Tuesday, January 21, 2014

hi how are you

Tonight, I got this message on OkCupid:

hi how are you

No capital letter, no question mark, no hint that he had read my profile or knew anything about me. I get it. A man has to send out a hundred messages to get one or two in return. But for the love of all things internet, at least pretend to give a shit about the girl you're writing to! I get dozens of messages like this a day. I'm not kidding you, dozens. So I finally broke down and sent a reply to the annoying online guy I usually ignore and delete. Here's what I wrote back:

Dear Random Stranger,

I apologize in advance because this is not your fault, but since you asked how I am, I'm going to tell you.

I am sick and tired of guys messaging me with crappy one liners. Stuff like "hey how are you" or "hi beauty how's your day" or "pretty smile and nice eyes" or "I want to know more about you." There are SO many things about me in my profile which you CLEARLY did not take the time to read, let alone comment on.

Did you see if we have any favorite movies in common? Or that we like the same music? Or that we want to travel to any of the same places? Or that I speak several languages and have multiple degrees and a very busy schedule working an awesome job and therefore I do NOT have time to respond to guys who can't take sixty seconds to scan my profile AT ALL to see whether or not we would be a good match. The fact that my description states in no uncertain terms that I do not date smokers EVER and your profile picture has a cigarette hanging out of your mouth is evidence enough that you don't give a shit how my day was or how I am or even who I am because all that matters is that you saw a decent enough looking girl in a photo and figured you'd cast your net pretty wide for the best chances of success.

On behalf of all woman everywhere, please stop doing that. We are fed up! We are not numbers. We are not statistics. We are real people with interests and hobbies and passions and friends and careers and it is seriously annoying when guys like you think that we can be won over without you making the slightest effort. If you are going to be on an online dating site, perhaps try finding a girl you actually like and sending her something real. Maybe even answer a few of those questions on your own profile because your non-descript vagueness is obnoxious in the worst way.

Again, I apologize for the rant but guys like you are the reason that girls like me are single.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Dating for Pleasure


I have been following you and your stories for a long time...it seems like you’re always going on dates...I have not been asked out on a serious date for over 2 years now...I get men 20 years younger or 20 years older asking me out...i have tried dating websites and everything in between...how do u get so many dates? 

Just Curious

Dear Curious, 

First of all, half of the dates I go on are hardly dates at all. Sometimes, I'll just meet a guy out somewhere and we decide to continue hanging out after the party / beer garden / improv show / christening etc. I'm not even kidding. I've met people randomly at all these places. I meet guys everywhere, because I always have fun doing whatever it is that I'm doing. I recently met someone while volunteering at a local farm. I met someone in the cereal aisle at stop n shop. I met a guy on the train. Scratch that - two guys! I am always meeting friends of friends, and people are constantly keeping me in mind to introduce to some "great guy" they know. The secret is, I'm not afraid of admitting that I'm single AND LOOKING. Sometimes, people assume you're single by choice. They think you're a strong, confident, capable woman who doesn't need a man. And to be clear: I don't NEED one. But I WANT one. I know that I love being social and going out on dates. I know that I want to be married and have children someday, and that requires a male in my life. When you allow people to see that you want to date for pleasure, you'll be shocked at how the guys just kinda come out of the woodwork. Also, I'm not shy at all about walking up to a total stranger and telling him I think he's cute. No joke, I have shocked friends when we're out by approaching a hot (yet inevitably nerdy) guy and striking up a conversation about whatever is relevant at the time. Usually, I have a back up witty line in my pocket, like "Hey my friend bet me $10 that I wouldn't come over here and talk to you" or "My friend bet me $10 that you're single and I said there's no way cause you're too cute to be single!" That way, you have an automatic in and you find out in the first five seconds if they're available or not. I flirt with guys every place I go. The farmer's market is the best because you already know you have something in common --- healthy eating and a passion for the outdoors. Fairway or Trader Joe's or Whole Foods are excellent alternatives in inclement weather. I go on group trips like whitewater rafting and hiking and game nights and trivia, just to have something to do so it's not awkward when you're sitting across the table from each other at Starbucks and there are lonnnnnng pauses. I am also online. I almost forgot how terrifying it was going out with someone new! (Almost!) I think that the key online is not being afraid to be your most authentic self. If a guy doesn't like you, he doesn't have to message you, but if he does like you, you'll both know that he likes the REAL you, not some watered down or trumped up version of your best PR self. Don't be afraid of details. Guys like specifics. When it says "what is your typical Friday night like?" I actually list the last 5 Friday nights. At a low key pub with my girlfriends, going to bed early because I'm running a 5K the next day, chilling in the Hamptons with a bottle of wine and a great view of the water, on a road trip to New England, eating a delicious sushi dinner and catching up catching up with colleagues etc. This lets them know that I'm active, I don't sit home watching movies, eating Oreos and doing my laundry (I save that for Wednesday nights!) Just because I'm single doesn't mean that I don't get to have a life! I don't say yes to every guy who asks me out but I do try to be adventurous and take a chance on someone who might surprise me. Two of my girlfriends married guys they didn't think they would like online but were pleasantly intrigued when they actually went out. So you just never know who's gonna be around the corner. I dress up every day like I'm about to meet the man of my dreams. It's worth the three seconds to swipe on lip gloss before I head into the supermarket, or the post office, or the library. You never know who you're gonna meet. Hope this helps! 

