Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. Some might say my excitement over it borders on obsession. I begin planning my menu two months in advance. This past weekend I jumped into a freezer case at the grocery store to wrestle out a turkey, fully aware of the spectacle I was making of myself trying to lift a 21 lbs. frozen bird into the shopping cart. Thursday morning I will get out of bed at 4:30 a.m. to begin making everything from scratch while also whipping up a batch of bloody Marys. And by 9 a.m. I’ll be tenderizing (or drunkenly beating the crap out of) my turkey before stuffing it, tossing it in the oven and starting on side dishes and a plethora of mini desserts.
Why am I so crazy over a holiday whose origins began with land invasion and smallpox?
Because modern Thanksgiving fosters, nay, celebrates several of my biggest vices: eating too much, drinking too much, football and napping.
It also allows me to fulfill my overwhelming need to feed people. I constantly feel like I should be preparing some sort of food, no matter where I am. I’m practically the witch from Hansel and Gretel who fattens people up in her gingerbread house.
And finally, Thanksgiving doesn’t require a two-month, party-filled prelude that smashes obnoxiously romantic commercials, movies and TV shows in your face. No one says “It’s OK if you don’t have a date for this Thanksgiving party.” Frankly, it’s not a sexy holiday anyway. Who gets all hot and bothered by stretchy pants, food babies and the inevitable heartburn?
It’s simply a day to be thankful for what you do have, to drink like you don’t have to work the next day and then slip into a coma as the sounds of football blare from the TV.
Lesson learned: On Thanksgiving, there’s no need to worry about who you’ll impress, what you look like or if anyone will be calling you back the next day. I like to think of it as my dating day of rest.
A great tragedy befell me this week. My television died. I have a small one in the bedroom, but it’s just not the same. On the bright side, this has given me way more time to bond with the Internet! I’ve spent some quality time this week sprucing up my online profiles to see if I can stir some more interest from the single San Diego scene.
Apparently I’m stirring the wrong interest.
Recent emails from online matches have ranged from the awkward to the downright creepy. A 24-year-old with some lovely facial tattoos asked me if I’d like to come drink a 40 with him. Actually, I wouldn’t mind the 40, but could I bring his permanently tear-dropped face home to mother?
“Mom, this is my boyfriend. His name is Sad Clown Face.”
Another email simply said, “Mmmmm, will you wear your hair in pigtails when we go on our coffee date?”
That one actually frightened me.
A 38-year old emailed me with, “I like your laid back style. I just passed through a transition into almost full maturity. I’d like to meet you as my first dating experience of adulthood. Is there anything you would like to do that you have never done before? Or should I surprise you?”
He’s almost mature, but not quite. And what exactly does he think he’ll surprise me with? I’m terrified to imagine the possibilities.
My favorite email simply said, “I offer the truth. If you don’t want that, then you should move on.” Gotta hand it to him, it’s straight forward. If his profile picture didn’t make him look like a serial killer, I might have replied just out of sheer curiosity.
On the flip side, I send out dozens of emails that I hope sound normal.
“I liked your profile. Your picture with your dog is really cute. What type of dog is he? Have a great weekend!”
Not one of them has ever been answered. Perhaps I should start writing more obscure things.
“Hello. My likes: zombie films, beer, shoes and dogs. My dislikes: being urinated on, chick flicks and communicable diseases. Hit me up if you’d like to drink a 6-pack and then go shoe shopping and to the pet store.”
I’m pretty sure that would get a response!
Lesson learned: Never have any photos of yourself in an online dating profile where your hair is in braids. Apparently that sends the wrong message.
Next week I’m scheduled to donate blood. It always leaves me with a certain level of anxiety. Why so anxious when I work in health care and read about blood and guts all the live-long day? Two reason:
1) When it’s my own blood, I tend to pass out. Most people are nice about it, but it’s not exactly professional to spend the rest of the afternoon with your head on your desk clutching a juice box and a bag of peanuts.
2) I bruise very easily. So easily that just by writing this, I’ve probably started to grow an unidentifiable mystery bruise somewhere.
For example: my senior year of college I went to get my annual school health exam where they inoculate you against the flu and check you for meningitis or rabies or whatever diseases are spreading through the dorms these days and I had to get a significant amount of blood drawn. The phlebotomist was, shall we say, green. I sat in one of those high, pleather chairs clutching a stress ball for a good 15 minutes while she rooted around in my elbow with a needle. Aside from being somewhat painful, the ordeal of seeing blood spurt out of my arm when she busted a vein caused me to pass out. Within two hours of this fiasco the entire inside of my arm was a massive black bruise. Two days later, I had black lines running from my elbow up to my armpit and down to my wrist. I’m personally not into the whole heroin chic look to begin with, but this was a tad ridiculous.
A few days later, sporting my super awesome internal hemorrhage, I was invited to a costume party. I went as Josie from Josie and the pussy cats. The party ended up being dull, so my friend and I ventured to a local bar where I arrived in a sleeveless white t-shirt with a glittery-blue guitar on it and cat ears. (By the way, this occurred in late August, no time near Halloween). I became quite the social butterfly as multiple bar flies questioned my punk rock feline getup. One of which was a tall, handsome man from UCSD.
