Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Behind the Woo

One of my favorite TV shows is “How I Met Your Mother” which may surprise folks close to me as it doesn’t involve guns, cops, or gratuitous shots of men without their shirts on.

Still, I love it.

Now, a couple of years ago HIMYM (as the cool kids call it) aired “Woo Girls” an episode I didn’t love, though looking back that could be because it cut a little too close to home. As I am not a HIMYM blogger, I will just refer you to this synopsis in case you have no idea what I am talking about.

So the other night, I am out with friends at the Airborne Toxic Event concert and I came across what can only be described as Woo Dudes.

Now, I will concede that if one is to woo, a concert seems a perfectly apropos place to do so. I will even admit to wooing some while I was there. However, even at a concert, there is a time and a place to woo. At the end of a song, for example, or the end of a guitar or drum solo, or after the lead singer comments on how hard rockin’ Philadelphia is.

I don’t expect woos in the middle of a song.

But these dudes wooed then. They wooed in the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of songs. They wooed when one of them brought beers. They wooed when one came back from the bathroom. They were wooing fools.

And it wasn’t just wooing. They also fist-bumped (when will this die?) and air guitared and air drummed and high-fived and double high-fived the night away.

But like the Woo Girls from HIMYM, the Woo Dudes woos didn’t ring true. Maybe it was their neatly pressed, Brooks Brothers button downs tucked into their designer jeans, maybe it was the overzealous air drumming, maybe it was that they kept buying me and my friends beer but didn’t once try to actually talk to us (didn’t even stand near us). The Woo Dudes seemed to be performing (and wooing) not from the heart, but for the benefit of their friends.

As I watched the Woo Dudes it came to me. While the Woo Girls were masking their loneliness with their woos, I felt like the Woo Dudes were using their woos to hide their fear: Fear that they were getting old.

Now, I didn’t have the benefit of subtitles, but if I did, I bet they would have read something like, “I would rather be home reading my daughter a bedtime story.”

Or, “It is really loud right here next to this speaker.”

Or, “I hope they hurry up and play Sometime Around Midnight. I have an early meeting tomorrow morning.”

Or simply, “I’m tired and I want to go home.”

But because they either haven’t figured out that growing up isn’t the same as growing old and neither is a bad thing, or they weren’t sure their friends would understand, they wooed.

Friday, November 18, 2011

All By Myself

So, the one thing that I really missed when I was single (back when I was single but still desperate to be a part of a couple) was going out to bars. I love going to bars. I do. I love having a glass of wine (or beer or vodka) served to me. I love watching TV surrounded by strangers, and eavesdropping on conversations. And since I hate to cook I also, occasionally, like eating at bars.

And when all my friends were single, we went out to bars all the time. Not to get plastered mind you, but most often to have a couple of drinks after work and bitch about our bosses, while scooping out all the cute guys still in suits.

This changed a bit when my friends all became a part of a we. They now had different after work plans – couple plans – dinner plans – plans to go to a bar with other couples.

The obvious solution would be for me to go to a bar by myself. However, this option was so terrifying to me, I instead went on an ill-conceived quest for a new best single girlfriend just so I would have someone to go to a bar with me (don’t you worry there is more to come on those adventures, I assure you).

When that failed, I was left to accept that I might have to give up bars (or at least seriously cut back).

That all changed this week. Yesterday, Midtown Village in Philadelphia celebrated Beaujolais Nouveau Day. As I will never turn down a chance to wear a beret, I was all over this event. Unfortunately, Bridie and Marie had to work, and Salty had dinner plans with other friends.

The day of the event, I decided that despite my close friends not being able to join me, I would still go. I had other friends going and I was sure to run into someone I knew at the event. And if I didn’t, what would be the big deal. I would shop and drink wine and shop some more by myself. Big whoop? (This was the pep talk I was giving myself, by the way).

So I went. And as predicted I met up with friends. And we shopped and drank some free Beaujolais Nouveau and shopped some more. But then they had to leave. And I didn’t want to. I was still having fun and so I checked my phone, but no other friends had sent text messages that they were in the area.

