Call me behind on the times, but I am just discovering MySpace. I’m not on FaceBook. I am on Friendster, but only because everybody else was doing it and I needed something to fill my time years ago while I was looking for meaningful employment. (Something I have very much of now.) I obviously knew what MySpace was before I started playing around on it a bit. I don’t live under a rock. I’d just rather my supreme dorkiness on a blog than on “social networking” Web sites. Not for me. I’m at the age that kind of missed MySpace. People I know were on Friendster, but then we grew up before MySpace really took off. And the thought of making a MySpace profile at age 26 doesn’t suit me. At all. Funky backgrounds and embedded song clips abound. I’d have to get my sister to explain how it all works to me. No thanks. (And it all feels very high school cafeteriaish. Like I should only hope that the cool kids would add me as their friend. Ew.) But I decided to cruise the MySpace a tad recently and I discovered the feature that lets you search by your high school and graduation year. And this puts Googling someone to shame. Sure, you can’t get all of the dirt Google gives you. But, you can make some pretty good assumptions based on amount of time dedicated to a profile, number of pictures uploaded, song choice and number of friends. It was revealing. Lots of ladies from my school with babies on their hips. More than I thought I’d see. A lot of shots in bars, formal wedding pictures, pictures with men strategically cropped out. It’s funny to see who knows each other and who still hangs out and who got really bad blonde highlights and fake bakes too much. This one guy I (for some reason) had crushed on sophomore year now is a “single dad.” Interesting. When I look at pictures of my classmates, some girls with whom I went to school from kindergarten through high school, it is odd to see them as adults. They look how 25 and 26-year-old women look. No more braces and bad skin and training bras. No more big bows in our hair and hot pinks backpacks and cliché formal dresses. Fewer faces round with baby fat. Ladies, we’ve grown up. I closed down the site, amused with my trip down memory lane and settled in for my in-bed night routine. Vaseline Intensive Care lotion on the elbows, knees and feet. Burt’s Bees Cuticle Cream on the nails. Whole Foods Hand Salve on the, um, hands. I ran my fingers through my still-damp hair, chapsticked my lips, took my sinus medicine and was dropping everything into my purse when I stopped. I pulled out my compact and looked. All of those pictures of my classmates got me thinking. Do I look older than I did then? I took one last look and scrunched my nose before I snapped the compact shut. I don’t think so, but I do see myself each day. I suppose that matters.
I am turning off the RSS feed for this site because I've heard through the Grapevine that Google is allowing that stupid Ukrainian site to have ads again. Turning off my RSS feed seems to be the best way to keep my stuff off of the site. I apologize to anyone (other than the Ukrainians) who use the RSS site for legitimate reasons. I don't mean to overreact, but I'm in a bad mood about all of this. Thanks, Google!
(From S: Part One is here.) A single man is moving onto my parents’ street. My mother is thrilled. “You know how that house across the street from [Neighbor] just sold?” My mom said excitedly as we chatted over a glass of wine on Saturday afternoon. I nodded. I hadn’t noticed that it was for sale, until the “sold” sign went up sometime this week. “Well, a single 35-year-old man is moving in!” She was ecstatic about the news and ready to sink her “Date My Daughter” hooks into him before any of the neighborhood’s other Mothers With a Single Daughter at Marrying Age could mark him as a Potential Future Son In Law. I rolled my eyes and started outlining the numerous reasons why it was highly unlikely that I would want to date someone who lived down the street from my parents, across the street from a family friend and a few houses from one of the gossips from my parents’ church. “I don’t have all of the details on him yet, S,” my mom continued, brushing aside my arguments. She paused to sip her wine before continuing. “But I met him and he is good-looking. He’s 35. Did I say that already?” “Yes, Mom, you did,” I deadpanned. I was about to snottily ask why he was single if he is so great, but stopped because I wouldn’t want him (or any other guy, for that matter) asking his mother how I’m still single if I’m so awesome. That’s something many single women (and men) I know think, but never actually verbalize. “Oh. Well … he’s recently divorced,” she said with a sense of trepidation. I took a sip of wine and rolled my eyes again. “What did he do?” I asked, heaping on the sarcasm. I sensed there was a story here. “Apparently his ex-wife was just not a very nice person,” my mom said diplomatically. “Of course.” “But, like I said, I don’t have all of the details. He’s [Lady From Church]’s son.” “Who?” “She goes to our church! She worked at your school!” “Oh.” “So, doesn’t he sound great?” I rolled my eyes again, realized that I was wearing sunglasses so she couldn’t see me. “Mom, I’m not going to go after some guy just because he moved down the street from you,” I explained. “The whole neighborhood would know anytime I stayed there past dark.” “Well, I thought you were looking!” “What?” “I thought you were looking for a boyfriend!” “I’d like one, but I don’t need, like, you and everyone you know helping. I don’t HAVE to have a boyfriend,” I said. “I’ll find a man one day. On my own. Please don’t try to set me up with every man you meet, Mom.” She seemed hurt and dejected. “Well,” she huffed. “I don’t see them lining up down the block or anything. I just thought you might want some help.”
