Dating 101 : Don’t Get Drunk

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Turns out I date men who love alcohol.

I blame it on the 20-something culture where being social means you’re drinking. Gloss over any state of discomfort with booze and you are golden.

Whatever the case, I’ve been with my fair share of men that had an unhealthy relationship with booze. Now, don’t get my wrong, I am known to imbibe. I have a weak spot for whiskey and beer, and it’s hard for me to turn down an invitation to grab drinks. That being said, I know my family history, I’ve heard the horror stories, and my type A personality has a firm grasp on where to draw the line. Approximately three times a year I put myself on a cleanse, which basically means I abstain from alcohol for a month, existing on a diet of vegetables, eggs, and little else. Fuck yeah I feel amazing. Fuck no it’s not sustainable. If there were ever a time to throw up one of those cliché cartoon magnets that says “life is too short to not eat chocolate and drink wine”, it would be now.

I recently met a man and we set our first date at a nearby pub. The banter was friendly, I was pleasantly surprised by his 6’4” stature, and he threw down some one-liners that actually made me laugh. I like to think of first dates as interviews, and this fella deserved a second one, ASAP. A prolonged hug and innocent smooch left us making tentative plans to hang out this weekend. Saturday rolled around, and after spending the day hiking, I found myself at least 40% excited to see this gentleman. While that might not seem impressive… it is. I hate small talk and dating. So, while the temptation of my hound dog and my new apple spice tea (LEAVE ME ALONE, I KNOW I AM 80 YEARS OLD) nearly led me to cancel, I channeled my inner “dater” and we set a time to meet. A few minutes later he sends over a text along the lines of, “I’ll most likely be intoxicated, FYI.”

Fellas. Here’s the thing. If you’re into a lady, think she’s kind of cute, might want to kiss her face, DO NOT GET DRUNK BEFORE YOUR SECOND DATE. There’s such a thing as class. And being a gentleman. And giving a fuck. Granted, I’m not a high maintenance gal. Anything traditionally romantic gives me the heebie jeebies. My high school boyfriend once filled my room with candles and poetry he wrote for me, and I nearly cried because I thought he was hiding in my closet to “surprise” me. It doesn’t take much to woo me, but I like men to at least give a little bit of a shit. I like them to at least pretend to make an effort to win me over. Needless to say, I sent a snarky text about being stone cold sober and choosing baking and my dog over him, and proceeded to have a lovely Saturday night in.

Moral of this story: if you are a normal, smart, handsome man who isn’t addicted to alcohol, please give me your number.

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Asking Men Out… Or Not.

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I am terrified of rejection. Absolutely petrified. I also hate being new at things, so I just remain pleasantly mediocre, as mastering anything is difficult and my impatience trumps everything else. I’m a catch y’all, I promise.

How many of you babes out there have asked a fella out? Is that what modern women are doing these days? It seems like it’s in line with being a bad ass bitch. Going for the gold and asking out the man you’ve got your eye on. I envision it to be a lot like how they portray it in the movies. Strutting over and writing your number down for them, winking as you leave. Totally seems like something I should be able to do, except I never carry pens and look like I’m having a seizure when I try to wink.

Ask a man out on a date?! Nope… Won’t do it, can’t make me.

I have asked one boy out. He was this tragically handsome man at the farmers market in Austin. He sold over priced pate with beautiful labels, and I would go sample their vegetarian white bean dip so I could smile at him. He had terrible tattoos that were charming, and a beard that I would have touched if that wasn’t creepy. You know, he was my type. Down to the “could be homeless” look that makes me weak in the knees. Needless to say, I got up the courage to ask him to my company’s party and it was the WORST. I was visibly shaking, and I’m fairly certain I took four laps around all the stalls before getting the nerve to saunter up and ask him.

His response? He blushed and got shifty, turning his eyes away from me as he fumbled with some tubs of goose liver. Turns out he had a girlfriend (the tragically handsome ones always do) but he said he’d love to join me if he didn’t, and went on to tell me I had made his week. He said no and my world didn’t fall apart. In fact, we started up a casual friendship that involved hugs and following each other on instagram. I wasn’t scared away from the market, and I didn’t melt into a pile of sadness at his rejection. I have also now checked “ask a guy out” off my list, and I am once again scared shitless to do it again.

I think this feeling goes hand in hand with the fact that I don’t trust men. Not even a little bit. I don’t think their intentions are real or genuine and I think they are ALWAYS looking for greener grass. Yep… I’m the worst. And I know that this jaded and cynical behavior will result in being alone forever.  I could benefit from going to therapy — but couldn’t we all? Needless to say, my complete lack of confidence in men takes asking them out completely off the table.

So what do I do about this ridiculously good looking boy who sells me coffee at ANOTHER farmers market? (I KNOW, I KNOW… I’M A WALKING PNW CLICHE, GET OVER IT.) He’s the kind of handsome that makes me blush. And while I’m fairly certain he’s only 23, I’ve thrown my age rule out the window as of late, so I give zero fucks. My attempt to woo has been batting my eyelashes and talking to him for two minutes every weekend. I buy an unnecessary cup of coffee that pushes me to heart palpitation status, just so I can ask him how his week is going. Ugh. It’s the worst. I am a grown ass woman, and I’m acting like a god damn 15 year old.

