There are certain things about online dating that make me want to punch my computer screen. Like sorting through 57 pages of pictures and profiles and finding two acceptable guys. Or really liking a profile and then getting to the section for race and ethnicity and seeing that the guy has written, “Yes, I am 100 percent white! Oh yeah!” And then wondering if I’m subconsciously attracted to a guy who brags about being “100 percent white” and maybe I need to re-evaluate some things. My newest pet peeve is when I’m looking at a profile of a guy who contacted me on Match.com and it says, “HE E-MAILED YOU!” in all caps and with an exclamation point on the top of the profile. HE! E-MAILED! YOU! Is this really an all caps exclamation point situation? Some random dude that I probably won’t like sent me an e-mail? HE! E-MAILED! YOU! Does he want a cookie? Save the emphasis for something important – like, say, “HE CALLED YOU BACK!” or, even better, “HE IS NORMAL!” Folks, it’s a slippery slope and I fear I’m heading straight to bitter.
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Thanks! New post a-comin'!
I’ve spent the past few days revamping my online dating profile. I figured that since I’m paying for another month, I should put some effort into it – a new picture, perhaps. Updating my interests and refining the language. Kind of like getting a virtual haircut and a push-up bra, if you will. I’ve been e-mailing with two new guys for the past few days. Both are 30. One is a writer and the other is a nurse. Both have cute pictures and messaged me, which is nice. The down side to the Writer is that he lives about 45 minutes away. I am opposed to this because I want the support of someone in town. I’ve said it before – I don’t want to have to drive more than a half hour for a post-work hug. That’s just not the kind of person I am. The Nurse looks more promising. He lives in town and we seem to have a lot of things in common. He’s tall. Tall enough that I would only wear heels and still stand shorter than he does. This excites me. I’m trying not to approach this like a job, but I’m thinking that I should set goals. “Wink” at a certain number of guys. Settle for no going out with no fewer than four or five guys a month. Set tangible benchmarks to measure my dating success – much like I do for projects and tasks in my job. I’ve also done some rejecting. One guy who was two years younger than I am who seemed too religious for me and didn’t drink. After dealing with the Relief Worker and his judgment, I decided that I didn’t want to have to pretend to not be a social butterfly party girl from the get go to impress a guy. No thank you. The other guy was my age, but had a child. And my name is not Mommy. Also, The Crier messaged me and apologized for making me feel uncomfortable and asked that I call him to hang out as “friends.” No thanks.
I happen to be reading a book called “Why You’re Still Single: Things your friends would tell you if you promised not to get mad,” which opens with a wonderful Ben Franklin quote about insanity being “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” It’s a quote about innovation – one I’ve heard many times. I’ve never before related it to my single life and quest for men. But it plays into my recent dabbling in online dating – it’s a kind of dating torture I’ve never previously tried. (Also, it is slowly driving me insane.) But back to “Why You’re Still Single.” The book, by Evan Marc Katz and Linda Holmes, outlines some tried and true situations and ruts we all fall into in what, at times, seems to be a never-ending journey of dates and heartbreaks. The premise is obviously simple, in that we have our blinders on to the things we do to hinder our dating happiness. And, I’d be willing to bet that I’m not the only single in the world who could write a laundry list of reasons why my friends aren’t attached, while coming up clueless when it comes to my own dating deficiencies. I want to be the heroine in the story of my life and to believe that I am always in the right and am above reproach. Of course, I know this could never be true. Surely I am wrong sometimes. In fact, I’m sure that the readers of this little Journal of Dates and Drinks could tell me a thing or two about what I’m doing wrong. (Not that being single is wrong. But seeing as I’d like to not be alone right now, it can’t be right.) Since I have a handy little guide in front of me, I set out to pinpoint some of the things that I think I’m doing wrong, which I have to admit some of my friends have told me on occasion. (On a side note, I have to say that Linda Holmes is my kinda gal. She says her hate for self help for the single girl books stems