Charming, but single

A journal in dates and drinks

Twice in three days

He called again tonight. I was almost speechless when I looked at the caller ID. We talked for about 25 minutes again. He asked when my bedtime was, and I couldn't tell if that was a hint that he wanted me to come over. I have to be at work at 6:30 a.m. to leave with my boss and my boss' boss to go to a meeting two hours away, so I couldn't have gone even if he had blatantly asked. Still ... The most frustrating thing is that he still hasn't asked me out. And it's driving me crazy. Calling and e-mailing me has to mean he likes me ... so why doesn't he just do it? I mean, I don't bite (unless provoked or encouraged). He did one thing that annoyed me. He brought up this girl who is friends with my friend. She and T made out at a party one time. And then she slept with his good friend. So, anyway, I was annoyed that he asked if I went out with her, and I tried to reply without sounding bitchy. (I don't think that worked.) Anyway, I think I'm going to call him Wednesday before we go out for drinks to see if I can encourage him to come have one with me, even though he's pretty much said no to going out during the week. We'll see. Maybe if I sort of kind of ask him out (but not really), he'll get the picture that I like him a lot. I don't know why I'm so freaked out by all of this. It's been so long since I did the traditional courting thing. I know T is typically more traditional and conservative than he's been with me, so the best I can hope is that he's trying to bring this back to his pace of things, which seems to be less about hooking up and more about traditional dating. But really, why is this so odd? A guy I like is calling me and talking to me about my day and my life. He's asking about what books I'm reading. He wants to know what I think about things. This is actually what I've been saying I wanted ... Why the hell does it feel so weird?

I don't even know what to make of this

So, I'm sitting around Saturday doing a whole lot of nothing when the phone rings. I figured it was one of my friends calling to give me an update on our plans for the evening. Nope. It was T. First, I stared at the caller ID in disbelief. After not calling me for weeks and then sending flirty e-mails, he FINALLY decided to call me. I didn't know whether to be happy or annoyed. Then I got excited and giggled and rejoiced in the sound of my own ringtone. Then I remembered that I couldn't just look at the phone, rather I needed to actually answer it to talk to him. I swear, I had smoother dealings with my sixth grade boyfriend than with this boy. I'd say I am as immature as a 12 year old, but I used to have game back then, apparently. So, I answered the phone (right before it clicked over to voicemail), trying not to sound overly excited, but still wanting to sound happy. He didn't even really say who it was -- he just jumped into, "How are you doing?" and asked if I'd finished Anna Karenina. I told him I was on page 400, mentioned my new job and how it kept me busy. He mentioned that he, too, was in a new job, which totally thrills me because he had been working afternoons and nights, so it made hanging out ridiculous. He started the whole conversation off so casually, as if we talked all of the time and he hadn't neglected to call for weeks. We talked for about a half hour. It was cool, but I have to admit that I'm not a HUGE fan of the phone. I don't mind talking a little bit, but I hate having a conversation for much more than 10 minutes with someone who lives in town. I'd rather just have coffee or drinks or dinner with the person. This was the first time he seemed shy to me. It wasn't that the conversation wasn't good, just that he was a bit more timid than I'm accustomed to getting from him. (My friends said that I'm crazy and that he's always been a shy person and that he only seems to not be shy around me, which was a nice compliment but probably not entirely true.) So, he paused and I asked what he was doing that evening. (Because we'd been on the phone for almost half an hour and I'd yet to discern his purpose for calling, other than to chat. I have nothing against chatting, but most men I've encountered don't call just to chat.) He said he was hanging out for a little bit before going home for a friend's engagement party. (His family lives two or so hours away from my town.) So, we couldn't get together last night. I was disappointed, but I tried not to let it show to much in my voice. He kind of stumbled over his closing, and I was worried that he maybe thought I was annoyed, so I said, "I enjoyed talking to you. Call me so we can hang out soon." He replied that he would like that and that was that. The boy literally called just to chat. After not speaking to me for six weeks and flirting through e-mail, he called to talk to me and didn't ask me out. I left the door wide open and he never did. We even talked about Wednesday night martinis, and he said he didn't like to go out for drinks late during the week. I said, "It just takes a little self control, that's all." He shot back, "In case you haven't been able to tell, self-control is not one of my strong points." And the he laughed this flirty laugh that punctuated his sentiment well. Regardless of what he may have meant, I heard, "I can't control myself around you because you are HOT and CHARMING and WONDERFUL and SEXY." But then he didn't ask me out, which kind of lessened the whole "HOT and CHARMING and WONDERFUL and SEXY" sentiment. It is a good thing that he called and nice to know what he was doing so that I didn't wonder if he was going to call me Saturday night. But the whole thing left me confused. Is he really so shy that he can't ask me out? How can he be so brazen as to practically drag me out of a New Year's party one night and then not even ask me out after a 30-minute conversation? I'm am perplexed, yet slightly excited and totally sexy-feeling. Sort of.

