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

November 29, 2007

Useful Distractions

I've been having a pretty crappy week and rather than continue to depress you with more of the head games I play with myself, I thought I would finally respond to two "tags" I've received from fellow bloggers Michelle (The Squawkery) and Samantha (Bewitched in L.A.)

I've responded to one of these before that had specific questions that were pretty fun to answer so, in addition to adding 5 more random facts about me, I thought I would re-paste those below too.

Here are the Rules:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog.
2. Share 5 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
3. Tag 5 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are TAGGED by leaving a comment on their blog.

Enjoy!

Five random things about Dating Trooper:

1. I have never waited to finish a school assignment until the night before it was due. Ever. I am an overly organized (and ridiculously enthusiastic) student, much to the chagrin of my fellow students. This also means I have never pulled an all-nighter (this includes college and grad school). And I'm proud of it. If I could be in school forever and make a living at it, I would in a heartbeat. Yes, I'm aware I'm a dork.

2. I am totally up for getting a boob job when the time is right. Just to a nice, full B cup. That's all I ask. And it's not for male attention. I just want to fit into more cute tops!

3. When the check comes at dinner, I pretend like I'm trying to figure out the tip and how to split the check, but I'm really faking it. I refuse to do math at the dinner table.

4. I'm pretty sure my cat hates me, but I still love her with all my heart. I think this is the most dysfunctional relationship I've ever had.

5. I am having some pretty major (orthopedic) surgery in early January (just got the date today from the doctor's office) and am scared shitless. I've never been in the hospital and am terrified of the extremely long, painful recovery ahead. I'm also very concerned that I'll get fat since I won't be able to play tennis (my only real exercise) for at least six months. But mostly I'm worried about what the strain of this will do to my relationship with Wine Guy.

Here's who I'm tagging:
Everyday Goddess
Amore & Vino
The City Gal
Sher - OCD Chick
Domestic Irritation

Here's what I answered back in June when Loverville tagged me:

Four jobs I've had:
* Dorm security in college (where I learned to read Plato in between ID swipes)
* Intern for Martin Scorsese (where I learned how to type quietly, wrap celebrity Christmas presents, and pick up dry cleaning)
* D-girl for cheezy TV movie development company (where I learned how to scavenge "inspired by" true stories from the National Enquirer)
* Studio manager for NYC photographer (where I learned how to approach models on the streets of SoHo and ask if they would pose naked for free - some actually did)

Four films that I can watch repeatedly
* Groundhog Day
* Goodfellas
* Mary Poppins
* PCU

Four places in which I have lived:
* Harlem
* Prospect Park, Brooklyn
* Brentwood (four blocks from scene of OJ killing)
* West Hollywood/Fairfax District

Four places I've been on vacation:
* Cuba (don't tell the authorities)
* Kauai
* Tokyo
* Cayman Islands

Four sites that I visit daily (other than blogs):
* Google
* BoingBoing
* Cuteoverload
* Cats That Look Like Hitler

Four of my favorite dishes:
* Mixed Feast Pan Fried Noodles
* Dim Sum
* Caterpillar roll
* Pork chops

November 27, 2007

Hormones and Expectations

I am a hateful person. At least this week.

I normally try to avoid throwing out the PMS excuse. But in this specific case, there can be no doubt. Sometime between 4:30 and 6:00pm yesterday I hit the PMS wall so hard that I still haven't stopped whip-lashing. Poor Wine Guy was, and continues to be, an innocent victim.

I arrived at his house yesterday afternoon in a pretty good mood, eager to go downtown with him and stroll around. After five minutes in the car we were in our separate corners. I refused to speak to him for at least 45 minutes and it was over an hour before I uncrossed my arms.

I can't go into much detail about the actual argument because they are somewhat shrouded in a hormonal haze and I can't remember exactly what happened. But I know what it centered around - my birthday.

This is where part 2 of the meltdown comes in and why I can't entirely blame the fight on hormones. With birthdays (and Valentines Day, anniversaries, New Years Eve, etc.) come what I am beginning to understand are my archenemies - Expectations.

They usually aren't my expectations that get me in trouble. I actually think I have very low expectations. Probably too low - more of the self-pitying "nobody would ever go out of their way to do something special for me" variety. So instead of my own expectations, I substitute what I think everybody else's would be for me.

This is problematic for two reasons:
1. Who am I to guess (mind read) what other people are thinking and/or expecting?
2. Who am I to think people are walking around with expectations about my life?

These are two very important points that are easy to consider now, in hindsight, sitting alone in my apartment encased in my unsexiest flannel pajamas and favorite hoody sweatshirt and slippers. Unfortunately, they are a lot more difficult to see when I'm all alone out in the wild (or in Wine Guy's car) and the subject of my birthday comes up.

OK, here is the quick rundown. In the course of the brief car ride conversation, he remembered my birthday was approaching the following week. This is what came out of his mouth in an offhanded way, "Oh shit! What am I going to do for your birthday?!"

