A single past (part 3 of 4).

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The first slow-dance that Phil and I shared was the final song of the Valentine’s Day Dance our freshman year of high school.  I don’t remember what the song was but it was 2005, so, use your imagination.  The dance was, inappropriately enough, held in a local bar that closed down for the event and we swayed and smiled. In that same spot, eight years later, I would be dancing with less-than pure intentions with a guy I never thought about during third period math class.

Our first kiss was behind the Museum in town.  We were seated under a tree and were joking about something (I don’t remember what) when he looked at me and simply told me to kiss him.  I did.  It was nice.  We did it again and his tongue came into my mouth and, in shock, I bit it.

The relationship wasn’t solid.  I still maintained my short-term dating style with Phil but over a course of four years.  I loved Phil, yet I was afraid of love, so even though he told me he loved me on a few occasions, I never admitted it back to him. Eventually he stopped saying it to me.  A small part of me is hoping he reads my blog so that he can just know that there was a time that I was in love with him.

We hugged a lot when we were together.  I was afraid to kiss him after the first incident.  I’d get over that by senior year when we weren’t together but tended to find each other in the dark room during photo class.

In preparation for this segment I went through my email to read our old correspondences.  There weren’t a lot but there were some that proved we were close once.  One conversation involved me just checking in with him to see that he was okay when he didn’t show up for school one day.  Another were a series of fractals that he sent to me on Valentine’s Day.

valentine's day

Hearts

This boy is the smartest person I knew at the time (he’s still pretty high up on the list).  He was teaching himself physics our sophomore year and I tried to get Chuckie to teach me something about it just so I could impress Phil (sadly, I think I just embarrassed myself with both of those boys).  He also is extremely talented with a camera in his hand.

He made me an earring once.  He never finished the pair so I would wear it on one ear and just part my hair in such a way that you couldn’t see that my other ear was naked.  I keep the earring in a keepsakes box on my desk.

At the Junior Prom after-party, a drunken me got separated from her friends and confusedly wandered around the bonfire.  Phil found me and held me until we fell asleep in front of the dwindling fire.  When it got too cold, he took off his peacoat and laid it over us like a blanket.  Looking back, that was probably the first time I realized I felt safe when I was with him; in a way he was home.

I don’t know who ended it for the last time.  We never had dramatic break ups for the whole school to witness.  We weren’t those people.  Our breakups tended to be simple, to the point, and with educated reasoning.

A friend of Phil’s died at the end of the summer after our graduation.  All I wanted to do was comfort him the way he had comforted me at that prom party.  I didn’t because this grief was too big for any of us to handle and I didn’t know then that comfort is the same in all arenas of life. I regret not going to him to this day.

Phil never tried to change me.  He never needed me for anything but who I was and didn’t complain when who I was compromised our relationship.  He was the first consistently inconsistent boy in my life.  He was also the first person to tell me to pursue my creative writing career (I have it in writing).

A small part of me wishes I could go back and love Phil as fully as he loved me.  I think my life would be different and I would be less afraid of love.   I don’t think we would have made it past high school either way but I think I could have learned a lot about love and relationships from Phil if I had just given him the chance.

A single end game.

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It shall hereby be known that I am, officially, the worst.

The worst at what? You may ask.

Well, dear readers,  I am officially the worst at the end game.  I can cast a lure, I can get the guy interested, but I can never seem to figure out an end game.  This always leaves the boy confused, me frustrated, and both of us disappointed.

The fact is that most of the time I know my end game is ultimately going to be different from his.

Let’s take Jesse, for example.  Jesse was dancing at the Box when I rolled up last Wednesday looking to dance and drink.  So my friends and I joined Jesse in a few moments of awkward 80’s style dancing (which is the best any of this group could accomplish).  At one point, I walked up and just started to flirt with him, luring him in to the situation.  We danced. We flirted.  We laughed.  We generally had a good time.

Then the Box lights came up and it was time to go home and Jesse looked at me expectantly.

“Want to come check out my room?” He asked.

“I can’t.  I have to be up early.”

“Me too but I can go all night if you’re up for it.” He moved in closer for the kill.

