Friday, April 30, 2010

Wine therapy and Allessons, or "Why Online Dating is Like IKEA"

I was supposed to meet up with the pie maker for a second date Wednesday night, but I opted to cancel.

Why? Because the last few days have been the emotional equivalent of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, spewing shit everywhere and disrupting my high-flying ways.

To be (somewhat) brief: Ex-BF v. 2.0 just randomly showed up at my apartment on Friday. Uninvited and unannounced. It would be one thing if this were the first time, but add to it the Snuggie Situation, the flowers he sent to me at MY FREAKIN' OFFICE on Valentine's Day and the dinner he dropped off there as well, and it appears it's becoming a pattern. And yes, I realize that these are not necessarily threatening activities, but life is not a John Cusack movie. A boom box blasting Peter Gabriel is not a Band-Aid. And our relationship has been dead far too long for any sort of romantic defibrillators to restart my heart.

The whole thing pissed me off because it's a continued violation of my personal space. So Wednesday afternoon, I decided to text him to ask about his motivations, explain to him that this behavior is unwanted, and ask him to please stop, once and for all.

His response? "I think it bothers you because you are still in love with me."*

Aw HELL naw. The whole exchange just encapsulated our relationship in a matter of seconds: me explaining my needs, him refusing to listen/understand/care. Like the Eyjafj-whatever volcano before me, I was filled with lava rage and ready to EXPLODE. Anger, frustration, betrayal, irritation, disgust -- all the feelings that accompanied the end of our relationship came bubbling up and out of me.

And so I dealt with it as any mature adult would: I went outside the office and cried.

Mid-weepies, I texted a few friends for support. Allison agreed to meet up with me after work at our local therapy office -- Crystal City Sports Pub.

Once there, I grabbed a seat at the bar, implored my bartender friend Todd for a bottle of pinot noir and two glasses, and vented everything to Al, showing her the text exchange.

And I was finally able to articulate what was really nagging at me through the whole debacle: I've been on so many different dates at this point, and none of the guys have really stuck around for more than a couple of weeks. But Ex-BF v. 2.0 keeps persisting, even all these months later... so is that all there really is? Is that relationship, where much of the time I felt desperately lonely, what I deserve?

Ah, what better person to be out with than Al: seasoned dater, relationship sensei, satellite roommate, dear friend. She took a sip of her pinot and nodded in empathy with my predicament.

Then she spoke: "The problem with Internet dating, or 'The Husband Store'" -- I sniggered violently when she called it that -- "is that it's like buying furniture from IKEA."

I'm intrigued. Go on.

"It looks all pretty and nice at first glance, but then when you get it home all you get is a lot of frustration and extra parts!"

And at that, I laughed so hard I sprayed red wine all in the poor girl's face.

Funny as the analogy was, I understood her point. People post profiles selling the best possible version of themselves, and then you go into a date from scratch trying to make chemistry happen. While it can work -- "Some people can rock the IKEA furniture," Al continued -- ultimately, a relationship can be just too difficult to construct.

But my online failures are not an indication that Ex-BF v. 2.0 is all there is -- just that I'm someone who hasn't figured out how to put together IKEA furniture. And, Al assured me, everyone feels this way from time to time. It's not just me!

They really should include written instructions in those manuals (Man-uals?). It would make things so much easier!




*In the past few months, I've been able to convince guys that look like this and this to meet up with me multiple times. Moreover, there is another guy I haven't been able to stop thinking about for weeks, while Ex-BF v. 2.0 hasn't even crossed my mind. No, I am not still in love. I assure you.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The George Mason student

Oh my God, I am SO HUNGOVER.

But let's rewind and start from the beginning, shall we?

Saturday night, I agreed to meet up with the George Mason student, my second find from my latest foray into OkCupid.

He also represents me widening my net a bit, so to speak: Recent revelations have made me rethink attributes I'd considered total deal-breakers, so I'm letting slide certain things for which I would have instantly tossed out a profile in the past.

