Friday, March 29, 2013

My Best Friend's Boyfriend

Girl Code Rule 37 clearly states: Thou shall not date thy best friend's ex-boyfriend. 

I may have broken that rule. 

I was determined to meet The Unicorn. His writing touched me on a deeper level than I'd felt in a long, long time. He got to a part of my soul that had been sleeping, and he woke it up. He gave me hope in Nice Guys. He restored my faith in men. And in ten seconds flat, that hope was shattered once again. 

The Unicorn is my best friend's boyfriend. 

Ok, well now he's her EX boyfriend, but you get the point. 

Who could have resisted all the amazing things he said to me? Those emails made it all seem so perfect, so ready for the fairy tale ending. If my life was a romantic comedy, we would've thrown a down home wedding in our Victorian house with the wraparound porch that he built for us, taken photos on the double swing at sunset, and served Southern sweet tea to our family and friends while a live band played all our favorite country songs and we danced into the twilight hours. If my life was a romantic comedy, we would've fallen madly in love and lived happily ever after with a few curly haired kids and a rambunctious dog in a huge suburban backyard. If my life was a romantic comedy, we'd speak our own language of love with "remember when" and "can you believe" and memories to last a lifetime. 

But the leading lady here is me and not Meg Ryan. The Unicorn is Sam and not Tom Hanks. And surprisingly, my life is based on a true story. You just can't make this shit up. 

Sam dated my best friend for several months in the Fall. She and I lived together for a while after the hurricane, which is when she introduced me to him. I thought he was a really nice guy (insert irony here!) and we became quite friendly. I didn't think much of it as I'm pretty friendly with everyone I meet, but Sam and I had a lot in common. It made me so happy to think that one of my friends had finally met a great man. I'm so tired of my girlfriends settling for less than they deserve and then I have to be the supportive friend who pretends not to hate that girl's boyfriend. Sam was different. He bought her thoughtful presents. He took her on romantic dates. He made her feel more special than any other man ever had. In short, he cared about her and y'all know me. I'm super enthusiastic for any relationship that looks like it's heading in a happy direction. 

One thing lead to another (as it usually does) and he started getting on her nerves. They had less and less time to see each other. The weather got colder which limits dating options in New York in winter at night (their only time to see each other.) His natural curiosity felt more like the Spanish Inquisition. The more he pushed to get to know her, to get close to her, the further apart they drifted, the more she wanted to run away screaming bloody murder. Those first few months of honeymoon dating had ended and my best friend was at the end of her relationship rope. It was a wonder she didn't kill him while ice skating or stargazing. She'd simply had enough. 

Surprisingly, Sam was the one who broke up with her. He'd felt her pushing him away for quite some time and knew she wasn't happy with their coupledom. He gave her every opportunity during the break up speech to fight the good fight one more time, but they'd both gotten so annoyed with one another, it was better to walk away amicably than try to tough it out and wind up hurt and hating. Since there was no animosity between them, I tried to stay friends with Sam after the break up ... and that was my mistake. 

Sam and I had a lot in common and we got along really well, which prompted him to ask me out a little too quickly after ending things with my BFF. Despite thinking he was (and is) a great guy, I knew she'd be far too hurt for me to date him, so I had to cut him off at the pass. I asked for some space / time / distance / whatever you want to call it, but Sam had to back off. Boyfriends come and go, but girlfriends are forever. Someone I've known for five minutes isn't worth risking a thirty year friendship. It just goes against girl code. Now, I know that if time had gone by and I'd told my friend I had feelings for Sam, eventually she would've said "good luck and God bless" but it was simply too soon. I walked away from him completely. 

That's when the emails from "The Unicorn" started. 

If I'd been paying closer attention, I would've made the connection sooner. I had just met and started dating Jason (more on that later) so I was completely oblivious to the timing of cutting off Sam and the emails from The Unicorn starting up. It took me several months and a lot of soul searching to call Sam out on his alter ego. While well intentioned, he created a totally different persona because (in his own words) he "just wanted to stay in (my) life any way (he) could."

I know that you've all been wondering why I met but did not date The Unicorn so here's the simple truth: In another place and time, I'm not ruling Sam out as an option. He's a sweet guy. He's thoughtful and considerate and very attentive. He's kind and faithful and always puts other people's happiness above his own. He makes me laugh and is super supportive and there's nothing he wouldn't do for a friend. In that regard, we're very much alike. Which is precisely why I cannot date him. 

My best friend hasn't had many boyfriends. One might say she's jaded, bitter, or disillusioned by men. If I dated the one guy she had real feelings for, despite how their relationship ended, that wouldn't make me a very good friend at all. She's been there for me this whole time, holding my hand through the tears, reading every blog, consoling every heartbreak. She came to my Passion Party (Cupcakes & Vibrators!) She came to my I Hate Valentine's Day Party. She came to my stand up show in Manhattan. She's ALL of you rolled into one person, sitting on my couch every Monday night, letting me regale her with shitty / hilarious dating stories while watching The Bachelor and overindulging in cake pops and vodka iced tea. She's who I work all my neuroses out on and she hasn't walked away from me yet although I promise you --- I've only got a handful of girlfriends well equipped to handle my particular brand of crazy. You don't challenge yourself to date half of New York over three years without losing your mind just a little! 

So the one man I'm not allowed to date? Is her ex boyfriend. 

And you know something? I'm ok with that. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Just Haven't Met You Yet

Beeeeeeeeeeeeeep...insert obnoxious yet oddly reassuring noises here...spaceship sounds...more beeping...mission complete!

You've Got Mail!!!