Hugs, Kimberly

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

An Irish Accent and a Park Bench

Some nights at the bar are unforgettable. Other nights, you wish you could scrub your brain with a hard brush and hot bleach.

The girls and I were spending our usual Friday night at the old man's pub, drinking cheap cocktails and making fun of our exes. A couple of guys hang around throwing darts, some others smack talk each other at the pool table. They linger and leer at the out of place group of giggling girls squished into the only oversized wooden booth. A few young and eager overgrown teenagers shove their hands in their pockets and avoid eye contact at all costs. We don't fit in and that's precisely why we hang out there. No chance of being distracted by checking out available men.

One "older" gentleman (read: older than me, but by no means "old") breaks free from the pack and sidles up to our foursome. He slides into the worn leather seat next to me. Why is it always next to me? I have to give him credit for being so brave. It takes a lot of courage to approach a girl surrounded by her friends, but he does it the right way - he buys a round of drinks. I appreciate a man who buys me a drink for sure, but a man who buys drinks for all my friends clearly read the playbook. Well done, sir.

The man's hair is slightly gray, but not in a grandfather kind of way. More of a salt and pepper sexy celebrity sort of way. What is it about guys getting older that makes them look more distinguished and therefore desirable? He's well dressed in a button down and jeans that fit in all the right places. I'm a sucker for a guy in jeans! Blame it on the country music. He's pleasant and funny and tells us how he's a forty-four year old divorced father of four girls, and proceeds to show us the cutest pictures of them. He's now looking to start his life over with a woman who wants him for him, who wants real love, and a passionate life. I'm not usually one to date a man with a built in family, but this guy is charming as hell and possibly worth getting to know better.

Wait for it...

Upon hearing Bella's British accent, he asks me if I can do an Irish accent. While I lived in England for five years and have been known to put on an occasional English or Scottish accent, my Irish can only be described as wholly unbelievable. Why does he want to know?

"I've always had this fantasy of making out with a beautiful woman with red hair and an Irish accent."

I am clearly blonde. And American. There is no mistaking either of these things.

"So I was thinking that if you could at least do the accent, I'd be willing to overlook the red hair."

Gee, thanks buddy.

"Anyway, in this fantasy, the woman would bend me over a park bench, pull my pants down, and lick my ass. I don't want to do this with anyone else, but I think I could get really into it with you. There happens to be a bench right outside the bar. So what do you say?"

What do I say??? What the fuck is there to say? There is No Good Answer to that question. There are no words to respond to that request. First of all, if someone is licking your ass, wouldn't she be entirely too busy to speak? Secondly, why a park bench? Third, what exactly about my pre-school teacher persona makes you think for a split second that I'm going to take you outside and lick your ANYTHING?!?!

I downed the rest of my Cosmo, and finished off everyone else's, just to wash down the shocking image of Divorced Dad's Bare Ass Bent Over a Park Bench. Now, I cannot help but shudder every time I hear an Irish accent. I am forever traumatized when I walk past a park bench, and haven't been back to that old man's pub since.

I've always said this blog should be subtitled: You can't make this shit up.

