Forbidden Fruit. While I am not about to go out and hook up with a random stranger, I wasn’t sure I could be so steadfast in my resolve not to make out with F Squared. Especially if he was drunk and I could say I was drunk and he was flirting with me.

Oh, don’t judge me. Did you miss the part where I said it has been awhile. A long while.

Back to the point, you will note that neither of my reasons had anything to do with what I actually wanted to do -- which was go to the bar and watch the football game.

So, as I sat there, I asked myself, what has changed? Have I changed or have my circumstances changed? Have I evolved or am I merely adapting? And, again, do the semantics matter?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hypocrisy, A New Fragrance by Tatiana

As you are all aware (or should be – haven’t you been following my pathetic ramblings?) I have recently upped my hunt for a significant other.

You also should know that part of my effort has included opening up time in my schedule to date – time that I have been using to spend with myself.

I’m actually a pretty fascinating person to spend time. For instance, the other night, I challenged myself to really look at why I was suddenly so desirous to have a boyfriend.

“Simple,” I responded. “I’m finally at a point in my life where I am happy, content even. And I want to share that happiness with someone.”

I crossed my arms. “If you are so happy, why do you need someone else in your life?”
I rolled my eyes. “I didn’t say I needed someone. I said I wanted someone.”

“Well, it just seems to me that if you are so happy, you might be hesitant to bring someone in who screw it all up.”

I was aghast. “Are you suggesting I’m not happy?”

“Not at all,” I smirked. “I just find the timing of it all very convenient.”

“And what is that supposed to mean?”

I leaned back in my chair, “You don’t find it interesting that the exact time you want a boyfriend just happens to coincide with the first time in your life more of your friends are in relationships than aren’t?”

I hadn’t thought about it that way and of course I could tell that I hit a nerve. Man, I hate when I get all smug.

When I first moved to Philadelphia I lived with a gay man I will call Keating. And, actually, Keating’s niece (who was my age and how I happened to move into the house) also lived with us. Keating thought it was funny that he was in his 30s living with two, single girls in their early 20s, so he nicknamed our home Keating’s Home for Wayward Girls.

Keating didn’t just provide a roof over our head, three square meals a day, and a cocktail hour everyday, promptly at five, he also provided us an education. I can safely say, without Keating I wouldn’t be the woman you read before you today. He introduced me to Dorothy Parker, Liz Phair, and Martha Stewart. He taught me about art, and music, and people, and food. Cripes, before I met Keating I didn’t like wine. Can you believe there was ever a time in my life that I didn’t like wine?

One of Keating’s concerns about me (he had several) was what he called my Dragon Lady persona. Keating wasn’t a fan of my gruff exterior, my brutal honesty, the way I chewed men up and spit them out just for sport. He suggested I try letting someone in, letting them actually get to know me instead of having them run the deadly obstacle course I had set up around myself. He warned that his sort of attitude would keep me single forever.

My response? How do you think a 22-year-old me would respond? I told him he didn’t know what he was talking about. That if a guy wanted to be with me, he had to accept all of me, including the dragon lady side of me because that is who I am – take it or leave it.

Now, of course, I still believe this. But I think what Keating was trying to get at, and what I didn’t understand then, was that I’m not just a dragon lady. Hell, to be perfectly honest, I’m not even mostly dragon lady. But back when I was a scared 22-year-old, I felt safer as a dragon lady than as someone’s girlfriend.

In my return rant to Keating back in the day, I also added that I loved being single and that I don’t care if I’m single for the rest of my life.

He responded that being single is fun in the your 20s but not so in your 30s and 40s when hanging out at a bar grows tiresome and all of your friends are in relationships.

These are the words that have been ringing in my ears ever since I pointed out to myself that for the first time since the seventh grade I’m single when all of my closest friends have boyfriends.

I mean, I’m still happy being single, right? It’s still fun, right? My sudden urge to have a boyfriend is coming from a desire to share my fun, happy life, not from fear that I am going to be left behind, right? This isn’t some residual effect of the trauma of once being the cheese in the game Farmer and the Dell, right?

I honestly can’t answer these questions. I mean, I’m pretty sure I’m over being selected as the cheese that one time in kindergarten. But the rest are sort of fuzzy. And maybe it shouldn’t matter what my motives are, but it does to me. I have spent the last decade telling anyone that would listen that I am a healthy, happy single woman and that I don’t mind if I spend the rest of my life this way.

Was I lying that whole time?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Three-Monther

In my discussions with friends I have discovered a new, alarming trend in dating that may or may not coincide with the guy phenomenon: the three-month-guy.