Dear "Joe,"

You are words on a screen. You're a mysterious figure - possibly even a figment of my imagination - of whom I know very little in real life. I don't know how old you are, where you live, what you look like...and frankly, none of that really matters. All I know is that your letters have given me more hope in Nice Guys than I ever thought possible. And I can't stop thinking about you.

It's not just me, either. There have been a surprising number of comments, messages and emails from female readers wanting to know more about you. Wanting to find out who you are, where you are, so they might have a chance to date you. This "blind dating" concept is ancient, but falling for someone without ever seeing them is overwhelming, even to a seasoned dater like me!

The truth is, it's a scary world out there and no one wants to face it alone. Your original email to me said that you read both The Unicorn Theory and Two By Two. I am scared that the lonely unicorn got left off the ark because she didn't have a mate. Everyone else was sailing off to a new world full of better and brighter things, whereas the poor unicorn was stuck in limbo. She wasn't safely coupled up like the zebras and the elephants and the giraffes. Noah probably thought she was just a horse with a sparkly horn and he already had enough horses. He didn't see that she was special all on her own. That her sparkly horn was just one of many unique, magical gifts. That she would go down in history as something of legend, made of myth more than memory. 

I'm afraid the same thing is happening to romance, and essentially, to me. Romance is a dying art. It's going the way of the shoehorn and the telegraph. Find me a child who knows what a victrola is? It feels the same way finding a man who understands chivalry and does not mistake is for chauvinism. What is to become of girls like me (and guys like you) who want respect, friendship, laughter, love? "Nice girls" who think that building a life around someone, creating a future together is the greatest gift you can give another person. When I'm dating someone, I want to give my whole heart. I fall for a man and dedicate myself to him, and to us, for as long as we are together. Dating has become so casual now. You're right, it's something people do to kill time. Time dies quickly enough on its own. Of all things in life, time is the most irrecuperable. Once gone, we cannot get it back. How better to spend our time than being kind, being generous, and actively loving another person?

This doesn't mean I want to marry the next man I meet or have babies by next Tuesday. Men seem terrified by women who have biological clocks ticking but I'll clue you in guys: Many of us have had those silent alarm bells ringing for years. That doesn't mean we're acting on the impulse to settle down or reproduce immediately! Women want to find the best match for them, their perfect mate, and hopefully, they won't stop looking til they find it. That's the other fear guys have. "Perfect" means something completely different to us than it does to you. My "perfect" guy is perfect for me and me only. It doesn't mean he's "the perfect guy" --- it means that he cares about me, he makes me laugh, he thinks I'm the cutest thing ever, he finds me irresistibly sexy and incredibly charming. My perfect guy is a little nerdy, a little mushy, a little protective, and a lot faithful. He doesn't have perfect abs or the perfect apartment or the perfect family or the perfect job. My perfect guy appreciates me, adores me, is affectionate with me, pays attention to me. My perfect guy "gets" me in a way that no one else does...because there's no greater feeling in the world than feeling "gotten."

Perhaps it is your duty and mine to spread the knowledge about these things? Women are afraid too. We don't think that we have all the power in the dating world. In fact, it's just the opposite. The numbers will prove that there are almost twice as many women to men, especially in my age range and especially single. Add that to men having a longer physical ability to bear children and you've got a flipped equation. Guys get to choose the woman they want to pursue, whether he deserves her or not. Not to sound extremely conceited, but I'm overqualified for most of the men I've dated in the last three years. Like a job with a lower starting salary than I was hoping for and less vacation than I'd like to take, I'm there because it's available and I need to work. What this 100 Cups of Coffee project has proven to me is that I don't need to accept the first job offer I'm given because I've got 99 other interviews lined up. In some ways, that takes a huge amount of stress and pressure off of me. In others, it's absolutely exhausting. As anyone who has been on all those interviews knows, eventually, you just want to find the right job (or right date) for you. 

Maybe someday, you and I will meet in the park and fall madly in love one day. Maybe I'll show you my wedding ring and tell you the story of how I met and married my Unicorn. Maybe you'll tell me yours. Maybe it'll even be one of my readers who is crazy about this great guy she first read about on this very blog, and the email you sent me could change your life forever. Maybe it's like You've Got Mail meets Sleepless In Seattle and we'll all be waiting to hear about a meeting on top of the Empire State Building at midnight where two nice people set eyes on each other for the first time...and began their Happily Ever After. All I know is that you should never give up. You should never stop looking. You should never forget who you are, or change who you are, to make someone else like you. Because out there in the universe is another person who will love you for exactly who you are and you'll be MFEO: Made For Each Other. It's crazy to think about and the older I get, the more dubious it seems. The more time passes, the more I doubt that "he" really exists for me. But I have to believe it. I have to have faith. I have to continue my search for love. I have to be patient. Michael Buble said it best: I just haven't met you yet.

Hugs and Love Songs, 


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Cinderella's New Dress

Hello Kathleen,

I am happy that you are publishing my emails. This information needs to be shared so that maybe, just maybe, it will bring about the changes that lead to a better dating world for the Nice Guys and Girls out there.

The “Manhattan meal plan” is a good way to describe it! The problem is that these women are the ones who are most likely to say yes. And for guys like me, who can be too trusting, we give these women a shot and get ourselves hurt. So it is reassuring to read your blog and find a real woman. I know that the “Manhattan Meal Plan” is tempting but don’t do it! You sound perfect just the way you are. You realize it is the person not the events that make a relationship special. To that extent a real man will want to get to know you and want to spend time with you even if it is just waiting in line at the DMV. Everyone wants to be with the right someone but few are willing to work as hard as you to find them.

