Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Fun Identity Crisis

The other day, I was talking with one of my new co-workers who is 32, outgoing and seemingly a lot of fun.

We had a laugh-filled conversation about dating, going out and crazy-wild nights out. At the end of our chat, she said something enthusiastic, yet non-committal, like:

“I never go out like that any more. But maybe we should do it sometime!”

I’m pretty sure I agreed with her every (uncertain) word.

A few years ago – alright, last year -- if a potentially new friend said that to me, I would’ve invited her to join me and my girlfriends for drinks, which inevitably would have led to a night of dancing, and then maybe some late-night karaoke or hot dogs.

But today, I’ll admit there’s probably a 50/50 percent chance that would happen. Maybe we would go out and party like we are 26 again in cute tops and high heels. Or maybe we’d just meet at a trendy restaurant for dinner and go home.

When in the world did this shift happen? And how?

I can answer the second part of my question with a few simple explanations: In the past year, I’ve moved away from my hard-core going out crew, gotten into a serious relationship and relocated to a city that is much more spread out than Brewtown.

Yet, judging from my co-worker’s similar sentiments, I think it’s actually less about my specifics and more about our shared generalities.

We’re 32. We’ve done the crazy nights out many, many times. Inevitably, the day was going to come when the fun was going to wear out.

I’m not really apologetic about being at this point in my life. In two weeks I'll be 33, I think it would be more weird – if not troubling -- if I were still partying with a gusto and hooking up with randoms.

It does leave me in a precarious position, though. Nowadays, while I know that I don’t want to hang out at clubs where the 22-year-old girls look naked and I feel like a Grandma, I’m not really sure where I do want to hang out.

These days, I find myself wondering: what is fun?

I’d like to say it’s just hanging out with my man at home, cooking dinner and watching baseball. And no doubt, that's where I'm happiest. But you should have seen the way I bit his head off last Friday when he called us “boring.” He swears he was only kidding, but I'm so paranoid about giving up my reputation as a Fun Girl, I couldn't let the comment go.

The other end of the spectrum isn’t ideal either. I still adore getting together with my girlfriends and will never quit maintaining those relationships. But as early 30-somethings, most of us have serious jobs, boyfriends, husbands, kids and other responsibilities, so we’re not exactly on a mission to drink and dance with no regard for tomorrow.

It’s such a weird middle place to be in, the 30-something, post-crazy-day, but pre-children era. A transition period when the idea of moving to the suburbs is just as foreign as an entire night in stilettos.

Thankfully, I've since had another conversation with my new work-friend, who agrees with me completely about things being a little different now.

We still have tentative plans to hang out some night outside of work. We just have to figure out the particulars.

Y'know, something fun.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Me and My Big Mouth

I probably should never have opened my mouth. But I just couldn’t help it.

For months, I’d listened to my friend Monique complain, cry and obsess about her new boyfriend.

First she worried that with his tattoos, nipple rings, revoked driver’s license and crass sense of humor, he wouldn’t fit in with people she hung out with. (I told her if he made her happy and treated her well, real friends would overlook differences).

Then she was offended when he didn’t ask her to be his date to a friend’s wedding. (I gave him the benefit of the doubt. He was standing up in the wedding, maybe he just didn’t want her to get stuck alone for the evening).

Then he wasn’t available for things that were important to her… meeting her parents, hanging out with her friends, going out on normal dates. (I told her to start making a mental note of these disappointments and decide whether or not this relationship was worth all her yearning).

So by the time she called Sunday, I just couldn’t take it anymore.

She was crying – said this guy had basically blown her off all week. When she tried to talk to him about it, he took hours to respond and got defensive -- as if SHE was being annoying. She went on and on about how he’s going through a bad time in life because of his issues and tragic background. She said she just wanted him to talk to her and tell her what the problem was so she could understand why he was being this way.

I probably should never have opened my mouth. But I just couldn’t help it.

“What exactly are you waiting for him to say?,” I went off. “There is absolutely nothing that can come out of his mouth that can excuse what’s going on here. Bottom line, he’s just not making you happy. Why do you need him to explain that to you? Isn’t it fairly obvious?”

I told her she was amazing, and beautiful, and the life of a party, and successful, with a masters degree and a great job and her own condo and car. But she was putting up with a loser who was acting like SHE was the loser. And the longer she did that the longer it was going to take for her to find a GOOD guy, someone who would NEVER blow her off for a week, ALWAYS want to meet her family and friends, someone who would feel LUCKY to get her phone calls, not burdened.

Monique and I have always been bluntly honest with each other. But I’m sure she wasn’t prepared for my tirade. I told her I was sorry to be so harsh – I’ve never even met the guy (don’t get me started).

But she was epitomizing the line my friend Felice’s ex-boyfriend articulated so well for her when she kept giving him more chances.

“Women spend too much time letting assholes explain why they’re assholes.”

By the end of the conversation, Monique said she was so thankful that I was being honest and that I was giving her the strength to stand up for herself and not put up with crap. She said she was going to confront him that night and tell her that she didn’t want any part of what he was doing.

I told her I’d be on call if she needed to drive straight to my place after the confrontation.

I texted her a reminder of what a great girl she was and how she could have better if she just sought it for herself.

I called her the next morning to make sure she was o.k.

Six hours later, I finally heard back. Knowing exactly what had happened, I let it go to voicemail.

In her message, she said her talk went well. She told him she doesn’t want to be treated badly. He told her all about these issues he’s been having. She said she was glad they had the talk because she feels badly for him because she cares about him.

“It was good,” she said, going on and on about how she’s going to try to be better from now on about not obsessing and blowing off her friends to accommodate his schedule. Somehow, in her mind, things are now just peachy.

And I just don’t have the energy to call her back.

Women spend too much time letting assholes explain why they’re assholes.

Best friends' words are a waste of breath.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Olympic Dreams

Yesterday afternoon, I read online that Shawn Johnson finally won her gold medal. But that didn’t stop me from tearing up last night when I watched the re-airing of her win on NBC.

Which got me thinking.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could watch all of life like the Olympics on TV?

Think about the advantages. We’d know what’s going to happen, but still have the joy of experiencing it for ourselves to get details. We’d invest all the anticipation, nervousness and build-up into our activities, but let go of all the fear that things aren’t going to turn out ok.

I can think of a few different situations where the Olympic delay would be really helpful in getting through some of my current worries.

WORK: People in my line of work are feeling so defeated these days. We’re watching dozens of our friends leave the business, many involuntarily. It would be so nice to just get a quick peek at how it’s all going to turn out. Just a teeny flash forward to a time where journalists know what they’re supposed to be doing and things feel steady. Then we could go back to the present with gusto, knowing the bad stuff does go away eventually.

FRIENDS: I don’t think any of my friends would object to a preview of the people they’re going to end up with someday. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy look. Just a flash that could help my friend Monique figure out whether or not the guy who keeps disappointing her will be worth it in the end. Or a glimpse at the woman who will someday make my friend Michael understand why the heartbreak on the way to her was necessary.

FAMILY: This one’s a little too personal to go into detail about, but it’s my deepest fear of all. What I wouldn’t give for the slightest snapshot of the future to assure me that my Dad will be able to walk me down the aisle, my mom will be around to teach me how to raise my kids, and that my siblings will be around to share the lake house that we’ve always dreamed of sharing.

