Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Come.

“Come.”


I am tired, exhausted really, feeling soundly beaten by my day. All day I’ve tried in vain to search for some sort of goodness to be salvaged from the wreckage of everything that has happened since the sun came up. There is none.

“The day will be over soon.”

For that I am grateful. I want nothing more than to peel all the clothes from my body and crawl into bed, huddling under the big fluffy duvet until morning when I can try this shit again and maybe get it right.
“I miss you.”

For me, there are no words more potent than these three. None. The implied longing. The simmering intensity. The latent vulnerability in feeling it, let alone saying it aloud. It disarms me.

In my mind, logical, reasonable, coherent, I am laying out all the counter arguments. All the reasons I shouldn’t. I am incredibly aware of how rubbed raw my emotions are right now. That I have some leftover feelings to sort through and put away. That being exhausted the way I am makes me careless. That this craving I have, deep down low in my belly just to feel something sometimes consumes me. I know.

But I just can’t bring myself to care.

“It’s just tonight. Tomorrow nothing changes. But give me tonight.”

Because I have my headphones in, his voice is in surround sound. Like he's speaking inside my head, fighting for relevance with the other thoughts fighting for precedence as well. I am standing in the middle of the room, trying to convince myself to sit, but wanting to head straight back out the door.

And it’s seductive isn’t it? The promise that if you just give yourself over to something, maybe it can soothe you, tame you.

Or at least make you forget for awhile.

I haven’t put down my keys yet.


I am somewhere in between his voice and my own internal one, trying to convince myself to be reasonable and rational, but I’m so incredibly, abundantly tired of always doing the right thing. Doing the safe thing.

Always doing. Never feeling.

“Come.”

I am wide eyed. I am aware. I am not blinded or out of control or unable to stop myself. I am choosing.



I leave my caution at home.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

New Year, No Lube

If 2012 were a guy, it would be guy who tries to fuck on the first date.


Not even like, guy-who-is-insanely-charming-and-hilarious-so-you-have-absolutely-no-recourse-BUT-to-end-the-date-with-your-panties-on-top-of-the-flat-screen. No, this is like barely-put-forth-an-effort-but-expect-you-to-give-it-up-because-he-brought-popcorn-AND-candy-at-the-movies guy.

That is to say, 2012 is fucking me without preamble or pomp and circumstance. And I am not happy about it.


As it stands, we are exactly 25 days into 2012. In case you are keeping score at home, in that time I have:

- Gotten into a car accident that has rendered my car undriveable, and the party that caused the accident may or may not be insured.

- Found out Peter Parker is getting married.

- Had an opportunity for advancement at work fall through.

- Quietly put away some feelings I discovered, shared, and now need to completely die.

- Had to rush my mama to the emergency room, resulting in an extended hospital stay.



All of this, while annoying, isn’t exactly largely life ending. But the combination of all of them, in the span of TWENTY FIVE DAYS during which I have not been drinking regularly is entirely too much to bear. TOO MUCH.

*sigh* 2012 is already kicking my ass. I am EXHAUSTED.

The good news is, I will be fine. I know that. I may have been quietly getting my ass kicked (hence messing up the Tuesday/Thursday post schedule here at Liquor, Loans and Love) but I have also been fighting mightly to right my universe. And making good on my promise to be more impulsive in my pursuit of happiness.

But seriously, 2012, could you take it easy on me? You could at least buy me a nice dinner and call me pretty first.

Geez.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Stolen Moments

3 weeks ago...


“How is it that we both thought things would turn out the same way, and yet they didn’t?”
“It’s all the way it's supposed to be. You know that, right?”
“Yes. But still...”
“Still.”

He looks at me, his eyelids heavy with sleep and sorrow, wiggling his mouth the way he does when he is considering something. He lifts my hair from where it has fallen into my eye, brushing the long strand up and over my shoulder. He has taken great pains to not touch my skin. And I want him to. God, I want him to so badly.

But I am not sure what will happen if he does.

Instead we lay there, having all the space we need in his king sized bed, but laying close like it’s a twin, not touching, the chemistry between us snapping and popping like lit kindling and that is why he won’t touch me. Because if he does this, all of this we have not yet resolved, will ignite this bed and consume us both.

And we’re being careful.

I am fully clothed, as is he, but I feel naked and bare under his gaze. He won’t break his stare. I blink rapidly, uncomfortable and uneasy, but unable to stop watching him watch me. How he sees me, who I am in his eyes, is intoxicating and I want to stare at this reflection of myself I so seldom pay attention to. This me I am with him, this energy that exists between us, I want to wear like skin when I leave here.

