Some things I have learned over the past year or so…

Hello all! Well it’s been awhile since I have written on here…about 10 months to be exact.  This past year has been quite a whirlwind to say the least.  I finally completed my masters after only a few short years, moved to a different state and turned 37 years old.  I am also happy to report that I have found someone pretty amazing to spend my days with.  This past year has also brought me to some new places, new faces and new roles in my life.  I am enjoying exactly where I am at in my life.   I have recently started to reflect on my past relationships, dates and various other interactions and have compiled this list of my personal “Top 10 Lessons on love, life and people in general”

1.  You really only need to go Speed Dating once…the memories will last a lifetime.

2.  You can magically get red wine stains out of carpet with white wine…a lesson I sadly learned more than once in the same night.

3. The only thing worse than a liar is a bad liar.  If you feel the need to lie than never lie beyond your ability or beyond what you will be able to remember over a 24-72 our period of time.

4.  Never trust a fart.

5.  Always dress for your age and your body type…but not  your disability!

6.  When someone tells you they don’t want a relationship it’s not true…they do want to be in a relationship they just don’t want to be in a relationship with you!  This is a hard lesson to accept and I myself have denied that this is true but the sooner you accept it the sooner you can find someone who would LOVE to be in a relationship with you!

7.  In order to be happy with anyone else you have to be happy with yourself first.  If you try to rely on other people or things to make you happy you will always come up short.  The only exceptions to this rule are: reeses peanut butter cups, shopping at Kohls with Kohls cash and Lady Gaga…I don’t know if I admire her, loathe her or what but either way whenever I see her ridiculous outfits or hear her songs I instantly feel genuinely happy.

8.  You can’t change who you are…for better or worse this is pretty much who you are stuck with in life BUT you can change your behaviors and choose not to make the same mistakes over and over again.  For example, no matter how many times I pull up at the McDonalds drive through and order a large 2 cheeseburger meal I am NEVER going to lose 10 pounds.  So what I have decided to do is order the medium meal instead with a diet coke because I am pretty sure the weight gain is due to the size ratio between the medium and the large…changed my behavior and problem solved or just buy bigger clothes!

9.  Always be yourself and trust that you will find people who will be just as messed up, paranoid and hungry as you are and they will accept you for who you are and eat a meal with you.  Except if you are Charlie Sheen.

10.  Don’t go looking for love…it will find you when YOU are ready for it and not a minute sooner.  And don’t go asking “when will I be ready?”  that just dares it to take longer!

If you have any you would like to add to the list feel free to post them or email me!

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Valentine’s Day: All the Single Ladies and Ghosts of Boyfriends Past

I always find that Valentine’s Day is one of those days that can either make you feel like the most loved person in the world or send you into a deep dark chocolate depression but Valentine’s Day 2009 was probably the best Valentine’s Day of my life!  I was newly single and spending it with 2 of my best single friends and a new New England friend.  We started out the night having a nice cozy dinner for four at a local restaurant.  I believe the waiter thought we were a group of lesbian lovers when we asked him if he could turn down the very bright restaurant lights…it was Valentine’s Day after all and no one wants to feel exposed under bright lights.  He was very attentive to our needs and seemed to enjoy the fact that he thought he was in lesbian company.  We enjoyed a wonderful dinner, wine and even better dessert…if this is how lesbians roll than sign us up!

We finished our fabulous dinner and headed over to a local bar to continue our night of laughter and celebration of love.  Whenever we establish ourselves at a new bar we like to plan an innocent game of “who would you pick to go home with, vacation with and/or marry or you will die”.  It is a very entertaining game and I highly recommend it next time you are out with your friends.  Sometimes the rules get a little fuzzy though and you might end of picking someone you would only want to spend one night with and marry at the same time.  Our New England friend chose the bartender as her choice of who she would want to spend one night with primarily because of his black leather studded belt.  When I saw her choice I quickly realized that this was someone I had seen before.  Someone very familiar to me.  As my memory unfolded, I was brought back to City Gardens circa 1992:

City Gardens was an alternative club in the fine city of Trenton.  It was a great gathering place for all of the alternative freaks, black clothing and my friends.  As I pictured the club’s dark dungeon , I was quickly visited by the ghost of this past boyfriend who I will refer to as DJ Stink.  DJ Stink and I met on the dance floor during a beloved Cure song.  He was everything I was looking for that night: doc marten boots, purple hair and black eye liner.  He was a mutual friend of a coworker and we took a strong liking to one another quickly.  We hung out a few times over the next couple of weeks but I don’t even really think we ever even talked to each other…or at least I couldn’t tell you one thing about this person other than his appearance and his expansive music collection.  He loved to make mixes and play them at parties.  A few weeks later I had a party of my own.   It was your usual post high school party of kegs, mismatched groups of party guests and DJ Stink’s mix tape.  As the party winded down, I asked my personal DJ if he would like to spend the night in my twin bed.  Little did I know what the night had in store for me or maybe it was lovely Karma paying me back for having a party while my parents were away. 

DJ Stink and I retired to our sleeping quarters and just when things started to take off he proceeded to take off his black high top doc martens.  All of a sudden, I was overcome by a cloud of horrendous odor.  I thought something had either died in my room or one of us had an accident.  As I came to my senses, I realized the odor was coming from his feet!  When I asked him if that was the case, he responded by laughing and saying that yes in fact those were his feet and that he has a “slight” foot odor problem.  To this day I can’t even begin to describe to you what I smelled.  It was a unique combination of a 1,000 corpses, sweet and sour sauce and pure shit.  I told him he needed to put those shoes of death back on, remove himself from my twin bed, go home and DESTROY those boots by any means necessary.  I think he thought I was joking but I was dead serious and told him he may want to have an exorcism performed on his feet as well.  He didn’t quite go home but went down to the family room and slept on the floor instead while I fumigated my room.  I hadn’t seen this individual since that night and I think for my own mental safety I blocked that memory from my mind and my nose until that night 17 years later.

