Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Creature

It's probably a bad sign that his friends call him "The Creature."

Some of them also call him "The General" and I don't have the heart to ask why. Most likely, I should never know this information. It'll make the date more palatable.

I only agreed to go on this adventure as a favor to a friend. This guy had just gotten divorced and needed dating experience with someone kind to boost his confidence. Might I suggest that I am NOT that person???

He's someone I knew in high school but haven't seen since. We only socialized through mutual acquaintances thus losing connection after college. He had a radio show I remember hearing about and it was so funny (in a bad way) that I wrote a play based on his character - Dr Love. Sadly, my script never hit Broadway but I got a good giggle out of writing it!

It all begins when my friend (whom I may end up de-friending after this) "inadvertently mentioned" (read: totally did it on purpose) to the guy that I was going on one hundred dates this year. He "accidentally suggested" (read: intentionally planted the seed) that this guy be one of my dates. See: train wreck waiting to happen; see also: recipe for disaster.

Of course, within a day, I receive a facebook message (curse you modern technology) just dropping a line to say hello. Please note that when a person you haven't seen or spoken to in years writes to you, it is NEVER "just" to say hello.

We exchange a few hey, how are you, what's your life like, catching up messages and then he friends me. Great. Now how do I say no? Ugh...my mother always told me I was too nice and would get myself into trouble. I HATE it when she's right!

Yes, I accepted his friend request and before I knew it, I'd agreed to a date Wednesday evening. He did pick an Italian place I'm fond of so I figured at least the food would be good. I should tell you though that when I got dressed for the date, it was in jeans and a sweater with ballet flats and my hair in a braid!. For girls everywhere, this is the tell-tale sign that you are not interested in said boy. Normally, I'm in a cute top with skinny jeans or leggings and boots, hair blown out straight and long. In the summer, I'll make the effort to wear a sundress and sparkly flip flops. In this outfit, I certainly didn't look like I was hitting the gym, but it wasn't much of an upgrade from what I'd wear to the dentist.

Perfume for the evening was a heavy spritz of Eau d'Impending Doom...

We meet at the restaurant and he greets me at the door. Let me rephrase. A much heavier, shorter version of him meets me at the door. I did not recognize the poor guy and if he hadn't held the door open and said "Hi Kim," I would've walked right past him. Bad sign number one.

He launches into a tirade about his day at work, what he does for a living (something corporate and with computers - I still don't understand) and we haven't even ordered wine yet! I'm trying to concentrate on the menu but all I keep hearing him say is "meat platter" which I'm pretty sure will be a debacle (what with me not eating meat and all). I ask for the wine tasting (all white) and he does the same (all red). A compromise is made on eggplant parm as the appetizer. As I'm about to scoop a giant slice of tomato sauce and vegetable into my mouth he asks "So why'd your marriage end?"

Wow. Divorce as a topic of conversation in five minutes or less. GO!

I try to come up with a gracious answer because what he's actually saying is "Why did your husband leave after seven years? Were you really that terrible of a wife?" and there is NO good response to that question. I settle on the standard "He decided he didn't want children" which is completely true and doesn't slander either of us in either way. Fortunately, he re-directs to how much he's looking forward to being a father someday. Unfortunately, he uses it as a platform to launch into why his psycho bitch of an ex-wife cheated on him, left him, had him evicted from his own apartment and he met the guy she was messing around with on the street just last week.

Yeah, that's the story I wanted to wash down my appetizer with. Please continue regaling me with how she signed up for online dating while you were still married. No, really, I want to hear all about it. (Not.)

Back story: I did a little research after the fact to find out that while the bitchiness of his ex is indisputable, the "guy" was her best friend, there was never proof of anything illicit between them, and he got evicted cause he was such a dirty mess after they split that the landlord just couldn't take it anymore.

"All I want is someone to curl up with on Sunday mornings, eat bagels and read the newspaper."

Yes, I know that this sounds great. In theory, it's a fabulous idea. Except for a few minor details: 1) If I'm in bed on Sunday morning, there is a 98% chance that I'm still sleeping. 2) If I'm out of bed on Sunday morning, it means I made it to church on time. 3) One of us would have had to get out of bed in order to get the bagels in the first place. 4) I hate crumbs in my sheets. 5) Who actually reads the newspaper anymore? It's way too depressing.

Oh, and did I mention he was Jewish? So definitely not coming to church with me. Trying to get me to convert over an entree? Not gonna happen, buddy.