from the fact that they are “insulting, condescending nonsense, shot through with sexist claptrap and a hundred other kinds of poison.” Amen, sister. Raise your hand if you felt insulted with the “Men don’t like you because they think you are pathetic – but you’re not, sister! Girlfriend you’re cute! Just DUMB ABOUT MEN!” attitude of “He’s Just Not That Into You.”) As a disclaimer, I must say that if you read this book as a checklist of your behaviors, you will think you are totally screwed. Because you could easily find yourself in every chapter and every reason they give – or a small piece of you, that is. The point is not to stress about how you acted for the two hours in the privacy of your apartment when you cried over your last relationship. It’s about what you did in the months and years before and after those two hours. Trust me, we’re all desperate and miserable sometimes. But rather than focus on actions and attitudes that take up 1 percent of our dating lives, we should find the overarching themes and instances that reoccur the other 99 percent of the time. But back to the book. They hit the proverbial nail on my head with the first chapter – so much so that I almost stopped reading and said, “That’s it! I have been diagnosed.” Chapter One, “Do I want to date right now?” is me in a nutshell. So much that I felt stalked, almost. Because I say I want a man, but I don’t always follow up with action, or I spend too many nights in or I spend too much time in situations where dating is impossible, like work or with B or playing Scrabble with my girlfriends. And yes, I know I won’t trip over my next boyfriend in my living room while I’m moisturizing my elbows and plucking my eyebrows on a Saturday night or while accompanying couples to dinner or trying not to spill crumbs on my keyboard at work. I’ve always known this. It’s tough to balance a career that’s just getting some momentum with a social life that’s been buzzing for years and is very quickly becoming too tiresome for my not-21-year-old self, especially when you consider that I like to have some me time to write and cook and hang out and dance around like a moron to a Pussycat Dolls song in my PJs in my living room. So that’s been my excuse for allotting a healthy amount of hermit time in addition to time spent complaining about a lack of male attention with my girlfriends. Yes, I do want to date. But I also don’t want to go on bad dates and lower my standards. Sigh. And my time is valuable to me. And maybe this is my problem. Or one of them. (I also occasionally get too negative about men to be a good date, am stubborn, have a mile-long list of dealbreakers, etc.) You have to commit to dating before you can actually find someone to date – otherwise it’s like whining about feeling fat while you eat a candy bar. I knock guys out of contention for silly reasons. I get hung up on past annoyances and use them as an excuse to not date. I say that I want to date, but sometimes I have to wonder if I really do. So I’m about halfway through “Why You’re Still Single.” It’s an easy read because it is heavily subdivided and has a handy table of contents up front. All the better to help you zoom in on the problems specific to your personal mating mishaps. I do have to say that reading self-help or advice books is kind of against my nature. (I have an abnormally high opinion of my personal complexity and I like to think that I’m too unique to find solace in a book like this, though I am clearly wrong.) But there’s a lot of wit to be had here. The spoonful of sugar approach to advice. Also I’d be lying if I said a lot of it wasn’t things I already know, even if I don’t admit to myself that I see them reflected in my life. In fact, though I’m sure the authors would benefit more financially if the book were somehow filled with things you didn’t already know, they’d probably admit that none of this is rocket science. It’s just that if you already knew and embraced their common sense strategies and advice, then you most likely wouldn’t be obsessing about being single, right? Knowing about a potential problem or the root cause of your condition is only half the battle. And this book (like many before) aims to arm you for action. Time will tell, right?
Wow. That was disastrous. (I think the only thing that would have made it worse would have been if I said, "Please don't cry." Which I didn't.)
I was having serious Web connection issues while I tried to let the IT Guy down gently. Each time I sent or received a message, I'd get signed off.
It went like this:
Charming gets knocked offline.
Charming signs back on.
Charming: I'm really sorry …
Charming gets knocked offline.
Charming signs back on.
