Four Magic Words: “Just Let Me Know”

We all know about the missing sock phenomenon. Pre-wash, all sock pairs are present and accounted for. Then, post-wash, 1 sometimes more ankle grazers go missing, inexplicably lost into the laundered abyss.

This is a story of the missing Cock phenomenon. See if you can relate:

Macgyver

After a few flirty emails, you and your online match finally decide to meet in person. You arrive at a local café at 6 pm, prime casual hour. He walks in. You spot each other immediately. You can’t hide your relief that for once, he actually resembles the guy in his profile pictures. He smiles wide. You smile wide. The date takes off like a paper airplane on the moon.

Hours pass in engrossing, uninterrupted conversation. No awkward pauses. No forced topics on favorite music and movies. You talk about your dreams and passions. You share intimate stories of childhood pets dying in your arms after 15 years of unconditional love. Then, practical jokes played on friends and family. The exchange is like the perfect mix tape, pensive songs followed by poppy beats, back down then up, Thom Yorke to Tom Petty, somber… sweet… silly.

6 pm somehow turns into midnight. The café staff starts stacking chairs on tables. He says he doesn’t want the date to be over. You agree. He settles the bill. You go on a walk through the city, quieted by its quiet, as comfortable in silence as you were steeped in chatter. At last, you both agree the night that has already ended must end. He walks you to your car. You embrace. He says he can’t wait to do this again. You agree, and drive home wearing a huge, shit-eating grin and eyes glazed over by the haze of a long-forgotten hope.

Then, tomorrow passes into 3 days into 5. Not a word. Not a cricket chirping. The kind of silence that devours a dense forest right before a demon presence falls upon it. And in that time, you apply FOUR kinds of logic to the experience:

  • Psychological: (In hindsight, this is definitely the most cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs of all lines of thinking.)

Sounds like: Clearly, he’s terrified by how strong his feelings are for me. He’s intimidated by my winning combination of wit, warmth, and charm. He’s in total anguish by the fact that he has found his dream girl but isn’t yet the man he knows I deserve to have.

  • Mechanical:

Sounds like:  My phone must be broken. I can dial out, but clearly for some reason, nobody can dial in to my number. I’m going to call all of my friends and ask them to ring me back as a test. (Note: If it does work, then obviously his particular carrier is not compatible with mine.)

  • Physical:

Sounds like: Oh dear god! He’s been hit by a Mack Truck/ Space debris/ sniper/ Rogue Wave on his way home from picking me up a bouquet of flowers for our next date.

  • Metaphysical: (aka, the XY-Files)

Sounds like: Por dios! He has fallen through a tear in the space-time continuum and is now forever trapped in a parallel universe for which our lives will never intersect again.

And/or: I imagined our whole encounter while immersed in some hallucinatory Fugue state/ sleepwalking fantasy. In this case, I return to the place I dreamt we met, where the employees recount the still-talked-about night I sat down in a booth and engaged in a rapturous conversation with myself for 6 hours.

4 stages later and you’re still out of one’s fruit tree because in the end, there is no reasonable explanation for the post-amazing-date-blow off. It’s making you unglued which only further feeds into the stereotype that all women are emotional freaky-deaks. To which I say:

That 80’s movie where Harrison Ford goes into the shower only to come out and find his wife missing from INSIDE the hotel room isn’t called “Even Steven” or “Cool as a Cucumber.” It’s called “FRANTIC!” because sudden, inexplicable disappearance is un-fucking-nerving.

 So, here’s what happened.

In the afterglow turned blow of yet another one of these missing cock experiences, I called my stepmother to gripe and moan. And all of a sudden, she had this brilliant idea for how to get the closure I so desperately needed.  Don’t call him. Don’t email him. Simply text him FOUR specific words: “JUST LET ME KNOW.”

Just Let Me Know: So simple yet so profound. Not aggressive. Not accusatory. Just one human being asking another human being to do the decent thing: Just let me know if you’ve had a change of heart, a change of address, a change of sex.

And 9 times out of 10, the response is immediate. Days, maybe weeks of crushing, ambiguous silence stopped dead in its tracks. And yes, 9 times out of 10, it is exactly what you expect it to be: He has had a change of heart. But seeing those words after simply imagining them – while it may sting at first – makes it possible to finally let go and move on.

So ladies — from Obi Won Kenobi (i.e. my step-mom) – “USE THE FOUR WORDS, THE FOUR WORDS WILL SET YOU FREE.”

I Want My HPV (not. herpes.)

If someone put a gun to my head and asked what the three great loves of my life are, I’d probably… well, crap my pants.

