Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I'm Just Giving The Dog A Bone: The Men's Guide To Flirting

So you think you can flirt, huh? I have news for you, buddy-- you can always improve on that game, and just like how you begged until your parents sent you to basketball camp in middle school so that you could improve that 3-point shot of yours, I'm here by popular demand to tell you where you're slacking on the job while trying to pick up chicks. So, here it is, 5 quick, easy tips for sneakily getting on the better, phone-number-giving side of the fairer sex. Use them for good, my boys, not evil. After all-- Gandalf is watching.

- Be Aggressive, B.E AGGRESSIVE:

This is the cautionary tale of one would-be suitor gone horrible wrong:

Sometimes, being aggressive is a good thing, like in rugby and fencing and chess and discount sales in Filene's Basement. But sometimes, it's not. Persistence isn't always the best tactic. One over-enthusiastic gent tracked me down on Facebook-- and Twitter. He tried friending me-- 3 times in 2 days when I didn't accept fast enough for his liking. He messaged me. He poked me. It was the electronic equivalent of a grade-school kid standing on his blue plastic chair, waving his arms over his head, screaming, "Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!" I still haven't accepted his request. Why? Because there's aggressive, and then there's AGGRESSIVE. And...desperation has never been sexy. Doesn't matter if you're XY or XX-- it's a big NO, and the reek of it permeates everything you do. We will know when you're desperate. Your friends, parents, coworkers, classmates, postal worker, hair dresser, and the entirety of Facebook will know when you are desperate. It shows. So get a leash on that beast. Down, boy.

- "E" Is For Effort. Also, Egotistical Eunuchs End Up Eating Alone:

I've had guys tell me, "Come down to see me when you're on your break." This is bad. If you're the one who wants to see me, then you can come to me. A girl with options never goes out of her way for a man; she'll let him come to her, if he wants to. Nothing tells a girl faster if a guy is really serious about her or not by how much effort he puts into seeing her. And by this age, we girls should have stopped being delusional and making excuses for lazy asses and should know how much effort shown constitutes a viable man and a viable relationship. I know. If it isn't calling, isn't visiting, isn't writing, and isn't planning, it ain't yo' boyfran, gurrrrrrl. And kind sirs, if you are not actively walking your ass over to see her, she's going to find someone else who WILL, because she ain't that desperate yet for yo' lazy ass. Again, desperation is never sexy.


Always remember: A little goes a long way, if your "little"-- time, effort, energy, affection, money, passion-- is quality. I've always preferred my men a little aloof-- it helps keep the magic going. My last S.O waited until Date #5 to finally kiss me; the entirety of dates 1-4 I was constantly wondering what was going on, and the anticipation made me sparkle even more than the average girl trying to look good on a date does because I kept working for it. But the long-awaited kiss was so good, it was worth the wait. And you know what? All that time spent in good, intelligent conversation, learning each other's likes and dislikes, food and movie preferences before swapping spit made us both sure that we liked the other-- more than just a first date could have foreseen. They were quality dates. It was a quality first kiss. We were sure that the other was a quality person. Much better than a really awkward make-out session straddling the cup-holders in his car's front seat post first-date beers would have been. A win all-around.

- How To Scabbard Your Sword-- What Women Want:

Sorry, this isn't about sex. I just thought that play on words would grab your attention for what will probably be for most of you the hardest concept to grasp. (Unlike grasping other things.) This is about what all women want. This is the secret that lands the nerdy guys the perfect 10s. This is the Rosetta Stone for understanding women. Cracking this is like cracking a Rubix Cube. So I don't want to have to sit here and waits through eons of evolution for you guys to finally get it. Which is why I'm just going to come right out and say it to you:

Women just want to be saved. Or, at the very least, we want a partner in crime.

You know how in Million Dollar Baby, Hillary Swank kicked major ass? It was because Clint Eastwood was there in her corner, and he had her back. All women want a knight...white, black, red, or purple, it doesn't matter to us. What matters is that we all want a champion— someone who is willing to go forth and do battle for us, whether it’s getting us that extra dollar off our soft pretzel at the mall that the salesgirl somehow forgot to credit us, or sticking up to other people to defend us. Because we’re worth it. As Frances Hodgson Burnett wrote, every girl is a princess, whether she looks like it or acts like it or not. If I do something, if I say something, you best believe I do it with 110% conviction, and all I want— and what I deserve— is to have someone there who will stand next to me and uphold those words and those actions.

This is where a guy riding up on his high horse comes in. I don’t need to be questioned anymore. I shouldn’t have to explain myself. What I want, what I need-- what all women need-- is someone as strong and courageous and faithful as I am to stand next to me and be there for me to lean on when I’m too tired to lead the charge, and have them stand up to the job. So be a stand-up guy. If you say something, follow through. Never make any promises you can't keep; don't lie. If you know something wrong is happening, stop it. If you see something unfair, call people on it. In return, I promise that any woman worth that title and her salt will be doing the same for you, because if you have my back, and I have yours, nothing in life will ever be able to sneak up on us and scare the crap out of us. THAT is what women find most sexy of all-- reliability, safety, and partnership.

- Getting The Big N.O, or, Failure For Champions:

Then again, you could do everything right and still be turned down. It's a woman's prerogative to be fickle. Maybe she's just gotten out of a bad relationship, or isn't over her ex yet. Maybe she's interested in someone else and doesn't want to lead you on and waste your time. Maybe you're just not her "type" can't help that, but chances are you definitely will be someone else's. Or maybe she's just enjoying being single right now, and doesn't want to think about getting involved with men or dating. But don't let this dissuade you from trying again with a different girl-- practice makes perfect, after all. Take a page from the Casanova-like diaries of the men I met while I was in Italy-- with all the "ciao, bella"-ing that was going on, and all the flat-out rejections from those "bella"s, I thought it was a wonder any Italians ever managed to procreate. But as my Food and Wine professor told his class of 18 American girls, "If you say it enough times, someone is bound to say 'ciao' back." That's how he landed his American wife while she was studying abroad. See? It works. If Giancarlo could do it, I have faith that you can, too. Now, get out there, and be someone's knight in shining armor. Or, at least, take you car through the car wash and go pay for the cute lady in front of you's espresso at the coffee shop tomorrow morning.

Buona fortuna!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How To Stay Single, Or, The New Girl Brings All The Boys To The Yard.

When I moved home, I expected that being a grown-ass woman rooming with her parents was going to be putting a HUGE dent in my dating game, were I to choose to play it again. I forgot to factor in the atmosphere of where, exactly, I was moving back to, literally and metaphorically.

The one thing I'd forgotten about starting new jobs was the fact that working in a mall is kind of like being thrown A.) Back into high school, and B.) To the sharks. Since breaking up, moving back home, and becoming employed elsewhere after years of working for the college, I'd somehow forgotten that when you're a mall-rat employee, you meet LOTS of new people. Not because you're just that cool or that popular...but because everyone wants to find out what the new girl's like.

Well, when the new girl's under the age of 30, single, and is willing to wear 5-inch heels to climb the ladder at work to hang new company posters...well, being the new girl turns some heads. The fact that she doesn't pay rent and eats home-cooked meals isn't considered a deterrent, at all. Unfortunately.

By my second shift, I already had a coworker trying to play matchmaker with me and one of his friends. I had a slew of new Facebook friend requests...all male. I literally had to make the "turn around" hand motion to get some poor young dude working across the hall to go back to his shirt folding when I clicked by on a candy bar run to Kmart before his manager yelled at him. I have gotten more store card apps in the last two weeks from eager, young, impressionable men with birth dates in the '90s than...well, more than I should feel morally ok with.

...Have I mentioned the fact that in my hometown, having all your teeth is a sign of natural beauty? While I may not be a top-model prize in Burlington or, say, Milan-- in Vegas, baby, (all) my straight teeth and 4-pack abs are pulling out all the stops.

But here's the thing-- I'm enjoying being single. After two and a half years of always having some guy around, I actually like being on my own. I mean, sure, the fact that it's getting cold at night without someone else to leech body-heat from is becoming a pain in the ass, and I really miss the company, but as I told a coworker today when she asked me how I was getting by without having sex, considering the fact that I lived with my last boyfriend and consider sex to be a daily-- if not twice or thrice daily-- duty when in relationships, I'm taking a little bit of a respite from it now, thanks. It's nice to not have to shave every other day. My body is thanking me more than it's yelling at me every time a tall, muscular dude who looks like Jason Statham's nephew walks by the storefront. For real. I'm not kidding. And my leg hair has never kept me warmer. Which is good for all those cold nights spent cuddling with my cat at home while watching Netflix and having to keep turning the volume out to drown my parents out.

So, despite all the things that nature and our 21st century society state I should have working against me right now, I've started waving at one of my sweeter admirers every time he passes by, even though I've made it clear to all that NOBODY gets a "friend" request accepted until I've met and talked with you at least twice for a decent amount of time (it helps suss out the creepers from the genuine nice people), no matter how many times you walk by or how many times I wave hello. One of my managers noticed, and asked me how I felt about jumping back into the dating pool. I pulled a face and told her my master plan.

"I figure, if I say to them, 'my last relationship involved living together, him doing the laundry, and talking about weddings; are you ready to jump right in there?' it will scare them away."

So far, the master plan is working. The only thing scarier than a woman with missing teeth in this town is a 22 year old single girl who's looking to play Mr. and Mrs. Buy A House. I mean, I didn't give an underwear model my info. And he looked like this:

What in the unholy Universe would convince me to start dating again NOW?