This is what I heard, "I am so uninspired by your impending birthday that I can't and won't take the time to think of something you might like. Instead I'll put it off to the last minute and then be totally inconvenienced and annoyed when I have to come up with something in a hurry."

In my pathetic defense, my interpretation of his comment comes after a few other passing remarks he doesn't even remember making over the last week or two. Like when he asked me (yet again) , "What do you want for your birthday?" and I tell him that I had already given him a few ideas the week before he states, "You need to write them down."

Do I? I don't think my friends with dream husbands/boyfriends ever had to do that. Is this a bad sign? It must be!

See, this is exactly the point where those pesky expectations come into play. I don't really care what he actually gets me. Or that he might need me to write it down for him. But I keep thinking about what is supposed to happen according to...well, I'm not sure who it's according to. My friends, movies I've seen, what my mom would want (this last one is a biggie I suspect). The important part is that I am assuming that what is actually happening to me is, well, wrong.

As I'm writing this (and I'm thinking as I write so it's all kind of spilling out here), the patterns are becoming laughably apparent to me. If you've been reading my blog from the beginning of this relationship (early April), you can probably trace the patterns all the way through. When Wine Guy and I are supposed to kiss, have "the talk," meet the mom, say I love you. I'm constantly battling between my reality and my bullshit expectations.

Realization of the problem is one thing. And it's a good thing at that. But doing something about it is another. Any suggestions? Short of locating and suturing the nerve in my brain responsible for over thinking , I am lacking in solutions right now.

I refused to see Wine Guy tonight because I have placed my hormonal, expectation-laden self in isolation for the evening. Just me and my TV and a glass of wine. Hopefully by tomorrow I will be clearer of mind and he will still love me. After the way I've been acting lately, it feels doubtful.

Dismissed.

November 23, 2007

Sweet Deception

It has been approximately twelve hours since I told the lie. I am a notoriously terrible liar, so I thought for sure I would be able to keep it going for only about 5 or 10 minutes tops. Big or small, white or malicious, I generally avoid all kinds of lies. Partially because I'm moral and also because I have no natural ability to be sly or subtle. I am, I guess I could say, an "obvious" person. What you see is what you get. I wear myself on my sleeve - the good, the bad, the annoying.

I had no intention of turning this little thing into a lie when it all started. All I did was get talked into baking an apple pie for Thanksgiving. Everyone else was making something, and in my typical anti-cooking fashion, I volunteered to buy crackers, cheese, etc. That involves shopping (and helpful suggestions from Whole Foods employees). I can handle shopping.

But then Wine Guy informed me there would only be pumpkin pie for dessert. I don't know about you, but I need more than one dessert choice, and preferably one that doesn't involve a vegetable. So I said I would buy a pie. Wine Guy said, "Why don't you just make one? They are so easy." I tried not to laugh this off immediately and gave it some real thought. I looked up a few recipes online, found one that sounded easy and slightly interesting, and committed to my first pie baking experience

I needed to do this in isolation, with no one looking over my shoulder correcting my peeling technique, making suggestions, etc. I get very self-conscious preparing food in front of others because I am such a novice. So I like to hide my ignorance and hope that the end result does not reveal the chaos that went into creating it.

This apple pie did not comply. I have no idea what happened since I just followed the directions, which is all baking really is anyway. And these were simple damn directions. And I used pre-made crust for God's sake! But nevertheless, it was a disgusting mess, especially the "crumble" topping that was greasy and never seemed to actually turn into something edible. I suspect it is my old, uncalibrated oven which Wine Guy refuses to use because of its unevenness. Is that a fair excuse? If so, I'm sticking to it.

I was quite opposed to making my baking debut with a disgusting pie. I shared my debacle with friends Mendoza Line and Occum on Thanksgiving morning. The three of us were participating in a 5K charity walk/run (emphasis on walking here) and we discussed my options. Mendoza seemed to think the pie was salvageable and said she would help me try to fix it when we got back. I was doubtful, but willing to give it a try.

But then came a little bit of serendipity. At the end of the walk, there was a big celebration in the park with a band, a beer garden (at 9am!) and a big tent where they were selling all kinds of freshly baked pies for Thanksgiving. As luck would have it, there was my intended - apple crumb pie.

Occum loaned me the $15 which went to charity and there I stood....with a pie of deception in my hands. At first I joked that I would try to pass it off as mine rather than just openly declare my defeat when I presented the purchased replacement. The guy selling me the pie said, "You go ahead and take all the credit!" A gaggle of ladies heard my tale and all encouraged me to "own it." After 10 minutes of this cajoling, it started to sound like kind of good idea...at the very least a humorous, short lived holiday joke.

As I mentioned earlier, I have no subtle bone in my body and Mendoza Line was concerned I would utter my falsehood and then do my typical guffaw and blurt out the truth before the joke even got off the ground. She made me promise to hold a straight face. This was going to be a test of my will power. The stage for deception was set.