If the assailant continued to stick around even after that, then I’d probably say something like:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAToday I’m speaking to that last object of my desire. Specifically, to a February 15 GA Voice op-ed piece titled “Cars Aren’t The Problem With Share the Road,” by Melissa Carter. As it were, this single editorial has quickly become to the Atlanta cycling community what a Paula Dean cookbook is to a vegan food festival.

pigletI won’t lie. When I first read the piece, my initial thoughts were not exactly — how shall I say — ladylike. I heart Bikes. I wear my “I WANT HPV” t-shirt with pride (HPV as in Human Powered Vehicle, not herpes). I’m an avid rider and yes, in my ideal universe Atlanta Streets Alive — the bi-annual festival in which major city roadways are shut down to automobiles and opened only to foot or bike traffic — would be the norm.

That said, I’m just sane enough to know how unrealistic that is. After moving to Atlanta, I even bought a car after seven years of being a two-wheeled purist. And I’ll be the first to admit how grateful I am to have said car around should the need arise.

But as much I’d like to print Melissa Carter’s face on a “WANTED” spoke card, she’s not all wrong. She’s just really short-sighted, never more so than in her opening paragraph. There, Carter suggests every traffic jam she’s ever been stuck in “was caused by a bicycle.”

I call bull shitake.

If you can get past that doozy without gagging, Carter does go on to make some valid points. Chief among them:

A “4,000 pound vehicle that can reach speeds well over 100 mph” is not meant to “coexist on the same roads in harmony” with a 30 pound bicycle with an average speed of 20 mph.

I could not agree more. When it was created in 2000, Share the Road was designed to educate “all road users [including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists, etc…] about interacting safely in and around large trucks and buses.” (sharetheroadsafely.org). That didn’t mean adding bicycle hand signals to the driver’s Ed curriculum and calling it a day. Obviously infrastructure has to be implemented that creates clear and generous divisions between the two. To say Georgia lacks in that area is a gross understatement.

On the majority of metro Atlanta streets, a bike “lane” is qualified by a white stencil drawing of a helmeted stick figure on two wheels visible right before driving your car over it. Last check, Georgia ranked 23rd in the nation for being bike friendly (League of American Bicyclists).

bikelaneBut nowhere in her article does Carter suggest ways of improving said infrastructure. Rather than being constructive, Carter is openly cynical: The system is flawed and therefore should not exist. That she places no blame whatsoever on the part of cars for the Share the Road debacle is inconceivable. Instead, she holds the “arrogant” cyclist who “flippantly” disobeys traffic laws responsible for sabotaging any real STR potentiality.

Dear Melissa Carter, for every self-righteous cyclist that leans up against your car or whizzes past you in the turn lane — I will raise you two SUV-driving jacktards who intentionally try and run biking-me off the road to compensate for their gherkin-sized genitalia.

 gherkin

Given that she sees bicyclists as the weak link in the STR chain, Carter’s proposed solution is — unsurprisingly — to hold the pedaling population more accountable for their actions. She writes:

“I want everyone who wants to put their bikes on the main road to get a license and a tag. That certainly isn’t a new idea. A similar effort took place last year in Oregon when a proposed ballot measure sought to create a bicycle education program for people who have not taken the Oregon driver’s test. It would also mandate more police enforcement of traffic laws for cyclists… The measure would have required a fee for the endorsement test and registration via a license plate for all bicycles in Oregon.”

I have one word: Portland. If Georgia was anywhere near the stratosphere of Portland in terms of accommodating a safe and amenable car/bike coexistence, then I would be first in line to apply for my bicycle license. As it were, it’s like comparing RadioShack to the Apple store. Georgia is bike-phobia; Portland is bike-phoria.

  • As of a 2012 survey, a whopping 1% of all federal transportation tax money in Georgia was allocated toward bicycle and pedestrian projects. (Altantabike.org) — versus — In 2011, Portland’s mayor Sam Adams allocated 17% of the amount of uncommitted transportation funding to bike projects (The Oregonian)
  • Georgia is ranked 23rd most bike-friendly state in the nation (League of American Bicyclists) — versus — Oregon at 5th
  • Atlanta has 30 miles bicycle lanes — versus — Portland has over 100.

Carter wants bicyclists to get licensed to codify their understanding of traffic laws and hold them accountable for breaking those laws. She fails to acknowledge the other obvious benefit here: The fee for said licenses could go directly into building a solid bike-friendly infrastructure in Georgia.

Once again, Carter is unable to see any way of improving the situation. “I don’t believe in sharing the road,” she yields. I imagine little girl she also had issues sharing her toys with other kids on the playground too.

Instead, Carter is resigned to the cluster-muck that is GA’s Share the Road; and the best she can hope for is that the bicyclist holding her up in “stand still traffic” has a valid license plate.

I am way more optimistic. While it’s still in its rubbing two sticks together stages of creating a bike-friendly culture, Georgia is light years from where it was ten, twenty years ago. When I was growing up near Atlanta in the late 90s, the only reason you’d see someone on a bike was if their driver’s license was revoked.