List blogging, round two

Songs I've had stuck in my head this week:

  • "Isn't She Lovely" and "Part-Time Lover" by Stevie Wonder (Damn American Idols on the TV all of the time)
  • "At Last" by Etta James
  • "That's Life" by Frank Sinatra (Came on twice while I was having drinks the other night. I've been singing it in traffic since then)
  • "Thinking Over" by Dana Glover (I don't even know how this one ended up on my computer or who Dana Glover is)
Annoying things about this week:
  • I only got maybe half of my "to do" list finished this week at work. I seriously was lost in the Bermuda Triangle of PR this week.
  • Annoying people who talk to you while you're sitting at your desk, obviously busy and on the phone. (Bonus points if the person talking to you doesn't even work in your section and has no reason to need your assistance.)
  • Obnoxious people who cannot answer simple, reasonable questions posed in an e-mail and instead choose to rudely bring the topic up in front of 10 other co-workers at lunch time. (Bonus if the obnoxious person tries to make you feel stupid for not knowing everything about your company three weeks into your job.) (Extra bonus if the person is so rude to you that other people feel awkward and leave the lunch room early because they'd rather go work than witness such rudeness.)
  • I somehow misread what is included in my new cell phone package and ended up being charged for $15 worth of text messages from last month.
Cool things about this week:
  • It is over.
  • Happy hour
  • Found a cool new sandwich shop for lunch
  • I get to be out of the office most of the next.
  • Flirty e-mails
Things I want to see happen next week:
  • Flirty phone calls and drinks (!)
  • Shopping
  • Actual accomplishments at work
  • Comments from my three blog visitors. (Seriously, I know I've been boring lately, but things are gonna get better. I swear!) (Comment, people, comment!)

Have been seduced by informality of messaging medium ...

So, my weekend was boring. Totally. I had sushi and a few glasses of wine with the girls. We talked jobs and real estate. Bo-RING! What else ... I bought a new pair of cute black pointy shoes because I pretty much killed my other ones. Then I spent like $40 at Target on pretty much NOTHING. So odd. I slipped into bed around 10:30 Sunday night, feeling a bit like I was in a rut. It was a classic example of one area of your life going well and another becoming problematic. My solution was to start back the gym regularly, which would give me more energy and make me feel better. (I didn't go to the gym today. But tomorrow, I swear. The gym bag is packed!) Anyway, I took some allergy medicine and crashed and then got up and went to work, where I discovered an e-mail from the elusive T, who's last contact with me was to call once and not leave a message. I figured he'd blown me off and was almost over it. He was responding to a mass e-mail I sent out reminding my posse (I am so lame!) about our standing Wednesday night drink ritual at the martini bar. I send one out every week to between 15 and 20 people. I remember thinking that the one I sent out this week was lame because I included my phone number on the bottom and said, "Call if you need anything." I meant for people to call if they wanted to know who was coming or if they wanted a designated driver or if they wanted to know if we were at the bar. But that came out, "Call if you need anything." Now, I have invited T to many a function via e-mail. I am the queen of Evite. I spend a lot of time in front of the computer, as do most of my friends, so we do a lot of party planning online. Also, I find Evites are easier because you can invite a lot of people quickly and they can invite their friends quickly and so on. Blah. I'm going to quit shilling for Evite. So, T has NEVER replied to an invite personally. Ever. I was a bit concerned when I saw his e-mail because I was half worried he was e-mailing me to tell me not to invite him to things anymore. Stranger things have happened. Anyway, he thanked me for the invite, and closed with, "Ha. I can call you if I need anything?" Short but sweet. I almost fell out of my chair. Not a profession of love, but a reconnection and a flirtation. I giggled like a schoolgirl. I was very pleased. I wrote several responses, but scrapped them as they all sounded either too slutty or not sexy enough. ("Anything. Anytime. Anywhere" = too slutty, "You have my number, call it" = not sexy enough.) I finally went with, "Of course. Did you have anything in particular in mind?" Short and to the point -- I let him know that he can and should call and I got some insinuation in there. And, the question is open, so he can respond. But, if he doesn't, it isn't as if I left a lot out there. So perfect. You would think I was a professional communicator or something. So, I'm expecting either another e-mail or a phone call sometime this week. I'm giddy. Also, B called tonight and asked me to drinks. I said no. He seemed a touch surprised. For months the boy acts like an ass to me and blows me off to hang out with other people. So I stop calling him and now he's invited me out several times during the past few weeks. Something's in the water and I swear it better stay there long enough for me to get laid. (And yes, the title of this post is from Bridget Jones -- either the first movie or one of the books. I can't recall which.)


A guy a dated (and I use the word "dated" loosely) freshman year of college (and then we "dated" when he was in town for a night or two) has a blog that I occasionally check out ... anyway, he has a photo gallery on it. He's gotten a lot hotter since the last time I saw him ... or maybe it's the tie ... or maybe the lack of boys currently in my life ... Bad. I am so bad. (I bet I go to the gym like everyday next week. I'm a loser.)