That afternoon we arrived at our Thanksgiving Day location (my VERY generous friend and co-blogger Melissa of Domestic Irritation loaned us her home while she and her family were out of town since all of us unmarried folk have teeny, tiny apartments). Wine Guy was immediately in full Kitchen Dictator mode. Kind of a mix between Asshole and Genius. I was prepared for it (7 months of dating will do that) and tried very hard not to take his stern expression and impenetrable focus personally. So when he turned to me and gently said, "So baby? Let me see your pie!" I was taken aback and flattered that he remembered me enough during his culinary frenzy to set aside a few moments to acknowledge my humble feat.

I was sure I would crack. But as he took off the foil I had wrapped it in to have a look (the store box was well hidden in the recycle bin), I grew serious. There were no silly guffaws bubbling up inside me. I wanted him to be proud of me. To think I could actually do this. He inspected the crumble topping and noted that, "it did look a little greasy" (man, if he thought this pie was greasy, I was definitely going to be screwed with my pie), but that it "looked really good."

I beamed, especially when he looked and me and said, "Congratulations baby!" and gave me a gentle hug and kiss. I ate it up. And there was no turning back now.

He went back to ignoring me in order to pull off what was an amazing dinner. We had 8 people total -- all stragglers with no family nearby - and drank lots of wine, ate too much, and played an improvised game of baseball in the back yard with some little kid badminton rackets and plastic balls. A wonderful day.

When it came time for dessert, everyone helped themselves. By then I was too buzzed to care and figured no one would pay much attention. I was right. On the ride home later that night, Wine Guy declared, "Your apple pie was terrific! Great job!" I humbly accepted the compliment and immediately began beating myself up inside. I am now, after almost 35 years (my birthday is fast approaching), an official liar. Well, I guess that's a pretty good streak.

I confessed the truth to my mom this morning and she reacted with a giggle. She assured me that people lie all the time when it comes to cooking. You know, store bought cookies popped in the oven to give them the fresh-baked aroma, etc. Is this true? Do people really do this? Even if they do, should I come clean? God help me if Wine Guy asks me to duplicate the recipe!

You are probably wondering why the hell I'm confessing this here in my blog if I want to keep it a secret. I guess that should tell you something. I don't really want to. I am 99% sure Wine Guy doesn't read this thing (if he does, I guess i'll find out soon enough!). But I know a few of his friends who came to Thanksgiving do. So I guess we'll see how long it takes until the truth comes out. Is it still "funny" or has it moved into just a plain "lie?"

So....how was YOUR Thanksgiving???

Dismissed.

November 20, 2007

Overheard in Bed #6

In the Middle of the Night Between Saturday and Sunday

"OUCH!...What the fu---?! Oh..."

Sunday Morning
Around 8:30am

"Good morning."

Yawn, "Good morning."

"Do you remember kicking me last night?"

Stunned pause.

"Really hard. Like, three times."

Embarrassed laugh, "Oh. Shit. Yeah, I remember. I was dreaming I guess. I had to kick the door down to escape. It took three hard kicks to get that thing open."

"Yeah, I know. I think I have bruises."

"Oh, gosh. I'm so sorry. But I warned you that I sleep like a maniac!"

"Apparently."

November 19, 2007

Spicoli Meets Duckie - The Recap

I'm one of those people who anticipate the hell out of things. Then when they're over with, I don't tend to rehash. Instead it's on to the next thing to worry about. I have no idea if this is a good or bad quality, but it's just the way I am. I am somewhat reassured that I see this same quality in many of my slightly neurotic fellow bloggers. Alas, I know I will have to get over it since several of you requested a full report back from me after Wine Guy's first meeting with my brother Pat-hole (see Spicoli Meets Duckie if you missed the prelude).

I'm pretty sure WG was a little nervous since he was doing that thing where right as we're getting getting ready, he starts asking question after question after question about the details of the plan. I have to admit that drives me nuts and this little habit of his has sparked several fights. I guess it annoys me because, well, why didn't he ask these questions (or seem to care all that much) when I asked him to come two weeks ago? Well, since we've already established he's a procrastinator (see Nagging Exposed!), he must just wait until attending the event is an absolute inevitability before he starts asking questions and expressing any disapproval of the plans. Argh.

Once that was over with, we were off. We first met Pat-hole at his work, a high-end import showroom featuring fine furniture and imported wood from Indonesia. He is the showroom owner's right hand man and that night they were hosting a show of local artists. My mom and I agreed this was the perfect venue for WG and Pat-hole to meet. A place where Pat-hole could show off his knowledge yet still have to behave in a relatively civilized manner since the place was filled with artsy, rich types.

We mingled, looked at the fine art work for awhile while I downed a few too many glasses of bad chardonnay. Hey, I was nervous. With the crowd, there wasn't much opportunity for interaction beyond "Nice to meet you" and a quick tour of the showroom. So far so good.