I know I’m asking for the impossible. And yeah, I get the whole argument that there’s something wonderful about not knowing.

Every once in while I just think we could all use a little cheat sheet to the future.

I’d promise not to abuse it. I don’t even really watch that much T.V.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A Tale of Two Games

On Saturday, I joined three girlfriends at Wrigley Field for the Cubs vs. Cardinals game. Twenty-four hours later I was at U.S. Cellular Field with my boyfriend watching the White Sox take on the Red Sox.

They were two totally different experiences for reasons I’m about to list. It's a toss-up which one I adored more.

Game with the Girls: What’s not to love?


The game started at 2:55, but the ladies weren’t mad when I was still on the train at 3:15. They waited patiently by the iconic statue outside Gate D -- a statue Felice identified as “Larry Caray.”

When a photographer from Cubsfan.com approached and asked for a picture, the girls were speechless.
FELICE (finally speaking up for the group): Uh, we’re not really Cubs fans.
PHOTOG: Oh, are you Cardinals’ fans?
FELICE: Um, we’re not really fans.


The upside: Sitting in our primo seats 10 rows back from the first base line – courtesy of McConnell’s dad -- we briefed each other on new love interests, new living situations and other topics. Three-plus hours is a delightfully long amount of time to catch up.

The downside: The lady sitting next to me had to tap me on the shoulder and ask me to lean back. In chatting with my girlfriends, I was blocking her $66 view of the game. Whoops. I apologized.


Being the only one dating an avid baseball fan, my girlfriends looked to me regularly for play explanations, which was an honor. I taught them that Derrick Lee is the one player we have to know to sound respectable. And they were horrified to learn about the ignorant Cubs fans who wore FUKUDOME shirts depicting a cubby bear with slanted eyes and other racist sayings. We smirked in disgust when we passed the T-shirt stands selling the shirts. “Horry Cow” later became our sarcastic catch phrase for the rest of our evening.


The Cubs got their butts kicked, 12 to 3. But me and the girls had a grand ole time sipping back beers, cracking each other up and stuffing our faces with hot dogs.

Game with the Boy: What’s not to love?


The game started at 1:05, and we got off the train at 12:55. “Perfect,” said my Baseball Boyfriend, a season ticket holder who admitted he would have been annoyed if we missed the first pitch. He claimed we could walk the 5 or so blocks and be in our seats in time for the start. I was skeptical, but damned if we weren’t there exactly when he said.

Granted, being there on time required me to skimp on the pre-game primping. I threw on a Brewers cap, slapped on some mascara and ran out the door. In my haste, I apparently smudged a big black line of makeup across my right eye, which Baseball Boyfriend pointed out, then sweetly wiped away by licking his finger and using his shirt to wipe away the smudge. Who said sporting events can’t have tender moments?


Upside: In taking the place of my Baseball Boyfriend’s usual season ticket partner on the third base line, I inherited a great view from which I could ask my most pressing questions.

Me: What’s that black thing that A.J. Pierzynski just threw down before running to first base?
B.B: That’s his shin guard. Sometimes batters follow their swing down and it hits their shins really hard.
Me: (feeling very proud for asking a good question) Interesting.

Downside: It’s hard to always sound like a smart student of baseball.

Me: What’s that white thing behind the pitcher’s mound?
B.B.: I think it’s a hot dog wrapper.


B.B. admits that I make him notice/think about things he would otherwise notice at games. On Sunday, he didn't notice that many people around us had Bobble heads. I wondered where ours were. During a bathroom break, I investigated the situation and learned we missed Sunday's giveaway but could get them mailed to us by calling the Sox corporate office. I am a proactive baseball watcher.


In the end, the Sox beat Boston, 6 to 5, which made my B.B. extremely happy, and in turn made me happy as well. No beers necessary for this organically fun date. But I did stuff my face with a loaded Kosher dog.

All in all, it was two very fun days at the park, for reasons all their own. Maybe I don't need to pick which one I liked better.

For me, it's the combination of both that defines good, old fashioned fun.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Single/Serving Platter War

I was feeling all proud of myself this morning for packing a lunch. It was a fabulous salad, with croutons and grape tomatoes and other goodies all sealed tight in this great Tupperware container I had in my kitchen cabinet…

Until I realized I’m a hypocrite.

That Tupperware was not mine at all. It belonged to my friend Tori, who baked cookies for a party months ago and left it to me to return it. Which, gasp, I obviously didn’t. I’m a horrible person. A terrible person who deserves no lunch at all!

I know you think I’m being ridiculous. It’s a stinkin Tupperware, for god’s sake. I’m sure she has many others, right?

WRONG! With this one packed lunch, I’ve contributed to a gripe I’ve long had about the way single people get screwed when it comes to serving ware and other kitchen tools.

Married people have all the fancy dishes, pans and storage containers. People literally shower them with the stuff before they get married, leaving them with cluttered cupboards chock full of pot-luck serving tray options. Fondue sets. Pyrex with matching travel bags.

But for single people, these are supplies we have to accumulate slowly from hand-me-downs or our own trips to IKEA. Often, we only have ONE pizza pan, ONE covered 9-by-13 cake pan, ONE salad-sized Tupperware.

So we need you to give them back!

Most of the time, however, married people forget this. They’ll take your party offering, serve it on the table, then let the emptied container join a stack of their dirty dishes by the sink at the end of the night.

Which leaves us single people in an embarrassing quandary. Do we ask for the tray and appear uptight and stingy?

Or do we just let it go, thereby letting married people steal from the ones who have so little to begin with?

I say we fight! We must not let those who have registered hurt us just because we’ve never held the Target gun. We must not give up the things we have worked hard for – even though it’s not quite Celphalon!

I shouldn’t say all married people are guilty of this theft. I did have one positive experience at a married co-worker’s cook-out last summer. I brought a bowl of cherries – get it? – with my only fruit bowl.

Although I didn’t ask for it, the bowl was washed, wrapped in a bag and sitting on my desk the next work day.

A non-hostile victory.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Type

My friend Felice has been on a few dates with a guy who seems obviously interested in her based on their interactions thus far.

He calls. He takes her out. He follows up and asks to take her out again.

Still, my friend Felice questions his interest based on a small admission he made during one of their dates.

His last serious girlfriend was an all-american blonde. (Felice is an ethnic brunette.)

During a recent conversation, Felice asked me the question I’m not sure how to answer any more.

How much do "types" matter in relationships?

I used to think "types" mattered a lot. If a guy at a bar had a thing for Asian or "exotic" (Ugh, I hate that term) girls, I could count on him to approach me. Likewise, my friends who were attracted to tall, dark and handsome types generally ended up with them on the dance floor.

But over the years, I’ve watched friends fall for people who don’t fit their "types" at all. Guy friends ending up with women I would’ve never pictured them with. Girlfriends ending up with guys shorter or bigger or more ethnic or whatever than they’d ever described in our young girltalks.

So you’d think based on all that, the simple, evolved answer, would be that types don’t matter. After a certain level of maturity, people look beyond hair, eye, skin, height, weight, etc. to fall in love with what lies beneath.


Initially, I told Felice not to worry, that types don’t matter at our age.

Unfortunately, the more I think about it, the more I wonder if it’s really that simple.