But I can’t, of course. This too, I will have to leave behind when I exit.

We talk as easily as we always did, laughter giving way to serious conversation and confession. We talk so long my voice is low and ragged around the edges, sounding whiskey soaked and melancholy. I can see the outline of his face in the dark, thin wisps of his smile illuminated by shards of moonlight as his own voice descends down the scale of tenor notes with every minute that passes by.

So many minutes have escaped us.

We talk until there is nothing left to say, the silence stretching between us not a wall but a binding, a tie we cannot bear to sever yet, though we know we must, soon. We lie that way for what seems like forever, in silence, pretending there is no world outside this room that we will soon have to report to. The irony of course being that I am not the one he will soon ask to pledge forever to.

“Give me this,” he says, reaching for my hand, and I gasp a little when he touches my skin. It is at once so familiar, so comforting, and then all so bittersweet. I smile at it all, getting better at this every time it happens.

He snakes my hand under his shirt, resting it on his bare chest, and I can feel his heartbeat drumming an even rhythm, complimenting the tempo of my pulse in my palm. We lie that way, saying nothing, feeling everything, with both his hands pressing mine firmly into the skin above his heart, a place he, we, once hoped I would come to inhabit.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"Listen to my instincts and say fuck the rest..."

Today's post title brought to you by the letter U for "undun" by The Roots which, if you have not bought it yet, means you are failing rapidly at life.


I’ve spent the last couple of years trying valiantly to squash my natural proclivity for being impulsive and spontaneous, believing, however misguidedly, that such tempestuousness was indicative of extended youth rather than, you know, just me being me. I am not sure when I came to link my inclination for impulsive action to immaturity, especially seeing as how I have never been much for adolescence, even in the prime of my own, but at some point I decided that allowing things to happen as they are to unfold, that not having A Plan, was childish and somehow the root of all my issues. Therefore, I concluded, I needed to not be impulsive. And not be spontaneous. I needed to be a Planner. Vision boards, five year goals and the like.


This has not worked out so great for me.

I don’t discount that there are people for whom this sort of living through planning works amazingly for. I just don’t appear to be one of them. Instead, I appear to be the type to make a plan, a good plan at that, and then somehow end up exactly opposite of where I planned and beating myself into oblivion that I am not adult enough to follow a plan like the rest of you people.

In short, it’s a clusterfuck of fail.

To be clear, I am a thinker. I am not irrational. I think things through. I am levelheaded and pragmatic. I am incredibly introspective. But somehow, through all the thinking, I lost the thing that balanced me; my instincts. At one point, mine were pretty good. I knew instinctively what was good for me. And more importantly, I knew, with a conviction I can’t even begin to describe, that when things went to shit, as they invariably do, that I, me alone, and my instincts were enough to get me through to the other side.

These days, however, I find myself second and third guessing myself. I check and double check things fanatically. And I mean everything. Mundane details at work. Directions on my GPS. Whether or not I have my damn keys even though I CAN FEEL THEM IN MY HAND. I am not sure. Of anything.

Not anymore.

That is not to say that this is a side effect of being a Planner for everyone. But maybe, it is for me. Maybe I am not a vision board kinda girl. Maybe I am the kinda girl that charges into things head first because I am fully capable of coming out on the other side of whatever it is.

And maybe that should be ok.

To be honest, I am not entirely sure. Maybe this is me being subconsciously immature, craving this harkening back to my impulsiveness, and I am just too willful to admit it. What I do know is, I am no better off for denying myself my impetuous ways. I have gotten no farther, accomplished no more, felt guilty no less, or felt any more evolved and mature than I did when I did crazy things like confess to loving someone after knowing them a few months and meeting them in person exactly twice. If nothing else, I am far less happy, even less fulfilled. Sure, some might have considered the way I behaved way back then to be reckless, but I was content in a way that I have not been able to replicate with my endeavored adultness.

So, I am pretty sure I am done with all of that. I have no idea if this is a good idea or not. It might be terrible. I might deeply regret this. I might soon go running straight back to the safety of a vision board, some sort of established system and a plan. But at the very least, I would like to get back to the person who can trust herself enough to know that, impulsive or intended, extemporaneous or strategic; I will come out the other side, if not unscathed, at least fulfilled.