Then we headed (in separate cars) to dinner a few miles up the coast. WG was fortuitously seated on one side of table next to my mom and across from her lovely friend, while I was next to Pat-hole, his wife and her friend who speaks approximately two words every hour. I was positioned right in the middle of the table, basically on the border between two entirely different worlds of conversation and perspective. Wine and conversation about food and art was on my right. Beer and conversation about how much freshly grated Parmesan cheese Pat-hole's wife could get the waiter to pile on her pasta so she wouldn't have to actually taste anything else was on my left. I tried my best to jump back and forth between each world, not wanting to let Pat-hole or WG feel left out. But overall, it felt like two different dinner conversations that I half participated in.

That being said, obviously WG and Pat-hole didn't really get much time to talk one-on-one. Which is fine since another more prolonged visit will most certainly follow. How do I know this? Pat-hole is already planning our trip to his place for "some killer BBQ and some beading." I know, strange combination. But then again, that's Pat-hole.

What did Wine Guy think of Pat-hole? "Well, he certainly is more intense than most people I know. But he seems OK." No fear so far. Best I could ask for.

When we got home, my cell phone rang. It was Pat-hole. I took a deep breath and answered, "Hi."

"Hey there Baby Sistahhhh!"

"Hi, what's up?"

"How long have you and [Wine Guy] been going out? Six months?"

"Yeah, about that. Why?"

"Well, we were just talking and giving our reviews. You know how it is. He seems like a pretty cool dude." Translation: I'd walk you down the aisle if you married him (something Pat-hole insists he will do when/if I ever get married).

Sigh of relief, "Yeah, he is."

"I figure I won't give him THE TALK until next time," evil laugh. I hear his wife shout in the background, "No you will NOT!"

Sigh. "OK, OK. Glad we could get together. It was fun."

"Definitely. Good night Baby Sistah."

"Good Night Pat-hole."

Dismissed.

November 15, 2007

Spicoli Meets Duckie

This Saturday is a big day in the evolution of my relationship with Wine Guy. He meets my brother Pat -- better known by his family as Pat-hole. An appropriate name I assure you.

Pat is seven years older than me and I've had a bit of a love/hate relationship with him my whole life. As a young girl, I thought he was the coolest thing that ever lived. He protected me from the mayhem that frequently ensued between my three siblings and he always seemed to know how to ratchet up the fun to intense levels. I made every effort a five year old girl could to emulate him: I dressed like him (blue Nikes with the yellow swoosh), ate like him (pile as much as you can on your plate and scarf it down - still trying to rid myself of that habit), I even competed with him over how far we could stick out our bloated stomachs. It was pretty gross -- and totally awesome.

This infatuation lasted until I was about nine or so. Then his partying tendencies started to get a little too scary for me, especially when my friends were around. The best way I can describe him is Jeff Spicoli, but far more aggro. He regularly used words like cowabunga, bitchin', and fuckin' a. He had hidden pot plants growing in our backyard and drove his "turbo" economy car like it was a racing machine. He loved Van Halen, drank and smoked pot to excess, and had his pick of girls thanks to his good looks.

From that point until pretty damn recently, Pat-hole was the bane of my existence. Particularly when it came to him meeting my boyfriends. It wasn't much of a problem until my mid 20s since I avoided dating in high school and lived far away for college and beyond. But when I moved back to San Diego six years ago, Pat-hole reemerged as a major concern for me.

He's notorious for saying just the wrong thing to the wrong person - probably to get a reaction out of me. Quite effective I must say. With boyfriends he usually pulls them aside with a friendly yet threatening arm around the neck in an almost chokehold, "You know if you mess with my sister I'm going to have to come and kick your ass." Nice. But I usually do try to warn the guys ahead of time. (He even managed to piss my boss off in a record 3.5 seconds after meeting her by saying "So when are giving my baby sister a raise?" This during a very difficult budget crisis when no one was getting raises but everyone was asking for one.)

He's definitely toned it down over the last few years though. I suspect because he settled down and got married a couple years back. Now he seems quite determined to have me as a part of his life. He calls me every few weeks and greets me with an enthusiastic but still somewhat ominous sounding "Helllloooo Baby Sistahhh." But I'm starting to maybe, sort of, kind of like it. Sometimes I even answer the phone when he calls instead of letting it go to voicemail so I can emotionally prepare to call him back.

As much as you might want to dislike him, you just can't entirely. And I'm not alone in this. I'm continually amazed by his ever growing collection of friends from every possible walk of life: wealthy art patrons, gay hairstylists, beading fanatics (he makes amazing jewelry out of beads he collects from around the world), convicts who ride dirt bikes in the desert. He is what you would call a "character" and, as he gets older and more mellow, I'm finding myself strangely proud that he is my brother (yes mom, I did just type that).