I mean, don’t we have "types" because it’s a natural, almost animalistic thing – to be drawn to a certain look of a human being that causes a chemical reaction in ourselves?

So as much as you may feel – or want to feel – satisfied by the nice, funny, gold-hearted person who happens to be the opposite of your type, isn’t it just simple fact that you’d be a lot more excited if those qualities were packaged in the "type" that makes you feel all tingly inside?

Thankfully, I think Felice’s new man has also dated non-Blondes, so my theory doesn’t have to
apply to her potentially budding relationship.

The asterisk in all this seems to be that some people truly don’t have types.

Which, at the end of the day, leaves hope for us all.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Vince Lombardi and Love

For years, I’ve taken issue with the famous Vince Lombardi quote: “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

“What a terrible thing to say!” I’ve argued.

What about the game itself? Is there no value in the mere idea of playing? Is Lombardi’s message that we should only feel happy when we come out on top on the end?

Well, Packer fans, I think I’ve had an epiphany based on a situation I heard about recently.

Carlie was dating a guy with cute, single friends. So she hooked her friend Jen up with one of them. Fortunately, Jen and the guy’s friend hit it off. Unfortunately, Carlie’s guy ended up being a dud. So now she has to hear all about the great budding relationship she instigated, even though her own relationship is tanking. It makes her really mad.

It’s a scenario we all take a gamble on when we bring friends together. There’s always a chance they’ll score the most, even though you invited them to the field.

Carlie has been ignoring Jen ever since she started calling to gush about the new relationship. She isn’t proud of her behavior, but she just can’t bring herself to listen to the romantic babble she wanted for herself.

So I think I finally see what Vince – I can call him that, right? – may have been saying. Maybe sometimes, it isn’t enough to just be in the game. You invite people to play, but ultimately you want to win.

When it comes to relationships, winning isn’t everything. It’s the only thing.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Male Mole Haters

Last weekend I happily returned to Milwaukee for a Brewers game/Summerfest extravaganza.

A bunch of my guy friends were there, and one of them (a married guy) happened to bring along a co-worker who was a very cute single girl.

At least, that's what I thought of her: Petite. Pretty. Cute outfit. Fun personality.

But to my surprise, that's not what the guys took away from meeting her.

When I asked them what they thought, they all had the same reaction:

"I couldn't get past the gigantic mole on her face."

I know. Unbelievable, right? I couldn't believe this was even the discussion. Sure, I noticed it, but would never have guessed it was a dealbreaker. What about all the sexy moles out there, I argued -- like Cindy Crawford? Or Madonna?

And then I had a flash of deja vu, remembering that it was not the first time I'd heard about mole hating.

A few years ago, I was hanging out with my older brother and some of his friends when they, too, disqualified someone I thought was a perfectly lovely woman because they didn't find her beauty mark beautiful.

I don't get it. Guys will excuse all kinds of ugliness in women: caddy personalities; golddigging habits; psychotic tendencies; not to mention much more noticeable physical characteristics like love handles and cankles.

But give a girl a mole on her cheek and she's suddenly disgusting.

What is it with the male mole hating?

I really don't think women do the same thing. I know plenty of women who still found Enrique Iglesias hot even when he had that huge mole on his cheekbone.

He probably only got it removed because he's a guy. And guys hate moles, apparently.

PS) Shoegirl, to answer your question, it's actually the opposite. I know exactly the type of chick you're describing. Thankfully, I think any of my friends -- or my boyfriend -- would tell you after being a single girl for so long I'm HYPER conscious of never blowing off my friends for a man. So the busy-ness comes from trying to juggle equal time with friends and the guy, not from dedicating only time to him.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Socially Acceptable Stalking

First, a note. Thanks so much for the encouragement to blog more. You're right, I've been a terrible blogger and infrequent postings make it no fun. Honest time, not having any idea if anyone's out there reading has made it hard to stay motivated. (The JS blog tools always gave me numbers on readership). Settling into this city has also taken away from my blogging routine -- trying to prove myself at the new job; learning my way around, and yes, a little bit of having a boyfriend and not being sure how much I can write without making anyone mad. That all said, I have blog ideas all the time, and, thanks to your gentle nudging, will do my best to get back on the wagon.

P.S. I was also recently contacted by the Morning Blend people, who want me to come back for a show. That should kick things back into gear as well.

So thanks again, my friends. I appreciate your interest and feedback so very much and hope you all have a great July 4th weekend. :o)

The other day I got an excited e-mail from my sister, who was doing some down-time web stalking.

OMG I just found James
(her high school/college sweetheart with whom she lost all contact after they broke up in 2001)

She included the link to James’ east coast law firm, where he’s apparently been working for years.

Amused, I insisted that she had to drop him a line, if not to just say hello.

This is a boy who spent many a holiday at the Ortiz house. Sweet kid, he brought me a rose at my college graduation party. My mom gave him a job for one summer. We were used to having him around, and thus curious about what’s become of him years later.

My sister was hesitant – she didn’t want it to seem like she’s been pining for the guy. He just popped into her head during a day of bored internet browsing.

I pushed.

If you feel really uncomfortable, blame it on me. Send a hello and say your sister, the reporter, stumbled across his law firm during a random googling session.

In the end, they had a short, but sweet e-mail exchange. He told her what he’s up to, she told him what she’s up to, they congratulated each other on their respective success and asked each other to say hello to their families.

The more interesting development, however, came up after my sister and I went on to tell a few people about the exchange.

We’d tell the story, just like above, and people would say:

Wait – WHY did she have to blame the google stalking on you?

Which brings me to the point I’ve been amazed to discover recently. It appears we are in a day and age when Google-stalking is so commonplace, it no longer even requires an explanation.

When I started this blog a couple years ago, I feel like it was still taboo to admit that you’re looking up exes and other people you don’t talk to. But somehow, in the wake of MySpace, Facebook and the prevalence of Google, it seems people have officially become out in the open about Google stalking.

Some friends said my sister shouldn’t have even explained how she found her ex’s e-mail address. She should’ve just dove into conversation because it’s obvious that people find exes on the web.

Crazy. The social rules seem to be changing so fast. I figured I better take note of it now before people think even the topic is out of date.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Pretty, Please

OK, fellas, pop quiz:

My friend McConnell is a very pretty girl. So pretty that she can roll out of bed and head out unshowered with no makeup on, and guys will still ask for her number. So stylin’ that on a recent date, random women felt inclined to throw out praise as she walked by – "You go, girl," "You look awesome in that dress, "etc.

So then, in your opinion, how often should the guy she’s been seeing tell her she looks good?

  1. never, she gets it enough. I don’t want her to get a big head.
  2. Whenever she tells me I look handsome.
  3. Every time I’m struck by it. And that’s often.

The correct answer is C. Trust me. I’ve done much research on the topic recently, and am reporting these findings to help make everyone’s life more beautiful.

In McConnell’s case, she was starting to wonder if maybe her new guy didn’t think she looked good. Because she’d get compliments from girlfriends and random strangers, but not from the man she was actually trying to look good for.

It’s the Pretty Paradox: I think men sometimes assume that women who are attractive know they are attractive an don’t need to hear it from one more. But in fact, it’s the opposite. The more you hear it from strangers, the more important it is to hear it from your beau.

Because he, after all, is the reason you put on the hot dress and curl your eyelashes. So when he says nothing, even the prettiest of women are left to wonder – are the strangers lying? Or does my boyfriend think I’m ugly?