I have lamented to L about my fear of asking dudes out, as she treats it like it’s no big thing. Oozing confidence and sass, she goes for it, and is willing and able to ask for a number, a whiskey and a kiss. It’s no surprise that she’s schooling me at dating, as she’s MUCH MUCH more trusting, has the ability to give people the benefit of the doubt, and is generally better at being an adult human being. In her opinion, I should just do it. I should throw caution to the wind and ask him to go hiking or biking or rock climbing, all things he probably does because he’s a walking DREAM BOAT. Instead, I will bide my time and ever so slowly insert myself into his life. I mean, we finally know each other’s names after 6 months, so we are making serious progress.

Shut it L, I can feel your judgment from here. Baby steps y’all, baby steps.

Being Single on Valentine’s Day

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So Valentine’s Day is this weekend.

I was on a date (of sorts) last night and he mentioned running to Mexico because, “Fuck Valentine’s Day.”

While I am always a fan of impromptu trips to sunny places, I laughed at him.

Laughed in his face and then called him ridiculous. This is why I’m calling it a “sort of” date. He doesn’t live in my city, so I give zero fucks about being impressive, charming or pretty. It means I can stare at his handsome face, give him shit when he is being silly, and still kiss him goodnight. If you haven’t noticed, out-of-state cuties are my thing, So, I do what I do, and had to laugh at his disdain for Valentine’s Day.

It’s just another day.

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I understand feeling mopey… kind of. I also know that when you’re in a relationship, Valentine’s Day is an excuse to eat expensive food and give adorable gifts. That’s how I always defined Valentine’s Day when shacked up, so why change now? It’s always been a day of decadence, and that idea has just followed me to my single life. And not in a self pitying “feel bad for me” way. It’s just a day I’ve always found an excuse to indulge in delightful things. Not having a fella is most definitely not going to change that.

If you know me at all, you’ll know that Parks and Rec is my absolute favorite. I want to be a Leslie Knope/Donna/Ron Swanson hybrid when I grow up. Which means Galentine’s Day is right up there with Christmas.

I have always had a group of best gal pals. They are my people. From my bestie of 27 years, to my college ladies, to the babes in Texas who know me better than most, these friendships matter.

My definition of happy is to surround myself with folks who keep me sane. And my babes? Well, they just get me. I am fiercely loyal to these ladies, and my life is so much brighter because of them. What better day to celebrate our friendship than Valentine’s Day? It’s an entire holiday dedicated to love, after all.

While self-pitying singledom has its place, so does celebrating the relationships in your life that give you purpose. This Valentine’s Day will be full of hound dog strolls, morning coffee with my family, Discovery park runs, and a Galentine’s Day brunch. I will gather with 10+ badass women and we will celebrate each other over frittata, champagne and Bob Dylan records.

In the evening I will most likely slap on some red lipstick, pal around with L and B (my beautiful single ladies), order a large glass of Bulleit, and bat my eyelashes at handsome men.

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

In honor of this day filled with self-celebration and love, I took a page out of my person’s notebook and made a mix. Always known for her mix tapes to fill any occasion, nothing gets an emotion across like a random hodge podge of songs.

Bottom line, no matter what you find yourself doing on the dreaded/adored/whatever V-Day, do it with love.

Entanglement, Handsome Bearded Men & Doing What I Want

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There’s this scientific phenomenon called quantum entanglement. Two particles, struck in a certain way, will affect one another, distance be damned. One is disrupted, the other follows suit.

I learned about this from Invisibilia, a wonderful podcast created by two women fascinated by the intangible forces that shape human behavior. If, like me, you’re pining for more Serial or wait anxiously for new episodes of This American Life and Radio Lab, you’ll fall for this podcast, hard.

I promise I will relate this back to dating, but I DID warn you that my “first date” well has run dry.

Not only did quantum entanglement blow my mind because… science, I also relate it to my life, in a very un-sciencey way. I’m not claiming anything to the extreme that they were describing (a woman can actually FEEL other people’s pain), but you know what I mean. There are those people that will always tug at your heartstrings, that you will always feel something for, no matter how many years it’s been. True, I don’t feel his pain or his drunkenness, but when I see him my heart is drawn to his. Just because. That’s how love and heartbreak is.

Now for the silver lining.

Last night I made soup. I had a handsome fella over for dinner. We drank wine and caught up on the month where we hadn’t seen each other. We will call this character K, because I am not creative. What I adore about this man is that we’re actually on the same page. We enjoy each other’s company. We like to go on adventures together. Sometimes we hold hands, most times we don’t. And we don’t have a desire to fall in love. Not with each other, and probably not with other people, at least not right now. He likes me, I like him. If he stopped liking me, I’d stop liking him. It’s a bizarre, modern, “romantic” entanglement, and it suits my life perfectly.

