Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Who I Won't Date

OK, so I recently stopped dating a guy (pretty much the story of my life), and while I’m not going to go into him here – so not worth the time – it did get me thinking. I am now officially in my late 20s (sucks). I have dated a good number of men in my life. And I have had both short relationships and long ones. I’ve had a ton of fun in some and have been annoyed as hell in others. But not one man has ever inspired me to stick around. I’ve never cried after a break up. I’ve never wondered whether I made the wrong decision. And I've never really blamed myself for how things turned out. Yet lately I’ve started to wonder. Am I being too picky? Does everyone have to settle at least a little bit? I mean, no guy is going to be everything, right?

Now don’t get the wrong idea here, I've never been unrealistic in my expectations. I don’t care about Valentine’s Day. I’m not a huge fan of roses. I do like chocolate, but I’m fully capable of buying it for myself. If a guy buys me lingerie, I don’t get offended; I put the damn things on and thank him properly for the gift (hey, I didn’t pay for them). And I’m the one who wants to watch a baseball or football game instead of going shopping; if he wants to join me, that’s just fine, if not, that’s fine too.

I like going out and I like staying home, so whatever he’s into doesn’t really matter to me. And I like my alone time, so nights out without me are encouraged. I won’t even get jealous over stupid stuff – I trust my man until he gives me reason not to…and then I dump him.

Outgoing or shy, I don’t really care - I can talk to anyone. And while I do like my men tall (I’m 5’8 and like to wear heels), as long as they have confidence and don’t bitch about it, I’ll date a guy a who's little shorter than I am.

However, being me, I do have a list of things I don’t want – hey, I'm not a saint. And maybe I am being unrealistic, but I'm also not ready to settle. Most of these things are fixable; they're things the men I'm with do that annoy me (and yes, I'm easily annoyed). Anyway, here are the guidelines I'm laying down (even though I would probably never give this to a guy I was dating) - by no means a definitive list, this is what guys should steer clear of with me:

• No cuddling. I don’t want to cuddle all night. I’m fine with doing it for a little while, but when it's time to sleep I like to spread out and not be touching. So if he’s staying, he’d better give me room.

• No camping. I don’t want to go camping. My idea of a fun weekend trip is NOT camping. And while I’m not normally high-maintenance, I tend to draw the line at peeing outside. I don't know why, but for some reason it’s not my idea of a good time. Maybe it has to do with the 'awkward crouch while trying to steady myself on a tree and not pee on myself' thing, but it just doesn’t appeal to me.

You're right - there may be a story here. OK, the cliff-notes version of my one and only time camping: Many years ago, an ex (who was a current at the time) insisted on taking me camping. Only he was a moron. He didn’t realize until we got to the middle of nowhere that he had forgotten the freaking tent. So once we finished sitting by the fire drinking beer (not a bad way to spend an evening), and had fooled around under the stars (pretty enjoyable too), we were stuck outside with no semblance of shelter. And it was cold. The ground was hard. His arms were wrapped around me for warmth (see above compaint of "no cuddling"). And yes, I had to pee for half the night but refused to go until the sun came up (so I could see what was around me). Needless to say, I didn't sleep. My back hurt for days afterward. And I haven't agreed to another camping trip since. So I leave the camping trips to the guys. No big deal, right? Well for some reason, my past two boyfriends have been bothered by my refusal to go 'rough it' with them. Losers.

• No waiting. I don’t wait. If a guy says he’s going to show up at a specific time, he’d better show up at that time. I don’t want to get to a place on time only to find out he’s running late. I don't want to be waiting at home for him getting pissed. Now running late once or twice is fine, shit happens, but if it becomes a habit, I stop showing up/answering my door. Because my time is just as valuable as his.

• No paying. I don’t pay on the first date - call me old fashioned. I’ll always make the courtesy reach of course, but if he lets me pay on the first date, there won’t be a second. As for after the first date, I - of course - am willing to pay some of the time.