Chief among those things is distance, a requirement I was inspired to drop by my friend Steph S. Previously, had I seen a dude listed as anywhere non-Metro-accessible, I'd have flipped the deuces and surged on to the next profile. But Steph, a resident of Frederick, Md., took her chances on a guy in Herndon, and they've been happily coupled up now for a few months. I've met her man -- he's totally awesome! And he made me wonder what other totally awesome guys are hiding out there in the 'burbs.

The GMU student lives way the fuck out in Fairfax. It's no Frederick-to-Herndon trek, for sure, but hey -- baby steps.

Moreover, he listed himself as being 5'8", which, if you're going on an Internet date, is a total wild card height. That could be anything from actually 5'8" (likelihood: slim) to downright Lilliputian. But, again, I'm trying to look past previous deal-breakers, and while potentially a short guy, the GMU student was super cute and wrote really funny e-mails. And as I said to Al, who joined me for a quick dinner at my place while I was getting ready for the date: "Tall, funny, cute -- that's the ideal. I'll take two out of three."

Al and I cracked open a bottle of wine and bantered back and forth about my impending date. Finally, it was about 8 p.m., and the GMU student and I were slated to meet at 8:30, so I skedaddled out of my apartment.

And I realized I was already a bit tipsy. Hrm.

I'd picked the meeting destination -- Dodge City at 9th and U -- because it is brand-spanking-new. It literally opened last Tuesday, and the only reason I knew about it is because on Wednesday, I'd stopped there to meet Megan K. and this Brazilian judge we know for some reason for a drink before heading out to meet up with the pie maker. How Megan K. and the Brazilian judge knew about Dodge City, I have no clue. The three of us weren't even calling it the right thing -- there's a big banner out in front of it that says "America's Bounty," so we just assumed that was the name of the joint. I only discovered its actual name when I googled it to find a link to put in this blog. So basically, it's a candlelit, hip new hot spot that you should get out to before everyone else does.

The GMU student had snagged a table near the front, and I spotted him through the window. Oh, he is oh-so cute! He's moderately shaggy-haired, with a perfectly maintained 5 o'clock shadow. He stood up to hug me as I walked toward his table, then went to the bar to get me a drink.

"5'8" was optimistic," I texted Al while he was away from the table, "but not terribly. He's still taller than me."

The GMU student and I chatted with ease -- we had immediate chemistry, and made each other laugh! I learned he's 28 and finishing up his bachelor's degree in information technology after being in and out of school and bouncing around from Connecticut to Florida to Virginia. He seemed like he was just a late bloomer and has finally found his direction in life, which is cool.

I also learned he has no olfactory bulbs in his brain, so he has no sense of smell.

"Well, that's a good thing," I joked, "because I smell like a hobo. I was wondering why you hadn't gotten up to leave yet!"

We made some more jokes about that, then realized our drinks were empty. The downside of the newness of Dodge City is that it is so new, it doesn't even have credit card machines yet. I'd brought cash and offered to buy another round, but the GMU student wouldn't hear of it (score!). Instead, he suggested going over to H Street to check out the burlesque show at the Palace of Wonders, which I'd hyped up in our e-mails back and forth. Sounds good to me! He'd driven, so we hopped in his car and zipped across town.

Unfortunately, when we got there, the doorman stopped us -- the 10 p.m. show was sold out, and the next show wasn't until 11:15. Damn! The GMU student had mentioned wanting to check out the mini golf at H Street Country Club anyway, so we headed across the street.

Side note: I really have got to stop repeating bars with my dates. It's awkward when the bartender recognizes you as the chick who was just here with a different dude. Also, it's moderately stressful worrying about whether you're going to run into your previous date.

In any case, H Street Country Club, completely empty on Wednesday, was boasting a packed house on Saturday night. There was a huge line for the mini golf, so it became apparent pretty quickly that that wasn't happening. Miraculously, however, we snagged seats at the bar and ordered beers.

