I am excited to announce some changes at this here blog. This girl, she’s moving on up. To a deluxe blog with its own domain. That’s right. I am now the proud owner of www.charmingbutsingle.com. Effective today, all future Charming, but Single knowledge will be dropped over there. Why am I moving? For a lot of reasons, really. I’ve wanted to take the blog to its own domain for a while now. I’ve outgrown Blogger – as evidenced by the fact that I actually can’t transfer my blog to New Blogger. I’m told my blog is too big – too many posts or comments. I wanted to move to WordPress, which is generally regarded as a superior blogging tool. And it seemed silly to move the blog to WordPress and NOT get a domain. So here I am. For you, the reader, things should pretty much be the same. The template of the new blog is almost identical to the old blog, only without some of the annoying quirks when you read it in Firefox (and you should be using Firefox, because, hello. Way better than IE). You won’t need a Blogger or Google account to post comments. You can post using a WordPress account, but you certainly don’t have to. There are still some quirks to work out. I've got to add Technorati links and some other things to the sidebar. But you can still e-mail me at charmingbutsingle at gmail dot com. And everything will be back to normal -- only BETTER normal -- soon. For starters, I’ve written a slightly longer bio that you can read on the “About” page. Please update your blogrolls to reflect the new address, www.charmingbutsingle.com. The old Blogger site will stay up for awhile, but I’m going to slowly fix the links on the new site so that it doesn’t link back to the old one. I’m sure this will take awhile (unless anyone knows how to make universal site changes in WordPress!). I have turned off comments on this blog so that you will HAVE to use the new blog. (Don’t worry! All of your old comments? Totally on the new site!) To recap: A better blogging experience at www.charmingbutsingle.com.
Today is the second anniversay (blogiversary?) of Charming, but single. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – this started out as a way to kill some time. I never intended for it to last this long, but here I am penning this second-year post. After two cosmos, obviously. I enjoy it. I have no idea what the future holds for this blog and how long I’ll keep it up. But having my own little corner of the ‘sphere to wax poetic about myself and men and anything else that tickles my fancy is something I love. Cherish is a silly word. But sometimes I think that it fits. What have a learned in two years of blogging? More than you’ll ever know. It is alternately thrilling and gut wrenching to chronicle these moments from my life. Sometimes writing makes me erupt in deep belly laughs. Other times I feel tears running down my flushed cheeks. I’ve had more than 146,000 visitors in the two years I’ve blogged, which amazes me. It really does. I am nervous that more than 800 people now read Charming, but single each day. But it warms my heart to see so many people come back to read my tales. Even when I am sappy. Even when I am sad. Even when I am cranky. I don’t know where you people keep coming from. Only 21,000 people read in the first year of the blog, so you have to be coming from somewhere. This is my 322nd post. I don’t write every day, but I write enough. I’ve had 3755 comments. Jesus. Do you people do anything at work? (Totally joking. Y’all rock.) That’s about 2800 comments in a year. Am I really that interesting? (Don’t answer that.) I am far from perfect and anything but wise. I make the same mistakes over and over again and yes, I wear my heart on my sleeve. I don’t do my dishes each night and I never really make my bed. I screen my calls and forget to iron and I’m constantly stumbling in my three-inch heels. But I’m happy. Happier than I’ve ever been, if you can believe that. I’d love to be in love. One day, my friends. He won’t know what hit him. Here’s to hope and eternal optimism. To writing. To dating. To those who got away and the ones I’d wish would never come back. Cheers – Charming P.S. I’ll post a wrap-up post of my favorites, the most popular and the most significant this weekend. Just like last year.
