I’m Bitey Too.

Cat_teeth

 

You know, I find myself writing on friendship a lot. Perhaps with the elimination of a romantic relationship I focus more on my friendships? Or as I think it to really be, perhaps as I get older the more they mean to me. In turn, they affect me stronger. When they are good, they are great, and when there is a bump in the road, I feel like the Princess and the Pea. I feel that damn pea with every move I make.

Add the socializing I do between Faire and Travel on top of my normal life, I am lucky enough to meet some really cool, interesting, — truly fantastic people. Some develop into real friendships. Some we don’t see each other much outside of these areas, but it’s always a warm reunion when we reconnect.

I guess ultimately I consider a friendship real if I would be willing to host you in my home. I take my home serious, and I take my friends serious. So combining them both is equivalent to having earned your badge in Friendship to me. I think my friends are pretty aware of this, because I seem to host a lot of small get-togethers.

Have I mentioned that I took badge earning in Girl Scouts pretty damn serious? 😉

There is also the flip side to these quick meeting friendships, because you are sizing everything up in very short spurts of time, mostly during times that consist of alcohol and frivolity. Two of my favorite things. 🙂  I love everyone after a cocktail or two, which is hindering, because I definitely do not love everyone the next day. Additionally it really doesn’t give you a good and true indicator of a person’s character if you only spend a few days a year with them, and maybe talk via text or Facebook.

Your bullshit meter reader, your intake of what sets these people off, what makes them good, bad or indifferent has to be pretty tuned up, or you’re bound to have hurt feelings or worse. Those who know me well, know I had a recent friendship born of my travels turn very ugly, and very southward. I regret nothing (she screams, as she is led to the gallows!) outside of allowing this charlatan of a person into my home. See, back to how serious I take my home. The rest is on me.

Sometimes it’s the little things that shine the most light.

I was having a conversation with someone I was bonding with this past weekend at the Opening Weekend of Faire. We were in those early moments of drunken friendship love when she mentioned to me quietly, “You know, I really don’t like many people…” and I responded back, “Me either!”, laughing in agreement, which is honestly how I felt that moment. Not that I hated everyone, but that I could relate to her comment about not liking everyone.

I realized in a more sober, less fawning moment I would have clarified that statement to say, “I like most everyone I meet, I just don’t become friends with them easily.” – Close friends I should clarify. Those few rarities where the friendships move at lightning speed?  They have a tendency to end like the above mentioned charlatan. I am a sloth when it comes to friendships that will last. I am moving very slow so that I can size things up, because if it moves too quickly and I get caught up in? I will ignore my meter readings, and ultimately – well I’ve explained it twice now. 😉

I think I am pretty damned friendly. I might be quiet when I first meet you, because deep down I am shy. I know, laugh your asses off over that, but trust me it’s true. I overcompensate that shyness most of the time with an overabundance of in your face love, but that’s usually only after a couple of drinks, and then I’m just like a big friendly Saint Bernard, licking and slobbering all over you.

I’d say most like me when they meet me. That’s how I feel when my confidence is at a normal rate. I’d say most tolerate me, on those days my confidence is ebbing low. And let’s be fair, some simply won’t like me for whatever reason. I have a few of those too. But through it all, my mother raised me to be nice and damnit I am, no matter the circumstances. Manners are a huge thing to me, and I try my best to abide by what I was taught.

What might change your meter on whether or not you like me is that I am direct. Very direct. Not Asperger’s direct, but a hair away from that. I won’t ever embarrass you (unless it’s something I think you could take, or if you’re embarrassing someone else, because I loathe meanness), but unfortunately If I get to know you, and feel comfortable with you, I might overstep some boundaries. More than likely it’s because there are times I really think we get one another and for that reason it’s okay for me to ignore those boundaries. Or think they don’t really apply to me.

Like I might try and counsel you, or give you unsolicited advice. I really am trying to work on that, and if you give me a moment to reflect I will realize my boundary crossing was out of line, and trust me I will slobber apologies all over you.

I did that with a new friend I had met on my last cruise; She was one of those super sweet gals who wouldn’t hurt a fly and I (inadvertently) got in her face (metaphorically because I’m not a physical in your face person unless you really piss me off. Like nuclear piss me off, which has probably happened once or twice in my lifetime) with advice she neither asked for, nor needed. Truth be told I was a little frustrated with her issue, and I liked her and I was a little too comfortable with her too soon. Honestly the second I looked back at not what I said, but how I said it, especially with someone I really didn’t know all that well, I couldn’t apologize enough to her. Today when I think back, I realize despite my intentions (which were good) I cringe to think I offended her.

So there is that. I stick my foot in my mouth way more than I should. That would be the side effect of having me as a friend. May cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, bloating, and foot in the mouth said the announcer off camera. And I feel horrible about it, because hurting people’s feelings is a big no-no for me.

