Sunday, June 30, 2013


I've dated a lot of losers.

This is not a judgement against myself. It's a simple fact that you wonderful readers are intimately privy to. I have gone out with 99 losers, rejects, weirdos, geeks, throwbacks, and small fish. Jason is #100 but so far, in my book, he's #1.

I spend the three days after our Hobbit date thinking about him. Replaying the night over and over in my head. Wondering if it was real, or if I imagined how amazing he really was. I am pretty sure he put some sort of spell on me, like in Love Potion #9! How on Earth did I go from "Please don't let that be him!" to "Please don't let go?" Everybody says "It happens when you aren't looking" and maybe, just maybe, they're right. 

Jason asks for a second date, this one slightly more sophisticated than our movie night. He wants to take me to dinner and he's happy to plan the whole thing. What night works better for me, Friday or Saturday? (Friday.) What time works better for me, 7 or 8 pm? (8:00) What cuisine do I prefer, French or seafood? (Seafood.) He writes back that he's made dinner reservations for Friday night at 8 pm at an upscale restaurant / swanky bar and I should wear a dress that makes me feel beautiful. He texts me the address and a smiley face with a note that says "Can't wait to see you again. You've been on my mind all week."

Swoon. Serious swoon.

I'm so used to guys taking me to Applebee's 2 for $20 that I don't entirely know what to do with myself! Real reservations at a super trendy restaurant? An actual meal with an actual man who actually likes me? Friday night can't come fast enough and I know exactly which dress I'll be wearing. It's a slinky deep purple that shows off my curves in all the right places. It's not something I've had the confidence to wear out before, but with a pair of little black patent leather heels, I feel more womanly than I do wearing anything else in my suburban closet. I blow out my shoulder length blonde hair, treat myself to a manicure in a subtle shade of nude, shave my legs, and spritz my favorite Victoria's Secret perfume on all the places a woman would want to be kissed, just like Elizabeth Taylor advised. I look stunning and I'm pretty darn proud of myself. 

Please understand that this is not me being cocky. This is me making an effort. This is a huge change from the normal, everyday Kim who feels a tad Ugly Duckling on most days. Getting teased as a kid really beat my ego to a pulp, and I haven't completely recovered. I have been told that I tend to dress like a Soccer Mom, which isn't entirely inaccurate for my regular, everyday life. I look fabulous for trips into Manhattan, and I am always super cute for nights out with the girls, but there's just something special about wearing extra sparkly jewelry for a date with a man who is treating me to lobster and prosecco. He made me feel gorgeous when I wore a sweater and jeans on our first date, he deserves to see me in a sexy dress on our second. 

I cannot for the life of me recall the details of this incredible Friday evening. I wish I could tell you all the sweet things he said, the meals we ordered, the topics of conversation. All I recall is holding Jason moving the napkins, silverware, glassware, candle, flowers, salt & pepper shakers etc so that we could hold hands across the table. I'm not sure we talked about anything at all. We may have just stared into each other's eyes for three whole hours. 

Perhaps that's a slight exaggeration, but that's truly what it felt like. The entire meal flew by, and yet took forever. We talked about everything, and yet talked about nothing. We flirted blatantly, yet there were subtle nuances and innuendos. We were just getting to know each other, yet it felt like we'd already been together for months. Jason was a perfect gentleman, yet made it completely clear how much he appreciated my curves in that purple dress. It was an unforgettable night, yet I can't remember a thing about it.

I think that's how you know the date went well. Hunger is replaced with satisfaction.  Memories are replaced with feelings. Fear is replaced with excitement. Loneliness is replaced with comfort. The emptiness in your heart is replaced with the other person's name. 

For me, his name is Jason. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Power Play

After two dates of sitting across from or next to each other, I wanted a fun and active third date with Jason. I pulled the Ace card from my playing deck. I invited him to Dave & Buster's.

If you don't have a Dave & Buster's by you, imagine if you will your favorite childhood arcade, complete with games and prizes. Now add alcohol. Got the picture? I challenged Jason to my favorite game of all time: Skee Ball!

When I was growing up, we had Nunley's Amusement Park, which if you're not from Long Island, you would never have heard of. It is famous in approximately a 10 mile radius, and utterly unknown by the rest of the inhabitants on Earth. That didn't matter to us south shore kids though. We loved that Ferris Wheel, carousel, hand cars, motor boats, and teeny tiny roller coaster with all our hearts. I waited in line at the carousel longer than any other child so that I could ride the only pony with roses on her mane. It drove my mother crazy, but it was my favorite horse of all time and I was a precocious and stubborn eight year old. (Sorry mom!) She plied me with dimes while we waited for that carousel to come around and around and I spent all ten cents on the old wooden skee ball games. My father taught me to play when I was quite small and I caught the skee ball bug for life. Taking Jason to Dave & Buster's wasn't just about a fun night out at the arcade, drinking crazy cocktails and winning awesome prizes. I wanted to share a piece of my childhood with him. I wanted him to see the real me. The me I don't talk about often. The me I usually hide.

