Note: The "Trooper" in question is not actually in the military. It's a metaphor, people.

May 31, 2007

A Ride on the Baggage Carousel

It would be so nice and cozy if The Boyfriend/Girlfriend Talk miraculously caused all of my baggage from Naval A-hole to disappear. Unfortunately, it only took about a day and half for it come sneaking back for a little game of peek-a-boo.

Yesterday I was helping Wine Guy with the final schlepping of stuff from his old apartment to his new one. Serious obligatory Girlfriend hard labor, which I enthusiastically volunteered for. But as the day went on and boxes were carried up and down the stairs, in and out the door, I started to get this weird, sinking feeling.

By the time we pulled up in our separate, fully loaded cars, I felt completely sad and alienated. When I got out of the car, he was finishing up a phone call with a friend. It was then that I heard it. "Well, I better go. I'm at my friend's house now." His eyes locked with mine the second he said it. Friend. He threw his arms up in the air like, "I have no idea why I just said that, sorry." And he meant it. But suddenly I knew exactly why I felt so "off." That one moment - the Friend comment combined with the fully aware eye contact- brought it all back. Naval A-hole.

A-hole and I had a long distance relationship for the entire year we dated. It was whirlwind, intense and we saw each other practically every weekend. He was in the Navy, stationed on a bumfuck island in the Puget Sound and, because he didn't have enough leave to come visit me (any trips more than a few hundred miles away on a weekend required taking leave, goddamn navy), I spent almost a year of my weekends flying up and back, up and back for weekend trips. It was exhausting but I never complained. I cherished every second with Naval A-hole and was patiently waiting for when I would move up there, something we both agreed on.

He moved about 2 months into our dating and I happily helped him pick out his new town home. I spent an entire weekend moving his crap, which was not at all packed ahead of time (a major red flag I now see). Now that I think about it, where the hell were all his fellow Naval A-hole buddies to help? Why did he need his frickin' girlfriend to do the hard labor?!

I digress....A few months later we attended a wedding together (our first) and I was thrown in with all the Naval A-hole wives. Not really my crowd but...OK, I was blind and stupid and I'm ridiculously thankful in hindsight that he dumped me so I could avoid what would have been a terribly boring life as a vapid Naval A-hole Wife. Anyway, when it came time for the bouquet toss, I was forced out onto the floor by someone's overeager wife determined that I join their cult. I stood at the back of the gaggle of women, only to have the damn bunch of flowers come right at my head. I swear to you, if I didn't reach up to catch it, I would have been smacked unconscious.

Bouquet clenched in fist and strangers' cameras flashing, I reluctantly turned to Naval A-hole to gauge his reaction. I so badly wanted to scream, "I didn't mean to catch it! I swear!" At first glance, all was just fine. He was smiling, his bright blue eyes flashing under his blond buzz cut (no more Nazi-looking guys, I promise). But what I saw in his eyes stopped me cold. A split-second flash of absolute terror.

I spent the rest of the night crying in a bathroom stall, with no explanation. I don't think he needed one. When we got back to the hotel room and had it out, it was clear how great the distance was between our relative desires to move to the next level. And all of that came from a momentary flutter I saw behind his pupils.

Right after that, we broke up, which lasted for about 3 weeks. We got back together when he called me professing that he was ready to "jump in head first." We decided I would move up there the following spring, when we would get engaged and then married before he was assigned to his next stint in Virginia.

A few months later, he called me from the Tailhook Convention in Las Vegas. His landlord had called to say a hot water pipe had leaked in his place. Everything he owned was wet, steamy and needed to be out ASAP. He begged me to meet him the next day back in Washington to help him move. Surprise, surprise. All his friends would still be at Tailhook so no one could help but little old me. This was the first weekend I had been home in weeks and my friends and my cat were missing me. It was the first time I tried to say no to him. Almost in tears he whined, "Please, we're a team. I need you."

So I buckled and spent the next two days lugging wet crap down two flights of stairs, then up two more flights of stairs in the vacant condo a few doors down. It was the longest, most painful experience of my life but, like he said, we were a team and he would suposedly do the same for me.

He disappeared on me about 6 weeks later without one word of explanation - to this day.

So back to Wine Guy, whose move was organized, efficient and involved HIRED MOVERS to do the real labor. Wine Guy made it clear that he mostly just wanted my company more than my lifting power. But I must have had some sort of visceral reaction to the concepts of "Boyfriend" and "Moving" in combination because by the time the Friend/eye-locking incident occurred I was right back on that dance floor clutching a bouquet and seeing through Naval A-hole's phony smile.

Wine Guy is scarily intuitive (or I'm pathetically obvious, more likely), so he knew right away he was coming face to face with this Trooper's baggage. He was very reassuring and apologetic for the Friend comment, which he didn't need to be. The guy he was talking to had yet to hear about me and it would be a little odd to just casually interject, "Oh, gotta go. My girlfriend is here," without first providing some context -preferably when she isn't standing right there waiting for you.

I confessed how I was angry at myself for letting my Naval A-hole baggage get the best of me and that he didn't need to apologize at all. With his arms wrapped around me, he looked me in the eye and said, "That's just negative talk. You are being way too hard on yourself. Everyone has their vulnerable spots and you know this yours. So recognize that, let yourself off the hook and give yourself a hug. And remember, I'm a good guy and I'm not going anywhere."

A tremendously sensitive thing to say, but then he topped it. "And even if I did go away (my heart skipped a beat at this), you would be fine. You are a whole person --even if I'm not here."

