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.

Advertisements

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. ❤

A Hypnotist, The Italian & The Flu – Part Two

Italian2

So the story starts at a company holiday luncheon thrown at a nice hotel, where we are entertained by yours truly – ok, we are entertained by a professional Comedian/Mentalist who used me as part of his show. The lunch was pretty successful, spirits were pretty high, and the best part was we were told we could head home once the luncheon was completed.

Earlier in the week I had been talking via text a lot with The Italian. He was the last person I really decided to converse with from the online dating site. I hadn’t logged on in a couple of weeks, and had really given no thought when his message popped on my phone. He had intro’d himself as looking for a friend only, although his actions were starting to speak a slightly different language. I reinforced the initial friendship stance and once it was made clear we were not meeting for romantic purposes, I agreed to dinner on Friday night. We agreed to drinks, and if we wanted, we could move it to dinner afterwards. That’s code-speak for; Let’s see if things pan out, and if they don’t we can excuse ourselves after a drink or two.

As the week went on, and there were rumblings of the company being dismissed for the remainder of the work day once the luncheon completed. I realized I might end up available a lot earlier than anticipated, so I let the Italian know this. He had no problems moving things up, given about a 30 minute heads up. After lunch while walking to the car I texted him that I was about 40 minutes away from our meeting destination if he was interested in meeting early? I was really about 20 minutes, but given the time, it was perfect for me to run in and return an item at a store. Plus I really wanted no pressure, and I can as easily place that on myself, as allow someone else to. He was completely cool with things, and I was able to get the errand run and still take my leisurely time about getting there.

I ended up getting there first. I did the walk around the bar, and figured he would be easy enough to spot because of his height and all. I didn’t see him, so I slid up to an area that had a couple of empty stools and got ready to order a drink. Before I could place my order, there he was, right at my side. I have to say, simply thinking of him and the initial first meet, I laugh. There is something about him – about our energy or something, that just sort of clicks in this really goofy way. There wasn’t a moment of uncomfortableness from the get go, and it started with his ease from the from first moment we met. He doesn’t seem to have an uncomfortable bone in his body.

Physically, while he looked just like his picture, I think he actually looks better in person. He had this crazy, colorful loud shirt, that he carried off perfectly. I liked that he was confident enough to wear something like that without worrying about how it might come across. When he came up to me at the bar, he sort of slid in next to me, as if we had known each other for a long time. There wasn’t that awkward silence. But the energy levels I had mentioned before? How he seemed all over the place when trying to have a conversation with him? Still very much there.

We settled in; as best as one can settle with a very hyper lanky Italian, who as the name would suggest talks with his hands a lot. It’s almost like sitting there with one of those Water Wiggles – the Octopus you wire up your garden hose, and it slowly circulates as its crazy 8 floppy water arms go all over the place. I was certain a martini or glass was bound to go flying at some point during the evening, but it’s as though his arms have radar, and just know how to swoosh in and under and around glassware.

Conversation went pretty well, but it was almost surreal. Now this is going to sound strange, and it’s hard to articulate, but if it had been 1988, this guy and I would have been making marriage plans, I swear. There is something about him that screams the 80’s to me. I don’t mean he screams the 80’s. I mean the energy between us was very 1980’s. I wondered if it was our age bracket or what, but I could see meeting this guy in a loud music thumping bar thirty years ago (yes the 80’s were that long ago) and hitting it off to the point where we are living together in six months. Maybe it’s the speed at which he seems to move, physically and emotionally. Maybe it’s the mustache.  Maybe because it’s usually men in their twenties who seem to carry their emotions out in the open like he does, and I haven’t experienced that in close to 30 years.

After another drink or two, we decided to head to dinner up at my favorite Mexican place near my house. I texted my daughter that I was heading home, and would briefly have someone with me. She knew about the meet-up, how it wasn’t romance based, and made a joke or two. I made us a drink when we arrived, him having followed me perfectly the 10 or so miles to my place. We didn’t even finish half of it when we both realized how famished we were, so we headed across the street. Dinner was nice, but by this point I had caught him on more than one time with his eyes on my boobs. I called him out, because if you’re brazen enough to look, I’m not going to pretend I didn’t notice it happen. I think my calling him out startled him and as usual he tried the denial until I asked him, “Boobs, Ass, or Legs?” Every man has a favorite and I prefer one who can admit it, to those who call out “Oh it’s the eyes, or the smile”. Yes I agree, the eyes or smile might have it, but boobs, ass or legs? Being able to honestly answer gains you a point. Of course his answer? Boobs. What self serving Italian wouldn’t answer with that?