Still working on a post for this blog, but I wanted to let y'all know that I haven't abandoned Charming Things. Just yet. I actually did a post for it, just now. About handbags. So, I'm pimping the other blog right now. I am.
Some days, like a few days ago, you wait. And it kills you. And you feel that if you have to wait any longer, you will go nuts. And you question if being an adult is worth it and you stress. The phone doesn't ring. The e-mail never comes.
And then some days, like today, when you don't have to wait on good news, when it just comes, you are so happy that your chest wells up with pride. Because you did it – you saw what you wanted and you got it. And even though change is scary and I ultimately feel like both celebrating and running to the bathroom because I'm so nervous I could vomit, I am accomplished and hopeful. I've worked hard for the career I want and the reward is more (and harder) work.
This is when I like being an adult. Very much so.
At lunch, I wanted to scream my good news, but I was with co-workers and the time is not right. Not yet.
I was munching on my salad when Little Mr. Small Town walked in and joined a table of women. They seemed to be meeting about work. As I stood by the register later, our eyes met and he smiled. We exchanged hellos, but I was fearful of going over to say something. What if he didn't remember who I was and just recognized that he'd met me before?
So I just smiled, slid on my big glam sunglasses and gave a flirty wave as I left.
I gave the women from work, all married, the story of him giving me his business card.
"He probably thinks I was rude to not call."
They burst into protest, wondering why I didn't call him.
"I don't know, I don't get the card thing," I said. "All of the sudden giving out your business card at bars is the new black."
They shook their collective heads.
"No wonder you're still single," someone said.
You may or may not be aware of a certain Ukrainian Web site that was ripping off content from several bloggers (Velvet in Dupont , The Countdown of V, I Am Therefore I Date to name a few) in the form of our RSS feeds. I'm not linking to the site, but you can read about this little international blogging incident as it has been covered by ASAP, the Associated Press wire focused more on younger readers.
The Ukrainian site has changed its tactics, now only posting the beginning of our posts and linking back to our blogs. Originally it was reposting all of our entries, listing us as its contributors, posting a Creative Commons license on all pages and plastering the place with Google ads. We complained in comments which have since been deleted. (They say they were deleted for our "bad" language, but there's a comment up there with cursing in it that did get through, so they basically are just being jerks.) Oh! And the person who runs the site? Definitely NOT a woman, despite what the site would have you believe. And he's refused to e-mail me back, even though I've sent numerous comments, e-mails and complaints.
But what are you going to do? Short of suing this Ukrainian guy, I've kind of run out of options. Now everything is moderated (except the function that allows their readers to rate MY work) and I can't even comment on my own work. I am not happy, but things are better than they were. Effectively, this site was making money off of my journal, my hopes and fears, my moments of glory and fleeting flashes of brilliance and the lower times, when people fall short of my expectations.
I don't have ads here for a reason. I toyed with it a few months ago, but I see this as my little place where I quietly weave my life's story (or a portion of it), with input from my readers. I'm just not ready to see a text ad for caller ID every time I write about a boy not calling. Not now. Not yet.
This isn't my first bout with plagiarism and I'm sure it won't be my last. They say this sort of thing is supposed to be the sincerest form of flattery, but I feel less flattered and more frustrated each time it happens. After awhile you start to wonder if it is worth it.
For now, it is.