When I told my New England friend this story of how I knew her bartender fantasy person, I could tell by the look in her eye that she was crushed and disappointed.  I told her that perhaps with the advances in modern medicine one can only hope that his foot odor is a problem of the past.  She seemed hopeful but not convinced.  And even though there was never a doubt in my mind, I could say with full confidence that I did not regret that choice.  Especially as I saw he still had a purplish hue in his hair and was wearing black boots. 

We quickly left the bar as it was too painful for our New England friend to continue to be taunted by her fantasy gone bad…literally.  We decided to go to another local establishment where one of my single friends seemed to meet the ghost of boyfriends future.  She was headed to the bathroom when she met her latin Valentine’s Day love Jose.  He was very friendly and began to open up to her in way she never thought possible in a bar.  Jose began to tell her about himself and all of his children.  I believe he was only in his mid twenties but had 3 children from 2 different mothers but that this shouldn’t concern her.  Jose was very taken with my friend and was happy as a clam when she reluctantly gave him her number thinking what we all foolishly think: “really, what is the harm in giving my phone number to a stranger?”  After we left, he proceeded to text her to make sure she got home safe.  Then texted her 3 times that evening to tell her he was home safe, he enjoyed meeting her and couldn’t wait to see her again.  He quickly became her ghost of stalker present and over the next two days, left 4 voicemails asking her out and confirming plans with her that she never responded to in the first place.  He eventually gave up and became her ghost of stalker past.  I think we all got more than we bargained for that night!

A very close second would be this year’s Valentine’s Day.  My single friends and I capped off the evening with a list of people we could be spending our night with but are very thankful we are not.  This was my list:

  • my ex who probably wouldn’t even know it was Valentine’s Day or what that would even mean.
  • my cocaine addicted ex who if he told me there was a blizzard I wouldn’t know if he meant outside or inside.
  • my commitment phobic ex who probably wouldn’t have been able to commit to spending Valentine’s Day with me until the last possible second.
  • my stalker ex who probably would have given me a  heart-shaped candy box filled with clippings of my own hair.
  • my gay non-ex who probably would have gotten me a FABULOUS gift but wouldn’t have officially been my “date”.
  • my hunter ex who probably would have given me a deer heart as a gift.
  • my unemployed ex who probably would have needed to borrow money from me to buy me flowers and a card.

Deal Breaker of the Day: never date someone who has a list of people they would “do” in a second.

Speed Dating Part Deux

I recently decided to take another whirl through the speed dating circuit.  Not sure if my motivation to sign on for another 8 minutes in heaven was in hopes of actually meeting Mr. Right or for entertainment purposes…probably both.  I convinced another one of my single friends to join me on this adventure.  She was eager at first but after we arrived she became a little skeptical as did I when we scanned the crowds of singles.  I quickly recognized one of my former blog characters Notorious BIG.  As always he was entertaining and didn’t seem to hold a grudge since our last experience never really took off.  In fact he eagerly wanted to know what my seat number was to see if we might have another chance at love.  I didn’t have the heart to tell him that we were not in the same age category anymore.  As we waited to be cattle herded into the dating room we enjoyed some cocktails and mingled with some of the other guests. 

Our first visitor who I will refer to as Mr. Boggle Sr. was an older silver fox gentlemen who wanted to know if I would travel more than 60 miles for a person I really wanted to see.  Apparently he was having a debate with some other singles about this topic.  I responded that yes in fact I would travel more than 60 miles for someone I really wanted to see or for a meal I really wanted to eat.  He burst into laughter and nothing could have prepared me for what was in that man’s mouth.  His bottom row of teeth were perfectly straight however I am not really sure what happened to the top row of teeth.  My best guess is that someone removed all his teeth, played a game of Boggle Jr. with them and threw them back into his mouth and wherever they landed, that’s where they would stay.  I am not sure if he has ever been to a dentist or if he just never found a dentist that knew what to do but I am sure there must be something in this modern-day that can be done.  It became my mission for the evening…I wanted to dedicate the proceeds of this dating event to Mr. Boggle Sr. but wasn’t sure quite how he would take it.   I also wanted to give him a can and tell him to ask for donations at each date for a tooth transplant instead of a date.  I wanted his motto to be “where there’s a will, there’s a smile” but instead I just prayed silently that no one would make him laugh.

Soon it was time for the dates to begin.  I set up my station and was ready to go.  This is how my 7 dates proceeded in order and what vital information I learned:

Bachelor #1 Bugs Bunny: My first date started off with me having to wave him down because he didn’t know where #59 was located, needless to say following directions wasn’t his strong suit.  Later I found neither was counting because when the time was up he didn’t know where to go next…ummm #60 would come after #59.  We started off with the usual questions and when I asked about his hobbies he went into a very elaborate explanation of his cartoon collection.  He was very proud of the fact that he had almost all of the Bugs Bunny cartoon collection and proceeded to go into great detail about his favorite episodes.  NEXT!

Bachelor #2: Mr. Why do you have to be so young?  My next date was the only normal one out of my 7 dates.  He was very nice, attractive, good career, good family but I was 8 years his senior.  I have never really been self-conscious of my age until the moment when he stated he was 28 and asked me how old I was.  When I said 36 he enthusiastically responded with “you don’t look 36 at all!”  Well that’s great because I sure now feel like it.  If only he was a few years older…although my current theory may be that younger is better.  I can just tell them: these are your issues, this is how you will fix them and this is who you will be so just deal with it and you will be happy.  Unfortunately NEXT!

