Houdini

Houdini

So you’re sitting in a packed stadium mindfully appreciating the perks of it’s magnitude only to have the guy next to you stand up, strip free of his clothing and run the field naked. Your jaw drops. Security comes. Probably weeks of preparation and less than eight seconds of show. So much hype, the crowd goes wild… and then it’s over.

My online dating experiences lately have been a lot like streaking. Not in that I like to protest by way of nudity, but that some conversations are the coolest thing to happen to me all week and then just like that, he’s gone. Don’t get me wrong, I can make any conversation entertaining. Put a bot on the other end of a laptop within my radius and you bet your sweet as I’ll be sure to have a giggle. But these guys are topping charts, and then quickly becoming one hit wonders.

Men lately have been perfectly wrapped boxes of shit. On the outside they’ve ‘been looking for commitment’, and love a ‘woman with curves’ and always wanted ‘little dogs named after a delicious beer’. Like, stop it. You’re too good to be true. That’s because, as it turns out, nothing about you is.

I religiously watch the show Catfish on MTV, so I know that the amount of dates I go on would statistically put me at a higher risk for fishing in this pond. But even after a year of sifting through profile after profile and giving out my number I’ve always had enough female intuition to weed out the fakes. I’ve been on (roughly) 40 dates in the past 12 months, and not one of them looked any different than what I took away from their profile. That’s some pretty good luck on my end. The kicker is that these “catfish” are luring me into a false sense of excitement before I can catch on and then I’m dropped faster than a testicle. This is undoubtedly the worst feeling in the world. Next to bleeding through your tampon.

He’s 6’3. He has a house that he can’t wait to share with the right woman. He likes to work out. He travels. He makes abortion jokes without blinking. He wakes me up with “Good Morning Beautiful”. He sends me photos of “the hiking trails were going to take together”. He says “Marry Me?” when I share something that makes me vulnerable. Swoonville: Party of one.

It’s been 72 hours of non-stop textual stimulation. It’s time to meet, you know…face to face. Mano y mano. Naturally, his profile has disappeared. He won’t answer a phone call. The guy refuses to text me back. This fucker is officially gone from existence. What kind of balls must a man have to take three days out of his work week to make someone fall head over heels for them, just to bounce?

My insecurities are at a ten when this kind of awful exit strategy arises. I often wonder what I’ve done to be so highly anticipated and  then so quickly forgotten. I used to think it was something I did. Or a picture I sent. Or the way I used “fuck” and “your mother” in the same sentence. It’s not. I’ve analyzed conversations and photographs like a god damn detective. Nothing I do is wrong. I am the crème de la crème. These morons are either scared, fake or married. None of which makes them a viable option anyway.

I’m glad we got to play house with my feelings for a weekend, but when I say ” I really want to meet you” it doesn’t translate to pull the love-rug out from under me and run. If I wanted to play games, I’d break out the dice. Whoever you are, whoever you were, I hope you return some day to tell me the real reason why you left open-ended. Because as it stands, I assume it’s because I’m way-too-much woman for a way-too-less man. That, or your wife took away your cell phone privileges.

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Great Expectations

Great Expectations

I’m here in Colorado Springs visiting a couple who I highly adore. In the decade that i’ve known them, they’ve stirred up a constant ” I want a love like that” feeling within me. At 60 years old, Jeff and Joanne still hold hands, travel together and call each other ‘babe’, something I couldn’t get from a boyfriend of two years in this day and age. I always wondered how they’d met, hoping their story would prove a possibility for my future. Sitting at dinner one day, I inquisitively asked them how it was they fell in love. Their story makes me just a little more OK with how I’m going about my search. 23 years ago they both joined a company called “Great Expectations” a match making service in the early 90’s. The couple I have been in awe of all these years, found each other through what I like to think of online dating, before there was an online.

“They took my picture, asked me my interests and background checked me throughly. I was placed in a binder that would be published to men in my area. If a gentleman found me suitable for a date he would tear my profile page out of the binder and hand it to the receptionist who would then send a postcard to my match notifying them that I was interested. That match would then drive the postcard to the company headquarters to get more information on me released only if there was a mutual interest. From there it was history.” No shit. It was the Tinder of 1990. My role models met through a match maker! All that bullshit “you’ll meet the love of your life in the produce section of your local grocery store” was stuffed further into the back of my not-gonna-happen theories.