Because I anticipate that Man Detox 2007 (three days strong!) will certainly be a smashing success this upcoming weekend, my head has been swimming with fantastically relaxing ways in which I plan to rid myself of the crankiness that’s resulted from months of settling for so-so interactions with the male of the species. My ever-growing list of activities involves a typical regimen of hair, skin and nail care. I have this fantastic new exfoliating scrub that I want to use on my feet. I might touch up the color of my hair. I need a manicure. I also plan to aimlessly wander the aisles of a bookstore selecting some things to read – perhaps Straight Up and Dirty by Stephanie Klein next? (So far this year I’ve read BreakUp Babe, which is a great book by a blogger I love that you should really go read, especially if you enjoy reading this “genre” of blogs, as she tells her story with a combination of blog posts and narrative, and The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing, which was okay, but not quite what I expected it to be.) Also, trips to gym (2 planned) with newly created “Girl Power” workout playlist. Healthy food, tea instead of coffee at my Sunday power writing session, salad bar from Fantastic Fancy Grocery Store and one glass of wine on Friday night. Possibly shopping because I need more BADgal Lash. (I’d strayed from this mascara with a Clinique product, but my lashes are begging for me to go back to Benefit.) Also, I might break down and buy the Lauren by Hobo International because I’ve been obsessed with it for too long now. Also, football. Because, HELLO. One game until the Super Bowl. Go Saints! Cheesy and predictable? Of course. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Note: This post was not supposed to be about this song. But now it is. Read part the first and part the second. Dating does things to us. It makes us doubt ourselves, but it can also give us an inordinate amount of self confidence, almost to the point where our egos swell and we think we are perhaps the hottest piece this side of the Mississippi (regardless of which side of the River we actually live on). Such is the case with “Break Your Heart,” by the Barenaked Ladies – as an aside, you should go see them live in concert, because they are fantastic and I enjoyed their set both times I saw them, and really I think seeing them live adds something to the experience. During my senior year of high school, “Break Your Heart” was one of my favorite songs on one of my favorite albums, “Rock Spectacle.” (I’d argue that the “Rock Spectacle” version is the best. And really, you should buy the whole CD – the whole thing isn’t on iTunes and if memory serves me right, you can’t copy this CD to your computer in hopes of using it in iTunes, because of the security they placed on the CD. Bastards.) Anyway, Best Friend Ever and I both loved the song “Break Your Heart.” And I don’t know how many times we listened to it – a lot, I think I wore my copy out – but we had this little ritual that I never did with anyone else. We’d be sitting in her parents’ powder blue Ford Taurus station wagon and we’d blast the CD, turning it up as loud as possible at about two and a half minutes in. See, at three minutes into the song, there is this fantastic surge of emotion and sound – I don’t know technical signing terms because I couldn’t carry a tune in a paper sack. It starts low. “You arrogant man …” we’d sing softly. “What do you think that I am?” We’d look at each other and take a deep breath. Because it builds. And then at the top of our lungs, as loud as we could, we’d sing “My heart will be FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE … JUST STOP WASTING MY TIME! OH NO! I know that you will be okay and that I’ve got what I want, and that’s rid of you …” And we’d pause. “Goodbye!” And some nights we’d collapse into laughter and others we’d immediately go back to the middle of the song and do it all over again. It was just what we needed sometimes. Our fun little game. Our secret way to let out whatever stress it is that teenagers feel about Homecoming dances and whatnot. (Only not so secret now, since, you know, I just told all of y’all.) Of course, at age 16 we only thought we knew heartbreak and sadness. We had no idea of the true pain, and conversely, true joy, that life had in store for us. I wish I could shake 16-year-old me and say, “Look at you! You are beautiful! You have clear skin and sure you don’t have washboard abs, but Jesus Christ, stop tying flannels and sweatshirts around your waist, throw away those smelly Converse One Stars, brush your hair out of your face and pluck those eyebrows. Because YOU are missing it all, young lady.” “Break Your Heart” is basically a sad song about how sometimes we stay in relationships too long because we don’t want to hurt the other person. We are conceited and think that the other person will be crushed without us. I don’t consider myself a heartbreaker by any means. But dating does weird things to us and it causes us to believe that we’re going to hurt someone more than we will, so we string them along for no reason. (Like the guy I dated freshman year in high school, who when I finally told him, “I don’t want to hang out with you anymore” turned around and asked me to Homecoming sophomore year. And I was mean and wouldn’t go with him and told everyone I’d rather not go if I had to go with him and then NO ONE else asked me and so I sat at home and moped about it and my parents wanted us all to go to dinner and I made them take us to restaurant about a half hour out of town so that we wouldn’t run into people eating before the dance. And they did, because they rock. And also, the restaurant has some of the best fried catfish ever. Ever.) Good times. Anyway, if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of this treatment you know it hurts. Not only because you’re hurt for being dumped. But because the person dumping you was so bold to think that you would just die without them. And the truth is that if they’d just TOLD you, you wouldn’t have been so invested in the relationship and you wouldn’t end up feeling like a pile of dung. Really, the song just reminds me of being young and melodramatic. And it makes me miss simpler times and that damn blue station wagon that we once crammed like 12 girls in to go to a football game or something. Ah, yes. Memories.
Sunday night was a bit of a wake-up call. First, I curled up under the blankets and wondered if I should cry or punch a hole in the wall. I’m unsure was to why hearing that an ex had impregnated the next woman he’d dated after me made me so mad – I think it was all of the groveling and the “you have beautiful eyes” and the “you truly do not know how much I’ve missed you.” By Monday morning my sadness and confusion has pretty much become anger. I convened my girlfriends for coffee and gossip. They had predictable reactions – what a jerk for telling you, what a moron for not being more careful, what a loser for acting like he missed you. Also, a lot of, “Whatever you do, don’t ever ever ever see him again ever.” I’m not angry because he got someone else pregnant. I’m angry because he’d acted as if I’d be around to hang out in a few months, once he was passed all of this baby unpleasantness, or whatever. (Unpleasantness was my word, not his.) As if I’d forget how he treated me, forget how I felt unwanted. At first I thought The Nurse was 100 percent right when he said I didn’t act like I wanted a relationship. But the more I really think about it, the more I think that is partially just him making excuses for his actions. We talked about if he was dating other people and I told him I wasn’t. I had to all but beg him to take me out. He claims I only wanted to see him after I’d been out at bars, but I inquired a lot about what he was doing at other times – he was working or studying or had other plans. He pushed me away. And I stood for it. And I shouldn’t have. All of those times when the voice in the back of my head said, “Tell him. Teeeeell hiiiiiim,” I should have listened. I feel like I’ve lost my way with men. That said, I think I’m going on a man detox for now. I’ve lost my way. I’m settling for less than I deserve and want. I’ve got to get back on track so I don’t keep making the same mistakes over and over again.