I let that sink in for a second, mostly to first get past my initial panic reaction at the mention that he might one day be gone (can you say abandonment issues?). He was right. I was doing just fine before Wine Guy came along. I was happy, fulfilled, and whole. And I still am. I just happen to have a Boyfriend too.

So that's my baggage. I better embrace it, stack it somewhere in the back closet and know that every once in a while it may peek its head out and ask to take a short trip around the block.


May 30, 2007

The Talk

Now that I've gotten my philosophizing ("battle planning") out of the way, I can give you the down and dirty update on Wine Guy. Or shall I say "My Boyfriend?" Yes, we had "The Talk."

Please tell me that you people know what I mean when I say "The Talk?" I thought everyone did. But when I brought it up with Wine Guy (kind of as a joke at first, as all serious conversations should start, right?), he said, "What talk?" So I found myself explaining. You know, the one where we agree not to date anyone else. I then added, "Technically, we both could be seeing other people right now if we wanted to."

This was not stated as threat. More like a ridiculous notion, since we are both so clearly in to one another. Plus, I don't know how either of us could possibly fit in another date between all the time we've been spending together.

Being the considerate man he is he responded, "Well, I can't really tell you what you can and can't do. I know that I don' t want to see anyone else."

OK, now I'm getting a little impatient. I responded, "I'm not asking you to tell me what to do. I'm asking you to ask me if I choose to make that kind of commitment to only seeing you."

So that was how I guided Wine Guy through "The Talk." I swear, sometimes you have to write them a freakin' script!

Once that was over with, it hit both of us that we can now say Boyfriend and Girlfriend. My Girlfriend and I are going to dinner. My Boyfriend and I are going hiking today. It was then that Wine Guy started to comprehend one of the greatest benefits of "The Talk." (Well, as it applies to people who already know they are on the same page. The Talk for those who are trying to find out where the other person is - that's another story and a far less pleasant experience).

He started to see how The Talk allowed him the freedom of speech. When someone asks him who he went out with last night, he no longer has to say, "Uh, this girl I'm kind of dating." We've all been there, that awkward I'm-not-sure-what-to-call-you thing, especially when the person is right there in front of you.

So we spent the weekend trying it out. It's amazing how much power a name and/or label holds over us. Now that I'm his Girlfriend, it's OK if I invite him to come to the theater with my mom and me. He's allowed to tell his sister about me and we're both all of a sudden allowed to call each other every day without worrying about seeming too overeager.

Of course, there are some obligations that come with that name as well. I was pretty much obligated to help him move this weekend and he had to listen to me obsess over my new haircut (Do you like the bangs? Really? It doesn't seem like you like them).

And the Girlfriend label helped me decide to finally divulge my one Big Secret...... this blog.

It's been weighing on me tremendously. Such a big part of my life and he doesn't even know about it. So I told him. And I was terrified. At first he seemed a bit stunned as he haltingly said, "Sooo...I'm a character in your dating blog." Not a question. Just a statement of fact. Clearly he was processing. I didn't want to get in the way of that but I had to let him know, "But everyone likes you. A couple people even asked if you had a brother!" I'm not sure my conveying his good reviews from perfect strangers helped, but after a few more minutes he said something that really shocked me. And reminded me why I want him to be my Boyfriend in the first place.

He said, "I feel really bad."
Bad? Why?
"Because I ruined your dating blog!"

Well, I don't think he did. And he really wants me to continue writing. I really want to continue writing. Because this is no happy ending. Learning, joy, pain, victories, defeats don't just cease when you get a Boyfriend or a Husband or a Baby.

So I'll still be here. Hope you will be too. Not sure if Wine Guy will read all of this. We haven't quite covered that territory yet. Though I can't imagine him not wanting to know, can you?


The Terrifying Thrill of Dating

A friend recently asked me whether or not I thought she should try on-line dating. As a general rule, I think everyone who's looking to meet someone should try it. I'm not saying it pays off or that it's even necessarily pleasant, but it at least keeps you occupied and desensitizes you (hopefully) to the explosions and gunfire you are likely to encounter along the way.

Clearly I was not making it sound very appealing to her. She responded that from the massive amount of complaining she's heard so far from me and my other friends who've done the on-line thing, there doesn't seem to be one redeemable thing about it all. That it's just one big nightmare. So why do it?

Here's why.When I was a kid, I couldn't think of anything more exciting than a ride on a big, monster roller coaster. The steeper, scarier, more ridiculously gravity-defying the better. Now that I'm older and have learned the life limiting art of self-preservation, all that comes to mind when I imagine a trip to Magic Mountain for a ride on Colossus (my favorite) is the torture of waiting in line for hours to endure an excessively loud two minute ride that will make me nauseous, give me whiplash and leave me with an aching back for the rest of the summer. But when I was an immortal pre-teen, all that pain, discomfort and terror was worth it for those few moments of sheer stomach-dropping thrill.

Dating is the same thing. Hell, LIFE is the same thing. It all essentially starts out as some form of painful, hard work. But you 'll never get that payoff - that thrill - unless you face your fears and dig in to it. I often find myself reciting a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt (God, I never thought I'd utter such a sentence in this blog - sorry), "You must do the things you think you cannot do." If it scares you, then that is a clear sign that you should probably do it. How are you supposed to achieve, grow, learn, or meet someone new if you don't? I'm sure Mrs. Roosevelt wasn't thinking about when she made this statement, but hey, sometimes dating feels like our own, personal World War II, right?