So this weekend I am finally introducing Wine Guy to Spicoli. When I first considered how this might go, I tensed with anxiety. WG is thoughtful, hyper intelligent, philosophical, super left wing political, a former hippy/vegan. Sometimes I like to think of him as Duckie from Pretty in Pink (did anyone else have a thing for Duckie? So much better than Blane, "that's not a name, that's an appliance!"). What do you think it would be like if Spicoli and Duckie were forced to go to dinner and have civilized conversation?!

But then I started thinking about it. My brother isn't really Spicoli anymore. He's evolved into a rather interesting person. Annoying quite often, yes, but interesting nonetheless. And, now that I think about it, I bet Duckie and Spicoli would have a pretty damn good time together seeing as they are both accustomed to life on the fringes of normal. Hmmm....this might actually get pretty entertaining.

I've certainly prepared Wine Guy for just about every possible scenario. We both agreed that we should veer from our detox diet since Wine Guy is understandably reluctant to eat like a freak in front of Pat-hole. I don't blame him. Phew. Embarrassing situation averted.

Wish us luck.

Dismissed.

P.S.Detox Diet Day #11 (cheated twice but not too badly). Only 10 more days to go!!! (yes we are cheating on Thanksgiving)
P.S. This is Post #101! Woohoo!

November 13, 2007

Nagging Exposed!

I'm a nag.

There, I said it. Acknowledging that you have a problem is the first step towards recovery. Now what the hell do I do?

I'm a do-er. I make lists (no more than one a week) and take a small amount of joy in checking each To Do item off, one by one. Don't get me wrong, I can procrastinate with the rest of 'em, but when it comes down to shit that just needs to get done, I do it.

I don't know about you, but I've found that this is just not the case with men on the whole. Perhaps it's just the type of men I'm choosing, but I don't think so. I've heard far too many of my female friends bitching about the same thing.

I guess my problem is that I can't keep my mouth shut about it like everyone else probably does. That, my friends, apparently makes me a nag.

After typing those last two sentences, I experienced the sudden, stomach churning realization that this is quite likely the reason I am not married. Sure, I can explain away Only Child's deeply rooted commitment issues , and we all say a daily prayer of thanks to God that I didn't marry that Naval A-hole. But still, I'm sure my well-intentioned reminders to "call the doctor" or "buy a replacement bulb for that burned out front porch light" probably played a part of why these guys couldn't possibly fathom spending the rest of their lives with me.

Maybe I'm just being overly defensive here, but I must take this opportunity to forcefully insist that I do not intend nor consider my reminders to be "nagging." In fact, they are meant to be sincerely helpful.

I am simply unable to come up with any reasonable rationale for not having done these simple things. I mean, seriously, I don't personally care if they go to the doctor or leave their front porch unlit. Why would I? The only reason I bother "reminding" them at all is because I can only assume they forgot. It's no big deal really. I forget things all the time. And when someone reminds me about something I forgot, I am thankful. I certainly don't turn around and say, "Get off my back. You're such a nag." Unfortunately, their rationale for not doing these chores is not as simple as forgetfulness.

Let us address this question. What is it that causes me to bring up these "nagging" requests in the first place?

The answer: I am responding to a complaint from him.

Him: "I tripped over my front step last night and sprained my ankle. It hurts! I really need to get that light fixed."

Uh, excuse me?! Who would not respond with, "Yeah, it's pretty dark out there. You should hit Home Depot on the way home from work tomorrow and get a replacement."

People, please! In that context, that is nothing but helpful and concerned. Not. Nagging.

I suppose if I were his wife, I would just do it myself and that would be that. Drive to Home Depot and while I'm in the car on the way there, call the doctor and make him a damn appointment. But as a girlfriend of only six months, I have no right to fix things around his house or access his medical records.

So, to continue with my completely hypothetical scenario...Two weeks after the sprained ankle he says, "Ah! It hurts to put this shoe on. My ankle's been a mess since I tripped on that damn porch step. Stupid light bulb."

My first thought: Buy a new bulb.

My second thought : Your ankle still hurts after two weeks? You should go to the doctor.

What I actually say: "You should call the doctor about your ankle. It shouldn't be hurting still after two weeks."

Him [dismissively]:"Yeah, yeah...... Ow!"

I sigh and walk away, knowing that his ankle won't be seeing the inside of a doctor's office any time soon.

Two weeks later.

Him [whining, late for a nice dinner with friends]: "Slow down! I can't walk that fast. My ankle's swelling up like a balloon."

Me [trying hard not to roll my eyes]: "Really?! Ouch. You should call the doctor."

"Stop nagging me."

Get it?

The point is, my suggestions are in response to his complaints. If he stops complaining about it, I'll stop nagging (er, uh, reminding) him because there would be nothing to nag about.

But this whole discussion is pointless anyway. All I've really done here is state the obvious:

Men and women are fundamentally different.
Duh.

So....now do you think I'm a nag?

Dismissed.

