Saturday, March 24, 2012

Fans Take Over

You might have noticed from my Facebook and Twitter pages that lately I’ve been asking an awful lot of questions pertaining to dating and relationships. They are by no means random. Every one of them was spurred from a man that I met or a dating conundrum I was in. As this project passes its second year of existence (thus taking over my personal life completely) I’ve been forced to re-examine many of my outlooks on life, love, and relationships. I have said from the start that I began 100 Cups of Coffee to learn about myself - what I want, what I don’t want, what I’m willing to settle for and what I can’t live without. I can safely say that I now know myself better than I ever did before because I’ve taken the time to ask these questions and really, truly reflect on the answers. I have not glazed over any passing thoughts. Rather, I’ve given them the respect they deserve with honest contemplation. I have taken no experience for granted, but appreciated each one, however insane they may appear at the time. Every date, every man, every question leads to a lesson learned. 
But today is not about the questions I’ve asked. It’s about the answers YOU want to know. For 24 hours, I allowed readers to take over my blog, asking me anything and holds barred. Here are some of my favorites:

Kelly: Why so many questions?????
If two heads are better than one, than 3,200 are much better! I’m not ashamed to admit when I don’t know what to do. Life is a learning curve. How better to equip oneself than getting the opinions of 13 or 29 or 55 other women who are in my shoes, have already been where I am, or who may follow in my footsteps and need some guidance along the way!

Janice: How old are you?
I will be celebrating the first anniversary of my thirtieth birthday in one short month! Seems like only yesterday I was turning thirty but I have to say, this has been a very eventful year, full of twists and turns I could never have predicted. I am very much looking forward to whatever 31 has to offer!

Dolores: So what do you look for in a man? Do you have a specific look or is it just that "something" that catches your eye?

Looks-wise, not particularly. I don’t care what color hair or eyes he has. I don’t even care if he has any! (Ummm, hair. Not eyes. I think a man with no hair can be sexy. A man with no eyes would be freaking weird!)

I will tell you that I’m 5’9 so I “prefer” a man who is taller than me. There is something so reassuring about a man wrapping his strong arms around you and feeling safe and small inside of them. Plus, short guys are harder to dance with.

I think that the thing that catches my eye most is his personality. Do we click right away? Is there instant chemistry? An undeniable attraction? A deeper connection? If so, any man can be sexy. I don’t judge. 

Unless Matt Bomer is available. He is SO my type!!!

Celina: Have you ever had sex on a first date?
Definitely not, but I like that you went right in for the scandalous! Of the 97 Cups so far, I’ve only kissed five and slept with one (being Kit). I know this makes me sound like a prude but believe me, I am a girl that loves to kiss! I think that both kisses and sex should be reserved for someone special though so I tend to hold that back until I’m sure he’s worth it. If you’ve read this blog at all, you know that most of them are not!

Krista: Have you ever been forced to pay the bill because he refused?
There was one guy waaaay back in the beginning of this blog that I met for an afternoon date. I brought a gorgeous picnic basket filled with goodies from the Italian market. Bread, olive oil for dipping, hard cheeses, nuts, salami, marinated olives, pastries, and sparkling lemonade. It was delectable. That was my contribution. His portion of the date was taking us for mini golf which was $7. We finished our lunch, walked over to the golf course and he pulled out his wallet. He said “I only have a ten so I can pay for me and half of you.” HALF OF ME??? What the fuck is that? Which half did you want to pay for asshole? The top half of me that will be swinging the club at you or the bottom half of me that can’t wait to run away?

Bridget: Have you ever gotten up and left right in the middle of a date just because it was that awful?
I have been on some truly awful dates. Dates that other people would have run away screaming from long before I did. I held out whenever possible mostly for the sake of the blog. When things got really bad, I just kept saying to myself “Writing material, writing material, writing material...” and I could stick it out. The only time I took my mother up on her offer of a rescue call was the guy who had:
  1. smelled my hair when we met
  2. a receding hairline 
  3. bifocal glasses 
  4. four layers of clothing on 
  5. nothing to talk about besides work 
  6. had only moved out of his parents house at the age of 33 
  7. never left his own town and had no clue where I lived which was only ten minutes away 
  8. thought that cooking a hamburger on his own made us “food compatible” and my personal favorite 
  9. wrote a cheat sheet on his hand so he would remember all the things he wanted to talk to me about. 
Hi Mom. Rescue call please???

