At Least I’ve Learned A Few Things

The Breakup Chronicles: Part 2

First off, y’all are wonderful.  Thank you for your outpouring of support.  Sometimes we write just needing to get it out, and forget that people will have things to say.  And what you did say to me meant more to me than I can express.  You didn’t have to take the time to say a word, but you did, and it helped me a lot.  Never double that your kind words in a tough time are doing so much for someone.

Things are still uncertain and who likes uncertainty?  Not this girl.  I had grand plans to talk to Francois about it – a little check in, if you will – but when we last chatted I was tired and worried that I wouldn’t be quite eloquent enough.  So here we are.  Breakup week the second, confusion week the second.

I’m determined not to text him (or, you know, at least until Saturday).  Do you know how hard it is not to text?  It’s like when you’ve had a drink or two, and you know you really shouldn’t drunk text but you do because it’s so fun!  You’re so funny!  People must love you!  And then in the midst of that fun, when you’re trying to tell Grace one thing, you get drunk digits and instead ask her to milk you.  You know. Awkward times. (For the record, I don’t remember what I meant to tell her, but it was most certainly not for her to milk me.)    Right. Where were we?  Oh yes… I’ve been getting mixed signals out the wazoo which feels great because it feeds that little bit of hope I have, but it’s crappy because it keeps him in my thoughts.  And at the back of my mind I know that 99% of the time this sort of thing isn’t going to work out but those mixed signals are very powerful.  You tell yourself that you might be the situation that works.  It could be you!  Which is all to say, if you see me with a cell in my hand this week, you have permission to yell, “KATE, STEP AWAY FROM THE PHONE.”

Here we are.  Day 9.   Here is what I’ve learned thus far:

When your bestie offers to drive in to see you?  Take her up on it.  Best friend therapy often can’t be topped and you’ll kick yourself for missing that needed time with her.  True, you will probably talk her ears off but she’s a doctor and can sew them back on.

Hang out with people, no matter how much you want to wallow or stay glued to Facebook checking for signs of activity.  (It’s unseemly the amount of time I’ve spent checking to see if he’s been active.  Someone save me.)  It’s very possible Francois will pull himself out of my life for good, but my friends aren’t leaving me anytime soon.  In times like these they are especially supportive and say the kind of thoughtful things that make you cry not because of sadness, but because you’re not sure how you got lucky enough to have them in your life.

Wine is delicious.

Pathetic walks by the lake aside, exercise is healthy.  Go on an extra long run but this time focus on overtaking the guy in front of you rather than checking the parking lots for signs of Francois.  Admire the runner’s calves as you approach.  Race past him.  Feel victorious when you leave him in the dust.  Round the corner so he can’t see you.  Walk.

Hug your cats.  I’m still missing the lazy mornings in bed with Francois but little furry gatos can be pretty comforting.  I will be not ashamed of my cat lady status.

Listen to your mother:

I hope for Francois’ sake he realizes he’s being a dick.  Because he is not going to find another Kate Hepburn.  Sometimes guys need a hammer to the head.  Just a little tap.

and later…

If things don’t work out, since you keep finding better and better guys, I think you should set your cap for…Prince Harry? Why not?

Also, two solid hours of dancing around in one’s underwear and lip syncing to Bruno Mars and Carole King is recommended.  Not that I have experience with such a thing.

-Kate

The Stages of a Breakup

The Breakup Chronicles: Part 1

Spinster friends, I was in relationship bliss over the past several months.  We’ll call him Francois the Dapper because he really is dapper and he’s kind and interesting and smart and funny and pretty damn attractive.  So you can imagine my…

1.  Shock

…when he texted me the other night and asked to come over.  I knew something was up, as he never asked to come over before (we’re, after all, of the generation where nobody can seem to make a decision: “What are you up to?”  “Nothing much.  You?”  “Nothing much.”  “Wanna do something?”  “Yah, what were you thinking?”  “Not really sure.  You?”  “I don’t care.”).  He walked through the door, stopped me when I tried to kiss him, and my heart plummeted.  A chill of dread spread through me, I felt hot, and all I could do was look at the floor, avoiding eye contact as I stated to myself over and over, “I will not cry, I will not cry!”  I’ll spare you the upsetting details but suffice it to say it involved a past relationship, lingering baggage, and confusion over his feelings.  My heart was wrenched apart, but I quite calmly offered my support and understanding.  I also offered him a piece of cake.  Then that night that I poured my feelings onto 4 single-spaced pages of nearly 2,000 words.  Y’all, I could not stop the words or the feelings.  I knew I was in…