P.S. The man featured in this blog entry is a composite of just about every guy I've dated. He is in no way intended to represent Wine Guy exclusively :-)

November 11, 2007

Time Heals All Fantasies

When I was a sophomore in high school I was secretly married. Well, it wasn't so secret since my best friend Gordy and I concocted the whole thing ourselves while trading notes back and forth between classes. You see, she and I were in love with two older boys -- Tad and Barry, who were seniors no less. Tad was mine, Barry was hers. They were best friends, very popular, too cute to believe, and didn't know we were alive. But in every multi-paged note Gordy and I swapped between classes that year, our relationships grew deeper, our stories more complex. We had an elaborate double wedding, spent our time hanging out as a happy foursome, and relocated to Boston (where Gordy and I were determined to move for college- neither of us did). Our lives were happy, as any good fantasy is.

This weekend, while pouring at a blowout champagne tasting in exchange for free booze, my former fantasy husband walked right up to my table. His face didn't register a bit. I filled up his glass without a second look, assuming he was just another yuppie looking to get a buzz on fine champagne. As I finished pouring he said, "You look familiar, what's your name?" I told him my first name and he immediately responded with my last. Clearly he knew who I was, but who the hell was he?

When he told me his name in return, I was stunned. Who is this person and why would he make up such a ridiculous story? Thank goodness I took that extra moment before I decided to give my instinctive reply of "Bullshit." Before I spoke, I looked him straight in the eye and I spotted it. Deep down in his eyes I could detect that glimmer, the one I'd studied so many hours in his senior year yearbook photo.

We chatted briefly a few times over the course of the evening. He was friendly and rather harmless. Turns out, he got married to a girl from our high school a year ahead of me and settled back in our old home town about 30 minutes away. A nice enough guy, but let's just say that the magic was gone. We grew apart. Suddenly those three years of age difference, which felt like an insurmountable chasm between us in high school, were now rendered irrelevant. He looked just like every other slightly bloated, balding late 30-something married dude I know.

I think he fancies himself a wine connoisseur, so when I told him I was volunteering to pour because my boyfriend knew everyone who worked at the well-known wine shop and restaurant, I could tell he was impressed. I pointed out Wine Guy down at the other table, who was frantically doling out the Cristal and fighting off the overeager posers who wanted a sip of the most expensive (and overrated) champagne on the list. Apparently, Tad had just spent some time chatting Wine Guy up about champagne and he seemed excited to know that he was my boyfriend.

It's not everyday you are so viscerally reminded of the fantasy life you maintained as an innocent 14 year old. It's pretty trippy, especially when you are buzzing pretty hard on champagne. Even though my memory of that cute 18 year old boy had clearly turned into a real-life married schlump, I apparently only needed that little kickstart for it all to come flooding back. The awkwardness, the drama, the girl talk, the lockers stuffed with elaborately folded notes, the sincere belief that I was invisible.

Even though Tad is far from this 34 year old girl's dream guy, the newly alert adolescent in me spent the rest of the night riding on the high that Tad - Tad! - recognized me. Oh my God! That means that back then he actually knew who I was! Cool! My first instinct is to write Gordy a note (in purple pen of course) and tell her all about it. But I'm sure that her duties as a wife, teacher, and mother of two probably don't give her much time for fanciful trips down memory lane, conjuring up tossed aside alternate realities covered in cobwebs and dust. Too bad. Plus, who remembers how to fold those damn notes anyway?

Dismissed.

November 7, 2007

Clothing in Common

Something kind of scary happened the other day. I showed up at Wine Guy's place before we headed out to run some errands around town. A boring old Saturday. When I walked in he was standing in the living room and when we saw each other we both froze. Awkward pause. We were wearing the same outfit. Well, the same fleece sweatshirt from his company, jeans and sneakers. Oh my God, are we one of those couples?

It gets worse. When we went wine tasting a few weekends ago, we both ended up buying the same sweatshirt from one of the wineries too.

Are we going to have to start calling each other before every date like teenage girls, "Oh my God! What are you wearing tonight! Not the grey fleece, right? Because that's what I'm wearing!"

If you haven't figured it out yet, Wine Guy and I are a very casual couple when it comes to clothes. Two or three sweatshirts can pretty much fill out our weekend wardrobes. This could be a big problem.

I guess it makes sense since we do have similar tastes in so many things. And I guess the fault lies with me since both items of clothing are actually menswear (technically).

Don't get me wrong, I do dress feminine and cute when the situation calls for it. But doing the normal boring couple things like running errands, watching a movie on the couch, cooking dinner at home doesn't have to require an "outfit" does it? Let's put it this way, my entire outfit decision making revolves around these two questions: Do I have to wear a bra? and Do I have to wear thong underwear? If the answer is no to at least one of those questions (especially the thong one), chances are I'll wear it.