*Note: Please pardon my use of the word "shit." This is why I'm single.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Disney Vs Travers

Ahhhh, Christmas. A festive time for church by candlelight, homemade cookies, brightly wrapped presents, a beautifully lit tree, and escaping your family as soon as possible after the dishes are cleared. Don't get me wrong, I love my family. We really are a closely knit group. But I can only handle so much before I need to run away to the comfort of friends who don't gift me too-small sweaters and wildly inappropriate greeting cards. Thus began the tradition of going to a late movie showing on Christmas Day with my best friend, Jenn.

Jenn has been a huge supporter of my blog from the very beginning. Although I've known her for her entire life (Yay church friends!) we really reconnected through Facebook, and even more so when I started writing this blog. You may know her as the girl who puts up with me every Monday night for my guilty viewing of The Bachelor. She got me to run a 5K at the Bronx Zoo for my birthday last year. Feel free to read Butterfly Garden for an intimate look at our day there. What Jenn is best known for though, besides being an awesome friend, spoiling her baby niece and nephew, and baking all things Red Velvet, is being the most stubborn cynic I have ever met.

Have you ever looked at a friendship and thought "How in the hell do we make this work?" That would be Jenn and me. We are polar opposites. I want a boyfriend. Jenn is staunchly single. I want to get married. Jenn is happy whether she ever walks down an aisle or not. I want babies (as my ovaries begrudgingly remind me every month!) Jenn calls them parasites who suck the life out of you for nine months and drain your bank account for the next thirty years.

Neither one of us is right and neither one of us is wrong. There's no judgement in our friendship. She accepts that I am a Disney princess loving / happily ever after believing / romantic fairy tale living / someday my prince will come hoping / tall blonde who dreams of riding off into the sunset, popping out a few young'uns and baking chocolate chip cookies every day after school. I accept that Jenn is a skeptical / cynical / poker of fun at all the holes in my John Hughes directed life who sees herself buying an apartment and traveling the world before settling into a relationship she may or may not ever seal with a ring and a ceremony. I enjoy online dating. She dreads it. I get excited for dates. She'd rather stay home in pajamas watching Netflix. I try on the last name of every man I go out with (usually before the first date) and have china patterns picked out before we finish dinner. She wouldn't take a man's name IF she decided to marry him and she'd probably design her own collection of dishware because she's a fabulous artist. Any man who ends up with Jenn has his work cut out for him. He's got a lot of walls to break down and a lot of sarcasm to cut through before finding out that she's just about the kindest, most generous, loyal, loving, wonderful person you'll meet. But I've had thirty years to get to know that about her. I worry that any guy will be able to see past her rock hard exterior in time to fall in love.

The funny thing is, Jenn doesn't worry about that at all. She is unapologetic in not needing a husband and kids in her life. I want a family. She wants to further her career. Those are the choices we single women are allowed to make and we should support each other no matter what. I am happy for my friends when they figure out the things that make them happy and fiercely strive to achieve their dreams. That's the best kind of friendship a girl could ask for.

So on Christmas Day, me being the eternal optimist that I am, dragged Jenn to see Saving Mr Banks at the movie theater. I adore Mary Poppins as a film and as a character, although the books portray a much darker back story. Without spoiling too much for you (GO SEE IT if you haven't already!) PL Travers wrote Mary Poppins largely based on her own family. Walt Disney found his daughters reading it one night, giggling as little girls are want to do. He promised them that he would turn their precious Mary Poppins into a beloved feature film for children and adults all over the world to enjoy for generations to come. It took him twenty years to convince Travers to sell him the rights to the book so that he could keep this promise to his daughters. She was demanding. She was outrageous. She was inappropriate. She made endless lists of what Disney could and could not do in the film. Costumes, locations, names, accents. She wanted NO animation and NO music. She didn't even want Dick Van Dyke! Can you now imagine anyone else playing Bert? He's a classic! Basically, Travers as a writer was a filmmaker like Disney's worst possible nightmare. She hated everyone and everything. She was impossible to work with. Although she eventually did relinquish the rights to the books, she hated with a passion the film that Disney created in the end. The movie we all grew up on and love with all our hearts. The iconic music we know, the songs that get stuck in our heads, the legend that Mary Poppins became. PL Travers hated it all.