Then he ties it all neatly together. Jewish + children = he already has names picked out. How do I know this? Because he brought up his dead grandparents! I am all for honoring loved ones by naming the next generation with respect to those who came before us. Perhaps we should wait to do this til ... oh, I don't know... the thirty-second date???

Other topics of conversation include his estrangement from his father, why he drives a Subaru and not a Mercedes, how he doesn't see why strip clubs are a bad thing, and a computer animated movie from 1984 that he has the DVD of in his car and I absolutely MUST watch it. Um, no, but thanks anyway.

His nomination as king of the non-sequitor was sealed with the quote of the night: "I'm anti-celery." Really? Anti-gun? Sure. Anti-abortion? I get it. But anti-fibrous vegetable? I don't think that's a political platform anyone has run on.

He then asks me about my writing, specifically about the dates I've gone on and how bad they've been. He wants to know how this one compares. I tell him I'll hold off answering until the date is over. He wants to know if he "gets" a second date. Again, I tell him I'll reserve judgement until the end of the night (which cannot come soon enough). I then inquire as to why he'd even want to date me knowing that I'm writing about it and also knowing that I've dated his friend. I mean, I certainly wouldn't want to go out with anyone who went out with one of my friends. His response was "Anything he can do, I can do better."

Annie, Get Your Gun. And please PLEASE shoot me!

Monday, November 22, 2010

And Get Over It

What is it with me and crossing bridges to date these men???

My day begins as any other. I take the train into Manhattan, except that this time, I don't get off at Penn Station and walk. Instead, I take the A train down to Brooklyn and get off at the huge signing saying "Exit Here for the Brooklyn Bridge!" Guess they got tired of tourists getting lost...

Anywho, I am well prepared for the walk today as I'm sporting my sparkly white Shape-Ups and comfy clothes. Am casually sexy in a wide-belted button down over tank top with jeans and lots of jewelry. I figure if I'm gonna meet my death on the Brooklyn Bridge, I'm going to look good doing it! He scoops me up in the park before the entrance to the bridge and senses my mixture of excitement and sheer terror. I know that I said I was looking forward to this moment but I might've bitten off more than I can chew! Seeing the expansive structure above us, I worry what I've gotten myself into. But my date assures me that I'll be fine, it's completely safe up there, and he'll hold my hand if I get scared.

Ok, now I'm definitely in!!!

I stop to take a couple of photos along the way which, incidentally, is really hard because there are like a million other people doing the same thing! Excuse me, but do they not know that this is my shining moment?!?! Rude...

We climb what I think is less than a dozen stairs and are deposited onto an easy looking concrete ramp. There are people walking, jogging, riding their bikes, pushing strollers and we pass three - yes THREE - separate wedding parties taking newlywed photos with the gorgeous view of Manhattan at sunset in the background. The romance is overwhelming. Yet I cannot help but think to myself: If I were married for less than an hour, is this where I'd want to go to get the bottom of my dress all dirty? I think not. But maybe it's special to these couples so my date and I comment on their outfits, their limos, and the hideous dresses in one party. Hot pink and grey strapless striped mini skirts? Well that's one bridezilla who hates her girlfriends! PS: The 80's called. They want their prom back!

We make it to the halfway point of the bridge with only one close call. I almost became road kill when I accidentally walked into the bike lane and nearly caused a pile up of seismic proportions. I did not see the clearly delineated border between the area for those who walk and that for those who ride. Let's just say I shall not be crossing that line again in the future. My date shall also know better than to ever let go of my hand again!

He takes several photos of me with cool skyscrapers in the background because let's face it, no one would believe I did this without proof. We keep trying to take a good one of ourselves but wind up getting more concrete than face in the pictures. He gets in an awesome shot looking straight up at the steel cables which I try to reproduce and get massively dizzy. Bad idea, so we grab a bench and watch the world go by for a while before standing up again. As we near the end of the bridge, I look back and realize the magnitude of what I just did. I know that millions of people cross this bridge every day but for me, it's something I've always been scared of, too afraid to do. This date, in fact this whole project has helped me get over fears that have been holding me back my entire life. Of course it helps to have someone holding your hand the whole time...

Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge - awesome

Crossing one more thing off my bucket list - priceless

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Build a Bridge

I am combining two of my favorite axioms: You take the first bite with your eyes + Take a picture, it'll last longer = Pizza photo!!!