So who's the smart one now? This (happily single) girl.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Back In The Saddle(bags) Again

There are a few things I really like about attending weddings: The look on the bride and groom's faces as they look at each other, the dancing at the reception afterwards, and the ruthless "time of famine and drought"-style drinking involved when the two best words in the English language get together-- Open. Bar. And then there are a few things I really hate about attending weddings: The fact I am ALWAYS over-dressed for the occasion; the feeling of desperation that settles in the air every time all the single women are rounded up onto the dance floor to make that leap for the bouquet; the fact that more and more, I'm attending the weddings of people that I've either grown up with and/or my age. First, it was my childhood best friend. Then, it was the older son of a friend of the family whom I've known since I was...I don't know...BORN. They're both a year or two older than I am, and now nuptially blissed-out, and here I am, still single, and while the motorcycle club I belong to may have a healthy number of prospects, when it comes to ones for my hypothetical wedding bed, there are NONE. Zip. Zero. Ziltch. Nada.

However, I like this show of priorities.

My last relationship involved living together, cleaning together, cooking and drinking together, exercising together (and if you know how much I hate to be seen sweating, you know how much that says about my commitment), and beginning to casually talk about weddings-- what locations we liked. What good theme colors would be. Who the bridesmaids and groomsmen would consist of. It was obviously serious when me, Miss Commitment Issues, started considering floral arrangements and the merits of hand-made wedding favors made by myself and my army of loyal (and handy!) bridesmaids. I could see myself spending the rest of my foreseeable 50-to-70 years with him, and somehow having us both miraculously die of old age and NOT of spousal homicide. It was a special union. He asked me one day if I'd still love him when he had a beer gut and had gone gray and to seed. I told him that I probably wouldn't even notice and still find him sexy, because I'd look like my mother. We laughed. We loved. And we parted.

So it was particularly bitter-sweet this past weekend, as I found myself down in Connecticut, open bar at the ready, single, condoms perennially-prepared in my cute little white clutch, and no single groomsmen to be had. People started asking after my ex. I started drinking more heavily, and eventually excused myself down the hill to the pond, so I could sit and willingly be eaten alive by the mosquitoes rather than have to utter the painful words, "Well, no one special..." one more time.

...And then, I heard the roar of a four-stroke engine.

Riding up the driveway came a refurbished custom Yamaha motorcycle, paint job pristine, chrome gleaming. It's rider was tall, dark, wearing plaid, and seemingly single. I wanted him. I wanted his bike. I was either in love, or very, very emotionally vulnerable and slightly sloshed.

So I did what every girl does when confronted with a really smokin' hot guy-- I watched him. Yes, I just sat there, and looked at him for the better part of an hour. He was pretty. It was easy. But really, I told myself, it wasn't quite enough. On the ride down to CT, I'd picked up the newest issue of Cosmopolitan, and for shits, giggles, and boredom, flipped to the last page and taken the "How Much Game Do You Have?" quiz. I got two points for professing that if I were out at a bar and saw a cute guy, I wouldn't just move into his line of sight and telepathically plead with him to come over and talk to me-- I would walk over and say hey. And you just don't lie to Cosmo. Was I really so sad and single and pathetic that I couldn't even brush the dust on my flirt off and go over and make a go of it? So I slung back my drink, adjusted my cute little summer dress, cursed being single and back in The Game, and grabbed my purse and lady-balls and walked down to where he stood next to his bike.

Now, if there is one very important life lesson I learned three years ago from having to un-Velcro Motorcycle Man of my college years from the thoughts of making me his girlfriend, it is that you DO NOT touch even a man's kickstand without asking his permission first. And thanks to the Northern Deathriders, I've acquired quite a comprehensive knowledge about motorcycles in the last few months. So I sauntered down to him, lightly touched his upper arm to get his attention (and for the hell of being able to touch him), and said, "Excuse me, but what model Yamaha is this?"

He turned around. He smiled. He told me. I told him about my friend's Yamaha. He asked if I was into bikes. I laughed and told him about my old lady status. "I'm more of a 'fetch beer, remind them to flip the burgers, and admire the bikes,' kinda girl," I told him. "Are you one of those girls who will polish her boyfriend's bike?" his friend asked me, leaning in. "No. But I'll tell him when it needs to be done."

Their eyes lit up in a way that told me that the only wedding bells that day had not just been earlier at the church. For the next 20 minutes, we talked bikes, business, and New York City, where he lived. It was like God had delivered me my perfect made-to-order man. The only thing missing to make it more obvious would have been a silver platter, hand-engraved. But after years in the dating trenches, I knew when to cut things off before the stink of desperation cut in and I went from being The Cute Girl Who Knows Her Shit to being The Crazy Girl Who Won't Go Away. Proud of myself for having the guts to approach him, and still buzzing from the intoxicating mix of wine, cute guy, and bike exhaust, I thanked him for talking bikes, shook his hand, and excused myself. I may have been out of the game for awhile, but this cat still knows when to play hard-to-get.

Later that night, he came back and found me before he left. I was sitting at a table, taking a break from the dance floor, when I saw him approaching me from the corner of my eye. I pretended not to notice him until he was right next to me, leaning over my chair. He offered his hand again, saying he was leaving, but thanking me for coming over and talking to him earlier. I took it, shook it, and told him the pleasure was mine, and that anytime he wanted to talk bikes, I was game. We didn't exchange numbers. I didn't know his last name. But I knew that I felt good about myself, and that this old-hand Single Girl still had some life-- and some game-- in her yet. And who needs an engagement ring or kids when you can flirt with all the hot young bikers with good manners in the world? Exactly.

22. College-educated. Self-employed entrepreneur. Confident. Sarcastic. Single. Fabulous.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Giving Up The Ghosts

Last night, I had a dream about the first boy I ever really liked and had a mad, raging, multi-year-long crush on. It was an interesting dream, because in it, he was just as blase and indecisive as he had been in real life. Finally, driven to the end of my proverbial rope by despair and out of my wits with frustration, I wrote him a letter, outlining the fact that as long as he couldn't choose to keep a monogamous relationship either between me and him or him and my friend, I was done-- I wanted nothing to do with him. I upheld my promise pretty well-- until we survived a life-or-death situation together, caved under the pressure, had sex again, and then I got to confront my friend while helping her move from her apartment about the fact he was playing us both.

It was an emotionally-charged, fascinating dream-- possibly made more interesting by the appearance of the ex at the tail-end of it, as well as the fact that I knew that my first crush was actually the symbolical representation of my last relationship. I woke up, utterly fed up, and started thinking about the lengths that women will go through to try to keep a relationship.

I have never been a fan of the ultimatums, unlike much women. I firmly believe that if you're going to make a "if...than" statement, you should be willing to stand by it under pain of death, dismemberment, or break-up, and, as my dream obviously revealed, I've never really been great at doing that. If a woman gives a man an ultimatum-- "It's done forever and ever until the end of time when the Universe is sucked into a black hole if you ever sleep with another woman"-- and then doesn't actually have the balls to stand by what she said in earnest, it teaches both of them that A.) A woman can say things that she absolutely doesn't mean, and B.) That he can get away with it. I consider both outcomes horrible things. And I'm always quick on the draw to call a bluff. So, instead, I stick to the "Do it once, shame on you; do it twice, shame on me, I'm leaving," mentality. It works, for the most part. In real life, not only was I able to walk away from my first crush when he perpetrated events much like the ones in my dream last night, but I also repeated my feat of fortitude and strength again when the ex repeated similar events, later in my life.

And yet, I find myself still dreaming of them both. What does this say about me; about them?

Despite the fact that we grew up together and still are in casual touch, I hadn't thought about my first crush in months before last night, so I happen to think he was just a handy vehicle for my dream-self to craft the morality lesson of last night's sleep around. As for the ex...well, that's a more slippery slope, but I can explain where the specter of him came from, too. Before I went to sleep last night, I was watching a movie when the dishy main actor suddenly smiled, and in a blinding flash of realization, I realized why I was drawn to him-- he very much resembled the ex, especially when he smiled. I started flipping back through my Rolodex of Previous Relationships, trying to put famous faces to my exes who resembled them. I made the same obvious match of Aaron Eckhart to someone as I had when I'd been seeing him, but, other than him, the only other one of my ex-lovers who I could pin similar faces on was the ex, and as I kept coming up with names of people who I thought looked like him-- the guy from the movie; Emile Hirsch; Adem Ljajic-- I started wondering why, to me, he was one of my most recognized faces. It wasn't the fact that he was my longest running on-again, off-again thing; it wasn't the fact that I truly loved him-- I truly love my most recent ex, but I was fucked if I could come up with a doppelganger for him, so there goes that theory. I will admit to the fact that in his heyday, the ex was certainly one of the most striking and handsome men I have ever seen, let alone been with, so maybe that was it. We human beings can be incredibly shallow, after all.