Now, we have “road diet” programs and the Beltline. And the most recent coup: At the beginning of this year, Mayor Kasim Reed and the Atlanta City Council approved a $2.47 million overhaul of Georgia’s streets to create “high-quality” bicycle projects, including:

  • Doubling the percentage of people who bike to work from 1.1percent to 2.2 percent
  • Becoming top ten U.S. city for cycling to work and cycling safety
  • Doubling total miles of bicycle lanes/cycle tracks to 60
  • Doubling total miles of linked shared-use paths to 60
  • Securing Silver or Gold Bicycle Friendly Community status from the League of American Cyclists, joining the ranks of Boston and Denver
  • Introducing bicycle sharing program that supports local economy

In the meantime, viva la velocipedes.

Do You Wanna Come Over and See My Leech Jar?

Hello ladies and germs AND Happy, Happy Thanksgiving — or, as I like to call this particular fete —

“What Do We Do with the Dinosaur Egg-Shaped, 40-pound Tofurky Loaf?” Holiday.

Past solutions have included:

Sailboat anchor, anvil, truck-parked-on-hill wheel-stopper, wrecking ball, kettle-bell, canon ball, foxhole barricade, seed bomb, highway median, flood dike, hot-air balloon weight, and shot put:

And now, as the post-gorging coma sets in, let us move onto our sorely missed, regularly scheduled program Mailbag Monday.

Honestly, I would love nothing better than to believe we as humans are MORE than excrement flinging bovines mindlessly following the sound of the same braided bull whip… BUT … I can NOT deny a few universal truths; i.e. as the weather gets colder, the days get shorter, and the nights get darker — the need for a warm body to fill the other side of the bed consequences be damned gets Biblical.

And, judging from my bursting-at-the-cyber-seams, overflowing INBOX, one thing is absafruity clear:

Seasonal Affucktive Disorder (SAD) has already started to spread among the single population north of the Equator.

  • Therapy lamp: Check.
  • Melatonin capsules: Check.
  • Indiscriminate, bar-lowering hook-up with first-interested-party: Check and Check Please!

(The one upshot: Bedbugs generally don’t survive in cold weather)

So, I’m just going to close my eyes and pick a letter from the middle of the stack. Ready, aim, fire:

Dear Nerdy Romantic,

I recently started seeing this guy and all was going gangbusters until around date 5 when he invited me over to his place for a nice, home-cooked dinner. For all outer appearances, this guy seemed as sweet and unassuming as apple pie. He’s a freaking high school Algebra teacher!

When I showed up at his place, I was genuinely taken with the baby blue exterior, wrap-around front porch, and folky yard art. But then he opened the door and it was a death of a thousand Christmas’s. It was like the set of MTV’s Jackass. No lie: He had a slip-n-slide in the kitchen that he kept wet via the sink’s spray nozzle. And while I never actually sat on it, I’m pretty sure his living room couch was inflatable.

Needless to say, 5 minutes into the “tour,” I faked a migraine, went home, and haven’t returned his phone calls. Is it wrong for me to judge a guy by how he lives?

Sincerely,

House/Heart Broken

*****

Dear House/Heart Broken. Wow, does this ever make me nostalgic for the good ole days, like in 9th grade when Chris Glass invited me over to listen to his new Gin Blossoms CD. Now, things are so much more complicated. “Hey Jealousy” and a sleeve of Nutter Butter’s isn’t going to get ’em to third base anymore. Am I right!?

Fortunately I’ve learned from my own experiences in this very matter AND in the end, my final decision always comes down to the “3 S’s” of domestic deal break-or-make-rship. (This section will be on your final exam):

1. Stylistic:

This has to do with aesthetic differences. You’re French Country. He’s Frat-house Chic. Your walls are a mix of sunny yellows and soft greens. His walls are covered in black-light posters and flickering, neon Miller Time signs. You have an entire set of LeCreuset cookware and a subscription to Epicurean. He has a George Foreman grill and an award-winning “Special Wing Sauce.”

By no means is this cause to hit the relationship kill switch. You just met the guy for Chimney sake. You’re not moving in together. And even if it does come down to that at some point, think about it: If he’s the kind of guy who uses a camping hammock as a bed, he’s probably not going to dig his heels in when it comes paint-chip-picking-time.

2. Structural:

This has to do with the actual living “conditions.” We’re talking foundation, integrity of floorboards and rebar, sanitation.

  • Is there a condemned “this building is deemed unsafe for human occupancy” sign nailed to the front door?
  • On a scale of 1 to ‘Hoarders’ — is the inside of the house filled with old, untuned pianos and hundreds of electronic fish wall mounts?
  • Use your olfactory sense as well: Does the place smell like moth balls, formaldehyde, or the sulfuric stench of dying dreams?

labrynth3. Statement:

This has to do with signature “statement” pieces. Here, a guy’s living space isn’t just “a place to crash.” It’s a visual extension of his identity. His input alone is behind the interior design, the furniture, art, and accessories. Therefore, this is the most useful “S” for determining whether you and he are actually compatible.