During the film, Walt Disney is almost always smiling. He makes every concession to Travers that he possibly can. He is jovial and in full form while working with her, Don, and the Sherman Brothers as a team to make this film a reality. Disney is patient and peppy and always a gracious host. He's charming yet sincere, accommodating yet dedicated. More than once, we hear Walt ask "What can I do to make you happy?" The truth is that Walt was getting sicker by the day and Mary Poppins would be his swan song, although no one really knew that at the time. Walt Disney has long been my hero and Tom Hanks portraying him on the big screen made me fall even deeper in love with everything the man strived to create. The empire Walt built has inspired princesses and pirates and heroes and goodness in children and adults all over the world. I'm starting to get sentimental here, but you get my point. I can't imagine living in a world without Disney, and I wouldn't want to.

By comparison, PL Travers (not her real name) was a crochety old witch who I spent almost two whole hours despising. It's not often that I get such a visceral reaction to a character on screen, one whom I simply cannot abide. I suppress my negative feelings about people in general, something I'm trying to pay closer attention to, but this Travers pushed every button I have inside me. She grated on my last nerve and I could almost say that I hated her. The beauty of Saving Mr Banks is that you're supposed to hate her! She's trying to stop one of the best films of all time from being made! But in the next breath, the movie reveals her childhood, where Mary Poppins came from, where Mr Banks and the children came from, and you cannot help but feel a stab of sadness at what this poor girl survived at such a tender, young age. Don't worry, you'll hate her again in a minute when they flash forward to London 1961 and she makes obnoxiously snarky comments to the secretary. If you're anything like me, you may want to reach through the screen and punch her in the face for treating everyone in the world like a second class citizen.

As the credits rolled, I was still wiping my tears at the powerful emotion of it all. A little girl's relationship with the father she loved so much. A storyteller desperately trying to share this wonderful character with the world while keeping a twenty year old promise to his children. A mother's gut-wrenching desperation of being ill-prepared to raise her babies in the desolation of Australia's outback. A limousine driver whose easy nature and gentle, friendly demeanor endeared him to the audience in a surprising way, despite his supporting role. I danced in my seat, I sang along (quietly I promise!), I cheered for Walt Disney and I couldn not stand PL Travers.

Jenn was precisely the opposite.

Jenn loved Travers. She loved how stubbornly she rebuked Walt Disney's happy, smily, entirely too chipper and cheerful nature. She loved how Travers stood up for what she wanted at every turn, defending her masterpiece and not letting anyone take her say away from her. She loved how sharp and witty and biting Travers was, how unyielding in her ways, how fierce in her fight. Travers had a mean streak in her that she was unafraid to lash out on anyone around her, but it came from a place of unhealed pain. She needed to forgive herself. She needed to let go.

As we left the theatre, I hugged Jenn, teary eyes and emotional from Christmas and the movie and being single on yet another holiday. Her reaction was to laugh, pat me on the back and say "You alright there, Disney?" I stared at her blankly for a moment before she explained. "That movie was about us. You're optimistic and hopeful and obnoxiously cheerful. Like, seriously, all the time. And I'm kind of a bitch and you know you want to hate me but for whatever strange reason, we just work. You're Disney. I'm Travers."

They might be the weirdest nicknames two best friends can have for each other, but they suit us perfectly. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go fly a kite!


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Mashed Potatoes of Love

This is a dating blog about mashed potatoes. Allow me to set the scene:

Fade in on Kimberly, 32 years old, world traveled, well educated, having an excellent hair day despite the Polar Vortex in New York on a sunny Tuesday afternoon. Beside her is a bowl of Trader Joe's crispy snap peas, her attempt at putting away the sea salt and turbinado sugar coated chocolate covered almonds. She has a steamy cup of Tazo Passion tea in a pink and white swirled Shopaholic mug on her extra large desk, the aromas of passion fruit, rose petals, hibiscus and orange peel lingering in the air. Spread between five bookshelves, her desk, her dresser, her night table, and even her bed are hundreds of cookbooks, food memoirs, and several year's worth of back issues of Food Network Magazine, Cook's Country, Cooking Light, Food & Wine, and Tea Time. She has chef crushes on Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Rocco DiSpirito, and Giada DeLaurentiis. She has gone to great lengths to discover the best arancini in Brooklyn, the best sushi in Queens, and the best cupcakes on the Lower East Side. She plants an ever expanding garden each spring, harvesting broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, snap peas, cucumbers, edamame, corn, eggplant, zucchini, strawberries, Roma tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, and purple striped heirloom tomatoes all summer. She takes great pleasure in stalking her neighbor's fig tree to find the fruits at their ripest. She shops at local, organic markets. She volunteers at a farm on her days off from work. She believes in sustainable agriculture and picking vegetables at the height of freshness. She bakes as often as possible, spoiling her colleagues with irresistible calories. She pores over restaurant menus, absorbing every word, memorizing dishes she will attempt to recreate at home. She instagrams her favorite meals.