After reading about your craigslist ad I decided to try my own craigslist ad and the results are in: Zero responses. Not one (besides spam!) Women have the majority of the power in the dating world. A woman, any woman, can put herself out there and get dozens of responses and a great man can do the same and get zero. I applaud you for being so open to dating and giving a wide variety of guys a chance. There is more to every person then just what the world can see on the surface so take that fist impression with a grain of salt and remember you are both in a stressful situation. Remember the You’ve Got Mail advice when looking for the man of your dreams: “He could be anyone! It could be that guy right there! And those flowers could be for you!” So give him a chance, or two.

I know you didn’t fall for the Camaro guy because he had a Camaro but it did play a part in the date. A car is part of a first impression and we all know how important the first impression is. If a guy told you he was working two part time jobs, one at McDonald and the other at Wal-mart, lives with his parents, didn’t have a car, and had very little saving and a decent amount of debt. Most women would walk away from this guy and not take any time to look deeper, to see that the reason he is in debt is because he has student loans from getting his master degree, that lives with his parent because they are older and need his help and financial support, that he used to have a good paying job but got downsized like many other in this economy and took his two current jobs to because they were the quickest jobs he cold get, he is actively looking for a better job and has a few prospects, and that he sold his car to be able to save money and have some extra spending cash to be able to treat a woman to at least Applebee’s 2 for $20, just hoping to get to know each other.

***Just a little disclaimer, the story of the man from McDonald's & Wal-mart is not about me, who I am is not important. The story is just a general collection of some of the issue peoples can face in their lives. It is a bit extreme to find a man with all these issues but many people are facing, or have faced, one or more of these issues at some point in their lives so remember to look beyond the details.***

I love the way you approach dating and life. I feel the same way, as if women don’t know what to do with us nice guys and get very guarded the nicer and more sincere we become. They think that this behavior is just the prelude to some favor that they will feel obligated to repay. They believe that a man being sincere is setting them up for something and that no man could be this nice and want nothing in return. They’re waiting for the other shoe to drop, like you are. A gentleman will never force you to do anything you don’t want to do, so if he tries it - just walk away and don’t give that jerk a second thought!

If it helps, we all worry about those little thing on a date, even men! We worry about whether we look good, are smart enough, funny enough, are being interesting without being too self centered. And nice guys worry more because they know how easy it is for a woman to find a man. They know they are one of a hundred men who would gladly take his place and might do a better job at impressing you. Both men and women need to relax on a date and be themselves and enjoy the date so when love happens it will because you were a cool confident unique individual; you were You!

Who I am doesn’t matter, I am all the nice guys in the world and I write these emails for every nice guy who is looking for that special someone and every woman hoping to find him. Maybe one day we will meet in the park and we will fall madly in love or maybe you will show me your wedding ring and tell me how lucky you are to have married your Unicorn. 

And remember that Cinderella was always Cinderella... the only thing that changed was her dress.

Rooting for you as well,

P.S. I love all your dating ideas. I just need to find the woman who gives me the chance to share these things and more with her.

P.P.S. I think ‘100 Cups of Coffee’ is a better name then ‘Kimberly Spice’s Diary’, and your story is much better and more interesting than Bridget Jones’s

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

You've Got Mail

Dear Joe, 

First of all, this is very “You’ve Got Mail” --- I half expect to hear the AOL dial up modem tones, and there should be flowers delivered to my door any minute. I've always thought daisies were the friendliest flower  :-) I can only hope we meet one day in the park to discuss classic romance further. I'll be the girl with her nose in the book, holding a rose and waiting for a man with a dog!

Secondly, I hope you're ok with me publishing your email? You're absolutely right --- people need to be reminded what real romance is, and what dating could and should be. Let me take a moment to apologize on behalf of my gender as well. I know the girls you're talking about and they're all callous bitches. They think it's ok to drag a man's heart through the mud for a few free dinners and a night on the town. They're on The Manhattan Meal Plan. If you've never heard of it, that's when you date a whole bunch of different guys on different nights so you get to experience all the delicious restaurants the city has to offer. I should probably take a tip from those girls, they do very well for themselves. But personally, I'd rather curl up with Chinese food and Netflix on the couch with a guy who's crazy about me than eat out at the snazziest restaurant in NYC with a boy I've barely got lukewarm feelings for. 

That isn't to say I don't like being treated nicely or taken out to do amazing things. I do, very much. But I've found that no matter what you're doing, it's the company you keep that's the most important. My ideal Sunday is at the farmer's market with a great guy, strolling through a sunny afternoon, then making dinner together and dancing in the kitchen while The Big Broadcast is on the radio. Does that sound unrealistically demanding? I don't think so. But there are guys who would rather pay for a meal out because they don't want to put in the effort, energy, or time required to get to know that girl. The girl who is so happy just being. I just want to BE with someone...the right someone.

I know that there are women who want the fancy dinner out on the first date. Frankly, I think it's too much pressure. Having to get that dressed up and sit across the table from you like we're on a job interview. Wondering what to wear? What can I order? Is this too expensive? Is he paying or am I? How much can I really afford? I don't want to drink too much so he doesn't think I'm a slob or a crazy drunk lady. Are we comfortable enough yet to share a dessert? Should I even order dessert? What if he thinks I'm fat? Am I pretty enough? Smart enough? Funny enough? Interesting enough? Is he looking at the other women here wishing he was with them instead? Does he think the waitress is cuter than me? Does he expect me to sleep with him right away if he pays for dinner? Do I even want to be here for him right now, or am I just won over by the lobster and champagne? Or in my case, Applebee's 2 for $20...