• No ex-files. Yes, I know this term was coined on Sex and the City, but it is a good rule. I don’t want to talk about my ex-boyfriends or my sexual history in terms of numbers. These conversations never go well. I don’t want to know about his past (beyond being assured that he has a clean bill of health), and he doesn’t want to know about mine. Trust me.

• No freebies. I don’t give massages unless I’m getting one in return.

• No smothering. I don’t want to see my man every day. I kind of touched on this before, but I need my alone time. And I don’t like anyone, ANYONE, enough to see them every day. I'm sorry, but that's just the way it is. So if he wants to move in together or anything like that, I tend to run. Basically, my thoughts on this are that I’m not going to live with anyone until I’m legally required to do so.

• No messing with my cat. I don’t like any man more than my cat. (Yes, I have a cat, and she’s freaking awesome – I’ve convinced her she’s a dog.) So while he may not love cats, he’d better be nice to mine. She’s cuter than he is.

• No nagging. I don’t date any man who bitches at me to clean my apartment. I realize I’m messy (massive understatement here), but there’s a difference between messy and dirty. And I’m messy. Everything piled on that chair is clean. The dishes are clean. The sheets on that unmade bed are clean. And you know what? Even if they weren’t it wouldn’t matter, because it’s my apartment. If he wants it cleaned so badly, he should feel free to clean it himself.

• No Red Sox fans. I don’t date Red Sox fans. I’d probably kill him within 24 hours.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

You Annoy Me

Alright, today I want to talk about things that piss me off (why should today be different than all other days?). This is without a doubt one of my favorite topics – as I’m a complete bitch – but right now it seems like an especially relevant discussion. Why? Well, because I’m sitting at work listening to the person who sits near me suck on a candy, and she sounds like a bulldog with a sinus problem. Is it distracting? Yup. Do I want to do her bodily harm? Yup. Do I want to say something legitimately offensive right now? Oh yeah. Will I actually say anything? Nah.

Not surprisingly, like most people (who are sane), I keep my anger tucked inside. I realize I have to work with this person, so instead of saying something, I keep my mouth shut. I let it fester away while it gives me an ulcer, since she does this every fucking day, and I slowly count to 10 (over and over). I politely decline whenever she offers me one, and I never say, “No thanks, I'd hate to look like you do right now."

The problem is, she is a really nice person. I feel guilty about these thoughts. Yet I still think them every freaking day.

I do this with strangers too. I get intensely annoyed with them. I rip them to pieces- in my mind - while always keeping my mouth shut. Why? Because I’m not going to become one of those people. You know who I mean. The person who is verbally abusive toward unsuspecting strangers on the train - the nutjob that everyone tries to ignore.

I repeat, I am sane; I know the difference between right and wrong. In fact, until a person gets to know me they always find me quite sweet. That’s why it’s always a surprise for them when they get to know me - because I'm not sweet at all. On the plus side for me, when they do finally discover the truth about my personality I’ve normally already sucked them in. (I'm really quite charming...really.)

Quick story (I'm full of these): Someone at work (a friend) once asked me once if I ever thought/said bad things about her – I was in the middle of ripping someone apart behind their back at the time, so the question was pertinent – and I promptly answered, “probably.” (When called out, I'm nothing if not honest.) So she started to get upset - which made me wonder why she had asked if she didn't want to hear the answer - and I patiently explained to her that I get annoyed by EVERYONE. It’s seriously not personal. She is a very nice person. But I can’t stand ANYONE all of the time. And since she still talks to me to this day, I assume she understood.