I began talking to a self-proclaimed "foodie" from Brooklyn and we hit it off immediately. We both have the same crushes on celebrity chefs: Tom Colicchio, Giada DeLaurentiis, Anthony Bourdain, Michael Symon, Eric Ripert. He dreams about Daniel Boulud. I fantasize about being adopted by Paula Deen. He has the KitchenAid stand mixer I've been lusting after for years. I have an immersion blender, perfect for homemade soups! He prefers cooking. I prefer baking. He does elegant sauces and pretty plated dishes. I do homestyle, rustic, family meals. He's influenced by French and Asian chefs. I am in love with all things Mediterranean. We are the perfect compliment to each other, like chocolate and hazelnut, gracefully married to make sweet, smooth Nutella.

I'm sorry, I was talking about a date, wasn't I?

He entices me to Brooklyn with the promise of the *best* pizza on the planet. I have seen Grimaldi's on Food Network many times. It seems to be the only Brooklyn pizza worth featuring (feel free to argue the point!) He tells me we've got a full day of culinary adventures ahead of us. Just one problem: I have to go to Brooklyn!

I know that I am a Long Island girl and *technically* we reside on the same land mass. That being said, Brooklyn is an outer borough of New York City. It's hardly suburban and frankly, I'm a little intimidated. He suggests we meet mid-afternoon on a Tuesday, which drops my fear factor and the wait on line at Grimaldi's significantly. If this is what being adventurous is all about, sign me up! Plus, it's no secret that I'm willing to travel for food. Seriously, offer me anything delicious and I'll cross state lines to reach it!

But I digress.

We meet at Grimaldi's and join the already growing line outside. There is a bouncer-type older gentleman herding the crowd and he goes over the rules for everyone queuing on the sidewalk. Cash only, no credit cards. Pies only, no slices. He's got a table for two ready now. NOW, people, move it. Wait five more minutes. Table for three, go! Wait five more minutes. Table for four, go! Wait ten more minutes. We idle near the street with the rest of the mid-week lunch crowd, having plenty of time to make small talk and get to know each other. The excitement and anticipation is building, as is my hunger. I skipped breakfast this morning to leave room for all the yummy pizza I was sure to consume. Bad idea. The smell of the fresh herbs, melting mozzarella and rising dough is making my stomach growl loud enough for all of DUMBO to hear! (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass - very cool area. You should check it out sometime!)

Finally, it is our turn and without looking at the menu, we order one regular pie and two cream sodas. It takes ages to cook but I don't mind. I'm highly entertained watching all the dough tossing in the prep area we are seated directly next to. I stare at these well-oiled machine-like men who have their routine of dough patting, cheese slapping, sauce spooning, and basil breaking down to an exact science. It's like a deliciously choreographed dance repeating over and over. Total food porn.

When our meal arrives, we stop for a moment to soak in the enormity of the occasion. This place is a legend. Autographed photos of really famous people cover the walls in every spot that doesn't boast a medal or award the restaurant has won in some food competition. The humblest of foods, the simple pizza, originally a leftover meal made for paupers, has become a shining star in it's own right. Here I am, about to enjoy the most revered pizza of all with a very tall, good looking boy who might be just as yummy as the plate of food in front of me.

I am not disappointed... in either the pizza or the boy!

We practically bounce out of the place, having demolished our meal and proud of the fact. Deciding it would be best to walk off the obscene amount of calories we just consumed, he takes me for a stroll along the riverside, heading towards the bridge. Unfortunately, I *always* have room for dessert and I happen to know that the Jacques Torres chocolate shop is just around the corner. We sit in the quaint sidewalk shop at a tiny cafe table, feeling very Parisian and artsy. I cut the tiny truffles in two so we can share samples that slide down my throat a little too easily. Every piece melts on the tongue as though meant for my mouth only. I am in foodie heaven! My date comments that he's never had a woman make "yummy noises" so early on in a date before without having to work for it. I would blush, but my cheeks are too busy savoring the sweetness as the last little piece of candy disappears.

He tells me how pretty I am when I'm relishing my food and he feels like maybe I forgot he was here? Perhaps I need a moment alone with my dessert...Ok, maybe now I'll blush!!!

We sit for a while in the park while the sun begins to set over Manhattan. I totally get why people live here now. You actually have an amazing view of midtown without all the gridlock! It's unseasonably warm and we contemplate taking the water taxi across to South Street Seaport to grab dinner. I know what you're thinking. How can you people possibly have room for more food? Yet somehow between all the walking, talking, sitting and sunsetting, we do! Sadly, we've missed the last water taxi by a mere five minutes and are forced to scrounge up cool cones at the Brooklyn Ice Cream factory and watch the rest of the sky change colors from our spot at the edge of the river instead of on it. He did ask if I'd prefer to just cross the bridge on foot and while it's totally on my bucket list, I imagine I might want more appropriate footwear for the occasion. He suggests we do that on our second date which is precisely when my stomach flips...in the best way possible!