McConnell isn’t the only one. I have lots of girlfriends who have had similar concerns.

My friend Felice ended an on-again-off-again relationship with a guy, one of the major reasons being he never said it enough. And I remember like yesterday a 1999 break-up where my getting-over-him anthem became -- (don't laugh) -- TLC's "Unpretty."

For better or for worse, women need to be told they look good by their men.

I realize there are some other issues involved in this discussion. Like that women aren’t the only ones who should be complimented – guys need to be told they look good, too. Or that it’s a sad commentary that so many women put such high value on physical appearance instead of celebrating their inner spirit.

True, all true.

But as of where we are today, any girl will tell you there’s nothing better than having the guy you love watch you with that funny smile, and then tell you that you’re beautiful..

Call us insecure. Call us needy.

Just also call us pretty.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Damn Straight, SJP

Love that Sarah Jessica Parker defended Milwaukee's sexiness during a recent interview.

Check this out.

Also, this article by Chicago columnist John Kass got a lot of buzz in recent weeks. He's giving guys a get-out-of-going-to-see-the-Sex and the City Movie free card.

Read it here.

Cute, but I have to object to the entire premise of the column. No self-respecting SATC fan would ever even consider going with anyone but her girlfriends to the film.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Boyfriend Dread

(Sorry for the long absence -- was out of the country for 9 days with my sister!)

I was waiting in line for the bathroom at a bar recently when a guy approached to talk about the can of Schlitz beer in my hand.

He seemed pretty amused when I explained that I liked drinking beers that reminded me of Milwaukee, and so for the next few minutes we went on to engage in what I thought was innocent, lively banter about old school beers and other fun.

About a half hour later, when I was back talking to my friends, the guy approached carrying two cans of Schlitz. One was for him. The other he handed over to me with a hopeful smile.

Shoot. I thought, feeling equal parts gratitude and dread.

Of course I appreciated the gesture and thanked him. But I realized that the gesture required me to do something I’ve never been very good at – telling guys that I have a boyfriend.

It’s a tricky situation, I think.

Because you never want to be too presumptuous and assume someone is making a play for you. (Maybe he was just generous and liked buying beers for people).

But you also never want people to accuse you of leading a guy on, or milking the attention.

So I’m always left wondering when the best moment to insert the information would be. And hoping to God my face doesn’t flinch or make embarrassing apology-expressions that would make me seem arrogant.

I’ve been on the other side of this equation, too. When I’m the single girl, and a guy I’m talking to never mentions his significant other. Sometimes I actually KNOW he has a girlfriend and he still never brings her up.

In those situations, I usually feel like, Just spit it out already, I’m not going to be devastated.

And yet, when it’s the other way around, I just clam up.

Luckily, that night at the bar it was easy. After handing over the beer, Schlitz Man asked me who I knew at the party that brought me to the bar.

“My boyfriend,” I said, pointing at him across the room.

The guy nodded his head and stuck around for a few minutes before politely excusing himself.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Girls without Girlfriends

When I decided to move to Chicago, my brother generously offered to let me stay with him (he has a three-story condo) until I figured out what neighborhood I wanted to sign a lease in.

So the other day, I was enjoying a rare night of weeknight TV on the couch when I heard the familiar sound of my brother's key turning the lock of the back door.

Only this time, there was an unfamiliar sound accompanying the routine noise.

A woman's voice.

I listened in shock.

Could it possibly be?

Brov was bringing home the woman he's been seeing!

Quick background: Brov has been seeing a woman for over a year. They seem happy. I hear them on the phone all the time. I helped him pick out her Christmas gifts. He refers to her in everyday conversations.

But since I moved here in December, I had NEVER seen her at our place. Not once.

I asked Brov about it at one point, and he initially explained that she had family visiting from out of the country and needed to stay home with them. (???)

And then later, he leveled with me:

"She gets along better with guys. She doesn't really do well with women."

Ahhh, she's one of those girls, I thought, reminding myself of a personal belief I've held for some time:

I don't trust a girl with no girlfriends.

Now first, to be fair, I acknowledge that any significant other my Brov chooses will have a tough time. He has two younger sisters who are super close and who adore their brother and thus have high standards.

That said, I just think every woman should be able to at least chat comfortably with other women.

True, women can be more caddy, judgmental, unforgiving and overly analytical than men.

We notice cute shoes. We compare bodies. We read into things that don't need to be read into.

But that doesn't mean women uncomfortable with these qualities should abandon the gender all together.

Because beyond all that inital Mean Girls stuff, other women can also be the most nurturing, empathetic, supportive and just plain fun girls to have. Cyndi Lauper didn't write the song for nothin'.

It's easy to be the one chick hanging out with a bunch of dudes. I have lots of guy friends, and admit it is fun being the only girlie one in the room -- the one getting all the attention.

However at the end of the day, I'm proudest of my friendships with girlfriends. Because those are the ones that have been tested and earned.

If you can keep at least a girlfriend or two, I think it says something about your mental toughness. It proves you are secure enough to penetrate to that level.

So when I heard my Brov's anti-girlfriend girlfriend in the kitchen the other night, I decided to give it my best girl scout try to reach out to her.

In total scrubby sweatpants, with no makeup on, I walked upastairs and said "hi."

The anti-girlfriend girlfirend seemed a little caught off guard, but I did my best to show her I'm harmless and friendly.

After a few minutes, I dismissed myself and went to bed.

I have no idea if the gesture will help inspire the anti-girlfriend girlfriend to change her ways. I'd love it if maybe it started to make her see that women aren't always over analytical and scary.

And maybe I'm reading too much into this. But she did come back over the very next evening.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Daddy's Girl Curse

The other day, I took a drive out to my parents' house in the suburbs.

As I sat down to a plate of my mom's cooking, Dad snuck off with my car (Gus) for a short while. Eventually, he joined us at the table and we went on with dinner.

I didn’t realize what my Dad had done in that window of time until I drove home and looked at the dashboard.

My gas tank was all the way full. Dad had gone out to fill it up, even though I never asked for it.

I was touched and grateful for the gesture, of course. But I can’t say I was surprised.

Since my sister and I were little girls, we could always count on our Dad to spoil us.

When we fell asleep watching TV downstairs, he’d carry us to our bedrooms at night. Our mom would scold,“You’re too big to be carried. Your dad will throw out his back.”

But Dad never complained. Even when I was fake sleeping.

Right after college, my Roommate, S.Anne, asked me to be the maid of honor in her wedding. On the day we agreed to shop for bridesmaid dresses, I planned to drive three hours to meet the girls in S. Anne’s hometown.

Dad volunteered to ride with me, just so I’d have company. On the way there, I told him I couldn’t believe he was willing to give up the day to be in a car.

“Hey,” he said. “You should never put a measure on the things you’ll do for the people you love.”

Maybe this all sounds really sappy, but there’s a point to my nostalgic rambling. Lately, I’ve been thinking about my Dad’s consistent doting, and I wonder:

Have I been unrealistically looking for a man who will treat me as well as my father?

They always say that women tend to look for guys like their dads.

But how could there possibly be a man who literally never gets mad at me; who laughs at all my dumb jokes; who would drop whatever he’s doing to do what I wanted?