It seems like my whole life has been spent waiting – to "grow up" and become an adult, to move out of my parents' house, to get a good job, to be offered more money. Waiting to hear if you got the apartment you like. Waiting for him to call, for your coffee to be ready, for the light to turn green. To find out if Dad the Mechanic can squeeze a few more months out of your car so you can wait to buy a new one. Waiting for the Big Game and then waiting for your team to win.
Waiting for another job offer that you didn't even think you wanted until you had to wait for it. Waiting for that perfect first kiss with someone special at the end of a perfect date like you've been waiting for all of your life. For that great bag to go on sale and for Clinique Bonus Time. Waiting to take a vacation and for flip-flop season. Waiting for his hand to move down your hip. For his hug to turn into an embrace. For your heart to stop beating so hard that you think it will come through your chest.
Waiting for the storm to blow over.
Waiting for those hour-long gym sessions to pay off. Waiting for the day when you don't feel guilty eating a slice of pizza with double cheese and pineapple and washing it down with ice cream.
I am in a holding pattern of constantly waiting for the next big thing: the job that would be a career booster, the man that will be a core shaker, the perfection that is supposed to make me feel whole, as if I don't sort of feel whole now. (Waiting for the day that I don't approach the feeling of wholeness on my own without trepidation and worry that I am missing out on something. Like I shouldn't accept the flawed me as complete, even when the flawed me is more content and fulfilled than ever. Or as if I admit that I really feel okay in my own skin now, I am somehow closing myself off to new learning and new people and new rounds of the Waiting Game. Will I live to wait another day?)
This is what happens when I have to wait. I go crazy. I get in my head and psych myself out and my heart starts pounding and I question everything I am doing and have ever done. I am neurotic when I am waiting. I am neurotic me times 100.
In these moments, the only thing that seems stable about my life is the constant anticipation.
I may be the only person who does this, but when I’m in mixed company and I have no interest in the men there, I totally chat up their female friends. We giggle and dish and – dare I say – flirt! I caught myself doing it on Friday night. I knew I wasn’t even remotely interested in any of the three guys at my table and so I spent a bit of the night talking with one of the other women there. We bonded over an Elton John song and hit all of the important topics:
- Being a closet American Idol fan at age 26
- Falling off of the treadmill at the gym
- Her pretty sparkly earrings
- How green just didn’t work with my outfit that night
- Subtly slutty “going out” shirts versus overtly slutty tops
Note from S: The first "There are songs about all of them" is here. Today, I was doing a quick count of some of our marketing materials. I was alone in the storeroom, so I flipped on the radio while I took some notes. The last person there had the radio on a country station and I hummed along to the background music. Pens. Check. Mugs. Check. And then a simple guitar strum over the radio stopped me dead in my tracks. “You always had an eye for things that glittered / but I was far from being made of gold.” I stood still and let the song wash over me. “Just To See You Smile” by Tim McGraw. Damn B and his country music. The cheesy country music that I now love. I stopped my work and thought back, escaping for three minutes into a world of heavy hearts, sleepless nights and fighting back the kind of tears that sting when you keep them in your eyes. We were at a little hole in the wall with a country-heavy jukebox one night a few years ago. B and I picked over songs – letting him lead because I was solely out of my element. We’d played George Strait (B’s favorite) and probably some Johnny Cash. “Tim McGraw.” I read off the track list. We settled on “Just To See You Smile,” a sad little song about setting free the ones you love. “When all is said and done / I’d never count the cost / It’s worth all that’s lost / Just to see you smile.” As we hit the climax of the song, when Tim’s let his love go away because that’s what she wants, I'm feeling raw and exposed. Heartbreaking for anyone who’s ever loved someone and had to let it go. Because when you care about someone, you sometimes know that you’re not what he wants. And all of the unrequited love in the world isn’t going to change his mind. (Or yours.) You’d just as soon bang your head against a brick wall, because you can’t force someone to love you. Not that you realize this at the time. Because if you did, you actually WOULD beat your head against a brick wall. No, you delude yourself into thinking that if you let him go, even only in your mind, he’ll come back. “Someone has to be the bigger person,” you tell yourself, justifying your choice through silent tears. And as soon as you have dealt with the emotion, you forget it. (This is the only explanation, because if you actually remembered how it feels to want to vomit up your soul because you are so heartbroken, would you ever love again?) “When you said time was all you really needed / I walked away and let you have your space / Cuz leavin’ didn’t hurt me near as badly / As the tears I saw rollin’ down your face” I was sort of lost in this song. B was singing along in this low twang he has – boy can do a good country tune. He made me a country convert those months, during the time when I wanted him so badly that I learned to like the things he did. “And yesterday I knew just what you wanted / When you came walkin’ up to me with him / So I told you that I was happy for you / And given the chance I’d lie again” B pointed out that this song pissed him off. I questioned his reasoning. “If I were this guy, I wouldn’t smile and lie,” he said. “I wouldn't lie and say I was happy that she found someone else.” “You wouldn’t?” “No, I’d be pissed and I’d say so.” “No, you wouldn’t!" I argued. "You wouldn’t say that to someone you cared about! You’d be gracious.” “I would say that, S,” he paused. “I wouldn’t just wimp out and pretend to be happy for someone who hurt me.” “Then you’ve never actually been in love, dear.”