I was enamored. We talked for a few hours while we played pool (ok, he played, I cheated). He was a year older than me, smart, funny, adorable. I tried to think of how to give him my number without seeming overly eager when he happened to look down at my blood-draw war wound.
All I could say was “It’s not what you think.”
He most likely didn’t believe me as he disappeared shortly after, leaving me and my arm from “Requiem for a Dream,” sitting alone in a bar. . . with cat ears.
Lesson learned: After a blood draw, long sleeves are your best friend.
This month, I leave the realm of just being 30. Now, I’m actually in my 30’s. And yes, still single. Despite this forward march toward spinsterhood, I’m not upset about being a year older, which is somewhat surprising considering how hard I took turning 30.
The night before my 30th birthday, I drank far too much, and apparently, went out to eat. I woke up no longer in my 20’s, with barbecue sauce on my pillow case, pork in my hair and a food wrapper clutched in my hand. (I was told later I went out for ribs.) This was not a dignified step forward into adulthood. When I looked in the mirror that morning, all I could see were smears of barbecue sauce, mascara halos around my eyes and a few small lines across my forehead. I burst into tears and went back to bed.
I’ve had people tell me that they either had a hard time turning 30, or they had a hard time turning 31, and I think maybe my barbecue sauce coated distress at aging has passed. There are things I know now that I didn’t know in my 20’s and in retrospect, I am thankful I stayed single to experience them.
There are things about dating in your 30’s that are great. I have more confidence in me. I’m less willing to compromise on my values to appease someone else. I’m a far better bartender and I’m able to hold my liquor better. I’m also surer of what it is I want from life, and it’s not what I had convinced myself that I wanted when I was growing up.
The downside? The vast majority normal men in their 30’s are married. It’s true. There was a mass exodus from singledom to the alter around 28 years old when everyone decided to couple up or perish. And frankly, if I’d had the opportunity, I probably would have joined them. Of course, now they’re all reproducing and I’m somewhat glad I don’t have that level of responsibility on my plate, at least not yet.
Lesson learned: Everything happens at it’s own pace. I’m 31 and single and finally, I’m OK with the way things are. Incidentally, I’m also waiting for the first rounds of divorce among the 30-something men. I’m pretty sure they’ll be potty trained. (see: Tea and Pee)
Oh, Internet, I love you . . . but I also really hate you. I’m aware that I deliberately expose the inner-workings of my deflated love life by having a blog, but I had hoped to maintain some semblance of anonymity.
I try to protect the privacy (or at least the names) of every man I’ve written about. Alas, in the last week not one, but two men have said “so, I was Googling you and your blog came up.” Well smack my face and call me Susan.
And yes, the first entry for me is my blog. It was being regurgitated through my Buzz profile, which I had forgotten I’d even created.
Neither one of these blog voyeurs were particularly upset by what I’ve written, but it made me question: At what point do I say “I have a dating blog.”
Is it before the first date?
“Why yes I’d love to go to dinner with you at Osetra (it is my dream in life to eat there and see the wine fairies dangling above the bar) but first, can you sign this release that says I can make snarky observations about you? I won’t use your name.”
During the date?
“By the way, I will be rating your ability to kiss and making it public.”
Before the second date?
“I had a really great time last Friday! Of course we can go out again. Before we do, I should tell you that I have a dating blog. Don’t worry, my readership is fairly low.”
Lesson learned: I’ve decided not to blog about guys while I’m dating them unless they say it’s ok. Of course, if they do something awful, all bets are off. And as you know, with my dating karma, you’ll be reading something awful.
So I lied. eHarmony sent me a ridiculously good deal to continue my membership for three months. I figured, why not? I’m remaining cautiously optimistic at the idea of perhaps meeting a decent guy and at the same time, I’m enthused with the prospect of more blog-worthy encounters. It’s not that the past 15+ years of dating hasn’t left me with a wealth of material, but I like to keep it fresh.
Unfortunately, the past two weeks have been stagnant. I made it to the email round with one guy who seemed ok. I did find it odd that almost everything he’s said has revolved around how much he likes to watch TV. I have no problem with television, but when a 33-year-old man says he doesn’t like to “miss my shows,” something is wrong. That’s something my 70-something aunt in Michigan would say.
As usual, I tried to overlook this. Maybe he’s just looking for a girl to go out with? His next email to me essentially said he doesn’t like to leave the house . . . as in ever. Going out after work interrupts his rigorous television watching schedule. He did seem to be OK with going out on weekends, mostly because he has a DVR to catch what he might be missing.
In addition to his hermit tendencies, he doesn’t approve of social drinking unless it’s for networking purposes.
I have a feeling this isn’t going to work out.
Thirty-three is far too young to be a shut-in. If you are going to be a shut-in, you should at least be a drinking one. People understand a drunk hermit. No one understands a thirty-something in San Diego who spends every night of the week watching Stargate reruns. And watching it dead sober.
Lesson learned: Hurray for this guy and his honesty. And honestly, as much as I like “my shows,” I also have an unscripted life I want to keep living. And it includes happy hour.