Note: This is long. But after you read it, you'll understand why. I promise. So, I happened to be online last night. Unable to sleep and bored by my Grey’s Anatomy DVDs, I logged online to kill some time until my eyelids became heavy. The Nurse sent me an IM – which was kind of nuts since he pretty much dropped off of the face of the earth. And he starts in with how he’s starting his official nursing job tomorrow and why am I up so late on a Sunday, etc. I talked to him, but to say that I wasn’t at least a touch confused would be an understatement. Why now? After ignoring numerous drunken text messages from me and seeing me in public and not speaking to me? Crazy. We exchanged pleasantries and he said that he figured I’d never want to speak to him again and that he was a jerk and that he was sorry. And we had one of those talks that you can have after you’ve really gotten all of the hurt out, when you can be honest and while it still stings, it doesn’t crush you. Then he dropped the bomb. “I made a mistake. And now I’m going to be a dad.” I blinked when I saw those words. “It wasn’t the way I wanted it to happen, but oh well.” I blinked again. “You were wonderful. You are wonderful.” “What?” “The woman you saw me with is pregnant.” And I remembered. The grocery store. About six weeks after he’d dropped me. He was with a woman. I’d assumed she was his mother because she looked older. She was his girlfriend. His now-pregnant 29-year-old girlfriend. He went on to tell me that’d he’d really missed me. But he’d made a mistake. “I do miss those eyes, though.” “Eyes?” I said. “You have pretty eyes. I miss those eyes.” “That’s cute,” I said. “But forgive me if I don’t believe it.” “Oh if only you knew.” “I made an ass out of myself,” I said. “I don’t normally chase.” “You didn’t make an ass out of yourself. I was a prick. But you do have a nice booty.” We kept talking. I don’t know why. “I wanted to call,” he said. “Maybe if I had …” “What would you have said?” “That’s the tough part.” “I really liked you. You didn’t seem into having a relationship.” “I wasn’t, it just happened.” “With who? With me? You call that a relationship?” I asked. “No, with Her. It just happened.” He went on to tell me that he wasn’t planning on staying with Her. He was going to have the child and be in its life, but he wouldn’t be with Her if he hadn’t gotten her pregnant. “I wanted to be with someone. Like an adult. Not just drinking in bars,” I said. “I guess I didn’t articulate that well.” “You only seemed to text message after drinking at bars.” “I thought that was what you wanted. You were busy with school and I was trying to not be a big demand on your time.” He is right. I didn’t ask for what I wanted – I was too scared of being hurt to put myself out there and say, “[Nurse] I want a relationship. I expect a relationship.” I was so worried that he’d deny me this and that he’d think I was nuts. Hearing that he didn’t understand what I’d wanted from him didn’t make me feel much better. I wanted to be able to blame him for everything that went wrong. But I was part of the problem. And I knew that. We talked about me having my tonsils out. About how he felt bad because he knew I was sick and having surgery and he didn't call. Still. About how She hates vegetables and thinks instant potatoes are better than homemade garlic mashed potatoes and how he’s watching her diet to watch out for the baby because she’d turn it into a fast food junkie. “I don’t eat mashed potatoes anymore. Or popsicles,” I said, noting that I’d eaten a lot of both after my surgery. “I might have to make you real mashed potatoes with the skins on. Maybe in a year if you’re not in love with someone else.” he said. “Hah.” “What was that ‘Hah’ for? Like you wouldn’t ever be in the same room with me?” “Just Hah.” “Won’t commit one way or the other, huh?” “I’ve got to look out for myself. Can’t go around getting hurt again.” All of this was a bit much for me. Part of me wanted to cry because I finally knew the truth. And because I wondered what would have happened if I’d forced the issue of us dating. Or if he had called. If either one of us had done what we’d really wanted to do in our hearts. He said it was time for him to go to sleep – something I knew I wouldn’t do for hours after this conversation. “Good night. Remember that you are beautiful and you deserve a decent guy.” “I never doubted that,” I said. This was a lie, but in this situation, I think you just have to fake it until you make it.