I didn't fall for Camaro guy because he had a Camaro. I thought he was cute and kinda funny but it turns out we had nothing in common and he was boring as hell, so I ended it. See: *Camaro* See also: *A Ride in the Batmobile* See also: *The Beginning of the End*

Same with martinis all over New York City guy. He didn't really want to get to know me. He wanted a tall blonde to take out for drinks after work so he had an excuse to go to the bar and / or was in dire need of a therapist...and possibly a sponsor! Read: *I'm Allergic to Boring*

Same with super successful real estate guy. He was not funny, treated wait staff poorly, and the thought of kissing him literally made me cringe. He had the huge house upstate I would've killed to live in, more money than I'll make in my life, but he was just abrasive and I couldn't stand to be around him. I promise you that some girl scooped him up in a heartbeat because he could afford the life she wants to live. Me? I'll take laughter and family over money and possessions any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Maybe this is why it's taken me 100+ cups to find someone I enjoy dating and want to continue spending time with? Guys don't seem to know what to do with me. I'm a conundrum. I would suggest walking the HighLine from top to bottom. You pretty much know by the end if you want to grab lunch with the guy or just push him off the bridge! I love strolling through Chelsea Market: tasting, smelling, trying new things. We don't have to spend a fortune to have a good time. The point of dating is to get to know the person you're with, not impress them with how much money you have or what you can buy for them. 

Do you want to know my favorite date of all time? It's a New York secret, so you better not tell anybody! Go to the Met on a Friday or Saturday night. First off, "suggested donation" is just that --- you can give $1, $5, $10 or whatever you want. They’re open late so even if it’s nasty weather out, you’ve got a veritable indoor playground. You then take turns showing each other your favorite parts of the museum. Bonus points if they don't have favorite parts, cause I've got half the place mapped out! There's usually live jazz or a string quartet playing in the second level plaza. The Temple of Dendur is so tranquil and quiet. The new American Wing surrounded by Tiffany glass and with original 1920's street lamps is my happy place. The Chinese Moon Garden is the most serene setting I've ever been in - you will actually forget you're in New York. And at sunset, you take the secret elevator to the 4th floor for rooftop martinis over Manhattan. It's the best view of the city and you can just sit and enjoy each other's company with a classic cocktail. 

Maybe it's cheesy? Maybe I am inherently flawed and I've been dating all wrong this whole time? To me, the perfect man wants to explore Central Park and the most expensive thing we buy all day is a hot pretzel. Sorry, clearly I'm obsessed with food --- but the kind you share while sitting on a park bench though, the kind you can walk and eat. When was the last time you sat next to a girl licking an ice cream cone and didn't want to smile? The sound of her laughter echoing off the skyscrapers. Her face bright from the afternoon sun. That's the kind of romance I'm talking about. The kind you create memories around. The kind that lasts throughout the ages. Ten years from now, I won't be able to tell you what restaurant some guy took me to, but I will be able to tell you exactly how he made me feel on a date. Just like you, all I want to feel is special. 

I don't even know if you live in New York. You could be in Seattle for all I know, so these dates may not apply to you at all but I'm sure you can come up with something equally awesome wherever you are. I guess I'm just hoping that you have a little bit of faith that not all women are shallow, gold digging, materialistic bitches. Some of us want the simplest things in life. Some of us just want to be appreciated, noticed, cared for, protected and loved. 

To be honest, I would've liked Camaro guy better with a pick up truck. Maybe then he'd be into country music and treat me with respect. That's probably an over generalization, I just find that cowboys are a bit kinder than urban men. I'm jaded from too many years of drunk assholes in bars and online dating profiles being 100% bullshit. I'm starting to think there are no real men left in the world. Perhaps that's why the girls you speak of have their guards up? We've been hurt so many times before, it is damn near impossible to imagine it won't happen again. 

There are so few stories about single girls in their 30's meeting the man of their dreams and living their happily ever afters. I used to watch Sex & the City thinking that I loved it for it's writing. Now I know that I love it for its brutal honesty about relationships. Being single at this age isn't the death sentence it once was, but it sure feels lonely. That's why I have 80,000+ readers. They relate to me. My story is their story. They get it. They're living it. And God help them, they're counting on me to be the one that makes it work, the one who sees it through. They're counting on my Cinderella transformation to find love despite all odds. I don't have the heart to tell them that I'm scared. That I don't have all the answers. That I don't know how this story ends. I just know that I'm not a quitter and I will never, ever give up until I've found precisely what I'm looking for. Someone who sees me, knows me, loves and accepts me... exactly as I am. 

Clearly, I also watch too much Bridget Jones' Diary. They should just rename it Kimberly Spice's Diary. Same sad story. Fewer fake British accents. Not nearly enough Colin Firth.

Rooting for you, 

Kimberly / Kathleen / ShopGirl423

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Just the Way You Are

Hello Kimberly,

I was kind of surprised to see my email featured on you blog as I thought it was lost forever. It’s kind of ironic that it ended up in the spam folder because sometimes that is how I feel when I venture into the dating scene; that I am pushed into the dating spam folder just waiting to be discovered. I want to thank you for rescuing it and am glad you are sharing it with others in the hopes that they can find their Unicorn.

I figured your blog was mostly geared towards women but being a romantic myself, I found it a good source of things to try and things to avoid. If more men read your blog, you wouldn’t have needed 100+ cups to find the right one. I have actually read most of your blogs since I wrote you last, some I couldn’t help but laugh and other almost made me cry at how you were treated. Now I know that no one is perfect and that we all make mistakes, but I would like to apologize on behalf of my gender, for the behavior of some of our members.

