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 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?