I know I’ve been so lucky to have such an amazing father, and that there really is nothing to be complaining about here.

Except that I think I may now have a messed up view of what I should expect from a partner.

Because, really, how could I ever expect a strong, successful man to have nothing going on but thoughts of me? Who am I to expect a guy to think I’m perfect, when obviously, no one is?

I brought this up to my friend McConnell the other day, and she said she’s had similar thoughts. She, too, is Daddy’s Little Girl.

She said the way she’s made peace with the topic is this: we can’t be looking for guys who treat us like our Dads, because Daddy/daughter love is totally different from man/wife love.

McConnell said she thinks it’s smarter for us to look for someone who is a great partner, who may potentially love a future daughter in the way that we know well.

I think that sounds about right.

I’m happy to report that I’m now dating a pretty great guy, someone who definitely comes as close to treating me like Dad as anyone I’ve ever experienced.

But if there are days he’s not able to drop everything for me, I guess I'm going to have to cut him some slack.

And take a drive out to the suburbs.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Price of Butterflies

A few years ago, a friend of the family gave me some advice that didn't sit well with me.

She told me it's better to marry someone you like who has money, rather than someone you love who has none.

Her reasoning went something like this: If you like a man and you end up in a relationship where you're comfortable and have everything you could ever want, the love will come eventually.

If you love a man and you end up in a relationship where you're uncomfortable and always longing, the love will go away eventually.

I hated this idea. I thought, what a shallow and unromantic view of how to find your soul mate!

I especially hated the idea because money never crossed my mind when it came to dating. I mean, sure, I didn't go out with homeless guys. But I also never cared if we went out to Zaffiro's or Sanford.

Fast forward to today.

My friend Michael and his wife are getting a divorce. They seemed to be a perfect match a few years ago. Then they maxed out their credit cards. Michael got a second job to help pay some of the high interest rates. They cut back on everything – a $5 Little Ceasar's pizza was a splurge.

And just when things couldn't get any tighter, they found out they were going to have their second child.

Soon, the stress of the baby, the unpaid bills, and just the inability to do anything fun that cost money got the best of them. They fought incessantly, stopped talking, and now pretty much hate each other.

I hate this idea. But it happened. And, combined with other things I've been seeing, it makes me wonder if I need to reconsider the whole money factor in relationships.

Other things:

--Relationship experts say financial problems are the #1 reason couples break up.

--I know some well-off couples that didn't seem nearly as in love on their wedding days as Michael and his wife. But they're going strong.

-- Money has been a factor in some of my past break-ups. Sometimes I wonder, if there was tons of it around, would the relationships still have crumbled?

Distressed about the whole topic, I took the subject to my friend Bria's new apartment to dissect over wine and pizza.

"I can see some truth in what your family friend was saying, but I just don't think it's that simple," Bria said.

Bria noted that people who marry just out of like and money pay a price – they never get to experience true passion and butterflies for someone.

That's true, I was relieved to agree.

But I also feel like it's probably naïve to not take any of the family friend's wisdom into account.

So, I guess I'd revise the advice to say this:

It's easier to marry someone you love who has money, than it is to marry someone you love who does not.

Because money can put a huge stress on relationships. But in the end, butterflies still can't be bought.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Same Guy?

So maybe it's not just me that's falling for this trick. Hahaha. Have a great weekend everybody - and watch out for those scam artists. :o)

WEDNESDAY, April 2, 2008, 12:20 p.m.
By Linda Spice

UWM students warned about scam

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee police are warning local students not to give strangers rides in cars.

Investigators say a man has scammed at least four people in recent weeks in a ruse in which he told them he was out of gas and needed a ride. Once he is in the car, he then asks to borrow money, then takes off.

The most recent case was reported on Sunday when a UWM student who was leaving the Architecture and Urban Planning building was approached about 9:28 p.m. by someone who asked for a ride to a gas station because he was out of gas. Once the man was in the student's car, the man asked to borrow $20, which the student gave to him.

The man directed the student to drive him to Locust and Richards Streets and then to Providence Ave. and Newhall St., where the man got out of the car and ran.

UWM police put out an alert to students on Tuesday and have started receiving more complaints from students who provided a similar description of a white male, about 21 to 23 years old and about 5-feet-9. He was last seen wearing jeans and a dark jacket. The victim from Sunday's case said the man told him his name was Chris.

UWM police Capt. Michael Marzion said investigators are working to tie all of the cases together. He said there is no indication that any of the victims was threatened, and no one reported any injuries.

He said police put out the alert this week "to tell people not to do this."

"Realize that anything you offer people like this, you stand a great chance of losing it," he said.

He said although the students have shown "a spirit of wanting to help" that "he's taking advantage of their kindness."

Monday, March 24, 2008

Maneorexia, Maybe?

My friend McConnell recently met a guy and they had a great marathon Sunday date.

They went out for brunch, then back to his place to listen to music, then out to a movie.

At the end of the day (and an overall couple days of craziness), McConnell was blissfully ready to go home and do nothing at all – maybe scarf down some more junk food and call it a weekend.

Meanwhile, the Great Date left McConnell to do what he had to do – go to the gym.


McConnell, who likes to work out five times a week herself, couldn’t believe what she was hearing. How could it be that there was a guy more fitness conscious than she was?

She flashed back to the meal they had earlier that morning.

He definitely talked about having a workout regimen. He ordered a Diet Coke.

By the time she and I were talking about it the next day, we realized that this guy fits a pattern we’ve been noticing in guys recently. Guys who are more body conscious than we are.

Manoerexics, as they say.

Other notable examples:

  • My brother is currently on the Atkins diet. While I totally support him and think it’s a good decision for him to get back to a healthy weight, it’s kinda nuts to see him obsessing over every meal. He and my cousin at Purdue (who he talked into doing the protein diet with him) call each other to talk about what they’re eating.

  • A co-worker refuses to eat cookies when I bring them into the office. He lost weight and now avoids all sweets so as to keep it off.

I guess it should not be shocking to realize that men, too, care about their bodies and staying in shape. But it just feels like lately, there are men out there who care more than WE do.

And in this world of obsessive women who tape pictures of abs onto their mirrors for inspiration, that’s pretty amazing, if not scary.

I wonder when this Manoerexic movement started.

McConnell and I think we’ve only noticed guys sounding this way the past year or so.

Is it something to do with Hollywood and the way famous men are super skinny these days, too?

Or has it always been this way, and we’re just now starting to notice?

On the one hand, I have to say it’s kind of endearing that there are men out there who are feeling some of the irrational body image insecurity that women feel.

It’s like hearing about a guy getting PMS or something. Part of me feels like, oh thank GOD they see how awful it is to feel icky for no reason at all.

But on the flip side, there’s something sad to me about men now getting into the body image craziness. I mean, most of the time, I feel like men are voices of reason when it comes to all this.

The ones who are like, “You look great. Guys don't like waif-thin women, anyway.” The ones who down cheeseburgers and REGULAR cokes without remorse.

I hope that the recent examples McConnell and I noticed are just coincidence and not indicative of how everybody hates their bodies these days.

Because if men are going to be Maneorexics, I can't imagine what that's going to do for women already dying to be thin.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

It Could Happen to Me

So the other day, one of my favorite chick flicks – “It Could Happen to You” was on TV.