May 25, 2007

I am Woman, I Come in Peace

Basically, meeting Ex Wine Gal was anti-climactic. As promised by Wine Guy, she would see me, smile, and I would realize she is generally friendly and no need to worry. She made an extra effort to be warm to me, and even came out at the end of the night with a hand truck to cart away some of the boxes Wine Guy brought that she had packed earlier in the week (tangible proof that she, indeed, is getting her stuff out of their formerly shared apartment).

What I should have been more concerned about was the once over I would be getting from his other friends, particularly his female friends -- of which there are many. Having many male friends myself, I know how carefully I examine any new girlfriends who enter the picture, trying to see if she'll be the kind who can't handle having another woman around, even if she is just a friend.

Of course, I know I'm fine with Wine Guy having friends who are women (I'd be a hypocrite if I wasn't), but I'm never sure what tactic I should take in making sure they get that. How do I wave the white flag and communicate "I am new girlfriend. I come in peace." - without also seeming like I'm kissing ass?

I have no idea what I did or didn't do, but whatever it was it worked I guess. The one significant female friend I met at the tasting apparently texted Wine Guy later that night to say I was "Lovely in every sense of the word." When I asked him how she could actually know that since we spoke for about 5 minutes total, he proceeded to tell me his friend was, in fact, somewhat psychic and scarily intuitive about people. Apparently she can estimate a person's character within the first 5 seconds of meeting them.

First of all, thank freakin' God I hadn't learned that piece of information before I met her. I think I would have been terrified. Second of I actually believe that? Well, she did think I was, hell yeah!

May 23, 2007

Relationship Time Warp

So everything's basically terrific with Wine Guy. That dizzying blur of excitement peppered with anticipation, passion, relief. And now I feel myself stuck in some bizarre sort of time warp. See if this sounds familiar.

Time is excruciatingly slow during the period of hours, days between when you will see each other. It feels like everything revolves around waiting.

But when you are together, time is whiplash fast. You start kissing at 9pm and the next thing you know its 1am and you have to force yourself to go to sleep so you can be slightly productive at work the next day (which, of course, will drag by).

Then there's the past/future conundrum. All you can think about, talk about are the myriad things you want to do together. Hikes, movies you've seen that he hasn't (but must), weekend trips, restaurants...the list never ends and the future is laid out before you like one big Christmas wish list.

But that damn past creeps in too. Wounds that resurface from past relationships, or exes who are still a presence in your life. Wine Guy and I both have the latter (so far it seems only I have the wound part, which he does know about).

I'm not the jealous type, especially when I'm 99.9% confident in Wine Guy's feelings for me. Nevertheless, his ex of four years (and former cohabitant) is a presence, a friend in fact. I am pretty sure I will meet her tonight as she is part of his regular group of wine enthusiasts who attend a Wednesday night tasting.

I'm nervous, but mostly because I feel like I relate more to her perspective than my own. I am much more familiar with being the Ex who poses no actual threat but knows her existence kind of bothers the current girlfriend. I'm very rarely the current girlfriend. Of course, I would be an absolute hypocrite to be upset, since Only Child and I remain friends. However, Only Child and I are not at all entwined in each other's current lives. We speak once a month and see each other even less frequently for catch up sushi dinners (what else?). There is nothing threatening about it (at least from my perspective, not sure if Only Child's girlfriend would agree).

But Ex-Wine Gal and Wine Guy see each other at least once a week, and I won't even get into the fact that a lot of her stuff is still in his place. See? Nothing's perfect. But it feels pretty damn close - for the moment.

May 20, 2007

What dealbreaker?

Just got home from my almost 24 hour date with Wine Guy. It's official, I am terribly smitten. The good news? He is too. We had a terrific evening together (despite his very jealous cat meowing her disapproval and making sleep harder than it already was) and this morning on our way to breakfast (..ahem..) I could feel that we were both stupid-giddy with affection and practically bursting at the seams with ideas for all the things we want to do together in the coming months (yes, "future talk").

I couldn't take it anymore. The only thing holding me back from diving in at this point (because diving in, when it's right, can a good thing) was the initial deal breaker we discovered far too early on in our relationship. (If you missed it, it was him not wanting kids and the link is here).

So I finally said it. "You know, we're going to have to have that 'talk' again pretty soon if we want this to continue." He kind of looked at me with a smile and slightly nervous grin. I rushed through the next part in my typically not-subtle way, "BecauseIreallylikeyouandneedtoknowwhereyoustandontheissuebeforeIlet myselfgettooattachedtoyou...Idon'tneedtotalkaboutitindetail...justneedtoknowifthisis ano-way-in-hellthingorifyouarebendableonthe issue." Phew. Then I hid my face behind my clenched hands waiting for his response.

He chuckled because I was acting so silly (not new to him I assure you). Then he made my day, week, year when he very diplomatically responded that although he's not ready to do it tomorrow (and I am?), he feels it is something he would consider and it is really about timing and the person he's with. In fact, he surprised himself at how open to the idea he has become (in fact more open than closed).

Before he could even turn to gauge my response I had uncovered my face, smiled what I'm sure was a toothy grin and said, "OK, OK! That's all I needed to hear. Subject closed. I'm in!" And off we went to breakfast and a lovely afternoon napping between annoying cat disturbances.

Let's just say for the moment there is a bit of a truce in my dating war.
I'll still be writing though, I assure you, as my fellow Troopers are out there fighting the good fight and this could very well be a tentative lull in the fighting, though hopefully not.

