Thursday, June 30, 2011

The RMOS Handbook

Johnny B. has written a counter-testimony in which he explains his side of the story. It's a very refreshing and funny look "behind the curtain." It will go up tomorrow--same time, same place!

About two years ago, my friend, Brie, and I decided that we were tired of mixed signals and random make-out sessions gone wrong—there needed to be rules to ensure no more girls (or guys) lost their heads reading more into a simple make-out sesh than was really there. We nominated ourselves the High Commissioners of RMOS protocol and devised a handbook for the education and betterment of singletons everywhere.  

**Any similarities between Rule #1, its Amendments and Fight Club are purely coincidental. Many thanks to Brie’s summer job at an unnamed law firm for providing some of our inspiration and most of our vocabulary. Please note that the following rules are meant to be read with your tongue firmly placed in your cheek. If you do decide to take this handbook seriously, we, the High Commissioners of RMOS protocol, remind you to please RMOS responsibly.**

Rule #1:

You may not, under any circumstances, tell a single person about the random make-out sessions (henceforth known as RMOS)

The 1st Amendment to Rule #1
You may tell one person, known to both parties as the “Best Friend,” about the RMOS

The 2nd Amendment to Rule #1
If someone guesses that RMOSs are taking place between the two parties prior to disclosure to the “Best Friend,” that person takes precedence and the “Best Friend” in the first amendment is thus replaced.

The 3rd Amendment to Rule #1
An RMOS participant may tell someone other than the “Best Friend” about the RMOS arrangement as long as the third party bears no affiliation to the core group of friends surrounding the RMOS participants and/or has never met the male or female RMOS counterpart.

Rule #2:
You may not directly reference the RMOS in person, through email, snail mail, by phone or by text.

Rule #2A
Even if you KNOW an RMOS is likely to take place at a given time, you STILL do not talk about it beforehand.

Rule #3:
You NEVER call or text after an RMOS to say that you had fun during the aforementioned RMOS.

Rule #3A
“Cute Coupley Crap,” which includes, but is not limited to, hand-holding, hair-stroking, and pet-naming, is not permitted after the RMOS has reached its conclusion.

Rule #4:
If you have not had an RMOS in one year (twelve months time) then you no longer have the right to an RMOS, unless a verbal extension agreement is reached by both parties (which is in direct violation of Rule #2 and/or Rule #2A).

Rule #5
It should be noted that the female participant in the RMOS will not cross county lines for RMOS purposes because that is just slutty.

Rules 6-8, otherwise known as the "Gremlin Rules"
  • Never get them wet (i.e. showers at the residence of an RMOS participant if the place of residence is not the place of residence of the party in question are strictly forbidden)
  • Keep them away from sunlight (i.e. RMOSs should never take place during daylight hours)
  • Never feed them after midnight (i.e. participants in an RMOS should never share a meal or snack, unless the food in question is pivotal to the RMOS itself, between the hours of midnight and dawn)

Rule #9:
Participants in an RMOS should never complete a REM cycle in the presence of another RMOS participant.
Rule #10:
A single RMOS should not last longer than six hours, excluding travel time and pre-RMOS set-up.
And lastly, the Golden RMOS Rule that may never, under any circumstances, be violated:
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Expiration Dating: Part II

Disclaimer: There are probably going to be points in this post where I sound incredibly bitter—and I totally was. But keep in mind this blog is told in the past tense ;)

The last week of October, I realized something slightly terrifying—I liked Johnny way more than I thought or intended. Which was worrisome. Since he knew for sure now that he was leaving after Christmas (it was up in the air there for a bit), I was convinced that he was going to break things off early—right as I got all emotionally involved.

After the Halloween party, I was ecstatic. I had won a small victory in my mind, and I began to think that this was possibly a game-changer.  Perhaps this meant that Johnny was rethinking our original plan—maybe he’d decided that that he didn’t want to give me up, give us up, because of a measly two-hour drive. One word, two syllables, and I was making plans.

I was delusional.

The day Johnny called it quits, we were supposed to grab lunch. I hadn’t been able to see him as much lately, and I was looking forward to spending some time alone with him. About an hour before we were supposed to meet, he sent me a text to say that he was sorry, but he had forgotten he’d already agreed to eat with Sophie—one of those girls with whom he actually had meaningful discussion.

I won’t lie, I was pissed, not only because I felt like he was blowing me off, but also because of who he was blowing me off for. And it’s not like he didn’t know how I felt—we’d talked about how I wanted him to make more an effort to open up to me on a more emotional and/or spiritual level, and here was his chance and he was throwing it away.

Sidebar: I am fully aware of how needy this sounds.

Anyway, my afternoon and evening were booked up, but we decided that I would pop by between choir and CARPOOL later that night.

At choir practice, I told my friends the good news—Johnny had finally moved us to the next level on the commitment measuring stick. They knew that this was a long-fought battle, and so gave the obligatory squeals of excitement.

I don’t remember what exactly happened on the drive to his house, or if he said or did something when I got there that brought all of that pent-up frustration and jealousy to the surface, but I do remember that for the ten minutes I was there, I acted like a caricature of a whiny, passive-aggressive girlfriend. In fact, I’m fairly certain that I even threw the phrase “If you don’t know why I’m mad, I’m not going to tell you! Figure. It. Out.” or one of its derivatives down when I left.

Yeah… I’m not proud of it. I had spent two months being all chill and mellow, pretending like we didn’t have any problems that needed to be dealt with, so when all that emotion was finally released, it was a freakin’ deluge.

In my defense, I am pretty good about knowing when I need to apologize for something, so I called Johnny five minutes after I left and said that I was sorry for being a crazy person—it had been a long day, and I knew that I took it out on him with no warning whatsoever. I asked if I could come over again after my meeting so that we could talk it out, and he said yes.

An hour and a half later, we were sitting in his room, and I could tell by the look in his eye that he’d already made up his mind—we weren’t going to be talking anything out after all.
I refused to cry in front of him, so I played it cool as he rambled on about wanting to spend more time with his friends before he left CStat, and how he didn't want to have to worry about me being jealous that they were taking time away from us.