2.  Mourning

There weren’t enough tea bags in the world to shrink the bags under my eyes.  You know the feeling; it’s where the tears roll down your cheeks in fat drops and you’re just not sure they’re going to stop this time.  It – I – was just so sad.  I re-lived every good time, every future plan.  I tried outlining the bad times I could think of, hoping they’d make me feel better, but they were only a reminder of how well I felt we worked through our problems.  I texted Francois, and asked to meet him again.  He agreed.  It gave me…

3.  Hope

Not only did we chat, but we got pastries.  I poured out my feelings.  I told him all my fears about the situation and my hopes.  He listened, he told me he had a lot to think about, and then he asked me if I wanted to hang out.  Can you blame me for saying yes?  And it was pretty nearly great, save for that two hours of a movie we spent without holding hands for the first time since I’d known him.  We parted ways in the evening and I sobbed my feelings to Grace and to my mother, but I maintained the day meant something.  He was thinking about it.  The next day I contemplated all the possibilities.  Things were looking up so I took a walk around the lake which only served to send me to a whole new level of…

4. Patheticism

Shut up.  That’s a word.  And that walk?  It was to take advantage of the sunshine and the beautiful weather!  To clear my mind and increase my endorphins!  To watch the sunset!  Or so I fooled myself to think.  I looked in every parking lot for his car, hoping that the distant runner was him coming toward me.  By the end of the walk, I was dragging my sobbing, puddly mess into the car, dialing Grace and asking her to tell me that I wasn’t the most pathetic person that ever lived.  She’s a good friend, she told me I was normal.  And then later that night, Francois called me.  We talked for 30 minutes and my hope was renewed.  And it was then that I began seeking …

5. Validation

…from nearly anyone who would listen.  Grace and my mother?  Check, check.  My coworkers?  Check.  The mailman? Check.  It was really important to talk it out.  Really damn important to tell my side of things and have others tell me that my feelings were reasonable.  I need them to confirm my interpretation of how he should feel and how it made sense.

6.  Obsession

There was also a really low moment in there.  Like, really, freakin’, low.  As in, I figured out the mysterious her.  And when I say “figured out” I mean I went through every length of internet stalking I could think of.  I’m so good at it, people should pay me.  We went to the same college.  We share a couple of friends.  She’s funny.  She works in advertising and marketing.  She’s a runner.  She has a gummy smile.  The list…it goes on.  You can bet I revisited the same pages over and over and over again, obsessing about why she should have left such an impression on this guy that I cared about, why their old relationship was ruining mine.

6. Anger at Him

This came on just a fast as it ended.  I think the outrage of my friends seeped into my own mind and I was so angry that he would contemplate giving up on us and giving in to something that wasn’t ever going to be.  There isn’t doubt that I won’t feel anger again, but it was short lived because I soon directed all my…

7. Anger at Her

Sure, this might not be the most logical thing, but I go back to what Francois told me about the relationship and it makes me steaming mad.  They were that on-again-off-again couple, and based on what very little I know (read: I’m a writer and I’ve crafted an entire relationship story from a few limited comments), I’ve concluded she was a terrible, no-good person who didn’t deserve Francois.  That’s a little harsh.  But you know, people you care about deserve better.  Also: sometimes I’m petty and I act like a 12-year-old.

8. Confusion

Rehashing every look, action, and word of this breakup sent me into confusion in the end.  Francois never called it a breakup, he just said he had to think about things.  I gave him so many easy outs in our conversations, and he never took them.  I even asked that whatever the answer was, that I just got a clearly defined one.  None of this casual conversation that fades into nothing because he’s trying to spare my feelings.  Please not that.  He agreed.

So here we are.  The stages aren’t complete. I don’t doubt that most people feel they can see this for what it is, but I’m still confused and waiting.  There’s also the responsibility that one needs to place on Francois, lest you think I’m ignoring that. But I gave myself permission to stop feeling embarrassed about my feelings – my hope – and I’m just riding the emotions for now, rather than forcing myself out of them.  It was a debate to share this with you, Spinster friends.  There’s always that fear of looking ridiculous, but I can’t be the only one who has experienced all of the above, and sometimes it’s good to put it out there because someone else might read it and have that sigh of relief that their own similar situation is… normal.