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm Allergic to Boring

4 dates, $400 and 0 laughs later...

His profile reads: "I am allergic to facebook" which is possibly the most intriguing sentence I've ever read. I am addicted to facebook, which is probably why I never should've signed up in the first place. Facebook is the vortex of all my free time. I sit at the computer and am instantly sucked into a black hole where my hours simply disappear inexplicably. At least I've given up the games. Quit cold turkey. There simply weren't enough hours in the day to tend to my farm, my cafe, my fish tank, not to mention my actual friends! I could choose sleep or facebook... suffice it to say I was tired for a LONG time!

But I digress.

Our conversations online are sporadic at best. He has a full time job where he's constantly on call and it drains the life out of him. He barely has an available waking moment which is why he signed up for online dating in the first place. He doesn't meet anyone in real life because he's constantly chained to his computer. That being said, he's a very good looking guy. He's six feet tall, has deep, dreamy eyes, an incredibly fit body, and slightly curly dark blonde hair that I would totally run my fingers through if it wasn't held together with maximum strength hair product!

We grew up only a few towns apart (I adore Massapequa boys!) but now he lives on the Upper West Side. He's got his own apartment facing Central Park where he goes running every day (or at least, every day he isn't stuck in the office.) It's the only time he does not carry his BlackBerry around with him because he's cracked a few too many of them on the Central Park pavement. Figures it's safer leaving the expensive device at home. Besides, he's been known to answer emails and phone calls in the shower, at least let the boy get a run in!

At this point, I am sufficiently convinced that he's a workaholic but he promises me he's looking for a new job come next year. I was already married to a man who averaged an 80 hour work week. I am not interested in dating another, thank you very much. He assures me that he's sticking out this position through holiday bonus season and then he's sending out resumes and going on interviews. Six years with this company is enough that he knows there's no bigger future there for him. Managing director of internet security sounds very impressive as long as you don't take into consideration all the sacrifices he's made to get there! Forgive me, but I'd rather shower in peace!

I admire his drive, determination and dedication. Most of my friends haven't approached this level of success by 29 (and in some cases, older!) I would love to afford my own apartment near the museums but for most of us, it's a fantasy. Not that a man's bank account is his most impressive feature, but it's nice that he can treat to drinks and I don't have to worry. He's very generous in never allowing me to pay and we went to some pretty swanky bars in midtown. Then again, he consistently matched my two martinis with four of his own, citing a "rough day at the office" each time. Really? Why do I get the sense that this is an ongoing thing...

Date #1: Meet at fancy bar on 7th in midtown. I look cute in a sweater dress and tall boots with heels. He's business casual with a button down and loafers, fitting right in with the "drinks near Penn station" crowd. I order two French Kiss martinis. He orders four Captain & Gingers. We talk about music, weekend plans, and what brought us to online dating. Confess the bare minimum of relationship histories, give general background on our family lives, mention religious upbringing and there are no red flags. He's polite, intelligent, and attractive. He gives me a one-armed hug and a kiss on the cheek when we part ways, saying that this was fun and he'll call me to do it again soon. Score!

Date #2: Meet at a fancy bar on 5th in midtown. I look cute in a purple plaid button down and tall boots with heels. He's business casual with a button down and loafers, fitting right in with the "happy hour lounge" crowd. I order two chocolate peppermint martinis. He orders four chocolate raspberry martinis. We talk about our towns, friends we might have in common, high school days and our favorite spots on Long Island. He doesn't know much about the city seeing as he's lived in it for less than a year and 90% of that time has been spent en route from his apartment to his office and back again. I give him the walking tour of Flatiron / Chelsea and he tells me all the places he'd like to go but has never been. I shift my bag to the outside shoulder in case he tries to hold my hand but no such move is made. He gives me a one-armed hug and a kiss on the cheek, saying he had a nice time and we should do this again soon. Score!