We continued to talk and make each other laugh. If you're keeping score: At this point I've had half a bottle of wine, a vodka tonic, and a beer. And if you'll remember the handy chart I drummed up about alcohol consumption and dates, you'll know that I was clearly very into the GMU student.

Then he ordered us shots. Hrm. Roasty toasty, oh yes I was.

We were both doing the lean/touch, and the GMU student kept telling me how pretty he thought I was. If ever there were an aphrodisiac, it's that. Chris Rock had it right when he joked, "There are only three things women need in life: food, water and compliments. And the occasional pair of shoes." It's funny because it's TRUE. And the GMU student was completely seducing me by stroking my ego.

Then I bought us a round -- a refill of our beers, plus two more shots. Double hrm. Roasty toasty doesn't cover it anymore -- I was drunk.

FUCK!!!!! Why have I not learned my lesson on this yet??? DON'T BE A FUCKING ASSHOLE, KATIE. Quit while you're ahead!

We decided to leave, and the GMU student would drive me home. As soon as we walked out the door, we were making out. We kissed all the way back to his car, and once inside it and driving home, we kissed when we were at stop lights.

Also -- either he can hold his liquor way more than I can, or there was definitely some piss-poor decision-making happening. In any case, we made it to my apartment safely and went inside...

And then I woke up, still wearing my contacts, temples raging with a headache, stomach feeling slightly nauseous. I will probably never see the GMU student again.

... goddammit.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The pie maker

In my newly revamped OkCupid: Meg Edition profile, I request a man with long hair and tattoos.

....... say what?

This may be befuddling to some of you. Clearly, I do not have any tattoos, nor is anything of mine pierced save for my ears (and even then, only one time each), nor do I even dye my hair.

But here's the deal: I am tired of the D.C.-brand douchebaggery that runs rampant in this town -- these uber-ambitious, meticulously groomed, buttoned-up guys who simultaneously look down their nose and up your skirt. If I have to hear another nauseating Capitol Hill braggart drone on about the accomplishments of whatever congressman whose ass he kisses on a daily basis, I will seriously puke.

I care about politics and the direction our country is taking, as any intelligent life form should; I just don't need to inject it into my veins. And while I wouldn't say I'm unambitious, I certainly don't have any intention of running for office, nor do I believe I would ever be qualified to be a CEO. At the same time, I know I'll never be content to be a glassy-eyed, smiling housewife waving to the crowd from the sidelines of a campaign. These traits make me the oil in the water of the D.C. dating pool -- I simply do not mix.

So, I was thrilled to receive a message from a suitor whose main profile picture shows him dressed in black and strumming a guitar, a giant claw tattoo decorating his left bicep.

Oh, yeah -- Mama like.

It turns out that by night he plays guitar gigs around town, and by day he works two jobs: one constructing specialty pizzas at a shop in Logan Circle, and one baking delicious pies at shop out on H Street.

Ohhh, pie. What I wouldn't do for a slice of delicious pie! Really, what I wouldn't do for a slice of delicious anything -- I have the Mother of All Sweet Tooths. But if it's being served up in pie form, hey, I'm totally down with that. And frankly, he sort of reminded me of the pastry chef, who, while it clearly didn't work out with him, was one of just two guys I've dated who I felt like I could be totally myself around (though, the pastry chef did give me the boot for being too vulnerable, so maybe I retract that statement).

The pie maker and I exchanged a few e-mails and agreed to meet at H Street Country Club. I've come to love the H Street Corridor as of late. It's kind of a pain to get out there, but the bars have this sort of gritty, divey feel -- unpretentious, unassuming, very cool.

The whole thing had me pumped: a hip H Street bar and a tattooed, guitar-playing, non-D.C.-douchey, pie-making man.

Until I walked in the door and realized he had a lip piercing.

Oh dear. I may have taken this thing too far.


Immediately my daydream-prone mind zoomed to the moment, weeks, perhaps months or even a year down the line, wherein, assuming the pie maker and I opted to form a united front, he meets my mother.