Flight Fraidy Cat

stewardess

Raise your hand if you’ve ever been stuck in the seat next to the person who has a fear of flying.  You know this not-so-jet-setter.  Common signs of this flyer include:

  • Rapt attention during the safety features demonstration.
  • Repeated perusal of the safety guidelines.
  • Expression of an audible, “Oh, oh, oh!” every time the plane banks to make a turn.
  • Bracing themself against the wall and the armrests, as if this will somehow keep them from falling out of the (very intact) plane window.
  • Quick jerking of their hands to the armrests when there is turbulence.
  • Obsessive observation of rowmates to assess their level of calmness (or panic, really).
  • Obsessive observation of flight attendants for the same reason.
  • Excessive sweating.  (No, they did not spill their drink on their lap.  Sweat is natural, ok?)

This flyer is annoying.  Occasionally amusing.  She makes for great storytelling to your friends during happy hour.  You figured out I’m this flyer, right?  Y’all, hear me out.

Everyone points out the extreme safety of planes.  They’re the safest form of transportation!  Thousands of flights happen everyday without incident!  I get it.  I really do. But when something finally does go wrong, that is one really horrible, horrible situation.

But you say, “Kate, look at the statistics!” There’s only  a 1 in 19.8 million chance that you could die!  You would have to go on 70,000 flights before an issue would crop up! Y’all, if I bought Powerball tickets and began imagining my schedule as a retiree sipping on Arnold Palmers as the ripe age of 28, why would the flight odds make me feel better?

You might also say things get better the more you fly.  I’m here to tell you that isn’t true.  As someone who frequently has four flights and sometimes six per week, it just Doesn’t. Get. Better.  It’s that odds thing.  Surely, I’m increasing my odds of being on that plane that has the issue.  Kind of like buying 200 lotto tickets instead of one.

There are also a lot more wackos out in the world today.  How many crazies were flying in the 50s versus how many are flying now?  A lot more, that’s how many.  That little old man with the straw hat and pictures of his grandchildren doesn’t fool me.  He probably has explosive toothpaste in his carry-on.

In the end, the only thing that makes me feel remotely better is the airplane instrument thing.  Our cars have maybe one gauge on them.  Ok, maybe three.  A commercial airplane has probably, oh,  50.  Actually I don’t know this.  Are there any pilots out there reading this blog?  Can you confirm?  Actually, I might not want to know.  Let me go on thinking there are at least 50 gauges.  Nobody answer this question unless you can tell me there are more than 50.

This is all to say, try not to judge me when I drink my Bloody Mary and toss back those anxiety pills at 7:30 A.M..

Are there any other fear of flying comrades out there?

-Kate

My Sexy Toes: A Discovery

shoes

Y’all, I’m a shoe-judger.  Yes, when you walk by on the street, I’m looking at your shoes and making all sorts of assumptions about you.  Or maybe not so much assumptions, but I’m creating an imaginary life for you.  It’s a fun game.  Your Puma ballet sneakers indicate you have two kids (Pete and Sally), a goldendoodle (Lionel), and wear drug store brand makeup to your job as a technical analyst for a software engineering firm.  Your Dansko clogs mean you were on the fast track to becoming the prima ballerina of a dance company until an ankle injury cruelly stole your dreams from beneath you. (And yes, just because Dansko sounds like dance you became a ballet dancer… I never said I was scientific about this.)  Your Kate Spade heels with the glitter and the bow? Damn you.  You must be partaking in those romantic picnics in the park with your Hugh Jackman look-alike boyfriend.  He probably feeds you grapes before you jet off to the latest Broadway performance. Damn you.  Can I be your friend?  And the men!  Your frayed sandals tell me you’re trying to relive your glory days at the frat house pool, but you’re probably just heading to the soccer field to watch your daughter run around with the cluster of other 5 yr. olds.

There’s a clear reason for this.  My wee self was restricted in my shoe selection for quite some time and when I was free of those high-topped shackles, I embraced the heeled and flip-flopped and booted freedom of which I’d so long been denied!  It meant something to get to choose the shoes of which I would wear to face the challenges of the day.  Those L.A. Gear Lights with their light-up heels were all fine and dandy, but the day I got to wear my black heels with the silver buckle?  I’ll never forget it.

There’s a point to all this, I swear.  To this day, my shoes are chosen carefully.  They might not always be the most stylish things, but they mean something to me that day.  The power suit for work is only the power suit if it’s paired with my power heels.  Those ruby pumps transform the way I march into work, ready to battle over contract language.

Or at least they did.  Still do, really.

But just this last week, I had to bring in a whole new factor into my work shoe selection:  toe cleavage.  Someone commented on said fabulous ruby heels, and noted they were lovely, but they would be wary of those particular heels because they didn’t like to be overly provocative with their toe cleavage.  Um.  What?  Have I been living under a rock?  How the hell have we sexified this?  Maybe this shouldn’t surprise me.  There is the fact that we call it cleavage.  But it’s of the toes.  WTF?  And y’all, I know there are foot fetishists out there, and to each their own, but when did that start precluding women from wearing a low vamp?  Since when have my toe apices been lumped into the same category as high hemlines and plunging blouses?

