Category Archives: Love

Second Chances

brad womack

Just because he shows up with roses doesn't mean he deserves a second chance. Even The Bachelor Brad Womack. (ABC: I'm talking to you. Cut the cord.)

I had a LONG conversation last night about second chances. Second chances in the vein of when you think the he or she in your life deserves one. I’ve given a second chance – even a third and fourth – several times in my life. They haven’t worked. None were disastrous per se, but we mostly ended up re-enacting the orginal relationship we had–the one that didn’t work the first time. The second time around ended in exactly the same way as the first along with the compounded fatigue of having to work so hard just to make it…work. So much emotional labor.

My mom and dad always say dating relationships shouldn’t be that hard. The true trials and tests come along when you get married. Yes, relationships take work and sacrifice. But it should be feel good to put out that effort. The relationship should not want to make you stab out your eyeballs and/or need three naps a day because you are worn out from trying so hard.

But then, second chances to work for some people. I know they do. When is it right? Anyone have any stories?

Happy Valentine’s Day Lovies!

I love any day that involves jelly-filled gummy candy. You’ll find me at Trader Joe’s this eve in line for Lovey Gummy Tummies. xoxo

yummy tummy hearts

trader joe's tummy hearts

Teaser Time: The Science of Single

Got another excerpt from The Science of Single for ya. (One hour til publication day. It’s like Christmas/NYE/Birthday all wrapped into one. But honestly … better.) Mostly, I just wanted a reason to post this awesome painting by Dana Ellyn, part of a series inspired by SOS. (The paintings will be on display at Tryst this month. The opening is Thursday at 7pm that I sadly can’t make, but we’ll have another event on 1/20 where I will sign books and give you dating advice. If you want it.)

dana ellyn painting "mirror"

"Mirror" by Dana Ellyn

I have twenty minutes to decide what I’m going to wear before I’m late to meet Lorenzo. At this point, you’d think I’d have a trusty date outfit established that I could pluck out of my closet at a moment’s notice. Today, I’m working with an extra five pounds but feeling like it’s twenty, and it will require me to try on every last piece of clothing I own and endure a lengthy mental flagellation for not eating less and exercising more. The selection of pants that offer enough room is narrowed down to one pair of jeans, and I try on all my summer tops with those jeans to feel like I have some choices. I pull a blouse from the heaping pile of cotton and silk on my bed. It’s gauzy, it’s white, it’s ruffled; it will do. I primp and preen, while trying not to look too primped and preened, and check every five-degree angle of my butt in the mirror. I don’t know why I have to do this every time I leave my apartment, and sometimes I do it when I’m just hanging out at home. I’m in a constant state of neurotic wonder over the size of my ass, and rarely do I ever consider that if I used the time I spent inspecting myself doing squats or lunges instead, perhaps my ass wouldn’t feel or look so enormous.

Four minutes to go. I check my lipgloss for errant cat hairs and head out down my usual path to the strip of bars and restaurants in my neighborhood that’s slowly becoming less international and eclectic and more fraternity row. I pass the Christ House, a stopover for sick and homeless people. I usually gauge how I look by the number of hellos I get from the old men hanging out on the patio smoking menthols and chatting each other up. I’m greeted by a bald guy with skin like a black olive. He’s propped up in a wheelchair, one foot tucked in a bright white sock, the other foot missing, cigarette dangling from cracked lips, and a boom box to his ear. “Mmm. Hell-oh there.” He says it over the purr of Al Green, smiling at me through a stream of smoke.

When I look down shyly, I see light purple lace patterns bobbing around underneath my filmy top. I forgot to switch to my nude-colored bra. Crap. I can’t go home to change. I’m already going to be five minutes late. I trudge on and decide to pretend that I meant to have my pretty bra showing through. Left Bank, which looks like the set of The Jetsons, is empty except for one guy seated at the bar. “Hey!” Lorenzo stays seated and we shake hands. He’s much better looking than his picture, which I had him send even though this flies in the face of blind dating. His hair, complexion, and eyes are warm shades of brown, and he’s wearing a button-down and khaki shorts that seem to swallow him whole. He’s definitely not taller than me, but I knew this would be the case because I had deduced it from one of the pictures he sent.

Find out what happens!

New Year’s Resolution? (JK)

But what about the French cuffs and crinoline?

This made me spit my muesli out this morning (laughing):

“The secret to longevity is never getting married.”

—According to Angela Something or Other who turned 100 years old today, as announced on Willard Scott’s Smucker’s Today Show Birthday Celebration.

Some links on not getting married:

Why We’re Not Getting Married

Seeking Happily Ever After

Teaser Time: The Science of Single

Still not sure if you want to read my new book The Science of Single yet? Let me help ya! An excerpt from the intro with a painting by Dana Ellyn, which illustrates this passage. You’ll be able to see all of her paintings inspired by my book in January at Tryst in Adams Morgan (that’s DC). Her opening event is Jan. 6. I’ll be there for a book event on Jan. 20. Both 7-9pm.

***

"Afloat" By Dana Ellyn

"Afloat" By Dana Ellyn

Intro: The Science of Single

I can trace the origins of this book back to one night—the night I went on a date with Mark, a man I’d met online. There were omens that could have predicted that the evening, with a razor-sharp breeze in the dead of January, would end the way it did.

Omen #1: Mark was shirtless in one of his profile pictures. He had a hunky chest, but the fact that he needed to show it to the world right off the bat smacked of overcompensation.