Date #3: Meet at an Asian restaurant. I look cute in a black and white wrap shirt with black slacks and heels. He's business casual with a button down and loafers, fitting right in with the "dumplings before dark" crowd. I order hot green tea. He orders a bottle of warm sake. This is the first time we actually share a meal, although I realize quickly that we have very different tastes. I am allergic to peppers. He loves spicy food. He's allergic to shellfish. I could make a meal out of shrimp cocktail. We talk about his boat, the friends he shares it with, going fishing with his dad. I tell him about my summers in the Hamptons, my family's passion for being on the water, my brother in the Coast Guard. We swap stories of fishing, clamming and crabbing before I realize he doesn't eat any of it. He just likes being out there, spending time with people close to him, relaxing, having a few beers (a few?) and being able to breathe. He gives me a one-armed hug and a kiss on the cheek, saying he'll call me this week to let me know what days he's free to meet up again! Score?

Date #4: Meet at a different fancy bar on 7th in midtown. I look cute in a tunic and leggings with tall boots. He's business casual with a button down and loafers, fitting right in with the "swanky hotel bar with the mistress before heading home to the wife" crowd. This place is a mix of middle aged to older men smelling like hedge fund money and younger women with push up bras and Brazilian straightened hair smelling like hyenas on the hunt. It's disturbing in a way only New York can offer. I am hit on three times in the five minutes before my date walks in. Note to self: If I ever want to pimp myself out for free drinks and bar snacks, this is the place to do it! I order two Cosmos. He orders four Bombay dirty martinis. We talk about work, work, and more work. By the fifth time he checks his BlackBerry, I make a new rule. No more office talk or looking at email until the date it over. I know that this is a risky move but I'm getting very sick of being overshadowed by his job! I'm interesting and exciting and intelligent and sexy and he needs to be distracted long enough to appreciate that! He survives a full thirty minutes before "something important" comes up he has to respond to so I excuse myself to the ladies room. I take a good long look in the mirror. I'm cute as a button. I'm smarter than the average bear. I'm sweet and funny and outgoing and bubbly and this date is boring the shit out of me! He has not said anything remotely interesting in four whole dates. He has not made me laugh at all. He has not made any attempt to kiss me, or even touch me. Seriously, not one hand hold, not one brush against my arm, nothing. The only physical contact he's made with me was when he got onto his bar stool and accidentally brushed my leg. He profusely apologized! I don't think I can do this anymore. I know he told me he was shy and nervous and took a while to warm up but a month? Who takes a month to get comfortable enough to face the person you're talking to? As much as I enjoy a good martini in a pretentious bar, the time has come for this ship to sail. For the first time, I do not offer to pick up the check or leave the tip. We grab our coats and I hail a cab. He gives me the requisite one-armed hug and kiss on the cheek, saying he'll call me this week to set something up. But I do not look back.

Dates: 4
Drinks: 18
Cost: $400
Displays of affection: 0
Times I laughed: 0
Times he mentioned work: Countless

Time to move on? Priceless...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Picky, Picky

Here's a little nugget of fun for you:

I started talking to this guy online about a month ago. We always had decent email exchanges and he seemed (as they all do) normal at the time. His pictures were all of his face and he was by no means bad looking. Some might even say mildly attractive. While there were no full body photos, he told me that he goes to the gym every day. Every single day. The only time he missed was when he had the flu for a week (and only for the safety of other clients.) Otherwise, he's there working out for 30 - 90 minutes. That's an average of 7 hours at the gym every week. That's 364 hours per year. Who the hell has more than 15 straight days of spare time to get on a treadmill or lift weights? Honestly, wouldn't you rather take a vacation? But I guess he gets more for his membership than I do. I did the math. I pay $60 a month for my gym membership. If I go once a week, that's $15 per session. If I go twice a week, it's $7.50 a session. He goes EVERY day. Which means that for the same monthly dues, his workouts only run him about $2!

Why am I throwing all these numbers at you? Because when we finally got on the phone, I asked him "Why the obsession?" He replied, "Well the first 60 pounds came off pretty quickly. I really have to work for the rest."

He had 60 pounds to lose and he's not done yet? Hmmm, this requires more investigating.