For the whole date, read here: Cheat Sheet

Courtney: Can you have passion and get along with someone on other levels? 
Ab-so-freakin-lutely!!! Actually, it would scare me more if you didn’t have all the things you wanted in one person. Do you have to compromise in relationships? Yes. You do. You have to compromise watching Dancing With the Stars and the Hockey play-offs. That means DVR’ing one show and watching the other live. It does NOT mean compromising who you are and what you want out of a partner. You should be intellectually, spiritually, AND physically compatible with your boyfriend / girlfriend. If any of these things are missing (and none is more important that either of the others) the relationship will not work. There should be a balance. Balance is one of my keywords!

This is not to say you can’t have great sex with someone you have mediocre conversations with. You can. It’s also not to say that you can’t have great conversations with someone you have very little interested in sleeping with. Again, it’s possible. But imagine how fantastic it would be to find a man you can talk to, laugh with, and who gives you the most incredible orgasms of your life. That’s the perfect combination to me. 

This man --- and he does exist --- should be a great friend, someone who intrigues you, someone who gets your jokes, someone you can learn from, someone who makes you want to be a better person, someone who can be trusted, and someone who makes your knees weak with every kiss.

Charlene: Where is the weirdest place you got asked to go?
In the past week I got asked to go out on two first dates. One to (wait for it)... Walmart ... and another to a funeral in another state!
Ps: I didn't go...all I could do was shake my head and walk away!
I attended a date’s friend’s baby’s Christening on a first date. His entire family was there and he didn’t want to be the single guy at yet another party so he asked me to come along. We had a very nice time and I definitely thought there was something more there but I got sick at the end of the night (new medication mixed with too much Chardonnay and not enough lunch) and we haven’t spoken since. I called him the next day to apologize for not feeling well and say what a nice time I was having before then but despite his chivalry and incredibly gracious nature in taking me home from the event, he didn’t ask for a second date. That sucked. 

Kimberly: Quick questions - 1. How do you read "your story"??? I've seen you mention Kit and get the general idea of what happened, but do you have it written somewhere on your blog or here? I would love to read it and be able to share it with my single friends.
If you want to read about Kit & I dating, go to May through August 2011. If you want to read about us breaking up, pretty much anything in September / October sums up that experience. There are A LOT of missing pieces. I was so busy being in love that I barely blogged over the summer but the Cliff’s Notes version can be found on my Facebook page from that time period (if TimeLine lets you scroll back til then?!) I also didn’t blog about the break-up nearly as much as I could have because I was hurting and healing, but it will most likely turn into a book of some sort after this project is over. I’m really glad you and your friends can relate to everything I went through. You are just the sort of ladies I’m writing for!

The first Kit entry is here: Say Cheese

2. When you've gone through something like that, do you suggest some sort of counseling or just getting "back in the saddle" as soon as possible?
In answer to your other question, I definitely suggest taking some time to heal your heart. I wrote a blog fairly recently that I dedicated to four of my girlfriends who were going through bad break ups around the same time I was. There is not necessarily a universal twelve step program for getting over a relationship but you must must must take the time to mourn. A break up is like a death. There are stages of grieving and you’ve got to allow yourself to go through all of them. In my honest opinion, if you try jumping out of the frying pan into the fire, you’re only going to get burned.

My answers to recovering from a bad break up: This One's For the Girls

Bambi: So have you figured out why men cheat and lie?
Men cheat because they can. They lie so they don’t get caught.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Punishment for Men

Dear Kim, 

I recently read your posts about Leap Day and the traditions of a woman proposing marriage (or in this case, a date) to a man. You calling up Mike and asking him out on a date was so inspirational for me. I was really proud of you for mustering that much courage and just going for it! Your journey has been an incredible thing to watch and I love reading the stories you tell, be it about heartbreak, joy, doubt, faith, tears, trials, trust, hope, love, or just good old fashioned craziness. You've moved me to ask out my own Prince Charming (here's hoping he says YES!) 

I was so impressed with your tenacity that I wanted to investigate the folklore further on my own. You'd be shocked at what I came up with!

There was a series of 13 postcards published on Slate depicting lady's proposals dating all the way back to 1907. Women who took part in custom had all of Leap Year to do so, not just the day. That aside, they were often ridiculed, publicly shamed, and persecuted for their brazenness and audacity at asking for a man's hand. If a woman so much as asked a man to dance, she was instantly made the butt of the town jokes, having everything from her appearance degraded to her character questioned. These women were considered the worst sort of desperate. Look at some of the postcard descriptors:

Marriage is a raw deal for men no matter the appearance of one’s potential bride. 

Any woman with a strong personality probably also has a face like a troll.

The notion of marriage as punishment for men...

The practice of allowing women to propose marriage not only emasculates men but also dehumanizes them. Apparently, what women really want is for their husbands to be glorified house pets.