Still here

The last few days have been pretty hectic. I have this backlog of things to do at work -- they gave me a list of things to do before I even started the job, and I've barely made a dent in it. I'm confident that I'm doing a good job, I just don't quite have a handle on things the way I want to. Yet. I am the world's most impatient person. Part of it has to do with the abundance of confidence I have in myself publicly. Privately, I may have second thoughts and concerns and whatnot, but publicly I put a brave face forward and act like I know what I'm doing at all times. Even when I'm totally lost, swimming in acronym stew and drowning in paperwork. That's just how I am. Last night (Wednesday), we did martini night. This time it was just girls, which was fun and bit more relaxed. I do genuinely TRY to be my charming self around everyone I meet. However, I know people far more genuine than I who can't pull that off. Mixed-gender conversations tend to be a touch filtered and censored. So, I didn't mind not having the guys around. Work, gossip and sex (and gossip about sex) were the main topics. Slightly shallow at times, but we all spend most of our days in classes or cubicles talking, writing and thinking about serious and, at times, unfun and difficult things. A little girlie talk is about all I can muster after eight hours of meetings and e-mails and to do lists and whatnot. Tomorrow I get my first new job paycheck, which will be nice. I agreed to work at the store all day Saturday, which I'm sure I'll regret Saturday morning, but appreciate at about 7 p.m. that evening when I walk with some cash. Saturday, I'm hoping to get back into my fun social life -- I used to be crazy and busy and fun and energetic on the weekends, but now I'm old and tired and boring. How ironic that when I was broke and working a crappy job, I was constantly out with friends and now that I'm in a cool job making much better money, my social life is sucking. (Things will get better, I swear. Otherwise I might have to change the blog name to "Boring, but single : a journal in sleeping and eating unhealthy food.") Next week, I plan to commit myself to my New Year's Resolution, which was to work out AT LEAST three times a week. (That lasted about two weeks, tops. But seriously, why have a gym membership if I'm never going to go the gym?) I'm not usually one for resolutions, but I generally feel better both physically and emotionally when I work out regularly, even if only for 45 minutes a day. In the perfect world, I'd do cardio Monday and Wednesday and weights Tuesday and Thursday, capped off with a relaxing yoga on Sunday, but that might be pushing it. (Plus, I stopped doing weights months ago, so I'd have to meet with my trainer to get a new workout. My trainer is great -- she's a normal-sized woman who is more concerned with wellness and fitness than numbers and such -- but she won't take the excuses I've been peddling recently. ) Man, five days a week of working out is going to severely piss me off. I hate myself already. You heard it here first -- next week: still single and charming, but with at least a triple dose of bitchy!

And now, the requisite Valentine's post

This year was good. Typically, I'm single on Valentine's Day and I fall into one of two single girl V-Day patterns.

  • Drunken anger at the world and all men, regardless of who they are.
  • Pitiful, "I am single! I am awesome! I NEED NO MEN! EVER! Really. I am TOTALLY OKAY BEING ALONE!" celebrations where I pretend not to be bitter.
Both of these situations suck. They're both so cliche. Now, that doesn't mean that I never act out of either emotion -- I do, all of the time, but usually not on such a grand level as Valentine's Day. But for years I, and numerous other singles, have exhausted so much energy hating the idea of Valentine's Day or trying too hard to act like we don't care. (Methinks thou doth protest too much, dears.) This year, I made no plans. I got a few annoying text messages from single girlfriends about the horror of the day, but I didn't respond to any of them. I had a piece of the candy my daddy always sends me and read the card my grandparents always give me (complete with a crisp $5 bill) and went to work, where I plugged in my headphones and, well, worked. About mid-day I got a text from a girlfriend that was simple. "Single and fabulous girls only dinner tonight. Sushi. 6 p.m." We had a blast. There were a few jokes about our married/attached friends and that was that. Then we had a normal dinner like the normal adult women we all are for the other 364 days out of the year. We talked about our jobs and our families and our lives. Though we never actually acknowledged it, male-bashing was pretty much forbidden. It was refreshing. I've spent so much time being unhappy because my life didn't fit the Hallmark ideal of Valentine's Day. It was nice to just have fun and enjoy my friends' company in a stress-free situation. I barhopped around to have a beer with some other groups of friends after dinner, but headed home early when the women started talking about how their exboyfriends should all be castrated. I was in too good of a mood to let some halfwit dredge up old anger about past wrongs. (I'm halfwitted enough to do that on my own. Just wait until tomorrow.) It's a lesson I'll soon forget the next time a guy doesn't call or says something insensitive or insulting. But for now, I feel, well, happy to have such great, charming (and yes) single friends.

