Archive for August 26, 2010

It’s Not So Bad…

Not gonna lie…there are times that being single sucks.

Sure, there are times being single pretty much kicks a lot of butt (check back for those – I like to finish on a positive!) but like I learned in Mr. Crowley’s 12th grade physics class, for every action there must be an equal but opposite reaction.  So for everything that is awesome about single-hood, there are also things that grate on your like a cheese press at Cinque Terre.

I’m told that while it does seem to be the mission of just about every couple a single person knows to get them paired up and aboard the ark, deep inside there’s a longing for the grassy field we singles frolic in.  Apparently they have forgotten the slugs that you sometimes squidge your feet onto in that verdant grassy knoll.

Over the past couple weeks I’ve had a few of those “Wah, this being single thing sucks more than 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife” moments.  And no, not even angry single girl music from Alanis Morissette could bring me out of my slump.  Some of the worst of them have been:

Being Home Sick  Remember the good old days, when staying home sick meant Mom or Dad essentially spoiled you rotten for a 24-hour period.  Making toast, getting ginger ale, watching you while you slept (in the not-creepy-but-making-sure-you-kept-breathing sort of way,) checking your forehead with the back of their hand for spikes in fevers, etc etc?  Well, earlier this summer when I got hit with the ridiculously useless “summer cold” I sat on my couch shivering (in 80 degree weather, mind you) willing some beef & barley soup with ginger ale to magically morph itself onto my coffee table.  Alas, my morphing abilities are not yet honed, and I had to (in my sickest state of affairs) drag myself to the store to buy said rations and also cold medicine and juice.

I’m pretty sure no one wanted to hit on me at the grocery store that day.

Sometimes being alone isn't all it's cracked up to be
Photo Credit: Getty Images – Corinne Boutin

Showers No, not the wet and wild in a tub or shower stall kind of showers, you dirty people!  And this one may ring a little more true for the ladies than the guys.  When my guy friends have a bachelor party, they revel in the opportunity to celebrate bachelorhood one last time (well, for the married guys they pretendthey are bachelors for a few hours.)  For girls, both bridal and baby showers are opportunities to get together and gush and goo over all things coupled up and settled down ladies do.  From Pampered Chef parties and “how my husband is just a total sheet hog *giggle giggle*” to breast pumps and “My little Parker makes the nastiest brownish-green poops when he’s had formulac formula and it looks just like that melted candy bar in a diaper you are trying to guess,” the entire thing seems to be an exercise in reminding a single girl for at least two hours what she doesn’t have but everyone else does.

Cause we all know that a girl’s ultimate purpose in life should be to get married, settle down and make babies…

Eating and Cooking For One  I feel like the person answering the phone my favorite Chinese restaurant giggles a little inside their head every time I order the Pu-Pu Platter and Wonton Soup for one for pick-up.  And other than ramen noodles and peanut butter & jelly, it’s really difficult to make meals for just one person.  Heck, when I buy a loaf of bread it is usually moldy by the time I’m halfway through it.  I’m just one person bread maker!  I can’t eat an entire loaf by myself in 5 days time!

I swear, I will learn to cook more than sesame chicken “stir-fry” once I have more than just myself to cook for on a regular basis!

Someone To Hold You  There are just some times that you want to curl up in a ball and feel someone’s arms around you while you shun the world or sob uncontrollably.  It’s usually after a really hard day/week/month or when something ridiculously sad and devastating happens.  Sitting alone on a couch, curled up in a blanket, drinkingMerlot from a sippy cup and watching chick flicks only gets you so far in the emotional purging process.  Having someone there to lean on for support and allow yourself to be vulnerable with for just a brief moment is a luxury not everyone has.

And it’s a little weird to booty-text your “friend” and ask if they mind cuddling you for an evening.