Decision time.

Did I go home too, slightly disappointed.

Or, did I stop by the bar all by myself for an actual glass of wine (we had been drinking from Dixie cups all night).

Emboldened, maybe by the wine, maybe by the French spirit that was all around on 13th Street, I bid my friends adieu (yeah I did) and headed for my favorite wine bar.

Honestly, I don’t know what I was so scared of. After only a couple of minutes of waiting, I ordered my glass of wine, was given a seat by someone leaving, and was eavesdropping on the conversation of the three late-20-somethings sitting next to me.

Late-20-Something, “I just don’t think I should have to settle. (slight louder)
I’m not going to settle. I’m fine being single until the right guy comes along.”
(Friends clink glasses).
It warmed my heart.

Or maybe it was the second glass of wine I ordered.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Why We Need So Many Shoes

For the past couple of weeks I have been plotting the perfect outfit to wear to Bridie’s engagement party. It was extra tricky since I would be going to the party straight from work. I bought several items that came close but they were either too stuffy (for a party) or too slutty (for the office).

Then I stumbled upon the perfect pair of wide leg trousers. I could hear the choirs of angels in perfect harmony as I grabbed my size. Paired with a turtleneck sweater and the right accessories it was as close to perfect as I was going to get.

Of course, by perfect accessories I really meant the shoes.

Now, I have a lot of shoes – no I am not going to tell you my number, that’s personal we’ll just say it is more than most men (not including my brother) but less than Imelda (I hope). As I headed home, I closed my eyes to picture all of my shoes. What pair would pull my whole look together.

My eyes sprung open. Of course. My red patent leather, pointy-toed heels. I sighed with contentment.

This morning, I put on my new pants and my turtleneck sweater, my mom’s diamond earrings (she lent them to me in hopes that the new attorney I work with would notice them and fall in love), and a fun cuff. I grabbed the shoes from their box and slipped them on.


The pants weren’t long enough to support a three-inch heel. And while there was enough hem to let them out, there wasn’t enough time.

I sat back on my bed defeated. I suppose I could wear a loafer, or a ballet flat but neither of those would look as good as a pointy-toe shoe. Besides, as I stood there in a red loafer, the pants were a bit too long for a flat. I really need a kitten heel. A kitten heel on a pointy-toe shoe, preferable in a fun color.

I looked up into my closet willing such a shoe to appear when I recalled that a few years ago I bought just a shoe. There it was, pink with faux snake skin. I had almost completely forgotten about it.

All my happiness and contentment were restored.

Now, I have heard guys complain that women own too many shoes. That they (men) only need three pair, a black pair, a brown pair, and a pair of sneakers. That is all well and good, but just look at all the options us women are faced with.

Flat, kitten heel, mid-size high, high heel, platform, or wedge. Pointy toe, round toe, almond toe, or square toe? Then you need to get all of those in black and brown (and all the variations of brown) and then you need to buy a couple of pairs in whatever color the season dictates as the absolute must have shoe color (apparently several years ago it was pink). Multiply all those various options and you see how it adds up quickly.

And that’s not even counting our boots.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I’m Saving Myself for Ryan Gosling

Now before you get your knickers in a twist: No. I haven’t already given up on my Single-4-Life lifestyle. I’ve been at that a couple of weeks now, and I have to say it has been refreshing. I have finished reading a couple of books, got a lot of work done on rewriting the first novel, and even finally finished knitting a cowl I started in August.

One thing that has been troubling me is how to explain it to people when they ask if I there are any men in my life.

With my close friends it was easy. I told them, they listened, some expressed sympathy for not knowing how crazy I was making myself, all were happy for me, and all implied in some way or another that, you know if, in the meantime, I did meet someone that would be wonderful too.

Which is fine for them to say, but really not what I want to hear.