Allow me to interject with a few personal anecdotes:

The best (and worst) example was this guy I dated for about 4 months. For 3 months and 29 days of that relationship, I would describe said guy as hilarious, charming, social, chivalrous, polite and above all NORMAL.  I’m talking wore New Balance athletic shoes with boot cut jeans NORMAL.  The only faint whiff of whackadoo that I ever picked up on was the fact that we always hung out at my place.

At first, it didn’t bother me. My apartment was more convenient to everything (namely, the “Hot Now” sign at Krispy Kreme). But then I started to think he was hiding something: a wife, a meth lab, an exotic tiger. So, on month 3 day 29, i suggested we grab some take-out and watch a movie at his place.

A wife, a meth lab, an exotic tiger — I would have taken any of those things over the truth…

7:03 pm: I knock on a huge, metal door in an old cotton mill-turned loft apartment complex. His is the basement studio right next to the train tracks.

7:04: He opens the door. I walk in. The concrete floor has been painted a dark Merlot red. And on that floor sits a 7-foot long, black satin couch and matching pair of old, wooden electric chairs.

7: 07: Feeling in pit of my stomach starts to sink faster than a mob victim fitted with Tofurky shoes and tossed into the Hudson.

“Where is your restroom,” I manage to squeak out.

“Down the hall, first door on the right,” he answers.

7:08-7:15: While sitting in bathtub, I run through a few rapid-fire, anti-anxiety exercises. “So what,” I reason, “He has an eclectic design sense. That doesn’t change the fact that he’s a super nice guy with a steady job and no drug dependencies.”

I come back out with a renewed can-do attitude. Then, I see a light coming from the room directly across the hall. I go inside. 2, museum style glass display cases take up the bulk of the space. I walk over. Inside are neatly organized rows of antique medical equipment, each item with its own type-set label: (font: Gothic)

Spring lancet. Civil War circular amputation saw. Suppositories. 18th century OB forceps. Chloroform bottles. Cal…

7:19: I hear footsteps and then his voice, “My favorite one of all is the medieval, blood-letting leech jar.”

7:19 1/4th second: Voice inside my head: “Please do not ask me to put the lotion in the basket. Please do not ask me to put the lotion in the basket.”

Outside voice: “You know what? I totally forgot I had plans with my sister tonight. I am so sorry but I have to bail.”

7:19 1/3rd to 1/2 second: Slowly, calmly, cooly walk out of his apartment and back to my car.

Next day: I call him and have him meet me in a very PUBLIC place to break it off.

In hindsight, I definitely think my imagination got the best of me that night. I don’t doubt for a second that that guy IS a genuinely nice, harmless, and healthy person. But the fact remains: His home was a statement, loud and clear. No more or less so than the guy with the bunk beds (COOL!)… With a life-size storm trooper “sleeping” in the bottom bunk (NOT COOL!!).

Or — the guy with the Confederate flag nailed over his headboard

Or — the guy with the 6 plasma television screens all programmed to different sports channels.

These choices are deliberate, defining. They are fundamental to the person’s very being. And if your first instinct upon seeing them is to lock yourself in the bathroom and carve a shiv out of bar of hand soap — it’s probably not a good overall match.

*****

Time To Feed The Travel Bug!

Dear readers, you’re going to want to sit down for this. Before I say what I’m about to say, might I suggest that NOW would be a good time to take up laugh yoga… meditation… prayer… anything really that helps you go to your happy place.

Okay. I’m just going to rip the band-aid off: Here and Goes.

Starting tomorrow, I will be off on a 2-week long vacation. No laptop. No checking my Nerd Rom inbox. No Mailbag Mondays!!!

Try as you might, you will NOT make me feel guilty for this. This is my first big — as in passport stamping, currency exchanging — trip since boarding the S.S. Homeowner Ship 3 years ago. I’ve been busting my chops, playing nice, putting down roots, putting up shop — AND frankly, it’s time to feed the travel bug a big, huge slice of globe-trotting pie.

And while I couldn’t be more excited to take my dusty, Patagonia hiking pack out of storage (can you say wicking skivvies!) and set off to charter an entirely unexplored country — my friends and family are a little more apprehensive. Their concern is 2-fold:

First, did I mention I was going to Medellin, Colombia?

  • As in with an “O.”
  • As in Pabl-O Esc-O-bar.

But really that’s just geography and ONE very UNIRONIC walrus mustache.

It’s basically just a general knowledge of my travel history that has them on edge. The fact that I have zero sense of direction; that I’m the kind of person who doesn’t just get lost driving in my car, but also have been known to lose my car itself.

And then there’s the actual track record of my personal misadventures, which can, in the wrong light, read like Inspector Clouseau meets an after-school-special.