Friday night was a going away celebration for The Producer. Also, Best Friend Ever was in town. (I hadn’t seen her in more than a year and though I’ll blog about that later, it was refreshing to see her.) The Producer got a kickass job in another city and I’m actually kind of sad about it, because we’d gone out a few times recently. I’m gonna miss her for sure. So, I’m at our regular bar, BFE comes to meet us. I’m chatting with people I know and generally having a good time when I notice one of the Producer’s Coworkers who I have only met on one other occasion. I wonder to myself if The Engineer is with them and shake it off. I’m standing to the side of the group with BFE and I casually (and softly) mention it to her. “I’m nervous because Coworker is here and she introduced me to The Engineer,” I said. “It is awkward.” “Is he here?” She scanned the room, even though she’s never met the boy. “I don’t think so,” I say in a hushed whisper. “This is just the st—“ I paused as something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye. “BFE, I need a cigarette. Now.” “He’s here, isn’t he?” “Yes.” “Which one.” “Untucked button down, slightly spiked hair, pint in hand.” She lights a cigarette for me and casually looks over. “He is kind of cute, S!” “BFE, can we not?” She smiles. “He needs to iron his shirt.” At this moment I want to hug her and cry because I’m so happy she is there. Her slight bitchiness to me, knowing that the only salve for my bruised ego at this moment is to hear about his flaws and my relative perfection. This is why I love BFE. She will never judge me or think I am making a big deal out of nothing. She just loves me. “Maybe he doesn’t recognize you.” “BFE, I appreciate that, but you know he does.” “I know.” “And all he has to do is come over and say hello and make conversation for a few minutes. I don’t expect him to profess love or marry me.” “Right.” “I mean, we met at a bar and made out up against my car. This was never going to be a big thing. I was never going to say, ‘And then Grandpa paid out his tab and tried to see how easy Grandma was’ to my grandkids one day.” We laugh. The Engineer and I glance at each other, never making eye contact. I was feeling slightly sexy when I left my apartment that night, but at this moment, I feel unattractive. Like a pariah. “It isn’t him,” I say. “It is the situation. I am so over all of this.” “Go say something to him. I would go say something to him.” “BFE, I swear, if you say anything to him, I will never ever speak to you ever again.” “Well, I don’t believe that.” “Ok, well. I will be mad. For a little while.” We laugh again. She keeps egging me on to go talk to him. I will not. The ball is clearly in his court, since I gave him my number. And I am not about to rush over to a boy who couldn’t be bothered to make a phone call. I may have found “He’s Just Not That Into You” to be patronizing to women, but I agree with the point that if he doesn’t call, he’s not into you. I have been the desperate woman before. But no way. Not at this moment. The group shrinks in size as we inch toward closing time. It is me, BFE, the Producer and her roommate, Coworker and her fiancée and The Engineer. And we are standing in a circle talking, with The Engineer across from me. When I speak, he may answer or glance at me awkwardly. He knows who I am. He will not look me in the eye when he speaks. He knows he is an asshole for not acknowledging my presence in such a small crowd, which is made of people that I know. I go to the bathroom, run my fingers through my hair and have a moment alone. I feel very raw and exposed. I don’t remember when it became socially acceptable to treat people like this. I wonder if he thinks I’m one of those girls who is going to freak out and scream at him because he didn’t call. I bet he’s worried I’m going to toss a drink in his face, I think. I stop and consider that prospect. I look at my fresh glass of wine. I have always wanted to throw a drink in a guy’s face and storm out of a bar while people cheer me on. Having a drink thrown in his face is kind of like the Single Male Douchebag’s scarlet letter. I look at my fresh glass of wine again. Though this guy is a clear candidate for being drenched in Sauvignon Blanc, he’s not worth the $6.50 I’d waste if I did give him a wine shower. He is insignificant and is in no way worth me making a scene. I join the group, finish my wine, pay my tab and hug the Producer goodbye. I sit in my car for a second, flip through the tracks on the CD until I find one for my mindset. “We're one in the same / Baptized by tears /Washed in the blame.” I pull out my cell phone and flip through the address book. And like I always do, I find my default guy for this situation. I smile and call B. He answers. “I’m coming over,” I say. “I’m in New Orleans.” “Oh.” “What’s wrong?” “I hate men.” He just laughs. I turn up the music and have a moment as I let my car carry me home. “You can let your heart go / But I will hunt you down / Your love is all I want to win / Don't break my heart again.”