Furthermore.  If cleavage of the toes is analagous to breast cleavage, what message are we sending when we wear flip flops.  Is it the equivalent of walking topless down the street?  Are painted toes the counterpart to, you know… grooming?  Does a natural toe mean other things?!  Dear God, what message have I been sending to my online dates when we first meet?

I’d go on, but it’s time I put on those daring and risqué pumps and be out the door.  Do let me know… have you been aware of your sexy toe cleavage?

-Kate

Where Have All the Love Letters Gone?

writing-letter

My workplace is limiting my email storage so I’ve been forced to look at emails I wrote back in the day.  It’s fun to see how unprofessional I was when I was a wee little Kate, making my foray into the business world.  Like the time I used 17 exclamation points in one message.  That was really cool.  I’m sure the Vice President who got my three-paragraph thank you email about lunch thought that was really cute.  But I digress. It was during this clean-up that I came across a rather large group of emails from my last official boyfriend in ::coughcough2007coughcough::. It would have been weird to go through them, re-read them, re-live my mindset from back then, so I quickly glanced at a couple then did a mass delete and it felt good.  But! I was reminded of something missing in my life and the lives of others.

Where have all the cowboys love letters gone? [It adds a little something if you sing it to the tune of that Paula Cole song.  Is it stuck in your head now?  You’re welcome.]

We live in an age where the love letter has been replaced with the email or the text message.  While some could use this as a platform to lament the use of the email or the text message, I will not.  You see, I actually like them quite a bit.  As opposed to a letter, they’re something you can get unexpectedly, any time of the day.*  That text message I got after a grueling meeting, the one from a date telling me he looks forward to seeing me tonight?  Yah, I’ll never object to it.

However, it’s the sheer volume of text messages and emails, and the obvious ease of sending them, which makes the love letter special, coveted, and missed.  It says something when your significant other takes the time to pull out the nice paper, a pen, and spend the time to come up with the perfect way to describe your golden locks or the way he goes all mushy when you tilt your head just so.  Or maybe he’s just letting you know how much he enjoyed the road trip to that one vineyard, and how he got to spend so much time with you.  I tear up just thinking about it!  Really.

Further, love letters provide the perfect opportunity for you to use your lover’s full name in a way that’s really sexy.  In romance novels, the heroine always notices when the hero uses her first name for the first time.  I don’t know about you, but seeing My Dearest Katharine** on the page would definitely make my lady parts quiver a little bit more than seeing plan ol’ Kate.  And that’s just the first few words!

Love letters are an acceptable place to describe that weird quirk about your lover that you never knew how to say in person.  Or maybe shouldn’t say.  Like the fact that in the mornings you like watching his nostrils flare while he’s still sleeping.  You think it’s cute.  But maybe that conversation is one that doesn’t go as smoothly in person.  The love letter, instead, lets you express these things and you get to avoid seeing the weird look on his face. But know that the weird look will probably turn into a blush and he’ll take a certain pride knowing his nostrils give you so much pleasure.

Love letters have an enduring and tangible aspect that just isn’t with an email or a text.  No digging through filed emails or trying to remember that sweet text message from five years ago.  The letters are there, in your hands, always available, and looking more loved and cherished over time.  Someday, your kids might even think they’d be great scrapbook material!

The road goes both ways on this one.  Men enjoy getting letters just as much as women.  Dare I say they even enjoy the well-thought letter even more than many women do?

How many of you get handwritten love letters on a regular basis?  Do tell!

-Kate

*But to that guy, who texted me at 11:30 P.M., telling me he only wanted me to sit next to him in bed and talk and “nothing more.”  Yah, you didn’t fool me.  Less than subtle and highly offensive.
**But while we’re on this topic, a note of caution; the love letter is not the place to test out that new “pumpkin cheeks” name you thought of when you saw your loved one bending over in the supermarket aisle to reach for that can of green beans.

A Spinster’s Arsenal-in-a-Bag

woman-looking-in-mirror-vintage

Aside from the requisite lip gloss, wallet, and keys, there are a few other must-haves in my handbag.  Dating is serious business y’all.  It’s critical I keep a well-stocked arsenal on hand.