IT Guy: It's ok.
IT Guy: Why don't you let me take you out on Thursday?
Charming gets knocked offline.
I finally squeezed in a, "I'm sorry [It Guy]. I had a nice time hanging out, but you seem to be hung up on your ex and I do not think it is going to work."
And then I got knocked offline.
I finally got my connection to work, but he had signed offline. So I sent him a very apologetic e-mail.
I feel like a bitch. I do not know why this was so hard for me – I think I just saw him as so emotionally vulnerable and I was really worried that I'd upset him. The crying on the date got to me.
Also, the reference to burning an ex-girlfriend's things …
Oh, in case you're wondering, I hate pulling off Band-Aids. I pick at them. It takes me a few minutes to just rip them off. It stresses me out.
Amazingly, eyebrow waxes? Fine.
I am an evil person. I deserve to have many mean things said of me.
I have been avoiding the IT Guy since our horrible date, during which he cried. And I feel really terrible about it.I really do. (If I keep saying that it is true, it will be right?)
First I blocked him on my buddy list because I needed to have a strategy when I spoke to him. ("[IT Guy], you are great, but it is obvious that you are not over being divorced. This is too much for me to handle.") Also, because I was writing and I find it hard to write about someone when they're saying nice things to me. I'm sure this is a sign that I am conflicted. And I am. I do not want to go out with him again, for sure. But I feel bad for him because he is obviously a nice guy with more baggage than I care to handle.So, first I blocked him on my buddy list. Just for Sunday, my writing day.
Then, I was having a busy day on Monday. And he called in the middle of the day. I have a firm rule against taking personal calls while at work. Even my mom knows this. My close friends and family have my desk line to call me directly if they need me – calls to my cell during work hours are avoided and typically ignored.He also didn't leave a message, which is a huge pet peeve of mine. Unless you're a good friend or a family member, you leave a message. Because otherwise I can't know when it is best to call you back or what you want. Say you're calling to ask me out for a drink after work. How am I to know not to go straight home if you don't leave me a message? It's presumptuous to think I'm going to call back someone I do not know well if he or she can't be bothered to state the reason for his or her call.
So I didn't unblock him from my buddy list that night. Not because he didn't leave a voicemail. I didn't unblock him because I had a long day at work and wasn't feeling on top of my game. And because his lack of voicemail showed a lack of interest. (Also, did I mention that he cried on our second date?)
So Tuesday came and went about the same way. And on Wednesday he called again and left a very long, very odd message. Something about wanting to talk to me and trying to see if I'd answer my cell and then the rest made such little sense that I couldn't repeat it if I tried. The day was another long one (are we seeing a pattern here?) and all I really wanted to do was crawl into bed and watch Last Comic Standing and rest up. So he remained blocked.
Thursday night I had dinner with B and Friday night I went out downtown with some friends. Saturday I did laundry and Sunday was a family day.
My point? I should have just talked to him. Because now he knows I'm avoiding him and so I'm the bitch who is going to be like, "Yeah, I've had a really long week at work, but that's not why I didn't call you back, you crier, you." Because we all know that if he were a stomach flipper who made my knees weak, I would've called him back Monday after work, even without him leaving a message. Because Robert's Rules of Order don't matter when you like the guy.
Part of me feels as if I owe him an explanation. Part of me doesn't. We just went out twice, right? But on that note, he bought me coffee, a sushi dinner with wine, tickets to a movie and movie snacks. Not that I didn't offer to split with him.
Once a guy has spent more than two drinks worth of money on me, I start to feel a little beholden to him. No, I do not buy into the "paying for dinner means you owe me sex" mentality. No way. Hell no. But if you let a guy take you on two dates and pay and then decide you don't want to see him again, is it only fair that you let him down gently, instead of dropping off of the face of the earth? Wouldn't I be sitting here lashing out at a guy who did the same to me?