I do get that I am not everyone’s cup of tea, and that either you will be on the end that gets me and loves me, or you will be on the end that is possibly offended by me. I offer sarcasm, a wretched potty mouth (that ironically is always at its highest volume carelessly, when a small child is around), a wicked sense of humour, linebacker sized shoulders to cry on, tons of humility and ferocious loyalty. I’m like if a Dog and a Cat could mate, this weird hybrid thing would be me. Not like CatDog the cartoon (for those of you who had children in the 90’s). I’m aloof and speak what I think a little too freely, but I will run and fetch that stick if it makes you happy. I’ll protect you, even if I am the size of a Chihuahua. (Which I’m not)

Catdog

When Eva, my cat, needs attention, she talks to me. When I am dense, or playing dense because it entertains me, she bites me. Not hard. Never broke the skin, but enough to say, “Hey! Stop being a total dick here and play with me or talk to me!” I don’t get mad at her for biting me for those reasons, because she’s not getting through to me in other ways, and I know she didn’t mean to hurt me.

Are you following the parallel here?

Now there have been a few times when I am being lovable, or tending to her needs and she is just in a crappy mood and her bites come thru a little harder. For no reason, other than she is being a dick. Once when I thought we were having cuddle time (or as close as cuddle time is possible, because this cat doesn’t cuddle) she almost bit my ear. Now I was the pissed off one, and telling her to stop being a total dick. Do I think she was aiming to maim my ear? No, I just think she wasn’t paying attention to how hard she was coming across.

Totally get that. Pissed me off, but I totally get it.

Sometimes I am irritated, or sometimes I am dense and I totally don’t get how I am coming thru. But the times that the bite came thru stronger, it wasn’t because I aimed to hurt more. I get that Eva doesn’t understand if I call her a total dick (which for the record I haven’t used that term with her. Not certain why I am using it here so much), but she KNOWS if she has gone too far. My words, my tone – they tell her. Does she care? Well, she’s a cat, so no, not really, but let’s pretend she has some human or at least dog tendencies. – Anyway, my point is getting buried in cat fur here – my point is that if I bite a friend I usually know based on their reaction. It’s rare that I find out “Whoa, that comment you made back there really offended/hurt/angered so&so” leaving me in absolute surprise and confusion.

But guess what? Sometimes I apparently have no idea my teeth brushed by you. Maybe I didn’t even bite. Maybe I growled. Fuck, maybe I smiled and you took it as a growl. I know with some animals you aren’t supposed to show your teeth, because it’s a sign of aggression. I think that must have been what happened. I smiled, or just apparently breathed wrong at this new friend and offended him.

That manner’s thing I mentioned above? I really mean I have good manners. I am an abundance of “Thank you” and “Yes, please” and “Excuse me” and “I’m Sorry”. I’ve never had an issue with saying “I’m sorry”. When I offended the sweet travel friend, I didn’t excuse my behavior by saying “Oh that shouldn’t have offended you.” No, I said, “I’m so sorry.” And I meant it.

Sometimes I will even say I’m sorry without knowing why I am apologizing. Not because I am a pushover, but simply because something I did – carelessly or by mistake – offended or hurt you. BUT – so that I know not to do this again, I really appreciate you at least fucking telling me what I did wrong. I mean, seriously.

This weekend during a conversation I offended a friend. I didn’t know because this friend said something, I knew because they didn’t say anything. I could only get out of him that I did something. I asked and got no reply. I groveled a little bit and asked again. Crickets. By the next day, we all pretended it was good. I wasn’t completely vested into the conversation that day, so I sort of let it slip thru.

Only by that next day, that VERY DIRECT side of me? She wanted answers. Not rudely. I tried to sit on her, because I realized “Hey, we apparently don’t know this person that well, and you might just offend again!”. I tried to muzzle my direct self. Muffle her questions, but to no avail. I didn’t think it was rude of me to ask what I did wrong, so that I wouldn’t do it again.

But apparently it was. I was overstepping those “boundaries” again. I was, I believe the word used was presumptive. About what? Your guess is as good as mine. I had fretted over it the first night, tossing the conversation to and fro. Re-reading it (because it was all online) and for the life of me, couldn’t find a thing. I looked at from an outside perspective and still came up blank. And just when I figured “Oh well!” and moved on, it happens again. Bite me once, shame on you. Bite me twice, and — fuck you.

I could have been a bitch. I certainly toyed with the idea. Like Eva, I’m bitey too. Only unlike Eva, I do sometimes leave marks, and it’s nothing I am proud of. I figured if I already offended him without trying, what kind of damage would I do if I did try? So I rearranged the issue, and didn’t make it mine anymore. I figured this was something that I discovered about this person that ran absolutely the wrong direction of who I am. Instead of direct, this was evasive and well — to be perfectly frank and since we are so fond of the word in this post – a little dickless and cowardly — but “who am I to judge?”, she says in her most judgy voice.

It bothered me to think I hurt a friend, but later I realized I didn’t have the friendship with this person that I thought I did. A friend, even a burgeoning one, would have answered my countless questions asking what I did wrong? How can I fix this? Maybe I assumed too much. Maybe I was too freely Me. Thankfully, after this post, the issue is no longer mine and seriously I am okay with it.

I AM a good friend damnit. Confidence high or low. I am a flawed human, but a good damn friend. And if you don’t believe me, just ask my cat.

But watch it. She bites.