There's a dark and scary part of my childhood that I don't share with everyone, but I'm hoping that some of you readers can relate. I was bullied as a kid. I don't mean little boys pulled my pigtails on the playground kind of picked on. I mean the kind of bullying that stays with a person long after she graduates elementary school. The kind of bullying that makes a kid switch middle schools three times. The kind of bullying that ultimately makes a weak child into a stronger adult, but scars her heart forever. I was the nerdy girl with her nose in a book all the time (strike 1), clutzy and unathletic (strike 2), and expressed my feelings openly and honestly all the time, however inappropriate the time, place or audience might be (strike 3). I also never developed the "thick skin" other kids seemed innately born with and was wholly incapable of teasing back. When I got teased, I cried, I told the teacher, and I ran home to my mom. I consoled myself by spending even more time buried deep in my books, far away from the ball fields where I got chosen last for every team, away from the Valentine's Day CandyGrams that were never delivered to my desk, away from the popular girls and the birthday party invitations that never got sent to my home. I was the sweetest, most well behaved child you'd ever meet. It didn't work out well for me at the time.

But those Sundays at Nunley's, riding the carousel with my mom, playing skee ball with my dad, bumping my brother off the track on those little hand cars, those were my sanity. I have such great memories of amusement parks as my escape from the drudgery of being a kid who didn't fit in, who didn't do what all the other kids were doing. Amusement parks were the only place that made me feel normal.

Taking Jason to Dave & Buster's made us feel like a normal couple. The smile on his face as I absolutely whooped him in skee ball was priceless. We played racing games, trivia games, dance games. He is a good sport, up for anything, both a gracious winner and a gracious loser. I am less a gracious winner with a tendency to strut around flaunting my win in my opponent's face (sorry again!) I am far less a gracious loser with a tendency to pout. This is not a metaphor. I will cross my arms, stick out my bottom lip, and on occasion, stomp my right foot with sheer indignation over losing. Jason took me and my ridiculousness in long stride, wrapping one giant arm around my waist and kissing that pouty bottom lip every time I lost. He kisses were my consolation prize, but it felt more like winning to me.

We spent the night racking up points on our Dave & Buster's Power Play card, having more fun than any other date I can recall in recent history. Jason did something so incredibly special for me on that silly third date: He liked me with an unabashed passion, laughed with me with wild abandon, and played with me with a friendly, flirty energy I couldn't get enough of. Jason is a grown man with childlike enthusiasm, his heart open to the magic of infinite possibilities, dreaming of a life together, ready for a world full of love. And I am right there with him.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Suit and Sneakers

There's something so seductive about a man in a suit jacket. Jason rocks a suit jacket with jeans and sneakers like nobody else I've seen. It's simply his style to blend casual and formal in the same outfit, with a cheeky bucking of traditional loafers for his lace up kicks. His clothing reflects his personality: professional grown up businessman meets rebellious teenager who never quite outgrew his disdain for authority. If you asked him, Jason would describe "what normal people do" and quickly follow that up with "and that's why I don't want to be normal."

His penchant for the slightly odd is one of the things that draws me nearest to him. I like a man who is just a little weird, and I'm a little weird, and we are totally happy being a little weird together.

Our quirkiness does not preclude us from going out to fancy restaurants and ordering off the adult menu, as happened on our fourth date. Jason took me to a boutique French bistro where he ordered red wine and mussels. I had chardonnay and french onion soup. We shared pistachio crusted sea scallops and black truffle mac n cheese. The meal was superb but for most of it, we were grateful for the breaks between courses where we could hold hands across the table and simply get lost in another amazing evening together.

Between the wine and candlelight and music playing, the atmosphere was perfect for romance. The elegance of my cranberry wrap dress was not lost on him either. Jason didn't take his eyes off me throughout the evening, which I take as a very good sign. So many dates I've been on, the guy is looking around at the waitstaff, the other patrons, or heaven help me, the big screen television playing his favorite sport at the bar behind my head. Jason is a fully focused, absolutely attentive, gentleman of a date. We closed the restaurant down as the last patrons in the place but I would've stayed longer if I could have. I was beginning to get the feeling that I was an incredibly lucky girl to be sitting across from such a sweet, suave, sincere man at dinner.

As he had on our previous dates, Jason walked me to my car door but held it open for a moment longer than it took me to get in. While I turned on the ignition to let it warm up, he grabbed me around the waist, spun me back around, and kissed me with such intensity that I lost my footing for a second. My knees went weak as I lost myself in that kiss, pressed between my freezing cold car, and his huge, warm body. Jason towers over me, making me feel like a tiny little person, a sensation I am by no means used to. He also makes me feel like the most sensual, beautiful, sexy girl in the whole world. His kiss is at once romantic yet respectful. He wants me. I can feel how badly he wants me. But he wants me on my terms, in my own time. He says good night and I slide into the driver's seat, still unsteady and unsure. My head is spinning like Alice as she fell down the rabbit hole, not knowing which way was up. He asks me to text him when I get home safely and watches me pull out of the parking lot, like he's done on all our dates before. Jason cares about me. He wants to protect me. He is quickly stealing my heart and I only hope he returns it in one piece.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Like a Rocket

Everybody picks out home furnishings with their potential life partner on the fifth date, right?

No? Just me then.

Jason and I were alternating date planning. I took the odds, he took the evens. Actually, reading that sentence back makes a whole lot of sense now. All the dates I planned for us were fairly odd, whereas his were nice and even. He would take me for dinner at some fabulous restaurant where I would dress up and we would drink imported wine and eat to our heart's content. I took him to a magical movie, an indoor arcade, and now to Ikea.

Long before (500) Days of Summer made the date idea popular, I have been taking guys to Ikea for pseudo shopping and Swedish meatballs. The reasoning behind it is simple. I have learned from marriage that figuring out whether your ideals about politics, religion, family and sex match up pales in comparison to whether or not you want to murder each other on a trip to a big box store. If you can put together the assemble-at-home furniture with instructions in a foreign language without one of you ending up with a screwdriver through the eye socket, you're well on your way to a long lasting relationship.