List blogging

Sometimes I can't string thoughts together is a cohesive way. Tonight is one of those times, when only lists will do. Things I am obsessed with:

  • Orbit sugarfree whitening gum -- Seriously, I went through at least three packs last week alone. Perhaps this obsession is due to the fact that I've cut my smoking back by much more than half. At this rate, my teeth with be sparkling white by the end of the month.
  • Meeting new guys -- I think I've exhausted the supply of men in my social circle. Must make plans to step out of comfort zone.
  • Finding a new black everyday purse
  • Finding a new apartment
  • Making sure I drag myself back to the gym, as have lost sight of the New Year's Resolution to work out at least three times a week
  • Saving up for an iPod
Things that make me happy:
  • My new workout mix CD, featuring The Killers, Gwen Stefani, The Donnas, Missy, Kayne West and Keane
  • "Flame Turns Blue" by David Gray
  • Cooking
  • Hour-long conversations with my best friend from high school
  • Realizing that I'm not the only one flailing around clueless about dating
  • Freshly washed sheets on laundry day
  • My impending weekend shopping spree
Things that drive me crazy:
  • Friends who ask for your opinion on something, but then belittle your response
  • Friends who expect you to listen to them whine and moan about their boy problems for months and months and months , but refuse to listen to you vent for even a second. (Hey, I'll admit that I have a bit of a one-track mind sometimes, but don't snap at me for talking about something a guy did last week if you're still whining about something as meaningless that happened to you two years ago.)
  • People who talk in the movie theatre during the feature. It is not necessary to comment on everything on the screen, especially if your comments fall into the category of "You go, girl!" or "Girl, you know I wouldn't let a guy treat me like that. NOT. AT. ALL." (Annoying girl who sat behind me during "Hitch," I am looking at you. )
I feel better now.

A totally lame Saturday night

So, after working a few hours at the store where I used to work (they needed help and I didn't want to pass up easy, on-the-spot, off-the-books money), I phoned a friend to see what her evening plans were. It was a bit after 7 p.m. and I was dusty and dirty feeling from the store. She was planning to go get a drink and then maybe head to a party (that, annoyingly, I hadn't been informed of until just then), so I told her I'd call her after dinner and a shower. So I dined and washed up and she told me she'd call me back with firm plans about the night. This was 9 p.m., so I figured I had plenty of time to get ready. I played with my hair, straightening the front and velcro-rolling the back for volume. I fiddled with my clothes, putting together a cutish casual outfit that gave me an excuse to wear this adorable lavender tank under a denim blazer. I took my time with my make-up, plucked my eyebrows, played with different accessories and shoes. (I never allow myself enough time to get ready, so the fact that I had time to play with make-up and shoes was a big deal.) I packed my going-out clutch, and as I walked out of my room I noticed the time -- 10:30 p.m. Ten-thirty! I took an hour and a half to get ready! So, I freaked out ... I figured my friends, who normally depart for social events around 10 p.m. had tried to call me and let me know where I was (late) to meet them. I checked my cell -- no calls. I checked my voicemail -- no messages. No texts. Nothing. Confused, I called my friend, who was asleep. At 10:40 p.m. She apologized for not calling me, said she had decided to stay in and gave me some vague directions to the party. I tried to guilt her into going with me, but she was having none of it. I got off of the phone and made a round of phone calls with no avail. B's roommate has a new girlfriend, so they were leaving a restaurant to go home and have sex. And B, I was told, was having a boy's night once he got off of work. My closest girlfriend had gone home for the weekend, another girlfriend of mine is taking about two semesters worth of school in one to try to graduate, so she was hitting the books. All of my other girlfriends have moved out of town or gotten married. The guys who would have more specific information about the party have been giving me the cold shoulder for any number of reasons, so I couldn't call them. There I was, dressed to kill, with meticulously applied make-up, shaped brows, a well-styled outfit, bouncy, voluminous hair and no plans of which to speak. All that prep for no payoff. I was pissed, but I managed to put my cell phone down and avoid calling either of the boys who are currently ignoring me (either consciously or not). I ended up watching Saturday Night Live while eating cheesecake and moisturizing my face. Next week, I'm making plans in advance.

Charming, but terribly busy

I started the new job this week, hence the lack of updates. I'm not quite used to waking up at 6 a.m. every morning, especially given that I almost always stay awake until at least 1 a.m. So, by the time I fight traffic and get home -- hopefully before 6 p.m., I am beat. Totally worn out. In need of a nap. Being a grown-up sucks. I still did drinks per our regular arrangement on Wednesday. (I say drinks because everyone else had several. I had one and left by 11 p.m.) It was a small crowd, but we had a good time. I like the job. There's a pretty steep learning curve, but I'm keeping up so far. I freaking hate acronyms, though. I need an interpreter to have a conversation with some people, because they speak more in letters than in actual words. I swear, I have to go to a conference in a few weeks and I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE SUBJECT MATTER IS. At all. All I have is the acronym and date. I told my boss that I had some questions about it and he said we'd address them next week. Hmmmph. (And yes, I did google the damn thing. No luck!) Luckily one of my good friends from college works with me, so we've been lunching and e-mailing and gossiping. She was supposed to give me a run-down of cute single guys, but there are none. Really. I saw a few guys my age down the hall in another section cubes, but I'll never have a reason to go down there and investigate. (Unless I become addicted to junk food, as the snack machine is on the other side of the never-ending swath of cubes. Too bad I have cut candy out of my life. It was a toxic relationship -- I relied on candy and candy loved that I indulged in it, but the joy was short-lived and it always left me with more problems than good times in the end. Sigh.) Last night I hung out with some friends, but we really didn't do much. They're swamped with school-related things and I'm boring because I'm still not used to my job. Again, being a grown-up sucks. Will probably go out and do something low-key and inexpensive. Next week I get my first adult-sized paycheck (albeit only for a week) and I can promise that Saturday night will be booze-soaked and brilliant. (Maybe not so much brilliant, but I liked the alliteration.) I promise I'll do something stupid or drink too much and get philosophical or make-out with a boy or SOMETHING blogworthy during the next few days. I don't want to become "Charming, but a workaholic."