Bachelor #3 Frisbee.  I am not sure if Frisbee ate a lot of sugar before he came or took speed.  He was a ball of energy and did not stop talking or moving for 8 minutes straight.  I also don’t think he blinked once.  He immediately told me he has been to SO MANY of these events…that might not be something you want to share…with anyone.  He told me he was an entrepeneur and his business was high-speed internet…I am going to say high speed but no internet.  His hobbies included: music, dancing and Ultimate Frisbee.  I don’t think I have ever met someone who was an avid Ultimate Frisbee player before and now I know why…they are nuts!  He went into great detail with such passion about the sport although from what I could tell you just basically throw a frisbee and wait for someone to catch it.  He also felt the need to tell me he always wanted 6 children and that maybe we could have 6 children together.  I said sure but only if they could form their own Ultimate Frisbee team and compete nationally.  NEXT!

Bachelor #4 Ralph:  Ralph was a truck driver.  Ralph brought his own rather large bottle of water (or possibly) vodka to this event.  Ralph wears very strong cologne.  Ralph is divorced but would rather not share why.  When I asked Ralph about his family, he just said no family.  NEXT!

Bachelor #5 The Joker:  I call this one the joker because of his ridiculous outfit.  He wore a black dress shirt, with a large white collar, large white cuffs with large black cufflinks, a bright red tie and a large diamond ring.  He also carried around a chocolate martini all night.  I don’t think there is anything more I can say.  NEXT!

Bachelor #6 Cameron:  If you have ever seen the movie Ferris Buller’s Day Off than you know Ferris Buller’s best friend Cameron.  I believe this was who my date was…he had the looks and the personality of Cameron.  He also informed me that he dated a girl who he pointed to across the room for 3 months but it didn’t work out and there is absolutely no awkwardness.  I am sure she wasn’t awkward AT ALL when he pointed at her each time.  NEXT!

Bachelor #7 Donnie Downer:  I always like to end things on a high note but apparently with my last date that wasn’t going to happen.  Donnie was separated and going through a very bitter divorce.  He was very sad about the divorce and even sadder about the border collie he had to leave behind.  His only ray of sunshine was his 2-year-old son.  NEXT!

I would like to say that my friend had better luck than I did but sadly she was unimpressed with her dates as well.  She did have an entertaining date with Notorious BIG but told him she had a strict “I don’t date anyone my friend has dated” policy.  I think the company I enjoyed most was my new Asian friend Jollie.  She was my table mate and supportive companion.  She didn’t speak very good english but from what I could interpret the feeling was mutual. 

Deal Breaker of the Day:  you never want to be set up with someone who your friend starts to describe as “you know that disease that Michael Jackson had?”

Stories From The Other Side

I was recently out with a male friend and we were discussing the world of dating.  Like me, he has also taken a whirl through the online dating and speed dating world so it was nice to compare war stories.  I will say that he gave some of my stories a run for their money.  These were some of my favorites:

  • He went out on a date with a woman who had recently been divorced for about a year.  She made it known that she wanted to have relations with him that evening and that she had also had relations with 60 other men that year since her divorce.  Now according to my calculations…there are 52 weeks in a year so she was averaging 1-2 men per week!   That’s one busy divorcee!
  • There was another girl he met online who seemed a little “odd” in her emails and texts but decided to give her a chance as we all do.  When he met her she shared with him her diagnosis of schizophrenia and that she was currently not taking any medication for it either.  After she took a swig of her water without touching her mouth to the edge of the bottle because she felt it was contaminated.  A week or so later he was contacted by another much younger girl online and began asking him about his last date.  He shared that she was a little strange and had some mental issues.  Moments later he received a text from the schizophrenic girl asking why he was talking shit about her online.  After realizing she made up a fake profile and that she was who he was really talking to he confronted her and of course she adamantly denied making up a fake profile.
  • He asked another girl out for drinks and when they met at the bar she shared that was a recovering alcoholic.
  • Apparently on Plenty of Fish.com they have an option for you to share whether or not you use drugs.  So far he said he found one girl who answered “yes, I do cocaine 2-3 times a week so you are just going to have to deal with that!”
  • He recently went on a weekend getaway with a group of young professionals in an attempt to meet new people and possibly a more normal mate.   He found there was one interesting professional who stated “I do not work but I sell blow”.
  • He was also the victim of phone stalking.

While I truly sympathize with his stories, I was also relieved that it isn’t just myself that encounters such unbalanced people in the dating world.  I will be heading out this weekend for Round 2 of Speed Dating so I am sure I will find at least a small handful of new characters for you to enjoy.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Deal Breaker of the Day: never date someone who wears their gym clothes when meeting you out for a first date for the following reasons:  1. You don’t know if he in fact went to the gym or if this is just his preferred attire.  2.  If he did just go to the gym then he obviously didn’t shower afterwards and that is just GROSS.  3.  I believe that when you first date someone that is probably the best they are ever going to look.  So if this is the little effort he is putting into his appearance now imagine what he will eventually look like when you are dating for a year and he really starts to get comfortable and let himself go.

Top 10 Things You Need to Know but Don’t Want to Find Out Via the Internet

In the days before the internet you had to rely on nothing but a voice on the telephone to find out about a potential date and now you can find out a person’s whole life history before you even meet them.  I myself have become quite the internet detective, more so out of fear of potentially going out on a date with a serial killer or rapist.  With a simple name you can Google search a whole wealth of information and for a small fee legal records too.  And with the invention of Facebook, this opens up an even larger window into a person’s life.  Sometimes things can easily be misconstrued and presumptions can easily be made.  I personally have a photo of myself in a dog cage on my Facebook page so one might come to the conclusion that I am an animal which is usually not true. I have stumbled across photos of people and made assumptions that weren’t true either.   Then even after you meet the person, the second you decide you want to continue to see this person you suddenly start pouring over every status update and wall post anyone has ever left…when his status said “Joe is really annoyed right now” does he mean because of me??  An innocent photo comment can become your worst fear.  But is this really the best way to get to know a person or is it best to take the old-fashioned approach of getting to know them without the internet?