May 17, 2007

Sick Tricks on Me

It wasn't until I said it out loud that I realized just how sick and twisted my own mind can be. The idea that this is all some big joke - an elaborate ruse to get my hopes up - must have been lingering around for awhile now, but something came over me today that let it bubble to the surface.

I was telling my friend/co-worker D.I. (a sympathetic Veteran with her own blog worth checking out) about a particularly romantic email I got from Wine Guy today (it made me blush at my computer - he's done that to me twice now). I was telling her that it all seems almost too easy. We've both been so open about everything, especially our feelings for each other. Then I just blurted it out, "I keep thinking this is all too good to be true." It was actually a lot more intense of a worry than that, so I continued. "I actually had this thought that someone who's been reading my blog wanted to fuck with me so they sent Wine Guy to lure me in to this ideal relationship. And once he's got me, he'll dump me without even a second thought."

D.I. laughed, probably thinking I was kidding. But once it came out of my mouth, I realized I wasn't really kidding all that much. No - I don't actually believe that one of you is an evil schemer who would go to such great lengths to draft a talented actor to seduce me (though I can picture your evil, maniacal laugh as you read about my heartbreak in this blog). It was more of a subtle fear based on well, fact.

This is Naval A-hole I refer to, and after one year of a whirlwind romance/relationship, he blindsided me in a way that took me - and everyone in my life who met him - completely by surprise. To this day I have no explanation for why he went from "I love you more than anything" to never returning my phone calls and completely disappearing - within the time span of 3 days. The only suitable explanation I've been able to come up with since it happened (1 year and 8 months ago) is that he is an evil sociopath with not an ounce of compassion for anyone.

I know this sounds a bit too soap operatic and you're probably thinking "no wonder she hates men." Well, I don't hate men and it really was this bad. To be honest it took me a year before I could even discuss it casually, and now I can do so without crying or ending my sentences with "I wish I could kill that asshole." It's now just a cautionary tale and, frankly, a pretty interesting story.

Here it is: I meet a guy at a bar who seems ultra-perfect from the outset. Sweet (but not in the Eddie Haskell kind of way), generally attractive (but by no means hot enough to be cocky), smart and kind of geeky cute, friendly, sincere, lovable. Even my mom and all her yenta friends (most of whom are psychologists and very good judges of character) loved him. Nobody saw his disappearance coming. Not to mention his final piece of communication to me - a cryptic email sent after one week of radio silence that read "I'm not a good person. Best to forget me."

It was the heartbreak of a lifetime (God, I hope) and came pretty much right on the heels of a broken engagement to Only Child (he has yet to come up with a nickname for himself so this is what he gets) that everyone saw coming and was for the best. But it still hurt and it was one craphole of a year for this little Trooper.

All of this back story leads me back to my sick and twisted mind. I'm relieved that I stated this bizarre fantasy out loud. This transformed it into what it actually is - a remnant of my relationship past. If I'd kept it inside and unspoken, I suspect it would have continued to feel like a legitimate feeling and would likely have eaten away at my current state of excitedness over Wine Guy, or any guy for that matter.

I recall a conversation I had with Yacht Broker, the first guy I dated right after Naval A-hole. Yacht Broker was a perfect 'warm up' guy. No pressure, no demands, no potential for anything but having fun. That lasted about three months and we left it as it was meant to be - friends. After the relationship-ending talk was over, we started to chit chat and he said pretty bluntly, "It always felt like you were kind of suspicious of me." He didn't mean jealous or thinking he was cheating. He meant suspicious of his character. My response? "Well I was. I've been suspicious of everyone since the A-hole."

I've come an unbelievably long way since then and, until today, really thought I had exorcized that paranoia out of my system. Apparently not. Today's lunch excursion reminded me to stay vigilant (thank you Dubya) and keep my sick little mind in check. And that I should keep talking to my friends, no matter how twisted they may think I sound.


May 14, 2007

Mother's Day Dish

Although she enjoyed the gifts, flowers and a scrumptious dim sum brunch, I think the gift my mom most enjoyed on Mother's Day was the information about my weekend with Wine Guy. If you haven't figured it out yet, my mom and I have a rather non-traditional mother-daughter relationship. Yes, we fight (just ask Mendoza who was there to witness a typical spat) and she drives me crazy just like any mother, but we can also talk about a whole suite of subjects most of my friends can't even imagine bringing up with their mom's sitting in the next room.

I can pretty confidently say that I might be the only girl who's mother tried to peer pressure her into losing her virginity. I held onto it a little longer than most (19) and when I was dating some guy for only two weeks I distinctly recall her telling me, "Oh, just have a glass of wine, relax, and do it already!" (I did not follow her advice and waited until I found a guy I actually liked). Now that I'm much less uptight and we've gotten the whole angry-at-my-mom thing out of the way from my 20s, our relationship is pretty solid and we talk about almost everything. She does read this blog, so I am no longer forced to give her (or any of my friends) the blow-by-blow on every disastrous date.

When I told her on the phone before we met on Sunday that I had written a new blog entry and it was the first one that directly talks about sex, her response was, "Well, I was wondering when that was going to come up," followed by a little giggle. That pretty much confirmed for me that my mom has been anxiously waiting for her daughter to get laid. Yes, I know. It is disturbing to me too.