In short, Kimberly loves food. It is a part of her life. A part of her soul. Reading about food, writing about food, taking pictures of food, making, sharing and eating food are passions she could never survive without, nor would she want to try.

Fade back to dinner on a snowy Saturday night. A fancy restaurant. Candles on every table.  Dark wooden chairs. A fireplace roaring. Jazz music in the background. A floor to ceiling wine vault behind the bar. Large windows to watch the flakes drifting downwards. The magic and mystery of a first date.

Sitting next to me is a man who orders a plain hamburger, no cheese and a Corona, no lime.

How can this be? He makes so much money (SO much money!) He drives the snazziest Mercedes I've ever seen. He dresses well. He smells good. He's overweight for sure but he's trying to hide it. He gets major bonus points for choosing the classiest restaurant in town on a Saturday night. I want to eat just about everything on their menu. Maple glazed salmon with fennel apple slaw, candied walnuts and sweet potato puree. Shrimp over rosemary grits with thick bacon and baby tomatoes. Wild mushroom risotto. Lobster mac n cheese. Brick chicken with boursin potatoes and brussels sprouts. Caramelized onion flatbread with arugula, truffles, and taleggio cheese. My mouth is watering from the moment we sit down. How can he possibly order a hamburger???

Also, this is a wine cellar! The whole place is built around what meals pair with the wines they serve. He doesn't eat anything on the menu besides the hamburger and he doesn't drink wine. At all. So he'll have a beer please. And no lettuce, tomato or onion necessary on the burger. No cheese. No condiments. And a knife to go with it ... because he cuts his burger up and eats it with a knife and fork.

I know what you're thinking. I'm being too picky. Too harsh, judgmental, critical, you name it. It's not the burger that I questioned necessarily. It's that ordering a burger in a gorgeous French restaurant is like ... well it's like ordering a Corona in a wine cellar! You can have those at a backyard barbecue. Why would you want them here?

Potato Man tells me that his mother struggled to feed him as a child (which you would never guess from the looks of him now). She was always trying to make him try new things but he deemed himself "a picky eater" and has stubbornly remained that way well into his thirties. He's gotten away with not eating new foods this long. Why start now?

Kimberly: So if I was going to come over and cook for you, what would I make?
Potato Man: I don't know. Pasta?
Kimberly: What kind of pasta do you like?
Potato Man: The kind in the blue box.
Kimberly: *shakes head* No, I mean what size? What shape? What kind of sauce?
Potato Man: Ummm, the sauce from a jar?

I can see we are getting nowhere fast with this line of questioning but then he brings up this gem.

Potato Man: My mom comes over on Sundays and cooks dinner for me. I usually have leftovers for the whole week.
Kimberly: Do you cook on nights that you don't have leftovers?
Potato Man: I can make just about anything in the microwave. Sometimes I use the toaster oven. If I don't feel like cooking at home, I just stop off somewhere on my drive back from work.
Kimberly: Where are your favorite places to stop for food?
Potato Man: Oh, you can find a McDonald's on almost every corner.

He's slowly killing me. I now understand why he's overweight. Also, he's kind of a mama's boy!

Kimberly: So you don't cook at all in your new home? But you built a beautiful kitchen all by hand. You've got state of the art appliances and all the counter space a person could wish for.
Potato Man: Yeah, right now my fridge mostly stores beer and my freezer is full of mom's leftovers.

I'm dying to run away but he insists I order dessert. In this place? You don't exactly have to twist my arm. I choose cinnamon sugar doughnuts filled with dulce de leche inside and a dark chocolate espresso panna cotta on the side. He declares when the dish arrives that he doesn't eat dessert, especially anything the consistency of pudding. He has a pudding aversion. Kill me now.