Also, by the fifth date, I have already tried his last name on for size (it fits), pictured what our future children would look like (tall and nerdy, but completely adorable) so the next logical step is choosing curtains and couches. Got to make sure our styles mesh. Well, to be more accurate, I need to make sure he can live with my cozy country chic / Hamptons beach decor preferences.

He can't. Dilemma.

I love white walls, exposed wood, and granite countertops. I need a big kitchen, plush pillows, and tons of natural light in every room. Jason chooses man cave everything! His concept of a big screen tv is my concept of a giant movie screen! He wants a sofa he can sprawl out and sleep on, which would take over any normal sized room as he is an incredibly tall and stocky farm boy from Kansas. He despises well lit areas and prefers a small lamp or some candles, if any light at all. He literally tapes his blinds and curtains shut to darken his entire apartment. How will we ever live together???

These are the sorts of issues that a couple discovers when visiting Ikea together for the first time. Each section you walk through together sparks a piece of conversation you might not have thought to have otherwise. We find ourselves discussing dinner parties, entertainment units, bedtime rituals, and bathroom habits. (Nothing dirty, don't worry!) I believe that the double sink is better than a marriage counselor when it comes to personal pampering. I refuse to have a tv in the bedroom, believing that space is sacred for sleeping and sex, nothing more. At least we can agree that the toilet paper goes over, and not under. No topic is off limits. As a girl whose divorce boiled down to "he squeezed the toothpaste from the middle and I squeeze it from the bottom," I understand that people are people and they're unlikely to change after 38 years of forming these habits. The best you can do is go into a situation with your eyes open, knowing as much as you can about the other person before deciding to share your space with them for any prolonged period of time.

My mother once advised me, "Life is a long sentence. Choose your cell mate wisely."

Besides the mundane day-to-day conversations Ikea sparks, it's also incredibly entertaining to poke fun at some of the blatant decor disasters they have on display. So many times one or both of us would exclaim, "Holy crap! Who would own that?" and we would make up stories about the sorts of people who would purchase something so hideous for their home. On more than one occasion, a couple or family would walk by, choose the exact item we were laughing at, and buy it. We were in absolute stitches together, collapsing on the nearest couch or office chair or dining room set to catch our breaths. Jason grabbed me and kissed me in the bedroom display section, pulling me down onto the bed and tickling me, causing me to giggle and cry out with glee. I shrieked that I couldn't believe he got me into bed by the fifth date, which made him smile that sly, knowing smile he gets around me when he's being adorably sneaky. We found that we both naturally gravitated towards "our side" of the bed. He tried to fight me for "the good side" by the night table, claiming that everyone loves the right side of the bed. I protested that I prefer to sleep on my right side and if he sleeps on the left, he can snuggle me from behind. Jason could not argue with my logic and assured me he was a world class snuggler. Every fiber of my being wanted for that bed to magically transport itself to a private room where we could fully explore our other bedroom preferences, but alas, no Angela Lansbury appeared singing about Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and we remained firmly in Ikea. As though he could read my mind and ever the gentleman, Jason got up from the bed and helped me to my feet. He planted one more kiss on my lips, solidifying my desire to get to know him even more deeply. I could not get enough of this man.

We left Ikea to grab some dinner. Although I am usually a fan of the cafeteria style Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes they offer, I had another unusual surprise in store for Jason. We walked over to Johnny Rocket's burger bar and ordered a milkshake with two straws. We split an order of onion rings and devoured our sweet potato fries. The only clue I had given him about the evening was to "bring a lot of nickels" which he obligingly did. We tried choosing our favorite oldies songs from the tableside jukebox, but it was sadly out of order. We got lost in our little world, reminiscent of 1953, where I have always felt more comfortable than the present times.

Not wanting the night to end, I asked Jason if he wanted to continue on to Part 3 of the date. While waiting on line for tickets (apparently he didn't want the night to end either!) Jason kissed my forehead, held my hand, and whispered the sweetest little compliments into my ear. I looked up at him (a gesture I was happily getting used to) and teased, "Are you being so nice to me because you're hoping to get lucky?" Without a moment's hesitation, he replied "I'm dating you. I'm already the luckiest guy here."

Friday, June 21, 2013

My Night, My Boyfriend

Jason survived being my Plus One to my own comedy show with immense grace. He has such a good sense of humor about all the men I've dated before him, mostly because they have been completely ridiculous. More than that, he's got a good, strong head on his shoulders and sees the world from a logical, practical, even-keeled approach which perfectly balances out my emotional, sensitive, hopeless romantic style. As such, he also has an excellent sense of humor about dating me and all that comes with it. Even when that means meeting 35 of my closest friends and family in one night, hearing my dating stories as told from behind a microphone on stage at the Gramercy Theater, and having attention drawn to him as the 100th Cup (but no pressure!)

Jason was not the focus of my storytelling show, but he was certainly the highlight. I regaled the audience with tales of my failed marriage and my awkward dates but I ended with the best lesson I've learned from this journey: Kiss a frog. Kiss a hundred frogs. Kiss a thousand frogs if you have to. You never know which one will be your prince.

