Thursday, December 20, 2007

Response Times

My friend Felice recently met a guy through friends. They hit it off that night, exchanged numbers and made plans to go out again.

And then the phone tag began:

He called and left a voicemail.

She worked late, so called back the next day and left a voicemail.

Then there was a lag of a few days.

When they finally connected, he apologized, saying it had been a crazy week. They made plans to go out, but Felice couldn't shake the feeling that maybe he should've gotten back to her sooner despite the craziness.

Around the same time, my friend Tori started going out with a guy she met on the Internet. He was nice and they always had a good time when they went out. But Tori had a problem with the way conversations went on the phone/via text in between dates.

She would text.

He would text back.

She would text.

He wouldn't respond. And wouldn't respond. Until a few days later, finally, when he did.

These two examples have gotten me thinking about Response Times, and how important they can be.

My friends Felice and Tori prefer to hear back from guys right away, and I can't say I disagree. To me, it's an easy way to show you're attentive and interested.

But I've bounced this off a couple of guy friends who say this isn't necessarily true. Guys are different. They don't like talking on the phone. And they don't put as much stock in text messages, the guys say.


Because if this is true, it's a major disconnect in the way men and women think.

I'd love to hear other people's thoughts, so weigh in.

Ten bucks says the women respond more quickly. :o)

PS) Think I've finally settled in enough to pronounce a routine for blogging -- and just in time for a new New Year's Resolution! See you here on Tuesdays and Thursdays from here on out. Have a great weekend everybody!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Single Santas

On my way home from my first - yes, first - Christmas shopping trip after work this evening, I gave my friend Monique a call.

I knew she would understand the stress I was feeling about the presents I'm only now beginning to buy.

Me: Did you get a present for Zazzi yet?

Monique: No, not yet, I think I'm just going to do a gift card.

Me: OK, so how about Zazzi's baby? And husband?

Monique: Yeah, I'm not sure what to do. I was just going to spend the usual, (like we have since we started exchanging presents in college). But I feel bad because I know she's going to spend a lot more.

Welcome to the world of Single Santas, the prickly position unmarried people end up in around the holidays when you want to be generous with the friends you've had forever -- but then it starts to get a little out of hand.

Take Monique's case for example. One of her closest girlfriends is married with four kids. Another is married with three. Two of her other close girlfriends had babies within the past year.

Monique has remained close to these friends and plays with the kids regularly, so she feels like she should have a little something for everyone at Christmas.

But even if she kept the gifts for the kids really little, say $10 a piece, that still puts her at almost $100 more than she used to spend on just her girlfriends.

Monique's a teacher that waits tables on the side to pay the bills. So that extra $100 is a lot!

I realize talking about this is kind of Scrooge-like around Christmas, and I'm sure some people are going to make the case that Christmas isn't about the gifts. Just give them something from the heart.

Easier said than done when your married/settled down friends are still buying you really nice presents. They have dual income, after all, and can afford to treat you.

So giving them and their kids nothing in return is kind of embarrassing. And besides, this isn't about not wanting to buy them all presents -- it's about not being able to afford to do so.

After two years of buying little presents for all my friends, I decided I had a choice. I could rack up all kinds of credit card debt trying to be Super Aunt Vikki. Or I could buy for just a handful and send everyone else heartfelt cards.

Monique came up with her own practical solution. She buys magazine subscriptions for each of her friends' families. True, she still feels a little sad that she doesn't have the means to get every kid their own gift.

But she's learning to deal with it.

Single Santas can only give so much.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Not Settling

So I made a friend.

Hurrah! And in the course of talking with this new friend (whose middle name I have yet to learn) I started to realize that single life issues -- Milwaukee/Chicago/wherever don't change.

Over late night slices of pizza, New Friend was talking about being 30 and single. She said she would love to have a boyfriend, but was struggling with a prejudice she admittedly brought to the dating table.

She didn't want to date somebody who'd been divorced or had children.

New Friend herself had never been married. She's very attractive, went to a great college, landed a good job in Chicago and has an all-around friendly and open personality.

Can't I get a guy who hasn't been down all those roads already? she asked.

Sorry to everybody out there who's divorced and with kids, I know this is probably not fun to read. But then, I'm sure it's something you're very familiar with -- there's definitely a rift between the single-never-been-marrieds and the singles familiar with the big D or kiddies.

In some ways I can relate to New Friend's concerns. I've dated someone with a child and I remember telling him early on that I was sad that his ex got the best of him: his youth, the first vacations, the first time he got to be told he was going to be a father, the first exciting baby steps, the first well, everything.

He assured me that it wasn't as romantic as I was imagining. And that he had learned so much from going through all that which made him better this time around.

In the end, he was right and it worked out for several years after.

That said, I can definitely see where New Friend is coming from when she says she just wants to try dating someone in her exact situation -- 30, no child support, no burned wedding albums -- before diving into the other pool.

I suppose some people are going to take issue with this prejudice, especially in Milwaukee, where it seems like many people settle down early and thus the chances of meeting someone who's been there, done that, are more likely.

But I hafta say, I like my New Friend's honesty. Maybe this'll be the start of a beautiful relationship between her and me.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The List

When you’re new to a city, it’s easy to look around and feel like you don’t fit the part.