It’s insane to me how many success stories I hear from online dating, match making, ect. And still, how many negative stigmas are attached to the concept. It’s almost taboo to admit that your’e looking for a partner through your phone and not by dumb luck, chance or fate. To be honest, I find the probability of finding what you’re looking for by weeding out what you want and don’t want to be the fastest way to get from point-single to point-relationship.

While I realize most things happen when you ‘least expect it’, with some (great) expectations it’s also a possibility to find the person of your dreams. When I see a relationship as perfect as Jeff and Joanne’s I realize that it’s not how you go about finding him or her, but that you give every opportunity and avenue a chance along the way.

Red Flags

Red Flags

“Whenever anything negative happens to you, there is a deep lesson concealed within it, although you may not see it at the time. Brief episodes of poor conditions can show you what is real and what is unreal in your life, what ultimately matters and what doesn’t. Seen from a higher perspective conditions are always positive. To be more precise: they are neither positive nor negative. They are as they are. And when you live in complete acceptance of what is there is no “good” or “bad” in life. Whenever you notice that some form of negativity has arisen within you, look at it not as a failure, but as a helpful signal that is telling you: Wake up. Get out of your mind. Be present. ”

The Power of Now by Eckert Tolle

I found myself on a tropical island this weekend. Besides the scenic boat rides, clear waters, yacht sun bathing and impromptu jet skiing I left my trip with an addition to my suitcase. The excerpt above is from the page I flipped open to in a book I found on the streets of Avalon at 4 in the morning. Ill let that sink in. It’s ironic, but almost comical at this point due to the omen it presents. Since I chose to play grab ass with the tall fighter pilot at our last bar stop for the night, my friends went home without me. I walked down a cobble stone alley way, alone, asking strangers if they knew how to get to an address I was obviously pronouncing wrong. I only had about a mile of land before I dropped off into the pacific, so I drudged on confidently. As I turned the corner to a street that looked familiar I looked down to find a book face down in the dirt. Reading the title was like getting kicked in the mouth. THE POWER OF NOW: A guide to spiritual enlightenment. Ouch.

I always ask for signs, and I always get them.

A little over a year ago I remember sitting in the hallway to my work and crying to my sister about how much I felt the relationship I was in was going south. I didn’t know if it was me, or if it was him, or if it was even anything to salvage. I just knew I needed someone to tell me what would make me the happiest. She told me to do what I felt in my heart to be right. If I know anything, it’s that my heart would be of no help. So I took a break. You know, those bullshit excuses you make to be able to get out of an uncomfortable situation by just sweeping everything under the rug? I blew the Pennsylvania popsicle stand and came home to my friends and family where I was sure I knew how to BE. My boyfriend and I went back and forth about him moving out here and I felt the pain of guilt for even asking him to uproot his life, and he obliged. Of course the distance made me fall in love again. It was everything I wanted in that moment down to the ring we picked out as we planned our future together. And then I got the phone call that he was going to be a father, and not to anything I was carrying.  I mean, as far as flags go…that’s about as red as they get.

I almost married a man I wasn’t entirely sure about because I was stuck on a future with somebody being better than being alone. People do that every day. And I get to tell the story, not live the mistake. Something is steering me somewhere and it’s so outlandishly obvious that it scares me to a degree. Every guy who doesn’t call me back, every relationship that doesn’t work out, every moment that frustrates me to the point of tears…How lucky am I to have dodged those bullets?