So the boob look didn’t make me uncomfortable, except to sort of cement that nagging feeling that his body language towards me was sort of calling out that this was leaning towards more than a friendship. I sort of faltered in my confidence at that point. Not that it made me feel less confident, but the ease of sitting with a male friend, is much different when you think they are looking at you in a sexual manner vs platonic manner. It goes from joining a lion for dinner, to being dinner for a lion. Dinner ended, and he again picked up the check. He had already dropped a small mint on martini’s for two earlier, and I really didn’t want him doing the same for dinner. I sort of verbally wrestled him for the check, but saw he wasn’t going to relent on this one, so I gave up and thanked him kindly. We headed back to my place where we considered listening to more music. I think my body language was screaming something my head wasn’t able to articulate.

The fact was my mind was bobbing a little bit now with the realization of where things were with us, and while I wasn’t too drunk, I was enough in my cups to get into anything too deep. I’ll be honest I don’t know how I made it clear that it was time to call it a night, I just know I was hugely relieved when he left. I climbed into bed and half-drunkenly and very giggly texted a male friend on how the night went, until mid-conversation I was in snoresville.

I woke up early the next morning, mouth parched from vodka, olives, and cigarettes, and there it was; a text sent that morning at 4:30. My first thought it always in situations like this, who the fuck texts someone at 4:30? Then his text sort of dropped that bomb that I knew was coming. To cut things very short and to the point he made it very clear of his attraction to me, and how much he enjoyed himself, but he did catch the feeling that I got a bit uncomfortable. If things were okay with us, he wanted to see me again that night. But that he wouldn’t push things and he was only interested if it were mutual. And therein I found the cadence for how he communicates with me.

Push – Push – PUSH! Then hastily retreat, either apologizing or retracting.

I put the phone down and didn’t respond. By 9 that morning he had responded that he was missing the credit card he had used the night before, and could I scope my place out for it?

I put the phone down once again and laid down one last time, because I had another Xmas party to attend that night. When I woke I looked for the card that I knew wasn’t there (hello Earring’s on the Nightstand) and then located the telephone number of the restaurant we attended the night before. I responded back and let him know I didn’t find the card (surprise!) and here was the number for the place the evening before, maybe they had it. Of course he ended up locating it in his car, but now that he had my attention. He asked if we could talk, so I called him.

He reiterated what he already had, and what I already suspected but I stopped him dead in his tracks. The conversation played out, me feeling like I had already done this, but calling him out on friend vs romantic intentions once again, and him responding in like and saying not to worry. Only this time he did admit, he was willing to follow whatever cue I threw his way. In other words if I wanted to keep it in the friend zone, he was cool with that, but if I was interested in taking it one step further than that, he was very interested in that too.

I can’t help but wonder if I really am thinking I am joining the Lion for dinner, not realizing otherwise.

By Sunday the flu hit. I didn’t realize it at first. I had attended a friend’s Xmas party the night before, drank much more than intended and came home with what I thought was exhaustion. When come Monday I could barely move, let alone breath, I missed a slew of texts from the Italian. Him worried about my state of well-being –and me unable, or unwilling to respond (I turned the phone on do not disturb) realized Houston, we may have a problem.

He decided it was imperative that he cook me homemade soup. And then he quietly delivered it.

It freaked me out at first. I mean really freaked me out. Like whatthefuckhaveIdoneinlettingthisguyknowwhereIlive? But then I cautiously opened my front door and saw the harmless bag sitting there, and the hot soup calling out to me, and like a timid little creature with whiskers twitching and eyes looking to and fro, I quickly grabbed the bag, ducked my head back inside, slammed and locked the door and sipped on what could have been Knock Out Rape Soup. I didn’t care. I hadn’t eaten in 24 hours. I could only stomach about three bites before the coughing fell me, and back to bed I went.

When I woke up I wondered if I had dreamt the whole thing. See, if I was really digging this guy on a romantic scale, I would be floored at how sweet and grand the gesture was, but this feels … well what comes to mind is that it feels a bit wrong. Again, the whole Lion thing. I was able to rightfully so, use the remainder of the week and weekend and the flu I battled as a good buffer from him coming on too strong. But I need to make a decision here.

