I developed my first celebrity crush when I was just 4 years old. It happened when my parents took me to see Return of the Jedi. I had been to the movies before, but this was different. This was EPIC and in no way would involve a cartoon skunk. And I remember this outing because this is when I first fell in love.
About halfway through the film, I declared to my mother that I wanted to marry Han Solo and keep Chewbacca as a pet. I wanted him to take me to live with the Ewoks and smuggle things for me. I wasn’t even sure what a smuggler was, but I had a feeling he was good at it. Han Solo was good at everything! Even then I could appreciate a man with skills.
As a teenager, my tremendous crush on Harrison Ford continued. I saw all of his movies, even the crappy one where he was shot in the head. And he was also Indiana Jones.
I even read articles about how he saved people in his helicopter. Every time I learned something new about him, it confirmed that Harrison Ford was perfect and should come over and barbecue in my backyard.
So when I was 23 and found out I working at an event that the love of my fantasy life would be attending, I was more than a little excited. He was going to be at an awards ceremony that my company was hosting. I spent days preparing for the opportunity just to see him in person. I wondered if I would be close enough to smell him, and if I was, would he smell like wookies and archaeological relics.
The day of the event, I was all nerves. I calmly did my job passing out programs and registering people. During the ceremony, my coworkers and I had a table at the back of the room where we were served dinner. It was technically the same food that everyone else got, but it seemed like they were a little rushed when it came to the steak, as mine was still bleeding and looked vaguely like it had been dragged behind a car.
After dinner, the CEO of my company, knowing about my absolute adoration asked if I wanted to meet Harrison Ford. This is the closest in my life I’ve ever come to screaming “OMG!” in an octave above a dog whistle.
I walked over. There he was. His hair was grey and fluffier than I thought it would be. Calista Flockart sat next to him, chewing on her hair. And then he turned around looking just like Han Solo, were Han Solo in his 50′s and wearing an Armani suit. I walked forward, and . . . oh shit.
Whether it was the excitement or the bad steak, I don’t think I’ll ever really know. I literally had 5 seconds to decide if I wanted to be the girl that vomited on Han Solo.
I turned and ran for the closest trashcan. I’m sure he never even saw me, I moved so quickly to get away. And I never got the chance to actually meet him.
The opportunity to shake hands with an icon of nerf herdery will probably never come again. However, boyfriend is prepared for what would happen should Han Solo show up at my door with the Millenium Falcon parked outside and an offer to take me to Hoth for a ski trip.
Lesson learned: No matter how much you prepare, there’s always the possibility of puke.
Even though I’m no longer single, my abhorrence of romantic comedies hasn’t abated. Their formulaic absurdity grates on my nerves. I honestly don’t care how many bridesmaids dresses Katherine Heigl has had to wear. And did I see that she was in a movie as a bounty hunter? Now there is realism.
It’s not that I can’t lose myself in the fantasy world of movies, but if they are going to be that far fetched, then at least make it so they are actually humorous. How many times has your date been interrupted by a montage of the two of you doing playful things together like learning to dance or tripping in a field and falling down together while laughing? (Falling on each other by the way, hurts. That’s how you break a hip.)
I suppose it’s because real romance is only romantic if you’re in the moment and it’s pretty mundane to an outsider. For example, the other day I was brushing my teeth and wandering around the bedroom. I have an electric toothbrush and a complete inability to stand over the sink while I brush my teeth, I need to wander. I don’t know why.
It was then that I noticed a moderately-sized spider on the bedroom door. Seeing this little home invader filled me with dread. I hate spiders and I’m constantly being bitten by them. I don’t try to spare their lives by putting them outside. They could come back in! They break into my house, they die. Or they get batted around by my cat for 20 minutes and then they die.
So I stood there, toothbrush in mouth, afraid to speak because I might spray toothpaste everywhere, hooting and pointing at the door like an idiot.
At this moment, boyfriend steps out of the shower to see this spectacle of oral hygiene combined with distress and without a word, kills the spider and flushes it for me.
And that, my friends, is romance.
Lesson learned: It’s the little things that make life romantic. It is not Katherine Heigl.
A few days ago, a friend of mine told me about his adventures at a certain dating site’s in-person mixer event. It sounded awkward, annoying and over-priced. He ended the evening by himself at the bar, which sounded like most of the single’s “mixers” that I’ve attended in the past. It also reminded me of an especially weird event from several years ago.