The ex was beautiful, and he and I shared a lot of emotional history-- and hysteria-- together. But does that, and the fact that I can still catch glimpses of him in other people mean that I in any way desire him back? Oh, helllllllll noooooooo.  Let's face it, I'm a little bit of a masochist, and a little pain never really hurt anyone, but I would have to be declared clinically insane to ever go back to him. THAT much pain and turmoil he put me through just isn't worth it; no matter how attractive he was, no matter what we had in common; no matter the fact that we shared friends, professions, and a common life. I remember how miserable I could be when I was with him, and in general, I tend to believe that there is one thing human beings should never actively seek out to be, and that thing is miserable. Learning that lesson through him-- and, in some ways, the baby starter steps to it with my first crush-- was possibly one of the defining moments of my life thus far, and it has always served as a valuable lesson every time another relationship starts to turn the same way. I am more important to myself than a man will ever be, no matter how much I happen to love him. And if he makes me miserable, well-- then someone has to go, and it's sure as hell not going to be me. One of the most important things you can ever learn is how and when to go about giving up the ghost of relationships failed, past, and never to be repeated again.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

First Right Of Refusal

I recently sold my horse. It was EASILY the hardest decision of my life; for those of you non-horsey people out there, imagine it feeling as it would be like to give up a 7 year old child. It was the right thing for me to do at this point in my life, financially, but about the only thing that made me actually go through with it instead of climbing on my mare's back and taking off into the sunset, neither of us to ever be seen again, was the fact that I was able to include a legally-binding buy-back clause in the ownership/sale agreement. This means, that if the barn were to ever sell her one day down the road, legally, they have to track me down and ask me if I want her back before they can offer her up for public sale. This is called the First Right of Refusal, and it is a lovely, wonderful thing.

Which is why I think it should be an unspoken agreement in all relationship stipulations.

Look, don't lie to us. You want to make things as painless as possible? Than tell us the truth, instead of a convenient cover, so we can skip the false hope, the anguish, the want, the heartbreak, and the loss, and skip right the fuck to hating you, get it out of our system faster, and over with, so we can dust ourselves off and move on with our lives. It's really the only humane thing to do. If you say, "I think I need some time on my own," please best believe that we'll be keeping a weather eye to make sure that you actually stay that way-- on your own-- for a while, like you told us you were going to. If you say, "Maybe sometime again later after I've had time," PLEASE, BEST BELIEVE that to us, that is like the First Right of Refusal. If we disband because YOU want some "alone time," you best believe that we fully intend to be the first woman tapped for duty when you get tired of playing by yourself. THAT is how women work. THAT is what we assume. When we say, "I'd like some strawberry jam on my toast, please, but no butter," what we mean is, "I'd like some strawberry jam on my toast, please, but for the love of god, if you bring the butter near me, I will CUT YOU," when what a MAN seems to mean when he says, "I'd like some strawberry jam, please, but no butter," is in his thinking, a politer way of saying, "Yeah, I'll take that toast with some strawberry jam, but later, I'm going to actually go back for that butter that you just offered me, because I was thinking about my body muscle index and I really do need to eat some more fat today before I hit the gym."

Woman: No butter means NO BUTTER.
Man: No butter means maybe I actually am going to have that butter, after all.

I can understand it is hard sometimes; life is confusing. I mean, hell, some mornings I wake up and have no clue where the fuck I am for the first 10 minutes that I'm barely cognizant. And there are some tough calls out there-- pay the heat bill, or the electric bill?-- that I thoroughly understand if they take you a while to work through. But let me break this down-- when you tell us you've thought long and hard and not taken anything lightly to reach a sure as HELL better follow through with that decision. To the T. Perfectly. Textbook-style. Like the lawyer who was holding our Terms of Sale agreement was keeping close tabs on you and your movements. Because in matters of love and relationships, that sale was not of a horse, as much as I have loved mine-- it was the sale of our heart.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"It's Not Me...It's You."

Here's the thing about pregnancy tests: You never quite believe that it's actually you holding them. They're like a Twilight Zone wormhole from which you look down at the box in your hand and ask yourself, "Is this really me standing here with this thing? Like, is this for real?" You know how in movies, when they do POV shots, it feels really uncomfortable to be the viewer, because you KNOW that that's not actually your body that you're trapped inside and seeing the world from? Welcome to exactly what buying a pregnancy test is like.

A little while ago, the universe conspired against me in a whole number of different ways to fuck with my body without my consent. My script for Zoloft ran out, and by the time it took the pharmacy in my hometown to refill and ship it to me, I was a few days lacking the serotonin my body desperately needs to keep me sane and level. Life was also shitty at the time in others ways-- stressful and full of drama that was neither mine, nor of my own making. It started to take its toll; I was constantly nauseous and dizzy. A morning hike turned into a battle to stay upright and cognizant. I also was probably a little anemic, due to the fact that living with a vegetarian was NOT doing my diet any favors in regards to my body's generous appetite for red meat, blood, guts, and protein. And I was having sex. Lots of regular, good ol' fashioned relationship sex. What a perfect Molotov cocktail for disaster and pee-dipsticks.

I first got my period when I was 12. I remember it vividly, because it was during the summer, and I was with my family and childhood best friend at our usual summer residence at the Jersey shore. For the rest of our vacation, I refused to go in the ocean, because I was SURE that I was going to end up the tragic victim of a shark attack based on the fact that I was now BLEEDING, dripping BLOOD UNCONTROLLABLY, from somewhere that I didn't quite understand yet. I was young. It was traumatic. I really, really hate sharks and their cold, dead eyes. But since that summer, my period had been something that came like Swiss clockwork-- you literally could have set Big Ben or international standard time to it, it was so reliable, down to the date and time of afternoon when it made its appearance. And there was none of this "skipped period" or "spotting" bullshit for me when I started out; my period RSVPed, and it made it its business to show. Punctually. Only once, the second month that I was on birth control when I was 18, did I ever spot between cycles. It was unsettling and odd for me, but I had a reason for it, so I sucked it up, bought more panty liners, and moved on. So I was properly freaked out when suddenly, last month, I started spotting a week before I was supposed to be due.

I let it go for a day or two, considering all the angles: Maybe my lack of Zoloft had impacted its buddy Ortho Tricyclin Lo, considering I take them both at the same time every day, and it was lonely and taking it out on me the only way it knew how. Maybe I had some internal trauma I didn't know about, a ruptured cyst or something. Maybe my lady bits where rioting against all this sex, as unused to routine as they were after all the dry spells of my life. Or, maybe, as I input all my bodily woes into the Mayo clinic's database of diseases and scrolled down the page, I was experiencing "implantation bleeding." AKA: Maybe I was well and truly fucked.

Small quantities of brown blood. Nausea. Dizziness. Higher Basal body temperature. I did the complicated and quantum physics and math of my menstrual cycle's peak performance and ovulation time and the history of my sex life and compared it to what not only Mayo, but WebMD, BabyMed, SteadyHealth, and Woman's Health had to say. It was not good, in the way that for the first time in my life, a mathematical equation coming out to equal the sum that it should was not something my mathematically-dyslexic self wanted to celebrate. I considered calling my mother to ask if she'd experience implantation bleeding when she got pregnant with me. I decided against it, and called a friend of mine who had been pregnant once before instead. We jointly decided it would be best to wait it out; see if my period made its real appearance when it was supposed to. We cited the Zoloft, the anemia, the stress as contributing factors. We didn't even entertain the possibility that pregnancy was a real option. I took my birth control every day with the fanaticism of a Southern Revivalist. We'd been careful. We'd been good. In my sexual history, if Ortho were to fail me and fuck me over, it would have happened before now. The ratio of possible pregnancy situations in my past compared to my present would have read something like 234:3. (That's probably not even a real ratio, and now you understand just how bad at math I really am.)

So I waited. The spotting waxed and waned, but nothing like my usual period showed. One day, at lunch, I excused myself to the ladies' room, and came back triumphant, sure that I had finally exited the danger zone, but later that night, the well dried up. Nothing. Nada. I was going on two weeks now refraining from sex because I may or may not decide to start bleeding. It was killing me. Finally, my friend convinced me it was time to do the damn thing and know for certain, instead of continuously directing disparaging remarks down toward my belt and being a general ostrich with my head in the sand. "I blame the Holocaust," I told her. "If it wasn't for Hitler, those fucking sperm wouldn't feel as deep a need to survive." We went to Shaw's. She shopped for the week's groceries while I deliberated between spending $13 on a pregnancy test, or $6. On one hand, did I really want to trust something so important to a cheapo no-name brand? On the other, I was really freaking tapped for cash, and if it was negative, well...that would be a totally un-cool way to have wasted what could have bought me two dirty martinis. I settled for a middle-range option, and grabbed another box of condoms, too. Optimism.

In the checkout lane, specifically picked to get maximum hilarity out of what could otherwise end up being a pretty desolate situation, the teenage boy behind the register didn't even blink. My friend and I felt let down. When we got back to her apartment, I opened the box, and discovered that taking a pregnancy test apparently mandates a map the size of your average road atlas, and instructions as detailed-- down to the second and no-nonsense-- as taking your SATs or the bar exam in your state. After reading the instruction to DO NOT HOLD TEST UPSIDE-DOWN, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, OR ELSE YOU'LL SCREW UP THE TEST AND NEVER KNOW AND END UP ON 'I DIDN'T KNOW I WAS PREGNANT,' I handled it like a grenade whose pin had been pulled. And always tip-down. We debated peeing on it the good old-fashioned way versus using the cup method. She pointed out that I would then have a cup of pee to deal with. We both pulled a face. I tentatively journeyed into the bathroom to try hovering over the toilet without peeing on my own hand. Through the door, I commented that it would be a lot easier for men to be the ones who got pregnant and had to take pregnancy tests. She instructed me to be sure that I didn't wimp out and got a good stream on the tip. I didn't pee on my hand as I feared I would, so I was feeling a little bit triumphant when I capped it again and laid it gently to rest on the sink's counter. If I could not pee on my own hand while taking a pregnancy test, I reasoned, there was no way in hell I could have actually fucked myself over even more and be pregnant.