Me: Wow, that's really impressive. It must've been hard for you to lose all that weight.
Him: Nope, it was pure fat. It just kinda melted off.
Me: Oh, so what inspired you to finally get rid of it?
Him: I don't know. Just realized after the heart attack that I wasn't quite as healthy as I thought.
Me: Heart attack? Isn't 30 a bit young for a heart attack?
Him: It's more common than you think. I'm better now but I still have a long way to go.
Me: How much further is your goal weight?
Him: 120 pounds.
Me: You want to be 120 pounds?
Him: No, I want to lose another 120 pounds.
Me: On top of the 60 you already lost?
Him: Yes. So that would be about 180 pounds. I might stop there, depending how I look and feel.
Me: That's a lot of weight.
Him: There's plenty more where that came from!
Me: How are you feeling about it all?
Him: I'm starting to not recognize myself. This is the first time I've been less than 400 pounds. I don't know what I'll look like at 300. And I can't even imagine myself at 200.
Me: It's a big goal. You're very dedicated to go every day.
Him: Yeah well, I have a lot of free time on my hands.
Me: What do you do besides going to the gym?
Him: I work.
Me: Right. What else?
Him: Not much.
Me: Do you go out?
Him: Not really.
Me: Do you hang out with your friends?
Him: Nah. Don't really have too many friends.
Me: Do you have activities you enjoy doing?
Him: Nope. Just work, the gym, and tv. I like to curl up with my cats. My cats are my best friends.
Me: Wow, so when you said you were too busy to go out on a date this week or next, what was that about?
Him: I don't know. I guess I'm kinda scared of dating.
Me: Then why'd you sign up for the dating website?
Him: Cause I can't find any girls I really like. I think I'm too picky.

Just to be clear: the 400 pound cat lover with no friends thinks that he's single because he's too picky?!?!

I believe it's time to hang up now.

The BirdMan of Bergen

Dear Random Online Person,
You have a very relaxed profile. It was so nice to read. No pressure, just a pleasant way to find out a little bit about you. Thanks for seeming normal and kind. ~Kimberly

Hi Kimberly,
Thanks for writing and thank you so much for the kind words--I really appreciate it! Well I am kind, and I'd like to think I'm normal--but since I like birds so much I guess some people would disagree!--and that's ok with me :) You seem like a warm and friendly person--so if you'd like to chat more I would like that. -R

Warm and friendly, that's me! I just adore the adjectives you use to describe yourself. Honest, loyal, kind, affectionate, respectful. They're so refreshing in a world full of "Hit me up" and "where my ladiez at?" It's really nice to see a man who's not afraid to just be a really good guy :-) I have to tell you that I also love the outdoors and try to spend more time out than in. Your birding hobby fascinates me although I should confess now that I am positively terrified of pigeons. Traumatizing experience, will tell you someday. For now, suffice it to say that it's been 12 years and my friends still make fun of me, but I swear I thought I was going to die that day!!! -Kimberly

Hi Kimberly,
Hope you had a good weekend. Beautiful weather we are having--I love this time of year. (except for the ragweed) Ha!--funny about the pigeons (well probably not funny to you) Most people have a pigeon horror story--so that is ok. I forgive you if you don't like pigeons--but I like them. -R

I wholeheartedly agree with you. Fall is my favorite time of year. I love being able to finally wear my sweaters and jeans again (without having to put on a heavy jacket and snow boots). The coolness in the air at night without all the gross humidity and stickiness of summer. I can't wait for the leaves to start changing so I can take weekend trips upstate to the wineries and apple picking. There is nothing in the world like Autumn in New York. What was the best part of your weekend? Anything fun and exciting coming up in your schedule this week? ~Kimberly

Hey Kimberly,
Last weekend I helped lead some trips for the annual Meadowlands festival of birding. Of course a reported showed up for my trip on Sun so a few horrible pics of me ended up in the local papers... Nothing too fun and exciting. I have seen some very good birds lately. This time of year is exciting birding-wise for me as you never know what will show up next. Yesterday I saw 2 rare birds: a Yellow-headed Blackbird and 2 Buff-breasted Sandpipers. Tomorrow I'll do some birding in the morning and then watch my (pathetic) Cowboys play. Sometimes I wish I wasn't a huge fan--since all they do is disappoint me--oh well. -R

I'm beginning to wonder if I'll have any chance at competing for your attention over the birds ... you certainly know how to make a girl jealous :-) Congrats about the featured article! That's so exciting for you. And not to worry. NO ONE looks good in newspaper pictures. Promise! Kimberly
PS: I totally feel you on the Cowboys front. I was born a Mets fan. Rooting for the underdog is my specialty.