We met a few hours later at the dim sum place (along with everyone else it seemed), and she immediately inquired about my evening with Wine Guy. Did my walls come down? (see previous entry if you don't know what I'm talking about). As we waited for the stressed out hostess to call our name (she wouldn't for over an hour), I told her that I did, in fact, go over to his place and, while there wasn't actual M.O.S. action (again, see previous entry), we did remove most of those walls and discovered we've got plenty of passion potential. My mom was clearly excited but, as I've trained her, was trying to hold back so I wouldn't think she was getting her hopes up (of course, this never works because, frankly, we both have our hopes up. But I still appreciate the effort).

My friend Mendoza was with us (my new surrogate sister) and I am pretty sure I detected a look of amused horror on her face at the fact that I was discussing this with my mother. Mendoza is from the Midwest and, based on what I've gathered from the conversations I've overheard her having with her parents, they generally stick to subjects that fall under the category of polite chit chat. I can't imagine what went through her mind when my mom turned to her enthusiastically and said, "So.....I assume you are Mendoza Line???!!! How exciting!" (again, see last blog).

So that's what happened. Wine Guy's apartment was lovely, his cat a total crack-up. We talked, went to dinner, came back and finally STOPPED talking. I made it clear there was no need to rush anything, but we both agreed that it was a relief to know that all that talking was actually serving as some sort of foreplay rather than just, well, talking. I'm sure he was oh so pleased when I said to him after a particularly passionate kiss, "Well, I guess I can stop accusing you of being gay then..." Did I tell you I always manage to say the wrong thing? Actually, he thought it was funny. God bless Wine Guy.

So, things are going well. In an earlier post, Loverville commented about how impressed she was with my staying so calm and level-headed about Wine Guy. Well, I can assure you that I am far less calm now that I've let my walls down. I like him a lot and he is, without a doubt, enthusiastic about me. But I'm scared. Of getting too intense, too connected, and too used to to having someone around again. I was just getting comfortable with being alone. But then again, I don't tell often tell myself how beautiful, amazing and "ebullient" I am, so he might be pretty darn good to have around.

Happy belated Mother's Day to all..

May 11, 2007

My Walled Garden

So, I didn't share with you that April was supposed to be "Month of Sex" -or M.O.S. as my friend Mendoza Line and I call it (she picked her name based upon her dating status, a classic!). The problem is, neither of us had any -not even close. So we extended the deadline to May - actually to 2007 in general.

I have yet to really write about s-e-x in this battle journal, and I don't think I will make it a habit. If you want sex on-line there's plenty of it out there. but I do have to give a shout out tonight to my dear friend Mendoza who finally broke her dry spell last night. You go girl! At least paid off for one of us!

As for my M.O.S.-lessness, Wine Guy and I have been taking it VERY slowly in the "getting it on" area. Probably because we have so damn much to talk, talk, talk about that it's getting in the way. I've really enjoyed getting to know him and can tell there is potential when we do kiss, but it' s getting to the point where something needs to happen soon, before we end up in "friend" territory.

I know when I've gone a little while without being - um - touched, I tend to build up walls. Then I get used to being walled in. It actually starts to feel all safe and cozy there in my little walled garden. So when potential for simple intimacy pops up (holding hands, arm around shoulder) I feel myself tense up. I can't help it. He probably feels it too.

I swear I'm not some frigid chick. Once things get going and a few pieces of clothing are shed, the walls are vaporized and the fun begins (at least until the next dry spell). But I can tell my walls are up and the cement is firming. I need them to be torn down ASAP. And yes I'm mostly saying this because I lost in the M.O.S. and want to at least come in a close second.

I've also concluded that I am much more prone to getting "affectionate" (the fact that I feel the need to use coy euphemisms is indicative of my walls being up - once I get some action I assure you my vocabulary will be much more to the point :-) when I'm not in my own apartment. It occurred to me today that the best sex I've had in recent years has been at the guy's place (or hotels, or beaches....). When I'm at home, I think I get distracted by my everyday life. My all by myself, walled garden of a life. I become so aware there is someone else there, and a naked someone at that. It's all just so "other" than my normal life. Plus my cat sits and watches or, worse, licks a naked body part. So I prefer being at their place where I can let loose, knock stuff down (oops, at least I don't have to clean it up:-), and escape back to my garden when I need my peace and quiet. I guess I've gotten pretty used to being alone. At long last. I hope it doesn't keep from being "together" again though.

But Wine Guy has yet to have me over to his place. We both have commented on it and I joke that he has his bodies hidden there. He says he's getting ready to move and the place is a mess, etc. Plus he lives in a boring part of town. Last night on the phone I tried to invite myself to his place Saturday night. Despite several attempts to encourage, prod, blatantly ask...I still lost the battle. He promises to have me over, cook me dinner, light some candles, etc. But not this weekend. I know, it sounds like he's hiding something. But I really don't think that's it. I just think he wants it all to be perfect. Whereas my place is a disaster and I don't care (potential for incompatibility right there?). I wanted to just say, "For God's sake! If you just let me come over there I can assure you that you will get some action!" But I couldn't bring myself to say it. If (hopefully when) we do get to that stage , I will make sure to rub his face in his lost opportunity to get there sooner.

Anyway, hope you are all celebrating M.O.S. right along with Mendoza......

May 8, 2007

The Yentas are Watching

So now that I've got Vain Guy off my chest, I can tell you about my weekend chock full o' Wine Guy. We were both looking forward to seeing each other on Saturday night but by the time Saturday afternoon came around I had hit the wall of exhaustion and tried to cancel thinking that since I had added Sunday theater plans to the calendar, he might understand (yes, I turn into a total whiner when I'm tired). But the second the excuse came out of my mouth I regretted it.