Oh, the humanity! My mama would not like. And while I've been known to ignore and sometimes even flout her opinions before, at the end of the day, I would like her to like the person I choose.

In any case, I sidled up to the bar stool next to him, introduced myself and ordered a beer.

We started getting to know each other, and it was clear to me that the pie maker was nervous. He was quiet and didn't ask me a lot of questions. However, now that I've been doing this dating thing for a while, I realized he was a newbie and didn't fault him for it -- but I started to wonder how long it would take him to loosen up.

H Street Country Club is pretty sweet in that it has a variety of games to play -- Skeeball, pool, shuffleboard, even mini golf upstairs. We were actually the only ones in the bar, and the pie maker knew the bartender, so we got to play pool for free! (It's normally $15 an hour!)

My pool prowess has been tested on dates before. And I really should be putting "prowess" in quotes (like that) because I am terrible. I didn't pay attention in geometry, and I have no idea how to hit the cue ball so that it bounces in the correct way as to make my balls go in the pockets.

Fortunately for me, the pie maker was equally terrible. Perhaps even more so. It was 15 minutes into the game before he even sank one ball. Me dominating him was not doing much to help bring him out of his shell.

The pie maker took a shot and sent the cue ball spiraling into the corner pocket.

"Aggh, I can't ever get the right one in the hole!" he exclaimed in frustration.

"Have you ever realized that pretty much every sentence you say during a game of pool lends itself to a 'That's what she said' joke?" I asked.

"... huh?" the pie maker was caught off guard.

"You know: 'I can't ever get the right one in the hole!' 'That's what she said!'"

At that, the pie maker started laughing hysterically. And from there, the evening just completely devolved into 14-year-old boy/toilet humor.

"I need to rub more chalk on my stick."

"That's what she said!"

"None of the balls are going where I want them to."

"That's what she said!"

"Ooh, I hit two balls at once!"

... I don't even need to say it. You know what came next. But the juvenile turn of conversation was what FINALLY made the pie maker relax.

The pie maker ended up sinking the Eight Ball by accident, making me the winner of the game by default. But he took his loss in stride.

"Let's go get some pie," he suggested.

Turns out, that pie shop he works at? Right. Next. Door.

"Hell yes!" I rejoiced.

We shuffled over to the shop. There, I met one of his fellow co-workers, who was in the process of wiping down the glass cases and closing everything down. She was nice and chatted with me amiably while the pie maker went outside to have a cigarette.

And then, there was pie. Oh, there was pie. There were pies with chocolate! Pies with fruit! Savory pies with meat in them! Quiches! They were stacked up across the counter and lining a little wheeled cart.

Heaven! My inner child was doing back flips.

The pie maker gave me the grand tour of the shop, going as far as to take me into the kitchen. He showed me the shop's giant refrigerators and huge oven, as well as two bowls kept atop it: one with melted butter, one with melted chocolate. The bowls are always kept there for quick application.

"I wanna stick my finger in that so bad," I said when he put the melted chocolate bowl in front of my face.

"Go ahead," he said.

Hey, anyone getting pies there in the next couple of days? You're getting a few Katie germs in your slice of chocolate pecan. Just FYI.

We went back out to the front of the shop and each got slices of the Baltimore Bomb pie -- crumbled up shortbread cookies with chocolate icing baked into pie form.

OH. MY. GOD. So delicious! It melted in my mouth. AMAZING.

As I was enjoying the pie, the pie maker went to the back of the shop and subsequently re-emerged -- with an acoustic guitar. He proceeded to play me a song while I enjoyed my slice. AWESOME.

After the little slice of divine and the serenade, we went back over to H Street Country Club and had a final drink. At that point, he talked to me a little more about his music -- he'd dropped out of college to go on tour with his band. While I don't necessarily support ditching your education, I understood. I can appreciate the passion -- it takes a strong inner desire to make a tough decision like that. Because it is a tough decision -- it's disappointing your parents, the rest of your family, maybe even yourself in some ways.

