Friday, July 17, 2009

I won't be on a commercial

So a friend of mine will be getting married next August thanks to My experience was not such a fairytale. In fairness to the site, I am cynical and make fun of just about everyone. I was picky and only went out a few times, each one flavored with a delicious bitter-sweet taste of the bad date that makes a good story.

Date #1: Bike by Dating
I had set up a date with a guy named Josh. His headline on Match was "Loser Seeks Winner", but since there is rarely truth in advertising I ignored it. We had been emailing and decided to meet at a local coffee shop. He asked me to call to confirm. No problem. However when I called him he was either disoriented, high or just had a lobotomy. I want to cancel, though friends think I need to "give it a shot". I get to the cafe and he is late. I am absolutely thrilled, and I hope he doesn't show. I make a mental note that I will give him 15 minutes before taking off. 13 minutes go by, I burn my tongue drinking my hot chocolate so fast and dash out the door. I get a call about 17 minutes after the scheduled date time....
J: I'm here. Your not here.
K: I was there, but thought you werent coming.
J: I was coming, I'm here now.
K: Oh, I'm not there.
J: Do you want to come back?
K: No thanks, I think I'll head home for the night.

I am recounting this story to my sister when I need to interrupt her. "Um, hold on, he's tapping on my window now, he just pulled up on his bike." As I pull over (out of politeness), I see him pedaling away in the opposite direction.

He emailed me again to set up another date, I don't remember how I politely turned him down, but I know I did.

Date #2
Nice guy, but awkward laugh, really awkward. Infact his demeanor was quite awkward. Also he was my height and I'm barely 5'3. Awkward, awkward, awkward.

Date #3
Compulsive lip licker. I was told I was being picky about this and went on a second date with him. His constant lip licking made me think I needed to lick my lips, then the more I thought about it the more it became a compulsion for me. It was like we were playing the mirror game.

He dislikes menu items named after nonfamous people. "Who is Rachel? Why do I care about what sandwich she created?", he muses. He goes onto name several menu items that are named after people he doesn't know and why he doesn't understand them. I like sandwiches, regardless of their name, a sure sign that this will not work out.

He also itemized the bill- I had ordered a house glass of white wine and a small ceasar salad, none the less I antied up the $11. I can sum up the 2nd entire date in a text I sent to my friend Meghan, "It's not going well. I think he's a republican and he doesn't find me funny."

No matter what your political preference you should find me funny, and if you don't, you are in for a world of pain if you try to date me. Because, frankly I find me funny.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Keep Wild Cards in Uno

I've obviously had a lot of fantastic ideas in my day, hence the title of my blog. So when a writer friend recently sent out a request for stories of the terrible things people do to their significant others, I knew I had to have something that fit the bill.

This story is a contrast of maturity. I was 21 and a semester away from graduation. I had been with my boyfriend Brian for 4 and a half years. He was the only guy I had ever been with. This is the part where I applaud my 21 year old maturity. I was thinking in terms of the future and feared that I might meet some regrets in my thirties if I married the only guy I'd ever been with. Actually the lyrics from Mary Chapin Carpenters song, "He Thinks He'll Keep Her" (which I had won a CD of at a 10'th birthday party in which we went to the Wyoming Valley Mall where a KRZ DJ was giving out CDs), stayed with me and haunted me. I decided to be honest with him and talk to him about my fears of being 36 and meeting him at our door. He swore he didn't have the same concerns, that he was sure about me.

About a week or so later, I come home from a grueling 4 hour shift of recieving prank phone calls at the Ithaca College information desk to an instant message (remember those?) saying "Ask your boyfriend what he's really doing." Apparently a girl in Brian's dorm decided to rat him out for kissing a chubby 18 year old. I know she is chubby because she had a link with pictures on her AIM profile. It was before the days of facebook so finding this out was not so easy. She wore overall shorts. Why this is relevant to my story, I don't know. Wait I do, I want you to know she was easily resistible.

I'll paraphrase the many sobbing conversations and negotiations, and cut to the moment of my shining idea: A Wild Card. This is the contrast of maturity where I wonder what I was thinking. The wild card meant that I could make out with someone else and then we would be even. In retrospect, I could have realized this would fail had I observed any playground interactions. When does someone hurt someone else and then when they hurt them back they call it a day?