There are songs about all of them

It may be slightly immature, but for every guy I've ever been hung up on, there is a cheesy melodramatic song, if not a cheesy melodramatic playlist. I'm a music-loving kind of girl. It relaxes me and helps me focus and energizes me and dredges up old heartache and warms my soul with fond memories. Some of the music I listen to is very good and some is not, but all of it speaks to me. (Whether it says anything important is neither here nor there.) I put my music player on random and let it cycle through my library tonight. The first few songs were bland and spoke to me as great background music. Then a song that I haven't listened to in years, "Be My Downfall" by Del Amitri, came on. There are songs that can stop you dead in your tracks, not necessarily for their musical genius (because, I mean, I love me some Del Amitri and all, but we're not talking about the Beatles or anything), but for their ability to take you back to a time in your life. "Be My Downfall" is one of those songs. A long time ago, we were friends. He was older and had a very serious girlfriend and I always felt like a little kid from hickville around him. In my head, I knew things were never going to go anywhere. Sure, I had my pop psychology about why we spent the majority of the workday IMing and why he'd almost slept with me. "He's unhappy with his girlfriend," I told myself. "He's going to see that he's using me as an escape."

"But you will be my downfall tonight / Be my downfall be my great regret be the one girl / That I'll never forget / Be my undoing / be my slow road to ruin tonight"
And so "Be My Downfall" became his song. I don't quite remember why I own Del Amitri's Greatest Hits (oh yes, they have greatest hits!), but I do and I was listening to it one day when the song came on and I just wanted him to feel that way about me. It was so silly. The song is so cheesy and not deep or nuanced or musically interesting. But for some dumb reason, the damn thing spoke to me. And I put it on every mix cd from that year of college and I can't bear to delete it from my computer. My subconscious won't let me delete it, because I'd rather revel in the silly sadness and laugh at myself than give it up totally. (I have given it up 99 percent. That one percent, I keep it just for me.) In case it hasn't become abundantly clear, I spend a lot of time deluding myself into thinking the guys in my life share my sentiments. This has caused me immeasurable pain and probably hindered any chance of having normal relations with guys who ACTUALLY like me. I never see the ones who are interested because I'm so in love with those who aren't. And so, I wanted so badly to be his downfall, when in reality I was a plaything and escape from a reality that he felt stifling. He was bored with his life and my life was boring, so we met in the middle. I have this rule. I never tell boys what their songs are. It just makes things too awkward if you're sitting at a bar and then HIS song comes on and HE KNOWS its his song. With this guy, I broke my rule -- I told him that "Be My Downfall" was one of his songs and he said he'd never heard of it. He never looked it up or downloaded it. Truthfully, he never mentioned it again. Heartbreak comes in bits and pieces in different moments all throughout your life. But sometimes, for about three minutes, it comes all at once.

Grocery shopping with boys

My younger brother just moved into a new apartment, and I have accompanied him to the grocery store twice in the past few weeks to help him shop. As I watch him wander the aisles of the store aimlessly, his eyes glossed over and his hands free of any kind of shopping list, I'm reminded of every other shopping experience I've had with males. Every guy I've shopped with has had that same overwhelmed look on his face as he shuffled through the store, clearly taken aback by the sheer selection of food and cleaning supplies and toiletries. When I enter the grocery store, I'm a woman on a mission. I've got a pen in one hand and a list in the other and I attack the store. My list is organized by what foods are grouped together so I don't forget anything. I know exactly which brands I like and where certain oddities (hearts of palm, anyone?) are. I rarely have to double back and I rarely forget items on my list. The rest of my life may be in a constant state of flux and confusion, but I have grocery shopping down. Maybe it's because I hate it so much. Maybe it's because of years of going shopping with my mom while my younger brother stayed home. I never notice my grocery shopping prowess until I'm paired with an unskilled partner. One night, I spent more than two hours at the grocery store with B. He had just moved (a month before) and he had never gone shopping, so he was eating take out pretty much every night. We were hanging out and bored and he was hungry, so he asked me to accompany him to the grocery store at 11:30 p.m., because that's the sensible time to buy groceries, I imagine. The lack of a list amazed me. I tried to make one before we left, but he just stared at me blankly. "S," he said, "I don't have any food in my pantry. I don't need a list because I just need everything." He was clueless and lost. I wondered how someone gets to be 26 years old and not know how to really shop, but I suppose years of buying just beer and barbecue fixins does that to you. He turned into a confused child who stopped and looked at everything cool on every aisle. I turned into the sensible mother who gently guides her children away from the sweets and onto the veggies. It was an eye opening experience and a cheesy metaphor for how the two of us tackled unpleasant things -- I planned and plotted and pushed my way through while he went in with only the vague idea that he needed to eat. I don't know if this is a gender thing or just a personality conflict, but I should have known we didn't have the same, um, nutritional needs. T is the same way. One night he decided he was hungry post coitus. He had nothing but condiments, Guinness and grape juice, so he left me in bed to run to the market for some food. Bad, terrible, horrible sign.