(Note: I started thinking about this because of a comment from Ms. Virginia Belle yesterday.)
People from the South are quick to point out how we are different, especially where I live. More relaxed, very centered around big families and lots of food. We're gossipy and social and friendly and kind.
Say what you want about the South and our sometimes backwards ways. I don't agree with everyone from down here and there are certainly things I would change, but the calm sweetness of a no-frills good ol' time certainly is not one of them.
Men down here, a lot of them anyway, are smooth Southern gentlemen, chivalrous to a fault, because it almost seems insincere. They're friendly and chatty and it can make a grown woman crazy trying to figure out if they're flirting with you or if they were just raised right by a Strict Southern Momma who taught them that a Lady comes to expect certain things and a Gentleman should always oblige so to not hurt her delicate sensibilities (which are mostly a front, to be honest).
Not all of the men are like this. There are the hicks who act as if they've never seen a push-up bra before and the jerks who are, for lack of a better term, jerky. (You know 'em when you see 'em.) And yeah, guys are guys and a large subset is interested in beer, sports, whiskey and Jenna Jameson. At times, I feel like the Southern Gentleman is an endangered species, a creature to be protected and cultivated for the future.
He is friendly. He always shakes your hand and smiles when he meets you and he makes a point to repeat your name back and be formally introduced at all parties in a group. He teases in a good-natured way, always opens doors and pulls out chairs. He includes people in conversation and is a fan of casually touching you when he talks. On the shoulder. On the knee.
The Southern Gentlemen I know are mid-to-late twenties (or early thirties), preppy dressers in professional jobs. They may name drop a bit (that's the Good Ol' Boy in them), but they'll listen when you name drop right back. They all own at least one pair of seersucker pants and do not be surprised if they wear them out, at night, with docksiders and a white polo and wonder why you (in your dressy jeans, neatly done hair, high heels and sparkly evening top) complain that they look like your grandfather. (Even though you think they're adorable in seersucker.)
They have a sweet tone to their voice, a slow drawl that makes the words sound dramatic. "Well, don't you look nice tonight," sounds ever more so sincere from a Southern Gentleman with a thick accent and a big smile.
These guys are genuinely nice and they will compliment every woman around them because it is the polite thing to do. They will never let you stand, always give up their seat. Smile and wink at women and give a good hearty handshake to their male brethren in passing.
They drink scotch or whiskey on the rocks. A double, please. Always. Or beer, but probably not Light beer. They play Hank Williams on the jukebox and will pull you to your feet and dance with you in the middle of a crowded bar. (And yes, they will swing you around and dip you and you will squeal like a little girl and blush and turn red.)
Some people may think these guys are cheesy. Or that they're just playing to get a woman's attention. And that may be true at times. And these guys do have Alpha Male moments and they do like to be manly at sometimes they'll leave you and the girls to talk shoes (thankfully!) and make silly chauvinistic comments because they can get away with saying just about anything in that sweet tone of theirs.
But the manliest of the Southern Gentlemen do fall when they're smitten with a woman. I have seen them walk a straight line behind a petite blonde with sparkling eyes and shiny hair as she squeaks out her drink order or throws her own soft Southern drawl right back at them to soothe them into doing her bidding.