Tweezers

No, I don’t pluck my eyebrows on a date (or ever actually… are you picturing me with a Kahlo-esque unibrow right now?).  But when it’s patio season in Texas, you can bet every date will suggest drinks outside.  Just when I’m feeling confident that I’ve arranged myself to my best advantage on the sticky plastic chair that causes my thighs to sweat more than is seemly, I notice that errant hair twisting up near my ankle.  Y’all, it’s like a Sasquatch hair.  I swear it’s way thicker than any other leg hair I’ve ever grown and it has somehow evaded the razor for what must be weeks on end.  How the hell did I miss it?!  And so, bathroom break, tweezers.  I wish I could tell you this had only happened to me one time in the past…

A Compact Mirror

You might never meet another person who touches their nose more than I do.  And it’s because of this:  I fear a visible… crusty.  A bat in the cave, if you will.  When I get really paranoid, I can’t focus on anything else.  There was that time I dated someone for a month and couldn’t recall why he had joint custody of his dog.  There was a story he’d recounted on our way to a play, but my mind was otherwise engaged.  Surely, a bat was hanging out, and I’d been debating just how ginormous that bat must be.  Was it a dangler?  Was it lodged on the side, waiting to fling itself out of my schnoz the moment I laughed?  Perhaps it was only a fluttery little thing, but moving enough that it would distract my date?  Gone from my memory were the 15 minutes of conversation wherein the presence of the little white fluffball of a dog was explained.  This, spinster friends, is why I take a compact mirror.  Screw powdering my nose or touching up my lip gloss.  One must be able to confirm an empty cavity, and a compact mirror ensures I become a deeper listener.

An Extra Pair of Underwear

I’m not entirely sure why these are needed.  It’s not like I’ve ever crapped my pants, but maybe this is all those years of Girl Scout training, telling me you can never be too prepared.

My Cell Phone

…with Grace’s number on speed dial and text messages to my mother, sister, grandmother, best friend, coworker, supermarket bagger, and bank teller, detailing  key identifiers of my date.  You know.  Just in case he turns out to be an axe* murderer.

6:03 P.M.  His name is Michael. He’s returning from the pistol range, which means he probably owns a gun.

6:24 P.M.  Full name is Michael William Throckmorton IV.  He drives a 7-series BMW.  I’m not sure what that says about him, other than the fact that he has money, but you should probably be on alert.  He could do away with me and nobody would suspect the successful dude.

6:26 P.M.  For the record, I don’t care that he has money.  I’m successful enough on my own.  But you know this.  But I had to clarify.  Right.

7:08 P.M.  We made it to the restaurant.  No signs of zip ties or plastic bags.

9:55 P.M.  He wants to show me the “art” in his apartment.  Should I be concerned?  Is this a euphemism for something else?  What if he keeps hooks o’torture in his closet?

10:02 P.M.  Earth to Grace!  I have to make a decision here!

10:16 P.M. Ok, executive decision made.  We’re on the way to his apartment.

10:37 P.M.  Damn it, I forgot to check his apartment number.  We’re in the middle of the complex, down one of the halls.  3rd floor.  His door faces someone who has a Hello Kitty wreath.

10:38 P.M.  Also, why does he live in an apartment if he drives a 7-series?

12:11 A.M.  So… he really did just show me his art.  OMG.  What does that say about me?!  Shouldn’t he have tried to get my pants off?  I wore mesh panties! That should count for something!

12:14 A.M.  The panties are really cute.  Remind me to send you the link.

12:31: A.M.  OK I’m home.  Damn it.  The cats say hello.

Speaking of cats…

An Industrial Lint Roller

If I’ve dressed in anything nice or dark-colored, it’s like a homing beacon for the cats.  Is that a black sweater?  Why no, it’s now a white cat hair blend!  I might as well throw on my cat necklace and keep a stash of kitty treats sticking out the top of my bag.

If you’ve been counting, this makes no less than 12 trips to the restroom.  The guy must think have a bladder the size of a pea or that the shrimp scampi isn’t settling well.

What other key items do I need to add to my list?

-Kate

*I like to contemplate what an Axe murderer might be like in the men’s fragrance sense of the word.

Men of the Produce Aisle

noted_shoppingmen_headerAlternately titled: Shopping for Men at the Grocery Store

Two years ago the husband of a best friend suggested I look for dates at the grocery store.  “This,” he proclaimed, “Is where you will find a man!”  He directed me to our local specialty grocer after declaring that it was not acceptable to date men who regularly shop at the organic grocer (“Granola-eating pretentious pricks. Don’t go there.  Well, only if you shop in the pre-made section. Even then, tread with caution.”).  And he forbade I even think about Walmart.  It’s been our little joke and we’ve been making veiled references to falafel balls and jumbo dill pickles.