Single girl's law

So, I started writing this post before I went out last night ... but I got distracted and then I needed to get ready and I have this new haircut that needs velcro rollers and flat-ironing ... anyway, I never got back to the post. I was going to write about an aspect of "Single girl's law," which is like Murphy's law for, um, single girls. (I never claimed that the name was creative.) Consider this a running feature, feel free to contribute.

Single Girl's Law #1 -- You will never get lucky on nights when you shave your legs. Seriously, I've road-tested this one. It is law about 98 percent of the time. Now, when you have stubble for a few days or haven't done bikini line maintenance, every guy you ever thought was cute will try to take you home. Guys who snubbed you for weeks and months will come out of the woodwork, buy you drinks and try to come home with you. This, of course, happens because shaving your legs is an admission to yourself that you think you MIGHT get lucky, and we all know that a watched pot never boils.
And yes, I shaved my legs last night. Bastards, all of them.

Move your feet and feel united

One of my recently-married friends referenced the episode of Sex and the City about "Secret Single Behavior" in conversation recently. SSB refers to those habits one picks up or things one does when single or living alone that you wouldn't do with someone else around. It's not that the SSB is somehow shameful or wrong, it's just mildly embarrassing. My friend missed listening to dorky soft rock love songs at night. She'd never do this in front of her husband because to him it would seem silly, but she loved to listen and sing along in the evenings after work. (Whenever he goes out of town for work, she indulges herself.) This conversation got me thinking about my own Secret Single Behavior, so I compiled a list:

  • Blaring silly songs whilst doing laundry and dishes. My favorites are "Sex Bomb" by Tom Jones, "Move Your Feet" by Junior Senior, "In These Shoes" by Kristy MacColl and (more recently) "Get Right" by J-Lo. (It's that whole "spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down" thing.)
  • Doing old ballet stretches and new yoga poses in the kitchen, because it has the biggest open space in the house.
  • Watching C-Span like it's a football game. White House press briefings are my favorite, even though I miss my main man Ari. (I also like to watch "Crossfire" on mute and make up my own dialogue.)
  • Wearing new shoes with my PJs or lounging clothes so I can break them in.
  • Practicing my French by describing aloud what I'm cooking or doing . ("Je fais mon petit dejeuner!") (I used to translate newspaper or magazine articles into French as I read them, but I am so out of practice that it would take days to read one article. I miss my French classes.)
I could go on for days, but a girl must have some secret rituals that are entirely hers, no?

A sort of boring day ...

My day didn't get any more interesting after I finally shook off the semi-hangover from Wednesday night. (Around 2 p.m., natch.) (I don't think I use the word "natch" enough. Frankly, I'm not sure anyone (save gossip columnists) uses the word "natch" enough.) I spent most of the afternoon doing laundry and organizing my clothes. I've realized that if I'm going to be able to arise and drag my sorry self to work for somewhere between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. every morning, I'm going to have to embrace a life with some semblance of organization. Damnit. So, my old system of organizing my clothes simply would not do. This draconian method was one I mastered whilst in college. It consists of two overlapping piles, labeled "clean" and "not clean." The main problem with this system is that it relies heavily on the "smell test," whereby clothes are sniffed to determine their relative level of dirtiness. Unfortunately, early in the morning my sense of smell must be pretty lax, because I often end up in shirts that smell like smoke and vodka, which may fly in the retail biz, but ain't going to make my new employer jump for joy. (I don't care how much of that Gap body spray I douse on my clothes, the smoke-vodka smell combo is killer.) Also, I often ended up washing clothes that were clean when I washed the dirty ones, because I couldn't tell the difference. So, I've opted for a new system, whereby clothes are divided into the groups "work appropriate," "only to be worn when going out" and "other." ("Other" is for workout clothes, PJs, gloves and anything else that I shouldn't wear to work and wouldn't wear to a social occasion.) There is, of course, another pile. Some people call this the "Goodwill" pile, but I refer to it as "What the hell was I thinking when I bought this" and/or "Even if I worked out three times daily for the next three months this would not look good on me" pile. That pile is getting pretty sizable. Also, there are these things in my closet ... they're wire or plastic and funny shaped and they hang off of a wooden pole ... I think they're called hangers. Well, I haven't used them in years ... seriously, I think the last thing I actually put on a hanger was my prom dress. I utilized these strange devices on the work clothes. It made me feel very adult. The day was not without fun. I had a pile of clothes that wouldn't work well with a washer or dryer -- bras, the aforementioned sweater poncho, a few sweaters and a cute wrap dress that I forgot I owned. So, I spent the better part of the afternoon handwashing these items, which was a lot more work than it sounds. The low point of all of this was when I decided to wash clothes in the kitchen sink (which is bigger and deeper, kind of how I like my men) and then transport the wet clothes to the bathroom for drying. Not the smoothest of moves. I ended up with a river running from the bathroom to the sink. And, to top it off, the entire front of the clothes I was wearing were DRENCHED. It was ridiculous. I looked like an unwilling participant in one of those wet T-shirt contests you see on a "Girls Gone Wild" video, only I was in no way, shape or form sexy at all. AT ALL. So, after the laundry was done, I settled on making a list of clothes to buy with my first paycheck. (I cannot be expected to wear the same old clothes to my cool new job. Plus, it's not like I'm going to spend all of my paycheck on clothes. Just, like, a lot of it.) I actually have a lot of work pieces, given my previous internships. I really want a chocolate brown suit, but I'm worried that it's too close to spring to find a cute one. I am so getting a big black satchel purse though. Finished the night by getting Chinese with my family and watching The Apprentice. For some reason life felt purposeful and I less frantic and alone than the night before's martinis led me to believe I am.