Me (slowly): So what are you thinking? You think we should just break up now?

Him: That’s kind of what I’m leaning towards…

Me (nonchalantly): Okay. That’s fine. We had a good run.
Him: Don't do that.
Me (in mock-anger): You were just using me for my Sweeny Todd tickets, weren’t you…

He was less amused by this. I promised him that I wouldn’t cry or hate him forever (which was not a lie. I only hated him for a little bit).

In the car on the way home, I called my friend, Emma, from choir, to whom I had just given the good news—I could hardly get this out, I was laughing so hard through my tears: “Sooo, remember tonight when I said that Johnny finally called me his girlfriend? Yeah…he changed his mind.” The whole thing in that moment just struck me as incredibly funny.

Sidebar: I am not crazy, I just find the timing of my life hysterical. Like when I got rear-ended on my way home from getting an estimate done on some self-inflicted, accidental damage to my car—support beam…long story.

Thanks goodness for cell phones (and T.I.). My roommates were there when I got home, ice cream at the ready (Caroline is addicted to Bluebell, so we always had a couple of gallons in our freezer).

Over the next few weeks, I dealt. I dyed my hair, cleaned my closet, rocked out the GRE. I began to refer to the night we broke up as “Guy Fawkes Night,” which made my inner history nerd chuckle. I rationalized things and engaged in some impressive self-therapy sessions. I both avoided Johnny and sought him out. I wrote exactly one angry free-verse poem. I called Indy up (“Surprise! My newly-serious relationship with Johnny is now newly-ended...”), and invited him up to a friend’s party.  

A month went by. I have this theory that guys have a sixth sense when it comes to knowing if you’re close to getting over them, and if you are, they have this compulsion to do something immediately to reel you back in. Johnny drunk dialed me over Christmas and left me a nonsensical, though slightly leading, voicemail, followed up with some tipsy, flirty texts over the rest of the holiday. I’m ashamed to admit, I ate it up at first, but then it started to piss me off that he only ever contacted me when he was drunk, horny, or in need of an ego-boost.

Soon after that self-realization, I discovered that he had started dating someone new. She was blonde, bubbly, beautiful…and eighteen. She also lived in College Station, but they were going to try the long-distance thing because they were just—so—CRAZY about one another.

I mean, whatever. It was cool. There was a “If she was born in the 90s—go for it!” clause in fine print there at the bottom of his playbook.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Expiration Dating: Part I

Sometimes, when you start dating someone, you realize that the relationship has a definite endpoint—an expiration date, if you will. For whatever reason (and there are many), both of you know that this isn’t really going anywhere, but you decide to have your fun anyway.
In my opinion, with hindsight being 20/20 and all, expiration dating is a phenomenally stupid idea.

My senior year of college, the stars aligned and for the first time ever, someone I was interested in was interested in me, and we both actually did something about it.

His name was Johnny Brandolf, and we’d been friends for awhile—we bonded one spring night my sophomore year over our mutual heartbreak when we were both rejected by the objects of our affection. He was musician and a bit of a bad boy; I was a good girl who was finally starting to come into her own.

We struck up a flirtation after I got back from Italy, and it became clear that things between Luke and me had fizzled anti-climatically. Those first couple of weeks back at school were delicious—I wasn’t exactly sure of Johnny’s feelings, but I felt this zing of frission any time we were together. The promise of possibility hung heavy in the air.

Finally, we were at his place one night after a few drinks at O’Bannon’s. We had been watching TV (back episodes of HIMYM, if I had to guess), and all of his roommates had gone to bed, leaving Johnny and I snuggled up on the Cuddle Bag. I must have had some sort of out-of-body experience, because I actually made the first move and kissed him.

Past experience had taught me that we might make out a few times, then things would get awkward, but Johnny ended up surprising me. After a couple of weeks feeling each other and our intentions out, we started dating.

For reasons I won’t get into here, we decided that we would keep our fledgling relationship under wraps for a bit, simply because we didn’t want to deal with all the inevitable drama—basically, our group of friends was slightly incestuous in an “everyone-has-dated-everyone-else” kind of way, and we knew the fall out was not going to be pretty.

Besides labeling was proving to be a bit of an issue. Johnny wanted us to date exclusively: he didn’t want to see anyone else, and he didn’t want me to either, but any mention of the G-word made him visibly cringe. It seemed that we had a fundamental difference in definitions: to me, dating exclusively meant that Johnny was my boyfriend. Johnny, however, did not agree.

Other issues began to arise. It’s true, Johnny and I had a lot of fun that semester—I was taking eighteen hours, but still managed to hit up O’Bannon’s with him five nights out of seven; he lived with a bunch of guys I’d been friends with since freshman year, so it was never awkward when I came over to hang out—I became pretty much a permanent fixture at their house. He was an excellent kisser. But our relationship was purely superficial. We never really talked about anything important. Honestly, we didn’t do much talking, period.

It wasn’t that Johnny was just a really private person who didn’t discuss his problems with anyone. No, he would talk about them—with a couple of his close, female friends, over long lunches. I’ll admit it, I was jealous, mainly because I didn’t understand his relationship with these girls. Because we didn’t talk about it. It was quite the catch-22.