Friendship: 2017 Style

friendship

I had this very all-over-the-place, yet poignant piece written on friendship and BOOM I must have deleted it at some point. I do that. A lot. Write, and then feel like it’s not where I wanted it to go, so I delete it, instead of saving it and using it later when I can clean it up.

Which is a great metaphor for my life right now. Not exactly minimalizing, because I love STUFF way too much, but getting rid of a lot of stuff, because it’s not what I need, not where I want to be in my life anymore.

I think for the most part it’s pretty damn healthy of me. A huge sign of growth. After all, I’m a clinger. A collector. I’m waaaaaay too sentimental, and even things that meant something to me 30 years ago, I have a hard time letting go of. I have a box of Valentines Day and birthday cards from friends in middle school. Middle School!!

But of late? I’m sort of digging this quick, slash and trash. People, things – there seems to be no limitations. But let’s stick with friendships, because that’s where this piece began. Stay with me, because this really will circle around.

The First Best Friend

I think like most kids we probably met in first grade. Kindergarten is that venue where a lot of us are practicing our people and friendship skills while our little brains are piecing together so much to be learned. I did have a first real friendship in Kindergarten with a neighbor girl named Linda. It was short lived after she threw a stick at my head when I called her mother a drug addict, leaving me with a lifetime scar that taught me two things; Never repeat gossip about another’s Mother, and duck when something comes flying at you unexpectedly. I suspect Linda and I were simply friends out of proximity to one another anyway. And if I didn’t apologize then, Linda I should have kept the gossip about your mom to myself. I apologize profusely and hope you grew up in a relatively sane household. Free of flying objects.

By first grade, you’re really starting to become a pro at this peopling thing, so close friendships are created. We shared our class together and both went to the same after school day care, so commonality was already established. She was this tiny little pixie of a girl named Tammy with waist length hair and a little turned up nose sprinkled with freckles. She dressed in the coolest clothes, with me specifically remembering this deep violet corduroy short pantsuit, that she paired with white go-go boots. Very 70’s, ala Partridge Family or something. The fact that I recall this outfit, including the shoes with such detail says a lot about who I would eventually become, but I digress.

I probably would have Single White Female’d her if I had the chance, because she was the epitome of what I wished I was versus my reality of a short low maintenance pixie cut (read part possible lazy mom and part every little girl in the late 60’s seemed to have this cut, thankyouMiaFarrow) and my cute but very run of the mill dresses, usually paired with Keds or Hush Puppy Mary Janes. One or the other. Definitely no white go-go boots. White Go-Go Boots, meant you had several pairs of shoes to wear, not just the school vs play shoes most of us had. Ultimate shoe envy was born from those Go-Go Boots.

I just remember really liking her and was so happy we were best friends. I wasn’t friends with her because we were neighbors (ala Linda) or siblings I couldn’t escape from, or worst yet a cousin who bullied me, but for weird reasons I still adored. This was a chosen friendship, which really are the best. It’s ordering off the menu, not having your meal picked out for you.

On some weekends she would take me with her to spend the weekend at her Aunt and Uncle’s house where we would drink hot black coffee so saturated in milk and sugar it was nearly beige. We would play dress up with real make-up in a real tree house, with a backyard pool, albeit a Doughboy. Looking back I realize these were probably her dad’s custody weekends, and he had her bring a friend so she wouldn’t be bored. I guess her dad lived with his family. I just knew that her Aunt and Uncle were so sweet and they put up with our six-year old screams and running around all hyped on the caffeine and sugar, until it was time to settle down for some Lawrence Welk. It was my first foray into the world of Lawrence and his bubbles. I fricking loved those weekends, Mr. Welk included.

I loved the drive out to the valley, and the tree lined street her extended family lived on. It was so very different than the concrete jungles of Los Angeles that we both lived in. But all that love turned green with envy when I learned that there were other friends she was bringing out there on weekends I didn’t go. They were sharing and enjoying what I thought of as “our” weekends. Hello Friendship, meet Possessiveness – this will be a thorn in your side for a while. My first bout of true dark jealousy came from two of those girls who were zoning in on my time, and I think I even had an argument with one of them about who was the better best friend. I might have imagined the fight. I wouldn’t be surprised because that’s how deep my ire went.

A couple of years later we moved from the oh-so loud hot concrete urban life into the suburban bliss of a beach city. Tammy and I said our goodbyes, and promised to keep in contact. Which lasted for approximately three months. Maybe. I think that is about the attention span of a typical nine year old. We may have wrote each other once each. I found new friends, and I imagine (now) that my leaving was felt for about a day or two, until her current friends just sort of absorbed the space I once took.

I recalled that friendship (and apparently the hotpants & boots that went hand in hand with that memory) for a lifetime, and it really held a sweet spot in my heart in my ethereal Mental Box O’ Memories. Enter Sentimentality. I think everyone has that one person they place in the First Best Friend category. Some are lucky enough to still be friends with them, and some are more along the lines of mine, and are nothing but sweet memories. Or were.