My subscription to Match.com expired this weekend. I didn’t renew. (I cancelled it so that it wouldn’t auto-renew, which, as y’all probably know is the way that online dating services squeeze money from you. For the uninitiated, the vast majority of online dating services have it in their terms of service that your subscription auto-renews if you don’t cancel it before it ends. Meaning, if you have a three-month subscription like I did? You end up being auto renewed for three more months, having your credit card charged for $50 more and then feeling like you should be trying if you’re paying for it, right? So, you end up subscribed for months longer than you’d intended and your heart isn’t in it so you’re not getting much benefit from it. And I’m not saying $50 is a ton of money, but personally I’d rather go shopping or get a manicure than be forced to online date for even a minute longer than I desire. But that could just be me.) And, no, I don’t want to talk about how I went on zero Match.com dates this cycle. Yeah, I got e-mails and winks and profile views. But none of the men were quite what I wanted. I spoke with several of them and I generally wasn’t thrilled with my selection. And I sort of feel like I keep getting the same 10 people in my “Your Matches” e-mails. And most of them, hello, live in The Sticks around my smallish city. And not to beat a dead horse, but I do NOT like to commute to date. Hell no. Well, right before my subscription ended, I happened upon a profile for a guy who really seemed great. Early 30s, never married, tall, interesting answers to the standard dating profile questions. And I added him to my favorites but decided against e-mailing him. What was the point? I was going to be done with Match in two weeks anyway. Truth be told, I kept wondering about him. As I continued to get e-mailed and winked at through the site, I’d see his little picture in my list of favorites and ultimately decided to e-mail him. This time I didn’t send my standard, “Hi, I’m [Charming], here is a bit about me, I liked your profile, please drop me a line if you would like to chat” e-mail. This time, I put a little more thought into it. I noted that “I liked your profile” was the cheesiest line ever used on Match.com, but that it was true. I had like his profile and at first glance he seemed nice and normal and I’d certainly like to get to know him better if he was interested. I got an almost immediate response. He said he understood how difficult it was to craft an e-mail to a perfect stranger and he appreciated that I’d put some time into my note. His response to my response was a nice length – much better than the incomplete sentences most guys seem to throw together as a way of flirtation. And thus began several days of e-mailing. I learned a lot about him – he’d moved back to the South recently, he’d been a lawyer, he was into real estate now, we liked a lot of the same music. I’d react with excitement when I’d get an e-mail from him. He always responded within a day of my last message. And though he hadn’t asked me out yet, I was confident that he would, as I don’t exchange six or seven paragraph e-mails with people in whom I don’t have at least a passing interest. On Thursday morning, realizing that my time on Match was winding down, I closed my e-mail to him with a note that my Match subscription was ending this weekend. I said I wasn’t subscribing again, but noted that I was still going to be dating and that I’d like to keep corresponding with him. I gave him my e-mail address and asked that he e-mail me there. And … nothing. No e-mail response on either Match or in my e-mail account. I checked and he’s definitely signed on each day since I sent him the e-mail. He’s even viewed my profile between then and now. But no response or note to my e-mail account – I’ve even checked my Spam folder. I swear, the amount of knowledge I have about men could fit in a thimble. Because I seriously have no idea why it would matter that I wasn’t subscribed to Match anymore. Does he think that means I want to date him exclusively and that I’ve stopped looking? Does he like the semi anonymous nature of Match.com and is he just not willing to get rid of that quite yet? Am I simply reading too much into this? Will he e-mail me this week?
Wednesday night, the inevitable happened. I saw the Blackberry. (And this time I had to talk to him.) I was running late to meet Prom Date at the cigar bar for a drink. It is one of my favorite bars and I figured I couldn’t stay away forever and for all I knew, The Blackberry wouldn’t be there. Prom Date called because I was running late and I could hear The Blackberry yelling into the phone for me. I didn’t want to see him and would have preferred if he would have fallen off of the face of the earth after our New Year’s make out session, but what was I to do? I could go home and bail on Prom Date or I could be an adult and deal with The Blackberry. I chose the later. I strode in wearing my work clothes, as I’d had an after work dinner. I was in a knee-length black pencil skirt, a black top and black high heels (didn’t feel like ironing!) and the look was topped off with a trench coat. My hair was in a low bun on the base of my neck. He immediately moved seats so I could sit between him and Prom Date, who could tell something was up between the two of us, but didn’t ask until later. Our cocktail waitress came over and The Blackberry made a show of putting my wine on his tab – noting that Prom Date could pay his own way. It was possibly mean of me to accept the glass of wine, but I worried refusing it would cause a minor scene. “You can put her drink on my tab,” he said. “That’s not necessary, but thank you for the drink.” The cocktail waitress brought the wine over and I had a sip. “You’re not going to thank me?” “Um,” I said. “I thanked you before. But thanks again.” Later, he said, “Wasn’t it nice of me to buy you a drink?” “Yes, thank you. It is literally the NICEST thing that anyone has EVER done for me before.” “Well that warms my heart – I do have one, you know.” He later asked if I was mad at him for not calling. “I thought about it, but since I never called, I didn’t know if I should call.” “Why would you start calling me now?” A few minutes went by and he said, “So, did you enjoy your New Year?” “Yes, I slept in, recovered from my hangover and saw my parents,” I said curtly. “Technically, you also, you know … we were … on New Years … it was after midnight.” I ignored him. He was annoying me later and said, “Can you not see the disdain I have for you?” “You didn’t have disdain for me a few nights ago.” Then he left for a few minutes. “Dear God,” I told Prom Date. “This is what I’m going to have to deal with for the rest of my life! When I am in the nursing home, he is going to roll his wheelchair over and try to flirt with me.” Then The Blackberry was back and begging me to dance. I refused, yawned and downed my wine so I could leave. “Where are you going?” he asked as I slipped on my coat. “Home, because I need to sleep.” He leaned in to me and in a whisper said, “Do you want me to come with you?” “Um, NO.”