Anyway, in honor of my current aggravation, I decided to throw together a quick list of things people do that drive me batshit crazy. In no particular order:

• Chewing gum, snapping gum, blowing bubbles, etc. Seriously, you look like a cow grazing and you’re annoying the shit out of me. Have a mint.
• Knuckle cracking. Shut the fuck up, you’re making my skin crawl.
• Tapping, drumming fingernails. My mom does this without realizing it, and I love her more than just about anyone, but I still tend to lose it when I catch her. At this point, all I have to say is, “Are you kidding?” and she stops. She knows me well enough to just shake her head.
• Whistling. Seriously? You’re that happy? You think I want to listen to you whistle? Ugh, I’m not even going to say what I want to do to these people.
• People who randomly smile while walking down the street. I actually feel bad about this one because smiling shouldn’t be a bad thing, but wtf? You’re not walking with anyone. You’re not on the phone. Who are you smiling at? You look like an asshole.
• The person who spends 5 minutes or more ordering at Starbucks. Um, I need coffee. What’s the problem? I’ve been getting coffee “on the outside” ie. not making it for myself, for a long time, and I have never spent more than 2 minutes at the register - that's only when I’m doing something extra like getting a gift card for someone on top of waiting for my coffee. Otherwise, 30 seconds tops. So move your ass dickhead. There’s a line and we all need to get to work.
• The person who puts their bag on the seat next to them on the subway. I mean, there are freaking signs up telling you not to do that! If you don’t want to put it on the floor, put it on your lap – it’s big enough.
• The man who pushes little old ladies out of the way to get a seat on the subway. Then I stand to let a pregnant woman or child sit while he’s taking up the space of 2 people with his legs spread like he’s visiting the OB-GYN. I mean, I know chivalry is dead, but who raised these guys?
• People who text message all the time. Now sure, I hate talking on the phone and avoid it whenever possible, but if you have a long story to tell me, don't freaking text it! It just makes the ensuing back and forth last even longer. And when I'm out with you, don't spend the whole time texting other people. It's rude - trust me; especially when we're at a restaurant.
• People (families, couples, etc.) who fight in public. (This also applies to people on their cell phones yelling at some unseen person while walking down the street.) I don't need to know that you hate someone. I don't need to know ANYTHING personal about you. In fact, I would prefer not to know. Seriously, if you don’t mind humiliating your partner/friend/whatever (and yourself) in public, that's your business. But at least show some respect to the poor unsuspecting bystanders who are just trying to get home/to work/anywhere that is away from you. We didn’t ask for this, and you’re making us uncomfortable.
• People who think all Yankees fans are pretentious assholes because they’ve been good for the last decade. Um, guys, not everyone jumped on the bandwagon in the late ‘90s. Some of us fell for the team in the ‘80s, when they sucked, and have fucking earned the right to enjoy their success. So get off our backs.

OK, that’s it for now, but trust me I have many, many, many more of these to bitch about in the future. Until then, don’t work too hard.

Friday, February 16, 2007

The Bitter Top 4

I don’t like calling people back. Wait, that sounded bad. Um…nope, there’s no other way to say that. I don’t like calling people back. I don’t actually mind talking on the phone when I get roped into it, but I almost never call people (excluding work where I’m kind of paid to call people back) of my own volition. I just don’t care to. And I’m pretty rude about it, too.

A close friend will call on a Wednesday and ask if I want to hang out that weekend, and I’ll call back 2 weeks later. And I have no real excuse for them when I do call back. Sadly, it’s become almost expected amongst my friends.

Even when I try to analyze it myself (which I normally go out of my way not to do), I find that there’s no real reason for my behavior. I’m a social person, fun to be around, not really shy in any way. I can talk to anyone. But I’ll avoid calling people back to an almost epic degree. I’ll think about returning a phone call, and then I’ll put it off. Then I’ll put it off some more. And when the procrastination becomes ridiculous, I’ll put if yet again. Finally things will generally end when the friend calls AGAIN, and the guilt makes me pick up the phone.

And I do this to everyone. Friends, family, boyfriends, guys I’m just starting to date. Yet I’m still a little surprised whenever I’m single. I mean, I’m cute, smart, fun to be around, and clearly not even remotely clingy. That has to count for something, right? Why are guys so sensitive? If a girl doesn’t call back right away, call her back. It doesn’t always mean she’s not interested. I mean, have a little confidence.