He described being in a van for hours on end, barely making any money during the gig, being uncertain about whether or not he'd generate the cash to make it home. It sounded shitty, for sure, but part of me wistfully wished I could be strong enough to make the same sort of decision.

And then that was heavy, so we started making dead baby jokes. Sigh -- I really do have the maturity of a 14-year-old boy.

It was getting late, and I needed to drive back to my place. The pie maker walked me to my car. I gave him a hug; he told me to text him to let him know I got home safe.

So, a pretty good night! Honestly, I'm not sure if I see this turning into anything more than a friendship -- like I said, the lip piercing is a bit off-putting, and he's a smoker, and I'm not sure we have a whole heck of a lot in common (and another reason that I'm going to blog about in my super secret private blog). I don't know if there's long-term potential here. But, he was nice, and I had fun, and I'm willing to give it another shot. We'll see!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Winging it on OkCupid

Finally -- FINALLY -- the day has arrived.

When I was newly single, nervous about dating but giddy with excitement and first starting this blog, I was on my own -- a chick busting out of her shell and flinging away the residual egg goo from her baby bird wings without so much as a fellow nest dweller with whom to commiserate about that goo (I imagine it's gross). I'm saying, none of my friends -- NONE!!! -- was single.

But now, Fortuna, in her boundless mischief, has spun her wheel again, and I find myself counted among a group of girls who've been dumped back out onto the market.

We are hip. We are single. We are fabulous.

D.C., you are so not ready for this.

Chief among these fierce femme fatales is Megan K., in solidarity with whom I've rejoined OkCupid.

Yes, that's right: Just call us Katie Oakley and Calamity Meg. We are loading up our weapons and braving the Wild West of Internet Dating together.

While no stranger to dating itself, Megan is new to the ways of Internet dating -- and for that I am thrilled because I feel like I have become seasoned enough at this point to lovingly lead her through it.

And it's a good thing she's got me, frankly, because this shit is thoroughly freaking her out.

I went over to the Brick Mansion on Thursday night to help her put together her profile and choose appropriate photos. And immediately, the gun-slinging commenced.

"Oh my God, what is that!?" Meg freaked.

"It's OK -- someone just listed you as a 'Favorite.' All that means is that they can see when you're online so they can talk to you. Breathe!"

Her iPhone buzzed with an e-mail: "Someone chose me on Quickmatch! What is that? Can they see me?"

Sigh.

I explained more of the ins and outs of OkCupid to her, helping her figure out how to browse profiles anonymously and assuring her that the girl whose profile she accidentally clicked on wouldn't think anything of it.

It wasn't long before she got an e-mail from a potential suitor.

"... and I'm a bit of a teddy bear, but that just makes me a better cuddler," Megan read aloud to me.

"Thumbs down. 'Teddy bear' is a euphemism for 'fitness is not a priority for me,'" I schooled her.

We looked at a few more profiles together before I decided to call it a night and head home.

But Meg was a woman obsessed. With every profile she clicked, she needed to see more. She texted me about it until the wee hours of the night.

"This guy messaged me, but he wasn't the one I thought he was. And he's only 5'3"," she lamented.

Sigh again.

"Meg -- it's Internet dating. You're allowed to just not write him back."

"But what if he's the only person who ever messages me?" she texted plaintively.

Oh, for fuck's sake.

"He won't be. OkCupid is all about quantity, not quality.* I promise."

So the Internet thing is befuddling her, but in truth, she probably won't even need it: Megan has an uncanny ability to talk to ANYONE, making her an ideal wing out on the town. She and I went out on Friday night for drinks at Science Club and dancing at Rumors, and together we had moderate success -- I didn't have to pay for a drink all night!!! Moreover, she's little, smart, socially aware and she looks like Lisa Loeb, making her perfect hipster bait (more on my inexplicable desire to bag a hipster in a later post).

Like I said: D.C., you are so not ready for this.