And as I walked off stage, Jason kissed me. The kind of old glamour Hollywood style kiss that got the audience screaming, cheering, and applauding for us. It wasn't planned (my life rarely is) but it was the exact punctuation that my story needed. I've never talked about a relationship I'm in while I've been in it, and it was a little weird making fun of him and us while he was standing right there. That being said, I cannot imagine anyone handling himself with more class and humility than Jason did that night. He was the epitome of everything I need in a man.

If the fantastic show wasn't enough, my entourage of friends, family and fans walked a few blocks north to the same restaurant where Emily Giffin held her cocktail party for the launch of Something Borrowed a few years ago. I remember thinking that was exactly what I wanted to have when I was "famous" so I treated myself to a fab night out after the show with all the people who came to support me. As it turned out, Jason was the one to treat me. He picked up the tab for everyone's food which was no insignificant bill. He kissed my forehead in the way he usually did, the kind of kiss that says "you are the most special person in my life" and told me he was happy to do this small thing for me. He was so proud to be dating this funny, smart, beautiful girl who was the envy of everyone in the theater, and thrilled to be a part of my night.

"My night" he called it. What I really wanted him to say was that he was my boyfriend. Two delicious cocktails later, that was exactly what I asked him to be. We'd been dating for a few months, he met all my friends and family (at once, the poor guy!) and I was crazy about him. I approached it third grade style with a simple "Do you want to be my boyfriend, yes or no?" Jason, never once seeming flustered by me, tilted his head slightly to one side and replied "I thought I already was."

So there you have it. I'd been ripping my hair out trying to decipher if we were seeing each other, dating, or if Jason was truly my boyfriend, and he'd been my boyfriend all along. I had no reason to worry, no reason to doubt him. Jason gave me every assurance he possibly could that he cared about me as much as I thought he did and he knew I cared about him just as much. We were quite the pair, the scientist and the writer, the pragmatist and the precocious, the realist and the romantic. Yet we worked. We made sense. We were a weird pair but we were, in fact, a pair. I had finally found my Frog Prince, my fairy tale ending, my happily ever after. Jason was my forever.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Tickle Trauma

1,832 nights. That's how often I've slept alone since my divorce. Yes, I did the math, and yes, the number seems staggeringly high. I have filled "his side" of the bed with art projects, cookbooks, stuffed animals, magazines, tissue boxes, laundry waiting to be folded, and my cats. Nothing works. Nothing takes the place of a real man in bed with you, wrapping his arms around you at night, snuggling so close you can feel his warmth against your skin. I used to believe that no matter what my husband and I were going through at the time, if we could only come to bed together at night and cuddle, we could fight off the world, fight off our troubles, fight off whatever came between us and kept us apart. I believed that going to bed together every night helped us fight for each other instead of with each other. It wasn't until I realized that more often than not, one or both of us wasn't coming home at night. He stayed at work, I stayed with friends. He stayed out drinking, I stayed with family. I simply couldn't bear the thought that we had stopped sharing a bed and we stopped fighting for our relationship. It wasn't long at all until our separation carried over from the bedroom to our marriage and he moved out. With a few short breaks along the way, I've been sleeping alone ever since.

Being single during the day is flecked with moments of absolute awesomeness, exquisite joy, and unadulterated freedom. Sleeping alone is the constant reminder that being single also means being lonely and cold on a nightly basis.

I despise being lonely and cold.

Shortly after Jason officially declared himself to be my boyfriend, I knew that I wanted to take our relationship to the next level. It was time for a grown up sleepover. I packed an overnight bag for two nights (just in case) and headed to his place for the weekend. We planned a relaxing three movie marathon watching Lord of the Rings, tons of take out food, and long getting-to-know-you talks. On Friday night, we stayed up watching the first half of the first film, with Jason explaining the characters and plot and back story to me, just like he did when we went to see The Hobbit. His patient teaching voice was so calming. I burrowed myself snuggly against his chest with his comforting arm around me, completely content to just sit and be with him. We felt like a totally normal couple chilling on the couch, a sense of contentment washing over me like a hot shower. All my muscles unclenched as I sank deeper into the couch, deeper into Jason's arms, and deeper in love with him.

After the film ended, we did the getting ready for bed dance around each other. He changed into pj's while I brushed my teeth and got water. I got into pj's while he brushed his teeth and got water. (Granted, my pajamas were infinitely cuter than his.) Without going into too much detail (my mom reads this blog after all!) we stayed up all night getting to know each other really, really well. Jason's sweetness, sincerity, playfulness, and generosity carried over seamlessly from day to night. He took very good care of me, and I fell soundly asleep with no complaints. More importantly, I fell asleep with his arms wrapped around me, just like I'd been hoping for. There was no false advertising with Jason. He was precisely the champion snuggle buddy he promised me he was. He held me as we drifted off, his arm around my waist, his face against my hair, holding me so close to him that we felt like one body. It was the first in 1,800 nights that I didn't feel cold and lonely. For once, I was warm and completely at peace.

The good thing about Jason is that when he's not a complete workaholic, he loves sleeping in. I am grateful for this because I am the antithesis of a morning person. To lie in late together on a Saturday morning was pure heaven. At some point, I knew that he had stirred but I refused to shake the sleepiness off of me and disturb the cocoon we'd made of blankets, arms, and legs. Jason began running his fingers lightly over my body, playing with my back, my sides, my stomach. Every place he touched got tingly in anticipation of more, wanting all of him all over all of me. I hadn't been this close, this intimate, this trusting with a man in years. Jason knew me, saw through all the parts of me I tried to hide, called me out on my bull shit, accepted and appreciated every inch of me. Jason got me, and there is no greater feeling in the world than feeling gotten.