Now, if she doesn’t call back after the second phone, then you back off. You don’t want her to make fun of you to her friends.

Anyway, in honor of Valentine’s Day – the Hallmark holiday from hell – which yet again (how is this an annual thing; couldn’t we change this to once every 4 years like Leap Year?) tortured me and all of my single friends this week, I am posting my Bitter Top 4. I’m not turning this into a female thing either. Instead, think of it as a ‘This is totally against the spirit of Valentine’s Day, but it really makes me smile anyway’ list. The anti-romantic top 4 if you will:

1) Right Back by Sublime. Like most Sublime songs, it makes me laugh my ass off – and it’s catchy too. This is how it starts:
Sleeping by yourself at night can make you feel alone,
your girlfriend said so, but I don’t really know.
That don’t mean we fucked around,
that night last week when you left town.

2) Pepperoni and garlic pizza. It’s fucking awesome. And while some (most) say that garlic is a dating no-no, I say there are days when I don’t care. And if you make me choose between men and pizza, men are not always going to win. That’s why God created vibrators, right?

3) Mallrats by Kevin Smith. How people don't like this movie is beyond me. Listening to Jason Lee go off for two hours is awesome. His speech about the kid on the escalator kills me (those are the sorts of things that I notice and bitch about). His questions about Superman's sperm made me wonder for a few minutes (until I realized what a complete waste of time that was). The flea market and the chick from Three's Company killed me. And Ben Affleck, having sex at the end of the movie with the girl who is taking notes, asking "Tell me who's you favorite New Kid" killed me. I mean, Shannon Doherty is in this movie. And while there is technically a happy ending here, it's not even remotely romantic. So it makes the list. (And I can never see the picture in those 'dot' posters either, so the fact that it made someone insane during the movie worked for me, too.)

4) Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult. OK, this may be considered more of a female skewed choice, but trust me when I say it is by no means 'chick lit.' And to be honest, this book didn't make me smile. At all. But it's not romantic. And it allowed me to pass judgment on the main character from the first chapter on, so for me I got something out of it.

As with most of Picoult's work, it was heavy handed and freaking depressing, but the main character was so unlikable that I found I wasn't emotionally invested enough in the book to mind. Now I guess if I was being completely honest here I would admit to throwing this book on the list just to have an opportunity to vent, but no, I'm not going to admit to anything. Instead I'll fit it into the theme and sell it by saying that if you're ever in a bitter mood and want to feel superior to an imaginary character - hey, I'll take my superiority where I can find it - this is the book for you. The main character fucks over everyone in her life who has protected or cared for her, and amazingly no one calls her on it. It was mindboggling. And anyway, this book is a less obvious choice for the Bitter 4 than, say, American Psycho.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Surprisingly Easy

Okay, signing up for a blog was shockingly easy - I mean, I was able to do it. So now I guess I'm supposed to start talking about myself and my thoughts and assume other people will care. Well, considering that I'm sitting at work right now (and clearly not working), I'm going to keep this short until I can think of something to say.

But in an effort to help people out there get to know me - not too well though - let me tell a little story. Hmmm...what can I offer the Internet gods? Alright, this is a true story (a little something to help you get to know me):

Let's go back to college shall we? Now, I decided to go to school pretty far away from home - to push myself to try new things. (I'd grown up on the East Coast, went to a small private school my whole life, was basically a good kid, but I was sheltered as shit.) Plus, if you can't try something new at 18, when can you try it? So I packed up all of my stuff and traveled halfway across the country to attend a huge state school in the middle of nowhere where I didn't know a soul. (Lucky for me I'm a girl and I'm pretty, so it didn't take long to make friends and get invited places.)