Friday, January 6, 2012

The One Where I Become a Mechanic

When I was younger I used to fix cars with my daddy. My daddy is no mechanic, but he knows how to do more than a few things to a car. And there were plenty of days that he came up with a reason for me to be in the sweltering garage with him, holding this tool or pointing a flashlight at that. He would explain carefully, in his daddy way, what he was doing, how, what larger impact it had on the car. And I, both in love with cars and just being happy to hang out with my daddy, would listen intently. I probably couldn’t do a single bit of it today, but at one point in my childhood, I knew how to do an oil change, flush every major fluid system, change the breaks, and change a flat tire. As a kid, I thought he was just coming up with reasons to spend time with me. As an adult, I realized, after watching him shoot evil glances at and ignore the only two men I have bothered to bring to meet him, that what he really wanted is to make sure I didn’t ever "need" a man, and would judge harshly any man that can’t do those stereotypically masculine things that even I could do.


Well, he succeeded.

Not too long after The Great Houdini and I imploded, I was… not in a good place, to say the least. But I was dating. A LOT. Like, a lot a lot. I didn’t have any business dating at all, but, well, I was stubborn and heartbroken and determined to not feel anything remotely akin to sorrow after being unceremoniously abandoned. So I was dating. I was dating Kappa Boy, and the crazy, older Dominican chick, and a couple of other people whose names and faces I cannot recall because we only went on a date or two. This is one such date.

My first clue that he and I might not be equally matched, should have been the fact that when I met him at Jamba Juice he was getting a gluten free, vegan acai berry something or other, and VERY EMPHATIC that he needed to watch the girl make it to make sure she did it “right.”

Sir.

But I, being a perv and distracted by the bulge in his sweatpants, chose to overlook that when he flashed an adorable, slightly crooked smile at me, paid for my totally normal person smoothie and introduced himself. He was charming, if a bit stiff and formal. But, I figured, hadn’t I just gotten out of a relationship with someone who was the complete opposite? And how well had that shit turned out? So I thought that maybe I should try dating outside my normal type. So when he asked me to go out with him later in the week, I agreed.

Saturday rolled around and we (read: I, as he was indecisive as fuck) had decided on a place we would go have drinks, and later dinner if we wanted. The bar was fairly upscale, so I decided to put on my standard date uniform: little black dress. Sky high heels. Red lipstick. When he came to pick me up, he seemed fairly appreciative of my outfit choice.

Our date was fun, if vanilla. But he was sweet, polite to the bartender, and such a gentleman. We decided over our second round that we would grab dinner at a restaurant not too far from where we were. He closed out our tab, leaving the attentive and heavy handed girl behind the bar a big tip (this always gets huge points from me), and escorted me out to the car. We were halfway to the restaurant when I realized his wheel was shaking and the car was pulling to the right.

“Is everything ok?” I asked him. He shot me a faux calm look.
“Sure. Everything is fine. Why do you ask?”
“Because your wheel is shaking like a vibrator, and your car is pulling hard to the right.”
“Oh, that’s nothing. It’s totally fine.”
“But it wasn’t doing that on the way here.”
“It was you just didn’t notice.”
“I am pretty sure that I would have noticed that.”
“Well, what do you think is wrong with it?”
“Well, either you’re having trouble with your driveshaft or, more likely, you have a flat somewhere on the passenger side.”

He looked at me with a mixture of confusion and awe, as he pulled over to the left shoulder. He got out and walked around to the passenger side, careful to not step in the way of oncoming traffic, while I checked my cell to see if KB had called. After a few minutes, he rapped on my window, motioning for me to get out.

Sir… what?!

Not wanting to seem like a diva, I got out and followed him to the rear passenger side tire which, sure enough, was flatter than pre-puberty boobs. He motioned to it helplessly.

“What should we do?”

It was my turn to look at him with a mixture of confusion and awe. He doesn’t know what to do for a flat tire? Jesus wept.

“Well,” I replied, choosing my words very carefully, “do you have AAA?”
“No.”
“Well, you should check with your car insurance. Often times if you have full coverage, they will send someone to fix your car or tow you to a safe place.”
“How do you know all this stuff?” Um… I read? I said in my head.
“I’ve just had to use the service before with my car insurance.”

We got back in the car while he called his insurance company. He did have full coverage and they could send someone to fix the tire… in two hours.

“Well,” he said, “I guess we will just have to wait.”

I was completely, totally, and utterly confused. We have to wait for two hours for someone to come put your spare on? Why on EARTH would we do that?