This has caused my Kate mind to get a churnin’.  What would be the strategy for finding a man in such a way?  What does it say about the guy if he’s buying gummy worms in the bulk aisle?  Or scones in the bakery?

Thus, I offer to you my sage insight (read: random natterings) into manly grocery habits, and how you, too (!), can turn a run-of-the-mill dash into the store for toilet paper into a burgeoning romance. (We fell in love while I had indigestion!)

Establishment of a Schedule

It is not enough that you should visit the grocery store, but you must do so at predetermined, regular times.  I like to consult my horoscope to find the most auspicious hour, but if 6:15 after work and pre-workout is best for you…  There’s a reason for a schedule.  One must allow oneself to stake out an aisle and scope out the options.  Avoid gold and silver bands on the left hand.  Carefully weed out the men with curry and Pepto-Bismol in the basket.  Stalk the men with Nutella and crescent rolls.  Once you’ve latched onto this rare connoisseur you may begin the elaborate mating dance of grains and spreads.  And if 7:23 P.M. isn’t yielding any promising results, you switch your schedule an begin anew.

Dairy

If he’s purchasing eggs and milk, this is a clear signal of pending french toast breakfasts in bed.  Worthy!  Any penchant for chocolate milk must be heeded with caution. Does he have childhood issues of which he’s still working out?  Is he a mama’s boy?  Is he fueling for a marathon? Does he have the kids for the weekend? And if he’s buying chocolate Hagen Daz, he has a girlfriend or a pregnant wife.  Stay far, far away.

The Beer and Wine Aisle(s)

Don’t hang out here on a regular schedule.  Instead of chatting up the men they might start delivering flyers for the local AA meeting.  Or they might ask if they can join you.  Even if the man isn’t an alcoholic, you’ve likely stumbled across the local college men.  If you’re into the puma scene, have at it.

The Cheese Section

If he’s perusing the cheese curds, you’ve found a Minnesotan.  If he’s buying parmesan he’s a boring dud.  Gruyere indicates an appreciation for French cooking.  If he’s checking out the Gorgonzola he knows a long finish and is promising for a roll in the hay.

Bulk Dry Goods

Frugal.  Possibly cheap.  Proceed with caution.  This is either the guy who can renovate your kitchen for a mere $9,000 or he’s the guy who will take you on a romantic picnic dinner of Kentucky Fried Chicken and Gatorade.  Then, mid-dinner, he’ll pull a rifle out of his truck causing you to panic, knowing this is your end.  A buttered biscuit and a chicken leg would be your last earthly meal.  Surely your body will be dumped in the field and your face will be the one splashed across Nancy Grace headlines.  But wait!  He only wants to teach  you how to shoot a gun.  You’ll then spend the rest of your night trying to hit the Gatorade bottles he insists on chucking across the field for target practice.  This may or may not have been a young Kate’s first picnic experience.  I’m just telling you to watch out for these ones.

The Produce Aisle

The man who delicately fondles the peaches is a desirable mate.  Stay away from the dude who is attracted to the cucumbers.

The Olive Bar

This is the cultured man.  The holy grail of grocery store mates.  How many men do you know who can speak intelligently to olive varietals?  This implies of a man with off-the-beaten-track interests, but not so off-the-track that you’re forced to follow him with a machete and bug spray.  He could probably still hang with a Miller in hand while playing kickball.  A suggested pick-up line might be, “Olive your taste in Oleaceae.  Care to make peace over a cup of coffee at the cafe?”  Witty and alliterative.

Shopping for men doesn’t come without its share of spoiled goods.  Nothing is more disheartening than finding your perfect man sneaking down the feminine hygiene aisle, tossing tampons into his cart as he tosses your heart out the window.

Have patience, spinster grasshoppers.  There’s always the chance that special someone will show up with his green plastic and wire chariot cart as you’re checking out the specialty balsamic and be so taken by your superior taste that he’ll offer to cook an Italian dinner for you.  He might even insist upon massaging your feet, calluses and all.

And to that I can only say… clean up on aisle 5!

Commentary and further analysis welcome.  After all, I haven’t even touched upon the man who buys salmon versus the man buying tilapia.  Or guy buying hot apple pie in the bakery section.

Special thanks to my friend Adminderella for her collaboration on this one!

-Kate

Some Random Thoughts Amidst Dating

vintage-date[Hi spinster friends!  It's been awhile.  For those of you with whom I'm not acquainted, pertinent things about me are thus:  I wear cat necklaces, I drink 5 cups of tea a day, I keep a poison garden, I tend to tell stories that involve TMI, and I'm currently braving the online dating scene for the second time (take pity on me).]