I picked a friend of a friend to have the honor of being my wild card. It was not as simple as the term "wild card" suggests. There was more than one encounter and I got attached. It became a horrifically long and drawn out break up with a Real World-Esque Vacation thrown in (I will one day write a blog about the legendary Ocean City trip). This wild card ended my relationship, nearly destroyed one of my friendships, and my wild card and I never got together.

Brian is married and my wild card is married with two children. I can hold on to the fact that Mary Chapin Carpenter will never write a song about me.

Oh, and one of my student's math games has these cards simply labeled "Wild Card" in all caps, I have removed them from the deck.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Drive by Dating

People always ask couples how long they've been together. I wish people would evaluate my worth based on how many people beep a car horn at me. The answer is, in a word, lots. Call me conceited, but do so knowing that, as I explain the difference to my 3rd graders, that this is a fact and not an opinion. Also please weigh this alongside the other fact: that no one actually buys me dinner or takes me out, or spends more than the standard red light "hollerin'". I have been single for nearly 2.5 years or 48 car horn beeps.

This week:
Monday: 4 horn beeps/waves. 0 anything else resembling human contact.

Tuesday: A guy told me when I cross the street, "it looks like a commercial," he then asked me to be in his music video. I informed him that my dad was on the phone then tried to escape into a restaurant that was closed. After a few pushes on the door, the man then let me know, "It looks like it's closed baby."

Yep, this is it folks. My last exciting date was a year ago and he hasn't been beeping any horns in my direction. I would though love to carry through on the following scenario:

Guy beeps horn at me and gets caught at red light. I climb into the drivers seat. I interrogate. "You want this?", "What about a nice dinner?", "What about some commitment?", "You want to wear a wedding band?", "You want kids?". Each request exceeds the previous one with shrillness. Then while the driver is shocked I smack him in the forehead V-8 style and say, "Yeah that's right," and I'm out the door before the light turns green. He speeds off lesson learned.

You beep it, you bought it, sucka.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Mary's Complete Eulogy

It's been just over a week since Mary died and to put it ever so simply. I'm sad. I've experienced many different types of loss, and each comes accompanied with a bit of regret and sorrow for the person who has died. Mary's death came with none of that. I have no regrets, and Mary died exactly as she would have wanted to. She went in her sleep during the 5:00 news.

I had shortened this for the funeral, but here is all that I would have wanted to say (a) if I wasn't worried about Stevie (her 94 year old husband) sitting through the service and (b) if I didn't need to edit it for the Catholic Church.

“What are you celebrating?” was one of Mary’s multi-purpose phrases. It could refer to an outfit, a haircut, or just her fancy way of asking you why you were taking so long. It was always rhetorical, but today I am going to answer what we are celebrating.

We’re celebrating the honesty, selflessness and sassy humor that made Mary one of a kind. Mary didn't mince words and I wish that she could have replaced Joan Rivers on the red carpet. I wouldn't want her to have dressed up at all, but instead wear one of her standard "uniforms" (like her infamous slippers) and comment on how people "got fat", or ask them, "What, did you stop combing your hair?"

Some of my favorite perspectives that Mary had on the world are as follows:
Mary, on psychology: “I got a lot of problems, but I’d never pay someone to listen to them.”

Mary, on love and dating as a 27 year old: "Well, I guess your going to end up alone." Time for me was indeed up. I had to inform her that not everyone's mother gave them notes to go into the Beer Garden at 18 (this was how Mary met her husband 64 years earlier)

Mary, on technology: When I was explaining to her that she could set her new coffee pot to turn on the coffee before she woke up, Mary asked me “How does it know when I get up?” When I explained to her that she had to program it, she asked me, “How do I know when I’m going to get up?”

Mary, on diversity: "You have black friends?! Well, that's okay."

I will always carry with me these gems, plus many, many more. I’ll also remember the most important thing that Mary taught me. That family is not always blood related and that you never know who will become an integral part of your life. The janitors at my mother’s school became my parent’s landlords, then their friends, then my babysitter and simultaneously our family.