“Do you have a spare, a jack, and a tire iron?”
“Yes.”
“So, then just change it. That way we can still go to dinner and don’t have to wait two hours on the side of the highway for someone to come do it.”

He stared at me in silence in the darkness, shifting uncomfortably in his seat.

“Well, the thing is, I, um, it’s just that…”
“It’s just that what?”
“I don’t know how to change a tire.”
“Who doesn’t know how to change a tire?! My daddy taught me how to do that when I was like 9,” I blurted out before I could stop myself.

It just wasn’t adding up for me. He grew up with his dad and two older brothers. And while the entire bunch was as white collar as they come, I figured that at SOME point, if my own daddy had taught his DAUGHTER how to change a tire, then shouldn’t this certainly be some sort of rite of passage for men?

“I… just… don’t know how.”
“Oh, wow.”
“Well, excuse me Rosie the riveter. My father did stuff with me like helping me with homework and teaching me golf. Not letting me play with dirty, dangerous car parts.”

I turned my head very slowly, pinning him to the driver side door with the coldest, nigga did you just insult my daddy?! glare I have ever given anybody in my entire life.

“You father also obviously spent a significant amount of time removing your balls little by little, but if you’re happy with your father-son activities so I am.”
“Hey, wait a-“
“Shut the fuck up you elitist, helpless piece of shit and get me the jack and your spare.”
“It’s in the trunk.”
“SO GET IT.”
“But…”
“But what?!
“All the cars coming…”
“Oh, Jesus Christ. Just pop the trunk. I’ll get the jack and you can get yourself a tampon out of my purse.”

I got out without another word, angrily striding to the truck and banging hard on it when I reached it and realized he hadn’t popped it yet. When he finally did, I noticed he had a nice little toolbox for roadside repairs that probably had never been opened. I was removing that and the spare when he finally got out of the car and walked back to where I was.

“Is there anything you need me to do?”
“What is the point of having an entire toolbox back here if you don’t use it?”
“I mean it’s just in case-“
“No, I get it. You probably also have a box of condoms in your glove compartment you aren’t going to use tonight either.”
“Look. Is there anything I can do to help?”
“Yes. Hold this flashlight so I can see and shut the fuck up.”

I walked around to the flat tire, pulled my dress up high on my thighs, and squatted down to see what I was doing, thankful that at least if I flashed my ass to the oncoming traffic, I had on pretty panties. Once I figured out how to balance myself evenly on my high ass heels and the balls of my feet while crouching, I was in business. It took me far longer than it should have, what with me hoping my anger was enough to make me strong enough to loosen the lug nuts, jack the car up, take off the flat and then secure the spare. But I finally got it done. I stood up, my hands dirty, my fresh manicure chipped, my thighs streaked with black dirt and grease. This date was over.

“Take me home, please,” I said through gritted teeth.

We rode the entire way in silence, with him shooting me dirty looks, and me discretely wiping my dirty hands all over his tan interior. He stopped abruptly at the curb at my house, not even bothering to look at me or put the car in park. I made a point of laying one hand flat against the tan cloth lining the door, and the other on the seat to push myself out of the low coupe, leaving handprints in my wake, and slammed the car door as soon as I was out. I stalked into my house, furious that not only did I have to change a fucking flat on the side of the road, but that he had the nerve to be so nasty about it, like I was the one who had skipped the flat tire lesson in his Things Guys Know How to Do manual. I went inside and did the only thing I really could do…

I called Kappa Boy so he could come get me, take me to his place and toss me around a little bit, make me feel like a woman again.



This is why I take my own car on dates now.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The One Where I End up in the Emergency Room

Today, a change of pace; a date where I am an absolute mess.


In case you’ve missed it, I have a penchant for wearing heels. High heels. Five inches or better. Three inch heels are flats to me. I am also quite tiny, so in situations where I desire to be the height of a normal sized person, say, on a date with someone taller than me, I don’t hesitate to wear the highest, most vertiginous heels I own. The added benefit of making my legs look amazing is just a bonus. But that also brings me to my next point; I love wearing dresses. Preferably as short as decency will allow.

This is important.

This particular early spring night, I had on a dress that started miles above my knees and heels that had me towering miles above the cobblestone streets of Georgetown, where I’d met Mr. Wonderful.