When I arrived on the island this weekend I brought with me a sense of panic.(and a bottle of Jameson, to offset the fear) I’ve been out of a job for almost two months now and my funds are running low. I couldn’t stop thinking about how I was going to pay for a good time. The boat ride over was dedicated to scanning craigslist for potential jobs, and the bar hopping was, for me, just one giant scan for husbands. I spent more time worrying about tomorrow, instead of enjoying today. I needed a shake, and it showed up in the form of a book packed full of highlighted literature about how to stop worrying and really start living. I hate using the word blessed because I feel like a lot of us get these little wake up calls, I’m just really in tune with utilizing them to their fullest potential. So the next time your guardian angel taps you on the shoulder with an unexplainable omen, make sure you take the irony and apply it to the path you were born to take. Presence, positivity and letting go of anything that doesn’t better you along the way. Or at least that’s what my new book says.

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“Sorry to have kept you waiting”

“That’s alright. I wasn’t waiting. I was just standing here, enjoying myself…in joy, in myself.”

Dirty Diana

Dirty Diana

It’s twenty fifteen and the man of my dreams is officially piled underneath about ten thousand of Orange County’s laziest jerks. Besides time, I lose track of expectations while I sift through sex-a-holics and alch-o-holics, not just online, but in-life.  Us hopeless romantics, are now just hopeless. Since when did we stop holding doors for each other? At what point did flowers become a holiday specific gesture? Why are you more concerned with my dress than my degree? I can’t tell you the last time a man called me on the phone to ask me on a date. Romance my friends is a dying art form. Apparently telling me what bar you’re at with your friends and then proposing I ‘run into you with my friends’ is how you’re going to sweep me off my feet. The only thing we’re sweeping, are all these issues…right under the rug.

“So, we gonna do this?”  he texts me.

Do what? Are we robbing a bank? Do I need to join a witness protection program? What he’s trying to ask me is if I want to be seen with him in public, like…on a date. What I hear is, let’s kill some time while I peruse the other five thousand options I have in this town. The sad part is, about half of us will sleep with this charmer. There’s nothing awe-inspiring about insinuating that a meal time rendezvous with me is a chore. In fact, I know what I bring to the table, and I’d rather eat alone.

The follow up is simple. Introduce yourself, establish an interest, connect with a phone number, ask her out, engage, ask her out again, then ask her out again, then ask her out fifty thousand more times. That’s how this works. There’s never supposed to be a break in the routine. Date her ’til she’s ashes in an urn. Instead, I get an introduction, an established interest and then expectations that are far beyond the norm. INFURIATION. What in the fuck happened between you seeing me at the bar, liking what you saw and me giving you my number? Did your biological clock go off? Are your balls going to explode? Do I look that easy?

Originally, I thought men didn’t know what to do with their hands…mind…heart anymore.  Some guys are handed a beautifully wrapped gift of a woman and I watch them crash and burn as they speak to us mindlessly.

“What kind of trouble you lookin’ for tonight? Wanna do something hands on?”

Wait what? Unless we are recreating the scene from Ghost where we make a sick vase out of some clay, I think most of us would prefer to be hands off for the evening. Or so I thought. When I jokingly ask how well these tactics work, guys tell me more often than not, women are very responsive to their appalling advances.

Bingo. We’ve found the culprit.

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For some god awful reason, the internet has provided women with a platform to put the nail in the slut coffin. Someone’s not getting enough attention at home so she’s hiding behind an online profile training my would-have-been-soul-mate to think with the wrong head. He asks her how her day’s been, and she replies with a pouty face selfie angled perfectly at her cleavage. He wants to know why she’s so sad, she tells him she’d be happier if he came over. Thanks a lot lady, now Joe-Shmo thinks it’s appropriate for two people to meet for the first time at a house, with zero effort put in on his part. If he can catch a lady like this, he’s done fishing with quality bait.

In walks me. Passionate, professional, poised. Pissed the fuck off, because “Joe” (as we will call him) has approached me with no bait, not even a wink: “Wanna go back to your house?” What makes you think I want you to go back to my house? Oh right, D.I.ana “Daddy Issues-Ana” hit your inbox yesterday and now you’re god’s gift to the female population. I can’t even be upset at the lost puppy dog. Someone trained him this way, and she and I probably went to high school together.