First let me say that most guys out there don’t expect women to be a virgin or a whore. A real man expects you to be you: flaws and imperfection in all. The most impressive thing to us is a smart, confident, independent woman who understands who she is and appreciates the people in her life for who they are.

Now I know price charming is a relative term and I didn’t mean to imply the Disney definition of “Prince Charming” but you are right in that women want to be treated with respect, shown loyalty, and reassured that chivalry isn’t dead. A real man wants to be appreciated for his chivalry, planning and thoughtfulness. I myself have been in many situations where I feel I am being taken advantage of. I have encountered women whose expectations are more than a normal guy can handle. They are not satisfied with the $4 gelato date and want the fancy dinner to make them feel that I care. These women, I dare say, have been imbued with a false sense of what true romance is.  Romance in my opinion is similar to what you describe, it is the little things, the loving glance you exchange, the small gestures of appreciation, the things you do without a second thought to make each other’s lives easier and remembering when to put the trash out without being told. *Reference to 2010 blog entry: Warped Romance!*

I want what you want out of a relationship. We should be able to treat it like we did when we were back in grade school when it was “do you like me? Check yes or no” and that was that.

Surprisingly, men are also used, lied to, disrespected, talked down to, and embarrassed on dates. Now being a nice guy I try to look for the good in people and tend to trust too soon. I have had women play with my emotions to manipulate me into fancy dinner or special events after which their interest fades until the next chance for some other extravagant event. I have also had women agree to a date just to go out and have something to do. Now I know this is not the norm out there but it is disheartening for someone like me.

Sadly, we are visually based and becoming more materialistic in the way we measure success. Women may say that the way a man looks, the car he drives, the amount of money in his bank account or where he lives doesn’t matter but it does. Height, weight, job, income, and materialistic item can have a drastic effect on a man’s chances --- even you were taken by an new Camaro. The man may be the nicest sweetest guy in the world but can’t even get a hello returned if his appearance and personal belongings don’t measure up. I know I am not Brad Pitt but I’m certainly not ugly. I have been rejected more times than I care to count before I can get out anything other than hello. Something about me prevents women from taking the chance and getting to know me. Maybe my appearance and the respectful way I approach women don’t mesh with society but I don’t want to change. I will wait for that one woman who see me, the real me, the me that matters and falls madly in love with that man. I know a real relationship is a lot of work but when you are with the right person it will never feel like ‘work.’

Just a little advice before I sign off for the night: To be “the right partner” you just have to be You! It is up to him to think that you the right partner just the way you are and vice versa. And don’t worry about the other shoe dropping --- what will happen will happen --- worrying only clouds your mind, holds you back and prevents you from fully enjoying every moment of the relationship and life! 


P.S. Please keep writing and working towards the Happiness you deserve, and promise me you won’t settle for less?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Charming Or Otherwise

Dear Mysterious Reader,

First of all, Thank You for your passionate and insightful view of my blog. It's always interesting to read comments, or hear what people say about my writing, but I'd dare to wager that 95% of those reading and / or commenting are of the female persuasion. You can understand why these stories are geared towards them? That being said, I value a man's take on dating and would love to hear more feedback! What else have you read from my blog? What (if anything) have you learned about us curious creatures? What advice can you offer me from a guy's perspective? I'm infinitely interested in how the male mind works, as I'm starting to think that we women have been getting it wrong all these years. 

In exchange, I come bearing a bit of insider trading. Are you ready? We don't expect you all to be Prince Charming. Not on the first date, or any date thereafter. What we do expect is that you treat us with respect, honesty, loyalty, faithfulness and a fair amount of chivalry. You would be shocked by the amount of men for whom those qualities are asking too much. I can of course only speak for myself here, but I've been lied to, insulted, disrespected, talked down to, sexually harassed and embarrassed...all on a first date. 

Guys expect us to be one of two things: A virgin or a whore. If we are "good girls" they think they can get away with murder. They can introduce us to their mothers, take us to their work parties, let us bake cookies for them, meanwhile they're screwing around behind our backs. If we're "bad girls" then they'll use us for sex and forget our names before the next date, if there ever is one. Guys want us to sleep with them in five minutes or less, then judge us when we do and drop us like a hot potato. If we don't sleep with them right off the bat, we're uptight or old fashioned or too demanding and they leave anyway. Damned if we do. Damned if we don't. What's a girl supposed to do? 

When I say I'm looking for a Prince (Charming or otherwise) I mean a guy who will take the time to talk to me, to get to know me, to ask me out on a real date. It doesn't have to be fancy. We can meet for coffee or dinner or go play SkeeBall at Dave & Buster's. I don't care if we grab gelato and go for a walk on the fact, that sounds kinda perfect. The point is, a gentleman would CALL me to ask for said date. He might even make an effort to pay for it. Again, I don't mean Daniel Boulud's restaurant followed by a Broadway show --- I'm talking about going to Rita's for a $4 Italian ice, or to Starbucks for a cup of chai! I'm a big girl and I can take care of myself. This is not a gold digging mission by any means. It's just nice when a guy shows that he *wants* to provide for me in some small way, even if it's a silly game of mini golf. 

Perhaps this is where men and women differ? Our expectations are lower than you'd presume. I honestly couldn't tell you the last time I met someone for dinner on a first date. Actually, considering all 100 Cups of Coffee, I'm not sure that I EVER have. That's ok with me, especially if it's someone I met online or am just getting to know. Why do guys think that we are asking for the moon or a marriage proposal after an hour? We aren't, I promise you. What we are asking for is that you listen to our stories, that you laugh when we make a joke, that you find something interesting to talk to us about. Also, we're not a deck of cards, so please don't try to play us. We're not stupid. If you're dating other people or heaven help you - married - we *will* find out about it and we will be pissed off. We will be hurt and angry when you lie to us about your car / job / living situation because you think we need you to drive something flashier, make more money, or have a bigger apartment than we do. We don't judge you for those outside things that make up your life. If we like you, it's for who you are as a person, not for anything you own. 