He paused and said, "Well, I won't lie. I'm really disappointed." Then he started to tell me what he had planned for our low key night out. By the end of his perfect agenda (a lengthy walk across the neighborhood to a terrific dessert place, grabbing some appetizers along the way, then a stroll back home after our decadent dessert - my perfect night out), I perked up and said, "Forget everything I just said. I'll rally. I'm sorry I tried to wimp out." Once I convinced him I meant it, the plans were back on and we ended up having a terrific evening. Granted, by the time we walked through my front door at 11:30pm, I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open. But he appreciated the effort and we both agreed it was one of those perfect evenings.

What I didn't tell him was how absolutely thrilled I was that, despite our earlier agreement to "play it by ear" that night, he had still thought of something nice (yet low key) for us to do. My past experiences led me to assume that whenever the "let's play it by ear" clause is invoked, it usually means that I have to come up with something to do or we will likely do nothing. And I was too tired to think up something low key yet interesting, so I tried to cancel. I never expected he would actually pick up the ball. Score one for Wine Guy.

So Sunday arrives and I'm finally well rested when Wine Guy comes to pick me up at 1pm for our matinee play. I'm looking forward to it, but dreading the moment when I have to tell him, "Oh, by the way, there's a good chance you are going to meet my mother and all her Yenta friends today" (if you missed why this is, read all about it here). He was a bit stunned at first but took it in stride. It wasn't the mom thing that got him nervous, but the group of 60 year old Jewish ladies in her "theater crew" that got him sweating a bit. But he was a good sport and I assured him that it wasn't planned (nor preferred) by my mom or me and it's not a big deal at all.

I did not, however, tell him about the phone call I made about 20 minutes earlier to my mom while she was brunching with the "crew". Before she even says "Hello" I hear her famously loudmouthed friend Mouthpiece (her own nickname for herself) say teasingly, "oooh, who's that? We don't know her!" Clearly my mother had shared my request that they try to lay low if they see us. Mouthpiece did not appreciate that command one bit and, as I learned later, was rather offended by it. So yes, by this point I was terribly nervous.

Once seated, I am relieved to not see them in any rows around us. In fact, I can't find them anywhere. At intermission we head outside for some air and to face the inevitable. We immediately spot my mom, Mouthpiece and her laconic husband Muzzle by the refreshment stand. The group's conversation wasn't that bad since we mostly focused on the play (very good) and a recent career honor Mouthpiece received which was impressive enough to keep us chatting til it was time to return to our seats.

With that over with I was able to actually enjoy the second half of the play. As we left and began heading back to the car, we bumped into my mom and her other friend making their way down the path. Her friend didn't stop to talk, wanting to beat the traffic, but my mom did. Now it's just the three of us standing there. I was a little nervous, despite the pleasant tone of the conversation. But when my mom -- a psychologist with freakishly good instincts about people -- looked up at Wine Guy and said with sincere warmth, "You have a really nice smile," I knew I could relax. This only made him smile more (and slightly blush)- a perfect response.

Once Wine Guy went home I immediately called my mom for her report back which was nothing but positive (granted, it was based upon a total of 5 minutes of conversation, but still). Then she told me how she and the crew spotted us right when we entered the theater, and spent the full 10 minutes leading up to the dimming of the lights spying on us with play by play commentary:
"Oh, she's reading the Playbill and saying something to him."
"Wait, now he's saying something back."
"Wow, they're both smiling!"
"He looks really nice. Like a nice, normal person."
Stuff like that.
I start to groan into the phone.
Then my mom says, "Wait. You'll want to hear this. After a few minutes of this, Mouthpiece stops suddenly and says, 'Oh my god. This is exactly what (my name) was worried about. She was right. OK, I'm not offended anymore!"

All in all, I'd say things went off pretty well, even with the Yentas watching.


May 7, 2007

Hot or Not?

Last night, as I lay on the couch draped across Wine Guy's legs, he looked down at me with his overwhelmingly sincere gaze and said, "You're hot." My reaction? I wrinkled up my nose and shook my head in tight, little "no, no"s, trying to pretend like he didn't say it. Thinking I'm just one of those girls who doesn't know how to take a compliment he tried to insist, "Uh yeah. You are. You're hot," emphasizing that word even more, as if it's just a fact. I unwrinkled my nose for a second to look back and say, "I hate that word - hot. It's such a guy word."

He didn't quite get it but (God bless him) tried for another in it's place - "OK, sexy, then." Nope, that didn't do it either. I shook my head again. "What? Why don't you like sexy? Go ask any of your girlfriends. They would all like sexy."

I conceded. "OK, sexy is better than hot. Maybe in a few months, when - or if (awkward moment) - things progress, I'd be all over you calling me sexy. But at this, um, early stage (we've only kissed), the word sexy makes me feel a little embarrassed."

At this point I know I'm blushing and acting like an 8th grader. But he clearly perked up because, being a guy, this is what he heard (allow me to translate): "At some point in the near-ish future we will have sex and then you can call me sexy because, dammit, I will be sexy. But right now - this ain't sex. It's cutesy cuddling." (OK, maybe that isn't what he heard, but that's actually what I meant).

So he tries a third time. "How about beautiful then?"

I let that sink in for a second, look back at him and smile, "Beautiful I like." He returns the smile and before he can say anything else I remember my manners, "Thank you for the compliment."