See also: Earlier that night. “I am starving.” I turned to look at him and reached out to rub his shaved head – he bristled earlier when I called him bald, noting that he shaved, not lost, his hair. It was almost 2 a.m. and the last thing I wanted was food or to move out of bed. “But you already ate,” he said. I nodded and pulled closer to him. I never understood how men could think of eating when cuddling and sleeping seemed so much more logical. I couldn’t imagine walking downstairs and cooking. I didn’t want to speak or do anything but just breathe, quietly ini the dark, as we nodded off to sleep. “I have an idea. Why don’t we toss on some clothes …” “Yes …” “And we’ll go downstairs and I’ll walk you to your car, kiss you goodnight, and go find some food.” I half sat, propping myself up on my forearm. I scrunched my eyebrows, though I doubt he could see this in the dark. He was kicking me out. I wanted to protest, to slap him for being nuts. It was raining. And he never kicks me out. But I bit my tongue, reminded myself that we’re not in a relationship. And I’m not going to stay if he doesn’t want me to. The sky was on the edge of a major storm when I felt my heels click on the concrete. I opened the car door and turned around so that the door was between us. He slipped around the door and gave me a kiss. “I brought my A game tonight, right?” he asked. “Yeah, you brought your A game tonight, babe.”
“Will she eat my shoes?” I asked, motioning to his new dog, which is four years old but still acts like a puppy. “No, she will not eat your shoes,” On Paper assured me as he walked into the living room. Earlier, when I was leaning up against the kitchen counter sipping a glass of sweet tea, he’d brushed some hair behind my ear and taken my inexpensive dangling earrings in between his thumb and forefinger. “I like that you always wear these long earrings. They’re special.” “They’re leaves. Little metal leaves,” I said quietly, as if identifying them was somehow profound. “Falling leaves.” “I know.” He was standing across from me in his little kitchen. We had the whole house to fill, but he stood close to me as we drank our sweet tea. I was in a black dress, a sweater shrug and three-inch stain peep toe heels with a sling back. I’d dined and seen a show with my girlfriends. And, as was coming slightly customary, I’d ended up at On Paper’s house on the intersection of Chemistry and Uncertainty. He stood before me in jeans and an untucked tee. Barefoot, he towered over me in my heels. He used to play football and I feel overwhelmed by his physical presence sometimes, like when I see how little my hands are when our fingers are intertwined. I’d announced that I needed to sit. No more sweet tea; my feet were killing me. I slipped one shoe off and then the other and placed them gently on the floor near the couch, eyeing the puppy as I let them drop. She took one look hungry at them and I knew not to trust her. I scooped them up by their black backstraps and deposited them on a table. “Well, come here.” He reached out to me. He’s settled in on the couch and his hand pulled me to sit by his side. “Give me those feet.” And he leaned over and grabbed one knee to twist my legs across his lap. I squealed and screeched like a five-year-old schoolchild being chased on a playground. “You cannot touch my feet. They are gross,” I insisted, trying to tuck them underneath my skirt. “They’re fine,” he said, tugging at an ankle. “No! No! No! No feet!” “Why?” “They’re gross and my toes aren’t polished and I need a pedicure like crazy,” I said. “Seriously? Just let me rub your feet. You said they hurt from those shoes.” I shook my head, crossed my arms across my chest and narrowed my eyes stubbornly. He grabbed a throw from the back of the couch and spread it across his lap. I squealed again as he pulled my feet to the throw and then covered them. And then he rubbed my feet through the blanket. “No touching of the feet. No seeing of the toes,” he said, clearly proud of his ingenuity. My strong reaction to him touching my feet was confusing – of all the places he’s touched me, of all the angles he’s seen of me, I doubt my slightly callused heels would have been in any way shocking. “They’re ugly.” “Nothing on you is ugly,” he said, shaking his head. And then he kissed me before I could self deprecate again.