My friend instructed me that even though the test said it could be checked as soon as 2 minutes after, waiting at least 4 to get a conclusive result was even better. She knew what she was talking about, so we set a timer, and found a Youtube clip of the Jeopardy "thinking" song to wait to. There is nothing that really raises the class level of taking a pregnancy test like the thought of Alex Trebek and people dressed in tweed. My friend got a call and stepped out for a minute, and then it was suddenly me, Alex, my thoughts, and the bathroom door that was open just enough to see the toilet, but not enough to see the hidden test on the counter, diagnosis yet unknown.

Here's the thing: I knew as soon as I read Mayo's diagnosis for me what I would do if it was true. So, in one aspect, I knew exactly what I was going to do. But the more I sat there and thought as Jeopardy kept playing and the timer was ticking down, I realized that this whole shenanigan wasn't about me. The stress that I'd been going through, the intense fear at the thought that I may be enciente was not my stress, or fear of what I would do; it was fear of what another woman would do. And that, I realized, was much more; ten times more; a hundred, million times more fucked up and ridiculous than me actually being worried and taking this pregnancy test to be sure for MYSELF. In a perfect world, devoid of any other players or pawns, the fact that I was 22, in a stable relationship, and taking a pregnancy test would not have been so scary. In that same world, I would have been allowed to be potentially excited, and entertain the thought of other options besides my cut-and-dried one of abortion. But this is not that perfect world. There are other players in this one, and there are pawns. In many ways, my own pregnancy would not be about me. What is supposed to be one of the most significant times of a woman's life would not be made of joy and healthy levels of both fear and excitement; it would be full of strife and more stress and drama and endless questions and phone calls and arguments, and not all of them would be about me, my relationship, or my child, but about another person, another relationship, and another child. What it came down to was not the fact that I didn't want a child; it came down to the fact that I didn't want to bring a child into a situation as volatile as the one I'd entered when I started my relationship. Because it wouldn't be fair. Not to me. Not to a baby. Not to my partner. And, a little part of my mind reminded me, not to another woman. In that moment, Jeopardy's timpani drums striking merrily, I knew I had my answer, regardless of the test's results. My friend came back into the room. I was white and drawn. The timer went off.

The test was negative. I laughed, danced, and ate a big steak.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Better Woman Than You

One of the bad parts about staying in the same town that you graduated college in is that inevitably, you'll run into people from your past who you would rather not see. Like today when I unexpectedly bumped into one of the ex's little slips in fidelity. It had been awhile since I'd seen her; even longer since I'd seen her in the same room as myself and the ex. If counting my two relationships since him was any indicator, I've obviously moved on. I don't wish her a quick slip and a bad fall anymore. I don't spend my nights obsessively checking her Facebook profile to see what she's been up to lately (answer then would have been, "having more of a life than you are obsessively checking her page, dipshit,") anymore, either. In fact, it was kind of a shock to see her and instantly remember that, well, she exists. So I did the natural thing, which, in this case, also happened to the the right thing: I smiled genuinely at her, and said, "Hi, _____, how have you been?"

And she barely looked at me. She said a flat "hi" back, and moved on with whatever it was she was doing. For a moment, I was PISSED. Look, I've been the Other Woman (with the same guy, nonetheless!) in the past, so I know what running into the First Woman entails-- You smile politely, but not too much, lest she think you're mocking her. You speak first. You say a genuine, polite "hello" or "hey." If she engages you in conversation after that, you stick to neutral topics-- the weather, work, school, recent plans (that DON'T involve the man in both of your lives). You DON'T just ignore her. Because here's the thing, if you don't at least smile and say hi, then you're being a bitch. And if you happen to the the First Woman, you end up having yet another reason to hate the Other Woman even more. Basically, I was mad because I slipped back into the thinking that if you have the balls to want to share my relationship's bed, you BEST have the balls to meet my eye when you see me. Otherwise, I'm going to think that you're a coward, not a threat, and start to question my partner's interest in you in the first place and if you're what he wants to run around with, than is he really the sort of man I should be with? There's a very particular sort of woman who lurks around the outskirts of your life, looking in, wanting what you have, and is all bark behind your back and no real bite, and those are the women I can't fucking STAND. And THAT is EXACTLY the sort of woman who doesn't have the social grace or class to actually buck up, be a big girl, and converse like an actual person.

All of this flashed through my mind in about a nanosecond, dragging with it all the old feelings of spite and envy and mistrust and haughtiness. Then, something else happened-- I suddenly realized that I had no right to feel ANY of those ways about her anymore, as I was no longer (obviously) with the ex, and neither was she, either. I realized that if she couldn't even look my in the eyes now, over a year after everything between all of us went down, well, that was telling. About her, about her character, and about how she felt about the whole situation. And so, I kept on walking, letting it slide, and feeling vaguely protective of her, and the innocence and naivety that she exposed by not knowing how to do the right thing. Because, when it comes down to it, there are always going to be other women out there who are either trying to get a rise out of you, or you are trying to get a rise out of, yourself. (I would be lying if I said I was currently engaged in a game of electronic "chicken" myself.) We all have it in ourselves to be bitches. We all know exactly how to hurt other women. But that's all rather childish, and should be behind us by now, like how I realized that what she thinks or does no longer has any impact in my life, not even if she refuses to respond to my greeting. What really proves who the bigger (and better) woman is is who smiles and says that theoretical "hi" first. And I am now DEDICATED to being that better woman.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Figuring It All Out

At 22, I thought that my big Quarterlife-Crisis change would be starting to navigate the big, scary Real World, B.S in hand. Instead, the economy solved that issues for me by making me generally unemployable (who ever got a Liberal Arts degree, anyway?) and only a few months freshly out of college, my big life change ended up being a drastic switch from The Single Life to The Coupled Life. Between the two of us, self-imposed loners with a sarcastic, highbrow bend and a serious commitment to Netflix and alienating ourselves from decent society, we managed to take two fairly boring lives, combine them, and make one chock-full-o'-nuts life together. Hence why I have been fairly MIA for the last few months. Hence why I now have friends IRL. Hence why tonight, while he's gone from the nest and I am too mindlessly bored to continue watching yet another Katherine Heigl movie, I've decided to let you know that I remain alive, just a little bit less single than I used to be, and a little bit more grown-up.

All kidding aside, what have I learned about relationships in the past few months cannot be neatly summed up in a single blog post, or in any number of blog posts, for that matter. (Believe me-- I have tried. And tried and tried and tried. My Drafts box is both imposing and impressive now.) Our relationship, like most others, is too complex and nuanced to break it down into categories and subcategories: What I Think About Him, What He Thinks Of Me, When An Acceptable Amount Of Time Is In Which To Say "I Love You," And Who Said It First (neither of those actually happened to be good societal standard norms, but fuck it), How We Met Each Other's Families, The Fact That All My Friends For Once Agree I Have Met A Suitable Man And Would Probably Take Him Over Me Were We To Split, Our First Mini-Getaways As A Couple And How To Survive A Vacation With Your Partner When Your Forget Your Blowdryer, What To Say When You're Caught Red-Handed, How To Breathe And Just Let Shit Roll Off Your Back, What Happens When The Past Sometimes Doesn't Stay In The Past, How Cooking For Two Requires More Math Than You're Bound To Remember From High School Calc Than Cooking For One Does, and The Proper Way To Wake A Snoring, Blanket-Stealing Man Up.

Instead, I've gone back to my pre-schooling basics to make this relationship work where others before have failed. We share things: My car. His house. The grocery list. A full-size bed (built for cuddling when you're respectively 5'3 and 6'3,) and one blanket-- well, he has a tendency to get all Oldest Child about it and steal it, so I've resorted to His and Hers duvets. Colds-- he just got over one; kindly has passed it onto me. We compromise: He, a full-bore Mac Man, has learned to navigate around my PC. I've given up eating quite as much red meat as I used to to better suit his vegetarian diet and our shared meals. He's getting used to having to repeat questions. I'm slowly getting used to actually listening to the answers. The other day, I caught him kiss my cat on the head, not sneer and verbally demean him per usual. It touched me in a very special place. (No, not that special place.) Basically, as I am dying to tell all of my ex-professors, the things I learned in hallowed campus classrooms were NOT, in fact, the lessons that have helped me survive life after college; it was the lessons my parents taught me pre-K and everything else I picked up from dating in dorms, renting as a roommate, and romancing the reluctant and recalcitrant rascals of my previous Single Life that have got me where I am today: Happy, well-adjusted, cohabitating, and in love.

...And yes, still funemployed. But writing pro bono for a few publications, and one newly-created nationally-syndicated women's magazine! (I guess some of those publishing and entrepreneurship classes did come in useful, after all.)

Long story short, I spent 4 years of my life and nearly a cool $100K to learn that to make it in life, you have to be funny enough to ensnare a man's attention, quirky enough to keep it, well-versed enough in the kitchen to feed him once you've got him, persevering enough to play hausfrau for him, relaxed enough to drink beers with his buddies, feminine enough to keep his blood boiling even after a few months in, well-read enough to read the labels on his shirts before laundering them, and educated enough from your previous Single Life to be able to introduce him to new things, places, and experiences.

He, in return, has got to love you enough to find all of this amusing and endearing.

In other words, stay in school, because that's where all the good men are.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Batgirl's Got Shit On Super Girlfriend.

Over the weekend, one of my best friends came and stayed with us. For both of us-- "fun"employed graduates with a bachelors in writing who aren't happy unless we're working for 5 independently contracted clients at once and think "relaxing" is an exercise is being frivolous-- it was not only a great chance to not only discover "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding", read woman's magazines, eat McDonalds (or "The Devil's Food" as my very health-conscious boyfriend would call it), and have the Girl Time that we both found ourselves currently lacking in our lives post-grad, but also, to compare relationship notes and find heroes in other people and how they lead their coupled lives.