Ever since I dated Vain Guy last year (and even before then), the looks thing has been a major chip on my shoulder. I spent the first 30 years of my life thinking I was some tall, goofy looking chick that nobody noticed. When I started to finally understand/believe that I actually do get noticed for my looks, I began to resent getting attention for something that, frankly, I had little to do with. Part of me wants to say, "Thanks, I'll tell my parents you appreciate their genes."

I met Vain Guy at a Jewish singles event when I tried to talk to the tall guy standing next to him (yes I'm a hypocrite when it comes to height). I quickly noticed that the tall guy liked my friend Skinny so I let her have at it and, to keep myself entertained, turned to introduce myself to his shorter friend. Granted, I didn't notice him right away (not that I ever told him that), but after talking for awhile I did start to notice how he kind of looked like Mark Ruffalo - and he had nice shoes. I gave him my number and by the following weekend we had a date.

He was the first guy I'd dated since Naval A-hole (a painful story I have yet to tell) who was actually excited about me. No aloofness there at all. Like I said in my earlier post, I was just so excited that he was so excited, I overlooked a lot. So much in fact that when I think about it in hindsight, I get a little disgusted with myself. There were red flags flying all over the place, blazing neon red, begging me to see. But I let two months go by before they all started waving at once, right in my face.

Vain Guy loved to look in the mirror, posing at himself with his eyebrow and chin lifted to give the best effect. Vain Guy loved to show me his wardrobe, explaining exactly how much each item cost. Vain Guy did not make much money, so clearly he was willing to go into debt for clothes that apparently only I ever saw (he had no friends that I ever met, no wonder he was enthusiastic about me). Vain Guy had his teeth whitened and hinted that he'd had some sort of extreme skin treatment/chemical peel that I never quite understood. Vain Guy used to be overweight and was constantly worried that he was getting fat again. He jogged almost manically to keep the weight off.

These are just a few of the reasons why he's called Vain Guy and I'm sure you are probably starting to understand why I feel sick to my stomach when I think how I was able to convince myself for two whole months that we might be a reasonable couple. So thank God for that one day when I just woke up.

When I broke up with him I told him why. He was too vain and "our values were just too different." He reacted only as a truly vain person should. He agreed and said, "Yes, appearance is very important to me." And that was that.

As is my normal M.O., we ended on friendly terms and over drinks a week later he told me about his plans to take out a major loan to get more skin treatments. He had a few small dents in his skin from teenage acne, which actually made him kind of sexy, but he thought they were absolutely disgusting and unacceptable. Clearly his self image was massively distorted. I knew this would probably be the last time I ever saw him, so I decided to put it out there on the table. "Maybe you should put that money towards therapy instead?" I was quite surprised when he softened, considering the idea at least for a moment. It was in that small window that he gave me a glimpse of what he truly was beneath that dimpled skin - an insecure, lonely guy looking for a way to connect to the world around him. I guess somewhere along the way (perhaps after hearing the word "hot" too many times) he got the wrong message of how to go about it.

I knew tonight I was going to write about Vain Guy. What I didn't know was that I would walk right past him this afternoon while he was jogging intently along the boardwalk. He didn't see me, but I had enough time to notice his top-notch $65 Nike jogging shirt with matching black shorts and video iPod.

OK - I know I have to tell you what happened with Wine Guy (and my mom!) this weekend. But it will have to wait til next time.


May 4, 2007

The Buddy Comes Out to Play

Just got home from my date with McConaughey and I must say there is something quite freeing about spending an evening with someone you absolutely know you will not see again. Well, let me is freeing only when the company isn't terribly offensive or rude. But you can just tell there is nothing there beyond company for a few hours.

Within the first few sips of sake I knew this was just a "something to do" kind of date. So I was set free to be totally, 100% goofy me. This is something I do terribly well when I want to. I'm really good at being the entertaining girl "buddy" when I want to be (the antithesis of anything even resembling "sexy") and within half an hour he stopped flirting with me (no more "buddy taps" thank god, I think that is flirting for him) and started telling me things that I know he wouldn't tell a girl he wanted to see again romantically. As long as I knew it was just going to last for the next two hours, I made the best of it.

He told me how he went out with one girl on who he slept with on the second date ("a sign right there something was wrong with her," he says) and on the third date she told him she likes it rough and wanted to be tied up around the neck til she chokes. That freaked him out and he made up some excuse and left. When I heard that story, I was relieved...this guy is NOT interested in me so I won't even have to worry about fending off a good night kiss.

He suggested sushi, yet had apparently never eaten it before ( a California roll does not count as he quickly found out). So I made it my goal to get him to eat, and like, real sushi. Goal accomplished. He was quite excited when he popped the nigiri into his mouth and realized it didn't taste "fishy" at all. I told him the evening consisted of a "first" for me too...I had never been to a sushi bar with someone who used a fork. Yikes. But hey, he even mopped up the extra eel sauce with his finger so he's got some redeeming qualities I guess. But when a guy excuses his ignorance of something-- without any sense of irony -- with the proud statement "Hey, I'm a Texan," I know there won't be another date.

After a drink at a nearby pub, we both ran out of things to talk about. A brisk walk to our cars followed by a quick hug and I was on my way home to report back and thankfully go to bed. This is my first post from my brand new MacBook by the way (her name is Cherry, so say hello).