I was invited to what was comically called a “Lock and Key Party.” Before you take this to mean that I was venturing into the world of 70’s-style swingers, the party actually involved taking a brief personality questionnaire, which was then put into a computer. After a few minutes, you were given a small “key,” which looked like a USB drive with a button on it. Throughout the party, you had to put your key next to someone else’s and click the buttons simultaneously. Based on your questionnaire answers, the keys would light up green or red to indicate if you were compatible.
It sounds cooler than it was.
My key blinked red for every person at the party, except for the female friend that I had dragged with me. All red lights led to guys walking away from me, which was depressing when most of them looked like they lived in their mother’s basement and were opposed to hand hygiene. I was beginning to think I was incompatible with everyone.
At the time, I was writing a series of clinical articles for a nursing magazine about an increase in STDs among teen girls. Not really ideal work to be in before venturing out into the dating world. I began to think maybe it was better to incompatible than to risk a communicable disease.
As the evening wound down, I found myself cranky and moderately intoxicated. Finally, the only decent looking guy in the place made his way over to me. We clicked our keys and were astonishingly a match. Was I going to actually meet someone at this atrocity of a party?
I asked his name, which he gave to me followed with, “Yeah, I’m married, but I work for the company and wanted to see how this thing worked.”
Um, then where is your wedding ring? And why do you have a key if you are just observing?
“What’s your name? What do you do?” he asked.
“My name is Amanda. I write about syphilis.”
Lesson learned: Forced single mingling is just that, forced.
A funny thing happened when I wasn’t paying attention: I ended up with a boyfriend.
You’re not hallucinating. Well, at least you didn’t hallucinate that. I am “in a relationship.” It’s on Facebook. It must be real.
Which has left the collective of readers (all 5 of you) wondering about the fate of Slightly Serious. Despite the fact that I like to write about my dating shenanigans, this relationship will remain private. Sorry my voyeuristic friends, there will be no tour behind the curtain.
However, given my propensity for ridiculousness, I am going to continue to blog. Frankly, I can’t keep my idiocy to myself.
Lesson learned: Sometimes good things happen when you least expect it. And then you remember that your parents are on Facebook and want to know why you didn’t tell them you were dating someone.
A few years ago, my friend M and I were headed to the birthday party of a mutual friend. We arrived early and were enjoying overpriced, underwhelming cocktails when we noticed that the rest of the birthday party was ostensibly late. Turns out, they were at a different bar, the birthday girl being already too intoxicated to be allowed entrance into the bar we were in.
Taking the last sips of our drinks, we headed out in search of our party, which had been moved to a bar about five blocks away. Downtown being downtown, it was fairly busy at that time of night, but not particularly on the street we were on. We strolled, chatting, enjoying some fresh air and quiet before the onslaught of humanity that would inevitably crowd the bar we were going to.
From the opposite direction, two guys were walking down the sidewalk, one of average size, and the other guy was practically the Hulk in an Ed Hardy t-shirt. He was easily 6’7″ and built like a brick wall. I wasn’t paying much attention since I was so engrossed in my conversation with M. Before I knew it, Hulk picked me up, and started walking off with me. I was trapped in a traveling, steroidal bear hug.
At first, M didn’t notice because the move to sweep me off my feet had been so fluid, but then she heard average-sized man freaking out and screaming “Oh my God! Put her down!” I was no longer beside her so she came running after us.
In that moment, I didn’t really know what to do. The whole thing seemed a bit surreal. I just held still while this colossus continued to, well, cuddle with me on the sidewalk.
“What are you doing?” M shrieked. “Put down my friend!”
When I was finally on my feet again, averaged-sized man started babbling about how drunk Hulk was, and yes, he seemed quite inebriated. I was glad he didn’t drop me on the ground.
“I’m sorry,” he said finally. “She looked like she needed a hug.”
Lesson learned: Be afraid of exceptionally tall men in need of a cuddle.
I recently received an email (spam) from one of the major paid online dating services with the subject line reading: “1 in 5 relationships start online.”
So by those odds, I’m more likely to find someone offline. Yes, let’s do that.
As much fun as it was to be slobbered on by an anime aficionado with bondage tendencies, getting asked out for chicken waaaaangs and receiving a plethora of vulgar emails inquiring about my measurements, I think I might be taking a break from the online dating world.
And apparently the odds are in my favor!