Hey Kim,
So my current situation is that I've had a 2nd meeting/date with someone--but I'm not quite sure if we are on the same page or not--so it's currently up in the air as far as if we are "officially dating" or not--since I honestly don't know. I'm telling you this since I don't want to leave you "in the dark" about anything and because I respect your time and don't want you to miss meeting someone else in the meantime. Having said that I WOULD be interested in meeting you at some point--whether or not I'm "in a relationship"--as I think it's hard to find people like you and I'm betting that in addition to making a good girlfriend you would also make a very good friend...Of course that is if you want to--no pressure at all... -R

Honestly, I don't usually call dating "a relationship" until the third date or beyond. At that point I would cease conversations with anyone else I was talking to because it seems like a good point to become mutually exclusive. I'm happy that you're enjoying getting to know someone and if it goes somewhere, that'd be great for you. I won't hold you back but I also won't make you feel guilty like I'm holding my breath waiting for you on the other side of the computer screen. Is that a fair compromise? And yes, in my experience, "at least it can't get any worse" are famous last words. If I told you stories about guys I've met so far, you'd laugh so hard it would hurt! I'm definitely liking getting to know you as well because you seem normal! You know, minus the whole bird infatuation :-) J/k everyone has to be passionate about SOMETHING!!! ~Kim
PS: You're right. I am a wonderful friend. And an amazing girlfriend... 

Hello Kim,
How have you been? So......I never made it to the 3rd date w/ the woman I mentioned. Even though things seemed to be going well--I guess it was one-sided, as she didn't feel "the chemistry." Anyway--since I'm officially "available" now I'd love to keep talking if you feel the same way--and If you'd like to talk on the phone sometime that would be nice too. You should know that I am looking for someone who completely understands and accepts that I'm passionate about birds and sports and that they are my "escape" from the everyday stresses of life--and that it doesn't mean that they are more important than the person I'm with even if it may occasionally seem so (and the "cherry on top" would be someone who would actually watch a game w/ me or go on a birding outing w/ me (once in a while--not all the time of course!)
Now that's not too much to ask for is it?!? -R

*Note to the Readers: It is at this point that my curiosity wins out over my common sense. In the interest of writing (as I'm assuming we've all determined by this point that BirdMan is just writing material) I decide to call him. He messages me his number and I try with all my might to keep a straight face throughout the conversation.*

Highlights from our phone call include:

You know what they call me around these parts? The BirdMan of Bergen!
(I think I knew your father...are you the son of Alcatraz?)

When would you like to meet? I have to plan it around the sparrows and work.
(Does it frighten anyone else that these two things are in the same category of importance?)

Oh, I can't meet you in the city. I don't go to New York.
(What? You live 30 minutes away. It's even faster by train!)

The big city scares me. I wouldn't know where I was going. Maybe you could meet me at the train station?
(What are you, five years old? Do you need me to hold your hand when crossing the street and cut the crusts off of your PBJ sandwich?)

Ooh, even better, you could just come meet me in Jersey! You drive, right?
(A - yes, I drive. I'm a grown-up. B - No fucking way am I crossing a bridge, or rather TWO bridges, to meet you for a first date. Sorry.)

Needless to say that the whole awkward time we were talking, many, many uncomfortable silences filled the air. He was nervous and stuttered often and I wondered how the other girl made it through two whole dates with him. What's sad is that his profile really did sound promising but he simply couldn't hide the crazy factor very well (or rather, at all.)

Men, the lesson here is this: If you have an unusual obsession, that's great. I am not advising you to change who you are. But girls really don't need to know about it until MUCH later on. Keep your inner geek in check until you have at least secured a date with us. If you want to slowly start revealing the skeletons in the closet, give us time to absorb them and accept you for who you are. Please understand, however, that should you bombard us with psycho babble about said obsession from Day One, you will be sitting home alone with your birds / Legos / comic books / video games / action figures for a very long time. Good Luck! Love, Women Everywhere

Monday, November 1, 2010

Adorably Feisty

The fates have turned on me lately, sending ex boyfriends my way instead of new ones. The winds of change have blown the dust off the past fifteen years of broken relationships and sending the remnants flying right back in my general direction. This is precisely how I found myself at IHOP sitting across the table from a man who broke up with me in 1999 because (and I quote) I "made [him] too happy."

I had been crushing on this boy for a while but we were always only ever friends. He had a girlfriend in high school and another in college. I guess you could say that I was his graduation summer romance. (Don't we all have one of those?) Then one day, the world changed. He professed feelings for me that I'd always assumed were one-sided in my direction and we had the most wonderful thirty days together. It was a month of pure bliss. I felt like I'd fallen for my best friend and could not have been happier. He's ridiculously smart, I mean the kind of smart that impresses the pants off people. He's kind and sweet and considerate and always a gentleman. He's the sort of guy that any girl would be lucky to date (Are you listening single women? He's still available!) I fell pretty hard that summer and was consequently crushed when he told me he was going back to his high school girlfriend. I didn't understand it then. We had only just put our names together on a birthday card for his baby cousin. No one had EVER included my name on the card as part of a couple before, which I took to mean we were super serious about each other.