I write a lot about all the things men can do differently in this game of love. When the reality of it is, it takes two to tango. I took my devil horns off in my early twenties because I knew that having respect for myself would attract a man with the same. Us women have a responsibility to the women who may come next to teach men how to treat a lady. Making it too easy was the worst thing we could have done for future generations. The scaled-back approach has destroyed what was left of courting because miss low self-esteem let him walk right over her and into her bed. Do me a solid ladies, next time you’re looking for an ego boost, stay away from men all together. Call me, I’ll tell you how pretty you look. You’ll have your dignity, and I’ll get a real shot at finding a husband.

Genetic Fingerpointing

Genetic Fingerpointing

I never give my childhood baggage credit. I feel like most people could trump my past ten fold. Love always superseded hate and I never found myself without a roof over my head. However, being a child of the late 80’s, born into a middle income family in South Orange County, the shit end of the stick still reared its ugly head. Normalcy was court ordered rules from birth til emancipation. It was children’s homes and manipulation. It was fractured promises from my first breath to what some days I hoped to be my last. As a child I was a pawn on the chess board of life, weak but useful. A game, I still don’t know how to win. My presumption was always that the majority of people I interact with daily may have actually had it worse. It was never about having the saddest story; it was always about being the most righteous victor.  I always swore I would never let the damage from my past effect any part of my future self. Unfortunately, some things in life are unstoppable; like the unwanted advances of an awkward crush or growing up to be a biological combination of two people you dreaded most.

My parents had one job. All of their hard work, life experiences, and decisions led them to me; another human being in dire need of learning how to, well, be. I was my father’s second blessing; mom’s third, but even with the difference in practice, they were both deemed fit for parenting. What I learned of my mother through the years was that she would be full of the same passion I would later in life wish I never acquired. It was the genetic curse that would lead to my most basic fear; being alone. I gave them just a few years of happiness, but by the age of two my parents split harder than pea soup. I don’t know who left who. Even if I did, I’d question if that was the truth. There were files, upon boxes, upon cabinets of official documents that pointed fingers and delegated blame. At the end of the day, all I really knew was that mom loved me to literal death and dad, well, he was the funniest man I’d ever have the pleasure of knowing. No matter how much I love them today, they were my yesterday, and they’re really screwing with tomorrow.

“It isn’t where you came from, it’s where you’re going, who you are.” people would always say. What you’re telling me is, my past holds no substance; that ounces don’t make pounds and cells don’t make people? Memories are literally the architecture of my being. Every step I have taken, premeditated or otherwise directed has led me to exactly where I am today. Of course deciphering whether to blame future me’s lack of success on past me’s structure keeps me on a constant journey to prove the world around me wrong. Side note: It’s taking longer than anticipated.

A stranger once told me that I was a baggage claim of negativity. Pain that wasn’t mine, circling my life with absent owners.  I laughed. She wasn’t certified to diagnose me. I wasn’t guaranteed to listen, but whatever she saw in my eyes she knew I was trapped and what I saw in hers, I couldn’t ignore. These were not my burdens to bear, but they were all given to me to hold. They were there, and they were steadfast even among my daily optimism. It made me question all I knew about becoming a better me. It sold me on the idea that no matter WHAT I accomplished, WHO I was, was a failure. Every day I’m at war with pessimism, constantly removing myself only to be frantically added back in. Since the day I was born my purpose driven life had been purposely driven straight into the ground.

I bet you’re thinking the same thing my therapist told me for 15 years. Get over it. If it were that simple, a lot of people would be out of jobs and I’d already be married with four kids, making their lives a living hell. My paper weighted pain has always kept me from moving forward fluidly. I pause with abandonment issues and essentially eat men alive because marriage from what I’ve seen, isn’t sacred…it’s an emotional and financial bloodbath.  The greatest obstacle I may ever have to overcome will be taking responsibility for who I am today. But, I can’t help but feel it in my DNA. The inadequacy and helplessness I felt as a child ring loudly as I fail at every relationship I attempt. It’s silly to say that it’s Mom’s fault, or even Dad’s, but broken homes leave broken hearts and broken hearts build broken minds, and a broken mind is a broken soul leading a broken life. If I expect any kind of love in my future to last, forget SuperMAN, I need SuperGLUE.

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