My friend Gouda relishes any opportunity to put together a cute little outfit. Even her casual wear is adorably assembled. It drives me nuts because it just doesn't come that naturally to me (friendly jealousy I guess. Sorry Gouda, but it's true). And, frankly, there are so many other things I'd rather think about than outfit coordination. It probably would interest me more if I had the money to actually buy the clothes I want, but since I don't, I'm left pretty much uninspired and under dressed.

And Wine guy's wardrobe is, well, small to say the least. I'm not sure why because he does have very particular tastes and points out nice things when we happen to pass by a clothing store. But he is a former hippie (I still can't get him to toss those damn Birkenstocks) and I suspect doesn't value the wardrobe dilemma much either. Plus, when I contrast him with his friend Kansas Cad, a devotee of "The Game" who never misses a chance to wear a Peacock Shirt to attract the ladies..well, I'd much rather have a hippie with three t-shirts in his closet than a Player with the latest embroidered button-down shirt guaranteed to get him laid. Yuck.

I hope this disturbing matching outfits thing will end at just these two sweatshirts. Trust me, there are no plans to go out and buy matching nylon jogging suits. But I can't guarantee it won't happen again. Even while I'm typing this I recalled yet another item of clothing we share - matching t-shirts from the Ani DiFranco concert we went to a few months ago. Granted, his is gray and mine is yellow. But still.

Dismissed.

November 5, 2007

Less of Us to Love

I have never, ever successfully completed a diet. Which means I have never, ever intentionally lost weight. I say this with full (and thankful) knowledge that I haven't really ever been overweight by more than a few pounds either. Granted, I'm not the lanky, tight-bodied thing I was at 15, but I've managed to maintain the illusion of an athletic body type. I've never felt particularly "fat" in my life -- until now. But not just any kind of fat....the mixed blessing of "Happy Fat."

I did drop a great deal of unintentional weight once before, during the months after the Naval A-hole breakup ("disappearance" is a better word). I was thrown into such a pit of despair, apparently food did not cross my mind. For those of you who know me personally (or those who've read Pork Me, Please), forgetting to eat is a BIG deal. I love me some food.

I didn't even notice my weight loss until co-workers started teasing me for my droopy pants (I hate belts). Others would compliment me on my newly slender figure. With every comment, I would cringe. Every ounce of that weight loss came from pain and misery. It was nothing I was proud of and every time someone brought it up, it just served to remind me of my most humiliating life experience to date. My response to every "Wow! You look so slim!" was a terse, "I'd rather be fat and happy."

Then one day I snapped. A sweet but busybody co-worker chirpily complimented me on my slender physique. It's sort of fuzzy because I clearly had lost my mind, but I think I said something like, "Well, maybe your husband will leave you with no warning and then see how skinny you get." Yes, I apologized profusely a few minutes later. That was rock bottom for me.

When I met Wine Guy this past April, I was slim, trim and finally on an emotional upswing. So was he, apparently having dropped almost 50 pounds just prior to meeting me. Perhaps a bit of false advertising on both of our parts because once we came together and got mushy gushy, we started adding on the pounds. At first I didn't care. Like I said, I've never had much of a weight problem and figured I could exercise it off once the honeymoon phase was over. I also remembered my curt little reply, "I'd rather be fat and happy." And, damn it, it was true and I was thankful.

But Wine Guy did care, and he soon started feeling pretty awful about himself. It's really hard to eat right when your partner isn't on board so we both kept on munching. But when the many new pairs of smaller sized pants I bought for myself a few months earlier started to become too tight, I realized I had to put a stop to this immediately.

So last week, Wine Guy and I decided to do a 21-day detox diet he had done about six months earlier. Last night we planned the meals for days 1 and 2, bought our groceries and began the diet today. So far I'm tired from no caffeine and have a headache, but I hear if you get past the first 2 or 3 days, you start feeling terrific. Please, oh please let it be true.

I'm determined to successfully finish this detox diet.Not just for me, but to support Wine Guy and get him back to where he feels as positive about himself as he deserves to. If I succeed, this just might be the first time in my life where I find the happy medium between "Skinny and Depressed" and "Fat and Happy" -- let's call it "Healthy and Happy." I guess it couldn't hurt if there was just a little less of me to love.

Dismissed.

November 1, 2007

Always the Bridesmaid.....

I stopped trick-or-treating when I was 17, but only because the people handing out the candy started looking at me funny and asking, "Aren't you a little old to be trick-or-treating?" But I still love Halloween. The hard part is finding other grown-ups who get equally excited about playing a part for one special night a year.

I'm definitely not one of those girls who uses Halloween as an excuse to dress like a tramp. You know, the the sexy angel, sexy referee, sexy devil, sexy security guard. In fact, that kind of pisses me off. Instead, I like to pick a costume that has some sort of story. Something I can sink my teeth into for a night and pretend like I'm someone else. This year, I found my willing partner -- my good buddy Mendoza Line.