After we’d been together for about a month, Johnny gave me some bad news: he was going to be moving back home at Christmas. He didn’t believe in long-distance (remember this, it’s important), and so this thing we had going now had an expiration date. We agreed that we would keep seeing each other, but with the understanding that we were over come Christmas break.
I said that I was okay with this, but the truth is, I was starting to be way more invested in this “relationship” than I was letting on.
Sidebar: This, in my opinion, is why expiration dating never works. Someone is always going to develop stronger feelings than the other, and inevitably, they’re the ones who are going to get hurt when the relationship ends. I think it’s better in this situation to just cut your losses while you’re still ahead, before there’s any bitterness.
Expiration date or not, Halloween that year marked a big step for Johnny and me—he finally (albeit drunkenly) dropped the G-word. He and his roommates threw a huge party at their house—we had Jell-O shots that didn’t gel because there was so much vodka in them and some truly atrocious trashcan punch.  At one point, Johnny decided that it would be an excellent plan to climb up onto the roof for some impromptu star-gazing—I broke their back screen door attempting to head him off, after which I stumbled upon a couple making out in the bushes.
Sidebar: It was my friend, Sean, and an unnamed lady friend. He refused to reveal her identity to me that night, so I pretended to let it go. Really, I just put a reminder in my phone that read, “Sean’s secret—discover.” I got it out of him eventually the next day.
Johnny was kind of in and out of the house all night; I think he was bouncing back and forth between his house and another party down the street. Left to my own devices for half the time, I struck up a conversation with a cute guy who was dressed up as Indiana Jones.
Sidebar: I’m a little obsessed with Harrison Ford in the original Indiana Jones trilogy—he was one of my first celebrity crushes. Needless to say, I was a smidge smitten, and consequently may have flirted with CC Indy a bit.
Indy and I were beer pong partners and, let me just say, we were rockin’ it out. However, in between one of our rounds, Johnny and I found ourselves semi-alone in his room—his friends kept popping in and out, and Johnny, exasperated, huffed, “Can’t I just have a few minutes alone with my girlfriend?!”
I raised my eyebrows, and he shrugged sheepishly, a sly grin on his face.
“You think you’re sneaky, huh?” I asked, and kissed him. “Finally!” I thought. Progress.
About ten minutes after this proclamation, Indy asks me out.
I try to let him down easy, saying that I was actually seeing someone already, and things had literally just started to get more serious between the two of us (I had conviently forgotten that this relationship was only good for about six more weeks). Indy said he understood, but to call him if things didn’t work out and I found myself in Houston. I said that I definitely would.
As any comedian worth his salt will tell you, good comedy is all about timing. So, naturally...
...five days later, Johnny broke up with me.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Rando Roundup: The Chameleon

Sometimes, just to keep things interesting, I suppose, a Rando will use camouflage to lull you into a false sense of security before he (or she) shows their true colors. 
On the surface, all seems well—he’s attractive, moderately well-spoken, he didn’t try to start a conversation with either of the following:

a)      “Are your parents retarded, because you special.”

b)      “You must work at McDonald’s, because you’re McGorgeous.”
Sidebar: Notice the quotation marks? I have had both of these used on me. Same guy. He also called my home phone and hung up repeatedly and gave me a dilapidated fake rose in between classes on Valentine’s Day.

You think to yourself, “Wow. Normal guys never hit on me at the bar/pool/gym. This seriously never happens!” You’re flattered, and a little bit intrigued. You find yourself scribbling your number on a napkin, or, if you’re really prepared, one of these, and secretly hope that he calls you soon.
Then he texts you or calls you and the next thing you know, you realize that the Rando-in-Disguise has conned you into believing he’s Joe Cool, when in fact he is a RANDO.

Of course, this happened to me not too long ago. My friend, Katie (our own guest blogger) and I were at her pool, minding our own business, chatting about books and getting a tan, when we noticed these two guys come in and get in the water. We were into our own conversation, but after about thirty minutes or so, the guys approached and engaged us in some playful banter.

They seemed cute and nice and appeared to be interested in us, so we gave them our numbers without trepidation when they asked.

A few hours later, after Katie and I went our separate ways, I received this text from Secret-Rando Oliver—

Him: Hey, E, it’s Oliver. You girls just missed out on the best 100% fresh meat
Sidebar: When they left the pool, they said that they were going to cook up some Halibut they had allegedly caught themselves, so this comment makes me think that either Oliver and Co. don’t know the difference meat and fish, or he’s making an awkward, dirty comment.
Even with that promising first written exchange, I didn’t write him off completely yet.
Sidebar: Big mistake. Big. HUGE.
I heard again from Less-Secret-Rando Oliver a few days later at about eleven PM, when he asked if I wanted to meet up for a beer. I replied that I was actually already in for the night as I had an early morning, but perhaps another time?

Him: Yeah, maybe. I hope it’s earlier than six AM or I’m going to feel guilty

Me (confused, as this makes no sense): Why’s that?

Him: Let’s do tomorrow, then
Me: That might work. What time?
Him: I can probably do six
Me: Let me check with Katie. Your friend coming?
Sidebar: I assumed that both of them wanted to see both of us. At least, that was the impression I’d been given by the friend via facebook chat earlier that day.
Him: Ha, we only hang out in groups now? I could check
Sidebar: Perhaps I’m reading waaay too much into his inflexion here, but really, why was it such a big deal that I would rather NOT meet up with him alone? I don’t know him. I don’t know anyone who could vouch that he was not, in fact, the kind of person who would drug and kidnap me and sell me into white slavery (FYI, my mom had just watched Taken AGAIN…never a good thing). Even if a non-solitary meeting wasn’t his ideal, couldn’t he have just sucked it up?
At any rate, I tried to make light of this by saying, “ Well, you know how us girls are…always going to the bathroom in packs.
His response?
“There’s a lot of things they’re willing to do together...”
Aaaaannnd I’m done.

I never responded to that last text, gross and inappropriate as it was, so I was surprised when he texted me again the next night.
Him: Drinks tonight
Sidebar: Apparently, we’re skipping the niceties and not even bothering with punctuation at this point.
I said that I had already made plans with a friend, but to have fun. In return, I got one word: “flake.”
Oh, Definitely-a-Rando Oliver, you cut me deep…you cut me real deep.
I’ve been waiting by my phone with bated breath ever since.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Guest Blog: Once Upon a Time, con't.

**When we last left Katie, she was in the middle a pre-Valentine’s date with Mr. Suave, who maybe meant well, but was causing Katie to quickly lose her patience, and her appetite, with his lame lines and questionable motives.