*Quanitity, not quality, indeed: Not long after Megan received the e-mail from the "Teddy Bear," I received the EXACT SAME message. I wrote him back and told him he'd messaged both me and my girlfriend with a form letter, and in the future he'd probably have more success if he varied up what he sent people. Because seriously -- what woman wants to feel like she's part of an assembly line?

EDIT: Allison reminds me that, while she had various men in transition at the time, when I first started this blog, she was, in fact, single.

Friday, April 16, 2010

On being human

I've had this blog for months. I've gone on a zillion dates. I've had triumphs. And utter humiliations.

I've felt smothered. I've felt lonely.

Had kisses that made me want to vomit. Kisses that made me want to lead a fucking parade.

But there's been an element of self-sabotage in every move I've made since starting this journey, the most obvious of which is the gigantic commitment-phobic freakout I pulled with the pastry chef and the fine art guy. It's something I have been loath to admit to myself or even really consciously acknowledge.

The problem is, I just I did it again.

And regardless of whatever bullshit justifications and excuses I had for it, I was even able to articulate it immediately following the transgression: "I think you're emotionally unavailable, so I'm making myself emotionally unavailable."

My overwhelming concern for not getting hurt again made me hurt someone else, and in turn, I ended up hurting myself worse.

It's easy to get caught up in the forced coquettishness of dating and the presentation of an impenetrable exterior so much that you forget that it's not just you involved in any exchange. These people you meet up with, these people you buy drinks, these people you chat with and lean into and watch your hand placement and make eye contact and smile naturally with -- they're human beings, and they have lives and jobs and pet peeves and they get lettuce stuck in their teeth and sometimes they wait just a bit too long before they take out the trash.

They're real, and this is not a fucking game. And when you play by whatever arbitrary rules society has constructed, when you don't allow yourself to be human and vulnerable in front of other vulnerable humans, it causes twice the heartache it would have otherwise.



The vulnerable day was the best I'd had in months. We called it Do-Whatever-We-Want Day, but it was more than that. I wasn't even wearing any makeup. And he'd dropped all his layers of social armor.

I could feel him aching as I stood next to him on the porch in the morning. I couldn't even look him in the eyes because I knew exactly what he was going through. And I knew I'd exacerbated the situation. But it didn't really matter what role I'd played -- the girl who'd run over him before I'd even gotten there was to blame.

He hurt. And I hurt. Not because I realized in that moment that "we" weren't going to be anything, either. I hurt because he hurt, because someone neglected to remember he was a real person with real emotions. My feelings for him didn't matter anymore. He hurt. He had his guard down. He was vulnerable, and human, and the day needed to be about something other than pain.

It was gorgeous outside -- sunny, clear, cool breeze. I looked up and assessed: "Yep. It's gonna be a good day."

"How can you tell?" he asked.

"I just can."

We started the day by going out for pancakes. Then I taught him to read music; he took me to a driving range and taught me how to swing a golf club. We dicked around at the zoo for a few hours. We set out for a drive with no real destination in mind, and got caught in rush-hour traffic. It didn't matter -- we had our iPods and were so engrossed in discussing each other's music selections and preferences that we didn't even notice how slowly we were crawling up the road. We missed the exit for his apartment, and ended up playing games at an arcade instead. We went out to dinner. I treated him, because that's what you do for your friends when they go through a breakup.

There was no impulse to impress. No pretenses or bullshit. No pressure to seem interesting and keep up my end of a witty conversation. We were just human beings, feeling raw. And in that, there was comfort.

"I didn't even think about her once today," he said.

"Good."

I hugged him twice when I left that night. Once for him, and once for me. I needed it -- being that open all day long was exhausting. If I never see him again, I think I could be OK with that. I don't want anything to spoil that day. I'm at peace. I hope he will be someday, too.

Human for a day -- imagine that.



For once, I made a leap. And I didn't get what I wanted -- him -- but I got something else. I realized that vulnerability isn't a bad thing. It's real.