The three-month-guy (or as I affectionately like to call him, the three-monther) is someone you date, who comes on strong, seems great, terrific and wonderful, and despite yourself, you find yourself really liking. Sure, you have only known him a short time, but he says and does everything right and hell, he was the first to say the L-word and so maybe, just maybe the universe is finally giving you a break. After all, didn’t you have to endure countless terrible dates (remember the guy that whipped out his third nipple on your first date) and near-heartbreaking rejections, not to mention the sideways glances and questions and sounds of a clock ticking you get from your relatives every Thanksgiving. And just when you have convinced yourself it is okay to let go and like this guy – poof. He disappears. Vanishes into thin air.

Those lucky enough to track down their three-month-guys are always met with some lame excuse about needing to focus on something in their lives that is not your relationship.

Meanwhile, you can't shake the feeling you are being punked. After all, wasn’t he the one who was pushing you two to spend so much time together? He was the one who put this relationship on fast forward. You were just along for the ride. So if he needed more time to focus on his career, school, family, friends, art, or Star Wars collectibles, why didn’t he just take that time? Why couldn’t he just tell you he needed to slow things down? Why does he seem to believe you require so much time and attention? Why couldn’t you two talk about this like grown-ups? What made him think it would be okay to just disappear like that? What made him think you didn’t deserve/earn some sort of explanation for why he was smothering you with affection one day and not returning your calls the next? Did you do something wrong? Say something wrong? Step into some bad lighting? Oh my god, could he be gay?

Somewhere in the middle of all of those questions is the answer – you couldn’t talk about this like grown-ups because he’s not one.

It helps if you think about this guy like your eighth grade boyfriend. Remember him? Remember how you met at a school dance and you two danced all the slow songs together? How he called you that weekend and asked you if you wanted to go out, which meant you two were boyfriend and girlfriend not that you were actually going to go anywhere? The next week he passed you a note that said he loved you. He held your hand while the two of you walk down the hallway, he always met you at your locker between classes and waited after school with you for your bus.

Then wham – you come to school one Monday and he’s not waiting by your locker. By third period you learn over the weekend he ran into Jenny Kline at the mall and now he loves her.

It’s a lot like that.

Just like your eighth grade boyfriend had no real reason for dumping you for your best friend, the three-monther can’t explain why he can’t date you and pursue his lifelong ambition to become a professional base-jumper. Because there isn’t a reason. This isn’t about you. It’s about him. He is essentially still an eighth grade boy who falls for every new shiny object that is out there.

To him, you were just another shiny object to play with for a while, and then discard when he got bored or something newer and shinier came along.

I should point out that not all three-monthers stick around for three-months; some last only three weeks, some make it to six months. So don’t think once you’ve cleared the three month hurdle you are in the clear. Likewise, if you fell for a guy after only a month, when he disappeared, you could still be the latest victim of this trend.

Sadly, I also can’t give you advice on how to treat the three-month-guy mostly because you can’t spot him until after he is gone. I mean I guess I could tell you to be weary of any guy whom you have great chemistry with who comes on strong, but that could mean missing out on something great. After all, there are great guys out there that are ready for a relationship (right?). So short of growing cold and bitter and choosing never to let anyone close to you again, avoiding the three-monther is damn near impossible.

No, I only wanted to draw your attention to this sort of guy so when you find yourself a victim you can reduce the amount of time you spend wallowing in self-loathing and self-doubt. Remember how, back in the eighth grade, you went home and cried and cried and maybe listened to a couple of Chicago songs over and over again until your parents came home and asked what was wrong and in between sobs you told them about what a jerk your boyfriend was and how you hate Jenny but moreover you hate yourself because you aren’t as pretty as Jenny.

Remember what your parents said to you that day? Oh, god, no, not the ugly duckling speech. The other things. About how you are wonderful and perfect and there is nothing wrong with you and that one day you will find someone who appreciates you for the wonderful person you are.

So there’s no need to pull that Chicago 17 CD out from the back of the closet. Think about what your parents said to you then (and your Aunt Tati is saying to you now). Your life isn’t over, you will meet someone else and there is nothing wrong with you. It’s him.

Trust me on this one.

Monday, January 10, 2011

My Black Eye

I woke up the morning after running into Houdini feeling a bit out of sorts. Nothing serious. Just the aftershock of unexpectedly running into someone that has seen you naked and vulnerable and once made you cry.

Maybe more than once.

I took a shower and decided that regardless of how I was feeling on the inside, I was going to look amazing on the outside. I walked over to my closet, pulled out my favorite gray sweater dress, then reached up on my tip-toes to pull down my gray, suede shoe boots.

The box was about a quarter of the way out when I could tell it was empty. Naturally, I pushed it back into place.

Unfortunately the box that was precariously perched on top of it, didn’t slide back into place. Instead, it came crashing down on me; the corner hitting me right in the eye.

Did I mention the box contained a pair of five-inch wedges? I don’t think I realized just how heavy those suckers were until they clocked my in the face.