I was finally able to let loose. I drank, I met guys, and I did...other things - we don't know each other well enough to talk about those yet. It wasn't that hard to meet people - guys in my dorm were rushing fraternities and they dragged along whatever girls they could find to make them look cool (we were always welcomed with open arms by the frat boys). And some people started popping up over and over again.

One group in particular kind of became my gang in the beginning: A guy - let's call him Tim, another guy - let's call him Todd, and Todd's girlfriend - let's call her Stacy. Stacy was a bartender at a nearby bar that was pretty lax when it came to legit IDs (score), and in my second week at school she got me hammered on a drink she called a Stacy Special. Essentially it was about 80% alcohol and served in a huge water glass - I had three of them - and from that point on I was a big Stacy fan. She was cool. Her boyfriend Todd was hot (but as her boyfriend he was off-limits), and Tim was the one who got us into a lot of house parties. It was a good group.

Anyway, that was all a lead-in to The Party. The Party started out as just a regular frat party that took place about a month into school. (Note: Remember, I was still young, innocent - relatively speaking, and stupid at this point in my life.) So, there I was at The Party drinking, along with Todd, Tim, and Stacy. I had had a lot to drink. And yes, I was dancing with Todd. Yes, I was flirting with Todd. But in my defense Stacy was nowhere to be found at that point. Shit, that's not a good defense at all - okay, never mind. *Clearing throat* Then, after many more hours and many more drinks, I (somehow) found myself making out with Todd.

Shut up.

Amazingly (really, it was impressive - I'd had a lot to drink) I pulled myself together long enough to remind Todd (in between kisses) that he had a girlfriend (yes, I'm a saint). And this is where things got a little weird - Todd didn't pull away. Instead he just shook his head and told me "It's cool. She wants this too."

I gave him a skeptical look but let him continue to kiss me anyway (what can I say, he WAS cute). If he wanted to use some lame excuse for his actions, I wasn't going to stop him (although YES, I should have). But THEN, he proceeded to invite me back to his apartment. His AND Stacy's apartment. Um...what?

"Stacy's back there waiting for us," he told me in between kisses. Huh? And then the lightbulb went on in my head (better late than never). Todd wasn't hitting on me behind his girlfriend's back. He was hitting on me for his girlfriend. And I...totally wasn't ready for that. I mean...WHAT?!? Was this seriously what college was like?! Did everyone do this shit? Because I DID NOT want to do that. If that was what people did at these big party schools, I was going to have to go home with my tail between my legs and attend one of those Ivy League schools everyone had wanted me to go to all along. Shit!

But I kept my calm (outwardly at least) and politely turned Todd down. He took it well (he was used to it - I later learned that he and Stacy tried this sort of thing occassionally). I, on the other hand, numbly turned and walked out of the party, kind of feeling like I was going to be sick actually.

I then went and found myself a nice, safe, midwestern boy to date (literally, I found him on the way out of The Party - I walked by him, grabbed his shirt, and told him he was walking me home). And, like a FUCKING MORON, stayed with him for the NEXT THREE YEARS. I mean, this guy was fine for the first 6 months or so, but after that I'm pretty sure I just stayed with him out of laziness. And while I don't regret dating him, I do regret staying with him so long - all those college years, wasted.

And I blame Todd and Stacy. Let me be clear, I don't blame them for the invitation - hey, it was worth a shot on their part. (Side note: Todd and Stacy are married with kids now. Yeah.) But I blame them on their timing. I mean, while I wouldn't say yes to the invitation now either, it wouldn't freak me out. Back then? It freaked me out. And in my wimp out, I overreacted and tied myself to a guy I didn't like (because of a fear of what else was out there).

(Note: It's occurring to me that I'm sounding like college sucked/scared me - totally not true. College was awesome. Even with a steady boyfriend cramping my style, I still had A LOT of fun.)

So while I'm no longer a scared little girl like I was back then, I still consider Todd and Stacy a turning point in my life. And that's why I'm sharing them with you. you enjoyed...more stories to come...yup.