Leap-year-proposal postcards enforced a double standard by valorizing bachelors at the same time that they depicted unmarried women as undesirable. 

Leap-year-postcard artists often drew women resorting to violence in their attempts to get a man to marry them and showed women as bigger, stronger, and more forceful than men. “These domineering women were commonly depicted as unattractive aggressors.”

A woman who asks for what she wants: the ultimate boner-killer.

I'm just wondering what your take on all these postcards and captions are, being a woman who is clearly not afraid to take charge and ask for what she wants?

Thanks for sharing your exceptional writing with the world. Keep at it! We're all rooting for you, 


Dear Katherine,

Firstly, thank you for reading my blog and for the kind words about my Leap Day experiment. It wasn't easy getting up the courage to ask out a complete stranger, but I must admit that I probably had the best experience anyone could hope to have in that situation. Mike was fun and witty and charming to talk to. He made me laugh and was so easy going that I knew asking him out was the right decision. I can't say that I'm quite so brazen in person. I've never just walked up to a man I didn't know and asked him out on the spot! (I did sneak my number into the back pocket of a cute guy at a club once. Could not bring myself to talk to him. Was a chicken shit back then. Am much braver now!)

I think that I just kept telling myself: What's the worst thing that could happen? He says no? So what? I don't know this guy from a hole in the wall. He might like me, he might not. But I'll never know unless I take that chance. The reward is always worth the risk. You've got to put yourself out there. You simply have to. 

Oh, and please let me know what happens with your date! I think it's great that you're making a move. Be confident. Be strong. Be fun and flirty and interesting. Asking someone out is NOT a sign of desperation. It just means you're a woman who knows what she wants and there is nothing wrong with that!

As for these postcards, I really had to allow my blood to stop boiling before I could respond. For them to say that a woman who knows what she wants is a boner-killer?!?! Who are they kidding? Ask ANY guy who he enjoys being with in the bedroom and he'll say "A woman who knows what she wants!" We are a decisive bunch who can tell you what we're looking for and how to give it to us. That just means we never have to fake it!

"Forceful, domineering, unattractive aggressors..." is the most ridiculous line of bull shit I have ever heard! Think about all the female friends in your life. Perhaps some of them sat back and waited for men to approach them. Perhaps they entertained the idea that love would just fall into their laps. Perhaps they thought that the only men they deserved to be with were men who wanted them first, made the first move, and they are entitled to that opinion. I am a woman who runs at life with arms wide open and that includes embracing love. If there's a man that catches my eye, you can be damn sure I'm letting him know. That doesn't make me unattractive. That makes those other girls wimps!

I think that the caption about bachelors being valiant while unmarried women are undesirable is positively hilarious. There are plenty of undesirable people in this world, but whether they are married or not has little bearing on that fact. 

Marriage being a "raw deal" or "punishment" for men is complete and utter bull shit! There are multiple studies that show married men benefit from longer lives, better health, greater financial security, better sex, and overall greater happiness compared to their single counterparts at every age! Marriage (in my opinion) is the thing that keeps men sane. Ask just about any middle-aged guy (even the ones who complain) and chances are he wouldn't have a clue what he'd do without his wife...and he likely never wants to find out.

This brings us to my favorite of these quotes: Any woman with a strong personality probably also has a face like a troll. I promise you that I do not now, nor have I ever lived under a bridge, guarded a castle, or eaten a small child. For men, a woman's beauty is her strength. For me, a woman's strength is her beauty.

There's a reason it's 2012 and not 1907 anymore. These outdated notions of female helplessness are long gone. It's amazing the difference 100 years makes. I wonder what people in the next century will think of us?

Happy Dating, 


Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Mike of My Own

There are very few things I am certain of in this world. I'm not certain what hair color looks best on me. I'm not certain I will ever lose those extra twenty pounds. I'm not certain my books will get published, my apartment will ever be clean or I will learn to make minute rice.

I am certain that I am supposed to marry a man named Mike.

(No pressure, right???)

This might sound crazy to you. How can someone know the name of the person they're supposed to marry? If we all knew that, wouldn't we only date people with that name? Well, that would make sense but it's not always so easy. Not everyone gets the completely trustworthy information I got from a 100% reliable source: a gypsy woman in Little Italy.

I know, I know, where else would I learn this sort of detail about my future life? Doesn't everyone get their palms read by street corner gypsies? If not, you should be! Best $5 I ever spent.