The conversation obviously was not going well at all—my attempts to get to know Suave were seriously halted. Finally it was sushi time, so we downed our drinks and walked to the original restaurant. There still wasn’t a table ready. Mr. Suave said it was ok if they sat us at the bar, which I immediately dread because I can see it from where we’re standing. It is a teeny, tiny bar counter. We are sitting on teeny, uncomfortable, backless stools. There’s not enough legroom to turn our bodies and face each other.

So, we sit side-by-side facing the Japanese sushi chef while attempting to make eye contact every-so-often throughout our dinner conversation. Not exactly ideal, but I’m again trying to roll with it (no pun intended). So Mr. Suave made a hiccup in the plans—but he really wanted to take me out for sushi. It maybe even was kind of sweet that he was so insistent upon keeping his word. This is what I’m trying to convince myself of. I don’t want to be a silly, uptight girl who makes up her mind too quickly about a guy over a few less-than-lovely moments. I’m really trying to have an open mind—after all, how many college guys ask for your number, soberly contact you a few days later, and actually take you out on a date? In my experience, they were few and far between. I vow to continue to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Mr. Suave ordered our sushi; I think I picked two and he picked two, which we were meant to share. All of our sushi couldn’t fit on the counter in front of us. We could only fit one plate at a time. Throughout dinner, the conversation was pathetically dwindling. I feel like the only one trying to keep the momentum going, as he’d made little attempt to get to know me, and instead proudly explained past instances where he felt like Tucker Max (as if that were a good thing). After side-talking and side-eating two really large sushi rolls, I’m feeling pretty full. By the fourth one, I’m donezo (and when were we going to leave for the movie? It’s getting late!). But Suave insisted I eat more. I insist I’m full. He playfully insists again. I tell him I could hardly eat any of the third one, but thank you. He doesn’t drop it. I literally had to eat some of that fourth roll because he peer pressured me into it. I’m not proud of this moment. I just really wanted to get out of there.

Sidebar (E): Okay, seriously, WTF? Does this guy have some sort of force-feeding fetish? I don't even know what to do with this...

Finally, dinner is over. Before we leave the restaurant, Mr. Suave pulls out the movie tickets he had bought earlier online. Whoa—I’m pleasantly surprised! How sweet and thoughtful of him! I’m so glad I gave him the benefit of the doubt. This was a step onto the right track. Major brownie points.

But wait—he bought them for a 9:00 movie.

It’s past ten. Uh, what?

He is seemingly surprised but not bothered; however, I am a bit confused. Didn’t he know the movie was at nine? He picked the tickets. He was excited about this movie, too. I would have been more than understanding had we eaten at the other restaurant so we could make the movie on time… which he had already bought tickets for… which we both really wanted to see. Which was only playing the week of Valentine’s Day.

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t angry with Suave, I just didn’t understand him. I was frustrated and turned-off. Why go through all the trouble of planning ahead to buy movie tickets only to have us miss the movie? And now what were we going to do?

Mr. Suave still wanted to go see the movie, and thought maybe he could use the tickets for a later showing. We arrive at the theater, only to see that there wasn’t a later showing. I’m more frustrated and definitely disappointed. I’m trying not to let it show though—because he seemed so cool with it all. He didn’t apologize or anything (which, I realize now, would have curbed my frustration some). Then, he says he still wants to see a movie! I just want to go home; there isn’t another movie playing I wanted to see. I tell him it’s okay, we can see a movie another time. I have class in the morning. Let’s just call it a night.

But Mr. Suave isn’t fazed by my plea. He picks the movie Gran Torino. Which doesn’t start for at least another half-hour. At this point, I’m too frustrated and tired to fake much interest or enthusiasm. I meekly shrug my shoulders and say alright. I don’t even know what this movie is about, but the name of it sounds like a car.

Once again, we go to a nearby bar to pass the time. After indulging in drinks before and during dinner, I don’t really want another now, so I tell Suave I’ll just have a Shirley Temple. He asks me if I’m serious, and when I tell him I am, he’s amused. I shrug my shoulders again. I want to go to bed.

I’ll spare you all the juicy details of this next phase of the date. In summary, after waiting for him to take the reins and try to get to know me, I begin to fill the awkward silence with more chitchat. I can’t help myself. I’m trying to make this as painless as possible. At one point, Mr. Suave whipped out his iPhone and I asked him about that. I played with a light saber app. That was probably the highlight of the night. The app, obviously—not the conversation.

We go watch Gran Torino. It was actually a really good movie- but definitely not a date movie (if you’re thinking the Valentine-horror movie isn’t exactly date material either, but I beg to disagree). I remember wishing I was more awake to fully take it in—and with someone that I wanted to discuss it with afterward.

Suave takes me home, and asks if he can walk me to my door. I oblige, out of fear of a repeat of the sushi incident, but I’ve already made up my mind that we are not going to kiss.

Sidebar (Katie): This isn’t unusual. At one point or another, girls usually decide how far they want to go with a guy way before the date is over.

Sidebar (E): Truth.

So he can walk me up. Whatever. By now I’m a bit surprised he hasn’t sensed my indifference from the majority of the date. I later learned (years later) that guys are pretty oblivious to that kind of thing.

I unlock my apartment door, and he immediately and silently invites himself in. I’m in my kitchen, cutting the flowers and putting them in water, while he watches and tries to chitchat. Out of nowhere, Mr. Suave proudly admits that I’m the first girl he’s ever bought flowers for. I can’t help but give him a look (this is my famous/infamous natural reaction to things weird, dumb, or offensive). I say something like: surely he couldn’t be serious? What about prom? High school? Mother’s Day? How did he get away with never having to buy flowers?

I was set up again. He smugly replies that he gave those girls flowers… but I was the only one he had bought them for. The others got last minute flowers pulled from his mother’s front yard because he didn’t really care.

Sidebar (E): Again. Ew.

I’m completely, strongly, turned off. The last shred of “give him the benefit of the doubt” was worn out because:

(A)  I don’t believe him. It was totally a set-up. Like he’d been waiting all night for the right moment to whip out this golden anecdotal nugget.