I have mixed feelings about this question.  On one hand you really do want to find out if a person is being honest about their identity but do I really need to know how many friends and family members they have and what they all look like or can I just wait until I meet them in person.  Do I need to wonder if that girl in the picture is a cousin, ex-girlfriend, current girlfriend or sister? 

My personal list of top 10 things you need to know but don’t want to find out via the internet:

  1. You don’t want to find out that a person is married or in a relationship with someone else via their facebook relationship status…although I guess it’s better to find this out sooner rather than later.
  2. You don’t want to find out that the person is actually living with their parents…yes you can find out this information if you know where to look and pictures of a person’s home can be provided as well.
  3. You don’t want to find out that a person who you are dating and claims he/she is not dating anyone else has just posted very recent pictures of themselves on their online dating profile.
  4. You don’t want to find out that the person you are supposed to be exclusively dating has been active in the last 24 hours on their online dating profile.
  5. You don’t find to find out that the reason a person is not “able” to go out on a date with you is because they have repaired things with their ex-girlfriend and posted pictures of this on their facebook page rather than just being upfront about it in the first place.
  6. You don’t want to find out that the person you are going out with has a criminal record…although as with #1 I guess it’s better to find this out sooner rather than later.
  7. You don’t want to find out that a person you are dating and supporting through AA was just drunk at a bar the night before with pictures to prove it.
  8. You don’t want to medically diagnosis yourself with a terminal illness on WebMD.
  9. You don’t want to find nude photos or videos of yourself on YouTube.
  10. You don’t want to find out the outfit you just purchased is now 50% off. and you have missed the price adjustment window by just one day!

Deal Breaker of the Day: never date someone who tells you they need to be home by 8 p.m. so they can watch True Blood with their friends.

Darwin

I was recently reminded of Darwin the other day when I was asked to go to a local restaurant and had to explain why I could no longer go to this restaurant anymore.  It was one cold February night when 2 of my friends and I decided to go out for dinner at a local Italian restaurant.  It had just opened a few weeks prior so we were eager to see what the menu had in store for us.  Little did we know we would be entertained by the staff as well. 

Darwin was our 22-year-old waiter fresh off the boat from, well we really weren’t sure where he was from but definitely not from the United States or Italy.  He was a very good waiter and was very complimentary to my friends and I.  One of my friends tends to get a little too “bold” after she has a couple of glasses of wine and proceeded to ask Darwin what he relationship status was and he told her he was single.  She immediately felt the need to tell him I was single as well.  Shortly after we were asked to fill out a survey for the restaurant and Darwin claimed that we could also win a free meal if we filled out the contact information portion of the survey.  On our way out we passed Darwin and he asked me if my friend was serious about us.  I am not sure what he meant by “us” but I was very upfront with him and told him that our age gap was way too big.  Needless to say this didn’t stop him from calling me and leaving me this message the next day word for word or at least what I was able to translate:

“Hello it’s Darwin from the restaurant.  I don’t know if your friend was serious last night but call me.  It’s Darwin…DARWIN”

I sent him a text thanking him for thinking of me and reminding him of our age difference and that it would never work between us.  I also wanted to ask if this would in any way hurt my chances of winning a free meal but I refrained.   He never responded and I never did win a free meal.

About 8 months later I was out with 2 other friends and one of them suggested that we go to this particular restaurant for dinner.  I told her about my reservations of running into Darwin but figured enough time had passed and he probably didn’t even work there anymore or remember me.  Of course as soon as we walked in…who do we see immediately?  Darwin looked at me but didn’t seem to recognize me and I was relieved that he was also not our waiter. 

After our meal, my other friend was getting a little too “outspoken” after her 3rd glass of Shiraz and starts asking our waiter about the manager who I did agree was attractive.  The manager quickly comes over to introduce himself to us.  My outspoken friend proceeds to introduce us and shares that she and my other friend are married but that I am SINGLE.  He seemed nice and was very impressed that I finished all of my steak…not sure if that was a compliment or not though but I am a hearty eater for my size so I will take it as a compliment.  He also seemed to have a strange accent that we couldn’t quite place and when asked where he was from he said he was from New Jersey and was also 28 years old.  According to our waiter he also had a little bit of a gambling problem and possibly a problem with alcohol…specifically vodka. 

At this time I decided to go use the ladies room and as I came out Darwin proceeds to slither on out of the shadows and says “hello Renee”.  I was impressed that he remembered my name and how catlike he was with his moves.  He told me he was sad that I never gave him a chance and that he was now 27 years old and not too old for me anymore.  I told him that was impossible, no one could age 5 years in 8 months and that I am still too old for him so he should forget about me.  I quickly went back to my table to find my friends doing complimentary shots of sambucca courtesy of the manager. 

At this time I tell my friends it is time for us to go and that it is imperative that we stick to the buddy system when leaving.  So what do my lovely friends do?  High tailed it out of there so they could have their cigarettes outside leaving me with Darwin once again lingering in the shadows.  He proceeded to tell me again that he is 28 years old…now 2o minutes ago he was 27 so unless he is Benjamin Button and aging at warp speed I still don’t see a future with us.  In fact I don’t see a future with Benjamin Button either.  He looked so pitiful standing there saying “please Renee won’t you just give me a chance? I may be young but I am mature for you”  I told Darwin it just wasn’t meant to be for us and that he should forget about me and find a young girl.  I wished him the best of luck in what he is looking for in his life and to take care.  Soon I was reunited with my friends who thought it was hysterical that I was left alone with Darwin.  I told them I could have been taken away and sold into white slavery but they didn’t seem too concerned. 