I think she's utterly amazing for being in a long distance relationship and is a rock-star for being confident enough to try 21st century ways of staying in touch and intimate. She loved the fact that I strive to make every day eventful for my S.O; we woke up and went impromptu hiking the other morning, then ended up getting glammed up and going out for a business dinner later that same night. I love the fact that her boyfriend is admittedly crazy about her and that it's obvious to everyone around them, even when they're apart-- the constant "ping"-ing of her iPhone affirms that he's not afraid to be candid about how he feels. She (and I) were both smitten when my S.O remembered to bring her a towel and washcloth at night before she went to bed-- something very "host-y" that had escaped both our FEMALE minds, but didn't get past him.

All in all, it came down to the fact that we both know our relationships and our respective partners, but found that finding things to admire in your friend's relationships can help you look at and switch up your own more effectively, too. While all of our relationships are as different as we are as individuals, there's something really great about knowing that you have a "Girlfriend Hero" who will run across town after her boyfriend's rent check to make sure it gets to the right place on time that you can look up and aspire to...while knowing at the same time that you're her "Girlfriend Hero" for your uncanny ability to snag the best seats for the festival fireworks AND remember to bring along your S.O's favorite candy to snack on, too.

If you're lucky enough like me to realize that for the first time in your life, nearly all of your best friends are taken, pair up with one of them whose relationship style you really admire, take notes on how each other makes it appear effortless, and exchange compliments. A lot of the time, the effort we spend putting time, energy, and countless summer-day-outing-plans-so-you-don't-get-bored-and-cranky into our relationships either isn't noticed by our partners (because we're just that good at seeming perpetually AWESOME,) or just isn't acknowledged the way we'd sometimes like it to be after going above and beyond, because, hey, we're girls, and men and women communicate differently about appreciation, after all. Make it your goal to find someone who makes it look so easy to look up to, because, chances are, she'll end up telling you that you're just as stellar a girlfriend, in your own ways.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

You Can't Live On Love Alone

And now for something completely different...

Now it's my turn to ask you lovely readers for some help in regards to how to make a relationship work even better!

Ok, here we go— yet again another chance for me to prove to you how painfully yet wonderfully new everything about a serious, cohabitating relationship is to me: Mealtimes. How in the name of god do you coordinate two very different people’s shared meals together in the home?

Do you cook; does he cook; do you eat separately; who plans the meals, etc? While we grocery shop together, and our Top 5 Favorite Restaurants are the same, I‘m just not used to someone coming home and asking, “What should we do for dinner?” My general response to this question thus far through the years to family members, roommates, friends, and guys has been something along the lines of, ‘uhhhhh…’ Adding to the tricky little question, he’s a vegetarian, and very health- and consumer-conscious, while I have been known to consider eating a McDouble, fries, and small soda off the Dollar Menu at McDonald’s a STEAL, and have a bad habit of grazing through whatever is quick and easy in the cabinets of the kitchen instead of making a proper meal, so that when he gets home at 7 and is starved, I’m not hungry until 9.

While we always end up figuring SOMETHING out, it just takes a little longer than I’d (impatiently as always,) like it to. So far, Dominoes has saved our stomachs more than a few times, and I recently had the bright idea of going through our amassed cookbooks together to dog-ear recipes that we’d both like to try to create a bank of dinner ideas, but after that, I’m all tapped out!

So this is the part where I ask you all, especially my wiser and less relationship-challenged readers, to please leave me any tips, hints, or tricks that you’ve found while cohabitating and coexisting with a member of the opposite sex. Grazie mille!


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Go With The Flow

What's more hip right now than vampires? Tampons, obviously. Let's talk about vaginas, shall we?

I'll admit it-- I'm a bit of a brand whore, and I'm as loyal as the Labrador Retriever you grew up with when I find a product I like. I've worn the same American Eagle jeans since I was in middle school, because they're the cuts that fit me best. I've washed my hair with Garnier Fructis since I was a senior in high school. I only ride in Dansko paddock boots, and Ariat tall boots. I buy Barilla pasta (if it's good enough for the supermarkets in Italy, it's good enough for me). I pitched an ungodly fit when my local pharmacy changed my straight-from-the-brand Ortho Tri-Cyclin Lo to the generic birth control alternative, and had it promptly changed back. (Part of that may have been because the generic pills looked like they had been pressed by some enterprising young meth-head in his back-country trailer park, and also the fact that I am NOT willing to risk my fertility on the cheap shit, because babies are HELLA expensive.) And I have always, ALWAYS used Playtex Gentle Glide tampons (fresh scent,) for as long as...well, for as long as I've been cursing being born female and fertile.

However, this is not to say that I can't occasionally be lured away from a specific product by the seductive siren song of another. While I may be very, very loyal and monogamous in my relationships with people, my relationships with products have a tendency to sometimes end up polygamous. Take, for instance, the last time I found myself journeying down the "feminine care" aisle of my local Rite-Aid on a last-minute "Dear god, like the three bears, my bathroom cupboards are bare and Goldilocks (Little Red Riding Hood would possibly be more apt?) has come to town!" mission. There they were, right in front of me-- the pink box with the familiar script, the reassuringly large "S", the vague floral scent wafting out of the box already. But, three boxes to my right, something caught my eye. It was black. It was colorful. It was modern. It was aggressive! It was a box that said, "Hey, cool lady, let's kick this period's ass like it's past 4 AM at Bungalow 8 and you're on Andy Warhol's arm!" Someone had obviously done enough market research to pick up on the fact that a black background with bright color accents just pops off the shelf (can't express to you how many books I have mysteriously ended up owning based on the fact that my brain sees bright pink on a black cover and instantly equates it with the next Great American Novel and NYT best-seller...which never, in fact, ends up happening), because after some hemming and hawing over the comfort of the familiar versus this bright new interloper, the box of regular-weight U by Kotex Click tampons had popped right into my basket. Women will endlessly be attracted to the shiny and new.

After two trials of "Why could I not have been born a Brandon?" use, here's the list of pros and cons that I've compiled for this new product in regards to how they stand up/fill out/carry their (water) weight against my beloved Gentle Glides. As always, every woman (and her flow) is different, so just because I found it a certain way doesn't mean that you necessarily will, too. Just keep that in mind. Now that we've got that across, here are my VERY opinionated views:

From an aesthetic point of view, the box and packaging of U have it allllllll over Playtex. The tampon cartridges themselves are much smaller, which is convenient because trying to fit a super-weight Playtex tamp in the pocket of a pair of girl's jeans is pretty much like trying to shove an atomic missile into hiding inside of a lycra catsuit. You know something is in there. The U's small cartridge, ever so tiny enough to fit a handful in my summer clutch, also expands to click into place (hence the name, Kotex Click) rather neatly. I got the first box of U's when they offered blue, green, orange and yellow colors instead of the rather sickly purple they replaced the blues with, but hey. Still, they have much more personality than Gentle Glides. And I always thought a woman's tampons told you a lot about her personality.

The thinner plastic cartridge (I never understood why ANYONE, including my mother, would have ever used the cardboard cartridges; I mean, I get that they're more environmentally friendly, blah blah blah go hug a tree, but the sensation of trying to use one is like trying to insert the corner of the box of Annie's Organic Mac & Cheese you just ate for lunch into your down-undah. NO THANK YOU!) also equates to an interesting other plus for Kotex-- you know that phenomenon that happens as you get towards the end of your Time of Bleed when your vagina just kind of shuts down like a government building under attack and stops accepting any foreign bodies into it and is all, "PENIS OR BUST!" and for the life of you, you cannot plead, cajole, coerce, or force another tampon comfortably in there to save your life, or your new pair of underwear? Well, with the very slim plastic cartridge body, the U just kind of...slides by your vaj's defenses unnoticed, like Bond. No struggle, no teeth-gritting, and no more crying and pleading while in a public bathroom stall that distracts other people around you. Solid.

However, the U does fall short of my beloved Gentle Glides in a few places: Namely, the fact that the regular-weight U's are about half the size and absorbency of the regular-weight Gentle Glides. They don't expand as well to fit and leak-proof your lady-bits quite as well as Gentle Glide's cotton protection does, either, probably due to the fact that Gentle Glide's cotton tamps are roughly the same softness and fluffiness that newborn baby kittens are, while U's tamps are made of something that feels suspiciously like yesterday's newspaper that's been lining your kid sister's hamster cage overnight. It's kind of stiff, kind of hard, and has this weird...well, this weird almost shell to the cotton, which acts as kind of like a primary defense system that your bodily fluid have to breach before the damn tamp will begin to absorb. Not, generally, the best thing that one looks for in a tampon.

All in all, this one's kind of a wash. While I continue to buy my Gentle Glides for their vastly superior protection, I've also started making sure that I always have a small box of the regular-weight U's kicking around for either those really light days when my vagina decides that it's on maximum security lockdown, or for those special occasion events like summer weddings, outings on boats, or barbecues when I need either my small clutch instead of a large purse, or don't want to look like I'm smuggling Cuban cigars back into the country in my denim short's pocket. So, U by Kotex Click-- worth the fancy-shamancy hip packaging, but not worth it to entrust any new pairs of underwear to provided that like Victoria, you should want to keep your little monthly visitor a secret.


Monday, June 6, 2011

Things About Being The Best Girlfriend You Can Be That Nobody Ever Told You:

...Until now.