I want someone who makes me laugh, someone who holds my hand when we're walking, someone who opens a door for me. I want someone who treats me with kindness and patience and gentleness, and appreciates that I do the same for him. I want someone who remembers the little things about me like that I am allergic to peppers and I love country music. I want someone who finds me irresistible, who cannot stop kissing me, who is affectionate and sweet and makes me feel beautiful. You don't need to serenade me but it's refreshing and reassuring to get a compliment. Notice the little touches --- a pretty necklace or a pair of heels or that little dab of fragrance behind my ear. You wanna know the difference between a regular guy and Prince Charming? A regular guy will say "You look nice tonight." Prince Charming will hold my hand, kiss my cheek, and whisper into my ear "You look beautiful." It's about effort. It's about making me feel special, important, gorgeous. That small extra step ensures that I know he's with me. I feel comfortable and confident that the man I'm with is mine. He made me feel like the most incredible woman in the room and in return, I will bend over backwards doing anything I can to make him equally happy. 

That wasn't learned in a Hollywood film or Disney movie. That was learned from real life dating. A few extra seconds hugging hello. Looking in my eyes when we're talking and not at my chest or at the ground or out the window. Connecting with me, listening to me, really seeing if you and I have something together --- that's what makes a man Charming. He doesn't need to sweep in on a white horse and slay a dragon to win my heart. All he has to do is ask for it honestly and I'm already halfway won over. 

The guy I'm dating now doesn't have the fanciest car. He doesn't have the largest apartment or the cushiest bank account or a royal family. He's flawed and nerdy and sarcastic. He's super into SciFi and video games and he's incredibly tall. I have no idea if we'll work out or not but I do know that he's crazy about me. He never looks at his phone when we're on a date because I am the person he wants to focus on and everyone else can wait. He kisses me and I know he means it. We talk and I trust that he's really listening. He remembers that I hate red roses and adore Frank Sinatra. He treats me like a princess and I could cry, I'm so happy. I don't know how I got lucky enough to meet someone as generous and considerate as he is to me and yes I am TERRIFIED that the other shoe is going to drop any moment and this castle we are building will come crashing down on my head. I'm not looking for the fairy tale but I do want my happily ever after. I'm willing to wait for it. I'm willing to work for it. I'm willing to do whatever it takes to find the right partner, and more importantly, to be the right partner. Because in the end, love is always worth whatever battles you have to fight to get there. Always.

Yours Very Truly, 


Thursday, March 14, 2013

A Man, A Fan, A Plan

REWARD: If anyone knows the true identity of the fan who wrote this email, please contact me. I want to meet him :-)

Hello Kimberly,

I recently came across your blog and can relate. It’s not easy for men out there either and it may even be harder because whether we like it or not, and whether you admit it or not, women have most of the power in the dating world. It is very rare that men get to see things from a real woman’s perspective and I would like to say thank you.

The reason I am writing is that I happened to be reading your entries “Two by Two” and “The Unicorn Theory” and would like to help you clarify a ‘Unicorn'.

First of all Unicorns didn’t miss the ark, they arrived on time all ready to go but they were faced with a problem, Noah didn’t believe they were real. When the Unicorns got to the ramp to board Noah look at them and said “we already have horses and only have room for two of each animal”. The unicorns tried to explain who they were but it was no use, Noah refused them entry, and the rest is history.

As for unicorns in dating you touched on many factors that affect them. The fact that we may be perceived as gay, and that when you do find us you don’t believe what you’ve found is real, are both unfortunately true. We also have to deal with the ideas of what you ladies think defines the perfect man which, in many cases, are unrealistic archetypes based on the handful of Hollywood and Disney love stories out their when they should be based on the billions of real love stories in the world. We are kind, caring, mature individuals who know the value of, and respect, the people in our lives. We live lives that have meaning to us, we are happy with who we are, comfortable being single and know what we are looking for and are willing to wait to find it.

We also may not be actively looking or as actively looking as most of the single people out there. We are not the type, for example, to send out dozens of emails on dating sites. We are one woman guys that look for specific, uniquely special, women and send out emails only to those lucky few. We believe that women deserve respect and we choose not to spread ourselves thin so we can give that special women all the attention they deserve.

When we do find someone we can also have trouble expressing our true feelings, beyond the level of friends, because we don’t want to lose our friends or get rejected. Yes ladies men are afraid of rejection as well, especially unicorns, because when a unicorn approaches you his feeling are genuine and meaningful, he wants to show you how truly special he knows you are, and it hurts when he is rejected. Unicorns have also been rejected and overlooked many times because, as you said people don’t know how to deal with us, we are considered nice guys, and the phrase “nice guys finish last” wasn’t just created out of thin air. I know there is a need for caution out there but all I can say is don’t be too skeptical.