My armpits are probably the softest this side of the Mississippi.  The latest manfriend hasn’t shown any affinity for armpit nuzzling, but by God, armpit exfoliation seems important when I’m primping for a date.  And please, none of that apricot scrub crap.  If you’re serious about this type of thing, only a firm bristled body brush will do.  Think of it like a boot scraper, but for your armpits.  Ignore your tears the first couple of rounds.  It gets more bearable, I promise.  But under no circumstances should you apply a prescription strength antiperspirant following said exfoliation.  DON’T DO IT, TRUST ME ON THIS ONE.

My latest horror is also the state of my feet calluses.  My favorite sporting activity started up which means disgusting, painful blisters.  And so, I let my calluses flourish because I don’t want to feel like my feet are falling off when I play.  But this puts a wrench in the Getting Frisky process.  Just when I want to start writhing in ecstasy (TMI?), and I’m ready to start rubbing my legs against the other person, I recall my toes and freeze.  God forbid my toe should snag against his khakis, or worse, maim his bare leg (I have fierce calluses, y’all).  Just last night I was in danger of this very thing!  Thank goodness for socks.  Selection of them is key and you must sell the excuse for not taking them off, “I’m allergic to carpet, isn’t that wild?!  Hives every time if I don’t properly protect myself.”

I’m also becoming an expert at the application of concealer.  It’s almost a necessity when one has a chin like Sarah Jessica Parker.  That thing gets in the way of everything, and kissing a guy with sexy facial stubble is like rubbing against coarse sandpaper for hours.  I’ve even scabbed over after a particularly amorous night (Marcus Aurelius, 2003).  The next morning arrives and my chin is flaming red.  To arrive at work like that would be like wearing a giant sign, “I Made Out with a Boy Last Night.”  Sure, I’m kind of happy to know I was up to Fun Happenings while my coworker was at home watching Dora with her 5 yr. old, but they don’t need to know that.  And thus, I’ve carefully mastered the technique of concealer, powder, foundation, concealer, foundation, powder.  The Chagall of concealer, right here, folks.

It would be really great if dates could be scheduled a few weeks in advance.  Some of us don’t place dishes directly into the dishwasher after use.  Sometimes it take a couple weeks.  In those instances, one might need time to procure a surgical mask to ward off errant mold spores.  One might also need to organize the three foot tall and tipping stack of magazine.  And throw away the mound of Reese’s wrappers from last weekend.  And Swiffer the bathroom.  And steam clean the sofa.  And fix that broken blind.  And put the suitcase away, that one from three weeks ago.  And hide the cat foot cans.  Hell, hide the cat litter box. And the toys.  And that special grass I cultivate for them.

Oh God, what will the cats do when I finally wrangle a man into my bedroom?  Should I be concerned?  I should be concerned.

-Kate

Lions, and Tigers, and Break-Ups! Oh, My!

Did I mention I’ve been dating someone for a couple of months?  It hasn’t been anything super serious and I wouldn’t even go so far as to call us boyfriend and girlfriend, but it’s definitely been something.  However.

You know that first spark?  The one where they’re interesting and you have so much fun and you want to see them and blah, blah, blah?  Well whatever flame had been burning has been slowly flickering out and I haven’t known what to make of it.  This is always the case.  Something isn’t quite right so it stresses me out, then I retreat unto myself, I don’t want to hang out with the other person, I don’t act in an affectionate way (tho, to be honest, PDA-friendly I am not), and I go into excuse mode.  Well maybe it’s because I’m stressed at work…  Or maybe it’s because I’m just bad at dating…  Or maybe it really is us but it’s because we only go out to eat and don’t do other things so we don’t give ourselves the right opportunity… Or whatever.

Kate the Cowardly Lion

It all amounts to this: I am the Cowardly Lion of break-ups.

Rather than owning up to the fact that I’m just not into him, I hide and I make my excuses and feel sorry for myself and ultimately end up sabotaging things to the point where we’re miserable almost 100% of the time.  Cowardly Kate, right there.  The cruddiest part of it?  I date really fantastic guys.  I know, don’t hate me.  But I do. With the exception of one guy, my boyfriends have been really great people.  They’ve treated me well, they’ve been thoughtful, and when I was suddenly pulling away, coming up with my excuses, they were there trying to be understanding about it.  Cue massive guilt.

But I do think that’s part of it.  I’ve never wanted to own up to what’s really going on because I dread that conversation and the potential to hurt someone who is so kind-hearted.  When they’ve been so good to you, how do you tell them they’re just not right for you?  Yah, yah, you just tell them.  So you say.  It was never easy and so I never did it.