(B)  Is this supposed to impress me? To make me feel special? I’m supposed to feel special because a 22-year-old guy, who pulls flowers from his yard for all his unworthy dates, found me good enough to finally buy a bouquet for? Oh yeah, what a catch. He is soo sweet.

I remind Mr. Suave that I have class in the morning, and don’t even hug him goodbye. Yet, he leaves with a smile on his face. I don’t know what he’s thinking, but I know I don’t want to go out with him ever again.

Luckily for your entertainment, and unluckily from my perspective, this is not the last I will hear of Mr. Suave.

Poor Katie. This guy did so many things wrong, but I think his main problem was trying way too hard. I have a couple of friends who are genuinely really great guys, but who have an unfortunate propensity to jump the gun. I usually make them call me with their first and second date plans for approval first. It’s entirely possible that I am alone in this group, but I simply think taking a girl to the fanciest restaurant in town, or dropping $150 on baseball tickets for a first date makes you seem like too much of an eager beaver. Impress her with the real you—with your conversation and gentlemanly attitude (please, always open the door for a lady, regardless of how old, unattractive or related to you she is). Save the big ticket items for later, if you must.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Guest Blog: Once Upon a Time... I Met Prince Charming-When-You're-Drunk

Today’s tip on how NOT to lose a girl in one date also marks our first guest blogger! My good friend, Katie, is the survivor and author of today’s cautionary tale, with commentary by yours truly.

How to Ensure a Second Date: Tip #3

Beware the grand, romantic gesture if you haven’t been dating for long (or haven’t even gone out officially  yet).

I don’t know about all you ladies, but I am not afraid to admit that deep down I long for that romantic Hollywood fantasy- the big grand gesture. You know what I’m talking about—your dream guy chasing your plane as it departs, suddenly confessing his undying love for you or giving you the magic kiss to wake you from a 100 year nap… it’s always a memorable scene in which he’s totally courageous and vulnerable, and you’re looking freaking gorgeous (without really trying, of course).

The reason these fantasies are so precious is because things like this don’t happen every day. They are highly unrealistic. The chances of you, for example, looking your absolute best while enjoying a cigarette break on the beautifully lit rooftop of a fabulous club in Austin on New Year’s Eve, and getting asked out by a quality guy who just so happens to live in the same town as you do (Lubbock, which is roughly a 6 hour drive away), are slim to none.

Well, I can’t say that, because it’s happened to me. Or, more accurately, it happened-ish.

So there I am, celebrating the New Year and newfound-singleness with my good friend, all dolled up and danced out, when we decide to hit the rooftop for a ciggy. Suddenly, distress strikes; we soon realize that neither one of us had the precious lighter we’d looked after all weekend. But wait—out of the corner of my eye walks up a handsome stranger who offers me a light.

Sidebar (Katie): I should note that people always look more attractive when you’re single and drunk on New Year’s Eve.

Not only did he offer a light, but he also struck up polite and fun conversation. Of course, in the midst of this romantic scene, I’m still being realistic. I wasn’t expecting anything past a midnight kiss at this point. Until we learned we were both visiting friends in Austin and were returning to Lubbock after winter break.

What are the odds? Could this be fate? Haven’t I seen this in a movie somewhere?

He (let’s call him Mr. Suave) asked for my number, and my friends and I left soon after. A couple of days later, Mr. Suave texted me and asked when I’d be back at school so he could take me out. Wow. He actually followed up—and not with a booty call. Totally appropriate conversation. Planning ahead. Short and sweet message. He was acing it as far as I was concerned.

Sidebar (E): It did seem promising. And yet, as we all know, these stories rarely end well.

Fast-forward a couple of weeks, and Suave asked me out, for our first date, on February 13th.

Yes, the day before Valentine’s Day. He told me he wanted to be my valentine (because I was his), but didn’t want to be so bold as to ask me out for the first time on Valentine’s Day.

Sidebar (E): Awwww...ick.  

I understood what he was getting at—but I thought it was a little weird. Why not just ask me out a few days (heck, even a week) after Valentine’s Day and avoid the awkwardness altogether? There wasn’t a rush. But who am I to be so nitpicky.

He asked me to dinner and a movie, and we agreed to see a special release 3D anti-Valentine horror flick. I’m not kidding. We were both slaves to our curiosity, but was glad he suggested it because I really wanted to see it (I know I’m totally a weird girl).

Date night arrives. Suave calls me when he is outside my apartment building and asks how to get up. As I had explained to him on the phone earlier, I would just meet him outside, because it is an unfortunate hassle to let people in the building. He insists on coming up. I tell him again, no, and further explain that in order for him to be let in, I would have to leave my apartment, walk around the corner to take the elevator down, and walk around to another corner to open the door, so at that point we might as well just leave. Suave wasn’t satisfied with my refusal, but I didn’t want to do that silly charade. I didn’t appreciate his pushing to come up to my apartment, but I chalked it up to him just really, really wanting to be a traditional gentleman (despite my womanly intuition telling me otherwise).

Sidebar (E): See I would totally be thinking “stalker!” at this point. But then I’m all dark and twisty inside ;)

I come outside, and Suave steps out of his car to greet me. He opens the passenger car door, and I nearly plop myself (it was a low, little car) onto a dozen red roses placed on my seat. Mr. Suave explained that was why he wanted to come up—so I could put them in water. That probably would have been better than having me sit on them. Anyway, I was a little bewildered. A dozen red roses on the first date? Could this guy be for real? And so much for not making it feel like a Valentine’s date…I tell myself not to be turned off by this cheesy, trying-too-hard, gesture. Suave was just trying to be nice.

Sidebar (Katie): It’s so not a big deal I couldn’t put them in water. Certainly not worth repeatedly pushing to come up. In my opinion, it’s the thoughtfulness in the moment of getting flowers that is so wonderful, I don’t care how long they last.

Sidebar (E): Oh, hell to the no. This guy just went from zero to creepy in less than a second. See? Big, romantic gesture? Too soon, boys, too soon.