I ran to my bathroom to assess the damage. My eye was red, and starting to swell. The box had broken skin, only a small amount, just under my. I gently touched the afflicted area and cringed.

It hurt. A lot. As you may recall, I had a date that night with Ringo. I looked at my swollen eye in the mirror and wondered if this was the universe’s way of telling me something.

As I dried my hair, my swollen red eye slowly turned to a swollen black eye. It wasn’t super black – just a little black, I told myself. Plus, I had all day to bring the swelling down. For those of you that don’t know me personally – I have super cold hands. Which is bad because whenever I go to get a manicure the woman painting my nails always exclaims “your hands are so cold” and then, sometimes, she laughs. However, when your shoes attack, freezing cold hands are a bonus and they provide you two ice packs conveniently located at the end of your arms.

I did my make-up, got dressed, and went back to my bathroom for a final look. Even with my hair all fussed up and the 30 pounds of concealer, all I could see was the gash under the swollen, purplish skin around my eye. I was suddenly no longer in the mood for my super cute sweater dress and decided to change.

Now, you know how when you have a zit, it's the only thing you can see but then you are talking to one of your friends and you say something like “and then I woke up this morning with this huge zit in the middle of my forehead” and they respond, what zit? And they mean it. Because you think it is huge, meanwhile no body else notices it.

That is what I was hoping was the deal with my eye. I was hoping that because I could feel it and I knew it happened that whenever I looked in a mirror it was all I could see, but in reality it wasn’t noticeable at all.

That dream started to fade when I got on the subway and I noticed people looking at me and then quickly, guiltily looking away. Of course, maybe I was just being paranoid.

Then I got into work and the first words out of my co-worker Rhoda’s mouth were, “what happened to your eye?”

Still, the piece de resistance (as the French would say) had to be on my way to my date with Ringo. I was running to catch the el and bumped into a woman. She immediately turned on me, looking like she was about to yell, when she stopped and simply said “damn.”

Apparently, my icepacks hands didn’t do the trick.

Four hours later, I was finally home with a pack of frozen edamame on my face and a glass of wine in my hand, wondering if it was just too dark in the bar for Ringo to notice my eye or if he was just being polite by not mentioning it.

I also wondered if my mom would believe my story when she saw me later that week (she did, by the way, but then, she is just as klutzy as I am so she probably had something similar happen to her once).

I also wondered if there was a way I could blame my black eye on Houdini.

But mostly I wondered how the universe was going to top this in 2011.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Arm Warmers and Hockey Socks

I like making people laugh.

I’m also not one to back down from a dare.

And, I’m also a bit of a fashion victim.

It was because these three things combined that I almost found myself standing face-to-face with Houdini in hockey socks and a mini-dress.

Let me explain.

Have you seen the arm warmers that have become all the rage? I’m sure you have and I’m sure you have strong feelings one way or the other about them. Personally, I love them. They are great to wear outside, leaving your fingers free to text, and they are equally as great to wear in the office where the collars on my mod dresses make sweaters impractical but the temperature leaves my bare arms with goose bumps – the men in the office control the thermostat and they insist that it is always too warm. Regardless, the arm warmers rock because they keep me warm and allow me to type.

Of course, there is one downside to the arm warmers and that is they leave my upper arm bare. A fact pointed out to me by a co-worker that we will call Mack. Mack teased me about this (along with others), at one point suggesting he would bring in hockey socks for me to wear.
I never actually expected him to bring in hockey socks for me to wear.

For those of you who haven’t the pleasure of knowing what hockey socks are – let me explain. You know those, striped, knit, probably polyester socks that hockey players wear over their pads and tuck into their skates? Those are hockey socks. For those of you who still don’t know what I am talking about, think acrylic leg warmers – really long, striped, oversize leg warmers.
So there I was, the proud owner of two pairs of hockey socks – that it seems I was being dared to wear. I certainly couldn’t wear them on my arms – I have put on some weight, but not that much weight. So, I was also facing a very awkward work wardrobe dilemma. How the heck was I going to pull off this look?

As luck would have it, our group decided to have a holiday bowling party, which we would be expected to attend straight from work. I found it very hard to believe this was simply a coincidence.

That’s right. I decided to wear the hockey socks (the purple, yellow and white striped pair) to the office bowling party. What does one wear with hockey socks (besides hip pads and skates)? A black mini-dress and textured tights of course. Oh, and arm warmers. Top it all off with bowling shoes and I must say, I was looking mighty fine.

And by mighty fine, I mean completely ridiculous.

But everyone at the bowling alley (at least in the immediate vicinity) worked with me and knew it was a joke. They pointed and laughed and took pictures and whenever I did well (mind you, I bowled a 59, so by well I mean knocked down any pins) they proclaimed that it had to be the socks.