These guys I've gone out with -- they're real, too. In my effort to protect their identities for the purposes of this blog, I may have dehumanized them. But they're real, and each one has affected me in a million different little ways he'll never even know: Dave spoke so passionately about the truffle hunters in Peter Mayle's "A Year in Provence" that I felt compelled to buy it and coerce my book club into reading it with me. I have Mark to thank for introducing me to Rooney's "I Should Have Been After You," which quickly became one of the top listened to songs on my iPod. Jeff's penchant for self-challenges inspired me to take out my guitar, which had lain dormant in my closet since college, and start teaching myself to play again.

And I'm real, too. I'm not just some girl with a dating blog. I drink three cups of coffee every day, five on days I'm working the morning shift. I worry daily about what that's doing to my teeth, but I can't seem to stop. I realize I need to quit making the duckface and flipping the deuces every time a camera is pointed in my direction, but I can't seem to stop that either. Things that have reduced me to a blubbering sack of tears in my lifetime include every commercial ever aired involving Sarah McLaughlin and abused animals, being the first one eliminated from the fourth grade spelling bee (I spelled it V-E-H-I-C-A-L), and the construction of the Forhoja butcher block kitchen table from IKEA. I carry a hand-written note in my wallet instructing EMTs that if I'm in a car accident I do not survive, my liver and kidneys should go to my little brother, who needs transplants. I pick my nose sometimes and hope people don't notice. I err on the side of obnoxious. I'm impulsive; I act before thinking.

I'm real. I'm human. I'm vulnerable. And so is everyone else. I don't want to forget that. Being exposed and losing feels better than losing while wearing full emotional battle rattle. There's something completely demoralizing about being wounded through the armor.

If I'm wounded, it'll be because I was human, I was real, and I gave all of myself.

And I'll have remembered that the person I'm facing is just that -- a person.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A moment on a date, forever gaining weight

A few weeks ago, I'd just finished doing the multiple loads of laundry necessary for me to be able to show up for work wearing pants -- I always avoid the tedium of washing my clothes until the dirty pile becomes unbearable. In any case, I pulled on pair of jeans warm from the dryer.

At 5'6" and 145 pounds, I am somewhere in the nebulous range between a size 10 and a size 8. The former requires a belt; the latter gives me an unflattering muffin top (SO NOT SEXY). I opt for the larger size so I have the leeway to be comfortable. But on this pants-wearing occasion, my jeans were unequivocally a bit snug.

"Well, that's not how that's supposed to fit," I muttered to myself.

It turned out to be just one in a long line of warning signs: The blouse with buttons that were starting to gap, the slacks that left red imprints across my hips, the skirt that I had to lie down on my bed and suck in my breath in order to zip up.

When the nagging suspicions got the best of me, I finally broke down and got on the scale:

HOLY FUCKING SHIT

Seriously, 158? One-hundred and fifty-fucking-eight? I've gained 13 POUNDS SINCE BEING DUMPED IN OCTOBER?!?

Most women would gain the weight immediately following a breakup while weeping into a pint of Ben & Jerry's Phish Food in front of back-to-back episodes of Tyra -- Post-Departing-Him Depression. But not this gal: I spent a mere day despairing over life after splitting with Ex-BF v. 2.0 before my mother yelled at me to snap out of it. After weathering her verbal slap across the face ("I felt bad that I was yelling at you," sez Mom, "but you needed to be yelled at"), I shifted gears into Blind Stinking Rage Mode, which allowed me to move out of our shared apartment at warp speed and didn't leave me time to breathe, much less eat my feelings.

Nay, it wasn't losing a man that caused the uptick in poundage, but gaining them -- the introduction of the rite of courtship into my life and the requisite drinks and happy hour appetizers that accompany each new encounter have joined forces for an ever-expanding waistline.

In short: DATING IS MAKING ME FAT.

Now, I realize that the very nature of this blog makes my primary readership an estrogen soup so thick it could turn the entire Washington Redskins' starting lineup into one giant vagina, so I'm sort of expecting a barrage of comments along the lines of "You're not fat! You're BEAUTIFUL!" "I can't tell you've gained weight AT ALL!" "You look FABULOUS, darling!"