Mr. Suave and I arrive at the sushi restaurant (which was pre-approved by me via text) and there is a 30-minute wait. We didn’t have a reservation. I’m a little turned off, because everyone in Lubbock knows the three sushi restaurants we have are always packed on the weekend. But, I very generously suggested we go to a restaurant nearby, and he agreed, but not to eat—only to get a drink while we wait for our table. Not what I was going for, but okay. I’m also secretly hoping Suave is sure that there’s a movie playing at a later time, and so it’s alright to delay dinner. And I’m really hungry.

We chat while we’re getting a drink at the other restaurant. At this point we’ve only made casual small talk, so now I’m trying to get to know the mysterious Mr. Suave—trying to uncover his interests, his stories, his goals, etc. He coolly tells me he wants to be in the restaurant/hotel business. I find out he’s worked in many restaurants since he was in high school. He implies that he knows all these behind-the-scenes restaurant tips and tricks, and is always mentally critiquing his dining experience, so naturally I try to test him (also trying my best to be flirtatious in a dry conversation).

I ask if he’s been watching our bartender—if he liked his skills or not. I asked him if he liked the lighting of the restaurant, or the uniforms. My questions were quickly dismissed however, because honestly, he was too busy looking at me to notice those things. Because… I looked so beautiful, he said with a sly smile.

Sidebar (E): Gag me.

I wanted to barf.

I almost wasn’t sure if he’d really just said that. I felt set up. He did not at all seem genuine. I think all I could muster was a weak “thank you.”

I’m a tad (err, a tad more) concerned that the universe got this one wrong.

**Part two goes up tomorrow! Believe me, it only gets worse from here. But, for now, I'm curious as to what you think: were the roses sweet or creepy? Vote in the sidebar!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Please pardon the following interruption from your regular HtLaGiOD content :)

I don’t know what I want.

There, Commenter Mark, I’ve said it. I cannot speak for women everywhere, nor will I try to, but I know myself and I know that I don’t really know what it is that I want.

When I was fifteen, I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time, and like many other adolescent girls and British chick-lit heroines out there, I said to myself, “This is it. Mr. Darcy is the man for me.” Many may argue that Mr. Darcy is the original “hot asshole”—I mean, come on, upon proposing marriage to Lizzy he tells her that everyone, his family, his friends, and even he himself, think that this is a terrible idea since clearly his financial situation and social standing are so much superior to hers; if this were modern times, I might write him off as another jerk rando in Monday morning’s post.

And yet women everywhere LOVE him. Go into any Barnes and Noble, or do a search on Amazon and you will find scores of novels written about or inspired by Austen’s Mr. Darcy. So what is it about him that arouses such admiration? Is it just the close-fitting breeches and top hat, or Colin Firth in a wet white shirt? Is it the money? Or is it something more? Mr. Darcy, as much of an ass as he could be, challenged Elizabeth and kept her on her toes. Maybe that’s it then.

According to Commenter Mark, women want to be challenged. They want someone to treat them as an equal, someone who views both of them on even-footing, rather than taking the medieval view that women should be placed on a pedestal and worshipped, but never really touched. As he said, that’s boring, and people generally don’t like being bored.

So what we’re looking for here is some sort of happy medium between a nice guy who is too shy to talk us over dinner or drinks because he’s afraid of saying something stupid or offensive and the guy who oozes confidence and sex appeal and knows that he has his pick of the ladies in the bar, and abuses that knowledge with abandon.

It’s a tall order to fill. Some people get lucky on their first or second try; some people like me are still looking. And so I date.  The really bad or awkward ones I write up here, the others fade away for one benign reason or another and don’t make the blog. And since I don’t know what I want, I keep looking, and will continue to look, trying different combinations or levels of asshole and nice guy until I finally do get it right.

And now, back to the show!

A Tale of Two Proms: Part II

First of all, my apologies for the delay in today’s posting! I was in a very minor car accident yesterday (no worries, all persons involved are fine), and so spent the morning dealing with the insurance companies. It has been suggested that one of these days I write a post on my incredible bad luck with cars; seriously, my life is an exercise in automobile-related irony. But for now, I still have other stories to tell…

Since my junior prom experience with a date left something to be desired, my senior year I made the conscious decision to go stag to prom. At this point, I was quite used to being the odd wheel, and thought it would be more fun to go with the group sans-date and hijack my friends’ dates every once in awhile for a dance.

This was the Age of Xanga, and I took to mine daily, gossiping about what everyone planned to wear and how so-and-so had been asked. I even published my own prom-asking scheme, or rather one that I thought would be geek chic, which involved a calculator program that was activated when you turned your TI-83 on during Calculus class: Go to Prom w/ me? Y or N. It was the digitalized upgrade of the check yes or no note.

It was funny though—the previous year, when I really wanted a date, no one asked me, but this year, when I was determined to go alone, several young men came out of the woodwork and asked for the pleasure of squiring me to the dance. One of them even took my Xanga suggestion—when I typed “N,” my calculator’s screen proclaimed over and over again that I was a lesbian (apparently, he’d been talking to my mom). Looking back, I attribute this surge in wannabe gentleman callers to the fact that my ill-advised, side-swept bangs had finally grown out, but who knows what their inspiration was.

I was unwavering in my plan, and so continued to politely decline while offering to save them a dance. My resolution, however, was shaken more than a little when my friend, Kavi, let this little tidbit slip:

Her: So Graham told me that he wanted to ask you to prom.

Me: WHAT?!

Sidebar: I had had a crush on Graham FOREVER and everyone knew it, including, I’m sure, him. He was loud, obnoxious, a total smart-ass, who used to make incredibly misogynistic comments in our AP Lit class, not because he really bought into that idealogy, just because he knew they would rile me up. He was also hot, and many women can attest, there’s just something about a hot asshole that is irresistible to girls like me.

Her: Yeah. He asked me if I thought you would say yes if he asked you.

Me: And..?

Her: Well…I told him that you didn’t want to take a date—you were going stag—so you’d probably say no.