Ok, fine, the cost factor aside, here's what happened: I was walking down Hester Street in Little Italy one summer night with my boyfriend (please note, we're going back several years here.) We had just gotten hazelnut gelato at Cafe Bella Ferrara and as I'm kind of a clutz, we were not holding hands. I have the innate ability to create messes everywhere I go. Throw melty, creamy desserts into the mix and I'm a walking disaster waiting to happen. We were walking and talking and approaching this lady who was sitting at a small makeshift table on the corner of Hester and Mulberry. She smiled up at me and asked if I'd like to have my palm read. I showed her the ice cream cone and she said, "That's ok, you hold it in one hand and I'll just read the other." I was hesitant but she promised it would be quick.

Right off the bat, she astonished me. She knew about some of the crazy dreams I have and my connection to relatives who've passed. She knew the struggles of my divorce and the strain it had put on my faith. She knew how close I was with my family and how I'd already changed careers at such a young age. Basically, she was spot on about my past.

Then she looked at me kinda sideways and told me not to worry, there was love in my future as well. "Your husband's name is Mike," she said profoundly. "How do you know that?" I asked. "I can see it right here in your hand," she showed me, tracing the M with her pinky. "M for Mike."

"Any chance it could be Mark?" I questioned. (Mark being my boyfriend at the time.)

"No, it is definitely Mike," replied the gypsy calmly.

"Any chance it could be Matt?" demanded Mark. (His best friend is Matt and we've always had a flirty chemistry.)

"No. It is definitely not Mark and it is definitely not Matt. It is Mike. The man you will marry is called Mike." She said it as thought she were explaining the difference to me between black and white. This is just how the world is and that's all there is to it.

Mark stormed off down the block.

My face fell. I was confused, crushed, and now had an angry boyfriend and a melted gelato cone. "I don't know any Mike," I half-heartedly replied with my face towards the ground. She tilted my chin up towards her sparkling eyes, looking right at me with the intensity of age old wisdom. "You will," smiled the gypsy.

I paid her the five dollars and threw the remnants of my dessert in the trash. I wasn't sure which had faded faster: the ice cream in the heat of that August night, or my faith in the relationship I had with Mark that he would someday be my husband.

Fast forward two weeks and a shocking phone call later. My four best friends in the world are all sisters and I love them dearly. Cindy, the third in the bunch, called home to say she'd eloped with her boyfriend to Tennessee. She was thrilled to tell us she had married Mike. Young and in love...I remember those days. They have a beautiful little boy now, my sweet, smart, incredible nephew, whom we affectionately refer to as Baby Mike. Despite his starting pre-school this week, I will likely call him Baby Mike for the rest of his life. He's just too cute.

The oldest sister, Suzy, also surprised the hell out of the family when she met, dated, became engaged to, and married her Mike in a span of only nine months. She'd waited her entire life to meet someone like him and I have to say, he gets my vote for world's best husband any day of the week and twice on Sundays. Mike would stop the world for Suzy if he could, and I'm fairly sure he's tried on several occasions.

Then there is Kat whose best friend is called (can you guess?) Mike. They have a very strong connection and a supportive, loving relationship. There is no doubt in my mind that given the right chance at the right time, Kat and her Mike would have made a great couple. Only time will tell with those two!

The youngest of the sisters is only fourteen. I'm waiting for the day she calls me from high school to tell me about her first boyfriend who, I'm 98% certain, will be called Mike. Let's not rush her!

This sisterly bonding over Suzy's Mike / Cindy's Mike / Kat's Mike / Baby Mike left me feeling very excluded. As such, I was motivated to write the short story A Mike Of My Own (which I'm debating turning into a screenplay) about four sisters who all try to set their fifth sister up on date after date with nice guys like John, Roger, Bill, Bob, Dan, and Ken. After meeting so many men, they finally introduce her to --- who else??? --- Mike!!! Sister #5 (aka me) falls madly in love with "Mike" and they go on to live happily ever after. Except that the girls know his real name...and it isn't Mike. Did Sister #5 fall in love with the man? Or the name?

Call it my obsession with The Importance of Being Earnest if you want, but when Gwendolyn says "It has always been a girlish dream of mine to marry a man called Ernest," I know exactly to what she is referring. Of course, there are plenty of good and decent men in the world who are not called Ernest (or in my case, Mike) and I may live very well with any of them. Still, it seems to me that the only real way to prove the gypsy prophecy true or false is to find a Mike of my own and see if he is, indeed, worth marrying.

I am trying to keep my expectations low for my Leap Day date with Mike, the traveling pirate. In fact, I may begin to refer to him solely as Captain Jack Sparrow to keep those high hopes in check. It is not the name of the man I wish to fall for, rather the character of him. Let's just hope that his character is earnest!