Dating Is Exhausting Work  Ask most any coupled up person, and they’ll tell you that while they miss the reckless and carefree days of their singledom, the one thing they DON’T miss is “having to put themselves out there.”  And that’s because, quite frankly, dating is exhausting.  Being outgoing, being available, looking your best, meeting people, flirting with people, getting a number, giving out a number, agonizing over calling/being called, finally going out, first date jitters, wondering if there will be a first kiss, getting a first date hug and kiss on the cheek, pacing before a second date and breaking out in hives, having a great time, finally getting your first kiss, going out a bunch more, getting dumped a month later, detoxing from the emotional roller coaster of it all…I’m getting tired just typing it!  Yet if you are single, it’s the process you go through again and again until you find “the one” that saves you from the vicious cycle of it all.

And if you don’t find them?  Well, lather rinse repeat baby, cause no single person ever got coupled up sitting at home in their jammies wondering where all the cute boys are.

As I said, next week I’ll have a bright and shining list of reasons being single is pretty much awesome, cause I like to end on a high note.

But for now, what else would you add to the list of reasons that being single isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be?

To The Boy At Longfellow Books – Missed Connections

I have a confession to make.

I check Missed Connections on the Maine Craigslist site every day.

For those of you unfamiliar with Missed Connections, it’s only one of the best peeks into people’s minds online.  If you like Post Secret, then you are going to love Missed Connections.  Basically people go onto Missed Connections and post about those people that floated into and out of their lives without a way to get in touch again.

Or maybe there is a way, but they are just too shy/nervous/totally wussy.

The Missed Connections come from all over the place.  People who meet at their local supermarket.  People who watch someone from the passenger seat of a moving vehicle in Portland.  People who are smitten by their concert bartender.

Some people post asking for their missed connection to be found, so that they might be able to create a love connection from it.  Others post wistful musings, about forbidden love or relationships that are no more or things they wish were.

It’s pure romantic and idealistic drivel that is totally irrational.

And I love it.  It’s like my deep dark dirty secret.

Everybody's Got A Secret
Photo Credit: Getty Images – David Woolley

As if this starry eyed obsession weren’t enough, my connection with Missed Connections goes even further.  Cause if I were going to create one of those big bad check-it-off-and-relish-in-the-glory Life Lists, I would absolutey add this bullet point:

Be listed as someone’s Missed Connection

Checking in constantly to see who is looking for that person they missed in a fleeting moment, a girl can’t help but wonder “Has anyone ever felt that way about me?”  Wondering if I had just chosen one of the other sliding doors what would have happened.  If someone else has spent their time talking and laughing with me, left to wonder if they should have taken the chance.  Knowing I made enough of an impression that someone took the time to write a post about me.

I posted a few of my own Missed Connections over the past month (I know…the things I do for my readers!) with a varied level of responses.

The first, a guy I watched from afar as he performed at a local improv show, garnered not a single response.

The second, a guy who flirted with me over a case of Shipyard at Hannaford (seriously…how could I NOT try to chat it up with a guy who flirts with me over micrbrews?!)  While my Shipyard guy did not flirt with me, a different 57-year old man emailed me about someone HE met at Hannaford and then asked if I might want to go out sometime.

The third, a wistful note about a guy I have known since 2004 and had a crush on pretty much since then but could never date or even talk about dating because of the complications.  That one got five responses!  Three telling me to put aside the complications and just go for it.  One telling me that he wished someone as sweet as me pined for years after him.  And one from a very nice guy who thought maybe *he* might be my Missed Connection (sorry, I but I hope that you mustered up the guts to ask out YOUR co-worker at TD Bank!)

It made me realize that it’s like so many other dating situations, what works for some won’t work for others.  Sure, we all know someone who met their significant other in some outrageous and totally romantic way.

But the reality is that most of us just find love in a boring and natural way.  That stories like this are fun to watch in movies, but they rarely happen in “real life” application.  I know it’s a silly romantic fantasy, setting myself up for a guy that will probably never exist.

But it’s still kinda fun to think about.