Me (incredulously, and quite loudly): KAVI! Are you kidding me? No matter what I may have said that I wanted, if I was going to say yes to anyone who asked me, obviously it would have been Graham!

Needless, to say, I was kind of ticked. Graham, thus warned, did not ask me, and instead, went with some freshman girl I was determined to hate. We danced once at the actual prom and it was everything my tender, teenaged soul could have hoped for.

Until (isn’t there always an until?) later at the after party, I saw him emerge from the bushes in a state of undress with She Who Must Not Be Named, which was the cherry on top of an already ridiculous night that involved certain parties falling into pools fully-clothed and then going missing for several hours, only to be found, soaking wet, and refusing to get into the car because they thought we were mad at them, as well as other parties who were asked to leave the soiree early due to excessive vomiting on the patio and even more parties (at whose house we were all supposed to be sleeping) not answering their phone because they were making out with their secret boyfriend(s). Let me just say, my senior prom after party experience was about as much fun as my actual junior prom experience was. We so should have gone mini-golfing instead.
However, hindsight being twenty-twenty and all, I’m glad that Kavi saved me from being a total hypocrite. I’m glad that I kept my word and went alone instead of being a complete bia who just said “no, thanks” until something I thought was better came along.

 I continued to alternate between crushing on Graham and despising him for months after that until we finally made out one random summer night after my freshman year of college (I recall that I was very chatty during this entire encounter). He has since become nothing more than the embodiment of my overly-preppy high school experience, though perhaps also the reason I still love the sight of a clean-cut young man in a navy blue blazer.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Tale of Two Proms: Part I

I’ve said before that you shouldn’t take a date to a dance if you haven’t been hanging out with them for at least three months. Hopefully, by now, you’ve realized that I suck at taking my own advice.

Which is why, mere months after the Rogerio Debacle, I found myself with another date whom I barely knew for another dance—but not just any dance. No, this was the dance to end all dances, where high school dreams are made or broken—this was the PROM.  

His name was Blaine, and he a friend of my friend Jennie from back in Owasso. I met him when I was crashing Jen’s confirmation class one weekend (I have no idea why; confirmation classes aren’t exactly known for being particularly entertaining). I liked his smile and we exchanged shy glances throughout the class.

Naturally, Jennie and my other friend, Aubrey, wanted to set us up. As girls tend to do though,they went from zero to sixty in 2.4 seconds and decided not only should they set us up, but that I should ask him to prom.

Sidebar: Despite what you see in the movies, prom is kind of an awkward experience unless you’re going with a significant other. Bringing someone in who is unfamiliar with you and the group dynamics? Recipe for disaster.

Against my better judgment, I allowed them to negotiate a hang-out between the two of us. We had a game night at Aub’s house, and after a few rounds of Trivial Pursuit, I got cold feet and wanted to back out. But your friends aren’t your friends unless they meddle in your love life, so the girls took it upon themselves to ask Blaine for me.

Yes. We were back in middle school. I’m surprised that the actual asking was verbal and not brokered through a “Want to go to Prom with E? Check yes or no” note.

I had a prom date. Now, I just needed to accumulate the other trappings of the evening: I borrowed a slinky black dress from my sister, broke out a pair of old heels from the back of my closet and bought a pair of $4.99 earrings from Claire’s. I did my own hair, which involved some sort of random twisting and a few azaleas from my front yard. I have to say, for being thrown together at the last minute, I looked quite pretty.

Blaine met me at Jennie’s house in Owasso. He brought me a carnation corsage, which should have been my first clue as to how the evening would go.

Sidebar: Yes, it is completely shallow, but there is honestly no flower I hate more than the carnation.

After taking way too many pictures at Woodward Park, we were finally off to the dance.

I think the theme was “Fire and Ice” that year, which apparently translated to floating tea lights in rose bowls with a few ice cubes tossed in and little more. Anyway, the food was predictably crappy, though the DJ was pretty good, but what I could not get over was my date’s inability to keep a conversation going.

Me: So, Blaine, do you have any brothers or sisters?

Him: Yeah.


Me: Okay, uh, what are their names?

Him: Blake and Will.


Me: Soooo, what do you like to do for fun?

Him: I play soccer.

Me (rambling to fill the dead air): That’s cool. I never learned to play as a kid, but I wish I did. I don’t really understand all of the rules.


That’s pretty much how the whole dinner portion of the evening went: me desperately trying to pull something out of the guy and him responding in monosyllables. I can understand shyness, but this was slightly ridiculous. It’s not like he didn’t know anybody—Aubrey had brought his friend as a date, and he had known the girls for years. Needless to say, I was not enthralled, and wasn’t really interested in getting down to Lil’ Jon with him.

After the dance was over, we went bowling in our dresses and rented shoes. I avoided Blaine and flirted with his friend and managed to play a decent game. From there, we were going back to Jen’s to camp out in her backyard—we had a tent and were going to roast marshmallows and tell scary stories (and later, burn things…there was a breach between the Tent People and the Fire Civilization. What can I say, my friends are loons.). However, Aubrey and Jennie hadn’t given up yet and so pulled some strings and moved some people when we were loading up the cars so that Blaine and I ended up in his car alone.

Where we spent the twenty minute ride in, you guessed it, near-complete silence.

I won’t bore you with the events of the rest of the night (which, incidentally were a lot of fun, Blaine’s reticence aside), but I later found out that Blaine thought, overall, the evening went pretty well.

I’d hate to see what he would deem a bad date.

Monday, June 20, 2011

It's all about bucks, kid. The rest is conversation.