There is only one problem with my plan to abandon online dating: I really suck at meeting people.
It’s not that I’m shy, though I can be in a lot of situations; I just have no idea what to say to people that I don’t know other than, “Hi, I’m Amanda. Uhhh, nice shirt.”
So in order to offset my naturally alluring awkwardness, I start babbling incoherently about weird things, like heart valve surgery or my bizarre fascination with the movie Predator.
My inner voice screams “shut up!” a lot.
Then there’s whole question barrage of questions that accompany meeting someone in person. “Does he like me?” ”Is it ok for me to ask him out or should I wait for him?” “Is he gay?” “Wait, is that his girlfriend?”
Alas, without the benefit of the online introduction, I don’t get asked out a lot. So my quandary: continue to be a dating leper, or fork out another mound of cash in order to go out on more humiliating dates?
I’ll brave the real world.
Lesson learned: If a dating site tells you that your odds are better meeting Mr. Right in person, well, you’re basically screwed.
I have caught a lot of flack lately for not giving guys enough of a chance, so against my better judgement, I continued to see someone that I was not particularly interested in. He was nice, easy going and went out of his way to make our dates fun and interesting. I should have liked this guy. I just . . .didn’t. Even when he kissed me, I felt nothing. There didn’t appear to be anything wrong with him, so I assumed the problem is just that I am dead inside.
Last night was our fourth date. We went to dinner and a comedy show, so I said I would meet him at his place because it was on the way. His studio was clean and well decorated. He made me a rather spectacular drink and I sat on the couch while we chatted. The whole time I kept thinking: “why don’t I like him?”
His desktop had two giant monitors, which were on and I stared at them absently while we talked. I wasn’t really thinking about what I was seeing. Then it hit me, I was looking at a picture of a winged anime girl, with pasties. She looked young, in pain and she was chained up around the throat and hands.
Really? I glanced at his DVD collection non-chalantly. Pervy anime.
And this was just the beginning of the evening.
We got in the car and he thumbed through his music collection on his iPhone. The wallpaper on the iPhone? More bizarre animated bondage. With wings!
Was it just me thinking that this was a tad bizarre? Who really has that on their phone and computer? I’m a bit of a dork myself. I’d be understanding of a giant picture Arwen because, despite the prosthetic elf ears, Liv Tyler isn’t a cartoon. Even Princess Leia in the gold bikini would be preferable to this.
At the very least, if he knew a girl was coming over, he could have changed his wallpaper to a picture of a dog or Angelina Jolie, or ANYTHING other than his freaky cartoon bondage fethish.
I tried to be understanding though. I wasn’t going to be overly judgemental. I could give his guy another chance and just pretend that chained up girls on desktop wallpaper is cool.
We chatted through dinner about various pop culture references and he mentioned he was a fan of Boardwalk Empire, a show that takes place during prohibition. I mentioned that I knew of a bar that specialized in prohibition-era cocktails.
“Prohibition, that was in the 50s, right?”
I have no response to that.
Lesson learned: No matter what anyone tells your, or how dead you feel inside, go with your gut, it’s probably right.
For the past week, my Facebook feed has been cluttered with the fallout of breakups. For several days I could practically hear REM crooning “Everybody Hurts” when I checked my page. It seems as though mating season is over and in its wake is a smattering of broken hearts. Some of my friends have handled their breakups with a grace that I envy. (I’m not exactly sane during a breakup.) Some . . . not so much.
In the midst of this dating carnage, I was asked out on a date for the first time in close to a year. And I’m not excited to go.
This is perhaps the only legitimate date request I’ve received from my recent foray into JDate. The rest were either scared off by me only being only half Jewish or they sent me an email already naming our children. Introduction emails seem like a strange place for family planning. Maybe that’s just me.
But this guy seems to be intelligent, eloquent and polite. And as my colleague put it, “He’s really cute! You never go out with cute guys!”
(What, the albino was very attractive for someone without pigment!)
So why am I not excited?
Perhaps it’s watching the online massacre of relationship bliss. Except I don’t think I’m that empathetic. More likely, it’s because the vast majority of my first dates with people I’ve met over the Internet have ended in disaster. In fact, I can’t recall the last time an online date led to a second date.
I am such an optimist.
Maybe it’s time to forget where everyone else is in their life and forget about those bad dates. Well, maybe not forget. I could use my Fibonacci theory instead. Time to move forward to what could very well be a perfectly nice date.