If you don’t know the plot, it’s a totally implausible story about a NYC cop (Nicholas Cage) who feels so badly about not having enough money to tip his coffee shop waitress (Bridget Fonda), he makes her a silly promise.

He shows her a lottery ticket and swears that if he wins, he’ll come back and split the jackpot with her.

She laughs, then continues on with her broke, unhappy life, until the miracle happens. The cop does win the lottery and they do split the jackpot and they fall in love. Add a few dramatic complications from the cop’s wife for Hollywood effect, and you get a whole movie about how money isn’t everything and how important it is in this world to be kind to strangers.

My friends tease me, say the movie is hokey and that the cop was crazy to fork over that cash, and that in the real world people would never do that.

They’re probably right, but I love the movie anyway.

So the other day, I finished watching “It Could Happen to You” for the umpteenth time (although it’s been several years since my last viewing), then took my tear-streaked face to the grocery store.

I paid for my groceries, then got back into my car. Just as I started to pull out of my parking space, a man approached my window.

Man: Excuse me, m’am. I’m really, really sorry to bother you. But my girlfriend and I are kind of in trouble, and she said to approach you because you look nice. I’m really, really sorry to bother you.

Me: (nervous, this is downtown Chicago, after all) What’s up?

Man: I can give you my ID, you can hold it, or I can write down my name and address. We’re trying to get somewhere, but there’s something wrong with my car, and I’m short of $7.00 on my balance on my Shell card. (he repeats) I’ll write down my address. You just look nice and I’ve already approached three people and they’ve been really mad, but I can write down my name and address.

Me: I’m not sure what you’re asking for. So you need $7?

Man: Yeah. Please don’t be mad.

Me: (knowing I only have 20s in my wallet because I went to the ATM in the grocery store) Well, I don’t have 7, but I can break a bill. Why don’t you meet me at that ice cream shop over there and I’ll drive over and ask them to break it.

Man: That’s great. Thanks so much.

As I drove over to the ice cream store, it started to occur to me that the guy’s story about the Shell card didn’t really make any sense. And it didn’t really make any sense that he was willing to write his address down for me. What was he purporting I do – send him a bill?

When we got into the store, even the ice cream shop man raised an eyebrow at our story.

Me: Can you please break this $20 for me?

Ice Cream Man: What are you trying to do?

Me: I just met this guy outside and he’s stranded and needs $7, but all I have is this $20.

The Ice Cream man gave me a look that said, “sucka!” but opened the register and broke the bill.

Me: (turning to the man to prove himself) Where is your car and your girlfriend?

Man: They’re right outside in that silver car over there.

(He pointed outside but I saw no silver car and no girlfriend waiting).

I handed over the $7 and the guy thanked me again, and we went our separate ways.

A few hours later at a party, I told some friends about what happened to me.

“You just bought that man’s next bottle of Jack Daniels,” they joked.

Hmph. They’re probably right.

But I’m glad I did it anyway.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Johnny Depp at the ICC

For those of you in Milwaukee, here's your chance to be in a movie with the Pirate himself. If I still lived in town, I would SO go check it out!

My friend Lynn found this on Channel 3000 Madison's website:

MILWAUKEE -- Johnny Depp fans around Wisconsin will get a chance to be in a movie with the movie star.

The Hollywood heartthrob's new movie "Public Enemies" is being shot in Wisconsin beginning in the middle of March.

They need extras for the movie.

Producers will hold auditions Friday night from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Italian Community Center in Milwaukee.

Men should be no taller than 6-foot-1 and wear a dark suit and overcoat.

Women should be no taller than 5 feet 8 and wear a dark dress and overcoat.

People should also bring a recent color picture of themselves.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


I have a feeling I’m going to get in trouble here.

But bear with me – it’s the last stretch of winter. Everybody’s grumpy.

So I was talking with my friend Marie the other day and we were lamenting the way it seems everywhere we look, there are mis-matched couples.

As in:

really cute guy + really not cute girl =holding hands walking down the street.

I know, I know. It’s a terrible observation to make.

But it's hard not to notice.

Believe me -- I’m usually the girl who gets dogged by my guy friends for arguing that every girl is pretty.

I do think, generally speaking, it’s hard to be unattractive as a woman because we have so many tools at our disposal.


Great hair

Cute clothes

Beautiful smiles and great personality (most important, obviously)

It's just that historically, the mis-matches have tended to go in the other direction.

Think: Julia Roberts + Lyle Lovett; Hugh Hefner + any of the girls at the mansion; Katherine Heigl + Seth Rogan in “Knocked Up” (yes, that was a movie, but the casting still demonstrates the trend).

Admittedly, at first blush, this observation came from a caddy place all women go to when they’re grumpy and it’s been snowing for months and it’s freakin cold outside for the gazillionth day in a row.

No fair. Why does she get that guy and not me?

But the conversation quickly moved on to a much happier place.

Could it be that guys are learning to appreciate women for more than just what the eyes can see?

Maybe the tall, dark and handsome men out there are realizing that you can’t judge a woman by her broken out skin, a few extra pounds on her hips, or her roots growing out obnoxiously.

Maybe those fancily dressed guys have HDTVs at home that have helped them to understand that even Jessica Simpson needs Proactiv, Jennifer Love Hewitt isn’t always stick thin and even J.Lo herself skips highlighting appointments occasionally.

So don't be mad at me for pointing out the mismatch. You have to admit it's hard to stay sweet during this stretch of March.

And the way I see it, from this grumpy beginning comes two happy conclusions.

1) Maybe men can and have evolved to be not so superficial when it comes to appearance.


2) At least superficial women can evolve their evil thought process to get back on the side of their ladies.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

So Far So Good

A week into being on Facebook and I've already been contacted by 1) the girl who lived across the street from me when we were in kindergarten 2) someone I NEVER thought I'd get an interview with for a story and 3) a very surprising number of friends who have been on Facebook and I just didn't know.


As for the "Friends" question -- I'd love to say I'll accept all loyal blog readers' friendship requests. But I suppose for my own safety, I should say send the request and I'll use my best judgment. I'm not trying to get myself killed.

Happy Oscar Night, everybody!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Facebook +1

OK. I can’t even believe I’m about to say this: I’m on Facebook.

My close friends (and even loyal blog readers) will know what a surprising development this is. I’m terrible at returning e-mails. Never forward those e-mail quizzes. I considered Match.com for about a half a second before deciding it was way too public in Small Milwaukee.

I’ve spent years ignoring invitations to join dear friends’ Linked In networks.

Ages complaining about how young MySpace seems.

So why, then, did I decide to join Facebook all of a sudden?

Well, for one, my new job made me.

It’s become such a natural way to track down people and get great details for stories, it almost seemed irresponsible of me, as a reporter, to not be able to log on quickly and start searching. All my co-workers have been encouraged to get on Facebook.

But I’m not going to blame this all on my profession.

Honest time, the other reason I broke down is because – despite all my resistance – I’ve seen some Facebook success stories.

Like my friend McConnell, who recently joined Facebook after similar resistance and found long lost friends from a college semester she spent in Ireland. McConnell said she’d been trying to find these friends for years, and even with Google and all the other Internet options, she never had any success.

After getting on Facebook, she found them, literally, in minutes.

I have some of those people I’d like to find. Like Anne Cligny, the girl whose family hosted me in Troyes, France for 18 days when I was in high school. We became fast friends during that stay, and swore we’d keep in touch when I returned to suburban Chicago.