And to the boy in the fiction section of Longfellow Books.  You came over and looked through books with me for awhile.  Wearing a messenger bag slung across your chest.  I wish I had asked your name at least.

Consider this my newest Missed Connection.

Have you ever posted on Missed Connections?  Been the object of a Missed Connection?  Wished you had/were?  What’s it like?

Did You Have A Good Trip?

Saturday Night I fell on my face in front of about 100 people who were ALL watching me.

No, that isn’t a metaphor.

Falling on my face ACTUALLY actually happened.  If I was going to slaughter the English language more than I already do, I’d emphasize this with “it LITERALLY ACTUALLY happened.”

Saturday morning I received news that a friend, who was far far far far FAR too young, passed away after an epic battle with brain cancer (PS – To anyone who wants to make a statement about how much cancer effing SUCK please check out never quit., an online store full of merchandise bearing the legacy that he leaves behind. All proceeds go to the Relay for Life of Greater Portland (and American Cancer Society))  Needless to say, being around people and trying to laugh and enjoy life was going to be pretty much going to be imperative.

“Fortunately” for me I was already heading out to the Portland Improv Festival since I had helped out with their PR.  I even had made arrangements for a date.  I was doing anything and everything to take my mind off things for the night.

Fast-forward to 6:45 PM, date cancels, drop mascara wand on shirt so I need to put on another, laying on the couch being miserable but still trying to push through cause darnit I made a commitment and I like to stick by those things.  I mean I’m not really big on relationship commitment, but being good on my word is a totally different thing.

I managed to pull myself vaguely together and wander down to the St. Lawrence Arts Center, arriving at about 7:50 for an 8 PM start.  By myself.  But ready for good laughs.  The first group was hilarious, the second grou amusing, and the third group (Running With Scissors) held a dear spot, cause my friend is in the troupe.  And when they scanned the audience after a 3rd request for a female volunteer, I figured “What the hell do I have to lose?”

I stood up, climbed over the 3 people seated immediately to my right (those rows at St. Lawrence are NOT designed for movement during the show.  And walked down the stairs to the stage.  What happened in the next 2-5 seconds I cannot recall exactly cause I have NO idea how I could be this un-coordinated.  I’m usually pretty clumsy, but this was at an excelling nature.

I went to step up onto the one foot high stage and somehow tripped and laid myself flat on the stage edge.

Don't Judge! You've Done It Too...
Photo Credit: Getty Images – MIXA

Now I’ll grant you.  This was a Comedy Festival.  And there was beer and wine served at the concession stands.  So people were free with the laughter.  And let me tell you…as I lay splayed for what couldn’t have been more than 3-5 more seconds many thoughts went flowing through my head.

  • Did I seriously just do that?
  • How the hell did I seriously just do that?
  • I bet my butt is sticking either straight up in the air or in some guys face.
  • Oh god, three Twitter folks I know are sitting RIGHT in the front row.
  • Seriously…where is my butt pointing?
  • I’m going to have to get up, there’s someone coming to help me.
  • Ow, my knee really hurts.
  • This is totally going to suck in stories of posterity.
  • Speaking of posteriors…WHERE IS MY BUTT?!?!

Before I knew it I was up and sitting in a chair telling the Improv performer, who was trying to “interview” me without continuing to laugh hysterically as she, I’m sure, replayed the scene over and over in her head America’s Funniest Home Video style.

Back to the safety of my seat (yes, I craftfully navigated the “exit” from the stage) I watched as the improv scene unfolded.  Where Rachel acted out what *I* would be like on a date, based on our little interview.  Needless to say, she fell multiple MULTIPLE times.

And I was faced with options.  Option to sit awkwardly and pout.  Option to seethe.  Option to hide my face in complete and utter embarrassment and shame.  Option to leave to said bar and stock up on Allagash microbrews.

Or the option to sit there, watch the scene unfold (PS Rach – it isn’t fair when you bring our outside improv experiences in with lots of beer bottles…that was just that one time!) and laugh full heartedly at everything that was happening on stage.