We’d started out the evening shopping for a shirt and tie for a wedding he was attending the following weekend once he returned to Chicago. If you know me, you know how much I love shopping for men. I have no idea why. But I love it. In many ways I find it to be an amazing aphrodisiac, picking out the clothes you will take off later. We flirted across the displays in store after store, playfully bumping into each other, whispering inappropriate things in each other’s ears, and cramming into dressing rooms so that I could watch him undress like the perv I am. After we finally settled on a combo that we both could agree on, we meandered down to a dark, cozy Italian restaurant and sat as close as possible to each other. I remember looking at him at one point in the evening, after he’d ordered us a bottle of wine, taking in his pale, golden skin and gorgeous smile in the candlelight, my eyes sliding over his lips and back up to his dark eyes, lined with densely packed, ebony lashes, and thinking to myself, I can’t wait for him to take this dress off me when we get back to the hotel. I threw my thigh over one of his, watching his thick fingers trace lazy lines up the inside of my thigh, and then looked up to catch him looking at me like he couldn’t wait to take my dress off either.

Oh, it was going down.

We polished off our bottle, fortified by plates and plates of pasta and cheese and bread, but were both still buzzed nonetheless. We figured it was probably best to take a cab back, rather than walk. Making our way back up the hill and to the main street, we decided, would improve our chances of getting a taxi.

This would wind up being the worst decision of the evening.

We were, tipsy, laughing too loud, holding on to each other too hard, and having to concentrate to ridiculous levels just to get a task accomplished. We managed to make it up the hill without incident, and to the corner of M and Wisconsin. We shuffled through the throngs of people also enjoying their Saturday night, not nearly as skillfully as we might have sober. After walking a few steps on the cobblestone sidewalk, I noticed a cab with the light on coming right towards us. I knew I needed to hurry before we lost the cab to someone else, so I grabbed Mr. Wonderful and yanked him hard towards the curb, lifting my arm and trying to flag the cabbie down.

At some point during my awkward, hurried shuffle to the curb, my heel slipped off a cobblestone and into a crack. Had I been a bit more sober, I likely would have been able to recover easily. But alas, I was drunk on Italian wine and sexual tension, and could not find my balance. In slow motion it seemed, I felt my leg crumple underneath me and all my weight lurch forward. I let go of Mr. Wonderful, hoping to keep him from going down with me, but instead letting go of the only thing holding me back from the car parked in front of me. Which I hit. With my head.

I slid off the car and fell sideways onto the ground. If you have never lain on the ground while dozens of feet shuffled past you, looking at the night sky and wondering how your evening could have gone so horribly wrong, then let me tell you, it is positively terrifying. I was well aware of the fact that at any moment, some passerby who didn’t see me Cameron Diaz myself into this car might step on my face and seriously hurt me. And also make me unattractive. Which, if not worse, is definitely the same. Yet, despite being aware of this, I could not make any moves to get up. That MIGHT have been ok, if not for the fact that the itty bitty dress that was so cute a little while ago was now around my waist, exposing my adult amusement park to the neighborhood. The good news is, I had on an adorable pair of orange and red panties while splayed out like a starfish. The bad news is THEY WERE LACE AND THEREFORE SEE THROUGH.

Mr. Wonderful lifted me gingerly from the concrete and scooped me up in his arms. He carried me towards the cab that I did in fact flag down before my face plant and placed me inside after the cabbie opened the door. Then they both hurriedly ran around to the other side.

“Take us to the hospital please!” he shouted at the cabbie.

In my mind, I was saying, no, I’m ok; I don’t need to go to the hospital. Because I was cool. I was conscious.
My face hurt.
But that’s totally cool.

Instead,  my protests came out sounding like alphabet soup, so I figured it was best that I let them take me on to the dreaded hospital.

The entire way there, Mr. Wonderful was trying to talk to me, asking, how do you feel? Can you see straight? Are you ok? I was fine. I was mortified beyond any comprehension. But fine, I reassured him.
MY FACE HURT.
But I was ok.

At the hospital, I stood on the curb as he paid and thanked the cab driver, and caught a glimpse of myself in the windows. My dress was ripped and dirty. My entire right calf was skinned. Somehow, my left boob, the unruly one, had fallen halfway out of my bra, giving the illusion that I had three breasts. I lifted my hair off my forehead, and saw blood forming a sizeable deep purple bruise on my already sizeable forehead. There was also what appeared to a red welt on my cheek in the shape of a cobblestone. I looked like an episode of SVU.

Now, my life hurt.