The next day I noticed that my credit card was charged twice for my meal so I had to call the restaurant.  Of course I had to speak to the manager from the night before who didn’t seem as concerned about my double charge as he was about the fact that I thought he was too young for me too.  I wanted to say it wasn’t so much the age as it was the possible gambling and vodka problem I was concerned about but figured the age excuse was the safest way to go.  He also brought up my love of meat again.  He told me he would fix the problem with my credit card and that I should call him if I ever want to go out for a drink sometime.  My instincts told me that while I could have free meals do I really want to risk the gambling and vodka?  It saddens me greatly that I cannot go to this restaurant anymore as their food is incredible but I cannot risk running into either of these fellows again.  And who knows how old Darwin will be now??

Deal Breaker of the Day: never date anyone who you would be embarrassed to introduce to your family or friends…it seems like an obvious one but sometimes we need a reminder!

Commitment Phobia: Real or convenient excuse?

The topic of commitment phobia has come up in several conversations I have had recently and I can’t help but wonder is this an actual real condition or just an excuse for not really being interested in someone or something you are being required to do?   According to my research: Commitment Phobia is defined as a pathological aversion to commitment combined with an insatiable desire for affirmation from the opposite sex.  In my semi-professional medical opinion, I do believe that there are people who truly suffer from this phobia whether they are aware of it or not and I myself believe I have suffered from this condition in the past as well as dated several people who also share this phobia.  I fully admit that I have dated people who I really didn’t have strong feelings for to avoid getting hurt or dated the wrong person therefore sabotaging my own happiness.  I still can’t say for sure what I would do if I actually met someone I really liked, that really liked me back, were somewhat normal AND I really like being with but I am hopeful that the fact I am at least aware of it will count for something. I also believe that there are events in a person’s life, especially in childhood, that can cause a person to become so fearful of the idea of tied down to one person for the rest of their life and that making such a commitment will ensure a lifetime of hurt, misery or feelings of entrapment. 

Some of the classic tell-tale signs of a commitment phobe are:

  • Frequent address or career changes.
  • Backing out of plans at the last-minute.  Sometimes circumstances beyond your control will cause you to break plans but if this seems to be a regular pattern of someone needing to cancel or change plans or not showing up at all on a consistent basis than that could indicate a problem.
  • Having a long list of must-haves for a date.  While having a list of qualities you are looking for is a great idea but when the list is unrealistic and NO one could ever possibly have all of these qualities than you could be using them to avoid actually finding someone.
  • Avoiding dating.  While taking a break is perfectly healthy so you can recharge and just enjoy spending time with yourself or recover from a break up but not even trying  may be your way of avoiding getting close to anyone at all.
  • Hesitant to talk about feelings.  When you talk about your feelings with someone it makes you vulnerable and this can scare the bejesus out of some people.
  • Frequently dating Mr. or Mrs. Wrong.  Sometimes you don’t know you are dating the wrong person until after you have been out a few times but if you know they are wrong for you and continue to date them anyway you are just setting yourself up for failure and avoiding meeting Mr. or Mrs. Right.
  • Two sided emotions they are giving out both messages ALL the time: go away, come closer.  Being on the receiving end of these mixed messages can make YOU feel like the crazy one.   But as I learned in my Animal Behavior Psychology class: it is intermittent reinforcement that makes the rats crazy!
  • Afraid to talk about the future and commit to any plans in the future.  Yes being a little hesitant about moving in with someone or getting engaged can naturally cause some feelings of uncertainty…meeting someone for a casual dinner should not!

While anyone can have these signs at any given time in their life, it is the consistent patterns that one must look at in order to make a proper diagnosis.  Look at their past relationship patterns…that usually says it all!  Some people will even just tell you right from the word go “I don’t want to be in a relationship.”  And when someone tells you this, whether it’s a relationship in general they don’t want or just don’t want a relationship with you, you should believe them and decide if this is what you want to sign up for or should you move along to someone who actually wants a relationship with you.  While it is perfectly normal to date different people and see what is out there so you can figure out what you want and don’t want in a relationship you should be prepared that eventually you will be faced with a relationship at some point.  This always shocks people!  It’s one thing to date and if a relationship doesn’t end up developing for one reason or another than fine, you move on but to adamantly be against a relationship with someone no matter what just doesn’t make sense.  If you enjoy being with someone and REALLY like them than why wouldn’t you want to be in a relationship with this person? 

Another overused excuse: I work too much!  Unless you are Barrack Obama I really don’t think you have much of an argument.  Oh wait!  He is MARRIED and has a FAMILY so no you really can’t use that one.  Just be honest with yourself and admit you have a problem with commitment and are using this as an excuse to not get too close to someone or be honest with the other person and say what you really mean: I really don’t like you that much or I like you and want to date you but I want to keep my options open in case someone better comes along. So this is where I ask…is this really a fear of commitment or are you really saying that you aren’t that interested because if you were you would want to at least be open to the possibility of a relationship right?  I also think some people just want to have their cake and eat it too…I like certain parts of being in a relationship: companionship, sex, being cared about, having a date when needed, etc. but I don’t want the responsibility that goes along with being in a relationship.

I am also finding that some people are taking this phobia to a whole new level and “committing” Commitment Phobia Abuse in my book.  Some people find it difficult to commit to even making a phone call or showing up to work on time.  Even just suggesting you meet up for coffee can send people shouting “I can’t commit to that at this time!!”  Seriously? It’s just a cup of coffee not a wedding proposal.  People are also becoming increasingly territorial about their personal space…how many times have you tried to find a seat on the train and people look at you with that terrified look “please don’t sit here, I don’t know if I can commit to an hour-long ride with you next to me”.  Or some have even gone as far as setting up physical barricades so you can’t cross the line.  So again I ask…is it really commitment phobia or do people just not want to admit they are not that interested in you or really don’t want to do what you are asking them to do? 