Is it hypocritical of me to ignore him? Or does the fact that he cried and talked about his ex-wife too much negate any responsibility I had to tell him why he doesn't get a third date? (Lord knows guys have not called me for less.)
Is all of this moot, seeing as it has been more than a week and he surely knows I'm avoiding him?
Note: The first date is recapped here. Read that first if you haven't already. For context. The IT Guy asked me out for to a movie on Saturday night. I had plans to get drinks with Southern Belle, but I was genuinely excited about going out with him again. He had suggested seeing “Cars,” but I had little desire to see an animated movie, so he suggested “The Break Up.” I’m a huge fan of Vince Vaughn, so I was game for seeing this movie and happy to be seeing the IT Guy again. I even cleaned the living room and kitchen of my apartment so that he wouldn’t think I was a slob when he picked me up. When he arrived, on time, I was slightly underwhelmed by his outfit. I’d worn nice jeans and a brown and pink baby doll-style shirt, high-heeled wedges with a touch of bling. I’d moussed my hair and let it air dry so it was curly and then I’d pinned the front back and glossed my lips. I dressed casually but cute, figuring we’d get coffee or dinner after. Saturday is Date Night, afterall. He wore tapered jeans, a bar T-shirt and tennis shoes. I looked past this, even though it made me feel as if he didn’t think the date was important. We got tickets, waited in a long line for popcorn and drinks and I confessed that I have a huge crush on Vince Vaughn. We joked back and forth about our celebrity crushes and I felt the chemistry from our first date, which made me smile. We found seats the crowded theatre. We talked some during the before feature video they show at the theatre and he talked some during the previews. I assumed he’d quiet down during the actual movie. I was wrong. He talked throughout and laughed loudly. Louder than anyone else in the place. You could pick his loud laugh out of the whole crowd. I was mortified. I was at the movie with That Guy. I pushed this to the back of my mind. He is a nice person and I enjoyed spending time with him and slight annoyances can be ignored, I thought. The movie was really good – funny but also as realistic as a romantic comedy can be about what actually happens in a break up. Throughout the entire movie, the IT Guy kept saying, “This brings back memories” or “That hits close to home,” particularly during times when the couple would fight. Now, he is divorced. And I knew this going in. But I’d assumed he was ready to date, seeing as he’d asked me out twice and been out on other dates through the online dating service where we met. The movie ended. It wasn’t the typical ending you’d expect. Most of my friends who’ve seen it agreed that there were some sad parts, but that it was hardly a depressing movie overall. We started talking while we waited for the crowd to leave. “That was rough for me,” he said. “Excuse me?” “That movie really hit home for me,” he said. I looked at him and I could see that his eves were filled with tears. He looked to the side and brushed them away and said nothing about it, I guess because he didn’t think I’d noticed because the credits were still rolling. But I saw the tears and my inner monologue kept yelling, “Red flag! Red flag! Back away from Your Crying Date!” “Yes, um, break ups are hard,” I said, surveying the theater (and date) for an emergency exit. He took my hand and held onto it as we exited the theatre. I smiled and wriggled away as we neared the restroom. I excused myself to the ladies room and told him I’d meet him in the lobby. As soon as the door closed, I reached for my cell and called Southern Belle. “Where are you?” I asked. “At the [Wine Bar] downtown,” she said. “How’s your date going?” “I’ve got to ditch him,” I said. “That well?” she teased. “[Southern Belle], he cried during ‘The Break Up,’” I said. “He teared up because he said it ‘hit too close to home.’ He is obviously not over being divorced.” “He did NOT! You’re lying!” “I am NOT. He cried. I saw it. He is not over his Ex wife. MY DATE CRIED.” “You’ve got to get out of there.” “I know,” I said. “I’ll see you in a half hour for an emergency glass of wine.” I hung up and looked in the mirror, trying to regain my composure. It was then that I heard the laughter behind me. I turned around to see a group of women who’d overheard my conversation. They were giggling uncontrollably and I’d been so frantically locked in my own world that I hadn’t noticed that I had an audience. “I am so sorry, I did not mean to eavesdrop,” one woman said. “I shouldn’t laugh. But that is hysterical.” At first I was annoyed. Then I remembered that I was in public and I’d probably laugh myself if it hadn’t happened to me. I had a chuckle with them and headed out to find my date. We walked to the car and he continued talking about the movie hitting close to home. I’d hoped my bathroom break had given him a chance to right himself and pick a new topic, other than his divorce. I was wrong. “Well, um, I saw Vince Vaughn on Jay Leno and he said that they wanted to make it realistic,” I offered. “Well, it WAS a bit TOO realistic for me,” he said. “Yes, um, break ups are hard,” I offered. “But as long as you, um, don’t stay bitter over them, I find that it can, um, be better.” I was rambling. I was terribly uncomfortable. I do my best to keep my neuroses and heartbreaks to myself while on dates, thankyouverymuch. For this exact reason. “I’ve only had one really bitter break up. In college,” he said. “Oh?” I said, thinking, “Um, sounds like you’re forgetting your divorce, buddy.” “Yeah, I burned all of her stuff.” “Um, um, oh,” I said, thinking, “WHY would you tell me this on a date?” “Sure did,” he said. “Wanna go get some coffee?” “Oh, I’m sorry,” I said. “I skipped Girls Night Dinner and, um, I will be kicked out if I, um, don’t meet up with them for drinks.” He brought me back to my apartment and walked me to the door. I was terribly uncomfortable when he leaned in to kiss me on the lips. I kept my mouth firmly shut and he didn’t and there was an awkward moment when he actually sucked on my tightly clamped lips. He asked if he could see me again. Without thinking, I said, “Um, just, call me.” He smiled. “Great! I won’t call, but I’ll see you online.”
Request: Go read this post about my date with the IT Guy first. This story happened right after that date ended and makes more sense when read that way. Second date details coming. When I told the IT Guy I’d love to go get sushi, I also silenced my cell phone for dinner. Because I was skipping B’s birthday dinner. And I wanted to focus solely on the guy on the date with me, who was my present at that moment, and not the guy sitting across town, who was my past. After the date, I waited until the IT Guy pulled out of the parking lot and then left myself, heading toward the bar to meet B and company to buy him a birthday drink. I checked my phone – I had a message and missed calls from B. (I should note here that he was at dinner with a group of 15 people and me not coming didn’t mess up a reservation or anything. It was a big, bar-like restaurant that was loud and busy and I knew I wouldn’t be missed. Also, we barely ever see each other anymore.) I called B to let him know I was on my way. “Where are you?” He answered the phone accusatorily. “On my way.” A few minutes later I strolled into the bar and surveyed the crowd to find B’s table, which had about 15 people and enough beer bottles for a few more. I walked over and gave him a birthday kiss on the cheek. “This better be a good story,” he said. “If you were two hours late for my birthday dinner.” “I’m not two hours late. I’m only an hour and a half late,” I said as I sat next to him and signaled to the server. “Well?” “Oh, I had a coffee date that went well.” “And?” he looked confused. “And we decided to get dinner,” I said. “Sushi.” I paused. “And I figured that you of all people would understand if I was a touch late because a date went well,” I deadpanned. I looked at the server. “And I’ll have the Wheat Beer,” I said with a smile.