Fast forward to my mid-thirties, and the aspects of reconnecting with people via the internet is starting to explode. Classmates comes out, and I think I registered for every school I attended, including that elementary school in Hollywood. There her name stood out with a half a dozen others, none of which I recalled but hers. I reached out to her. I sort of had to. She was the mecca of best friends, built up by a 6 to 8 year-old’s memories that had just flourished over the years, building her and that pantsuit into something out of this world! I knew we wouldn’t have much to share, but when her response was one of near puzzlement on who I was, it was like my Unicorn Candy Walls of Childhood Memories nearly dissolved.

Oh she recalled me. I was the “one with the short hair, right?” – Damn my hereditary lack of illustrious follicles! And she did recall the weekends at her Aunt’s house. Actually she recalled everything, but not with the fervor or excitement that I did. Which is normal by anybody else’s standards. Our contact did start with the above mentioned sentence about my hair, which just weakened the foundation of how I recalled her. We weren’t on even grounds. I wasn’t really crushed, but it reads better to sound like I was. 😉  I think that like back then, we exchanged one email – she got me caught up on her life since 3rd grade, and despite her cute nose and fantastic fashion sense, she seemed like she had turned out as fucked up as the rest of us. Divorced. Living in Las Vegas. Single Mom. Regardless of all this — I still recall her as my first best friend, no matter how she recalls me – it just doesn’t come with a twinkle anymore.

My point is, I take my friendships pretty damn serious. I’m still friends with my neighbor that I met after the abovementioned move when I was 9. Interestingly enough, she and I too went thru a period where she moved and we lost touch as kids, but when we reconnected years later by chance, the friendship picked up stronger than it was before. Now some 40 plus years later, I consider her my closest friend on the planet.

There is that saying that goes something along the lines of friendships being there for a season, or a reason or something bumper sticker worthy. In other words, maybe not all friendships are supposed to be for a lifetime. I agree on that one. I think all people, good and bad enter our lives for reasons we don’t really need to know. They shape us, teach us and on occasion hurt us.

I also think some of us are one-person type friends, and others do great in groups. I wish I did better in groups, but my reality is I don’t function as well. Oh sure, I love parties and no one can go to Faire as often as I do without doing well in a group setting. But 95% of the time you find me in these settings I’ll be alone, talking with one or two individuals. It was a hard lesson to learn; this group setting. I was possessive of friendships and preferred that best buddy kind. I guess it was my need to be top dog. I wanted an Ethel to my Lucy (Yes for the record, I always see myself as the Lucy; but you don’t have to be a dowdy Ethel, just one who is willing to sign-on to my shenanigan’s.) As the years have gone by, I have learned to do better in small groups. 3-4 works perfect for me. I’ve learned that the possessiveness in friendships can be as undermining as possessiveness in relationships (which weirdly enough has never been an issue for me. Go figure.) – and most recently?

Slash and Trash the Bad.

I thought I had learned the whole Toxic Friendships blahdy-blah-blah about ten years ago when a really fucked up friendship entered my life. Except I didn’t really slash and I definitely didn’t trash. I tried to go quiet in the night. The higher road and all that sorts, said in my best snooty voice. But see that sentimental part of me that I’ve mentioned, emotionalized the little bit of good we had together, and allowed parts of the friendship back in. And then eventually I got kicked in the proverbial face with the fury of a thousand angry goats, with her horrible actions, followed by her screams of “Victim, Victim!” into the dark night. How does that go, Bite me once, shame on you; Bite me twice, shame on me? I have no ink on my body, but if I ever got any, it should be that saying, because damn I need to learn it.

I did it with another friendship, that truth be told wasn’t probably as Toxic (can we all just admit toxic is the most overused word of the past ten years?), but just as unhealthy. Lather, rinse, repeat in forgiving most all sins, and then wait for it – the goat kick to the face.

Damn that kick hurts.

Anyway, anger is usually the only thing that can really sever any ties of friendship permanently for me. Or it used to be. You know getting face punted can make you pretty damn mad after a while. It’s enough kindle to start the needed fire that burns the legendary bridge. I’ve only had one friend come back from that fire, and our friendship is cemented now, but it took work on both our parts. We WANTED the friendship to work.

Today, I think the reason I need anger is because I’m too much of a marshmallow. I recall the good parts and nostalgia kicks in and VOILA. Read above.

This last time though? It was different. Maybe the permanence of ink isn’t needed after all. Maybe after being kicked by these angry goats enough I recall that I don’t need the pain. Or the stick thrown at me when I was five. MAYBE when I see the ingredients listed in the friendship of these people, I can surmise on my own that they are not healthy. Not only unhealthy, but downright nasty. The ingredients are simple enough:

  1. They love to talk shit about others. I mean intimate, mean details about people you don’t even know. Or people you would swear they were close friends with. I assume this is to make you feel more important. Like you are special enough to get the inside scoop. Or – is it to keep you away from the ones they talk crap about because — trust me, if they are talking that crap about others? They are talking the same about you. Don’t think differently. Don’t think you are above it. Ultimately they don’t want you comparing notes. 😉
  2. They have relatively few past friendships. Look at them. Do they have close long term friendships outside of you? Probably not, and if so, very limited. Look at the family connections too. If their own family won’t have anything to do with them, that says something. LOUDLY.
  3. They become best friends with you almost overnight. Nothing more to that one.
  4. They see the negative in Every. Single. Thing. – They can be at the most beautiful locations in the world, and find something hateful or negative to say. The food is bad. The service sucks. The weather could be warmer/cooler. NOTHING makes these people happy. I surmise this is because they are so effing miserable, they simply cannot find anything happy to discuss.