And that’s when it usually hits me.  It’s like a giant, red-flashing sign in my head that reads ABORT telling me to run and run fast.  I mean, I flirted and initiated the entire situation but, when it came down to it, I was afraid to reach that end game.

So instead of jumping in a cab and following Jesse home I simply said, “Maybe next time,” and then left so quickly that there is probably a trail of regret and poor life choices burned into the floor of the Box. I know how unfair that is to poor Jesse.  He put all his chips in, hoping for the best, and I unceremoniously just swiped them off the table and walked away.

I don’t know what’s wrong with me, Readers, I’m just worried that if I keep this up that this blog will become a barren wasteland of frustration and angst.  I’ve got to get out of this defunct end game.

Any suggestions for me, Kids?

A single past (part 2 of 4).

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I can’t listen to Norah Jones’ “Come Away With Me” album without thinking of Tommy.  He was short-lived but also at the height of my hormonal stints.   Most of what I remember about Tommy came from before we even dated.

Tommy, for me, was the anticipation of dating.  It was the flirting, the day dreaming, and the excessive contemplation of everything he said over uncooked cookie dough with my friends.  When I started crushing on Tommy, I had recently moved my bed near the window of my room, I’d stare outside and listen to “Don’t Know Why” and “Come Away with Me” over and over again on my disc-man.  I’d wish I had some instant way to send him a message right at that moment (text messaging wasn’t big yet) that didn’t require me to log on to the family computer.

The worst thing about this relationship is that I don’t remember how it started.  I can’t figure out who asked who out, where we went for our first date, or how I felt afterwards.  I’m guessing this is the beginning of my aging process and my memory is, apparently, going first.  I’m going to assume that I was asked out over AIM.  That was the norm at the time and I’m sure I wasn’t any different.

The few moments that Tommy and I did date are still precious to me.  They’re also straight out of a 7th Heaven episode (but with less making out on the couch).  Tommy would take me to the movie theatre, we’d share some popcorn, and I’d put my hand on the armrest, hoping that he’d get the hint and take my hand, because holding hands was the most important thing for us.

But, like I said, it was short-lived.  It was a “Summer Lovin’” scenario and it “happened so fast.”

Still, I can’t look back at these relationships and not stop on Tommy.  He represents the innocence of relationships – a time where holding hands was enough – and it’s sometimes a trait that I miss when I’m dating now.

I broke up with Tommy on the phone.

For no justified reason, I just broke up with him.  He was the beginning of the boys I would break up with just because I didn’t feel like playing anymore – I used to have a three-month relationship tolerance…actually I still do.

A single Lame-o.

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Listen, sometimes, and this may come as a shock to you, seeing as most of my posts suggest otherwise, I don’t drink.

And sometimes, just hold on to your hats folks, I work on my writing.

I stay at home, sit on the couch in the most unattractive sweat-suit I can muster up, and I write for hours – my only interruption coming from a cat needing attention or that episode of Once Upon A Time that I just can’t miss.

I honestly don’t go out as much as you might think.  I mean, I am trying to save for NYC and I’m a natural home-body.  I like to pay homage to my introverted self.

However, Trevor (of A Single Alpaca fame) got the wrong impression the other night.  He caught me on a night where I decided to go out. I got a drink and then five and BOOM I was giving him my number and hanging out making out with him.  Which I still regret to this day. So now, every time he goes out, he texts me and expects to be able to meet up with me because he assumes I’m at another bar.

For a while I played along.  So when he texted me asking me where I was I’d say, “Getting ready to go out,” or “My friends bailed tonight :(“ because I didn’t want him to know the truth.  But, around the fourth night he texted me in a row, I was done.

I was done for two reasons:

  1. It was annoying.
  2. Every time I saw him and he was sober, he wouldn’t give me the time of day (and I was simply asking him “how his day was” or “what slice he wanted from the case” because I only saw him when I was working at the Pizza Place.

So the other night he texted me and asked:

“Sup?”  Seriously, the man is a genius with words.

“Writing.” I replied.

“Sounds lame.”