1.) Sometimes, guys get headaches, too. A night spent together without sleeping together is not a night wasted-- it's life. Just like you have "off" nights, men are allowed to have "off" nights and days, too. Don't take it personally. Enjoy your night of restful sleep. And if you're really torn up about it...there's always the next morning.

2.) Nannying was a really useful summer job to have as far as a skill-set for relationships go. There is absolutely no harm in asking before leaving for a trip if your partner has remembered to pack the essentials: toothbrush, deodorant, underwear, something to sleep in, cell phone charger. If he has, great. If he has somehow overlooked an item or two in his packing, he'll think you're a godsend for remembering what he didn't. It's easy, too-- just think about the things that are REALLY needed for a day or two away; while we may not be able to function without our trusty blowdryer, that's the way he feels about his deodorant. And when in doubt, just as when I was SuperNanny I always had tissues in my back pockets and a big red Mary Poppins purse full of tricks, there are a few things to always carry in your purse to make your union even smoother: tissues, band aids, breath mints or gum, cough drops, a condom or two, and water. Toys to keep him occupied while you're shopping optional.

3.) It's ok to get mad. You have emotions, too. But realize that when you start to withhold affection because of something that you haven't shared with him, you're doing more to damage your relationship than to move past the anger. If you start withholding, he'll start, because he has no clue what's going on unless you tell him. 9 times out of 10, whatever ticked you off was one of your little personality quirks or pet-peeves, and he didn't mean to do it, or doesn't think it's a big deal. You have one of two options: Address it with him, or move past it and let it go on your own. Your sour mood has the ability to affect not only you and your partner, but everyone else around you, too. I realized the other night that my tetchy mood after I felt like my significant other had been ignoring me in a social setting wasn't only dragging down my night out; my bad mood and surly attitude was dragging down him and our friend from having a good time, too. It wasn't fair to any of us, so in a quiet minute alone, I addressed it, we hugged it out, and the rest of our night was fabulous. A quick chat and a hug can repair far more than going an entire night or few days in a funk can.

4.) Let it go. Your past relationships are over, and shouldn't affect your current one any more than your elementary school friends affected your college life. Sometimes, when my ex hadn't shaved in awhile, he reminded me so much of my first boyfriend that I would get completely turned off. Other times in relationships, all the emotional bullshit and trust issues that the ex had put me through resurfaced, and undermined my current relationships, for no reason other than the fact that I was scared what happened to me in the past would happen again, just with another guy. If it's over and done with, let it be over and done with. And if it's still present, the best thing you can do for EVERYONE involved is to set boundaries. Twice now I've had my exes calling and/or texting me after the relationship ended, trying to get with me or see me. For the sake of my current relationships, I set very firm ground rules with them:
A.) Acknowledge the fact that you are in a new, committed, monogamous relationship.
B.) Let them know that while you appreciate their interest in seeing you and/or newfound desire to communicate, it's not the ideal time at the moment because you have other, more pressing issues that need your attention. Like sleep, your job, or going back to date night.
C.) But tell them when it is acceptable. 4 AM is not acceptable; I'm not always alone at night, and I enjoy my beauty sleep. Be firm in telling them to keep their dialing to daylight hours.
D.) If they're not being nice, DO assure them you will not put up with their bullshit any longer, because you're not in a relationship anymore, and you don't have to.
E.) If they are insistent about wanting to see you and talk, do it somewhere neutral, and in public, like a coffee shop or a city park. Having witnesses never hurt-- someone would be bound to see them drag your body away.
F.) Be nice, but be firm. It never cost anyone anything to be civil; remember, at one time, this person meant the world to you. If you can't at least be friendly and/or treat them like a friend, something's wrong. If they need to leave you alone, tell them that. Though it's flattering to hear that the ex wants you back, your priority now should be your new relationship, not your old ones.

5.) Everyone has a different bank account balance. Sometimes, what one partner can spend is different than what the other is capable of, and, as money is very fluid, sometimes that changes from person to person from month to month, or even from week to week. If you can't be generous in your spending, be generous in other things, instead, like in your time or your effort in the relationship. I spend a lot of time at my significant other's, so, to thank him for the nights we spend there and not at my place, I clean his house. It's easy, it doesn't take much time, but it speaks volumes that I value his space and his things as much as I do mine, and he appreciates it. If you've got a little cash, treating your boyfriend to drinks or late-night delivery is always a great "I appreciate you and like taking care of you" gesture. If you are absolutely tapped, a fun time out can be hard. However, it costs nothing to go to a local high school sports game and cuddle in the bleachers, or take a blanket and drive out into the country and go star-gazing. When in doubt, keep track of the things he mentions wanting or needing-- they can be little, like a new pair of sunglasses for summer, or big, like a new bike or the special collector's edition of his favorite TV show. When you DO have cash, referring back to your secret list of his desires will give you a shopping point to start from (great for birthdays, Christmas, and Valentine's Day presents he'll actually care about).

6.) Health issues aren't embarrassing; they're your body. If you can share your body in an intimate way, you should be able to talk openly and freely about why your period isn't going to allow you to have sex for the next 5 days, why the Chinese you just ate is sending you running for the bathroom every 15 minutes, and what a UTI is and why you have one. Women pee, shit, barf, sneeze, fart and cough just like everyone else. A fart during sex isn't the end of the world; please learn to either ignore it and move on like adults, or how to laugh it off together. A good girlfriend can talk about body issues and things relating: her birth control habits, because it's important that he understands them, too; why a clean bathroom at his place with a trash can in it is needed; any body hang-ups she has and how they affect their sex life; and any outstanding health issues that he should be aware of-- if someone needs to accompany you to your doctor visits and your parents aren't in the area, guess who should pony up? While explaining your cycle to your guy may not exactly be like asking your best friend for a tampon, both are people who should understand you, your insides and out.

7.) All girls are taught that when a guy asks you what you want-- for date night, for your birthday, for lunch-- you should say "nothing" so that he thinks you're a laid-back catch of a woman and values you more for that and ends up pulling out all the stops to make you happy. However, we've failed to take in the communication differences between men and women into account. When we tell a guy that we want "nothing" or that we "don't want to do anything special," he's going to take you at face- and word-value, and you'll be getting a whole lot of nothing instead of that whole lot of SOMETHING that you really wanted. And then guess who's going to be the one sulking? Not him. He did EXACTLY what you told him to do. So, take it into account-- while if you ask for nothing you're bound to get nothing, if you ask for EVERYTHING, you're also bound to get nothing. A nice dinner out is perfectly acceptable to ask for for your anniversary. An all-expenses-paid trip to the Taj Mahal is not. If you want the turkey club, or a dinner out, or that bracelet for your birthday, ASK. Don't make him try to read your mind. He'll appreciate your up-front-ness, and both of you will end up winning.

8.) Sometimes, when you ask him what he's thinking while he's staring at you with a goofy grin on his face, and he says "nothing," what he really means is, "I'm honestly not engaging in any brain activity right now, so stop asking me for the answers to life," NOT "I'm thinking about how you're the most gorgeous woman I've ever seen and if I were to ever meet her, I'd tell Megan Fox to get a face-lift to look more like YOU, not the other way around," like you want to hear. So stop asking him what he's thinking...just let him veg peacefully.

9.) If asked about your ex's endowment, DO NOT give solid measurements in inches and diagrams. Be vague, but truthful. Say "You fit me better," or "It wasn't all that great." Penis envy is real, and just like how you REALLY don't want to know if his ex gave better head than you do, he really doesn't need to be thinking about how he measures up to The Hammer.

10.) One of the best things you can do for your relationship is realize that the time you spend annoying each other (and it WILL happen!) is always less than the time you spend loving to be around each other. (If it's the reverse, I think you need to get out-- NOW.) If he's being chipper in the early morning before you've had your coffee and all you really want to do is tell him to shut up, sit down, and leave you alone, remember that this too shall pass, and in the next 10 minutes, he'll go back to being your average, normal, lovable boyfriend. A little memory of the good times together, and a LOT of tolerance goes a looong way in relationships. If he doesn't think he drives you mental at least twice every day because you keep it to yourself and work through it, he'll think you're Mother Teresa's hot young kid sister.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Like A Bad Episode Of "Mad Men."

So, that new little widgety thing at the top of the page there, where it says "I Majored In Creative Writing, Why?" and has a donation tab? That's not spam, or an extremely fitting ad. That's what happens when your parents are supportive of your dreams and don't stop you from graduating with a B.S in Writing and no job. So, if you, dear readers, happen to be a little more flush than I am, and enjoy reading what I put up here, throw a couple of dollars at me, and help keep me off the streets and instead, pounding them and the parties and lives of the influential, funny people and writing interesting, informative, and sarcastic little witty things for you to read and be entertained by. Thank you, very, very much, in advance. (My adorable little cat who relies on me for food, shelter, and litter thanks you too, as he has grown very used to being kept in the manner of someone whose housing used to be paid for by college scholarships and is no longer.)

In other news, I am at the S.O's condo all evening, trying to polish off this extremely arduous next Vermont Commons magazine column (which resulted earlier in me cleaning said condo during a bout of writer's block), and roasting a whole chicken, potatoes, and carrots so that the S.O will have dinner when he gets home from work. With a nice bottle of Italian white wine, perfectly aerated. (Italy was possibly the best finishing school I could have ever been sent to. Cooking lessons, everything there is to know about good Italian wines and liquor, and how to extricate myself from a very vehement European would-be Don Juan while hurting no one's feelings. Now, THAT'S an education for you; you can hold my B.S!)

Like I said, between that, and listening to him and his friends talk business in posh bars while getting quietly drunk in the corner of the table, what is this, the freaking '50s again?