Times when I would like to use fear of commitment as an excuse:

  • I can’t commit to attending all of my grad school classes because something fun may come up in the next 16 weeks on a Tuesday night between the hours of 7:30-10:00 p.m.
  • I can’t commit to working a full week…I can only work 4 days tops…if that! 
  • I am sorry but I can’t commit to taking you to the airport because I just really don’t feel like it!
  • I can’t commit to dancing with you because you smell funny and I don’t think you can really dance.
  • I can’t commit to being your friend on facebook because I don’t know if I really want to know what you are doing everyday.
  • I can’t commit to a regular exercise routine because I get bored easily.
  • I can’t and don’t really want to commit to being on a COMMITee that uses the words: initiative, curriculum, or strategic planning BUT if it includes the words: social, food, breakfast or shopping I am totally committed!
  • I can’t commit to meeting you for lunch because I don’t know if I am going to feel like taking a shower and going out in public next Monday.
  • I can’t commit to paying my bills on time because I don’t know how much shopping I am going to do this month.

Deal Breaker of the Day:  never date anyone you feel you would have to defend verbally in public…again this goes for women.  Unless you are dating someone who has no voice box than yes you will probably have to defend them verbally…everyone deserves a voice after all!

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts on the topic of commitment and commitment phobia!  Please feel free to comment or send me an email with your thoughts…although I don’t know if I can commit to responding to you:)

Love Thy Neighbor

I have always prided myself on being a good neighbor.  I am neat, quiet, friendly, bring my holiday decorations inside in a timely manner and I don’t cook odd smelling food.  But I have found that the relationships between you and your neighbors are always tricky ones.  You want to find a good balance of being friendly but not too friendly, nice but I don’t want to talk to you EVERY time I come in or out nice.  I have a particularly tricky relationship with my downstairs neighbor Miller.  Miller and I met about 2 1/2 years ago.  He had already been living with his newly imported Polish girlfriend when I moved in.  He was always very friendly and we had a nice working neighborship up until about a year ago. 

One hot summer night a gentleman friend and I were getting ready to head out for the evening when Miller came stumbling out of his apartment and accused my friend of  antagonizing his “cat”.  I use the term “cat” loosely as this creature is about the size of a small mountain lion.  He told my friend that he better stop antagonizing his cat or else.  Earlier that evening my friend brought his dog over and was calling him away from my neighbor’s window and perhaps this is what he mistook for cat harassment.  When he tried to explain this to him he didn’t want to hear anything about it and proceeded to walk towards my friend as tough he was going to fight him.  At this point, Miller’s Polish girlfriend came out to try to calm him down and he promptly shoved her inside and told my friend he better watch himself.  It was one of those moments where you have to ask yourself “is this for real?”  The whole time his mountain lion was watching in the window as the events unfolded.  Miller went inside and we went on our way for the evening.

The next day a much more calm Miller came out and apologized.  He said he “figured out” what happened and that he realized he was talking to his dog and not the cat.  Gee Sherlock I wonder where you got that idea??!!  He said he had a few too many beers and wasn’t thinking right.  He gave us a gift card to a local restaurant and all was forgiven.  It was around this time that I also noticed Miller was on the same non work summer schedule as myself which I thought was a little odd.  As the fall and winter months came he was still on his non work schedule.  Although this proved to be very useful as he became my eyes and ears for a stalker situation that had developed earlier that fall (later post).  He was delighted when I asked him to keep an eye out for my stalker and I could tell he felt he had a real purpose in life now.  He would give me updates every now and then and let me know all was quiet on the stalker front. 

Later in the winter Miller went back to work but sadly it didn’t last long.  One day over spring break I came home to find a police car and an EMT van in our parking lot.  The following week I was walking my dogs one morning and Miller came out and decided to have a little chat with me about his life.  He started to tell me how I probably wasn’t going to be seeing him anymore and that he had lost his job.  Now it was not even 8 a.m. and I was not prepared for any type of outreach work so early in my day.  He also started to talk about going to a “happy place” and that he would miss me.  I started to become very concerned about this “happy place” and could only he hope he was referring to some sort of rehab program.  I asked him if he needed me to call anyone but he reassured me he would be fine and needed to get some help for his “problems”.  Of course he also insisted on giving me a hug.  So I left for work and hoped for the best when I came home.  When I came home I was both relieved and a little startled to see Miller meditating on the front lawn.  Later I went to go out and found this note on my car: 

Thank you for being so nice to me today.  There definitely isn’t enough of that in this world.  I need to go get help for my problems and I will  just try to survive.  I know we don’t know each other but I can tell you are a good person. Thank you for being a friend.  Your friend, Miller

Despite the fact that it was written in serial killer handwriting and on the back of a final notice Wall Street Journal bill, I couldn’t help but feel really sorry for Miller and really hoped he would get some help.  A few nights later, I went out to walk the dogs I saw the police were outside.  I tried to quickly hurry the dogs along before I heard the ambulance come pulling up  but just like children they seemed to move in slow motion.  Soon after my neighbor was being escorted into the ambulance by foot and the police telling him he was being taken to the hospital for “talking crazy”.  Two days later he was back and felt the need to explain to me what was going on.  I told him he REALLY didn’t need to do that but of course he went on anyway.  He admitted to having an addiction to alcohol and that he has been trying to get help by playing golf each day to relax himself.  The last time I checked they didn’t have an AA programs on the golf course.  He then proceeded to tell me how his engagement to his Polish fiance was off and that if it were a different time and place he would “pursue me”.  This is about the time I look up and ask “why?”.  He told me once he got his 30 days of sobriety we would go out for coffee…judging by his alcohol cologne it was safe to say his 30 days weren’t starting anytime soon.