I insist that he must at least try one of the doughnuts as they are delicious and it can be his Something New for the day. He cracks it open, scoops out the dulce de leche, brushes off the cinnamon coating, takes a bite and says they're "not too terrible." For the record, those doughnuts were freakin heavenly!

Ok fine. Maybe I was being a little hard on him. The poor kid is out on a first date. He's nervous. He made an effort to take me to a nice place. When I asked him (politely, I swear!) why he chose this French wine cellar if he could only eat a hamburger here, he replied very kindly "Because it's the best and you deserve the best."

Aaaaaaaand I'm officially a bitch. Maybe I didn't give the kid a real chance? Maybe I was too busy criticizing his choices to really get to know him? Which is how I found myself on a second date with him three weeks later.

Last night, Potato Man suggested we go to the Cheesecake Factory. Sure, it's a step up from the 2 for $20 menu at Applebee's but it's overrated, always crowded, and I've been there a bajillion times with friends. It's not very dinner-date-y (just my humble opinion.) So I suggested a place very close to the CF but with a much more exciting menu. I love tapas, so I thought maybe we could get a couple of small plates and share them. He could try a few new things without making a real food commitment and I could avoid another hamburger disaster. He checked the menu out online and gave me the all clear, so we agreed to meet up.

After we actually sat down was another story altogether. For starters, he didn't even look at the menu. When I asked him if everything was ok, he said "Yeah, I just know what I'm having." To me, half the fun of going out to a restaurant with another person is looking over the menu and Oohing and Aahing over dishes together. Talking about what looks good, what sounds good, spying on other people's plates as the waiters pass you by, wondering if you should have whatever they're having. Debating the merits of Spanish chorizo and parmesan croquettes versus pot roast smothered cheese fries with gravy. Fried pickles versus eggplant fontina fritters. Asian short rib mini tacos versus Brie and pineapple wontons. His answers were as follows: I don't eat sausage, gravy, pickles, eggplant, anything in a taco shell, and what is Brie?

He'd never heard of Brie!!!

I know, I know, not everyone spent the same time in Paris as I did and I swear that I am not trying to be a pretentious ass here but who in 2014 does not know what Brie cheese is??? They sell it in Stop & Shop for crying out loud. Brie is no longer the exotic Parisian treasure it once was. Brie is so far removed from being foreign these days, it's practically domestic! How can I date someone who's never eaten Brie???

Finally, I choose the most inane appetizer on the menu, imploring him to try one thing with me. Mashed potato spring rolls with cheddar cheese and bacon. They come with sour cream, which he does not use. Sour cream goes against his No Condiments Rule. He takes a small bite of one little potato roll and declares that he likes cheddar cheese and bacon, but he does not like mashed potatoes.

I give up and let him order his hamburger, plan and Corona, no lime.

He asks for no lettuce, tomato, or onion on his burger. He takes his pickles off while making the face of a five year old handing over a huge booger. He picks up his knife and fork and proceeds to cut up his hamburger and eat it. At this point, I gulp down my Reisling and all my harsh words with it.

For dessert, (you knew I was getting dessert, didn't you?) I glance over my choices: Molten chocolate lava cake, rustic caramel apple pie, pecan peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream, lemon blueberry buckle over butter cake, warm sticky bread pudding with cream cheese frosting, banana toffee pie in a cookie crust...The list goes on and on. I sigh a deep exhale of disappointment and disillusion that this "great guy" I've been talking to for almost four months turns out to despise all the things I love the most. It is clear that we have nothing in common, and worse, nothing to talk about. He is all about clubs, parties, sports, beer, cars and television. I am all about books, music, food, and travel. In a sentimental nod to my love for far off places, I choose the beignets with chocolate, raspberry, and creme Anglaise sauces. I figure that in a last ditch effort to enjoy my time with Potato Man, I will close my eyes as I bite into the beignet and imagine being back in the French Quarter at Cafe Du Monde, a rich cup of hot chocolate nearby, powdered sugar falling into my hand, the warm Louisiana sun on my face and jazz music hanging in the air.

When Potato Man asks the waitress for our dessert, he orders baguettes instead of beignets. I do not have the heart to correct him and neither does she. Upon their arrival, he exclaims "Those look just like zeppolis" and he picks one up to eat it. My excitement returns. Would he? Could he? Two bites in, he decides that a beignet is not, in fact, a zeppole, and puts it down.