Until yesterday.  Call it maturity, but I finally realized how unfair it was to the guy and to me to go on in this state.  The conversation weighed on me all weekend (longer than that, if I’m honest) and I finally brought up my concerns, fully expecting it to The Break-Up Moment.  And yah know, a funny thing happened.  Not only was it not as bad as I imagined, but he reacted in a way that I hadn’t anticipated.  He said he really liked me and wished I’d given him feedback earlier so we could work on the issues which he viewed as easily fixable.  Huh.  I won’t go into the gory details.  In fact, I don’t remember the gory details.  (Really, who does?  Do you?  Because my own explanation of The State of Things became so convoluted that I could have talked about eating SpaghettiOs at the top of the Eiffel Tower, for all I know)  Suffice it to say, we are “taking a break.”  Yes, we cringed too.  But it’s not a bad plan.  We’re giving ourselves two weeks and then we’ll see.

Spinster friends, in a matter of hours “taking a break” changed my entire outlook.  Unsurprisingly, the weight has been lifted off my shoulders and I look forward to our next outing.  I know, don’t you just want to reach through the computer screen, shake me, and go, “SEE?!?!?!  When you talk to someone about your feelings, good things can happen.”

Right.  Yah.  For all my ranting about dating and such, I know I’m not even close to being perfect on that front.  My cowardly and non-confrontational way of addressing relationship issues is right there at the top of Things Kate Must Address if She Wants to Find Her Mr. Darcy.  So I can’t give much advice on this, but if you’re waffling about your man or lady friend dilemma and whether to say something, make like Nike and JUST DO IT.

-Kate

Your Status Update Not Welcome

The other day, with the dreaded Facebook timeline looming on the horizon, I decided to be proactive and clean up my feed. I spent hours looking at my profile and past posts, deleting horrible things left and right.  Remember, I’m of the generation that pretty much started Facebook back in college.  I think we were one of the first universities who got to use it.  Yep, for those of you who may not know, Facebook used to be exclusive.  Anywho.  Horrible things.  Right.  So the clean-up also made me realize how times have changed.  Back in the day, we didn’t even know of the concept of a status update.  Now, you can count on me to give you the mundane updates of my weekend activities.  However, with all this change we never did get that dislike button.  And more than a dislike button (because that would just feel mean) I’d like to have a block button.

If I had block button, I’d erase from my feed:

Anything relating to babies.

This includes baby showers, baby blog updates, bump pictures, professional maternity pictures, status updates about food cravings, nursery progress pictures, rants about nursing, complaints about lack of sleep, gender announcements, and ultrasound pictures.  Some of us don’t like babies.  We don’t want babies.  We don’t want to have to talk about babies.  We don’t want to hold your babies.  Unfortunately, I’m of that age where it seems like this is the only thing other people care about and I’m subjected to updates on a daily basis.  Just shoot me now.  And for the love of God, why must people post pictures of the actual pregnancy test?  I don’t need to see the stick you peed on.  When you announce to Facebook that you’re pregnant? Yah, I’ll believe you.

Bible Verses

I don’t really get this one.  What is the reasoning behind peppering your feed with biblical messages?  Are you trying to advertise that you went to church? That you’re a better Christian than your friends?  I’m not sure about God, generally, but I don’t think she really gives a crap about your Facebook status.  God would probably rather you be out doing some actual act of good rather than writing about it.  When one lives in the bible belt it also means one gets bombarded with Christian messages just about every day.  Just for once, I’d like to open my Facebook feed and read in secular peace.

Mushy sentiments about having the best boyfriend/husband/wife/girlfriend EVER!

There are 7 billion people on this planet.  You can’t honestly believe the rest of us agree your husband is the best.  I’ll bet he picks his nose when you’re not looking.  Or maybe he’ll wash a red sock with your whites.  Plus, when being the best has anything to do with cooking dinner that just tells me you have low standards.

Any vacation picture without a person in it.

Well, alright, if it’s a picture of something humorous I’ll cut you some slack.  But let’s get real folks, the only reason I look at your vacation photos is so I can see if you wore a fanny pack or black socks with sandals.  If I’m not digging my toes into the sand, I don’t need to see the picture of your view while you were doing it.  You’re no Ansel Adams.  If I want to do a bit of armchair travel I’ll pick up a good book or visit a blog wherein they know how to use something other than an iPhone to snap pictures.

Please feel free to add to the list of blocked subject matter. It’s very freeing to finally get this out because you know I couldn’t post this on Facebook…

- Kate