Here are my top 10, by age and location:

  • 9 yo, Chichen Itza: Family is chased through the Yucatan jungle in the dark of night by masked banditos with machetes. (I am fast asleep in the back throughout the whole ordeal)
  • 10 yo, Hawaii: While constructing the most badasstastic drip castle ever, I turn around only to see the mouth of a rogue wave milliseconds before it pummels me into the bottom of the ocean floor.
  • 12 yo, Jamaica: While climbing Dunns Rivers Falls, I fall into a slippery-rock-sided watering hole and am pulled out by my dad just in the nick of time.
  • 13 yo, somewhere in the Caribbean: Family gets stuck on a cruise ship during a Category 4 Hurricane. The sound of synchronized up-chucking haunts me to this day.
  • 14 yo, Bahamas:  Picture it: My family and I are sunbathing in a little cove. All of a sudden, a speed boat races by. Then, seconds later, a fleet of siren-blaring coast guards follow. Drug dealers toss their stash overboard. My brother goes snorkeling and pulls a soggy $100 bill off the back of a barracuda.
  • 24 yo, Europe: Friend and I take a train from Barcelona to Amsterdam with no money and an expired credit card. Must resort to street performance-art by day, and by night eating hostel biscuits and watching Los Simpsones — the Spanish Simpsons — in a random guy’s hash bar. “Come mis pantalones, Dude!”
  • 29 yo, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico: Horse-back riding disaster, followed by a 12-year old boy running up to me and sticking his tongue down my throat on a friend’s dare.
  • 30 yo, Peru: Altitude sickness nearly causes me to fall down Juanu Picchu, taking out an entire tour group along the way.
  • 9 through 34 yo: The “LOST” years: Went missing in Disney Land, Berlin, Barcelona, Vienna, Venice, Aruba, and most recently the California Red Woods.

Sure. On the surface it looks kinda amber-alerty. But here’s the thing. I’ve learned from my mistakes. I’ve watched my fair share of Les Stroud’s “Survivorman.” I know all about stranger danger, not struggling against riptides, and what NOT to do in a major South American drug trafficking hub to attract the wrong kind of attention. Such as:

  • Don’t accept any unusual looking, ceramic bunny statues from strangers
  • Don’t wander off for an afternoon walk in the hillsides
  • Don’t feed the crocodiles
  • Don’t get into any unmarked mules
  • Don’t ask people where the “powder room” is.
  • Don’t wear my “Cuckoo for COCA Puffs” t-shirt
  • Don’t fraternize with US Secret Servicemen

Frankly, I like to think of myself as a less husky-voiced, brunette version of the fictional heroine Joan Wilder in the 1980’s masterstroke “Romancing the Stone.”

You can’t deny the strikingly similar parallels between us:

  • We’re both hopeless daydreamers who weep over our typewriters (mine: laptop)
  • We both wear flannel, plaid pajamas
  • We both live alone in our big-city apartments.
  • We both have male cats: Hers, “Romeo.” Mine, “Poppycock.”
  • We both have wild, big 80’s hairdo’s and wear wide, floppy hats
  • She’s a romance novelist; I’m an unlicensed romance blogologist
  • She receives a treasure map in the mail and goes to Colombia to rescue her sister from a corrupt antiquities dealer.
  • I got an E-ticket and will go to Colombia to hang out with my dear friend who attends art school in the heart of the city.

ME & JOAN

I can’t help it.  I like to live on the edge. But really, the view is oh soooo much better from there. And who knows, maybe I’ll come back to a sailboat parked in my driveway!

Hasta lueggo my Eggos. I WILL see you in November!!

Birthday Wishes from My Inner Child

What is that you say? You say it’s my birthday!

Remember when you were a kid. People ask how old you are and you round up to the biggest possible decimal. “I’m 10 and 3/4’ers and 5 days, 15 minutes, 33 seconds.” As if the longer your response is, the closer you are to it being the next year.

I’m now officially at the age where many women don’t just round down; they outright alter the temporal passage of time:

“Well, according to the Maya long count calendar I’m actually only 24 solar years old.”  — OR — “A Shaman once told me I am an extremely new soul in terms of incarnations.”

And then there’s the super-fun turning point where complete strangers in the Publix checkout line morph into my Jewish grandmother and shamelessly pry into my most personal details.

“Oh, you’re such a pretty girl,” they begin innocently enough. And then, BAM! — They bitch slap me with, “Are you married? No? Oh, well, if everything is working down there, you should probably start freezing your eggs.”

Seriously, little-old ladies with shopping carts of canned prunes and Prevail adult diapers, standing there discussing my skincare regiment and the fact that the odds of me being able to have children is dwindling faster than the white-fish spread at the Zabar’s deli counter on Sunday.

(I dare not tell them I don’t think I even want rugrats — for fear of smiting out what little life they have left right there on the spot.)