Thank you Mary for giving us something to celebrate.

It Was The One Armed Man

After finding out my fiance was gay and suddenly needing to move, I turned to Craigslist to deliver to me a roommate and confidant. I narrowed my search down to finding a fellow single gal. I fantasized about us having late night talks and mixing our social circles. I thought of how I'd meet my new boyfriend through her and we'd laugh at my wedding reception how it all began on a site that listed yard sales and sex opportunities. I envisioned strangers stopping to tell us how our witty banter belonged on HBO, or at worst Fox.

Reality quickly bitch slapped the fantasy right out of me. Turns out not many people are rushing to live with a single 25 year old stranger. My new roommate Kira was nothing that I had hoped. Upon first looking at her she looked like a personified version of a wet sweater crammed into a dresser drawer for months. Her laugh annoyed me to the point of suicidal idealizations. She claimed to love cats. crosswords and gardening, but in reality enjoyed bringing home strangers of both sexes. Strangers that would use my bath towel, wear scrunchies with sweatpants and combat boots, or pass out in my bathroom in their own vomit blocking the toilet.

Among the slew of strangers that paraded in and out of my door, there's one particular night of stomach turning awkwardness that remains tattooed on my brain. Actually, it's probably the back of my brain, since I had repressed this memory until last night when my father asked me if I had ever seen "The Fugitive".

I had made the mistake to assume, "Do you mind if I have two of my guy friends over?" meant "Do you mind if I have two of my guys over?". Unfortunately it meant, "If I have a guy I'm interested in over, will you please take his friend?" Hey, you live you learn.

Kira prepped me with the visit by letting me know that Tim only had one arm. I'm not really sure what the socially acceptable response to that is. I thought "Okay" would suffice. I thought maybe she was giving me a heads up, maybe others had encountered this poor man and gawked or screamed. I again mistakenly took something as face value and moved on.

The evening began in a fairly low key fashion with beer and burgers. It progressed into a game of Taboo, which quickly became awkward when I needed to make my one armed partner give the clue for "Amputee". As I said pass, Kira was quick to lean over me and give the poor guy the clue, "You are this..." That was the tipping point to me saying that I was getting tired and needed to get some sleep. Kira quickly cornered me, questioned me, and guilted me. She wanted to know what my problem was, didn't I like Tim, was I being discriminatory about his one arm. I assured her that I wasn't quite sure what my specific problem was, that I wasn't discriminating and that I just wasn't feeling dating right now. She countered this point with a suggestion that I go into my room to show Tim my scrapbooks and let him sleep in my bed. Up until this point in my life I hadn't considered my scrapbooks to be an aphrodisiac, and again made the mistake of thinking that a one word answer, in this case "No", would suffice.

As I was announcing my departure to bed, my wonderful roommate chimed in that I had some great scrapbooks. My rebuttal was that the books where under my bed and couldn't be removed without moving the entire bedframe. I thought this would clearly end the discussion, but again, I was sadly mistaken. My roommate pushed the issue and the next thing I knew, Tim was holding my bed frame up. He then asked me, "Can you pull the scrapbooks out? I would but I only have one arm." The newness of this particular situation struck me dumb. I pulled out my Tuppaware box of scrapbooks and watched as Tim opened to a page of me getting engaged. There I stood smiling at Fenway park with my fiance, having no idea that he was soliciting men for sex online. I looked at the bizarre picture in this increasingly bizarre situation and didn't know if I should assign it laughter or tears. Tim tried to coax me onto the bed, tried to rub my back with his good arm, as I had this sad little thought of "this is my life".

Drama ensued as I asked him to leave, which he said he would do but that he would then drive home drunk. Most people wouldn't want to be responsible for causing an amputee to go on a drunk driving rampage, but as this point in the evening I was okay with it.

Only later did this story become humorous. I recounted it to my aunt with confidence saying that, even though this guy was camping out in my room that I felt confident in my ability to fight him off. My aunt quickly replied with, "You've obviously never seen The Fugitive." I had infact seen the movie years before and suddenly could relate to a situation that would make you jump down a cascading waterfall over jagged rocks.