I stared at the screen for a few minutes not knowing where to start, which is different for me. I may no know where I’m going when I start writing an entry, but I almost always know where I want to start. I don’t blog because I’m some dating goddess. I don’t blog because I think I know more than you do. I don’t blog because I want to be your best girlfriend or because I think I can give you dating advice. I don’t blog because I want you to tear me apart. I don’t blog because I need your validation. I don’t blog because I need the attention. I don’t blog because I’m a bitch. I don’t blog because I think I’m always right. I don’t blog to bring other people down. I don’t blog because I want you to be your girlfriend. I don’t blog because I want your opinion. I don’t blog because I think I am perfect. I blog because I love to write. No, really. Love. To. Write. I’ve written little newsletters, short stories, bad poetry and journals since I was very young. (I wrote this one story many many years ago that wasn’t so much a story as it was an homage to my favorite color combination at the time – pastel pink and pastel green. In the “story” everything the girl has is pink and green and swirled and lovely. And I don’t remember exactly what happens to her, but I am certain that her watermelon-flavored pink-and-green lip gloss was VERY central to her ultimate salvation.) In the perfect world, I’d lounge about on a pillow and write all day and people would drive trucks up to my house and bring me money in exchange for the writing. But the trucks haven’t gotten here yet. And they’ll probably never come. So I blog to give my passion for writing somewhere to go. Blogging is tricky business. If I didn’t want to be read, I wouldn’t publish this on the Internet, right? But being read isn’t the only reason I do it. Some days, I think it was easier to blog when no one read. Do I need a thicker skin? Probably. I do LOVE that people read the blog. I love that people sometimes see a little piece of them in my writing. I have blogs that I read in the morning as a break from my mundane existence. The peek into someone’s life makes me happy. And if I can be that to a few people, then that’s great. But that is just a side effect of blogging, really. Because I do this for me. It helps me work through my feelings and remember the glorious things we don’t always – it is easy to forget the flush we get about something when it ends poorly. In addition to allowing me to look at myself, this blog allows me to cherish those perfect little moments that would otherwise be lost in the bigger picture. If you do love to write and you do open your blog up to comments, you’re bound to get unsavory remarks from time to time. You come to expect them. But, as I told a commenter on the last post, negative comments on your journal feel like some intruder has stormed into your home and taken a dump on your carpet. And I guess you could say that I opened the door. But there is a difference between constructive criticism (which, FYI, I’ve never really asked for, though I do appreciate it at times) and outright meanness (again, also never asked for and appreciated to a much lessor extent). Maybe, I think, I should shut the door from time to time. In closing, I’d remind you that you don’t know me. We haven’t had lunch and cocktails and mani-pedis. You know what I let you know about me. And if I sound defensive, it is because care about myself. If I’ve learned anything from being fiercely independent and opinionated, it is that you have to protect your own heart and soul. And desiring to do so doesn’t make me a weak person.
I have a crush. A big crush. A crush that comes at such a terrible time for me that I just want to cry and pitch a fit about how unfair it is that my New Year’s Resolution is to get in better shape and I pick this particular moment to have a crush on a food blogger. Fine, it isn’t a real crush. It’s a blog crush. Her name is Deb, she writes at Smitten Kitchen, and she blogs the best best best food recipes and cooking tales with fantastic pictures that are just beautiful and I wish I could reach right on in through my laptop screen and take a bite. Not a little princess nibble, but a huge, hulking mouthful of yumminess – even my quasi-vegetarian self would probably eat anything, meat included, that looked as appetizing as Deb’s delights. This is precisely the problem. I am supposed to be eating green leaves with a light dusting of oil and vinegar! A properly measured serving of Cheerios with skim milk and half a banana! A small portion of baked fish with half a baked sweet potato! Not lusting after truffles and pecan bars (damn you Ina Garten!) and Bourbon! Pumpkin! Cheesecake! How trite of me to blog about overeating in early January, right? There should be a Technorati tag devoted to heavily clichéd posts about eating better in the New Year. But what disappoints me is while I never expect to be a tiny, waiflike thing, I know how to eat healthy food in a way that doesn’t cause me to gain weight (and, wonder of wonders, allows me to lose weight). And it doesn’t kill me. And it does taste good. And I do get to eat. In fact, the most successful diet I’ve ever been on allowed me to eat three normal-sized meals and two to three snacks a day. Mayo-free tuna salad. Natural peanut butter and bananas in pita pockets. Homemade blue cheese vinaigrette (yes, I was consulting my nurse practitioner about healthy eating strategies – seriously, try this, your medical professional has really good pointers and also will be excited to share them with you, promise – and she said that a modicum of cheese is okay and that she makes fresh salad dressing every day and that she’d rather me worry about cutting out tons of sugars, fried things and overeating than an some olive oil in my salad dressing) on my greens. And, ohmygod, if you have not had the sugar free Jell-o instant pudding in cheesecake flavor? Stop what you are doing and go to the store. I will wait for you to get back. Back? Good. Seriously, sliced strawberries (you really only need a few) on top of that pudding? Maybe it was because I’d cut my sugar intake down and assaulted my body with daily work outs, but that was my favorite after dinner dessert while I pondered how hot I was going to look after all of this. My point? I don’t have one. Except that I’m pissy that Monday is my “diet day.” (I always start diets on Mondays because I figure I’m already in a bad mood anyway.) Also, I cancelled my Match.com subscription. But if I happen to meet some awesome guy between now and the end of my subscription next week, I’m making this Guinness cake to lure him into my apartment, where I will lock the door and we will do nothing but eat cake all day long and never go on diets or climb onto elliptical machines. That’s my plan. Updated 1/7/06: Charming's diet discussion in the comments.