(And don't be fooled by these Southern women. They seem fragile and gentle, but they turn when their hand is forced. Steel Magnolias, every last one of them.)
I used to dislike these guys, because I didn't think they were genuine. I thought they were obviously looking for trophy wives to help plan their law firm's Christmas Party or to smile and nod (and pack and extra flask) while they entertained clients at weekend football games. I found them and their sweetness to be patronizing.
But lately, I'm thinking that maybe these guys aren't so bad. I like boys who open doors (as long as they're doing it to be polite) and I may have judged them a bit too quickly.
Turns out I'm a sucker for an accent and a kiss on the cheek after all.
I was in a bitchy mood Friday night. Tired from work and annoyed that I take some work things so seriously and so personally. At dinner with Southern Belle and her coworkers, a male friend of theirs (classmate from Law School) stopped by to say hello while we scarfed down what is probably some of the city’s best spinach and artichoke dip. The guy was nice and he seemed to be kind of in to one of the other women I was with. When he left, they all started giggling and explained to me that many many years ago, this guy had won a beauty pageant and was “Little Mister [Small Town]” when he was very young. Now, this would have been funny enough without alcohol involved. But two Chardonnays into the night, it was quite possibly the most ridiculously hysterical thing I’d ever heard. Flash forward a few hours and we’re sitting in the next bar when Little Mister Small Town himself and his friends (the Future Teacher and the Professor) stroll into our little hole in the wall. I am possibly too tipsy to contain myself, so when the guy (to whom I have not been formally introduced) comes over and offers his hand for a shake, I did something incredibly bitchy. “Well, I see that we have Little Mister Small Town in our presence,” I said. I meant to be coy, but I think it came across more cheeky and sassy. He seemed mildly embarrassed. I immediately felt bad for being so rude up front, but my girlfriends were laughing like crazy. (As were his friends.) The Future Teacher was nice, a year older than I am, and friendly. The Professor was probably a few years older than I am, very nice, and a bit shy. We had a nice conversation about some serious things and how he ended up here. It flowed pretty well, even though I felt at times that I was almost interviewing him. But we joked back and forth and it was nice. After awhile, Little Mister Small Town seemed to forgive me for my indiscretion and started chatting me up a bit. (Even though I maintain that he seemed very much interested in one of the women I was with.) “Who told you I was Little Mister Small Town?” I pointed to the guilty party, the other woman drinking with us. We talked about our jobs. I asked what kind of law he practiced and where he worked and he pulled out a business card and slid it into my hand. “Impressive,” I said. “I’ll keep this in case I break any laws." I hit coy this time, as I tucked the card into my purse. “You do that.” We talked some more. “Honey, I know you probably wouldn’t believe it from looking at me now, but at work I have a secretary and an office with ‘Mister’ in front of my name on the door.” For some reason, it was sweetly cute and not pompous at all. Perhaps he just seemed so non-threatening and mildly sincere. We chatted some more. I stopped drinking, had several tall glasses of water and then left. I smiled and gave hugs and kisses around before slipping into the night and falling directly into bed. It was a good night.
After a salad and a glass of wine too many, I went with Southern Belle and her boyfriend and two of her coworkers to a newly opened bar. I was underwhelmed by this overcrowded hole in the wall. I already HAVE a random, hole-in-the-wallish place, about two blocks away, much bigger and with a better crowd. Ordered a Sauvingon Blanc. (More expensive and less tasty that at the OTHER bar, natch) As we fought for barstools and watched the crowd of late-twenty-somethings and early-thirty-somethings jockey for the bartenders' attention, I sang along to the jukebox. A nice mix of 80s songs with some classic rock and a touch of real-good country. (Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Jr.) "I don't get it," I said as, I sipped my wine and scanned the crowd. "Don't get what?" Southern Belle asked. "Every day, I see all kinds of women who are just terrible trolls," I paused. "And THEY'RE married." Southern Belle laughed and patted my arm, as if to say, "No heavy thinkin' while drinkin', lady." "Maybe they're really good in bed?" "No," I said. "They're not. They're just TERRIBLE FRIGID TROLLS."