I’ve had the last three weeks off to get acclimated with Chicago. But really, it’s been more like three weeks of feeling like a country bumpkin compared to people doing their thing in this town.

A list of things I don’t have that it seems most Chicago girls do:

1) Uggs
2) A long, grown-up coat
(not like the short puffy one I just bought last year)
3) A Starbucks cup in my hand at all times
4) A set group of friends
5) Perfectly manicured nails
6) iPod buds in my ears as I walk the city streets
(I have an iPod but depend on friends to download new music onto it cuz I don’t know how to do it. Which brings us back to #4…)

I should probably stop before I get really bummed out.

Really, I shouldn’t be surprised by this feeling. I’ve had it before, when I went away to college, when I moved to Milwaukee, to D.C., etc. In some ways, this is exactly what I signed myself up for, choosing to leave my comfy life in Brewtown to test my mettle in a foreign town.

I truly do believe it’s times like these when you learn the most about yourself and see what you’re made of. In a few months, I’m sure I’ll remember this entry and say – things have definitely come a long way since then.

It’s just funny to me that even though I consider myself a pretty confident person, a change of scenery can really shake that confidence for a while.

I wonder if this is a weird insecurity thing that only exists in women or if all 20 and 30-somethings go through this when they relocate?

Thankfully, my friend McConnell helped to put things in check. I told her about my list, which she asked me to break down for her one by one.

By the time I got to number two -- and she deadpanned, “OK, and why do you think a long black or brown coat would make things different?” -- we were both cracking up laughing.

And I was feeling so back to myself that I decided to forget about the list for awhile.

PS) Start my new job on Monday so I should be back to a more regular blogging schedule. Thanks for bearing with me during this time off!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Lost in Bad Poetry

If you're wondering what I've been up to since I got to Chicago a week ago, I can sum it up in two words:

Getting lost.

I get lost on the way to the grocery store. Lost on my way to pick up my cousin for dinner. I was all proud of myself Tuesday because I managed to find a furniture outlet on the city's northwest side in record time -- but then I got confused on the way home, and stuck behind the wheel during rush hour for two hours.

The only good thing about spending all this time in Gus is that it allows me to catch up on all the big hits on the radio.

And that has led me to an important discovery about recording artists our age.

They are some truly awful poets getting played on the air.

Gone are the days when sultry voices croon love songs that make us melt. Here's how today's performers profess their passion (a few of the examples from my car research):

The "Rogaine" song:
"I'd buy you Rogaine. When you start losing all your hair
Sew on patches to all you tear." -- Ingrid Michaelson - The Way I Am

Oh Honey, I love you so much I'll spring for the balding cream for your shiny head.

American Idol Girl's Ink:
"You're still a part of everything I do
You're on my heart just like a tattoo
Just like a tattoo,
just like a tattoo
I'll always have you
I'll always have you. -- Jordin Sparks -- Tattoo

This made me laugh out loud. How is being compared to a tattoo romantic?

Kiss Kiss
he want that lovey dovey (lovey dovey)
kiss kiss (kiss kiss)
Her mind she fantasize bout' gettin' wit' me
They hatin' on me (hatin' on me)
They only diss diss (diss diss)
Cause' she mine, and so fine
and thick as can be -- Chris Brown Featuring T. Pain "Kiss Kiss"

Not only is there the clever kiss/kiss/diss/diss pairing, but he tells her he loves her because she's thick. Be still my heart.

I'm sure music snobs will say that pop music lyrics are always bad, and that you can't expect much from manufactured sounds that get repeated every hour. But (yes, I'll admit it) I'm usually pretty versed on Top 40 garbage, and I swear this batch of bad lyrics is worse than any I've ever heard before.

I mean - don't these stars have producers or publicists to stop them from their embarrassing verse? Could they possibly be letting the bad lyrics slide because they think, gasp, that they're beautiful?

Now that I've started paying attention to this stuff, I can barely stand it. I'll be all alone, lost on Chicago's streets, and screaming at the radio.

For the sake of not scaring away potential new friends in this new city, I think I'm going to need to start carrying around CDs in my car. Or just walking everywhere.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Welcome! Make Yourself at Home...

Oh hurrah! You're here!

Now bookmark this site and don't forget about me. Because I don't want to lose touch.

Blogging for the JS was such a fun and amazing experience. Who knew that something that started off as a journalistic experiment could turn into a reliable resource for collecting all kinds of opinions for people in our age group?

Writing to and for you guys (and reading your responses) has helped me to grow as a person and shape my view of the world (thus far).

So let's keep the conversation going.

I'm taking this blog with me to Chicago, where I start a new job in a couple of weeks. It's a return to the hometown I've never lived in without needing a fake ID, so exploring and rediscovering it should provide for some fun stories.

I'll do my best to keep blogging regularly from here, if you promise to keep throwing in your two cents and e-mailing topic ideas if you're so inspired.

I know, it won't be totally the same -- you won't get a prompter from JS Online saying I've updated.

But look at the bright side -- now I can tell you without any hesitation: I believe in the bikini wax.