There are more, but I’ve found these to be the most common. Sadly I’ve had a couple of these friendships before, and honestly didn’t recognize them for what they were initially. I just knew at some point they exhausted me. Most recently I had another, and did recognize it. This is what I learned there.

That thing about ending friendships peacefully. Just walking away? I believe these need to be burned. Not physically, but metaphorically. It doesn’t have to include drama (which seems to be the lifeblood of these friendships and probably should be #5, but I didn’t want the list to go on and on.), but it needs a firm “This is Over”. I tried to ghost this most recent toxic friendship. I didn’t answer the texts. But they just kept texting. I didn’t take the calls, but the calls kept coming. I didn’t want to hurt the person, so at one point I did initiate light banter, thinking we could keep things at minimal contact. That was probably confusing, and when push came to shove, my quiet resignation was not accepted, I needed to be fired. Suddenly *I* was the bad friend and it made me chuckle. Maybe it made them feel better. Years ago this might have burned my ego. “You can’t fire me, I quit!” Today? Fire me, either way the result is the same. I am okay with it.

Slash and trash, my friends. Walk and don’t look back. Don’t make it pretty, and don’t make it dramatic. Just cut and run.

Either way, find a way to have healthy friendships. If you have them, hold onto them. They are as precious, if not more, than family. After all, we chose our friends. Our families are usually assigned to us. Learn from those first few innocent friendships, even the ones without cool boots.

Now in closing I mentioned the Ethel to my Lucy. I am so lucky to have a few fantastic Ethel’s in my life (and quite possibly I am Ethel to a few Lucy’s, myself but I live in a world of Denial) and to them I say:

If you’re ever in a jam, here i am!

If you’re ever in a mess, S-O-S

If you ever feel so happy, you land in jail, I’m your bail

It’s friendship, friendship, just the perfect blendship

When other friendships have been forgot, Ours will still be hot. ❤

Brother, Can You Spare a Date?

cupidcrash

During this nice little 4-day break from work, I couldn’t help but notice that Cupid is going thru his own peculiar life crisises, as he is placing the strangest circumstances in front me lately.

Look but don’t touch.

Touch but don’t taste.

Taste but don’t feel.

These aren’t meant to be decent comparatives that make sense, because what has been happening makes no sense. It’s been going for a couple of months now, and it’s tantamount to me picking up very signals, very strong ones —  that were meant for another species. I’m just barely learning to shake my head and move on. It’s as if any male I may be attracted to has some weird force field that I am both attracted and repelled from.

Oh You’re interested? That’s wonderful! Me too. I think. Maybe not.  Stand over there, and —oh, let me ponder this for a while? I may or may not get back to you on it.

That’s what comes thru to me.

As for the rest of my romantic world (ala the Online world), I can’t tell if it’s the signals I am sending out to the world, or the signals I am attracting back for myself, but I feel I am meeting  … attracting the same man over and over again.

Because it’s online only, I say that suggests it’s something about my profile. Perhaps it’s my demeanor when I talk with them, that lends itself to encouragement that wouldn’t happen in person.

I recall reading something once about how our own energies are reflected back to us, but I cannot seem to fucking grasp what sort of energy *I* am sending OUT, to get back what I am receiving IN with my words.

First, to be fair, I’ve really not done much with the online thing. I think I simply get bored very easily and find that it’s much more work than it pays, and after about a week or two I barely even answer any of the messages. I did stay in some sort of contact with one of the men I had been talking to; Claus. It’s weird how we fell into this very comfortable little pitter patter of chat, but be it the holidays or his new job, or a dwindling lack of interest on both our parts I think our constant talk has petered down to only exchanging a couple of pleasantries in the past few days, and I’m more than completely okay with that. In fact if his phone fell into a bucket of water and he wasn’t able to retrieve my number to text me again – whispers “I might be okay with that too” . Maybe he is taking an unspoken cue from me, but when push came to shove, I have a feeling we weren’t really puzzle pieces that were going to fit. I am in no shape or manner looking for Little Lord Fauntleroy, but he was just a tad too coarse for me, and I imagine at one point soon, it would have been enough for me to say “No thank you!” and smile and move on. I like my men rugged, but with class. Definitely not uncouth. I sense that with him.