When looking for a unicorn, you first have to strip away all the nonessentials and get down to the man. And when I say non essential, I mean anything that can change in a heart beat, such as the car he drives, the clothes he wears, how much money he makes, where he lives, what he does for a living, etc. because, as we have seen in recent times, all this can change very quickly. The guy you fell in love with because he had a good job, his own place and a new Camaro, could lose all of that, through no fault of his own, and end up unemployed, living at home, driving a his parents car and if those were the thing you based your relationship on then you never really had one to begin with. You need to look at the man above all else and listen to what he is really saying, and that also means paying attention to his action which we know speak louder than words. This does not mean sitting there picking apart everything he says and does while you wait for the other shoe to drop. It means being there in the moment, enjoying your time together, and working make the date enjoyable for both of you because as soon as you do that you will both have a better understanding of the person you are with. Now this is not a one and done thing, these observation need to be done over time because, lets face it, on a first date women want Prince Charming and we want to get through it without making fools of ourselves, the whole time wondering how we got so lucky. Over time the true colors of any guy will become apparent, the guy who says all the right thing at first might turn out the be a lying jerk and they guy who is nervous and a little shy at first may eventually open up and be your Prince Charming. There is a reason we have the story of The Frog Prince, and it’s not to illustrate the point that “you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince”, it’s to illustrate that a prince can came in all form, you just have to look deeper to find them. And remember ladies that all men (and woman) have faults and idiosyncrasies but perfection is in the eye of the beholder.

You tell your readers to go out and look for their own unicorns but most ladies have no idea how. So to help I would like to share a story that has been circulating on line:

“A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that 1,100 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by, and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace, and stopped for a few seconds, and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping, and continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally, the mother pushed hard, and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money, but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the most talented musicians in the world. He had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and priorities of people.

The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?”

This story highlights a major problem that affects all aspects of our lives including dating. We move too fast in our daily lives to appreciate all the beautiful things and, in many cases, people around us. Remember it takes time to get to know someone and truly see them for who they are, but first you have to see them. Approximately 1100 people walked passed Joshua and only a small fraction of them showed any noticeable interest in him while the majority probably didn’t even notice. So I want you to ask yourselves those questions at the end of the story as they apply to your entire life, including dating.

I hope this small bit of insight from the other side has given you a better understand of unicorns. Many of you ladies have learned to spot an Ass from a mile a way, now hopefully with this information you can apply that same eye to spotting a Unicorn.

I wish you and all your readers luck in their dating endeavors.

A Fan

P.S. On a more personal note Kimberly, I hope you have now found your unicorn, because from what I can tell you are uniquely special and deserve nothing less.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Desolate Places

Now that you’ve seen a fraction of the LOTR emails that went straight into the “Oh, hell no!” folder, I thought I’d share with you some of the quite promising conversations I had with nerds / potential dates. 

*Please note: For the sake of trying to meet someone genuine and real, the usual bitter, jaded, snarky, mocking tone of Kimberly has been put on hold. Chris is an honest to goodness great guy. Read all the way to the end to find out why I did not choose to date him.*

Good evening,

Are you still looking?  I am available and have the LOTR trilogy on DVD. I am not really a nerd. I am pretty athletic, love sports and all types of movies. But also really into sci-fi and fantasy as well. I consider myself to be interesting, intelligent and very open-minded. I am a witty, fun and outgoing man. Often flirty. I am educated, professional, experienced and well read. I have many, many passions and would love to know more about you!

Sincerely, Chris

Hi Chris! 

Yes I am still looking so thanks for replying to my quirky LOTR ad :-)

I think everyone is a nerd in their own way (present company included). I am a total bookworm, I watch Glee, and I bake some pretty awesome cookies. Also, I can talk baseball and love pin up not a total chick lol. 

So you say you have many passions. What are three things you're most passionate about? 

Xo, Kimberly

Hey Kimberly,

I am also a bookworm and love to cook. Maybe we can bake something as we catch up on those movies?  Baseball is cool and I also love photography. 

Passions: Family. Travel. Experiencing life. How about you?  Passions?  What else do you like to do for fun?  Interesting hobbies? 

I was in the active army for over 10 years. I have been off active duty now for almost 5. It was a fun time, but sandy desolate places started getting to me. 

Also, did I tell you yet that I have also interned at a museum while in college?  What else about me would you like to know?  History major, intern at a museum, army veteran... :)

Hope to talk to you soon! Chris


I have to tell you, the word "veteran" both impresses and scares me. I guess I always think of Veterans as people like my grandfather who served in a war before my lifetime. Not guys who are my age and onto another career after their service is up. I know not everyone makes a life out of the military and I'm so glad you found meaningful work that makes you happy. It feels silly to say thank you for serving, but I sure am grateful you're back safe from those sandy, desolate places :-) 

Also, I'm not sure I asked how old you are! 15 years sounds like a lot of time, but holy heavens - that's how long ago I graduated high school so we could very well be the same age! Excuse me. Moment of feeling old. Lol

I was an English major. Then a theatre major. Then a writing major. Then an education major. Somehow ended up with a couple of minors in humanities, languages, arts and psychology. Ahhh school. If only I could've made a career out of it! I’m currently pursuing my dreams of being a writer while running my own business (to pay back all those student loans!)

Talk soon, Kimberly

Hi Kimberly, 

I know what you mean. My father fought in Vietnam and is highly decorated. When I think of a veteran, he is what I imagine. However, I have seen some action as well. Sometimes it is hard to look in a mirror and put myself in a similar category. Few in our generation experienced the level of combat he saw; maybe 100,000 in a nation of what - 275 million?  A lot of us have some fraction of that; but these wars have not been the same as Vietnam, Korea or WWII. 

I am 38 - I joined the army when I was 20. Am I too old for you?  Lol

What else would I like to know?  Ever been married?  Engaged?  Have kids?  Want kids?