Alas, we didn’t. I’m sure that was because of me.

I also now acknowledge that Facebook allows for more fun, quick contact than e-mail. There’s something much more playful about posting something on somebody’s wall and waiting to see how they respond.

So now my plan is to be on Facebook but not become an addict. I’m not going to be the girl who updates every two hours to say where I’m going, or what I ate for lunch, or what I rented at Blockbuster. I posted a random picture my sis happened to have on her camera.

Don't be mad if I forget about my profile/don't update for weeks.

In the meantime, I'll slowly feel my way through understanding all the Facebook options.

Like sending gifts (?!?)

And POKING (?!?)

Maybe one of my "Friends" will explain these to me.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

That Day Again

I find it telling that yesterday, when perusing the Valentine’s Day card selection at Walgreens, the only card that appeared to be sold out just a few days before the holiday was the card that belonged under the heading: “We’re Having Trouble, but I Still Love You.”

That said, single people near and far still dread the idea of Feb. 14. And so for those of you in Chicago looking for a way to get through the day, I offer up this event which arrived in my Inbox from a Chicago blog reader.

And for those of you not in Chicago and single, try to stay upbeat. I love ya, and I'm sure many others do as well!


AT&T is hosting the "Video Valentines Speed Dating Event" this Valentine's Day, 2/14/08, for single-in-the-city Chicagoans looking for love. Here are the details:

* AT&T's Video Valentines Speed Dating Event is being held at the AT&T State Street (168 N. State St., Chicago, IL 60601) and AT&T Riverpoint (1730 W. Fullerton, Chicago, IL 60614) stores. Tech-savvy singles can text, chat and video share their way to a date at the free event. Singles also have a chance to win an AT&T phone.
* Like traditional speed dating, you exchange pleasantries in only a few minutes, and then you move onto the next number. But here's the twist: you can only speed date with singles at the other store. The only way you communicate is by phone. Thanks to AT&T's Video Share capabilities, you can share live one-way video.
* AT&T will provide the phones. All you do is contact any love connections after making your round of calls. Just for participating, you have a chance to win an AT&T and a gift certificate for a romantic restaurant.

We are asking interested folks to please RSVP via our Evite and list their preferred location (State Street or Riverpoint). The Evite URL is:


You can also read more about the event on its Facebook page:


Saturday, February 9, 2008

Settling: A Good Thing

AHA! I finally discovered the magic editing tool in this blog software, and have used it to delete the entire The Number comment section! So please, people, let's consider this a fresh start. And remember, this Blog Administrator has a secret weapon and I'm not afraid to use it again!

On a totally different note, here's a really interesting article from The Atlantic in which the author makes a strong case for Settling instead of holding out for The One.

If you're holing up in your apartment this weekend hiding from the cold, it's worth the read.

Still trying to decide how I feel about it. Will let it marinade and come back with my thoughts next week.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Permission to Third Wheel

Before heading to the polls yesterday, I got into a lively online debate with my friends Lucy and Kevin.

Both of them were coming at me with their opinions on the presidential race, and while I appreciated both of their views, I also appreciated something else about the situation.

Lucy and Kevin are a married couple, but I consider them both my friends.

They're one of those couples that are fun to hang out with, even if it means technically being the Third Wheel.

I would feel perfectly comfortable tagging along with them to a movie, to a bar or for dinner at their house. And I could hang with either of them independently as well.

Now that I'm thinking about it, I realize I have many couple friends that fit that same description.

But then I definitely have other Coupled-up-friends that I've never agreed to be a Third Wheel with, and probably never will.

The difference, I think, is that some couples are good with singles and some are not.

Good Couples:
-- Still go out and socialize, and are still able/willing to hang
--Are both equally interested in you, even if you started off as one person's friend
--Aren't too lovey-dovey-touchy-feely with each other. Or if they are, will let you poke fun at them
--Aren't trying to fix you up with every single person they know
--Don't consider your single life entertainment

On the flip side...

Bad Couples:
--Stop going out and always complain that they're "too old."
--Have one person who is your friend, the other who just pretends to be interested.
-- Get lost in each other and stop caring about others
-- Feel sorry for you that you haven't found "The One" yet
-- Get a kick out of your single stories and say things like "Thank God we're done with that."

Breaking all this down makes me wonder why anyone would ever allow themselves to be part of a Bad Couple. I hope that when I'm hooked up, I'm still able to hang with my single friends.

Then again, maybe there's another side to all of this. For all I know, Couples are sitting around blogging right now about Good Single and Bad Single friends.

Thanks for all the good comments/policing of the blog, you guys. Jac, you're right, I do need to figure out how to watch over the comments a little better. Going to explore blogger options now... stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Number

First, apologies for missing Thursday's entry. Was out of town and away from a computer. But MAN, I see things got a little crazy. Wish I could've done a better job of referee-ing that one. Sorry, Lynn. But from here on out, a gentle reminder to think of this blog like your favorite bar. If you're not nice to the other bargoers, the bouncer's going to have to kick you out. :o)

Moving on...

So, during my adventures this weekend, I was talking to my friends McConnell and Felice about our Numbers.

Not phone numbers.

The Number of guys we've slept with at this point in our lives. Now, don't get all judgemental, folks, none of us have alarming digits. But in discussing The Number, we realized it's been a long time since anyone had brought up the topic -- girls or guys.

Which led us to the question: At a certain age -- say late 20s, early 30s -- do we not want to know people's Number anymore?

Let me rewind a minute. Back in college, I specifically remember asking ex-boyfriends about how many women they had slept with. They'd walk me through their list of escapades (The First, the Psycho Second, the Heartbreaking Third, etc.).

McConnell and Felice remembered having similar conversations.

But we all agreed that we would NEVER want to bring it up now.

Not because we are careless -- of course we ask about safety and if they're clean, etc. It's just that these days, it would seem so sophomoric to be asking people how many people they've been with.

And shouldn't we assume that any single, regularly dating, non-saving-it-for marriage 20 or 30-something has had their share of experiences by now?

If I were forced to guess, I'd say any average single person in our age bracket has a Number ranging from 3 to 25.

But anything beyond that, I don't need more information.

At some point, I think we all realize that actions speak louder than numbers in bed.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

You Be the Judge

So I got an e-mail from my friend Lia this morning, asking if there was any way to check if a guy is married through an Internet search.

Naturally, I had to ask why.

Well as it turned out, Lia met a guy from Match.com for a date last night. They'd spoken on the phone a few times and he seemed like a cool enough person. He was went to a fancy boarding school as a kid, was now older, established and seemed to have his life in order.

The early impression prompted us to give him an early nickname: The Adult.

OK, so get this. Lia goes to meet The Adult for dinner. But before even sitting down, something catches her totally off guard. The Adult has a wedding ring on!

Lia asks about it right away and he goes on to explain, but Lia isn't listening because she's too busy contemplating bolting for the door. The rest of the date goes by reasonably well, and then he follows up with an AIM conversation today.