No, my friend. A beignet is not a zeppole, jello can never be creme brulee, and you and I are done dating. Check please.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

I'm Feeling 32

When you are single on New Year's Eve in New York, there are a million things you could be doing. Head into Times Square to brave the cold and the crowds, wait for the ball to drop and hope your face ends up on television. Scrounge up an invite to a friend's party and get drunk on cheap champagne. Go to a restaurant or club and dance the night away with strangers. Or you can settle in for a lobster dinner with your parents, mix your Cosmo too strong, and kiss your cat at midnight.

Guess which one I did???

My holiday wasn't nearly as depressing as it sounds (and believe me, I know how it sounds!) The truth is that I have a nasty cold and was just as happy to curl up with a box of Kleenex and a pair of plaid flannel pajamas I bought in a clearance sale at Old Navy earlier this week. I would have been miserable at a party where everyone knows everyone, or people are coupled off with a significant other to kiss. I couldn't possibly risk kissing someone anyway without taking the chance of sneezing on them! And even if I could, I am past the age of random hook ups being even remotely satisfying. Instead, I shall leave one night stands and jaeger bombs to the twentysomething size two stiletto clad girls in too tight dresses nipping at my sensible heels. They need to sow their wild oats more than I do. My oats these days are mostly about lowering my cholesterol and incorporating more fiber into my diet anyway.

So how does one spend the last night of 2013? Personally, I spent it the way I would any other occasion as a single thirty-two year old trying to ward off symptoms of becoming Bridget Jones. Most days, I'm really happy with my life, my friends, my job, my apartment, my writing. Other days, I think I'm one branch of mistletoe away from overdosing on vodka and singing along to Celine Dion in my skivvies. Everyone I know is getting engaged, married, or pregnant during the holidays. I'm just getting drunk.

And so it came to pass that I found myself flipping through the channels last night, landing on When Harry Met Sally which happens to be the perfect New Year's Eve movie. As I sat with Cosmo in hand and cat on lap, I imagined myself opening the door at 11:55 to discover the man I love waiting on my doorstep. He would make a heartfelt speech about his deep and abiding feelings for me, how we're perfect for each other, how happy I make him despite our quirks and qualms and complications. In my head, we argue back and forth a bit before the clock strikes twelve and he grabs me and kisses me because he never wants to let go of me. And we spend all of our New Years together for as long as we both shall live.

Then I remember that my life is not directed by Rob Reiner. I pour another drink and flip on another Meg Ryan film. Because if you're going to wallow in your own stubborn independence, you may as well have good role models.

When Sally finds out that her ex is getting married, she freaks out and asks Harry to come over in the middle of the night. (Which he does and they sleep together. Sorry --- spoiler alert!) In the midst of her tears, Sally exclaims "And I'm gonna be forty!" as though this signals the end of the world. Harry says "When?" to which Sally replies "Someday!" Harry pointedly reminds Sally that she will be forty "In eight years!" Do the math: I am the same age now as Sally in that movie!

This got me thinking about being thirty-two and single. I am the same exact age as the controlling Sally, the spiraling Bridget, and even my beloved New York icon Carrie Bradshaw. Forgive me for saying it but does anyone else remember when 32 was OLD?!?! Now it feels like I'm living the music video for the parody of Taylor Swift's "22" *Note: In case you've been hiding under a rock since last April when the song came out, watch the video here: I'm Feeling 32* My newsfeed is clogged with pictures of other people's babies, I'm totally broke, and all I want to do is eat blocks of cheese in my sweatpants with a box of wine, a good book, and an obscenely early bedtime. I even joined Weight Watchers and went to the dentist. Ok, fine... I've been *meaning* to go to the dentist!

The point is that I have four months left of being thirty-two and I plan to make the most of it. I intend to see 2014 not as another year of feeling sorry for my single self, but to DO something about it. My mother has taken over my online dating profile (more on that later!) I have begun running and doing yoga and swimming and riding my bike. I read more than I watch television. I write more than I check facebook. I eat salads more than I eat candy (most days!) All in all, I'm set up to have a fairly happy and healthy year. The only thing missing is that man on my doorstep. So who wants to call Rob Reiner for me and put in a good word? Even after a long, complicated, drawn out, crazy battle of a relationship, "when you meet the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible!"