I am going out with Wine Guy tomorrow night and after an evening with a nice but severely uncultured Texan (I'd like to think the real Matthew McConaughey would actually know about things like theater, film and art, right?), I am craving his company. I even invited him as my date to the theater on Sunday afternoon (I have an extra ticket) and he graciously accepted. It's a little weird because my mom and all her yenta friends will also be at there, but before I invited him I made sure to call her and ask if it was OK if we pretended we weren't there at the same time. It is WAY too early to even get near "meeting mom" territory, let alone her slightly obnoxious theater group. This is why I love my mom - without even hesitating she said, "I completely understand. I won't even look for you." The poor woman has suffered way too many false starts with my boyfriends in the past so we both agreed she won't meet them until I'm about to walk down the freakin' aisle!

By the way, I didn't order the toro - but mostly because the place (which he picked) seemed a little dicey.

Have a great weekend. Dismissed.

Sushi, Sushi, Sushi

That's what I keep chanting as I gear up for my date tonight with McConaughey. I will very rarely turn down a free sushi meal. (Of course, if he actually takes me up on my offer to pay, then the "free" part goes out the window, doesn't it?). But this motivational tool is still leaving me feeling a little guilty.No matter how many times my friends tell me "It is absolutely fine for you to go out with him tonight. You owe Wine Guy nothing at this point," I still feel like an evil bitch. I've been trying very hard to keep things with Wine Guy on the talk-every-other-day cycle because I'll feel less guilty (and have less opportunity to blurt out something stupid) if we talk less. Of course, we email several times a day so does that count?

This afternoon I looked at a few of my fellow blogger's sites (Loverville and Cute Jewess particularly) for some reassurance. I felt better remembering that we're all dating a few guys at I need to chill the f*ck out and stop acting like I'm doing something wrong!

My friend Gouda (she picked the name - she likes cheese, whadya gonna do?) has been terrific in reassuring me. Her advice is this: "Just pretend like you're a Victorian woman who's being courted by many men." Of course, I don't think she was thinking "Victorian woman" when she got naked with Cheezy Guy on date #2 last week (I got the OK to discuss here, don't worry). After we laughed and talked about this surprising encounter, we concluded that the only reason she got naked with him was because she knew he had no relationship potential (in fact, she didn't even particularly like him). But he wasn't bad looking, so why the hell not get a little action before she sent him on his way? Plus, I told you she liked cheese!

OK, now that I've vented I feel much better. Tonight I will eat sushi, drink sake and give McConaughey a chance. But if he "buddy jabs" me again I might have to order the toro.


May 1, 2007

Poker Face Failure

After years of on and off dating, I've become quite accustomed to aloofness. I'm constantly reminded that I'm supposed to keep my cards close to my chest for fear of revealing my hand to soon. I'm only two sentences in to this paragraph and I've already used up just about everything I know about poker, which proves my point. I suck at game playing and obfuscation and it's starting to make me a little war weary.

When I like someone, I tend to smile a lot, want to talk or email with them somewhat frequently and (gasp) know when I'm going to see them next so I can look forward to it. If I don' t like someone, I feel the urge to make that clear and stop leading them on. If I'm not sure if I like someone, I try to create one or two more chances to figure it out before I do either of the above.

Unfortunately, this blissful simplicity rarely works in dating, so 99% of the time I feel like I'm walking in a field of land mines, never knowing when my often unintended honesty will get me blown to bits.

Lately people have been asking me if I tell the guys I date about this blog. Hell no! But I worry about it a lot (like any good Jewish girl would). This is one VERY small town and word spreads fast. I've already had to delete some text from a previous entry because Wine Guy mentioned he wanted to Google something we had talked about (and I wrote about). Before he was barely out the door on Sunday, I was at my computer deleting any key words that might lead him back here (and I haven't even said a harsh word about him - so far).

And since you're asking, yes I did go hiking with Wine Guy on Sunday and it turned into a 10 hour date. That could either mean it was a blissful day of nature, stimulating conversation and good company, or a torturous death march that felt like it would never end. was the former thank God. The hike was glorious, despite all the burned up trees left over from the Cedar Fire (according to the Forest Service map, this was a lesson in "fire ecology"). Then back to clean up at my place (separate showers for those of you with dirty minds), and continuing on to a tasty dinner at my neighborhood Thai place where I take all my dates (I swear they must think I'm a call girl - high class of course.) Then we eagerly tuned in to watch George Tenet try to shovel himself out of his own b.s. on 60 Minutes and then I sent him on his way. Was there a kiss? Yes, very soft and sweet and with potential.

I can't tell you how many times during that 10 hour date that I almost blurted out, "In my blog the other day...." or "I was thinking that for my blog I should...." It feels like I'm leaving out a huge chunk of myself just when I'm supposed to be getting to know him. But, like I've said, I've had problems with being such an open book in the past, so I'm looking at this as a much needed exercise in self restraint.

So back to aloofness. I am continually impressed by and excited about Wine Guy but am trying to keep my excitement contained, both internally and externally. Not because I want to play games but because I've let my openness get out of hand and burn me in the past. The thing is, he has no poker face either. He is excited about me and is making sure to let me in on that excitement. Don't worry, he's not overwhelming, pestering or stalking me. He just smiles a lot when he sees me (and emails me :-), and lets me know that he wants to see me again. Sounds familiar, right? The last time a guy did that, I was so surprised and excited that I ended up dating him for two months before I realized I didn't even like him (I'll have to tell you about Vain Guy some other time).

So that's where things stand at the moment. I had a message from McConaughey on my machine when I came home tonight and will probably meet him for dinner on Friday because I promised myself (and you) that I would keep my eggs scattered about. Plus we're going to sushi -- and sushi is one of the main reasons I date.