But no, babe, I love it, really! (Now would be a good time to let y'all know he reads SATCG, so, if you want to know if he has any cute, similarly considerate and funny, single friends [which he does], now would be a good time to send a shout-out in the comments section! Or just for doing a great job all around at keeping me occupied and happy.)


Monday, May 23, 2011

Attack Of The Pod People.

My childhood best friend is getting married shortly (a June wedding; classic, of course). Despite the fact that we've been largely out of touch for the past few years, my family and I were still invited. My dad bowed out-- weddings aren't exactly his thing-- but my S.O gamely agreed to be my date, anyhow. What startled me the most about these upcoming nuptials wasn't the fact that I actually have a date to a wedding; it wasn't that my childhood best friend, one year older than I, was getting married; it was, rather, the fact that I remember sneaking downstairs for midnight snacks with her in 5th grade, laying on the carpet on our backs in front of the drink cart in my parent's dining room, and planning out her wedding. That's when it hit me as I read her wedding invitation and RSVP card--

We're not playing little-girl games anymore.

And it shows. Lately, I've been feeling a sort of shift in myself and my desires in relationships that I thought was imperceptible to everyone but myself, until in the eyes of my first college roommate, I finally saw reflected a very different vision than the college freshman who used to slink back into our cramped dorm room ashamedly at 2 AM from her forays in the RA’s room, sex hair rampant. I was poised. I was graduating. I was in a functional, happy, mature relationship that was defined by the both of us in accordance of what we wanted, what we needed, and what we were looking for from each other. I was—Jesus Christ—in love. What shocked me most was when she commented after I told her that my current relationship was making me realize how much the past, less-serious relationships I had been in irked me in their undefined, let's-just-see-where-this-takes-us-before-one-or-both-of-us-abruptly-jump-ship, laissez-faire attitudes, "I've seen how you've struggled and been hurt, even when you said you didn't want anything that was serious, because I knew you'd figure it out for yourself, one day."

Me? Actually be one of those girls her likes her relationships done defined with a side of seriousness, going in a positive, delineated fashion? Mais, non!

Mais, oui! As we stood on the corner of Church Street and Main last night, my S.O referred to me in passing to his friend as "my girlfriend." And that's when I realized-- I haven't had a guy call me his "girlfriend" since I was a junior in high school, and that's also the same guy who ended up proposing to me. Since then, I've been "my friend," "the girl I'm seeing," "the girl I'm sleeping with," or just plain "Carissa," but never the "girlfriend." Until now, when I've met the family and keep my pear-and-sugar exfoliating scrub in his shower and have brought him back to my hometown. It makes me wonder if all of this-- the meeting of the families, the mature partnership and cohabitation, the giving of solid, concrete titles, the endeavoring to actually, I don't know, BE TOGETHER-- was what was missing in the rest of my relationships, and thus, why they all ended up failing. While watching an episode of SATC yesterday, it brought up the question: If men and women are like cabs, cruising around with our lights off while we pick up and discard all sorts of people until we finally decide the time is right-- post-college, post-nearly a decade of dating debacles, post-living abroad, and now, pre-friend-in-the-same-age-group's weddings-- are our lights now suddenly on?

While pop culture knowledge may say that I should now be desperately plotting how to wrangle a man into my marriage bed now that my friends are starting to say their "I do"s, I say "I don't"; I may not be on the fast-track to engagement or marriage (the only thing I like about engagements is the ring, because I adore diamonds, and the only reason I'd really like to get married is to put my Star Wars-themed wedding plans into action; both of which don't quite seem like good enough reasons to do either), but there are some disturbing signs pointing to the fact that I may, quite possibly, be one of those "pod people" types who is actually happy inside of her relationship, just the way it is. You know, those couples who are always together, just happen to end up wearing matching outfits, and constantly use the word "we" all the time? You know, pod people. "We" people. "'We' went here," "'We' did that," people. But then I rolled over this morning, and suddenly realized the novel "Chasing Harry Winston" by Lauren Weisberger was on top of my reading pile, while "The Bridesmaids" was on my Movies-To-See List, and my mother and I had recently debated the choice of my childhood best friend having her reception at The Legion and the S.O and I had ended up in front of the engagement display, comparing tastes, while on a trip to Periwinkles to find him a watch. I started getting suspicious. Maybe I was getting antsy. Meanwhile, in the formulation and brainstorming process of writing this post and getting into the "wedding" frame of mind, I've been trolling countless big-name jeweler sites, ring-watching. (If you don't think it's not a competitive sport for women, guess again.) And until I found this ring on Harry Winston's site, which isn't even an engagement ring, I was rather lackadaisical about the whole thing. Still no real drive to hear wedding bells. Still entirely loathe to put together a guest list (my own personal nightmare). And then, I saw the ring. Imagined what it could look like with a diamond crowning it, instead of a sapphire. Thought about how I could rope my father, a jeweler, into designing and making something similar. And I suddenly got it. The itch. The diamond fever. I realized that every relationship before now was wrong because we weren't on the same page. They were all in the casual lane while secretly, unbeknownst to even myself, I was in the "Skyscraper ring on my left ring finger" lane. I started wondering where I could find decent flower arrangements and a hot pink Gerber daisy bouquet. Then, I caught myself. I almost, unknowingly, without being on guard, let myself slip into the "we" people zone again. The diamond almost got me. While I may be the sort of girl who has rediscovered that she cherishes being called "the girlfriend," I'm still not the sort of girl who thinks picking place settings and napkin fabrics out is a good use of my time, when I could be, I don't know, catching up on all the new episodes of Sons of Anarchy or creating a new, catchy acronym for inappropriate relationships (P.I.W.B: Professor I Would Bang, anyone?). So, while I may be discovering, through my relationships, through my friends, and through myself, what sort of pod person I really am, I'm also still not overly tuned into my biological clock or life plan. It was all the ring. The fucking ring. Weddings. They're still on my "highly skeptical; treat as you would a leper patient" list.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Rose By Any Other Name Is Still A Slut.

While my ex seems to be content with popping up on my cell phone's screen at all hours of the night, now plagued with a need to reconcile after all this radio silence, my S.O's ex didn't seemingly take to the news that he was seeing someone new so well, which has resulted in such jewels as "Makes more sense now; Carissa is a whore's name :)," popping up on HIS cell phone's screen.

I Googled. There seem to be no whores named Carissa. At least, none with websites or internet access.

While it's not the first time I've been called a whore-- let's be serious, this blog's name is "Sex and the College Girl," not, "Aeronautical Nuances of the 21st Century and How They Effected Young Women,"-- it still bothered me more than I thought it would. I think the hardest part for me is that I've been on both sides of the equation that I currently find myself in, and so, I have empathy for my S.O's ex, even if she did call me a slut. Her life was torn apart when she realized her ex had moved on and started seeing someone else, and I've been there, too. While she feels emotionally (and maybe physically) cheated on, I've also been both cheated on, as well as the cheatee, in previous relationships. All in all, it leads to a confusing war of emotions-- part of me wants to land a good right hook on her nose for calling me a whore when I have done absolutely nothing wrong (or whore-like,) while the other, greater, more Gandhi-like part of me wants to help comfort her and work her through this, since I have the knowledge and experience on how to survive something like this from before. If we were men, it would be so much easier. We'd have a good rough-and-tumble fist-fight, and then we'd be best bros. Instead, it all just gets to be awkward and I get to live in fear of opening his bathroom door after a shower, dripping wet, naked, and vulnerable, to find her standing there when I'm home alone at his place. Have I mentioned that she apparently has 8 inches on me? Yikes.

But maybe, it's not all so cut-and-dried. As I guiltily found out when the ex cheated on me, it's easy to hate someone you don't know. I was CONVINCED the girl he'd slept with was born with the express purpose to ruin my life, be a bitch, and look horrible in her Facebook profile photos. (There may have been many, many catty references to her resembling a wall-eyed bass. Not my finest moments.) But gradually, I started to realize that she probably A.) Had no idea I even existed, and B.) Was just looking for the same sort of love I was. Unfortunately, we were both looking for it from the same guy, but all the same, I couldn't fault her wanting her happy ending. And so, little by little, I started to forgive. The other day, thinking about her, about me, and about my S.O's ex in the current situation, I looked the ex's indiscretion up again. And you know what? She looked good. She looked happy. And not even the least little bit fishy. Maybe it had just all been me, being a cat-fish.

Then again, maybe it wasn't. The other night, at dinner, my S.O mentioned something inside-joke-like in passing about his mother, a different women than his father is currently seeing. I happened to be looking at his dad's girlfriend when he said it, and I saw a look flash across her face as quickly as it was then gone. But I recognized it. It's the same look ALL women, when the name of the woman who came before, or who they're afraid will come after, adopt as soon as the syllables hang in the span of air between mouth and ear. As I sat at our table in the dining room of the Woodstock Inn and looked at my S.O's father and his girlfriend, it hit me-- The ex-girlfriends of our past and present are only going to become the first, second, and ex-wives of our future. And it'll still be just as difficult, awkward, and confusing as it is now, so we just might as well get used to it, and get good at letting all the flack slide off of our shoulders. So here's to turning the other cheek and waiting for the day when she knows better than to think I'm actually a whore, or that I ever meant to hurt her. Because I, possibly more than most other girls, know both the exquisite pleasure AND pain that comes from these sort of relationships past-yet-still-present. I've been in those tight size 8 shoes, and it's not a fun trip, not in the least.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Life, Liberty, And The Pursuit Of A Relationship.