This time Lia is ready to demand some answers. She asks what the deal was and these were The Adult's explanation points:

-- His father is in the jewelry business and his step brother is getting married
-- He has acquired 4 rings from estate people (they were all worn by people who are important to his bro e.g. former mayors, etc) and he and his bro are the same ring size
-- so he has been trying them on, before deciding which to bring back east for his bro to choose from
-- apparently he was trying one of the rings on last night before we met, and forgot to take it off

When I read through the list, I thought, Oh Come ON. That sounds reallly weird. I asked Lia if he seemed nervous or fidgety going through his story, and she said, no, he actually seemed pretty straightforward and honest.

She joked with The Adult that it felt like a Seinfeld episode, and told me later that while she's inclined to believe him, the jury is still out.

So, members of the jury, what do you think?

Is this guy believable or totally full of it?

(And if it's the latter, do some married men honestly believe women won't mind that they're total cheaterface jerks?)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Generation Confidence

When I lived in DC, I had a friend who was 10 years older than me. She sometimes marveled at my attitude/confidence when it came to guys, saying that my generation was so much more self-assured than her generation. We've just "got it,” she always said.

I always found that notion funny, because in my opinion, women my age – including myself – are plagued by insecurities. My friend Monique and I talk about it all the time – about how our younger sisters have so much more attitude than we do. They’re the more self-assured generation, we say.

Well, as it turns out, all of us are right. Or none of us are right, depending on which way you look at it.

Check out this NYT story on the topic.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Money Story

Once upon a time, me and all my friends were in the same financial situation.

Scraping by living paycheck to paycheck, eating dinner at free appetizer happy hours, charging groceries on our credit cards because we were low on cash.

Back then – I’d say maybe as recently as 4 years ago – there was no shame in saying you were floating your rent check in the hopes that it wouldn’t be cashed until payday. Nobody threw down a debit card to pay for the whole table, saying “you get it next time.” And we certainly never heard each other talking about our tens of thousands of dollars in the bank.

I’m reminiscing about those times because, lately, I feel like my friends are all over the map when it comes to money.

Some have managed to save boatloads of it and demonstrate that by looking at $500,000 condos. Some have married into fortunes, allowing them annual exotic vacations, free cars and other big gifts. And then there are those on the other end of the spectrum, working two jobs and barely scraping by with enough left over to go out to dinner.

The disparity has made for some awkward situations, like New Year’s Eve, where some friends easily dropped $200 on a big party at The Drake, while others decided not to make it.

And, from a more personal perspective, it leaves me wondering where I stand. I managed the NYE ticket, but it was definitely an investment that forced me to watch my spending for the weeks before and after. I barely have a savings account. But I also don’t have credit card debt.

Does that make me normal? Or terrible with money? Or decent for my age?

I just have no idea.

It seems important to have some idea of where you stand financially, not just for your own security, but for knowing how you look in a relationship.

Would a guy consider me a liability because I don't come with a pool of cash? Should I be embarrassed to admit that I don't have more?

Or would the guy see fiscal potential in me since I have a pretty good job, I'm not paying off student loans and my parents are always there to spoil me?

I'd be curious to know what other single people consider "normal" when it comes to bank accounts for this age.

But maybe there is no such thing as normal anymore. Maybe after a certain age, we all create our own happily ever after.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Catch 26

So I was talking to a friend, 31, the other day who happens to be unattached for the moment.

Maybe it was the gloomy winter grayness outside, but my friend was feeling particularly down about being 31 and single.

It just makes me so mad when I look back at my late 20s, she said. I feel like I wasted some of my best years on the wrong guys and in the wrong places.

No less than 24 hours later, this friend and I sat at a divey bar sipping fancy beers to lift our winter-beaten spirits. Another 31-year-old friend met us, and I swear, brought this up all on her own:

I was thinking about my ex-boyfriend, and it makes me think, 'Damn, I wasted some of my best years on him for nothing.'

I was fascinated. Two friends in one week wanting to take back their late 20s and offer them up to people and places that were more worthy.

Of course I could understand what they were saying. I definitely spent my share of my 20s investing in relationships, jobs, even friends that turned out to be all wrong in the end.

And true, those were the years when I could eat an entire pizza at 3 a.m. with no fear of weight gain; forget to wear sunscreen without considering wrinkles; date random guys just for fun without thinking about the goal of getting married or the window of opportunity for having kids.

But here's the thing -- I kinda think that's the entire point of your late 20s. To put your young, fabulous self out there to stumble through life. To have dead-end jobs; dead-beat relationships and live in dead areas so that by the time you're 30, you know what doesn't work and can attack life more appropriately.

It's a Catch 26: You can wish you had those years back when you were young, innocent and unscarred by the world. But if you had those years back, you would never be the wise, experienced and street-smart person that you become eventually.

I told my friends I understood what they were feeling but that we can't think like that, even when winter gray makes it hard to see the bright side.

And anyway, I reminded them after the bartender carded us: we may feel like we wasted chunks of our life, but at least we don't look like it. :o)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Second Date Kiss

So my friend Rachel has been stumped lately by what seems to be a common male behavior.

In her words:

What's with the guys that haven't kissed us yet after a seemingly good second date? Are they just trying to be polite? Or, is that why they are still 30 and single -- because they don't know how to make the first move? I was talking to one of my guy friends (who is 34 and has been dating the same girl for a year, but was previously single for quite a while) and was explaining that I am confused by this and also by when on the second or third date the guy is still wanting to meet somewhere, as opposed to picking me up. Why? Because if you don't pick me up, you can't drop me off -- which means I can't invite you in for "coffee." He honestly thought guys are clueless on this (really?) and also thought they may not want to offend our "virtue." (Seriously, he used that word -- but he is a practicing Catholic.) I reminded him that I'm 30 and don't have much "virtue" left.

Anyone care to explain?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

State of the (without) Union

In honor of the Iowa Caucuses, I give you this state of the state for single folks.

(A story from the NYT talking about how people view singlehood and dating these days).

Have a great weekend everybody!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Holiday Card Conundrum

The holidays are over, officially. So that means it’s time to put away all the Christmas decorations, toss the uneaten and stale cookies and take down the taped up holiday cards.

Which brings me to my current dilemma: What am I supposed to do with all these photo Christmas cards?

You know what I’m talking about – the happy family holiday Christmas greetings we all get showing your friends with their kids, or just your friends’ kids, or your newlywed friends with their new dog.

There was once a time when I got one or two of the photo cards over the holidays, with the rest being your standard paper greeting. This year, there were a whopping – wait, lemme go count -- 13. And that’s not counting the ones that are probably lost in the mail since I’m between addresses this year.

It seems almost every one of my friends is now doing the family-photo-card for Christmas, which I don’t have a problem with, really. I love kids, so it’s fun to see how my friends’ children change from year to year – especially the children who live far away so I don’t get to see very often.

My problem is just that once the holidays are over, I don’t know what to do with the photos.

I feel guilty throwing them in the garbage, like I would any other Christmas greeting. I can’t just pitch my friends’ adorable offspring into a bag to be hauled off with the stinky egg nog carton.

For a while, I was keeping some friends’ cards in an album, which seemed to work nicely.

But with 13 to keep up with, at this rate, I’m going to have a library of albums before I ever buy a house to store them in. And that seems, at best, over-accommodating, and at worst, freaky and my ticket to Loserville.

So I turn this over to You. You with kids. Or You With Friends With Kids who has figured out how to handle this post-holiday situation.

Is it time for me to start pitching my friends’ family in the garbage? Or is there another solution I don’t know about?