“Are you at the Box?” I asked.

“Yeah.”

“Sounds lame.” I responded.

I’m not asking Trevor to date me.  Hell, I’m never going to ask that of him.  I’m not even asking him to be my friend. I’m not even the one that initiates these texts! I’m just asking that this guy, who deign to text me when he is drunk and make out with me after three shots too many, will show me the slightest amount of respect when it comes to my life.  And my life is writing.  Which he would know if he paid attention to me when we spoke the firs time we sat next to each other at the Box.

I’m a writer.  That comes first.  I don’t point out that his constant drinking is lame.  He shouldn’t point out that my writing is lame.

Get over your lame self.

Single Throwback Sunday: A single friend.

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There is a sixth dimension which is known to all single men and women.  It is a dimension as vast as space and timeless as infinity.  It is the middle ground between loneliness and closeness, between friendship and relationship, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge.  This is the dimension of friendship.
  
It is an area we call the Friend Zone.

I’ve been thinking about the Friend Zone lately.  I’ve been thinking of all the times I’ve been placed there and all the times my friends have had their fates sealed away there as well.

The Friend Zone is a lot like the Island of Misfit Toys.  Those who are almost right for the job but just don’t meet all the standards of a person are sent to the zone.  It’s not that you’re never going to be wanted, after all the Misfit Toys eventually are loved by children everywhere, it’s just that you’re not right for that individual.

But the Friend Zone hurts initially.

“Let’s just be friends.”  Ouch.

After that horrible sentence is uttered then the shock flushes through you: Am I undatable? Is there something wrong with me? Can no one love this water pistol that shoots jelly?

Being in the Friend Zone leaves you totally helpless – you can’t say “no” to the Friend Zone without becoming the jerk. How do you tell someone that you were really only spending all that time with them because you were hoping it would pay off with them in the end?You just can’t do that.But luckily you can have other misfits in the Friend Zone with you.

So, look around.  Maybe you’ll find someone who fits your standards in that discard pile that is the Friend Zone.   Even if they aren’t perfect, even if they are an elephant with pink polka dots, they might be what you’re looking for.  And if they aren’t what you are looking for you can just Friend Zone them yourself and get a little satisfaction that you’re on the other end of things for once.

Welcome to the Friend Zone, friend.

A single past (Part 1 of 4).

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Chuckie wasn’t necessarily the coolest guy.  He would grow up to play the bass clarinet and he’d teach himself the mandolin; he’d become a miller; he’d work with computers; he’d remain a smart dude.

And, like I said, he wasn’t considered the coolest guy, but I think I liked him because his quirkiness matched mine.  How does that song go? “That the freckles in our eyes are mirror images…” Yeah, it was something like that.  But, I was “cool” by association and tried to keep up appearances (this was middle school, you guys), and I strung Chuckie along.

He’d give me a necklace and I’d break up with him by letter.  He’d ask me to slow dance   at one of our middle school dances and I’d hide in the bathroom.  He’d become my secret admirer and I wouldn’t give him the time of day.

I was a bitch.

Or I seemed like one because I was afraid to be as openly quirky as Chuckie.  He was comfortable with the fact that he wasn’t like everyone else.  He didn’t need to fit in.  I did.  All my friends fit in (and they never required me to be like them but I was afraid to not be like them) and I wanted to fit in even though that was tiring for me to do.

Chuckie and I broke up three times that 7th grade year.  We got back together one last time at the of end of our freshman year.  Not much had changed.  Friends were the same; I was the same, scared, hormonal me; and Chuckie was more himself than ever. But we gave it a go.

It lasted about a month.

He was the first boy I kissed.  He was the first boy I got drunk with and then drunkenly kissed.  He was the first boy I let get to first base (that’s the one with the boobs, right?).

But the thing is, I never fully appreciated Chuckie for who he was – I do now.  Although I couldn’t see it then, I learned to embrace my personality from him first.  It would take me until my sophomore year of college to begin seeing that being weird was normal.  Everyone was weird.  I think that if I had to do it over the only thing I would have done differently is be myself.