An added issue with him is something I think I keep attracting and that’s where the questionable energy comes into play; Men with job issues.
depression[1]

Let me preface this by saying I am not looking for a man who makes gobs of money (even though my mother continuously told me as a child, “It’s just as easy to love a rich man, as it is a poor one ….”). I don’t care if your job is shoveling coal, or running a fortune 500 company. A hard days work is just that. I like to think I’m pretty far from pretentious behavior. I purposely don’t mention money in my profile, because in my area it can very well be perceived as gold digging. BUT – having a stable job? Having an income that can afford you some travel? How about afford you a drink? (Yes I once met up with someone and bought my own drinks, which was no big deal, except that he didn’t even offer. I found it weird that there wasn’t even that mock fight over the check at the end of the evening.) I’m not stating that every man who has messaged me has no job, or no — issue that prevents work, but seriously? I have met a LOT. The school teacher who was on “leave of absence” – which suspiciously smelled of inappropriate behavior between him and a student. Gone instantaneously. Next was the super nice, super smart guy who had just moved back to town after a lengthy divorce and was trying to get his physical therapy business of the ground, and had no money for lunch. Then came Mr. Sweet Nothings, who really had nothing other than his disposition going for him. He was the one who I had to buy my own drink with.  I think I recall he even had to borrow a car to meet me. After him I went off the dating sites for a long time. Now? The last two men I’ve met have questionable career choices. One is Claus himself, and the other is one who messaged me this weekend. I’ll call him The Italian.

The Italian messaged me Friday night and off the bat stated he wasn’t looking for a relationship, just a friend. That was good, because his profile was dangerously thin, and the attraction was “Meh” at best. Not bad, just not anything to set a spark for me. I was bored and responded thinking it would last about four exchanges before one of us called Uncle on dull conversation overriding simple tedium. But things sort of picked up a bit. I didn’t throw one sarcasm bomb his way (which is actually a huge clue of my lack of interest, truth be told), but it was strangely … pleasant. Not earth shattering. Not hilarious. Just simply nice. I was sort of surprised when he messaged me again the next day but our exchange seemed to move a little faster. Finally he asked if I would be interested in meeting for drinks or dinner later this week, and I figured what the heck, why not? I’m just meeting a potential new friend. And then the convo turned to work, and sure enough it’s another one. Not working for XX reason, and used to be XX, but just received a nice inheritance and is doing okay, blah blah blah.

All I could think of was, AGAIN??? —How do I get out of this?, and I realized there really isn’t any way without being rude, and besides he said just friends (which I followed up the next day, to make sure we were on the same page, and he agreed) so what the heck. His old line of work alarmed me as much as his current lack.

Except now, suddenly he really seems to want to be my friend. He texted me yesterday to see if I wanted to do lunch that day (no) and when I explained how I couldn’t, he asked about dinner that night (really, no) and all I can think is who wants or needs a friend that badly. I think friend is code for “If it doesn’t work out I can claim I wasn’t interested anyhow”. He apologized for coming across so strong. He said he hadn’t met anyone as nice as me in a while, and I thought Friends, right?, but thought I shouldn’t beat that point home. Yet.

So – I’m having drinks (and dinner if I want I was told, but I’m thinking maybe no …) and something is telling me it’s a good idea for me to bring my own cash, because one never knows when buzzwords like inheritance might mean something like “you’re buying your own drinks, right?”.

It’s funny how recently real life shows me what I can’t have, and online life shows me what they can’t afford. I think the universe is trying to tell me something, but I always sucked at charades.

Charades

32 Miles and 32 Years; A Surreal Month and Closure on the Man from the Past

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There is absolutely no doubt that the last month has been absolutely fucking surreal. If my body and mind fed into manic moments, I would definitely be twirling off the stage right about now.

First was the unexpected communication with the man from the past – unexpected in his responding to me. He was so very right in saying we should wait until after the cruise before we met up. He didn’t want anything to deter me from having a good time with my head space being so weirded out. It worked. He was for that week nothing more than a compartmentalized thought; from the pub-crawl the night before the cruise until I arrived home a little more than a week later. I am not certain if the cruise would have still had that joie de vivre had he been in my headspace.

Then there was the cruise itself, which I’ve already explained was so much fun I felt like a kid being forced to leave a birthday party early when it ended. There were some lessons learned, and I think I may touch on that later. But for a newbie who had never done anything like this before I’d say I came out of it pretty unscathed. Maybe a tad bumped and bruised, but most definitely a happy camper.

Then life says, “Lets make things even weirder for her” and TYO gets a hold of me, throwing me an almost angry curveball of life. I did end up contacting him further late last week, but I made it clear that what he was looking for simply wasn’t going to happen. I have a void in the spot he once almost- sort of held, and the ego doesn’t even need to be fed by him, so walking from that was as easy as a warm knife thru cold butter. Just slid out of there. But I hate for any situation to have even slightly angry moments hanging there, so I did some last minute damage control by letting him know no hard feelings. He took that as more as a possible open door, until I firmly said, “Take care!”.

The timing on everything was so very surreal. Individually all of these things except the soon to be mentioned former one, was simply life. A nice, albeit sometimes strange blip in the radar. Throw in Vegas during this time span and toss it all up and you’ve got yourself the Ultimate Weird Surreal Sundae of Life.

Then came the big day. The reunion of sorts between me and the man from the past this past Saturday. That was probably the most surreal of all. I couldn’t exactly pinpoint my feelings about it. My daughter figured out who it was that was coming over, because apparently my silence speaks volumes. I think her acknowledging that she knew made it easier for me. I wasn’t lying to her, but I was omitting from her, which just isn’t how our relationship works. She is more than my kid, she really is a confidant too.