We had so much fun bowling, a couple of us thought it might be fun to continue the party at a bar around the corner.

I took off my bowling shoes and wondered if I should also take off the hockey socks. Sure they were funny at a bowling alley, but they were funny because I looked ridiculous. Which, I guess would still be funny at the bar. But what if I ran into CK at the bar or along the way – he saw enough of me looking ridiculous in college.

So I took the hockey socks off. And while I didn’t run into CK (you know if I was wearing the socks I would have) I did run into someone I didn’t expect to see – Houdini.

There are a lot of embarrassing moments in break-ups. I looked down at my textured stockings and thank the lord this wasn’t one of them.

Of course, I was still wearing the arm warmers – but you know I was rocking those.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

An Affair to Forget

By the middle of this post, you might think I have a drinking problem. Hell, some of you may already think I have a drinking problem. However, I don’t think I have a problem and anytime I do, I check out Texts From Last Night and am reassured that my drinking is within normal levels. Still, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I just ask that you judge me in silence.

The morning after my office’s holiday party, I woke up on my couch, the details of the previous night a little fuzzy. Whenever I find myself in this situation – which isn’t often because I don’t have a problem – I like to go over what I do remember.

I remembered arriving to the office party.

I remembered making flirty eyes at one of my co-workers (I shook my head in shame).

I remembered some old man complimenting me on my barrette (I shuddered).

There was a lot of food at the party, but I couldn’t eat most of it so I kept drinking.

Then the party was over and I met up with friends at a nearby bar, where I saw my cute co-worker but I didn’t talk to him, didn’t even look his way (I smiled).

We were upstairs, my friends introduced me to their other friends. A bunch of names I don’t remember. And one of them was cute. What’s his name.

Oh right, then we were talking and I still didn’t know his name. Did someone distract me when he said his name? Then everyone was leaving. I shared a cab with him and one of his friends. Didn’t know his name either. We dropped his friend off. He suggested we hit up another bar. We did. He ordered our drinks. We talked. We talked a lot. What did we talk about? Oh god – we made out. A lot.

In a bar.

And I don’t know his name.

I squeezed my eyes shut as I remembered that I gave him my number.

And because this is my life he wasn’t one of the countless men whose names I could remember the next day, and whose conversations I repeated in their entirety to my friends in an effort to convince them that there was a real connection, and that I really wanted to call me but never did.

Now I will fast forward through all the embarrassing text messages and the voicemail he left (with his name praise Jesus) and the awkward phone conversation and drop you right in on my date with Ringo (obviously not his real name but a nickname Bridie and I came up with for him).
The first words out Ringo's mouth (after hello) were “Wow, you’re a lot taller than I remember.”
That’s right, readers, I was on a date with a guy who was probably exactly my height, but because I was wearing heels seemed shorter than me. Strike one.

Quick side note here – As I am constantly getting grief about my issues with height I feel it only pertinent to point out that Ringo looked a combination of shocked and disgusted as he uttered the above phrase. Even after I pointed out that I was wearing heels, he didn’t look happy to be on a date with a taller woman.

We sat down and almost immediately I make the huge mistake of asking him what he does. He looked at me blankly and I realized this was probably something we already discussed. After he answered, I apologized, explaining that that night was kind of fuzzy for me.

He smiled and said the evening was a bit of a blur for him too.

Then an awkward silence as we both realized that we could either a) admit just how blurry things were and start over or b) continue on as if it didn’t matter.

I preferred (a); he chose (b).

At some point during this awkward tip-toeing around the basic information we didn’t know about each other he mentioned he’s a Cowboys fan. A Dallas Cowboys fan.

My face twisted up in horror -- it was too sore from my black eye for me to control it. Oh did I mention I had a black eye? Yeah, that story is for another time.

He looked up to see my pained expression and said, “Maybe I should have told you I was a pedophile that likes to kick dogs.”

I smiled, nodded and thought, he’s funny. I could almost look past his height for funny. Too bad he’s a Dallas Cowboys fan. Strike two.

Shortly after realizing I could never introduce this guy to my family, he paid for his beer, and we headed over to the theater to see Black Swan (yep, another totally inappropriate date movie, but this time I didn’t pick it). Very little was said, we even split up because the line to get tickets was so long and I wanted popcorn. We shared my popcorn, both being very careful to never reach for the popcorn at the same time.

During the movie he checked his BlackBerry at least twice. Strike Three, not that I needed a third strike.

After the movie Ringo offered to drive me home (first we would have to walked to his place) but I opted for I cab. I offered him a ride to his place, he declined. We then exchanged a very chaste kiss, which made me smile.

As I pulled away from him to get into the cab, I noticed he was smiling too. Probably thinking the same thing I was – thank god that’s over.

Number of potential boyfriends: back to zero.