Since than pretty much on a weekly basis the police and ambulance show up and then leave.  At one point, Miller left on a Sunday for a week-long detox program but was back home by Wednesday.  The girlfriend is still hanging on and I want to tell her “this isn’t your journey” but I am not sure I can take on any new outreach clients at this time.  Today he was outside laying in the sun or “connecting the freckles” as he called it.  So sad.

I say this all the time, if ONLY people would deal with their shit the world would be a much happier and sober place.  Not that I don’t enjoy a nice cocktail every now and then but when people use it as their therapy that is crossing the line in my book.

Other neighbors I have had:

  • a couple who insisted on turning their garage into a “living room” and would sit with the garage door open watching television on their garage couch
  • a 1/2 fabulous gay couple (one was the friendliest man in the world and the other was Scrooge’s gay brother) who were starting their own dance company in their one bedroom apartment…I loved coming home to the sounds of Cher everyday after work and could only hope they would ask me to join which I really think the friendly one would have asked me if he was allowed
  • a streetwise girl named Nikki who left printed out evite invititations for her “parties” on my door…she would always say “us single gurls need to stick together!”  I am not really sure how much she wanted to stick together.
  • a lesbian woman who currently lives across the hall from me who I had a decoration vs. appliance standoff for the month of January and most of February with my Christmas wreath and her vacuum.  I refused to take my wreath down until she took her old vacuum and new vacuum box outside our doors to the dumpsters…she eventually caved
  • a high powered african american couple
  • a woman who was housing about 6 cats but told me only 2 counted because the other 4 were “really old”.  She also told me one day that she had the same dress as me and that if we ever went out together we shouldn’t wear them at the same time…I am pretty sure that is NOT going to happen
  • an angry man who called his rather large wife a cunt in front of the WHOLE neighborhood during a neighborhood yard sale
  • a woman and her possible live in boyfriend who are just as intrigued as I am and like to gossip about Miller
  • a new person just moved in next door today and can’t wait to find out what his story is!

Deal Breaker of the Day: never date anyone who tells you they are NOT a player…they are most definitely a player and if they weren’t they wouldn’t feel the need to tell you that they aren’t

Tattoos: Sometimes they tell a story that shouldn’t be told…

I have always been fascinated by the world of tattoos from an early age.  Perhaps it’s the bold colors, interesting pictures or writing or maybe it’s just the general curiosity of why people choose the tattoos they choose.  While I personally don’t have any tattoos myself, I have come very close to filling out the application for Miami Ink and believe that if I come up with just the right story I could have Chris Nunez’s tattoo fingers all over me.  I have also tried several times during various events such as bachelorette parties, Birthday parties, weddings, vacations, etc. to convince my family and friends to let me get a tattoo and that they in fact should get one too.  So far no one has allowed me…thank you!  I would like to be of a clear state of mind or in the presence of my Cuban tattoo artist when I undergo this event.

During my dating/outreach work I have divided the tattoo people into two simple categories: those who really thought about their tattoo choice and those that were foolishly led to believe that this tattoo would change their life forever.  I am always most skeptical of the people who have various religious tattoos.  Now I understand the people that get these tattoos to honor their religion and that’s fine.  It’s the people who have never dealt with their issues but have “found God” in the form of an ink filled needle that are just ridiculous.  It’s always the ones that have had or currently have some sort of drug and/or alcohol dependency that feel that because they have religious drawings on their bodies they are “cured”.  You can be sure that there is a bible, a bottle of gin and cocaine waiting for them on their nightstand.  I actually had someone tell me that they didn’t need to go to rehab because they went to a local church and got baptized in a kiddie pool so they were good now.  Really?  Is that kiddie pool of holy water going to come wash away that white powder from your nose?  I don’t think so.  Deal with your shit, go to church and then get a tattoo to celebrate.

The other group I am also skeptical of are the people who have names on their body.  It’s one thing to have the names of  your children, pets, or family members who have passed on but to have the name of a former partner on your body is NEVER a good idea.  I don’t care if I am at death’s door, I will not get my partner’s name on my body.  Who knows what the after life might bring?  River Phoenix and I could be destined to be together and I would have to walk around for all eternity with some other losers name on me.  NO thank you!  What’s even worse is when a person has made the mistake of doing this with more than one person.  It’s as if they said Rachel 4-ever…ooops! I mean Jen 4-ever or maybe it’s Sue, yes it’s Sue…I think?   I would even accept getting your own name tattooed on your body as you never know when you or the person you are with might forget it.

I have also learned to ask people exactly what tattoos they have as soon as possible as you don’t want to ever be surprised by one.  I had the unfortunate experience of being surprised by a set of flaming dice staring at me one early morning.  I thought I would be clever and just cover it up with the sheet but I could never really get that burned image out of my mind…literally!

Other tattoos people should rethink:

  1. Nazi signs unless you are an actual Nazi
  2. Jewelry of any kind…think of how often we accessorize our outfits with jewelry…is there really one piece that goes with EVERY outfit??
  3. Sayings in different languages that you don’t know what it means…people are going to ask so you better have an answer!
  4. Tattoos going up your neck…unless you are a cast member of the show Prison Break or Oz no one is going to take you seriously.
  5. This one is probably going to cause some debate but I will say it anyway: the barbed wire around your arm…I am starting to think unless you are Nick Lachey you may want to rethink it.
  6. Tattoos on your face…period!
  7. Tattoos on your face…again I can’t stress it enough!
  8. People who body tattoo themselves to look like animals or reptiles…I mean seriously its hard enough to find a mate in this day and age so I think this is really going to limit your options.  Although if you are even considering this you probably already have limited options anyway.
  9. Tattoos in places on your body that are at risk for getting significantly larger with time.
  10. I am on the fence about cartoon characters.

Next topic: My crazy neighbor…I never dated him but he deserves a post!

Deal Breaker of the Day: never date anyone who won’t look you in the eye…these people are either weird or pathological liars!