A group of us originally had plans to head downtown to see David Sedaris perform. But the show was cancelled due to last week's fires (uh, if any group of people needed a laugh right now, it's San Diegans, Lame!). So our plans for Halloween went to crap and nobody seemed to want to do anything anymore. This is the first Halloween I've known ML, since we only became fast friends last December. So I was pleasantly surprised to note her insistent excitement to still get dressed up and do something.

I was up for it, though still uninspired as far as a costume. Then ML suggested we hit the thrift stores and find cheap bridal gowns and go as Bridezillas. She found a perfect $10 number, stains and all (I can picture the mid 1990s bride, sweaty underarms, spilling wine and a little cake down her skirt towards the end of the reception). I, however, was not so lucky and needed to rethink the costume. It was then I remembered the many crumpled, still un-drycleaned bridesmaid gowns on the floor of my spare closet. All those promises from my bridal friends, "Oh, you will definitely wear this bridesmaid's dress again!" came flooding back. All lies until now.

So last night was when Dating Trooper and Mendoza Line were transformed from unmarried mid-30 somethings into Bridezilla and her depressed, jealous bridesmaid. ML looked stunning in her gown and makeshift veil. But what topped off her costume was her attitude. An all too realistic one from my seven, yes seven, bridesmaid experiences.

Now, to all my Veteran friends for whom I have walked down the aisle, don't take offense. You were all wonderful, perfect, lovely, totally kind and considerate brides. But every woman is just a teeny, tiny bit of a Bridezilla on her wedding day. And by your mid-30s when you happily attended the many weddings of all of your friends, well, let's just say that "conflicting feelings" tend to build up. And that's what ML and I got to vent last night. It was freakin' awesome.

Despite ML's gown and veil, her costume was made priceless by her foot stamping, bossing around, and whining of "IT'S MY SPECIAL DAY!" Mine was accented by my running eye makeup suggesting a night of jealous tears, smeared lipstick from too many martinis at the bar, and two small signs - one pinned to my hip that said in bloody letters, "Always the bridesmaid..." and the second fastened to the ribbon on my wilting bouquet, "Never the Bride." Our duet was topped off by my repeated attempts to stab her with my plastic, bloody knife every time she turned her back. We made a lovely pair.

I will say about 1/2 the people "got" the costume, almost all of them women. (Of course, when ML went to the bathroom, I just looked plain stupid). I could tell which ones were on our side by their facial expressions - an enthusiastic nod that said to me, "hell, yeah sister. I've been there!" Everyone else probably thought we just wanted to act out our bridal fantasies and would shout at ML as we marched by "Don't do it!"

We went downtown where the streets are choked with people in an unofficial costume parade. This is the only night of the year when I willingly visit the Gaslamp district (normally a scene of tourists, half-naked bimbos, and Navy guys all trying to score). But what other time of year can you stand on a bar patio and heckle complete strangers as they pass and not get your ass kicked?! Total heaven.

There were some priceless costumes that far outshined ours, of course. My favorites were probably the upside down guy, the group of guys in male Hooters costumes (with very tight orange shorts that just about caused a riot of howls from women and homophobic shouts from the men), and the firemen - OK the firemen were actually real and I practically had to be restrained when they drove slowly down the street in their rig waving at our hoots and hollers. (Did you know about my firefighter obsession? Let's just say that I call "Rescue Me" my "fireman porn" and refuse to allow Wine Guy to watch it with me).

If you're wondering, "Where was Wine guy for all of this?" - he was at home watching television. As our Halloween plans started to ramp up, I could tell he was feigning any sort of enthusiasm. There is nothing worse than forcing someone to dress up and go out for Halloween who isn't into it. I wanted willing partners only and a lot of laughs. So I gladly left him at home and he gladly stayed there.

We did bump in to Kansas Cad as he wandered around alone, waiting for a call to meet up with his "player" friends so he could make his moves on whatever sexy cop or sexy bunny caught his eye. He was ready for action with his "Dick in a Box" costume and was eagerly awaiting any opportunity to show his oversized member nestled in the box contraption. When he first saw us, I think he was relieved to have some company. But he quickly became disillusioned with ML and me when he realized we weren't "scoping" but actually participating in the fun. When his call came for action, he was outta there.

We had a few beers, shouted our approval, disdain, and other spontaneous color commentary at the passersby (much to the entertainment of the older couple camped out next to us). ML even struck up a conversation with a stereotypically sexy-hot Italian guy in town for a few weeks for a "robot convention" (his English was weak, so who knows what that means). She got his phone number and we're supposed to all go out for dinner one night before he leaves. Score for ML! The best part was when she picked up my plastic, oversized bloody knife and with a stabbing motion asked the Italian, "Does this translate??" Classic ML maneuver.

All in all, a successful evening. By the end of the night I had a headache from laughing so hard. I think I even came up with my costume for next year. In keeping with my "phases of life" theme, I am thinking of dressing as a Maternal Clock. Whadya think?

Dismissed.