So, gentle readers, I’ve come to a crossroads. I love the bloggin’ and I’ve found my voice. (Even though some of y’all seem to think my thousands of words per post are a bit too long. Whatcha gonna do if I write a book some day, huh?) This is going well, I think. But slowly shopping and non-me related things are creeping in. And I want to go with that without feeling as if I’m mixing the shoes in with the life stories too much. So, I present the launch of Charming Things, the sister site to Charming, but Single. More shoes, less musings on life. I’m sure fashion will still slip in over here. But the goal is to expand the accessories talk over there. I also hope to focus on more affordable things, since not everyone can afford to drop thousands on handbags. On a regular basis. So, we’ll see how it goes. But feel free to visit, comment, blogroll, etc.
Last Thursday I was lounging on the patio of a Mexican restaurant sipping strong margaritas and snacking on chips with my friend when something absolutely horrifying happened.
A group of people had gathered by the entryway and were waiting for their table. And we recognized them immediately.
"Is that, um …" I lowered my voice and my eyes widened as I turned my head and slyly motioned to the group of people.
"Oh God, it is," said my rita-drinking companion. "It's them."
We shifted uncomfortably in our seats as the crew was escorted to their table, several feet away.
"This is awkward," I said. "Very awkward. I mean, embarrassing."
My friend's back was to them. I put down a chip and smoothed my hair.
"Does it look okay? I tried this new thing with hot rollers and it was supposed to give me these curls and it just didn't work. Tell me it doesn't look bad."
"No no, it looks cute. The part that isn't pinned back is all curly."
"Yeah, ok, good," I shot a sideways glance to Their table. "I just don't want them to notice my roots."
Just feet away sat most of the staff of The Salon, our hair place. My colorist and hairstylist (both current and former) were present with some other of The Salon's staff members.
"I am so embarrassed. I feel so bad that I broke up with Male Hairstylist," I said. "He was so sweet."
"Well how do you think I feel?" My friend countered. "I actually left The Salon! I broke up with them all."
"I know, baby, I know."
"I mean, they cut good hair, but my new place costs the same amount, is in a better location, doesn't take as long AND they serve you wine."
"Yeah, you should come. It is great. Kind of frou-frou, but still. Wine."
"Oh, I like how they do my hair at The Salon, though," I said. "I've been with them for about a year, which is a long time for me. I'm just embarrassed that I have to see Male Hairstylist every time I go to have Female Hairstylist cut my hair."
"Isn't that horrible since they sit right next to each other," she said.
"I know! And it wasn't something I did on purpose. I just really needed my hair done on my one day off and Colorist and Waxer were free, but Male Hairstylist wasn't. So I had to make an appointment with someone else."
"You did the opposite of me," my friend said. "I switched from Female Hairstylist to Male Hairstylist. He does such a good job. It just takes forever."
"I know, right? Like three hours for a hair cut."
"He bond with every strand as he cuts it."
"And he's silent, as if he's concentrating so hard on that one strand that he cannot be bothered to even breathe loudly."
"Right. Doesn't talk. At all."
I glanced over again, trying not to make eye contact.
"You know, Colorist used to ask about you," I said.
"Really! She was so nice," my friend replied.
"She stopped though."
"So, do you think they've noticed that we're here?"
"It is just tough to stop going to someone who's been doing your hair. I mean, when I broke up with the lady who'd been doing my hair for, like, 15 years, it was really rough," I said.
"At least. My mom and all of the women in my family went there," I said. "I was one of the first to leave, when I got to college. The place was just way far out."
I continued my tale. "And then I went to several other places. I bounced around a bit, I don't know. I like The Salon I'm at now, I do. I just don't have the money to drop on all needed services at this second."
"Also, I think I offended The Colorist because I told her that I worked in a professional setting and crazy highlights would not fly."
"Well, I mean, I just want to look normal and presentable, you know?"
"Yes, I do," my friend said. "And she is all about the stark highlights. They're like stripes sometimes."
"I like how she did my hair this most recent time, though," I said.
"Yeah, it's cute."
"God this is embarrassing."
"I'm mortified. Should we go? Show's gonna start soon. Let's pay out."
"Yeah, we should, before they see my roots," I said.
"They're not going to see your roots from all the way over there!"
"Are you kidding me? I haven't had my hair colored since late December! They can see my roots! They are PROFESSIONALS."