After I assured the concerned nurse at the desk that no, my boyfriend did not hit me, no, I was not sexually assaulted, I was just a drunk, accident prone ass woman who picked the wrong night to wear five inch heels and a dress, she told me they were going to need to run a battery of tests to make sure that I had not severely injured my brain in anyway. I recognized immediately that I was fine; if my brain was injured, then I could AT LEAST forget every mortifying detail of the last half an hour. But alas, I could not. We sat in the waiting room, me awkwardly laying my head in Mr. Wonderful’s lap while he put an ice pack on the knot forming on my forehead.

“This is not the way I intended to end the evening. Well, I did intend to end the evening with my face in your lap, but not like this,” I told him.
“Not exactly what I had in mind either. But it’s kinda romantic really.”
“What?! How so?”
“I've never had a girl fall for me so hard before,” he replied with a smirk.



Asshole. lol

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The One Where his Girlfriend Shows Up

In retrospect, I should have known something wasn’t right. He was a bit too reliable. And I don’t mean that in an I-am-jaded-so-I-look-for-issues-even-when-none-exist kinda way. I mean he was always too… punctual. If he said he was going to call at 6, he called AT 6. If he told me to call him at 3:42 and I called at any point before that, he was incognegro. His schedule ran like clockwork. And it wasn’t until our 5th date that I realized why.


We met at exactly 8:35 that night, not a minute before or after, and rode the train to the movies. The entire way we were laughing and cracking jokes and flirting heavily, despite the fact that I noticed he seemed… distracted. Every once in awhile I’d catch him looking over me and into the crowd, or he’d respond just a beat too late to my witty banter because he had been focused on something else in the distance. I chalked it up to the fact that we lived in D.C.; if you didn’t pay attention to your surroundings there was a significant chance that you and/or all your belongings would not make it home safely that night. So, he was just being all manly and protective.

Right?


Once safely inside the movie theater, he seemed to loosen up a bit. We hung around the lobby, cracking jokes on the other patrons and sneaking a kiss or two while we waited for the line to start forming for our movie.

“You are even tinier without your sky high heels on. I feel like I’m dating a munchkin,” he said, smirking down at me.
“I am not tiny! Puberty just hit me sideways instead of vertically.”
“You kinda are though. I am gonna see if they have a booster seat for you when we get inside so you can see the screen.”
“Shut the fuck up.”
“Make me.” And with that, I leaned in to kiss him, as I had been doing routinely all evening.

About an inch away from my lips, he stopped cold, a look of wild panic sweeping over his face.

“Oh shit!” he hissed, spitting on me. At the moment I was too preoccupied with wiping his spittle from my upper lip to concern myself with what had him so terrified. So there I was, still half leaning into him, my lips still a bit pursed, and wiping my face down with my palms.
“Oh my god,” he said, once again looking over my head and behind me.

It was then that it occurred to me to turn around. I followed his gaze to a gaggle of girls who had just come up the escalators, all of their eyes trained on us, and not a single one of them looking friendly. The angriest looking of the bunch stepped forward towards us.

“What the fuck, Gary*?”

She glanced from him to me, back to him and to me again, before I suppose realizing that the awkward girl half leaning over this guy she apparently knew very well, had no idea what the fuck was going on any more than she did.

“Who is this?”
“Uh…”
“Who the fuck is this?!”

By now, people had turned to stare at the sound of her raised voice. I was frozen to the spot, not exactly sure what was going on, like when you tried to watch scrambled porn as a child, but, much like then, being able to understand the general gist of what was going on. And much like that time I stumbled onto a scene with 4 guys and 1 coed, I did not like what I was seeing.

“You said you were going to be in Virginia at your parents’. And you’re at the movies with some girl?!?!”

I started to put it all together. The calling exactly when he said he would wasn’t him keeping his word. It was him knowing exactly when he would be free from whatever other girls he was juggling to fit me in. The unanswered phone calls weren’t because he was “in class” but more than likely because he was “in Cassie” and therefore indisposed. He was scheduling me and her and God only knows how many others, so that we would never overlap each other. And here, by some stroke of infinite bad luck for us both, two of us had indeed overlapped. Finally, my brain started sending my body distress signals. I had to get the entire fuck out of there.

“No, it’s not like that,” he said, fumbling like a rookie in a playoff game. “We…”
“…know each other from school,” I finished for him. He looked at me, with not so subtle relief in his eyes.
“Yeah. Yeah! This is Karen. The girl I was telling you about from my Poli Sci class.”