Yes. Many of the most unforgettable, UN-regrettable, mind-and-heart blowing milestones of my life occurred in my 20’s. But I wouldn’t go backwards, not for all the butter beer in Hogsmeade. To not know what I know now. To taking Jell-o shots off the hood of my roommate’s ATV, only to wake up the next day spooning a Stay-Puft-Pillow-Buddy inside a dog-training crate.

Or the night I spent in jail for — well, let’s just say the crime has been expunged from my record. Sitting there in a 5-by-5-foot cell block with only me, a free-standing, stainless steel toilet seat with a braided weave jammed into the drain, AND red lipstick graffiti on the walls that read, “I fucked your unborn fetus.”

Most of the time, I don’t “feel” my age. I definitely don’t ACT it. But every now and again, I have this Benjamin Button moment where I appear young on the outside, while my thoughts are those of a crotchety blue hair. Example: A few weeks ago, I went to a book festival in town where there was a free, WISHING TREE station.

Orbiting around the trunks of 2 giant Magnolias were all these little kids, reaching on their tiptoes to tie their WISH SLIPS to the branches. I walked over. Grabbed a sheet, and thought:

“I wish the person who stole my social security number this year and filed false taxes with it would come to meet el Chupacabra in a dark alley.”

and — “I wish I could lock down a lower interest rate on my mortgage.”

But then I looked up. And there, scribbled in red and blue crayon on the hanging slips before me, read:

“I WISH BLEEP DE BLOOP DU BLOP”

AND — “I WISH THAT CATS WITH WINGS WERE REAL”

And it hit me: I don’t want to go backwards. I want to go inwards, and see the world through the eyes of my inner child. So — on this, my 35th (in actual years) birthday, I hereby pick up a red and blue crayon and make all of my wishes from there:

I wish…

  • I lived on the moon, so I could eat ice cream all day long and it would never melt or drip onto my hands.
  • My brother would grow nose hair as long as Repunzel’s
  • I could drive my car to Starlight Music and play keyboard in Jem & the Holograms
  • The screeching squirrel outside my apartment would turn into Falcor
  • A giant velociraptor would swoop down and eat the inventor of brussel sprouts.
  • When someone said “Time flies” they actually meant giant flies made out of alarm clocks that eat hours, instead of horse poop.
  • There was no such thing as ill-fitting dress shoes
  • Everything tasted like tater-tots.
  • I had 20 fingers so I could wrap twice as many cherry fruit-rollups around them.
  • Eating too much candy NEVER made your belly hurt
  • The hard-wood floors in my apartment were made out of trampolines
  • My bicycle glowed in the dark and had a rocket-propeller button under the seat
  • For the infinite causes of grass stains!!!!!!
  • That cats with wings were real (So. Does. He.)

F View

I’d like to interrupt today’s episode of Mailbag Monday for a very important PSA:

For the love of Kris Kristofferson, I finally have proof that earth veered off its axis some time ago and has been spinning at a faster-than-normal rate ever since, thus forcing time to progress at a supersonic speed.

Proof being: I just received a check in the mail for a music review I completed earlier this month. The check was dated: 9/5/2010.

Okay. Now, back to our regularly scheduled program:

Dear Nerdy Romantic,

I just got out of a long-term relationship. And by “long-term” I mean the last time I was single, Pluto was still considered a legitimate planet. So, on the insistence of my older sister, I joined Match.com to re-acclimate to the life of a bachelorette. Being totally new to the online dating world, I have a question: If a person has “viewed” my profile on several occasions, but has never made actual contact, is it fair game for me to open the lines of communication?

Sincerely,

Lost in Cyberspace

To “Lost in Cyberspace” — the short answer to your question is Hell to the No.

But who am I to take short cuts when there’s a perfectly long winded response waiting to get lost in. 3-2-1 AND Lift off:

In all honesty, there was a time in the far distant past of 2011, when online dating sites like Match.com were actually good at what they claimed to do. I really believe the 100-plus clams you had to fork over for a 6-month subscription actually went toward the food and living costs of a 5-member think tank holed up in a white, windowless research facility somewhere in the sacred regions of the Himalayas.

This Stephen Hawking-esque brain trust was paid to sit around listening to Barry White records, playing the flugelhorn, and devising a sophisticated scientific algorithm that pairs compatible online profiles together.

But that was long ago, a B.K.**  time of innocence and hope. Yes, it was in these glory days that the “Guided” steps to communication on Match.com were used for just that… communicating.

(**B.K. denotes the calendar era Before Kristen: When K-Stew reached into Rob-Pat’s chiseled chest and pulled his still-beating heart out with her bare, adulterous hands)

But since then, Match.com has gone the way of most things that decline in quality as they rise in popularity. Nowadays, I’m pretty sure the $100 member fees go toward retaining the site’s class-action lawyer.

saul goodman

Better Call Saul

Oh yes, dear readers. I actually had one guy “View” my profile several times over a 2-week period, without so much as a wink. Finally, I get an email from him that reads as follows:

[Sad Face Emoticon] Wow! I really thought we had a connection. I guess I was wrong. I hope you find what you’re looking for.”