*Note: Did you see that episode of Sex & the City where Carrie and Big have a joint card on a wedding gift? He freaks out that they're "too serious." Or the episode of FRIENDS where Ross and his flavor of the month make Christmas cards together? That's my idea of love! It's especially funny when Chandler and Monica get married but still don't send out holiday greetings together because "I don't think we're 'there' yet." Too true!*

Anywho, I'd gone from being the other name on the birthday card to being the girl who made him so happy he couldn't function. He was not at all used to the level of attention I paid to him or how involved we were in one another's lives. He'd gotten quite comfortable in his last relationship and didn't know how to be himself without her. They only lasted the rest of the summer until everyone went their separate ways for college and then it was Splitsville once more. The damage to us was already done though. We went back to the Friends Zone and have stayed there ever since.

There have been some mild flirtations in the years since my divorce and I'll admit that the feelings never quite went away. He's never given me reason to doubt his sincerity as one of the good guys or that he has the purest of intentions for any woman fortunate enough to date him. Not that this man is a saint by any measure, mind you, and he does have his idiosyncracies like all guys do. He has a habit of staying in with a bottle of single malt scotch on nights when social plans fall through. I dare not estimate the amount of hours he's spent playing video games online. And his penchant for comic books and hand-drawn animation boggles my mind. I simply can't reconcile these factors with his level of intelligence and professional success but they're there all the same.

Deciding to have a weekend of indulgent debauchery, he messaged me first thing Friday morning to join him for Stuffed French Toast to kick the festivities off right. Knowing that I have a weakness for breakfast foods and nowhere to be during regular business hours made him sure I'd say yes. (Seriously, if I can put butter, maple syrup, or whipped cream on something, I will eat it!!!) We hit the IHOP and I was pleased to start my day off with a hot chocolate. He ordered black coffee and we toasted to me being (and I quote) "an internet sensation!" Yeah, he might get bumped up to favorite friend status for calling me that! He requested Stuffed French Toast as promised and I got the Pancakes stacked with Cinnamon Roll icing in between. Listen, if we're going to have an indulgent moment, I'm going all out!

We discussed both of our single-people lives, both of our upcoming 30th birthdays, his full-time work and my lack thereof, families, friends, vacations, dreams...the usual catching up. He's planning a trip to Vegas for his approaching milestone year. I have just less than six months left and am thinking something much more low key. (Let's hope the surprise party gods are listening!) As he paid the check and we headed for the door, the hostess pointed out a basket of Dum-Dums on the counter. Happy Halloween! Let the candy eating begin. I chose Root Beer flavor because I'm boring and predictable. He picked up Grape. Just as I began to walk away, I heard "Awesome!" and turned around. He'd discovered a blue lollipop deep in the bucket.

Blue? Who the hell likes blue anything? There are no blue foods in nature so I am highly suspicious of anything colored blue. I don't even eat the blue M&M's which my father swears don't taste any different but I refuse to consume simply on principle. He looks at me and says "Don't you know about my affections for anything blue?" Um, no...enlighten me.

"I love blue things. I'd love to date a girl with blue hair!"

I am blonde.

"Even better if she was an Asian girl."

My tan is comparable to that of the vampires in the Twilight series. While I don't sparkle in the sunlight, I'm obscenely pale. Almost reflective.

"Preferably a petite Asian girl with blue hair."

Petite? I'm 5'9! A few more inches and I'd qualify for Amazonian...

"Yup, a petite Asian girl with blue hair who loves Halo. That's my dream woman."

Halo? Is that a show, a band or a game? Have no clue.

Me: Can I ask you a question? If you have a desire to date petite Asian women with blue hair who love Halo, why on Earth did you ever date me? I'm the polar opposite of everything you just said!

"Cause you're feisty. I like that."

Me: I'm feisty? What does that mean?

"You know, you're like hard core. Energetic. Ready to kick ass. Dominating. Feisty."

Me: Wow, no one has ever called me that before. I kinda like it. Seems super confident. Very intimidating. (At this point, I make my "strong" face and flex my non-existent muscles. Then I start clapping and jumping up and down in my seat because we're going to Barnes & Noble.)

"Ok, now you're not feisty. Now you're just adorable."

Me: Adorably feisty!!! (Make "mean" face again.)

He laughs and continues driving to B&N so I can get my nerd on. I might not have blue hair but I do have an attitude!