That was all a lie of course. I have never taken a political science class in all my life. Nor did we even attend the same damn school.

“Oh,” she responded, only slightly less defensive than she was just a second ago. And then just as fast as she started to thaw, she hit us both with another icy glare, once she took in my half leaned stance and us standing far too close together to excuse with anything good. “So why is she all up on you?”
“Actually, I dropped my tickets and we both went to pick them up. He just got to them first,” I told her, sliding the movie tickets out of his hand and holding them up to strengthen my story.
“So, you two aren’t on a date?”
“No!” I answered a little too loudly. Because, let’s face it, my experience with being the other woman is entirely limited to what I’ve heard in MoKenStef songs. “My date is actually on the way. I’m just waiting. She should be here soon.” I put as much emphasis as possible on the "she", in hopes that if this girl thought I was a natural born citizen of Pudendatown, that she wouldn’t cause even more of a scene that the Young and the Restless excerpt we are already standing in the middle of.

“Ohhhhhh,” she said, all drawn out like it all made sense suddenly. “I’m sorry. I just saw you together and he was supposed to be somewhere else and you’re really pretty, and I just assumed.”

“Well, thanks. I dunno about the whole being in Virginia thing, but we are definitely NOT dating,” I replied with a pointed look at his sheepish face. “You know, I think I am going to go wait for my girl downstairs. I’m sorry about the confusion.”

I slipped around her group of friends quickly, trying my best to avoid their glares. I can fight, but there were too many of them and I didn’t need any problems. They shook their head at me, and then at the happy couple who, from the looks of their rolled eyes and sideways glances, seemed to go through this kind of thing quite often. About halfway down the escalator, I heard yelling voices from behind me, various curses and questions of the why you weren’t where you said you were and why you gotta lie variety being hurled back and forth. So, I did the only thing I could logically do…

I took the tickets back to customer service, got his money back, and went and bought myself a round at the bar. The gentleman, Jack? He never lets me down.





*name changed to protect the bitchassness

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The One Where he Sobs into his Pasta

Exactly 15 seconds into the date, I knew I wanted to sleep with see this guy again. Ever since the moment I saw him standing in the lobby of my dorm, apologizing for not parking closer and throwing his heavy overcoat over my head so that my hair didn’t get wet in the rain, I was deeply enamored. He was older and sophisticated. He spent the car ride to the restaurant talking about his recent trip to Paris. We traded stories of spots we’d both been to there, and places on our list to see the next time we visited. He was funny. So much so that I had to discreetly check my makeup in rearview mirror as he walked around to open my door to make sure I didn’t have makeup running down my face.

While we waited for our table, he stood blocking the cold air bursting in periodically from the door, and with every shared joke, I inched closer to him, under the guise of getting warm, but really, just wanting to be in the space between us where his cologne lingered. He happily obliged me, intimately close but not overbearing. When I like you, I want you in my personal space. I liked him. More and more with every passing minute. I wanted him in my personal space. A lot.

It was going exactly the way I love for dates to go; his gorgeous smile set off the witty banter. I was so incredibly charmed by his, well, everything, that I never even found myself wanting to check my phone. We were all crazy chemistry and easy laughs and stimulating conversation.

So really, I should have known that it would quickly go to hell.

The thing about having a really, REALLY great first date, with someone that you have amazing chemistry with is that it makes you feel like you are on a fifth date. And this will make you get more comfortable with each other, willing to divulge things that maybe you wouldn’t normally share because, hey, it is SO RIGHT, and so COMFORTABLE, and I FEEL LIKE I’VE KNOWN YOU FOREVER.

Don’t be fooled.

Far younger at the time, with the benefit of being bright eyed and perky titted, but notsomuch having the wisdom of age, when he mentioned that he and his baby sister were planning a trip to Hong Kong, I couldn’t resist the urge to ask more about his family. His sister, he told me, was his best friend. She was smart and cool and funny and, from the looks of the picture he showed me, had just started a career as the most adorable kindergarten teacher that has ever colored pictures of trees and made macaroni necklaces. His mom, he said, was a typical mom; she somehow managed to work crazy hours as a nurse, but still bake cookies, help with homework and go to dance recitals and football games.

“And your dad?” I asked, barely looking up from the pasta the waiter had recently placed down in front of me.