I have to say, I totally thought more people would comment on that last post, but thanks to those of you who did! My opinion on chatting up a girl at a bar is this: you’re running on a slippery slope. One the one hand, you want to be confident, because I think most women agree that confident men are attractive, but at the same time, you don’t want to turn her off by acting like she should be grateful you’re over there, gracing her with your presence and conversation. I also think that pick up lines are always cheesy, and paint you as more than slightly sketchy. But that may just be me…
I was in full-on hermit mode this week, and spent most of my days holed up in my apartment, enjoying the central air and watching every episode of "White Collar" there is (Matt Bomer’s adorable 1940’s flair has officially ensured his show as my new summer obsession)—needless to say, I didn’t meet very many randos for today’s post, and considering the sheer number of hours I spent at home, it would be weird if I did (house-stalking is cute when you’re a teenager, but at this point, it’s considered a bit weird).

I do want to give a shout-out to Non-Rando Ryan, whom my friends and I ran into at Pub Fiction last night when we commandeered his table to watch the Aggies. Over the course of our conversation, we found out that he had actually read my blog. My response?

Me: You’re shitting me.

I have no idea how he found this, and he doesn’t remember, but on the off-chance you’re reading this at work, Ryan, while you should be doing something productive, thanks for putting up with us last night! It was a pleasure meeting you and good luck in Austin.

Since I fell down on the job this past week, I shall have to pull from past R.E.’s for today’s tale.

I moved downtown last summer, and consequently started going to more Aggie Happy Hours since I no longer had to drive 30 minutes to get to midtown. Last September, there was a H.H. at the House of Blues, where I met up with the usual suspects (a.k.a. Jeni and Debra). We were minding our own business, drinking some wine, when this guy sidles up to me and starts to chat.

Unfortunately, I don’t remember his opening line, but I do remember Jen and Deb abandoned me, so I was left to chat with the cuff link-wearing, commercial real estate broker, Mr. Slick, who clearly thought he was doing me a favor engaging me in the following, scintillating conversation.

Him: So...what do you do?

Me: I’m a teacher.

Him: A teacher? Wow. So you must be looking for a rich husband. I’m in commercial real estate. I make a lot of money. I own at least twenty of these blue shirts with contrasting collar and cuffs and Gordon Gekko is my hero (Okay, I’m taking some liberties here, but the sentiment was the same).

Me: Well, I mean, money isn’t everything.

Him: No. But it’s important, wouldn’t you agree? (Greed is good!)

Me: To an extent, but I don’t think it’s the most important thing.

Him: Right. So, do you like to travel?

Me: Yeah, I do. I’ve been all over Europe—I actually spent a semester abroad in Tuscany my junior year.

Him: Tuscany…that’s in Spain, right?

Me (incredulously): …no.

Him: Well, uh, I haven’t really been around the Mediterranean much, but I just went on this fantastic trip to Sweden and Brazil.

Me: That’s cool. Kind of random to hit two continents at once, but cool.

Him: Yeah. It was. You know what they say about Brazilian women? It’s totally true. American women don’t have nothing on them.

Me: …really?

After a few more minutes of him insulting me (still unsure if he was doing it on purpose, or if he was just that much of an imbecile), I managed to shake him off and successfully avoid him for the rest of the evening.

Friday, June 17, 2011

What DO Women Want?

Commenter Mark got me thinking about Rando Encounters, and I think he brought up some good points as far as the male perspective goes in response to today’s post. Which in turn made me curious—what could a rando do to make a more favorable first impression? How does one successfully pick up a woman at a bar?

Sidebar: And by “pick up” I don’t mean for the sole purpose of an RMOS or one-night stand, but rather to build the foundation to ask her out on an actual date at a later date. Which, for the record and in my opinion, should be set up via phone call and not text message. But that might just be personal preference ;)

So readers, what do you think? Ladies, how would an ideal first meeting go down in this kind of social environment? Gentlemen, do you have any success stories?  

Hopefully, this will keep you busy and entertained over the weekend J Comment below!

How Not to Lose the Girl BEFORE the Date

**Please pardon my franglais in the following post—while it is true that I’ve studied French for..about seven years—I’m afraid my grasp of the language is limited to reading the back of shampoo bottles and the occasional viewing of Amelie sans subtitles.

Happy Friday! Today’s tip was inspired by our friends, the Yard House Randos, who reminded me of some other guys I met in Paris a few years ago.

How to Ensure a Second Date (or Meeting): Tip #2

Make your mark, make your move.

This is the portion of the evening when you need to grow a pair. Take the initiative and here’s the important part, take it early, and then follow through.

When I was in Paris for spring break a few years ago, my friend, Sandra, really wanted to go salsa dancing at the best salsa club in Paris—which happened to be in the back room of an Irish pub in Pigalle named O’Sullivans.

Sidebar: Yes, we went salsa dancing at an Irish pub in Paris. I am aware this is nonsensical.

It was the night before St Patrick’s Day, and we walked in early for the little tutorial session before the club really got started. I bowed out quickly (as I’ve said before, I’m not very coordinated, and strangers don’t seem to find my dancing ineptitude nearly as endearing as my friends do), and sat back to watch. At some point, we managed to convince a few of our guy friends from the study center to come meet us (I believe we promised them copious amounts of Guinness for their trouble).

We had a great time with the guys, but I couldn’t help but notice these two French guys who kept staring over at our table. I assumed that they knew we were American, as we were loudly speaking English, and so, naturally, hated us, which would explain the slight stink eye (qui crève les yeux, en français).

I ignored them as best as I could. At closing time, however, as we were getting up to leave, they came over and helped me with my coat.

Rando Frenchie #1: Tu es très mignonne.

Me : Quoi (What ) ?

RF #1 : Parlez-vous français (Do you speak French) ?

Me : Oui, un peu… (Yes, a little…)

RF #1 (plus lentement/more slowly) : Tu es très mignonne.

Me : Quoi ?

RF #1 (gives up) : You are very cute.

Me (taken aback): Oh. Um, thanks! But, I gotta go, my friends and I are leaving now…ciao!

And that was the end of it. If Rando Frenchies one and two had manned up and come over earlier to exchange some witty French banter, who knows…maybe I’d be an ex-Pat now. But they waited until the last minute and so did not get the worm, a.k.a. me.

So you men out there—waste not, want not. Grow some « couilles » and go talk to the girl before it’s too late. Bonne chance!