The Lawnmower Man

One of my summer highlights during my high school years was watching The Lawnmower Man mow the lawn behind my house.  He worked for a local lawn business and would pull up bright and early in the morning wearing his Levi’s and was always shirtless.  By about mid July he worked up a nice golden brown tan that accentuated his back tattoo nicely.  I have always had a thing for backs and tattoos so this was a double treat for me.  LMM and I also had some mutual friends so when I heard he had taken an interest in me the summer after senior year I was beside myself.  My summertime fantasy was finally coming true!

 I would have to say my first date with LMM would definitely go on my list of Top 5 First Dates.  He came to pick me up and informed me that we were going to dinner at one of his favorite Italian restaurants down in LBI.  It was my dream first date and combined two of my favorite things: Italian food and the beach!  On the way down we enjoyed the sights of the New Jersey Pine Barrens.  We arrived at our destination which was a nice little romantic Italian restaurant right in the heart of LBI.  During dinner we covered the usual first date topics: mutual friends, likes/dislikes, hobbies, lawns, etc.   Even though we really had absolutely nothing in common it all seemed to feel right anyway.

After dinner we decided to head on over to the beach for a little late night stroll.  We got on the subject of tattoos and of course I pretended as though I had no idea he sported one on his left shoulder.  He quickly tore off his shirt and proudly showed me his ink.  I can’t for the life of me remember what it was but I believe it was some sort of animal or bird.  We stayed on the beach for a while and had a brief make out session on the lifeguard stand before heading for home.  It was right out of a scene from The Notebook.

Over the next few weeks, we saw each other quite frequently and went on dates to all of the local Mercer County hotspots.   I believe it was somewhere around our 3rd or 4th date when he started to show some warnings of mental instability.  We were at Gravity Hill talking about some of our past relationships, well as many as you can have by the age of 18 and he began to cry…yes cried actual tears!  He said  he was afraid I was going to hurt him…not physically hurt him but emotionally hurt him.  Now this is when I should have said “drop me off at home and forget you know me” but no I was young and foolish and thought “poor thing…I can fix him”.  I believe the following date was when he brought out several pictures of his ex-girlfriend from his car visor and proceeded to rip them up in front of me, tossed them out the car window as he yelled “BITCH!”  I am guessing he wasn’t completely over her but felt ripping her face up into a million pieces would help.

LMM was also an avid hunter and as the fall hunting season approached he began to show more interest in hunting than with me which according to our mutual friends was a familiar pattern.  So we had the inevitable break up talk where “he was confused and didn’t know what he wanted”.  That was my first harsh lesson in what those words really mean: I would rather sit in the woods all day looking for deer than be with you.  Our whirlwind 2 month romance was over and I was devastated and heartbroken. 

I want to say it took the rest of that fall and most of the following winter for me to recover from that one and it was few months before I finally got complete closure.  It happened the following summer after we broke up, Lawnmower Man and I were reunited via the telephone one summer night.  We talked for a couple of hours and he did apologize for the way things ended and that I was someone good in his life that he let slip away.  He hinted around that maybe we could go out sometime but after 1 or 2 more conversations with him I realized hunting season was just around the corner and I wasn’t about to be dumped for Bambi again!  It was a difficult decision at the time but I believe that journey ended right when it should have ended.

Since LMM is on the very outskirts of my social circle I have had several occasions over the last 18 years to realize that I WON!  Such as…

  1. The time he rode his motorcycle to our annual group shore house with nothing but bananas and beef jerky…seriously that is all he brought with him for an OVERNIGHT stay at the beach.
  2. The time his father was allegedly looking for him for days because he didn’t take his “medications” and was worried he might do something drastic.
  3. He has mentioned me a few times over the years to various people that I was one of the good things in his life that he ruined.
  4. In his old “apartment” he had a rear view mirror over the bathroom sink and deer antlers as a towel rack.
  5. He has been dating his on again/off again girlfriend for the last 1o+ years and doesn’t seem to have any plans to actual commit to this person.
  6. He may or may not have operated a crystal meth lab at one time.

I recently stumbled across these gems on some online dating profiles:

I’m thankful for my cats. It may sound strange to people who don’t have pets, but having them around helped me through some emotionally difficult times. It can really help to have someone around to take care of to help you learn to take care of yourself. 

While I believe that having pets are wonderful house companions, I am not sure how much a cat is going to help you learn to take care of yourself unless you have started using a litter box. 

Can you give me an email to send a pic of me to? I don’t want to upload one on this site. 

Really??  You are on a DATING WEBSITE…people are going to see you eventually!  Again further proves my theories about people who won’t post pictures!

 Describe an interest you have that you would truly hope your partner could share with you. That’s a tough one. I love to learn new things and see new places if you can call that an interest. if you want a more specific answer I’m gonna have to go with wearing your underwear on the outside of your clothes! You meet so many interesting people that way and they are always smiling and seem happy to see you…except for the police for some reason. It helps if the underwear are clean!…no not really   

Po po…please shut him down!

How would you spend a romantic evening with a person you have been dating for a year or more?  Well first I would find all of your favorite things: candy, food, music, wine, etc.  I would create a nice meal or take you to your favorite restaurant.  Then we would take a drive to your favorite place and walk around holding hands.  Afterwards, I would take you home and put your favorite pajamas on and tuck you into bed. Then I would read you your favorite childhood bedtime story and kiss you goodnight before going home. 

There are too many things wrong with this response to even know where to begin!

Some additional information James would like you to know about him: If you can’t speak English, don’t bother me. If you are russian or a mental patient DON’T BOTHER ME! 

I completely understand the mental patient part but what does he have against Russians??

Deal Breaker of the Day: never date someone who never takes their cell phone out when you are around or you never hear it ring.  Either they are hiding something or they have no friends.

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