So Saturday; Was I nervous? Did I anticipate anything? Did I have my reasons for this meeting in check? Yes, not certain, and again not certain. I knew the reason we said we were meeting. We set this meeting up a month ago. The first night we communicated. For him it was to apologize to me in person. To make amends. For me to — close any emotionally open doors? I guess. We joked about how it was also a football bet he lost to me very early on, and how repayment would be Taco Bell. As the month went on, the reasons seemed to blur and I volleyed back and forth on whether I should meet him or not. Involvement with him was just not emotionally possible, but I knew we were both aiming for it slightly. I wasn’t diverting it, but was I encouraging it? Yeah probably. It didn’t matter.

I wanted to look good, without looking like I was trying to. My daughter helped me out there. Casual that still said, “Admit it, I look good and I haven’t aged that badly…” Ha! Her only piece of advice was “Mom, don’t do the 80’s hair thing”, which is when I let my hair dry and go semi curly and then let it go crazy wild with hair product. I hadn’t planned on that, but I appreciate her trying to keep me looking good.

32 Miles

The drive took him about three hours, and at one point as he was nearing my place he texted me “Sort of a poignant moment; 32 miles and 32 years”. That statement I think will stay with me for a lifetime. That’s when it sort of hit me. I mean it really hit, like punch to the gut. This was more than just someone I went to high school with. This was more than someone who I briefly dated. Holy fuck, this was real. This was never anything I ever anticipated and could I handle it?

He arrived about 90 minutes late. That could have drove me crazy that he was that late, because it’s a HUGE pet peeve of mine, but I kept reminding myself to let it go, and honestly outside of the extended anticipation I was okay. I knew he was uptight over the drive. He told me for anyone else he would have probably turned back around at the half-way point – but this was important. When he finally arrived, I stood outside for him to find my place, and as he emerged from the darkness of the early night,  I couldn’t help but smile. Jesus Christ it really was him, just 32 years older. He had the same exact fucking smile on his face that I remembered. His hair was shorter and grayer (obviously) but there was no doubt it was him. My heart – my 17 year old heart, did a little flippity-flop for a minor moment. We hugged and sort of held each other for a moment, both of us grinning like crazy. He was a lot trimmer than I expected, and I am certain I was lot thicker than he expected.

My nerves were on full throttle, which usually just makes me very very quiet, (he made mention of that later) but I was calm enough that there was no nervous babble. He came in, and I poured him a Ginarita. Warned him of the potency (which no one ever believes or realizes until they find themselves flat on their asses hours later) and we sat next to each other on the couch. The couch he had made so many jokes about sleeping on. We sat there and sort of looked at one another. Damn he really had aged well. Most men do. We made small talk. I realized I hadn’t shown him around the place, and made the joke of doing so (My place is pretty small). He complimented it, and noticed a lot of small things. He was definitely more at ease with me, than I was with him. Or so it seemed.

We had another drink and some homemade guacamole. Lots of music, at his request. (We had talked music so much during the month before, and he was trans-fixed at the amount I had, and wanted me to play all sorts for him) He wasn’t coming onto me (or if he was you know I wouldn’t have ever known it anyway. Brick-to-the-head Girl here), but he did make a comment that he forgot how expressive my eyes were, and how you could just fall into them. Well played compliment. Very well played.

Finally dinner reso’s needed to be met, so we walked across the street for Mexican food and more margaritas. That’s when things got a little more real. Maybe being outside of the house, or sitting directly across from one another. He told me about the dissolving of his marriage. I played both crying shoulder and Devil’s Advocate, because I sort of felt both ways. From there a little more about who he was came into play, and little by little I realized Í don’t know this person. At all. While he was attractive and all, on any day of the week after getting to know him, would I be attracted to who he is for him today? We had a lot of dissimilarities. From politics, to religion. (My daughter reminded me later that my last relationship worked out fine with our polar opposite political views) Don’t get me wrong, It never got heated, but I took note. I laughed at a couple of things he said, but knew in the real world (because this was SO not the real world, trust me) that it probably wouldn’t work out between us.

The tequila at this point was starting to soak into my brain and while I was very capable of holding it together, I knew one wrong turn would dissolve me into tears fasters than salt on a rainy day. The situation was brought up and again he apologized. So profusely and so sincerely, and it reminded me of that first email return from him, and how upon receiving that my broken heart sort of melded back into one piece again. I jokingly warned him not to make me cry, but the seriousness was there too. Then the pain sort of bubbled up in me, and I let him have it. Not in a vicious way. In a painful way. I told him how hard it was for me to understand his actions, and how it had never made sense to me for so many years. Decades even. I swear the tears were sitting there, dancing behind my eyes, asking if they could come out. I held it together. Probably made some joke, which is what I do when these situations feel on the verge of becoming a little too real. He again was so apologetic. So real.

We headed home and there seemed to be a lightness in the night by now. The elephant in the kitchen had been discussed, and we could move forward. He became silly (tequila I suspect) and for a nano second of time, we were 17 again. Me wanting to do things by the rules, and him daring me to break them (in a very minor way). The moment left, but for that briefest second, I did remember. When we got back home, more talking, more drinking, more music until the night was nearly day. He needed to leave super early and we drunkenly contemplated just waiting for the sun to come up, until common sense came into play and I suggested a few hours’ sleep beat no sleep at all. So alarms were set and we each fell into our version of drunken slumber. Mine was restless at best. Waking every 30 minutes or so. When the alarm finally went off, and he was headed out the door we held each other for a moment. I was still too tired to really make much of it.