I don’t think we would have worked out either way.  I never felt myself love him.  But I think he’s the one that taught me the most about myself, even if this was realized through drunken reminiscing, years after our final break up.

Our last conversation, about a year and a half ago, Chuckie told me that I had been a bitch (not in those exact words) when we tried to date.  It made me realize that I was more horrible than I initially thought (I tried to apologize but he said it wasn’t necessary to apologize to someone who loves you).

A single apartment.

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I’m moving to the place where single girls are made and often die alone in their apartments to be eaten by their cats: New York City.

And while I’m confident that I won’t die alone, only because, if I ever find an apartment, I’ll need a roommate since I’m a poor, struggling writer/waitress/lover of Ramen; I’m not confident that I’ll actually find an apartment.  I am confident, however, that I will probably end up living in a really nice cardboard box at this rate.

What I’m finding is that looking for an apartment in NYC is a lot like trying to find a decent individual on OkCupid.  Which, lucky for me, is what I’m particularly seasoned at trying to do.

I don’t know if it’s simply just a free-site thing or and online thing but, either way, people lie.  On OkCupid people lie all the time about their jobs, hobbies, favorite books (or that they read books in general), or even what they look like (By the way: Catfish is real.  It is so real. So, you’ve lost a lot of hair? Just own it don’t post a fake picture that makes you look like Fabio). I’ve found pictures of the same apartment for listings in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Upper West Side, and I’m pretty certain that’s just not possible.  Why must we lie about apartment locations? I mean, I’m desperate enough to live just about anywhere, and anyone else on Craigslist is probably in the same boat, let’s just be truthful.

Then there are the overeager sellers.  I contacted an owner about their apartment but when I found out they had posted the same listing over and over in multiple locations (seriously, what is that?) I decided that this probably wasn’t the best fit.  So I contacted the person again and said I wasn’t interested in the apartment because something else had come up.  That should have been it, right?

Right?

Wrong.

The guy has texted me three more times asking me if I have changed my mind.  No, I haven’t changed my mine, Crazy.  I mean, come on, I’d text you if I changed my mind about your sketchy apartment.  This actually reminded me of that guy from OkCupid who texted me non-stop after I fell asleep.  It was sheer desperation.  But, I can’t be the only person who was looking at that apartment.  Still, desperation is as desperation does.

So, like I said, there is a lot of common ground found between OkCupid Manor and Craigslist Castle.  And luckily I have my Single Girl Wits about me to guide me through these homeless times.  I hope that I won’t be single and homeless long.

I’d much rather be single and living in NYC.

Romantic Jesus, please help me find an apartment.

A single past. (An introduction of sorts)

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Rafiki told a young-adult Simba: “The past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it or learn from it.”

Now, as all 90’s babies can attest, I learned all substantial knowledge from Disney movies, the Lion King in particular. So, I took that with a grain of salt.  And, though there were other scenes that said you should learn to leave your past behind or whatever, I’ve found that going through my past and learning from my past mistakes has made me stronger (as long as I don’t dwell back there too long).

And in the next few weeks I’ll investigate my past relationships  in a series of posts.  You’ve only been with me for three years, Internet, you have about 20 years of catching up to do.  I think this will be a mental and emotional cleanse.  And once it’s out of me, I think that I’ll be more at peace with myself and my relationship status (i.e single).   Maybe  I’ll also be more open when a new relationship shows itself.

So this post is simply an introduction to Tommy, Chuckie, Phi, and Spike (all names changed – mainly for me because then I get to use the Rugrats characters in a post- to protect the person’s privacy).  You all know about my latest exploits with Josh so I feel it’s only fair that I air all of my dirty lingerie for the world to see.

Enjoy, Kiddies, it’s about to be story time.

A single Pizza Guy.

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There aren’t too many moments when I have found myself swooning over a person that I’ve barely met.  That sudden rush, the flush of a cheek, the creaking and groaning of a heart getting back into the rhythm of an excited heartbeat – all of that has eluded me for sometime.  The first time that person smiles at you and you feel yourself inexplicably blush. It makes me feel giddy and like the sort of high school girl that I never acted like (I was the more sullen, introverted girl) It’s been forever since that feeling has hit me.