Valentine’s Day is always ripe with expectation. Somewhere in the ether, glittering like a fantastic beacon of hope, there is a half naked cherub ready to shoot you in the face.
Despite the fact that I am more likely to be eaten by a baby dinosaur than to be struck by cupid, I still hold on to that fervent desire that I will not have to spend this fictitious holiday alone. This is spurred by being surrounded by non-single women at work who will be getting flower deliveries throughout the day.
I hate them.
Which leads me to my next point: single women are demonically possessed on Valentine’s Day. Forgive my hyperbole, but consider the evidence:
Their heads swivel 360 degrees. Throughout prime floral delivery hours, heads pop up over cubes like gophers. Passing by desks leads to rubbernecking and head swivels, maybe without the Linda Blair bone cracking.
Their eyes are red and scary. OK, maybe that’s just me. An unfortunate side effect of solo martinis Valentine’s night while avidly avoiding romantic comedies.
They will have serious words with their deity of choice about the state of their life. And if they’ve had alcohol, this might sound like a foreign language uttered in a deep, angry voice.
Lesson learned: I don’t hate Valentine’s Day, even with being single and momentarily incensed by my flower-free workspace. It’s a day about about celebrating love (with or without winged demon toddlers trying to maim me with poison arrows). And I still believe in love.
Last night I watched “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.” I have never had anyone fight Kung Fu-style for my attention, so I couldn’t really relate. But then Scott’s love interest Ramona says, “I’ve dabbled in being a bitch.”
That I could I could relate to.
I would be lying if I said I hadn’t done my own dabbling in bitchcraft. In fact, I’m pretty sure in high school I considered it my job. (If you are unaware, teenage are girls clinically insane.)
This blog would be a lie if I said I was always a perfect angel who never hurt anyone. You can’t go through this whole dance of dating and mating without at some point being totally heinous. So, of course, there has been more than one occasion where I was a bad Amanda. OK, more than bad, I was a raging bitch.
I’m not going to list my offenses because frankly, most of them are not that interesting. Although, I did dump someone on Valentine’s Day. . . after he drove three hours to visit me. . . with flowers. Probably not my finest moment. I don’t regret ending that relationship, but I could have perhaps had more tact.
And in retrospect, it hurt me too to be so awful. My only defense is that’s kind of what growing up is. You hurt people, they hurt you, and the more times you’re smacked in the face by idiocy/douchbaggery/cheaters/fecalpheliacs and those that have yet to be potty trained, the more you learn.
Lesson learned: The kinder, gentler, adult (sometimes) Amanda is much nicer when it comes to dating. I’ve mellowed some with age, and I’ve also learned how awful it feels to hurt someone else. That’s not to say my bitch streak doesn’t occasionally rear its ugly head. I’m still a girl after all. But I like to think that I’ve learned to play nice. At least most of the time.
I’m always somewhat amazed by how candid people can be at times. I’m all for honesty, but I’m also a fan of tactfulness. On a few occasions, I have been blatantly propositioned by men within minutes of meeting them. This usually happens in a bar, but not always.
For instance, during my sophomore year of college, one of my roommates invited some of her high school friends over for a party. Unfortunately for me, my dinner of choice that night was canned soup. I have since come to realize that soup is the worst possible food to eat before imbibing. I was young then, and poor, and an 89¢ can of soup was considered a good dinner. Plus I had spent most of that week’s allowance on my beverage of choice for the evening—Kahlua.
My roommate’s friends arrived as did the rest of the party and the music thumped,the patio filled with smokers and I started drinking. Eight Kahlua and creams later, I was feeling sick. I tried to mingle, but I could barely stand upright anymore. My stomach was cramping angrily and I needed desperately to get to my bedroom.
I groped my way across the living room wanting nothing more than to get away from people. As I rounded the couch an arm caught around my waist and I was pulled down into the lap of my roommate’s high school friend, a boy which I had known for approximately half an hour.
“Where are you going?” he said.
“I’m not feeling well, I need to lie down,” I answered, trying to figure out how to get his arms from around me.
“You should stay here with me.”
I shook my head vigorously and tried to push my way out of his lap. “Need to lie down,” I muttered. The room was tilting in an unpleasant way.
“How ’bout I go with you?”
I stopped my struggles to stare at him blankly. In my drunken haze I wondered why he would want watch me to curl up in the fetal position on my bed.
He smiled at my incomprehension. “You could, you know, give me a BJ.”
I grew up fairly sheltered. It’s not that I didn’t understand what he was asking for; it’s more that I wasn’t aware that people said these things to virtual strangers. At that point, no one had ever propositioned me this way and I wasn’t sure really how to respond.
Fortunately, the Kahlua responded for me.
I opened my mouth to speak and vomited. Actually, I projectile vomited. I credit the liquid dinner to giving me that kind of water pressure. It sprayed like a fire hose of Kahlua scented barf.
His arms dropped away instantly, at which point I jumped up and announced: “I feel better!”
Lesson learned: Alcohol can often lead to poor decision making. Sometimes, it can also make the decision for you.