Not necessary, ladies. I assure you, fishing for compliments is not my aim in posting this entry (though I'll always accept them). I know I don't look terrible, all things considered. But as I've mentioned periodically in this blog, I lost 90 pounds a few years ago, so this recent upward trend reminds me of a time not so long ago where I had to shop in special stores and no boys talked to me. I DO NOT want to go back there, so it was a dire moment for me to see the truth on the scale's digital display.

Of course, alcohol consumption is mostly to blame. I've come to decide that 99.9 percent of the time, alcohol is your friend during a date -- a little grease to the wheels of what potentially could be an awkward evening. It sedates your nerves when faced with a man whose perfectly chiseled outsides turn your insides into a pool of warm butter, and it works equally well in turning off your irritation sensors when the date falls far short of stellar.

I've illustrated this point in the following helpful chart:

As you can see, moderation never enters into the equation with me. If I'm having a terrible time, I'm drunk. If I'm having an awesome time, I'm drunk. The only time I stick to water is if I'm wavering -- I need the sobriety to make the ultimate judgment call. And if you figure each alcoholic drink is at least 200 extra calories tacked onto any given day's intake, well, it's not hard to understand why my ass is fully filling out my jeans these days.

Moreover, half the time I meet these dudes out, we're hitting up a happy hour where we share half-priced appetizers. The appetizer menu is always the same -- 10 deep-fried, wholly fattening things wherein cheese is the common denominator. Goddamn, fried cheese is delicious. If I ever meet the genius who decided to cook up that little gem, I will tongue kiss him. But until then, I'd be better served adding a few extra miles onto my daily run.

All of this came to a head about a month ago at my birthday party. During my trip to L.A. in February, I bought a hot little asymmetrical purple dress -- very short, very tight, very Los Angeles. I decided to wear it for my party, which I threw with my friend Kirk and for which we rented out a room at Science Club downtown.

But as the event approached, it became apparent that the dress required the purchase of a Miraclesuit in order to fit properly. What is a Miraclesuit, you may be asking if you didn't click that link? It's basically this thick, super tight fabric stretching from the tops of your thighs to well above your waist that when you put on takes you from flabby to svelte in two seconds flat. Wriggle your way into a pair of these, and you'll never struggle with a zipper again. You'll also not be able to use the bathroom efficiently for the rest of the evening, as the gigantic, flesh-toned panties require Mortal Kombat to remove.

In any case, I looked fabulous and was having a great time at my party, and at the end of the night a small crew of party troopers decided to partake in some dancing at the trash-tastic club Rumors. I'd gained somewhat of a paramour for the evening (translation: it was a friend of Kirk's I decided to make out with), and the two of us were dancing, him with his hands on my hips.

He was running his palms up and down my sides in a distinctly sensual way... until he, well, wasn't. After a second, his touch slowed, taking on a more investigative vibe.

Then he looked at me quizzically: "Are you wearing full-body underwear?"

Yes. Yes I am.

And that's pretty much where the night ended.

Sigh. I know I can't keep defaulting to Miraclesuits because there is no ending to that scenario that is anything other than embarrassing. So, I've rejoined Jenny Craig (how I lost the weight to begin with) and have started upping the ante on my daily workouts, so I know these extra pounds will come off sooner or later. Also, my parents, brother, aunt and cousin are descending upon me for the last few days of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, so I'm taking a break from dating for a bit -- a good thing, because I am fucking exhausted and don't really feel like drinking for a while.

Though, I still may have to get plowed to get through the family visit. I can work on losing the weight after they leave town.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The night where NOTHING HAPPENED

MEN AFTER SEX:

"I came. I saw. I conquered. I'm going to bed."



WOMEN AFTER SEX:

"I faked it. I'm angry. I'm exasperated. I'm getting on my computer."





Much love to my neighbor Rob and Megan C. for this illuminating conversation.