Slept in my makeup ...

So, I didn't think I was that intoxicated last night ... but then I woke up with a killer headache. I pretty much faceplanted into bed last night, and when I'm kind of drunk, I don't toss and turn in my sleep as I do when I'm sober. My hair was still in a semi-perfect ponytail, which is how I wore it out Wednesday. (This is worth noting only because it is so odd. My friends are always amused by my hair in the morning. They call it my "sex hair" because I almost always wake up with hair sticking out everywhere on top of my head.) So, I felt the ponytail and I rubbed my eyes and mascara and eyeliner smeared on my hand. I checked my pillow -- sure enough, I slept in my makeup, always a sure sign of drunkenness. Three martinis and I'm drunk? I mean, if we're going to be technical, I only had two and a half, since impolite jerk man spilled half of one on me. (On a side note, my jeans smell like Absolut and my comfy sweater poncho thingy does too. Bastard.) (Another side note: I don't care if sweater ponchos aren't stylish anymore. I love mine. Seriously, I wear it everywhere. I especially love wearing it out, because you can just wear jeans and a T-shirt underneath, slip on some cute heels and some sparkly bling (pretty earrings, a brooch) and you look really cute. And glamorous, I'm told.) The final thing that tipped me off as to my drunkenness? I woke up and read my blog post from last night. Dear God. Why do I turn into a sniffly pseudo philosopher after a few martinis?

I think this odd combination of bitterness and optimism has thrown my system out of whack, making something that I never worried about before a constant concern of mine.
Oh dear, I'mtrying my hand at psychoanalysis again. Do you think dead Greek philosophers are spinning in their graves, thinking, "Well, we studied and wrote for years and years, and you think you've found philosophy in a half-priced girly drink. Drink up, bitches!" Will stay home tonight, for fear of attempting to find the meaning of life at the bottom of a pint of beer.