When I do things and immediately regret them – like, say, most of what I did on New Year’s Eve – I almost immediately want to change my habits so that I won’t have to run into the other parties involved. Find a new neighborhood. Leave my regular haunts. Move to a different city and change my name. (I think someone stands to make a lot of money by implementing a Witness Protection Program-style relocation project to help embarrassed singles escape multitudes of dating disasters.) I never know what to say and avoid confrontation like the plague. I won’t go to the Cigar Bar for at least two weeks now that I’ve kissed The Blackberry. Avoidance might not be the most mature answer to the question, but at least it saves me from having to face my mistakes like an adult. There is a problem with this approach to life. You can’t hide from people forever. And this has never been more evident than right now, at this very moment, when I am sitting in the coffeehouse by my apartment, otherwise known as my writing sanctuary. I try to avoid only writing at home because I get distracted and watch TV and cook dinner and chat on the phone. But armed with a $4 cup of coffee and my headphones, I write amazingly well because it is busy enough to keep me working and relaxing enough for me to really reach my creative place. Plus, there are fewer distractions and no pillows to beckon me back to bed. When I feel like I need to write as detox, to feel the thrill of my fingers flying across the keys of my ThinkPad, to revel in the release of just getting it all out of my system, I come to the coffee shop and it is just me and my laptop up against the big bad world of dating. Not today, unfortunately. As I type, The Blackberry is sitting across the coffee shop. He has seen me. I know this. But I have kept my head down and my iPod on. I look focused, like I could be working, when really I just want to die because he is here. It feels like he has invaded my personal space, which is ridiculous because I have no more claim to it than he does. And even though I know that he has no idea what I am working on, I worry that he can feel me ripping him to shreds. And I am embarrassed for the both of us. Such an unmatched pair. I despise him (even more so than I did before) and he knows it. I think it turns him on. I must leave in a half hour to go meet a friend to see a movie and The Blackberry is sitting right by the door. I could rush past and not say hello. It would be almost impossible for me to pass through the door and not see him. And he’d likely say something to me. I could ignore him. But I wonder if I am that cruel. Update: Not still trapped in the coffee shop. He got up from his table, I left through the opposite door as he was coming back. I'm kind of a moron for not thinking of that earlier. And I don't feel so cruel, because it's not like he came over and spoke to me. Do I think he thinks Sunday night was a mistake? Hard to tell. Here's to hoping ...
Note: This is long. Like almost 2,000 words long. Deal with it! There is actual boy gossip at the bottom. My low-key New Year’s Eve turned out to be a flurry of text messaging and alcohol that ended with me hiding my head in my blankets and pillows, mortified that I’d let myself act so needy and ridiculous and wishing I could ask for a redo. I started the evening by opting to wear one of my go-to black dresses, dangly red earrings (that broke midway through the night) and black satin platform peep toe shoes with a backstrap. I figured that I should be dressed like the hottest thing to go to bed alone. I topped my look with heavier-than-normal eye make up (it was New Year’s Eve, after all) and my newly perfected nighttime hairdo, which involves many products that both volumize my hair while also smoothing it so that it hangs flat after some light straightening. Prom Date arrived right at 9 p.m. and we cracked open the first bottle of white wine. I’d already had two beers of the yummy delicious localish seasonal brew variety. We planned to hang out for a little while before descending upon the cigar bar for the actual New Year. It was not to be. Prom Date’s friend (and The Blackberry’s former roommate) called to say that our beloved bar was charging a $20 cover and that very few people were there. (See: $20 cover.) I would have paid the cover, but the boys seemed highly perturbed that the bar where we always hang out, which is hardly a happening hotspot, would charge a cover. And so we decided to celebrate chez moi with wine and champagne and bowls of yummy wasabi peas and sesame sticks and fresh-from-the-box brownies. Another glass of wine later and I was ready to start spreading the text message love all over my cell phone’s address book. On Paper and I had exchanged a few texts – I’d assumed he didn’t want to see my anymore after some quite cold behavior on his part, but he called this week and we’d talked. I have no idea what he wants or if I can give it to him, but we’ll hopefully be hanging out this coming weekend, as he had a cold and did not go out New Year’s Eve. (Which I am inclined to believe, as he is pretty forthcoming about his plans.) I’d thought I’d seen The Nurse as I padded through the Fancy Chain Grocery Store earlier that evening to buy some last-minute supplies and two slices of olive-heavy pizza. It wasn’t him. Rather, it was a man of his height and approximate stature with reddish hair and similar features who was dressed and styled the way I’d always secretly wished The Nurse was. He had short hair (The Nurse had a tendency to let his get a touch too long) and a beard (not necessary, but cute in the winter) and was wearing well-worn jeans that actually fit and did not have tapered legs and a cream colored sweater with a zipper that clung to his frame just right. Well, this faux Nurse sighting got me thinking about the actual Nurse and of course I turned into a blathering idiot who thought it was a good idea to send him some early New Year’s greetings via text. Much to my surprise, he actually responded in kind. However, when I attempted to flip this into a late night visit to my place, I was summarily rejected as he ignored the several poorly-spelled texts I’d tapped out. At some point, I’d decided to instant message The Blackberry to see what the crowd at cigar bar was like. And this led to some stupid flirting. And the boys sent several messages to The Blackberry posing as me. I teased him that he didn’t have my gate