When I tell others, this last bit is what they really seem to harp on. For example, when I answered a former colleague one night when we were out for drinks that I was taking myself out of the game so I can focus on my work, she responded “be careful. When people say that, the shit really hits the fan and they find themselves married and pregnant, living in the suburbs.”

I smiled. “No, no. No shit. No fan. Nothing of that sort will happen.”

So I had to come up with some other answer to this question that wasn’t a lie, but didn’t leave room for debate (or sympathy).

And then I came across a link to the tumbler account Feminist Ryan Gosling.

Now, It’s not really him, obviously. But it is hysterical and I love it. I love it so much I have decided that the only way I will give up my awesome single life is for (feminist) Ryan Gosling. So, now when people ask I simply explain that I am saving myself for the Gos (he likes itwhen I call him that).

It’s brilliant. People aren’t sure what to make of it. They either laugh because they think I am joking, blink rapidly and walk away because they think I’m crazy or they get all high-and-mighty and ask, “Really? And how are you going to meet Ryan Gosling.”

To which I have the ready response, “When my novel is published, it will become so popular someone will want to make it a movie. R.G. is the perfect person for the male lead, and after reading the script, he will want to read the novel, and after reading the novel he will insist on meeting the cleaver woman that could pen such wit and insight.”

Monday, November 7, 2011

The Bride: Part Two

Just the other day, at my desk, I was reading an email from Salty. We were going to see a show together that night and she was wondering if we should get a drink and maybe a quick bite before the show, and if so, where.

I shot her an email back saying we will definitely need food and drink and I would come up with a place. Later, when I finally focused on it, I had a list of 15 or so places in a matter of minutes. I shot the list to Salty, she responded, picking a place from my list and just like that we had a plan.

Now, about a month ago, Salty and I were sending similar messages back and forth, trying to figure out where we wanted to go for happy hour. It took us all day to make a plan and even then, I wasn’t thrilled about it, despite Salty picking one of my favorite places for happy hour. Why the ennui? If you had asked me then I would have said I was in a funk. With hindsight I realize it was because it was a Friday night and I thought I should have been going to a bar where there was better potential to talk to a guy.

The past several months, everywhere I was, I was sad. I was also anxious, and angry, and disappointed as well. If someone asked I dismissed it as a funk (or claimed I had no idea what they were talking about).

When friends wanted to get together for drinks, I would get annoyed about the place they picked.

When they wanted to get together at someone’s house, I was frustrated we weren’t going out.

When I didn’t have plans with them, I felt like a loser sitting in my apartment, all alone on a weekend night.

When I got back from Spain and people asked if I made out with any hot guys, I felt like a failure when I said no.

Yes. You read that last part right. I felt disappointed in getting to go to Spain with my three best friends: only mildly, but still. What the hell was wrong with me?

On my way back to civilization, in the jeep with my dad, both of us silent, I really started thinking about all the energy I was expending on the quest for a boyfriend. About how when the hot guy at my office is talking to his secretary, I stop working and listen to what he has to say in case he drops some crucial piece of information that I could possibly use later to strike up a conversation.

I thought about the new tattoo I wanted for my birthday, but held off on getting it because I worried that it might make me desirable to a smaller circle of men.

Probably the worst part was that I wasn’t writing. In addition to wondering what to blog about if I wasn’t blogging about guys (a question that should have given me more perspective that it did, sadly) I was also worried that I could possibly meet an awesome guy that wouldn’t want to date me after he learned about my blog. As for my other writing, when did I have time between my various jobs, going out, and obsessively worrying about the fact that I still didn’t have a boyfriend.

Why was I doing this to myself? Was being single really so terrifying?

Actually, it isn’t. I have long known I am really good at being single. I actually like drinking wine and watching movies by myself. I also prefer sleeping in a bed by myself and thanks to my big hands and my father’s instruction, I don’t need a man around to open jars or hang the art I bought in Granada.

I also know that being in a relationship isn’t all walks on the beach and candlelight dinners. It comes with a slew of problems and headaches and heartaches.