Xoxo, Chris

Hi Chris, 

To ease your fears - no, 38 is not too old. I'm turning 32 soon so it's not a tremendous jump. As long as you've got a good head on your shoulders, a good heart in your chest, and you don't qualify for AARP, we should be fine :-)

Yes I have been married (and engaged) but we separated in 2007 and divorced in 2009. Together for 8 years total, I got married before I was legally able to drink at my own wedding. He's since remarried and has a baby. They live on the other side of the world and seem happy. I would very much like to be married again, and yes I am 90% certain that I want kids --- BUT that being said, I would never get married again if I thought for the smallest fraction of a second that I would ever be divorced. I wouldn't wish divorce on anyone. It's heart breaking, and even though our split was fairly amicable, no break up is without what I refer to as the casualties of war. Hence going forward, I am far more cautious about who I date and if there is long term potential there. Sure, it's fun to go to the movies or out to dinner or to the museum, but I really want to get to know someone on every level to see if we're right for each other. I think it's important to invest time and energy in another person before choosing to spend your life with them. I rushed into it last time, a mistake I don't intend to repeat.

I hope that wasn't too forward or personal, but since you asked, it's only fair to tell you. I'm quite happy with my life. I have the best family and friends and job a girl could ask for. I've got awesome hobbies and interests and take trips and my world is really quite full. It would just be even more amazing if I had one special person to share all that stuff with. Too cheesy???

Xo, Kimberly

Hi Kimberly, 

Thank you for sharing about your relationship and marriage. No, you were not too forward or personal. Being happy with who you are and what you do is by far the most important thing. Also, not too cheesy at all. It is impressive. To be in a position in life where you are (happy, confident, content) is an enviable position to be in. A lot of people are not so lucky. 

I am hesitant to relate my relationship history. I definitely can attest to the heart breaking nature of divorce. The truth, well, is what it is. I will start by saying, when I am done, I will understand, whatever your reaction. 

Well, here it goes. I, like you, married far, far too young. Right out of college to a woman I thought was "the one". I graduated from college and went on active duty with the army. Life was difficult. I found I had married a good friend, not my soul mate. We were young and naive. We unexpectedly had our first daughter and shortly thereafter our marriage started to unravel. We tried to salvage things and a second daughter resulted. Things rather quickly went down hill and we separated in 2002 and divorced in 2004.  In 2004 I met another woman and in 2006 married again. Things were good for awhile, but repeated trips here, there and abroad with the army irreparably damaged that marriage. We have been separated for two years and are in the process of finalizing that divorce. We are amicable and ending things mutually. I can certainly attest to the pain and hurt that comes along with a divorce. Twice over. 

About 1/2 of my second marriage I was deployed. I am not in that position anymore. I really loved being married and being loved. I am 90% sure I would like to get married again. I think, being in the place I am in now, that a marriage would work. 

I look forward to hearing back from you, Chris


Thanks for sharing your story with me. I know it can't have been easy for you, but you might be right. That's a lot to take in. I think that one divorce is hard. Two is unimaginably heartbreaking. And with kids? That's awful. I'm sorry things didn't work out for you in either relationship but I know myself well enough to know that that yours is not a situation I want to put myself in the middle of. I don't deal well with ex'es, or family drama, or other people's children. My last boyfriend had a daughter I fell madly in love with, and when we broke up, I lost both of them (honestly, I miss her more!) I promised myself I wouldn't date anyone else with kids going forward. If I have them, I want them to be mine / ours and knowing that you're already a daddy to two little girls is incredibly sweet, but it's not something I can handle right now ;-( 

I'm so sorry. I like you and I don't want you to feel like I'm judging in any way. I'm not. Army life is a special breed of difficult and I commend you for coming out of it and wanting to start fresh. You deserve only good things.

Hugs and best wishes, Kimberly

Dear Kimberly, 

Thank you for your email and honesty. I would have truly enjoyed getting to know you. It seems as of we are kindred souls. However, I understand where you are at and you have to set a boundary. 

I ask you to remember this: Over the last ten years, approximately 100,000 Soldiers received wounds in combat; lost limbs, wounded in action, traumatic brain injury. But they are just the tip on the iceberg. Five times as many Soldiers, Sailors, airmen and marines who, after dedicating their lives to their country on multiple combat tours overseas, returned home to hopelessly broken marriages, damaged relationships with their kids and other serious emotional issues. In 2012, suicides in the army were twice that of combat losses. Many are attributing that to these issues. While in the military, we joked that many of us were in the 85% club; roughly 85% of us had been divorced at least once.  I just ask that, as you interface with people and families and you encounter the family of a veteran, you remember that. 

Life isn't easy. In many ways, us 85% are casualties like those 100,000. But our scars are invisible and often overlooked. I am lucky. I have identified and treated my wounds. I am in a totally healthy place for the first time since 2001. So many are not so fortunate. 

I will get off my soap box. I truly wish you the best. 

Sincerely, Chris

Dear Readers, 

This blog, at its finest, has always been honest, heartfelt, and humorous. The single girl's search for love is often funny and undeniably real. In this case, there are no jokes to be made at Chris's situation. His circumstances are the result of bravely choosing to serve his country, sadly at the expense of his personal life. I could not in good conscience put myself in the middle of yet another unresolved marriage, another ongoing divorce, another person's children. I know myself well enough to know that one ex-wife is a lot to handle, but two? That's beyond my capabilities right now. This is not a judgement. This is a personal choice. Chris is a great guy who I was lucky enough to get to know (through an additional 30+ emails not shared here.) I respect him for putting himself out there, and I appreciate that no matter how hard my dating life gets or has been, it pales in comparison to the men and women who have faced broken marriages and families for their selfless sacrifice. 

This blog is dedicated to the veterans and active members of the US Armed Forces and their families, with my love, sympathy, and sincerest gratitude.

Kimberly Spice