To which I should’ve replied: “ARE YOU SMOKING BATH SALTS?!!”

Seriously, Match has this new feature called STIR events, in which paying members are invited to crawl out of their virtual caves and convene at a local bar to meet other members face-to-face. If they behaved in person how they do online, it would be like Samuel Beckett’s theater of the absurd:

Act One:

Guy (dressed in all black. Face painted blue)

Girl (dressed in all blue. Face painted red)

Guy: Stares at girl, looks away. Stares at girl, looks away. Stares at girl, looks away. Stares at girl, looks away. Stares at girl, looks away.  This goes on for 30 straight minutes without interruption.

******

Act Two:

Guy: Winks at girl at bar

Girl: Winks back at guy

Guy: Smiles at girl

Girl: Smiles back at guy. Proceeds to walk over to guy and introduce herself.

Guy: Turns back away and completely ignores girl.

Chorus shouts: “I say what I mean. I don’t mean what I say.”

All said, I am resigned to think that anyone who “Views” my profile repeatedly over a course of many weeks without making contact does so because they are either —

  • A)     A serial killer
  • B)    The guy from Memento
  • C)    Their 1st, 2nd, etc… choices have failed to respond to their actual emails, so they’re sifting through the dregs of the other matches, trying to psych themselves into thinking maybe the more they look, the better I’ll seem, all the while hoping upon hope that their real favorites are just away on vacation and haven’t had a chance to check their inbox.

Ultimately, Match.com (and its online dating brethren) has essentially become the Passive Aggressive Playground — raucous, confounding times had by all on these fun-filled diversions:

  • Monkey Around-With-Your-Emotions Bars
  • Mood Swing Set
  • See-No-Seesaw.
  • Imbalance Beam
  • Wink-en Logs

Bottom Line: You won’t see the Old Spice Man “viewing” or “winking”at someone’s online profile as he repels off the side of an ice-capped mountain straight behind the wheel of a runaway speed boat, onto a jungle shore where he wrestles a giant panther to the ground, and then falls gently onto a 1000-thread count, rose-petal covered bed smelling of grit, daring, and the sea after a storm.

So “Lost in Cyberspace,” to make a short story long, I say to you this: Only respond to matches who send an email, or at the very least, follow-up their winks with actual contact.

Mailbag Monday: Seren-DUPE-ity

mailbagWelcome to Mailbag Monday. This week’s topic has to do with staying on the right side of the searching-single-lady morality line. 3, 2, 1, and action:

Dear Nerdy Romantic,

“Is it unethical to cause a minor traffic accident in an attempt to meet the really cute guy in the truck behind you?”

This is a prime example of what I like to call Seren-DUPE-ity — a situation in which every step to meeting a guy is pre-designed and plotted by you. He along with friends, family, future offspring, and whomever else you had to pay off along the way — however — know the experience as FATE.

It was, as they say, “in the cards” …. EXCEPT that you stacked the deck.

It was, as they say, “destiny” EXCEPT that you snuck up behind Cupid as he was preening his wing feathers, knocked him out cold, stole his bow, and shot an arrow “straight through your lover’s heart” all by your lonesome.

oh no you di'intNow, I had to be really careful not to answer this reader’s question too soon. My knee jerk response was,

“Girlll! You gotta check your head before you wreck his flat-bed.”

But, then I thought about it some more and considered all the possible crazy acts of manipulation a woman could do to snag the man of her (lucid) dreams. Many hours and countless disturbing Google images of sexually cannibalistic black-widow spiders eating the heads off their male lovers later — here’s what I came up with:

Commence: Dance of Chart Joy

  • X axis: Act of manipulation
  • Y axis: Correlating degree of cray-cray

* Color blocking coincides with Department of Homeland Security threat levels

** Full definition of each act of manipulation beneath chart

*** Click on chart for larger image

Mis-FAKE-N Identity: Good, clean, taradiddling. Goes like:

  • You spot a cute guy in the Large Breed dog-food section of the grocery store. You walk up to him and say,

“Brock [or any other macho-sounding guy’s name] is that you? Oh my God! It’s been so long. What are you doing in [your city]?”

  • Not Brock:

“The bad news is: I’m not Brock. The good news is: I would love to have dinner with you tomorrow night after I get done tagging sharks.”

*****************

Amelie: Like the movie, this involves adorable, doe-eyed acts of winsome capers. Probably includes any of the following accessories:

  • Bottle rockets, a trail of bread crumbs, garden gnomes, a Dutch windmill, decoder rings, 2 Speak-&-Spells, and one old curmudgeon neighbor made of glass.