You do things for relationships that you normally wouldn't be caught dead doing, right? I mean, after all, we always hear about how "sacrifice" and "work" are the two hot-button words in the game of being a two-some. For some women, that means learning how many minutes are in a quarter of football (that's 15, if you were wondering,) and what player's names to scream at the TV. For others, it means learning how to dirty-talk, or indulging in that odd vinyl fetish. For me, it apparently means sacrificing life, limb, and new Urban Outfitters' dress. After watching a 20-something guy hammer a screwdriver into his motorcycle’s locked gas tank, I’m literally sitting here, writing this to you perched on top of an old black plastic milk crate, listening to a neighbor say “I took my dad’s bike to go meet my girlfriend in South Burlington; I met her in Kmart’s parking lot, ‘cause that’s where she was, Kmart…” Why? In the name of male bonding.

Now, there are three things I love, and three things I really, really love when in conjunction with each other: Men, beer, and oil grease. An elusive and usually sheltered sacred act, I found myself out of Burlington and in the wilds of Winooski after I was promised by the S.O some Steel Reserve and a chance to watch men physically pull apart a motorcycle; I jumped on that shit. But much like taking the pants off of a new beau after a Beergoogle Olympics night out at your local dive bar, I wasn’t ready for just how hairy things could get in a land where the Y chromosome had replaced a fun time for logic and was wailing away at a gas tank, cigarette dangling from lips. While any half-way intelligent person would be running for their life and diving behind the closest Jersey barrier, here I perch, on my milk crate, listening to four men talk about guns, bikes, engines, cigarettes, and penis length.

Well, maybe not penis length, but close enough. This could not get any manlier if Hulk Hogan suddenly showed up in a Ford F250 and promised to teach them all some top-secret wrestling moves and how to get into a scorecard girl’s booty shorts.

Any time when men and women coexist in a non-professional setting, a few differences between the genders become self-evident: 1.) Grooming techniques. 2.) Conversation topics. And 3.) What is really important and constitutes a good time. For women, these things include some strong drinks in martini glasses, the receipts from the last shopping trip’s spoils, and the latest gossip. For men, it seems to be beer, anything with an engine, and anything BUT gossip or recent headlines, possibly other than, “Did you hear about the Royal Wedding? Prince William—what a bitch now.” They ask about family, mutual friends, recent car accidents. They talk about the price of things—TVs, motorcycles, cars, cell phones. They compare the quality of beer, cigarettes, knives, bikes, cars, and housing. After three hours on this milk crate, I feel strongly in the validity of my statement when I say—men and women don’t like the same things. While my S.O and I both have subscriptions to GQ and I’ve watched him flip through the pages of my Cosmo, and we both have an affinity for expensive clothing and fine food, I have finally found an area in which I can’t follow him in—it seems to be, after all, a man’s world, and I suddenly feel like I should be asking if anyone wants me to make them a sandwich.

...Aaaaaaand my very white-collar boyfriend just craned his head around his shoulder, and spat. Oh yeah, Toto—we’re not in college or the Hill Section anymore. Time to get out of here.


How To Not Meet The Parents

After over 6 years of dating, NUMEROUS relationships, and both some long and short distance flings, I have finally managed to stop dodging the bullet, and put my Big Girl Pants on and met a guy's mother. Mostly, I managed to accomplish this tremendous feat of chicken-shit-ness by either A.) Dating guys without parents (read: orphans, foster kids, or extremely independent children of nasty divorces who moved out early and aren't really "family guys"), B.) Dating guys whose family's live far enough away that it wasn't an issue or even topic to broach (read: Vermont to Virginia, hundreds of miles, etc.), or C.) Dating men who had no interest in either keeping me around long enough to deign meeting their parents a possibility, or dating guys who just didn't give a shit about the whole parent/family/girlfriend/girl-he's-sleeping-with equation. Mostly, it worked for me. The closest I actually ever came to suiting up for parental battle was agreeing to go to a potential dinner with TGIS's dad after we'd been together for 5 months, but mostly, that was because he was a foodie as well and I thought he and I would have no chance in hell that we WOULDN'T hit it off over our steak frites and vino.

Now, other than the occasional foodie daddy, I feel a couple ways about meeting parents, and in particular mothers, because when you think about it, fathers are just really grown up men, and I tend to do really well with men. We get each other. We have similar senses of humor. In general, I tend to know what a guy is looking for from me in terms of behavior, conversation, attitude, etc. Women, however, are a whole different barrel of slippery eels. Women are fickle, fickle creatures (and I should know, being one of them,) and if a woman decides she doesn't want to like you, not even an injunction from GOD is going to make her suddenly change her mind and give you the time of day. But with mothers-- MOTHERS-- here's the deal:

Mother-Law #1: If given the choice between meeting someone's mother or a psychotic ax-murderer in the darkness of my apartment hallway late at night while home alone, I would take the ax-murderer GLADLY, because one of those, you can kill in self-defense, where as no matter how badly it goes with the other, you can't.

Mother-Law #2: Now, if (god forbid,) I were to ever have a son, and he were to somehow make it to the appropriate ages for dating and copulation himself, and if he were to be charming and intelligent and pretty much all-around my child, and were to bring a girl home for me to meet, as she would be telling me how nice it was to meet me and how much she's heard about me and what a lovely home I had!, all I would be thinking is, "yeah, yeah, and all those nice words are coming out of the same mouth that sucks my baby boy's dick."

In two bulleted points, THAT sums up how I feel about mothers, and why, in general, I've tried to avoid them. But, after being told, very gently, that I might as well get it over with in a no-pressure situation, I actually entered under the threshold of a mother's front door with her son. And made it back out alive. She was lovely. She thinks I'M lovely. And since then, I've met nearly the rest of his family, including my first over-night stay at a parent's house, and he's met MY immediate and extended family. And Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, everyone seems to be doing just fine. Who ever knew-- I am really capable of growing up and getting over my emotional bullshit.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Live, Single Girls!

After my third friend in a row was recently dumped by her long-time partner in lovin' crime, it started to put my ladies in the Burlington area in a bit of a panic. First, TGIS had gone MIA, then, one friend's 9+ month f-buddy called it quits on her while citing the need to emotionally distance himself before moving to Beantown, and to top it all off, one of the longest-running couples I knew decided it was time to part ways, effectively rendering everyone's general mood as if it were the end of Scrub's era again. At the beginning of the winter, everyone was shacking up. Now as the season is almost turning to summer, it seems as if they’re all shedding us ladies like winter coats and beards. It’s bizarre, but it’s biological.

When I came home a few weeks ago late at night/early that morning from a successful date #2, I realized then that I haven't been without at LEAST the prospect of a man for the last two years. I went from a summer fling to a feel-it-out situation, to breaking the feel-it-out situation when I slept with someone else who I then started an on-again, off-again relationship with for about a year, then finally ended up facing the music, the relationship's downfalls, and the lack of my desires being unfulfilled when I met and started hanging out with someone else, and just kept going from there. So much for being a "Single Girl." But it's not my fault-- there are men EVERYWHERE. The key to finding them, it seems, is to apparently not be looking for them.

While I may have achieved success (more or less,) in the really odd way of just continuing to date via the ex's friend pool-- not by choice; Vermont is just that small-- the lesson that I've learned here is that "the end" does not really start the sentence "the end of the rest of your romantic life." When I finally reached the conclusion on my own thanks to lack of any communication or response from him that my relationship with TGIS had run its course, I cheered myself up by doing two things-- remembering that he himself had been a random stranger I'd met while intoxicated at a party (true life,) and didn't remember until he popped up out of the blue and started talking to me on Facebook, ergo, that you NEVER know who'll you'll meet or click with, and secondly, taking my bed back by sleeping in the direct middle of it so it didn't feel quite so big and empty and pathetic and lonely anymore. (Wait, are we talking about me or my bed, now? Hmm.) Partially thanks to that, and partially thanks to probably my Zoloft prescription, it was the least painful break-up I've ever had, even though the relationship in itself was probably the most involved and serious to date.

And then I was asked out again out of the blue. I wasn't expecting it. It wasn't like I was planning on being a sex-kitten man-magnet right out of the emotional gate again. I actually intended to take some time off, be single, and re-evaluate myself and my life. But instead, I'm content to just feel things out, meet new people, and take things slow for now. Nothing, after all, is written in stone. Other, of course, than monuments, historical road signs, and castle dedications.

The other night, as the beau and I picked up the ingredients to make a late Sunday night dinner dressed in a motley assortment of "wow, laundry day needs to come soon" clothing, I looked across the self-check-out station at another young couple. He was in Timbz and sweats; she in jeggings, flip-flops, and an off-the-shoulder t-shirt that could have been identical to mine. She and I were bagging what was obviously going to be dinner for the night as the guys swiped it across the scanners, and suddenly, it hit me-- this isn't that weird; this is what people my age do. We date. We get in and out of relationships. We find out what we're looking for in a partner, and we adjust our thinking accordingly. So, while I may eternally feel like that Single Girl, what I really am is a Normal Girl, one who goes on dates, gets into relationships, still deals with her ex's drama, and more than anything else, is actively and eternally curious about learning what the words "love" and "relationship" really mean.



This is also a massive apology for the lack of posts in the past month-ish. Between my thesis, finals, Senior Week, graduation, family, my new relationship, finding a new apartment, and traveling, I've been more than a little tied up. However, I HAVE still been taking notes and writing, so be prepared for a slew of posts flooding your RSS feed. Thanks for all your continued support and kinds words in my Comments box; I can't tell you how appreciated they were and how much they meant to me!