That's a lie. Being woken up with sex feels pretty damn great too.

Because we are both giant children at heart, Jason's touching soon turned to tickling and if there's one thing I take seriously, it is a tickle fight. We never quite got to the morning sex portion of the weekend because what started out so sweet and sensual evolved into who could tickle who harder while escaping being tickled themselves. If I haven't mentioned it sooner, Jason is a 6'4 farm boy from Kansas, easily twice my weight, and built for hard labor. (He works in an office now, but he used to throw hay bales which turns me on every time I picture it!) Needless to say, he's incredibly strong and I had essentially no chance of escaping his playful grasp. Each time I'd try to wriggle out of his tickle hold, he would laugh this deep, hearty, guttural laugh and comment about how cute it was that I thought I could really break away while he held me even tighter. I thought I had a quick out for a half a second, and in one swift movement, I jumped backwards away from him, landing square against the wall. I smacked my head so hard, I may have blacked out. I didn't entirely know what was happening, only that I was in instant pain, and the look on his face changed from silly and teasing to shock and fear in the blink of an eye.

Jason grabbed my face in his hands and asked if I was ok. All I could muster were a few "Ow"s and "That really hurt." He rubbed the back of my head where I hit it and rocked me close in his arms as the silent tears began to fall. "I have a headache" I cried, and he held me closer. He gently lowered me down onto the pile of pillows, sliding out of bed to get me water and ibuprofen. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed some more until I took the medicine and fell asleep. Jason laid down right alongside me, his body pressed against mine, kissing my poor aching head and apologizing over and over and over.

I woke up several hours later in a fog, my limbs feeling like they were filled with lead. My eyes couldn't focus and my head was pounding. I asked for more Tylenol and Jason suggested I might have a concussion. I had hit the wall so hard and with such force that it was a distinct possibility. I didn't know anything about concussions, having never had one, but I didn't want to ruin our weekend together. I protested that I was fine, I just needed something for the pain. He attended to me hand and foot for the next 48 hours. I was hungry so he made me waffles, lightly toasted with butter and syrup, just the way I like them. I was thirsty so he made me herbal tea with a little bit of sugar in an oversized mug, just the way I like it. I was tired so he piled pillows up on the couch and tucked me in under a blanket, sitting by my feet and rubbing them to help me relax. We spent all night watching the second Lord of the Rings film, and Sunday watching the third one. I called home to tell them I'd hit my head but didn't think it was a big deal. My mom asked if I wanted to go to the hospital but you couldn't have dragged me away from Jason's caring, protective arms with a thousand horses, so I declined. His face never strayed from the look that said "Are you *sure* you're ok?" but he humored me that I just needed to rest and relax for a while which we did in spades. Barring the injury, we had a wonderful weekend together, and I hated to leave him on Sunday night. I still don't recall anything about how I got home and I shouldn't have been allowed to drive, but we didn't know that then. I wound up in the emergency room the next morning as the pain was simply too much to bear. I had lost some motor functions, speech, and my short term memory. A series of CT scans showed that I had a Level Three concussion which lasted another six weeks. The doctors say that I should heal eventually but there is a bruise on my brain and I may feel the effects for quite some time, including dizziness, headaches, memory and word loss.

No matter how much time passed, Jason was sweeter than I could've imagined, taking great care of me in any way he could. While I wouldn't wish a concussion on anyone, I do hope that no matter what ails you, there's someone as amazing as Jason by your side to hold you, to kiss you, and maybe even to tickle you.

Friday, June 14, 2013

At Last

Jason is a gentleman. If you need to know one thing about him, you should know that he is an old-fashioned, chivalrous, generous gentleman.

You should also know that he is a Kansas-raised farm boy, a lover of classic rock, and a nerd to rival the guys on The Big Bang Theory...but that's a different story.

For our first couple-y celebration together, Jason picked me up and brought me back to his apartment. He wanted to create a super special evening for me and he kept his plans a top secret surprise. Anyone who knows me understands that I *may* be ever so slightly considered a control freak. Jason accepts that I am adorably quirky in my need to plan everything out and he wants to date me anyway, which I appreciate. But tonight, he wanted to surprise me and I had to relinquish my treasured control.

I'm so glad I did.

He covered my eyes as I walked into the apartment, which almost induced a full on panic attack, but I managed a few deep breaths and a few steps forward. When he lifted his hand, I saw a beautifully set table, complete with candles, flowers, and a gift bag stuffed to the brim.

Well, not exactly flowers...Tulips.

Ok, ok I know that tulips are, in fact, flowers. But they're flowers that I hate. Hate with a deep seeded passion. Hate for no apparent reason, but hate nonetheless. I have a blatant disdain for carnations as they are a filler flower. I can't stand baby's breath or leatherleaf because they're entirely too common. I view red roses as the Sicilian funeral flower and not the passionate symbol of love that Western civilization seems to have interpreted them to mean. None of those reasons apply here. I simply hate tulips.

It's not Jason's fault that he got me tulips. We haven't been dating long enough to have had the extensive flower conversation. He knew about the red rose embargo but aside from that, I can't expect him to understand my affection for sunflowers or gerbera daisies or roses of literally any other color. The thing about people is that we are who we are, and we like not having to explain ourselves. But dating someone new inevitably requires lots and lots of explanation. About everything.