An early night

Went for mid-week drinks at a martini bar with B and some of his friends. (My friends all bailed this afternoon. Punks.) I had a good time. Watermelon martinis are tres refreshing. One extremely drunk man fell on me, spilling a martini all over me and my (freshly-washed) jeans. This was annoying for a second because the guy didn't even notice or bother to apologize or anything. Jerk. Anyway, the guy was being really rowdy, so B alerted the bartender, who dealt with the guy and sent over a free martini for me, which was unnecessary but nice. My new plan is to keep a glass of water at the table and splash it on me at random intervals to see if the bartender will keep sending over drinks. (Hey, I'm a babe on a budget. Whatever works.) I also ran into this guy I used to have a HUGE crush on. He's totally my type -- tallish, dark hair and eyes with a sort of medium-heavyset build. (I hate my men too skinny and scrawny. I've always been attracted to bigger guys. They're better to cuddle with. You feel enveloped in their arms.) I crushed on him for quite awhile, but I always thought he didn't like me at all because he barely spoke to me. When I would try to initiate a conversation and he'd be quiet, I took this as a sign that he thought I was boring. Turns out, he's just boring and unable to talk to women -- such a turn off. Anyway, he was at the bar alone. (He does that a lot. He left my birthday party early and acted like he had other plans. We ran into him at another bar later. Alone.) (Not that there's anything wrong with going to bars alone ... well, not SERIOUSLY wrong anyway.) He spotted me tonight and came over and joined our group. I'm not sure what I ever saw in him -- he's so awkward and is terrible to talk to. I could hold a conversation with a potted plant if I really wanted to, so if I can't talk to you, no one can. I picked his brain about our mutual friends (who happen to be friends with T), but to no avail. No new gossip, no party plans, nothing. I'm not sure why I'm so hung up on T. Sure, he's smart, charming, good-looking, photogenic and generally fun, but he's not calling me. I should be able to put him out of my mind, but I can't. Maybe it's the drinks, maybe it's being around B and missing our past flirtations, but tonight all I could think about was T. B and company headed to another bar, but I came home. I didn't have any desire to stay out until the crack of dawn. I'm in a pensive mood. I used to not be this obsessed with men and relationships and everything that comes alone with them. There actually was a time when I was sane and unconcerned about these things. (I think I was, like, five then.) I just feel so one-dimensional right now. I can't shake the feeling of aloneness that creeps over me, especially when I'm out with friends or couples. It's subtle but always there, constantly nagging me. Maybe it has always been there and I just repressed it like a bad memory that I'm now having to face. Maybe I was just lucky all these years to not mind being unattached. Maybe I just tricked myself into not feeling lonely with pseudo-relationships and drunken hook-ups. I never thought I'd be the girl who wanted roses and chocolates. That's not me -- I'm not easily impressed with throw-away romantic gestures and sentiments. I've always wanted something solid. Something real. Falling in love with B was one of the worst and best things that ever happened to me. Coming out of that haze and dealing with the reality of rejection left me fragile and jaded. But it also left me hopeful. I know now that I can let myself go enough to let someone else in. I think this odd combination of bitterness and optimism has thrown my system out of whack, making something that I never worried about before a constant concern of mine. Hence the lingering feelings for B. Hence the gnawing obsession with T. Maybe none of it will work out. I just know how great it felt in those moments where I could totally let go and be lost in someone else. I want that back.

The man pool

(Forgive the winding thoughts ...) My girlfriends and I often lament the lack of quality men in our segment of the community here. Between all of us, it feels like we've pretty much dated, kissed, slept with, been rejected by or blown off the vast majority of acceptable suitors in and connected to our social circle. Seriously, not a night goes by that we don't run into the former object of a friend's affection -- guys we either can't date because it would be awkward or guys that we'd never want to date because we've learned from our friends' mistakes. (This is not totally accurate. There do exist a few guys who, even though they once were involved with a friend or drinking buddy, are fair game because they are able to exit relationships with skill and grace. Or so I've heard. I've yet to actually meet any of these men. ) The problem with the casualness of today's dating rituals is that you never know where "hanging out" ends and "dating" begins, which only compounds the problem of the shrinking pool of men in my demographic (educated, mid 20s to early 30s, has some sort of career goal) who are available to date. Since "dating" is such a casual and broad spectrum of activity, it's easy for people to splash through the pool quickly, leaving a school of confused swimmers in his or her wake. So when you and your girlfriends and the women you work with and your friends' roommates are all splashing in the same waters, you're often left in the shallow end with the guys with whom no one, um, wanted to synchronized swim . And it's FRUSTRATING. Try as I might, I can't really find anyone new in the man pool. I'd move to a new city, but I just got a cool new job in this one. So, I'm thinking about finding a new man pool. I'm not giving up on the demographic, I just think I'm going to start swimming in other waters. Like, instead of always going out in one neighborhood, I'm going to plan trips into bars in another. (What an AMAZING concept.) I'm still going to swim in the familiar waters, in hopes that I'm wrong. But I'll be planning field trips to inspect the specimens elsewhere. (We'll call it Charming, but Single Field Research.) What brought this on? Well, first off, I've been in a dating rut. I've been stuck on the same people and places for too long. I already have preconceived notions about most of them and they have their judgments about me. It's tiring and boring. Second, I need to start acting without a net. Right now, most guys I approach or who approach me are only about one or two degrees of separation from me. While that isn't necessarily bad, it is annoying because it makes it too easy to slip in and out of something without even realizing what you're doing. And it makes people lazy. The guy you're interested in doesn't call because your mutual friend finds out where you're going to be hanging out. And you know the mutual friend is going to bring the guy you're interested in, so you don't even bother to expect the basic courtesy of a phone call. And then all of the sudden you're 25 years old and you're getting all of this pressure to settle down and you realize that your dating life is so free form and relaxed that it's not even dating, just nights of drinks and cigarettes that sometimes end in an orgasm.

Charming, but single is 25 26 27(!), lives in the Southern part of the U.S.A. and likes both her drinks and her boys tall. E-mail (listed below) her and she may respond. You can also IM her in AIM/AOL. (If she ever remembers to sign on.)
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Former taglines of this blog: "A Journal in Dates and Drinks" and "A Dateless Journal of Drinking."

Those Particulars
Some Backstory
Memories of the Way We Were
Updates and Towel Snapping
One Year Wrap-Up
Just As She Is
An Open Letter to Myself
After 26 years, she HAS learned something
An Open Letter to the Men Who Message Me Through Match
Sharing a smoke

Associated Content Interview with Charming
The Hindu: Blog Sisters are here

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