I chose that last option.  It helps that grace has never been one of my top five shining characteristics, so scenes like that, though infrequent, are not foreign to me.  Granted, this one was on a slightly larger scale!

The funny (pun only kinda sorta a little bit intended) is that when stuff happens that shakes you or hurts you or puts you down (physically…puts you down on your butt…) then the best thing to do it laugh along with everyone else and take the good-natured teasing in stride.

Pride and ego are things that easily bruise.  So don’t let the events of the day leave a mark.

Course the edge of the stage at the St. Lawrence Arts Center sure does!!

Merely A Flesh Wound

Got some stories of public shame?  How did you find a silver lining, or laugh them off?  Or do they still haunt you to this day?

Limerance & Licorice

Ever daydream about the person you like or are dating?

You know, those moments when your fantasy somehow goes spinning off beyond the rational reason you know you should employ and totally out of your control.  When you see a celebrity on TV and your mind somehow flashes to the two of you walking on the red carpet.  Or you have visions of your crush leaning across the table at a coffee shop for your first kiss.  Or you make-up an entire wedding in your head after your third date with a boy you are convinced will be “the one” even though that absolutely crazy.

Limerance is a term that was ocined in the 1970’s by a social scientist named Dorothy Tennov.  According to Wikipedia, “Limerence is an involuntary cognitive and emotional state of intense romantic desire for another person.”  It is more than just a simple one-time dream about someone you are attracted to.  It’s a complete can’t eat, can’t sleep, can’t think of anything else infatuation that sometimes overwhelms your entire sense of being.  And it’s a true medically defined (from the McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine) affliction.  Just like love is something you have to detox from, it is something you can become addicted to as well.

Limerance reminds me a lot of licorice.  It’s got that sweet and interesting flavor that pulls you in, but there’s something else there.  An aftertaste that you aren’t quite sure about.

Sweet and interesting but with an after-taste
Photo Credit: Getty Images – Robert Kohlhuber

It’s more than just liking or even loving someone.  The most prominent difference is that with limerance you are oblivious to often glaring truths.  Things like the object of your affection might be married.  Or might be obviously not interested in you.  Or might like you but “not as much” as you like them.  It’s when you step over that line of affection and develop an attachment instead.

If it manifests to permanence it is generally because you have fallen in
love.  Ideal situation is that the object of your Limerent Affection
loves you back.  Regardless, loving affection happens when you would put their feelings and
wishes ahead of your own.

And like licorice, it tastes sweet and syrupy when you are devouring the twisted strands.  As you peruse online sites for engagement rings and create a wishlist so your future spouse will know exactly what to buy you.  As you drive down the turnpike past his exit and spend the next hour consumed in fantastical thought of the moment when you will finally stop being friends and start being more.  As you look over her Facebook page for some small inkling of what is happening in her life, closing your eyes and wishing as the clock turns 11:11 that fate will intervene and bring you two together again.

But that’s the rub with limerance.  It is most often short-lived and temporary.  You have the thoughts in your mind and the stirrings in your heart (and sometimes regions of your body a bit south of there) but nothing real to hold at the end of the day.  Limerance seems to break your heart more than a broken heart does, because you never have the good memories to look back on.  Instead you only have your dreams.

And reality hits you with a bitter aftertaste.

And you are walking through Monument Square staring at the street vendors when the object of your dreams walks past you.  And looks you in the face.  And doesn’t smile or nod or say anything.  Instead their head goes down, they stare at the brick sidewalk and sprint-walk past you.

Like a punch in the gut.  Like a spear to the heart.

Like the black lingerings of licorice, stuck to your lips and impossible to wipe away.

Only time and a bead-filled face scrub can wash it off.

Have you experienced Limerance in your dating dealings?  Did you taste the sweetness and make it through or end up with a bitter aftertaste and licorice teeth?