I do not say any of this out loud because I'm so grateful he's this sweet to me and I'm trying really hard not to be my normal control freak self. Luckily for me (or perhaps unluckily) he picks up on my vibe in under ten seconds and responds with a teasing, "You hate tulips, don't you?" We both laugh and I say I'm sorry a hundred times and he thinks it's hysterical. That might be the best part of Jason. While I take myself super seriously, he does not. While I'm afraid what he'll think of me if I admit to hating tulips, he's not afraid to call me out on my bull shit and takes it all in stride. He hugs me tightly and says "Let's hope you don't hate dinner too."

Fortunately for our fledgling relationship, I do not hate dinner at all. Jason went to the Italian market on his lunch break. This is a man who never takes a lunch break for himself, let alone leaves the office to shop for a meal he actually plans on cooking at home, on a week night. The longer I date him the more I realize that this is a HUGE anomaly in his routine and that makes it a thousand times more special that he's made such an effort. It totally makes up for the tulips.

He got soft semolina bread (with no seeds), tomato sauce (with no meat), and real grated Parmesan cheese (not the Kraft green stuff in a can.) He bought gorgeous heart shaped ravioli, fresh tomato and mozzarella, delicious Balsamic vinegar, and chilled white wine. It turns out, he knows me pretty well after all.

In lieu of his usual Metallica, Linkin Park, or Reel Big Fish, Jason throws a Rat Pack playlist on the stereo. Somewhere between Frank Sinatra and Bobby Darin, Ella Fitzgerald comes on and he wraps his arms around me in the tiny kitchen. We are dancing to At Last while the pasta water boils and I get lost in his kisses and the smell of olive oil.

The song ends and Jason unravels me from his comforting embrace. I begin bringing our salads and drinks out to the coffee table that also serves as a dining room table. We snuggle up on the couch to enjoy our first semi-homemade meal together when it hits me: This is what everyone is talking about. This moment, right here. This is what people mean when they say "this is it."

Tulips or no tulips. Homemade or store bought. Special occasion or just because. I am so happy I have Jason to cook with, to dance with, to laugh with, to love. I can't believe I finally found him. He's mine...At Last.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Someone Else

Prepare yourself for a very, very angry blog.

I don't know how I didn't see this coming. I don't know how I let myself be so unguarded, so completely unready for this kind of news. I don't know how I allowed myself to be vulnerable, trusting, and open. I don't know how this happened.

Jason has another girlfriend.

He's been dating her for the last two years. She's had other boyfriends in this time, while he has only dated her. The sickest part of it all? She's married. With kids. Still living with her family.

He tells me that she's filed for divorce "but it takes forever in New York." Thank you, but I've gotten divorced in New York, before they changed the laws, mind you, so I hardly need a lesson on the intricacies of breaking up a marriage in this state. Of course it's more complicated with children in the picture but two years and still dragging on seems ridiculous, even around here. Also, who in their right mind files for divorce from a man she supposedly cannot stand to be around, but STAYS in the house??? Take your kids and leave! Go to your parents. Go rent an apartment. Go stay with friends. But you do not get to date whomever the hell you choose while going home to your husband and kids at night, you lying, conniving, sneaky, devious bitch!

Sorry. I know I'm a wee bit harsh right now, but forgive a girl for being angry. This Other Woman has been leading Jason on for two whole years now, distancing herself from him over the last several months, pulling away emotionally and essentially cutting down their relationship to nothing. Sucks for her, great for me. Except it's not, because the minute he and I started dating, suddenly she wanted to rekindle things. Who does that? Go away and leave us alone! You made your cheating married bed with all your money and your fancy house and your fancy clothes and your fancy car, and now you should just go lie in it.

So that's me pissed at her for sitting on the fence about does she want him / does she not. But what I'm really really really hurt by? Is him.

Why would Jason date me in the first place? Why would he continue dating me if he knew he still had feelings for someone else? Why start a relationship with me before ending his relationship with her? Why lead me to believe that we have something so special, so great, something I've been looking for -- waiting for --- for years, only to let me down like every other asshole I've met? Why call yourself my boyfriend if you have another girlfriend on the side? Why make me believe I am special and important if I'm just one of your options right now? Why make me love you if you're just going to break my heart? Why not tell me sooner, before I had a chance to fall for you?

Yes, I actually asked him these questions (and about a million more.) Here are his answers. I'll let you be the judge.

1) He began seeing me when things were "winding down" with her. He thought they were over, otherwise he never would've started something with me.

2) He knew that he had feelings for both of us. They were weakening with her but growing with me. He felt it only fair to give both sides time to see how they continued to develop.

3) He didn't know if he wanted to pursue a romantic relationship with her any longer, but he definitely wants to pursue a romantic relationship with me. He sees a future with me. A really amazing one. He sees a completely different future with her and he's not sure which future is right for him.

4) We do have something special. We do have something great. He stayed with me because it was me. If it wasn't me, it wouldn't have been anyone else.

5) He felt like my boyfriend from the very beginning. He wanted to do for me, give to me, provide for me, support and encourage me. He wanted to meet my friends and family to see if he could truly fit into my life, my world. He felt like my boyfriend because I acted like his girlfriend.

6) I am important to him. He is attached to me. He's invested in me and in us. While I am "the logical choice," he doesn't want me to just be the best option. He wants me to be the 100% right fit and he hasn't figured out yet if I am.

7) He doesn't plan on breaking my heart and is asking for more time to figure out what precisely his feelings are. He can see himself falling in love with me and me with him. He's "pretty certain that's the way [his] heart is leaning" but there's no way to say for sure right now. While that's not fair to me, he's asking me to be patient and give him the space to decide.