I was running late. I’d stopped for a second at work to freshen up my make up and run my fingers through my hair, which I’d begrudgingly blown out in the morning and worn down all day, rather than twisting it up in a clip and bobby pinning it against my head. I was sporting a knee-length pink skirt and a thin black sweater with three-quarter length sleeves with Enzo Angiolini sandals with an ankle strap. But by the time I’d walked to my car, I was almost already late. I scrolled through my phone to find the IT Guy’s number to call and apologize and assure him that I was on my way. But to no avail. I hate the address book on my new cell phone – it is not merely enough to type the number in and hit “OK.” You must confirm the number with an extra “Save,” which I always forget. So, I fly out of downtown, lip glossing at red lights and cursing the whole way there. I nervously entered the coffee shop, almost 20 minutes late at this point; worried that he’d thought I’d stood him up. After scanning the place for a full 45 seconds, my eyes landed on the IT Guy, in the shirt he’d described, with a very inviting smile on his face. We exchanged pleasantries, he gave me a hug, I was taken aback by his friendliness. We headed over to order coffee and found a table out of the way. He was very talkative. Though I am quite the extrovert, I can be downright shy when in a social situation with someone who is so extroverted and loud and talkative. We chatted about the hurricane (he moved here post Katrina), work, about where we each liked to hang out and about bad TV. The IT Guy is very nice and easy to talk to. But he was also very excitable. In my head, I was thinking, “He reminds me of a Labrador puppy. Play! Play play play! Jump on your lap, and then scratch my ear, now here, let me lick your face, THROW THE FRISBEE! THROW THE FRISBEE! I got the frisbee! See! Got it! Why are you sitting down? Why? Let’s play some more. Here, pet me! Pet me!” And I like Lab puppies. But I would never own one. But before I got too deep into this internal monologue and wrote him off entirely, I decided to actually finish the date. He is 29 and divorced. He mentioned his ex-wife and in the context of telling a story about going on a trip. He quickly apologized. She had nothing to do with the story, he was talking about a show he’d seen and I think it just slipped out. I noted it moved on. I was giving him a wrap up of bars and restaurants I liked and I mentioned this fantastic downtown sushi place. Mid sentence he interrupted me. “So, you like sushi?” “Yeah, I love it.” “There’s a place across the street where we can go, if you’re hungry.” I was starving and sushi sounded just right. And I wanted to keep talking to him. But it was B’s birthday. And I’d promised him that I’d join a large group of people for dinner and drinks at 8 p.m. It was 7:15 and I needed to wrap this up by 7:45 to be at the birthday dinner on time. I started to make an excuse as to why I couldn’t go to dinner, but I stopped myself. I was on a date with a nice guy with a big smile and a great sense of humor who seemed very interested in me. He has a good job, is taller than I am and has that cuddliness about him that I love in guys. And I was about to leave to go to dinner for a guy who’d toyed with my emotions for years? Who takes my friendship for granted? Who broke my little heart into too many pieces to count and then put the pieces in a blender and made a smoothie with what remained? A guy who will never see me for the fantastic, intelligent, charming woman that I am? “I would LOVE to go get sushi,” I said to the IT Guy, with a hint of defiance that I don’t think he caught. So we headed over to the sushi place, settled into the sushi bar and ordered a round of drinks. The conversation was nice – I’d become accustomed to his personality and began coming out of my shell a bit. I was still slightly annoyed that he joked with the waitstaff so much. He thought it was cute to order, “400 of everything and three bottles of wine” and to jokingly try to send a half-eaten squid appetizer back. I wrote this off as mild dorkiness combined with nerves. Around 9 p.m. we finished dinner and he escorted me to my car. He’d done all the right things. Opened doors, complimented my smile, conversed nicely. I made a point to get his number correct in my phone and apologized for the address book snafu. We hugged and he sent me on my way. “Could we do this again soon?” he asked as he put me in my car. “I’d like that.”
I will dish on my Thursday night date with the IT guy soon. I promise. I just have to get ready for our second date tonight first ...
Note: I updated the "context/popular posts" section on the right.
I've been chatting some off and on for the past two weeks with a 29-year-old IT Guy from an online dating site. He seems nice enough. He's recently divorced, which bothers me a bit, because I don't want to be someone's rebound after their divorce.
However, when he asked me out for an after work cup of coffee for Thursday and picked a classic locale – a locally-owned New Orleans-style coffee place – I couldn't help but be impressed that maybe he got me. I'm not Starbucks; I'm a local brew.