It’s apparent his initial friend stance has changed and while he states he is willing to work within my rules, I have a feeling this guy will test the limits. I don’t feel physically threatened by him, by any means. I really enjoy my time with him, but I’m just not looking for what he is, and I don’t think he can be honest with himself on what he is willing to limit himself to. If I tell him this – I either come across as completely full of myself (which I can be, but trust me on this, that is not the case) or I put him on the defense. Do I end a friendship with someone because they I know they want more than I am willing to give? Is that selfish of me?

I may give it one more shot. He has begged me for two weeks now to let him cook for me. Since the soup didn’t kill me, I might take him up on the offer.

 

Sleeping with a Friend

FWB

A friend and I recently had a conversation about the possibility of her starting up a relationship with a good male friend she’d had for a number of years. They had practically been dating for years, with dinners, weekend outings and even a few shared nights in the same hotel room & bed. Their kids were even close friends. They had one drunken kiss, but nothing else had ever happened. She asked me my opinion as she waffled back and forth whether or not she could see him in that way, meaning romantic.

This is an interesting one for me, because I probably have as many male friends as I do female. Plus there is the whole, “Been there – done that” vibe going on.

If I wasn’t writing a lengthy blog piece and had to give a quick simple, shoot-from-the-hip kinda answer, I’d say Don’t do it.  That would be without weighing any of the pros or cons, and basing it 1000% on my experiences. But of course every picture paints a different story, and I am certain for others there have been fantastic results. The friend in question had in my opinion, a few additional criteria’s for this situation.

The few times I myself have jumped into this wading pool, the results have varied, but as my current single status shows, it apparently has not worked long term. There are some pros to it, but they tend to be so very murky, that the cons usually weigh them out. Here goes:

  • You’re already know one another

Pros:This is the biggest advantage. You don’t need to go thru any of the rings of fire-y dating hell to meet someone. No Apps, or websites. No wondering if they will like your picture, only to find that they hate your ass. No issues with seeing they are 4” shorter than they claimed. No meeting a stranger that you have to be on your best behavior with. You already know you have some sort of connection, because why else would you be friends? You have some common interests – maybe even more than you would with someone you met online, because you’re already doing those things with each other.

Cons:You know each other, but how well? There is a slight shift in the universe between friend-Me, and Relationship-Me. While all the good of Friend-Me is there inside Relationship-Me, not all the stuff I have in Relationship-Me is there in Friend-Me. Confused yet? Let’s say, we are supposed to meet to get a drink, or go hear a band and you have to cancel at the last minute? Friend-Me is okay with that. I might be bummed at the shift of plans, but that’s about it. You can text me hours before and say you’re sorry but you have to bail on the plans for tonite and you hope I understand. I do. Relationship-Me is going to be a heck of a lot more bummed, because I was probably really looking forward to this time with you. And that text that Friend-Me is okay with? It really isn’t going to fly for Relationship-Me.In a nutshell, the stakes are a little higher, The behavior has to go up a notch, because feelings are now precedent.

  • FWB

Pros: Well sex for starters. You probably know some of the kinks (yay) and quirks (could be nay) about one another if you’re a friend of mine. One of the reasons I love having men as friends is that from time to time the inner Frat Boy in me gets to come out; Anything on a raunchy level can be talked about, including the freaky situations that may have occurred in a past life. That’s not to say with my girlfriends we don’t get as graphic, it’s just a different level. Anyway, having that baseline, only makes sex with a friend fun. All sex should be fun, but good sex really needs it. Which leads to the con of…

Cons: Bad sex. Maybe your connection with one another is fantastic, but once you slide between the sheets something shifts. That is The. Worst. For one, bad sex sucks. For another, you can’t call or text that friend and let him know what an absolute lousy lay you just experienced, because he is both that friend and that lousy lay. The friendship may rebound on the off chance that enough time goes by and you can laugh about it. But if it’s bad because now you know he cries when he orgasms, or worse yet equipment issues on either side of the gender – the friendship is never going to be the same. You’ll always know, and they will always know that you know.

  • Best Friends/Failed Friends

Pros:I think every relationship should be based on being with your best friend. Your absolute best friend, where gender lines mean nothing. I still think a guy should have a guy-bestie and a girl should have a girl-bestie, but relationship besties are the best. It’s probably the one thing I mourned losing the most in my last relationship. We could tell each other everything, and our sense of humour was so similar that we could laugh about things others wouldn’t get. You get that now. Your best friend on all levels.