8) *And I quote* "You didn't ask."

Fine. You want space??? You got it. Clearly, you need some time to miss me. Call me when you've made your decision.


Friday, June 7, 2013

You're His Arwen

I have found no substitute for good friends and strong vodka in times of heartbreak. Unfortunately, I was clear out of vodka.

Luckily for me, I've been blessed with some of the best friends in the whole world. Trust me, folks, 98% of the people who started reading this blog at its inception have known and loved me from birth, or pre-school, or high school, or college. My most recent friend still has a solid two years of history. God only knows why they love and support me as much as they do, but I would not survive all the crazy drama in my life without each and every person who builds me up and gives me strength.

Also, they know when I most need a kick in the pants.

This week was hard on me, which of course also means that it was hard on my friends. I turned to them for the love and support I'm so used to, although one can never tell what form it will come in. Sometimes it's a hug. Sometimes, it's a cosmo. Sometimes, it's a smack upside the head.

Sara: Do I literally need to come down there and kick your ass?
Jenn: I'm coming over. I have ice cream.
Dee: Wanna go cruise Barnes & Noble for cute guys in the cookbook section?

See? Good friends!

And then there's Bella. Dear, sweet, reliable Bella who would push a man off the top of a very tall building if I asked her to. She loves every man that I love. She hates every man that I hate. She desperately wants me to find my happy ending, and she whole heartedly believes that I'll magically marry the next man I meet. Bella is a newlywed and has made it her mission to match every one of her single friends up with someone fabulous.

Bella and her husband, John were the first friends to meet Jason. This was not by accident. The two of them are the cutest nerds on the planet. They're so blissful in their shared geekiness, I knew that Jason would feel right at home, which he did. So after I spent a full week obsessing over our ever more dire looking situation, Bella was the person who would have both of our best interests at heart. She translated the things Jason and I weren't saying to each other. She cut through the bull shit and got right to the heart of it.

"You have to call him. You're his Arwen."

*Note: Kindly remember that Jason and I met through The Hobbit. We spent 16 hours out of 48 watching all three Lord of the Rings movies. If you haven't seen them, might I shorten this analogy for you by simply stating that Arwen is the girl the prince has always been in love with, is meant to end up with, almost loses, almost gives up on, almost falls in love with someone else, but in the end he realizes that his feelings for her are too strong and their future together is too beautiful to walk away from. So basically, they live happily ever after.*

Bella had been texting Jason throughout the day to see what his side of the story was, to see where he stood, to see if he'd made a decision yet. He hadn't. That being said, when Bella told Jason that he was being stupid, and that clearly I was his Arwen, he fully agreed and suddenly, everything made sense.

I didn't want to call him. I didn't want to crack first. I didn't want to be the one to make the first move, but I couldn't take waiting for another second. I still had questions. I still had doubts. What if he didn't want me? What if he picked Eowyn? (LOTR reference. Think of her as The Other Woman.)

"Wouldn't you rather know NOW?" Bella texted back to me. "Don't wait. Just call him. You have to talk. You have to ask. Then, at least you'll know. You're a strong woman and you have a beautiful future full of love ahead of you. Whether that's with Jason or not."

But what if...just what's not?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Did I make the right choice?

I did what I thought I had to do. I made Jason choose. I told him it was time to decide. Me or The Other Woman. He's had months to get to know me and years to get to know her. He's got to figure it out either way. Who does he want to be with? What life does he want? He cannot continue having us both. He has to make a choice.

With me, he has a future, he has a life. I'm young, I'm energetic, I'm ambitious and driven and eager and hopeful and optimistic and romantic and sentimental and adventurous and excited. I'm full of possibilities and endless dreams. I'm creative and caring and fun and funny and smart and sexy and successful. I am pure, unadulterated, loyal, faithful, honest, generous, sweet, sincere, wholehearted love. That's what I am. I am love. Down to my very core. And everyone knows that love is always worth fighting for. Always.

A life with me means family and friends. It means road trips and vacations and weekend getaways. A life with me means marriage - the kind you actually want to have. Coming home to a wife who's cooked you dinner, massages your feet while you destress from your crazy day at work. Being married to me could also mean take out Chinese food and a full night of Netflix, but either way, we'd be happy just being together. A life with me means children and birthdays and first steps and anniversaries and graduations and art projects and storytime and bubble baths and learning to ride a bike. A life with me means all the major milestones, and celebrating the little every day things too. A life with me means laughter and friendship --- *best* friendship, the kind you rely on, the kind you love coming home to, the kind you can't live without. A life with me means holding hands and sneaking kisses at every opportunity and long walks on the beach at sunset. It's ice cream sundaes and sleeping in on Saturday morning and spending Friday night at the movies. A life with me is anything and everything he could possibly want it to be and more.

What the hell does she have to offer?

The Other Woman is still married. She's living with her husband, so she won't be moving in with Jason anytime soon. They won't share an apartment. They won't dance in the kitchen while making dinner together. They won't put Frank Sinatra on the radio and make love all night because she has to go home to her husband and kids. The Other Woman is in the middle of a messy divorce. She won't want to get married again anytime soon, if ever. She is too old to have children and doesn't want any more anyway. The Other Woman cannot make him a husband or a father. She cannot introduce him to her family and friends as she must keep him a secret lest the divorce get more complicated. She meets him in seclusion under the veil of secrecy. She stows him away in a little compartment, not a part of her life as a whole, not a part of her everyday. She cannot share her world with him, weave him into the fabric of who she is as a person. She is separate from him, separate from everything. The Other Woman will never go down to Kansas to meet his mother, or send his niece a Christmas gift, or go shopping arm in arm with his sister. She will not be his Plus One to a friend's wedding or the office holiday party or go in with other couples for a time share in the Hamptons. What does she have that I'm not seeing then? What does she offer that I don't understand? What is so hard about choosing to be with a woman who wants to love you over a woman who has no place or time for you in her life? Why can't he just pick me???