Omen #2: On the way to our rendezvous point, I ran into a guy I’d broken up with in a heated email exchange a few months before. Actually, I saw the ex-whatever-he-was (what’s the name for the emotionally unavailable guy you date for a few months but can never quite call your boyfriend?) coming toward me, pulled my wool cap low over my eyes, nipped my chin with the zipper on my puffer jacket, and feigned preoccupation with my cell phone so I wouldn’t have to face him as he walked by not five feet away.

Omen #3: I was damaged goods. I forged into the bitter unknown and away from the harmony of my life, which includes a persistent orange cat called Bart and a studio apartment where I can survey my entire domain from every single corner and there are never any surprises. I was getting myself back out there after having my hopes of love and commitment shredded a few weeks before by yet another Ex-Whatever. He lived thousands of miles away, but had still managed to sequester a large percentage of my heart in the years we’d been friends. After four years of intermittent phone calls, somehow, I got the idea that maybe it would work out between us. I was almost relying on it, perhaps because even though there were just phone calls, he was the most consistent man in my life.

My first and last visit, which included a wretched night spent in hostel bunk beds, solidified the fact that that it actually wasn’t going to work out. You have to wonder about someone who’s willing to haphazardly toss her love and commitment eggs into one basket 3,000 miles away, like I did. I was a clueless romantic, and after this experience, I toughened up and decided I would only date men in my area code.

That’s where Mark came in. Despite the omens, it should have been a perfect date. We met at L’Enfant, a small and dark café at the far end of Adams Morgan, the Washington, D.C., neighborhood where I live. It has exposed brick and the type of lighting that makes everyone’s complexion glow, and it’s a safe haven away from the short nightlife strip that’s an odd conglomeration of hookah lounges, sports bars, and coffee shops.

Maybe it was first-date jitters, but Mark was a tough customer. Like a circus lackey, I jumped through hoops trying to get him to show a little teeth, or even curl up the corners of his mouth into a mere hint of a smile. And for two hours, I watched Mark’s face vacillate between a sour-grapes grimace and a deer-in-headlights freeze. I worked through two drinks, a salad, and a bowl of soup, and by the end of it, he made it painfully clear that he did not like me or my sideshow. He expressed this without uttering a single word. Instead, he ceremoniously opened the bill and set it between us so we both could see—and pay. I’ve found that not picking up the tab is a universal sign men use to express that there won’t be a second date, though I was pretty sure Mark’s email said, “Can I buy you a drink?” So I let him struggle over the math of who owed what, we each paid for exactly what we consumed, and left.

That bit at the café was the cakewalk, and it was the next ten minutes trudging home together that tested the boundaries of excruciating pain. Trying to get Mark to pull his conversational weight was like yanking wisdom teeth without an ounce of Novocain. By the time we reached my street corner, I’d expended all of my energy and felt as deflated as a four-day-old Mylar balloon. I’d tried with this man, and I’d failed. But people are people, and we’re all trying to get by in this cold, harsh world, so I stopped to shake hands, hug, and offer a proper good-bye. Mark didn’t stop. He picked up his pace into a trot, barely turning his head as his “Nice to meet you” was diced apart by the shards of ice blowing in the winter wind. I’d been dealing with mostly passive rejection up until then, so this was a sharp, stinging slap across my already frostbitten cheek.

Men were now, quite literally, running away from me. I walked myself to my own door, plopped down on my floor model Ikea couch, and downed half a bottle of three-dollar merlot while Bart head butted my cheek with his wet nose. Frustration, confusion, and anger that needed avenging coursed through my veins. They funneled up to my heart, and by the time the emotions reached my brain, they had mixed themselves into a productive email to an editor pitching a story about dating that turned into an article reviewing dating self-help books that turned into an idea to write a book about dating. Not a dating-advice book, though. An investigation—an experiment—to see what happens when you use all the resources you possibly can to meet and date the opposite sex.

Why I Wrote a Book About Dating…

and other revelations in this slightly awkward author video. I don’t know who edited this business, but he/she did a really, really good job. (And I love that brass section.) Ignore the sections where I go tangential and repetitive. I was really nervous.

 

 

A Pocket Full of Peace

yoga squat
I love this pose. It’s good.

In yoga this morning, my teacher complimented my precision in executing the poses – that she could tell I was thinking about alignment etc., but perhaps I could concentrate on my breath a little more. Because after all, that’s why we’re there– to breathe. Everything else is secondary. And life, movement, etc., flows out of this breath.

This immediately resonated with me because I hold my breath all the time. I’m constantly thinking and executing and working on everything being perfect, and then, all of a sudden, I sharply suck in all the air around me in because I’d either stopped breathing or it was too shallow to do any good.

I just got a box full of final copies of my book, which arrived at my doorstep like Moses in a basket, and I’ve been thinking about the last 4 1/2 years that I’ve been working on it in one way or another (I’m pretty sure 70% of the time I was simply crying over garbled prose). I spent a lot of time holding my breath while dating, writing and editing–afraid of the outcome, the process or just doing all of it terribly wrong. I’m hard on myself about most things including dating: Why am I not married? Why am I so judgmental? Why do I gravitate toward a certain male personality that seems to break my heart in exactly the same way every. single. time?).

I don’t know if breathing is the cure, but perhaps ceasing with all this analysis and just sitting with myself and breathing and enjoying what’s around me (a finished book for Pete’s sake!) rather than try to fit it into my mold of perfection because that’s how I thought it was supposed to go, I might find pockets of peace I can swim around in joyfully.

Namaste.