I doubt we will ever see one another again. I don’t think it’s necessary. I don’t think it’s healthy. But for a brief 8 hours we did reconnect. In some ways the same way we used to when we were underage kids drinking beers off a keg. My mind takes a while to wrap itself around situations. I have to examine and re-examine things from all points. I have to pick the situation up and look at upside down and sideways, and poke it to see if it still moves.

He emailed me hours after he got home. Basically stated the tequila kicked his ass. I thanked him for making the long drive out, and agreed about the properties of drinking tequila, and how I warned him about Ginaritas. We did our banter the way we do.

Closure Hand

Sometimes life affords us opportunities to go back in the past and correct things. As the perpetrator, or as the — perpetratee — I know I probably made that word up, but I hate the word victim used in any form towards me — Anyway, I think this very unexpected chapter, both in happening and resolving can be closed now. There may be residual emotions that come up. That’s how life works for me. A week from now I may cry over this. Or not. But it’s done.

The Very Temporary Return of TYO

Bshit

On a side note, away from vacations, sicknesses, or the blues – while at home Monday I got an interesting text. Now I know it might seem I have this habit of reconnecting with exes, but it seriously is the exception and not the norm.

Completely out of the blue and absolutely unexpected The Young One texted me. I almost felt like life was throwing me a very unfair curveball, because in all aspects of life, yesterday was the worst day to randomly reach out to me. I was too exhausted to deal with anything. Had he been any major romance, it might have had my headspace reeling, but fortunately it was just not there for me.

This wasn’t the first time he tried to contact me. He attempted it about six months ago, but at the time I was with a couple of girlfriends, who absolutely forbade me to answer him. They were right of course. You see, his initial exit was quick and without explanation, and while it hadn’t really upset me too much – just not knowing why drove me batshit. The friends felt he didn’t deserve an acknowledgement from me. Of course I was dying to hear his explanation, but truth be told it was probably a booty call on his part, and he would have said whatever he needed to, not the truth. So I followed their lead (with a tiny bit of a fight, I’ll admit it), didn’t acknowledge him and within a day or so I had completely forgotten it.

Monday I was bored and home alone, and had nary a friends hand in sight to knock my phone out of my hands. And you know what? I handled it perfectly. He started off tentatively. Testing the waters I imagine, trying to gauge if I would even respond. I was cool but polite. No chatty bantering. He acknowledged he had texted me a few months back, and that perhaps I didn’t get it, because he never heard back from me. I sort of ignored that part of the text initially.

See I wanted to see how he was going to handle this. Would it be with honesty? Any bets on that one? I pretty much knew he would find a bullshit way around things, but the cold medicine was making me feel bold, so I thought, what the hell – let’s play along.

So I asked, what was up with the disappearing act?

He claimed “I disappeared on him.” 

Seriously? Ok, so there is no doubt we were going the bullshit route on this. My mom said it best when she told me the best offense is a good defense.  I didn’t want to bicker on details, and he said/she said crap, because when push came to shove I didn’t care that much. The one thing I told him I wanted from the get go was truthfulness, and it was very apparent he couldn’t be about this, so he probably wasn’t going to be honest about a lot of things.

He tried to figure out if I went solo on the trip, which I knew to mean “Are you seeing anyone?” Oh how I could have played games on that. But instead I politely called him out on everything. I reminded him that early on my only rule was no games, and at this stage, he didn’t get answers. I told him I received his message months ago and chose not to respond. I told him I think there is more going on than he is willing to admit, and then reminded him of my blunt tactics, which of course he said he always liked in me.

I’ll give him points on taking the bullets I was sending his way and still attempting to get a foot in the door. Finally it was apparent that there was zero interest on my part and he awkwardly left the conversation. I told him to take care of himself and left it at that. He said for me to stay in touch if I wanted. No thanks.

I thought that would be the end of that, but no joke, as I type this a day later, he is actually ballsy enough to text me again … if his particular persistence was worth anything he would be scoring points. It isn’t. This time I am coldly blunt. I tell him again, his disappearing act was shifty and I can’t remain friends with someone I don’t trust. He quickly shifts gears and states he walked because of the last argument we had, but ahhhh … we never did. I mean we never did. We only dated about four months, and although I can twist your ear in a good debate, I hate to argue. I’ve been in relationships that lasted years that had fewer than five arguments, that’s how much I hate to argue. I told him he had me confused with someone else. He back pedals here and there, and finally concedes he messed up.

Like now the truth will set you free.

Too little, too late I tell him. The trust factor simply isn’t there. Neither are,(nor were) the feelings. That’s why I got over it so quickly. But I kept that part to myself, because I wasn’t feeling that cruel. I know why he was calling, and he knew I knew but ironically in the end?….. I actually almost felt a little bad for him.

Almost.

I’m betting this time I really don’t hear back from him.