In my experience, being on the same page RARELY happens. They make terrible movies about it. One person always thinks they can play the friends-with-benefits game, and then the predictable “fall in love” scenario happens and the happily-ever-after credits roll.

That’s great. Falling in love is wonderful. But maybe you really can have a partner where it all works out and stays casual. It’s the first time in my adult life where an ongoing “booty call” (for lack of a better word) is sustainable.

As I’ve told him, I don’t have time to date anyone seriously. My focus is my job, my dog, and my family. He said that I’m what every man wants. This isn’t true, as I know many men who thrive off of being in a relationship. Whether or not they admit to it, being alone just isn’t in the cards for them. A lot of people get great joy out of being someone’s partner, and to them I say, “congratulations.” They go from one relationship to another, because it’s what gives their life that extra spark. Being an adult, and finding a K, has really hit home the fact that I really like being single.

I am consistently reminded by society that this will only lead to loneliness and lots of cats, but I call bullshit on that. One of my darling friends in Texas sent me a text yesterday lamenting the pains of dating. How it feels like a competition, and she just wants to date herself, but the world frowns upon such things. Whether or not we know how to classify it, we have that nagging feeling like we are failing if we aren’t happily settled down. I know the feeling. I know what it feels like to get the, “so… who are you dating?” question from family and friends. They have a tone of pity in their voice, like they should be tiptoeing around my singledom at the ancient age of 28. My method of self care doesn’t involve finding the love of my life, deal with it.

As a part of my year of Flawless, I’m really working on reclaiming the idea that being alone can be just as respected and joyful as being in a relationship. To beat down the beast that hovers around me, reminding me I should be working to find my lobster. To remind society that women can be sexual beings and not be classified as sluts. And if you ARE pointing a finger and doubting or judging my choices… fuck you? I’m a grown woman, I can do whatever I want.

So yeah. I have a casual relationship with a tragically handsome bearded man. We make time for it when we can, and don’t have expectations. We enjoy each other’s company, and that’s all it needs to be. He feels it, I feel it… We’re entangled in a loose, casual, perfect way.

Happy Holidays…?

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I think I have watched Love Actually too many times. Say what you will about that movie, I pop that bad boy in at least 30 times during the holiday season. When it came out in theaters I went to see it with my three best friends, and I remember us running to Barnes and Noble after the movie to purchase the soundtrack immediately. One of us bought it, and she burnt us copies—decorated with hearts and snowflakes because we knew we’d find that kind of love one day.

Here’s why I think that movie ruined me.

Every time the holiday season rolls around, I get all weird and clingy. As L so eloquently put it, sometimes it fucking sucks to be single. While we’re all about channeling our inner Beyonce, and tout the joy of answering only to ourselves, there’s something SO lovely about holding hands in mittens.

You heard me. Mitten hands.

Yep, I want that cliché holiday bullshit, and this has happened to me EVERY year in my adult life when I find myself single around this time. A few years ago I was supposed to bring my boyfriend to Christmas. We ended up breaking up RIGHT before the holidays, and my step grandpa wrote out on the gift tag “To: Chelsea and Friend?” It was comical and only slightly heartbreaking. As the only single gal in the family at the time, it meant I got to play Santa while the rest of the family canoodled. It’s no surprise being single during the holidays is extra lonely.

It doesn’t help that the weather calls for nesting. Rainy and cold, all I want to do is stay inside and make my second date soup and snuggle on the couch over a glass of whiskey. I had that for a month and it was SO DAMN PLEASANT. Ugh. Mother fucking timing.

Yes, I want to go to the Christmas tree farm and bring hot toddys and wander through evergreens. I want to steal secret kisses when the strangers aren’t (or are) looking. I want to break out my snowshoes and spend too much money renting a cabin in the mountains. I want that cabin to have a hot tub and I want to bring my dog. I want all of these things to happen in the next few weeks, so if I could find a winter fling, that would be great.

Sure, sometimes it’s for selfish reasons. I don’t want to be the only single one at the holiday office party again. I don’t want people to take pity on me for bringing my gal pal because she likes whiskey and red lipstick as much as I do. When I was in Austin I stumbled on an OKC profile where two fellas posted a profile in hopes of finding ladies for their office party. They said it went swimmingly, and they kept their double dating approach going because if nothing else, the girls were intrigued. I ended up dating one of them for a while. He held my hand on the first date and we sloppily two stepped across town. Damn, I miss Texas boys.

Hmmmm. Now that I’ve ended my “kiss me under the mistletoe” rant, I don’t think I can blame Love Actually and the impending holiday season. I recently had a taste of what it would be like to date someone and maybe I kind of liked it? WHAT IS THIS NONSENSE? Me actually wanting to let someone into my heavily fortressed heart? Ugh. Damn you crushes/timing/holidays and emotions… you’re making me into a romantic.

So… any of you fellas have a pair of mittens? Eh? Eh?