Now looking back on it, I have learned a little bit about omission. Sometimes, it is not lying. Sometimes it is I-just-met-this-person-so-if-sometime-in-the-future-there-is-a-time-to-tell-them-about-this-soul-crushing-event-in-my-life-that-I-have-not-yet-gotten-over-I-will-gladly-tell-them-inside-the-confines-of-a-relationship-and-preferably-a-private-residence. But remember, I am young and pretty, but dumb, so I push.

I see him hesitate to answer me momentarily before he is swept up in the wave of our chemistry and compelled to overshare over pasta.

“Well,” he started, poking around his alfredo with a fork. “My dad was… around. He was a cop. And worked a lot of long hours.” He paused and cleared his throat. “So he was there but he was old school. Providing, but gone a lot. Seeing other women, and angry with my mom for being angry about it because he was still keeping a roof over our heads. Absent for most everything. Or at least, most of the big moments.”
“I’m so sorry. I-“
“You know,” he said with growing intensity, “he never even saw me graduate from high school. Or college. In high school he was working. In college he said he was working, but we found out later he was at the hospital with one of his girlfriends, watching his son being born.”
“Oh, wow,” I said, absolutely heartbroken, and intensely empathetic, because, while not a cheater, my own daddy was largely absent thanks to providing. “I can’t even imagine-“

Suddenly, the baby at the table next to us started crying. I mean, absolutely howling. I jerked my head over at the parents, wondering why they weren’t moving to soothe the baby disturbing my touching moment with my date. Imagine my confusion when I saw the baby gnawing on a piece of bread and happily kicking at the air.

That’s when I realized the baby wasn’t crying. It was my date.

Fully slumped over his plate, the big hands that had not even an hour before been so strong and commanding on the small of my back leading me through the crowd, were now pressed hard into his eye sockets, but not quite catching the deluge of tears streaming from his face. He was, all 6 foot of him, slumped over his pasta, sobbing like a baby and muttering to himself wondering why his father could be there for a new son but not the son he already had and missed raising.

I. Was. MORTIFIED.

To be clear, I’m not an asshole. I don’t get uncomfortable with emotional displays, and I generally find myself in possession of exactly the right words to say in any given situation. But this is our FIRST DATE. Though I feel like I do, I don’t ACTUALLY know this man. I have no idea what to say or do or how to comfort him. Or, more importantly, how to get him to STOP WAILING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RESTAURANT.

I scooted my chair a bit closer, awkwardly side hugging his heaving shoulders, and periodically throwing pained but apologetic glances at the patrons who had turned to stare. But none of my hugs or soothing words could keep this man from crying as he should have been doing only in the safety of a therapist’s office for a full fifteen minutes.

FIFTEEN MINUTES. Have you ever watched a stranger cry for fifteen minutes? It is ETERNITY.

Before long, a manager wandered over to our table, trying to feign sympathy, but really just looking panicked.
“Is… everything…ok?” he asked me, glancing wildly between me and the man sobbing in my tiny arms.
“Um… yes, he’s just a bit… upset. But everything is… under control?” I said like a question, because I wasn’t exactly sure myself.
“My apologies ma’am, but if you could please… continue what appears to be… a personal conversation that is really upsetting him… if you could just continue you it outside, maybe?” And that is when I realized that he thought that I was the reason my date was blubbering like Bambi’s mom just died.
“I… um… no it’s just that-”
“Ma’am, is there anything I can do for you?”
“Just the check please.”
“No, don’t worry about it. Just go ahead and go.”

Jesus. The poor waiter felt so bad for us that he didn’t even want us to pay for the pasta we hadn’t touched.

I gathered up my date, who, though he had stopped wailing like a child lost in the food court at the mall, was still sniveling and a bit disoriented. I got him in his coat, and got us out to valet to get his car. On the way home, our chemistry had dissolved into uncomfortable silence. For twenty minutes, neither of us said a word, him with his eyes on the road and me staring out the window wondering how much it would hurt if I hurled myself out of the car and rolled down Wisconsin Avenue.

Back at my door, he whispered a goodbye and then sped off so fast I had to jump back before he ran over my toes. I stood there, in the cold for a minute, reliving the promising moment when I was standing in this very spot barely two hours ago, excited about a date with a man who was not crying.

Things can go so wrong, so quickly.

A day or so later, I sent him a text message, light hearted but concerned, because despite the fact that I was horrified, I am not an utter douche. The text he sent back was short and sweet.

“I am completely embarrassed by my behavior on our date. I don’t think we should see each other again. I’m sorry.”

Well, at least he was honest. Even if maybe too much so.