Or a really awesome blog post. We shall see.
Lesson learned: If you’ve been whining about never meeting guys who can spell, and then one who can asks you out, stop whining and go on the date.
Over the weekend I received an email from a friend telling me about his recent online dating experience.
“Just had the online date from hell. You need to talk me down on Monday. I should have had enough drinks by then…”
I can sympathize. While I’ve only dated men, I have heard a lot of anecdotal evidence that online dating in general is just plain annoying—for everyone. Women can be just as crazy, if not more so, than men.
For example, a few weekends ago I was out with a group of guy friends and one of them spied an attractive girl at the bar. She was tall, blond and cute. Being the lone female in the pack, I went to go start up a conversation and perhaps introduce her to my friend. I’m not a terribly good wingman, but I have helped others in the past.
We started chatting about the music that was playing, and within 15 minutes I learned:
- Where she was born
- Where she works
- That she has a boyfriend
- Where her boyfriend works
- How she feels about their relationship
- How long they’ve been together
- What she got him for his birthday
- What she thinks about their sex life
- Should she move to St. Lois with him
- What her dog thinks of him
- How long her boyfriend has been on a business trip
- That she misses him SO much that she might die
- And that she’s perpetually on a heavy-duty dose of Xanax (and how much she pays for that prescription)
She was into sharing apparently.
I think I managed to say three words during this conversation and then hedged away slowly, lest I wake the Xanax suppressed crazy that was underneath.
Is this what some women are like when they first meet someone? None of what she told me was particularly bad and would have been appropriate to tell me if we were friends, but she had just met me. What would she have said to my friend if she had been single and he hadn’t seen the look on my face and run in the other direction? Perhaps she would have been more reserved. Perhaps not.
(And as a side note: crazy pants here has a boyfriend? And I’m still single?)
It could be that as a culture, we’ve lost certain sensibilities that make us tolerable to each other in an initial introduction. I can’t see going on a first date in say . . . 1912 and hearing “U wanna go get some waaaangs? They only twenny fie cents tuh-day.” Likewise, I doubt any woman at that time would say “Oh my God, that girl over there, she like, totally needs to get her eyebrows waxed. Buy me a drink, something fruity, let’s get f*cked up.”
Lesson learned: We’re all a little bit insane. It’s just finding the tolerable insane that’s the hard part.
I would like to say that I didn’t give online dating more consideration because my personal life has been far too interesting and fulfilling, but I can’t. My lack of prospects and my utter inability to meet anyone on my own has me pondering another dip into the cesspool of online matchmaking. However, I honestly can’t handle more poorly written, sexually charged emails accompanied by topless camera phone bathroom pictures. My faith in humanity is already dwindling; that might tip me over the edge and leave me lying on the floor begging for the Mayans to be right.
Having tried a plethora of other online options, I was about to give up when someone proposed JDate to me. I’m not Jewish from a religious standpoint, but my mother’s family is, so why not embrace my peoplehood. I can kvetch with the best of them (as you’ve probably noticed) and I am no stranger to hiding in a corner of a family event with a bottle of Manischewitz, wishing it didn’t taste quite so awful and drinking it anyway.
So, I checked it out to see if perhaps this site would accept a shiksa like me.
I wasn’t quite prepared for the level of propriety I found. In every profile, there was proper grammar use, all the words were spelled correctly and I did not see one topless bathroom photo. And they all had jobs!
Honestly, I don’t know what I’d do in a relationship with a guy who had his life together or who wasn’t constantly asking to borrow money from me. One of my exes (the one who wouldn’t give me a bottle of Corona because that was the “good” beer) still owes me money. We were taking a trip together and he had complained that he couldn’t find reservations for a place to stay online, could I do it and he’d pay me back. Despite the fact that he worked in customer service for a chain of resorts, I believed him. (And thus, you can see my blind spot in relationships.) After we returned home, he told me he didn’t have the money up front, could he pay me in installments, which I agreed to. This was not the first time he had borrowed large sums of money from me. We broke up before he paid me back.
So having been continually blinded by a series of class A f*ck-ups, I think I’m ready to meet someone with a job, aspirations in life, and the ability to effectively communicate using phrases longer than “ur sexy.”
Then again, it might all be too good to be true. I’m still pondering this foray into the world of Jewish dating.
Lesson learned: When it comes to finding Mr. Right, maybe you have to take a different direction.