So, again, what the hell was wrong with me.

A couple weeks later, on another deck, with another man asking when I was going to find someone that was right for me, it hit me. Probably never.

But it wasn’t a woe’s me probably never. Or I am woman hear me roar probably never. Or even a men suck no one is good enough for me probably never.

Just a probably never because I’m done trying so freakin’ hard.

Instead, I am refocusing that energy. I’m knitting and writing and working on my office at my apartment because I am no longer convinced that I may have to leave Philadelphia to find my mate. I got to spend Halloween weekend not shivering in a slutty version of a costume, but in D.C. cheering for Lana (who finished the Marine Corp Marathon). I have been working, writing, and making plans, all without first wondering how any of it will impact my chances of meeting someone.

Which is how I found myself with Salty at one of our favorite martini bars in the city. As we sat there, chatting with the female bartender, Salty wondered why we don’t come here more often.

I looked around the bar and smiled, “Because there are never any dudes here.” She looked around, smiled, and raised her glass.

Cheers to that.

Friday, November 4, 2011

It’s Not Giving Up: Wherein I Attempt to Explain Why I Haven’t Blogged in So Many Months While Simultaneously Avoiding the Topic Altogether

I apologize in advance at the jumping around this post will do. But to tell this story, I am going to have to go all Tarantino on you folks. And because it is so long, I am going to break it up in two volumes.

A couple of weeks ago, on a deck in the middle of nowhere, the Duke (the Duchess’s beau) was asking me (as he always does) if there were any men in my life. I smiled and shook my head. After the typical notes of disbelief, the Duke then starts telling me about his cousin. I stopped listening until Bridie came out onto the deck and asked, “Are you really trying to set her up with a 50 year old that still lives at home with his parents?”

The Duke shrugged his shoulders innocently. The Duchess pointed out that the 50 year old is a really nice guy. I just laughed.

While, laughter was my normal go to response in these sort of situations, it was then followed my hours of self-doubt, wondering what it says about me that my friends want to set me up with a 50 year old guy that still lives in the suburbs with his parents. Followed by more doubts about whether there is anyone good left. That inevitably led to the plummet of desperation and sadness that I was never going to meet anyone and I would be alone forever which only ever led to the inexplicable resolve to move out of Philadelphia because life would be better in New York City, or Chicago, or Washington, D.C., or San Francisco.

But this time I just laughed and meant it.

See, a couple of weeks before that, on another deck just north of nowhere, I was sitting with my father. He was smoking a cigar, drinking a beer. I was drinking a beer, craving a cigarette. We were both silent, trying to think of something to talk about.

After several failed attempts to engage me in a political debate, he finally asked, “So, is there anything else going on in your life?”

I shrugged my shoulder. “Not really?”

“Any guys?”

I shook my head. “Nope.”

Then my father shocked me. Instead of retreating back into silence he continued “I know you have really high standards, kid. But do me a favor, don’t wait until I’m dead to introduce me to the guy you finally fall in love with. Because I swear, if the first time I meet your boyfriend is at my funeral, I will haunt your honeymoon.”

What a lovely thought.

I attempt to assure my father that my intention is not to wait until he is dead and that I really am trying to find someone. As I say it out loud the truth of it hits me. Recently I have become consumed with meeting someone. I've told friends that I was open to meeting any single guys they know. I never left my apartment without make-up, even when I was leaving to ride my bike for 80 miles. I went on dates with other single girls so that I would have single girlfriends with whom I could go out and meet guys, I hopefully bought pretty underwear, and I agonized over what to wear to the gym. My every free thought is focused on what I can do next to find a boyfriend, which is exactly what I am about to say to him when I taste the bile in my mouth.

I force a smile and instead, off my father the platitudes I typically give him, ending with “Daddy, I am trying, but you know it is hard to find someone good enough for your little princess.”

It’s tough for a father to argue with that sort of logic. But while that answer was enough for my dad, it wasn’t enough for me.

To be continued Monday.