We were hashing out the details when he said he was going to tell me what color shirt he was wearing so I'd know it was him.
"I'm impressed that you know what you're wearing on Thursday," I said. "I have no idea what I'm wearing on Thursday."
(This is a lie. I mentally picked out a cute, work-appropriate outfit just as soon as he asked.)
"Well, this way, you can run if you decide you don't like what you see," he said.
I strode into the Baby Gap and made the all-too-familiar “newborn” section. Another Saturday, another baby shower. Petit fours, punch and pretend excitement over Diaper Genies and baby bottles. (When you are a single lady like myself, the only joy from events like the baby shower of one of many family friends is that you can expect presents on the occasion of your own impregnation.) My fingers ran over the soft fabric of the clothes in light blues, light greens and yellows. A white onesie with palm trees and a collar caught my eye. Baby’s first polo. As my little sister says, “You gotta get ‘em preppy early.” Seeing as they were on sale and I have an adorable baby boy cousin who clearly needs some preppiness in his life, I decided I should get two. I am in hot pursuit of the title of “World’s Greatest Cousin/Babysitter” with my sister and another female cousin a few years younger than I am (big Catholic family!). I simply had to get a palm tree polo for my little sweetie, who loves to cuddle up next to me and dance with me and giggle and smile when I sing to him. I had the saleswoman check in the back for another identical outfit so I could buy both. “Oh, it must be so fun having twins,” she exclaimed. “Excuse me?” I looked up accusingly from the stack of blankets I was picking through. “You’re getting two in the same size. Twin boys?” “No. Two baby boys. Unrelated to each other.” I paused. “I just really like the outfit.” --- The sugary-sweet smell of buttercream frosting wafted through the air as I made my way through women in pink capri pants and sequined flip flops. I slid my purse under a table, smoothed my skirt and grabbed some sort of punch with frozen berries in it. The gift opening was starting. The Mom to Be passed gifts around while women felt everything, gawked over its cuteness and discussed the importance of having a grocery store cart cover to protect the baby from germs. “It’s a swaddling blanket,” the woman next to me said, passing me a mint green blanket in a plastic pouch. I’d been daydreaming about drinks with the girls later that night. The single girls. The ones without kids and strollers. The talk of swaddling blankets snapped me back into reality. Were we talking about Jesus or something? “Excuse me?” “It’s a swaddling blanket,” the woman said again, knowingly. “You wrap the baby in it so that he feels like he’s in the womb.” I looked at the directions. “So the baby can’t move?” “Why would the baby need to move?” My mom chimed in. “It really is the new thing,” she said. “Your cousin loved in when he was first born.” I eyed the blanket suspiciously and paused before I spoke. “Shades of a straight jacket, if you ask me.” --- “How old do you think she is?” My mom motioned to someone’s new wife, who was sitting across the room from us, as she asked. “I don’t know, Mom. Mid thirties? No older than 35?” “That old?” “Yes, well, maybe not. You would think that by 35 she’d learn that it doesn’t matter if you wear a nude-colored bra if the shirt on top of it is lime green lace and transparent.” My mom covered her mouth to stifle a laugh. “Which number wife is she?” Mom asked, trying to change the subject from her poor fashion choices. “I don’t know, but the way he’s going, I’m about in the correct age range to be his next.” “[Charming!]” “I’m just saying, Mom. A girl’s gotta have goals.” --- Mom leaned over and asked, “What’s with all of the little blankets with animal heads on them?” A woman in front of us turned around and scowled, “It’s a security blanket!” I looked at Mom. “Apparently, the little boy needs a security blanket,” I said. My mom passed the blanket on. “Well, it’s not like it is big enough to wrap the baby in or anything.” “Security blanket, my ass,” I whispered to my mom. “Making babies clingy and codependent before they can even walk.”