I refuse to defend myself any further. I refuse to present my case, compile all the evidence, argue my side to the court. I have too much self respect to sit around waiting for a man to make up his damn mind. If he really felt about me the way he's told me he's felt from Day One, we wouldn't even be having this conversation. If I was that special, he would walk away from her and that would be the end of it. If he cared about me half as much as he claims to, he wouldn't make me cry this way. It's like waiting to see if I get chosen for the grade school Dodgeball team all over again, knowing I'll get picked last. I may as well sit under a tree and read a book while they're hemming and hawing about whether to take the kid on crutches or the kid who picks his nose and eats it before me. I will not allow another person to make me feel unwanted. I am far too beautiful and intelligent and good for that.

I'm crazy about Jason and I know that there is something incredible between us. I cannot date him while waiting for the ink to dry on The Other Woman's divorce papers. Then what? He drops me like a hot potato? No thank you. I'm attached to him. I'm invested in us. I care about this man more than I thought I would, and more than I'd like to admit. I forced him to make a decision. The question is: Did I make the right choice?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Worth It

I am starting to question who I am in relationships. I think that I'm a strong woman who knows what she wants and knows what she has to offer. But instead I find myself wondering: am I too demanding???

Jason has been seeing this other woman for nearly two years. She's still married and living with her husband and children. She says she's filed for divorce but who really knows and frankly, who cares? The point is that he has feelings for her but their relationship has been on the rocks for several months now. He said he wrote to me originally thinking it'd be fun. Nice change of pace to go out with someone new. And it was - we had a blast together! They'd been growing apart and hadn't seen much of each other. She had no time for him. They hardly talk. They almost never see each other. It's not intimate. So why keep her around? I wonder. What's the big deal about her? He's dating me and surely that should be enough. Surely, I am enough?

When I asked him why he didn't tell me about her sooner, he said "I never expected this to go anywhere. I never expected you to be you!" He likes me a lot. He's "attached" to me. He pictures a future with me. But he sees a completely different life with her. And he doesn't know which one he wants. 

He promised me it wouldn't drag on "for months and months" and he'd make up his mind as soon as possible. We discussed it at length last night and finally, I came to the conclusion that I needed to know one way or another. I've got a friend's birthday coming up, and a wedding I got invited to with a date, plus there are theater tickets we were looking to get... All these plans with a man who isn't really mine. He calls himself my boyfriend but he's not committed exclusively to me. I can't handle it. And I finally asked him to choose. 

I want to be someone's first choice, not a consolation prize. I feel like our entire relationship, I'm standing on a trap door, waiting for him to pull it out from under me. The ink will dry on her divorce papers and what? He'll drop me like a hot potato. I don't deserve that. It's not fair. 

He told me he needed 4-6 months to really make up his mind. Am I supposed to wait around for half a year while he figures out if he wants me or not? That sucks. I am 32 years old and I want a marriage and children and a life with someone. Who can wait around just to discover you've wasted all that precious time away? Not to be all melodramatic but my eggs aren't getting any younger and neither am I! Is that awful? To know what you want and not be willing to wait for it? I think a man would have a pretty clear vision by 38 years old. He should have a general sense of what he wants and when he meets a woman, maybe he figures out if she's the one he might possibly want it with? How long does it take? How do you know? 

Maybe it stems from my divorce but I'm so afraid of someone I care about rejecting me. Rejecting my love. Rejecting my sexual desires. I can handle it if the guy isn't right and we don't work out, but someone who claims to adore me, lust after me, be infatuated with me --- and yet still rejects me in that way. It's like screaming "you're not good enough" at minimum volume but playing it on repeat throughout the day. Just so it's there. Just so you notice it. Just so when you're not distracted by all the nice things he does for you, you can hear it. You're not good enough. 

You're not good enough to be his girlfriend. You're not good enough for him to love. You're not good enough for him to be faithful and committed and loyal. You're not good enough to be sexy and desirable and wanted. There's something missing. He needs more. You're not it. You are not enough. 

There it is. In writing. My biggest fear. 

And yet it's in direct contradiction to how I feel about myself. I think I'm Girlfriend of the Year. I think I have a lot to offer. I am the greatest thing since sliced bread, and quite frankly if you gave me a knife, I could slice my own damn bread! I have this huge amount of confidence. Tons of self esteem. And yet I'm shaking at the thought of not being picked. Not being loved. Not being good enough. 

What am I missing? Please tell me because I truly don't know. I need a mirror to show me what I'm doing wrong. I have my own life. I'm not desperate. I don't want marriage and children tomorrow but eventually they'd be nice. I have a job and friends and a business and hobbies and a busy schedule that I make time in when someone is important to me. I try not to be super needy or dependent or clingy but yes I require affection and attention as all women do. Any woman who says she doesn't is lying.

I'm harsh and I'm judgmental and maybe I am a little demanding but I'm worth it. I am worth it. Aren't I???