code and wouldn’t be able to get into my apartment complex. I eventually gave him the code. “You better watch yourself,” Blackberry’s Friend told me. “That boy likes you. And if I know him, he sees your flirtation as an invitation to set up camp outside your apartment until you relent.” “Hardly. I have been quite clear about my intentions from the get go and I can promise you that I will not be sleeping with him. And I have told him this many times before.” “I’m just saying that it doesn’t matter what you say if someone believes the exact opposite.” But I was drunk and I didn’t think The Blackberry would actually come over when he had a whole bar full of women to hit on. He is a man of numbers – he’s said so himself – and the numbers were in his favor at the bar. As the night crept past midnight, champagne glasses were emptied and refilled and then emptied again. And the boys headed home around 2 a.m. I locked the door and curled up on the love seat. When I stayed still, I felt as if the room was spinning and I needed to grab onto the edges of the sofa to steady myself. I was near sleep when my cell phone went off. Someone was at the front gate for me. I groaned because I knew exactly who it was. And I could have ignored the call. But I figured he’d just keep calling until I buzzed him in, so I did. A few minutes later we were having beers. I was sitting in an easy chair and he was on the love seat. I’d chosen my seat strategically so that he couldn’t sit next to me. This worked for about five minutes until he asked me to join him on the love seat and I bragged about how comfortable my chair was. The next thing I knew, I’d volunteered to switch places with him so he could feel how comfortable the chair was. And then it took another three minutes for him to join me back on the loveseat. And then we were making out. He is an aggressive, tongue-happy kisser who is a bit sloppier than I enjoy. And he let his hands travel down my sides and I stopped him and told him, in no uncertain terms, that I was not going to sleep with him, take off my clothes, take off his clothes or anything else like that. He was mostly respectful of this, though I had to remind him of it a few times. He suggested several times that we move to my bed, but I shot him down each time. “We’ll just kiss, I swear,” he pleaded. But I was not giving in and his insistence began to wear on me. Finally I got up and sat on the chair. “It is time for you to go home,” I yawned. “I want to stay here.” “No,” I said firmly, motioning to the door. “It is time for everyone who doesn’t live here to not be here anymore.” He argued with me. “I won’t touch you, I swear.” But I never relented. I was losing my freewheeling buzz and I did not want him in my house when I woke up. Because I’d realized that this was a mistake. I’d worked so hard to continuously shoot him down over the past few months, as he is a terribly inappropriate man to date. He’s cocky to a fault and he talks about women like they are conquests. And I fear that I’m now going to be on that list of women he talks about as they walk through the bar. “See baby, see her? I know her REAL WELL, ifyouknowhwhatImean,” he says as he sees former flings. Whether or not he has slept with them, no one knows. But he leaves little doubt in people’s minds that he has bedded them all. Perception is reality in this case. I don’t want to be one of those women. And so he had to leave before I preemptively slapped him for saying such things about me. And before I realized that I would have to stay away from my favorite little cigar bar for the next few weeks to avoid his smugness. And this did not please me. At all. “You have to go now,” I said. I walked to the door and opened it, like a flight attendant giving him directions off of a plane. “Baby, I want to stay.” “No.” “I will just sleep on your doorstep.” “Go.” I closed the door and waited for him to leave. But I could see his outline in my window. He wasn’t going to leave. I pulled the door open. “I knew you’d change your mind, baby.” “I have not. Please go home. I am serious. Go home.” I shut the door again, flipped off he outside light and locked the deadbolt. I walked to the kitchen to get some water. But I could hear him talking outside my door. I didn’t see him in my window or peephole. I opened the door and he tumbled backwards onto the floor. He had been sitting on my doormat. “[Blackberry]! GO HOME!” “I’m not leaving.” “Get off of my porch.” “Fine,” he said. And he stood up and walked midway down the stairs and sat again, still talking. “I have NEIGHBORS,” I hissed. He wasn’t going anywhere. Like a stray cat. He’d tasted the milk I’d given him and he wasn’t going to leave now without eating a feast first. Well, I know a few things about stray cats. Not having a hose nearby, I decided I would have to improvise. The concrete felt cold beneath my bare feet and the wind whipped around my legs as I tip toed down the steps to where he sat. “Oh baby, you changed your mind,” he said, looking up at me hopefully. “No, I didn’t. You either go or you get wet,” I said. It was then that he realized I had a very full cup of water in each hand. “You wouldn’t,” he said. “I will,” I said, tipping one cup slightly so that a dribble of water sloshed over the side and onto the step behind him. “Either you go or I will soak you.” “Baby, I don’t want to go,” he said, as he eased up to a standing position. “Then sleep in your car,” I said, cocking my arm back, ready to splash him and his tan linen Miami Vice wannabe jacket. “Babe,” he said, backing up. “GO HOME.” He looked in my eyes and realized that I was dead serious and that he would soon be drenched if he called my bluff. So he went down the stairs, turned around and looked to me, begging for a reprieve. I tip toed back up to my apartment, pulled the door shut, locked the dead bolt and set the chain. I turned off all of the lights and climbed into bed, but not before I gulped down one of the huge cups of water. The next morning I woke up, moaned and reached for the other cup of water, which I’d wisely placed on my nightstand. I went into the kitchen to get some Advil for my pounding head, which felt like someone had sawed it open, replaced my normal-size brain with a much larger brain and stapled my head back shut. My computer was still on and I had an instant message from The Blackberry. “I got home safely. I had fun, did you?” I slammed my laptop shut and sulked back to my bed.