Then this guy walked into the Pizza Place and I started to swoon.

I’m going to begin this story by saying that I haven’t seen him since.  And I’ll probably never see him again but it was fun nonetheless.

He was homely, not someone who could walk into a Abercrombie shoot and be welcomed, but I tend to be attracted to someone I feel comfortable with and homely, in this scenario,

definitely coincides with comfortable. He reminded me of someone who would be portrayed in the movies as being an anime geek, trekky, or maybe A Big Bang Theory cast member.  That connection instantly had me thinking what dorky hobby he partook in and whether his walls had shelves lined with Totoro figurines.

He gave me his name, James or Jack or Jim or Jimmy, and I grabbed his pizza: A large buffalo chicken with bacon (and yes, I remember his order and not his name.  I have a weird way of remembering people by what they get at the Pizza Place).  I told him that I thought adding bacon to his order was genius.  He smiled.

I swooned.

Then he looked at my eyes and told me they were beautiful, touching my arm gently, before smiling again —

Swoon

— And walking out with the pizza. And I have no expectations from this slight flirtation in my day but it’s fun to think that it happened in the first place.  Do I wish that he’d come back, give me his number, take me out on a date, introduce me to his parents, propose, and marry me? I mean, sure, that’s an ideal situation right there.  But do I expect that to happen? No.  That would be crazy.  I might even be a little creeped out if it did happen at all.  That doesn’t mean a girl can’t dream.

Especially a girl with beautiful eyes.

A single Gaggle of Old Men.

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All I wanted was a beer.

Well, a beer and a shot.  It might have turned into a drunken escapade for all I cared.  I just knew it needed to start with an ice-cold beer;  Something that could have acted like an ice pack for my soul after an especially long week.  And, thankfully, Pizza Place, is located directly across the street from a bar known as the Box.

So, after work, I did a telephone booth style change, and, boom, I was in the Box waiting for the bartender to help a sister out.  The Box isn’t the sort of bar you bring your parents to if, for whatever reason, you decided to go out drinking with your parents. It’s not really a classy joint.  It is the place that some get “White Girl Wasted” and other Salty Locals stoically drink from bottled beer.  It’s a weird mash-up but weird mash-ups are what the Box does best.

I finally got my Fireball and BudLight (King of Bros) and made my way outside to the patio to unwind and enjoy this awful beer.  And that’s when I made a grievous error: I sat down.

I became a sitting duck.

And I was spotted quickly, being one of two girls in the entire place (the other one being a bartender). The two men wanted to do nothing more than take turns hitting on me and I wanted nothing more than to take turns hitting them.  But they were relentless:

 “Need a smoke?”

“No, I don’t smoke.”

“Good girl. You shouldn’t smoke.”

“You should take your own advice.”

I sipped my beer, hoping the cold-shoulder would work.  It didn’t.

That’s something you should know: old men (older than your father and up) like to be provoked.  And that would be my rookie mistake, numeral dos.

So, instead of leaving me alone, taking that hint with a grain of salt and other clichés, they sandwiched themselves on either side of me, passing a cigarette between the two of them as if they were trying to hide us behind one singular wall of smoke.

The one on my right had a gauge in his ear which made him look like he wanted to work at Hot Topic while his age edged closer to that of my grandfather.  The other wore hipster jeans that unironically made him look older.  Both reeked of mid-life crisis and I, apparently, was the closest thing to a Harley in the room.

“Oh, look! My friends are here {they weren’t} Bye!” I yelled, a little louder than I intended, as I barreled for the patio door. So I walked into the Box, a half-finished beer warming in my hand, and moved to the other side of the bar where a new group of White Girl Wasted Bachelorettes were attempting provocative moves to “Soulja Boy,” figuring that I could finish my beer in contented judgement.

But Grandpa & Co. found me once again.

 “We should get out of here.”

“I’m good.”

“I could make you feel better.”

“You might break a hip.”

I slammed down my beer and walked out.  Fuming because a single girl couldn’t just go out and have a single beer in peace.