Cons: Losing that. Losing a tight friendship can be as devastating as a losing a love interest. I am nowhere in the mind-frame to lose both.

  • Possessiveness

Pros:I really find nothing pro about possessiveness, unless it’s in a growly sexual context with the right person.

Cons:Once I have sex with you, I do feel a sense of familiarity that extends itself out a bit to the word possessive. This could (and did) damage things when a failed FWB moved forward into his new relationship and I was relegated back to the best friend status again. It was a hierarchy situation for me, more than an emotional one, as he and I were one of the few situations that moved backwards with initial success. I did not like the demotion, although I did not want the relationship either. The friendship eventually just flapped in the wind until we both called Uncle and walked away from it.

  • The Friendship is Never the Same

Pros:If the relationship were to work out, I guess this would be a good thing. But…

Cons:… if the relationship were to fail, going backwards to friends is rare. Life isn’t a Seinfeld episode and we can’t all be Jerry & Elaine. More often than not, one still has residual emotion lurking about, which can lead to awkwardness.

This isn’t to say it never works. It has and it can. Sometimes, if the timing is right you can slide right back into your original positions, as if the thought of sex or romance had never been in the air.

A male friend and I had an argument once whether the opposite sex could be friends if one wasn’t interested in sleeping with the other. I adamantly stood on the side that said they absolutely could. He obviously stood on the other side of that argument and said men are only friends with women they eventually want to poke. It eventually dawned on me that him telling me this, was him telling me this. (sometimes it takes a brick to fall on my head) and a year later, guess who was right? Did he put the idea in my head, or was it already there and I didn’t know acknowledge it during the argument? It’s a moot point. For the record I still believe that both genders can be friends without either thinking of sleeping with the other.

As for the friend at the beginning of this post, she decided against it. Even though on paper it looked good, the reality for her was realizing that the feelings she had for him were strong, but not in that way. They are still best friends.

Seinfeld

Girl Code

Andy Boot

What if the opportunity to be with someone came at the wrong time, or for that matter the wrong life? What if you felt you were meant to be with someone else, but because of protocol, or timing, or rules, you missed out on that prospect? They were married to someone else. You were involved with someone else. They were dating your friend, or you were attracted to the brother.  Your lives just kept running afoul of one another with availability.

What if Girl Code came into play. Girl Code is simply Chicks before Dicks. Unspoken rules, like You don’t hit on, date or sleep with a friend’s ex without permission. You always take the side of the friend in the break-up, regardless of the issues. And between the ages of 12 and 20, you don’t date the guy your best friend is madly in love with, no matter if everyone knows she will never get him. There is no handbook on Girl Code, it’s just something you are born knowing. Most follow it. Some bitches don’t. 😉

When is it okay to break Girl Code and date someone’s ex? When is it okay to allow a friend to do it? Is there a certain amount of time? Years? Decades? Never? Is it the length of time you date someone that marks them as “Yours for Life”? Men for the most part seem to be okay with their guy friends dating girls they are no longer with. Women? Not so much.

I’ve had friends do it to me. Break Girl Code. I think the issue for me at the times that it happened was based more on the betrayal on the friendship vs. The Guy. It stung. It made the friendship feel less important than the potential for a hook-up. These all happened when I was young because young bitches are more deadly than older ones. In my youth I felt that whatever I touched, had my stamp on it. Like Woody in Toy Story, my name was indelibly written on his boot. Taking an Ex from me, even if I wasn’t playing with him anymore, was treachery. Maybe that was part of the appeal on the girls part. Having a bite of the forbidden fruit. Women I have learned, are a lot more capable of this than men. I have to be honest. I’ve danced along the line. I’ve been that girl who has become between male friends, but hey that gets into the rules of Guy Code, and I don’t worry myself over that. Simply put: Women can be beasts.

A few years back I considered setting up a friend with an ex, because I realized how much they were one another’s type. It was a sex thing for both, and I thought I was okay with it. It never happened, and later I couldn’t help but wonder if it really would have been issue-free for me. He had been pretty major at one time in my life. Maybe the idea of being so free-feeling in thought, wasn’t the same as living it.  Today this isn’t as much of an issue. Maybe it’s a lack of possessiveness. Maybe it’s age. Maybe it’s me realizing that what I had, isn’t what I want back, so go for it. Let my problems of yesterday be your problem of today.

Girl Code