*****************

Brake Slam: (THE ORIGINAL ACT IN QUESTION)

  • You’re stuck in non-moving “Carmageddon” like traffic. Little old-ladies with walkers strapped to the backs of giant land sloths pass you by in mocking laughter. In your rear-view mirror, you see that the guy in the truck directly behind you is uber-hot. So, at the next 3-inch roll forward, you tap on your brakes. His front bumper crushes your license plate and takes out a taillight, or 2.
  • You get out. He gets out. You smile. He smiles. You exchange insurance information and phone numbers.
  • You get back in your car. Your phone rings. It’s him. You spend the remaining 3 “rush” hours sharing your life stories and planning the details of your “second date” (the 1st of many inside jokes!)

******************

Nanny 1: Goes like:

  • He’s a handsome widow left to raise his angelic 3-year old daughter on his own.
  • You answer his ad for a live-in “domestic assistant.”
  • 1 healing year later, you have managed to restore the beauty of his home, and also repair the hole in his heart.

******************

Roofie 1: You slip a date-rape drug into his drink and take him home to “make love.”

******************

Stalkholm Syndrome:  Goes like:

  • Abduct him from the parking garage at his work
  • Hold him hostage in your IKEA-built, GORM storage solution wine cellar
  • Several months pass. He fully processes all 5 emotional stages of captivity.
  • You are no longer his prison guard; You are his salvation

*******************

Roofie 2: 9 months after slipping him a mickie, you knock on his door and introduce him to his newborn son/daughter.

*******************

Nanny 2:

  • He’s a happily married man with 2 young kids.
  • You answer his ad for a live-in “domestic assistant.”
  • 1 week later, you cut the brake lines to his wife’s car.

*******************

Bunny stew: Fatal Attraction.

The End

So, in the grand scheme (ing) of things, the reader’s act of seren-DUPE-ity really isn’t that bad. Is it the “right” side of the searching-single-lady morality line? Well, on the chart, it sits just above the “WILY” category of cray-cray.

Threat level: “Low” to “Guarded.”

If green/blue means GO for you, then I say GO — and be sure to invite me to the wedding… OR character testimony at the civil court lawsuit, as the case may be.

As You Wiiiiiiiiiiiishhh… (Dear John… Part Deux)

Over the last few days, I’ve received several (okay, 2 to be exact) requests for “real-life” examples of the first-date-dud “Dear John” letter from my previous post.

Well, in the 3 enduring words from the farm boy-turned-pirate we all know and (true) love:

Here is the original template:

To _____,

Start off with a neutral compliment regarding his/her choice of outfit, restaurant, movie (date activity in general), and/or personal hygiene, etc…

Quick transition into but, however, even still, shockingly l I do not see us being romantically compatible. Further explanation is up to you.

(Do NOT suggest being friends. That will only leave the door open to hope. You must kill hope.)

Express luck in their future dating endeavors so as re-establish the complete and total massacre of hope.

Sincerely,

Proper Name (no nicknames. Too familiar. Gives hope a fighting chance)

___________________________________________________________________________

And, now for the actual letters:

(1)

To ___

I’m so glad you suggested the new coffee shop near Piedmont Park for our first date.

When you said you were “close to your family,” however, I didn’t realize that meant your mother would be joining us. Too much, too early, I’m afraid.

I hope you and Gladys find that perfect partner soon AND please tell her to send me that delicious sounding Kugel recipe first chance she gets.

Nicole

**********************

(2)

To ____

Can I just say “WOW!?” That is literally the first time I’ve ever seen a bicycle with beer koozies welded to the handle bars!

When you said you were a “people person,” I didn’t realize, however, that meant you were a 45 year old man with 3 room/Steely Dan cover band-mates. A bit crowded for me, I’m afraid.

Best of luck in your romantic future,

Nicole

**********************

(3)

To ____,

I won’t beat around the bush. I didn’t realize that online picture of you dressed up as a warlock was NOT for Halloween.

I’m so flattered that you and your coven have chosen me as your “fourth” to “call the corners.”

But, as the ole’ Groucho Marx saying goes, “I don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as its member.”

Many happy Solstices,

Nicole

**********************

(4)

To ____,

Thank you for opening my eyes to the disturbing amount of uneaten food that gets tossed in our city trash cans everyday.

I also didn’t realize when you said you were an “outdoorsy” guy — that meant you lived in the park and slept on an inflatable playground bounce house.

I hate squirrels. This will never work,

Nicole

**********************

(5)

To _____,

High praises for getting us a table at Woodfire Grill. I’ve wanted to eat there for years!

However, I completely lost my appetite when I realized the “FBI agent” part of your profile meant “Firm Believer In Christ” who thinks that I, as a Jewish person, am fated to burn in the fiery pits of hell lest I give my soul over to the Messiah.

Hey jacktard. They call us the “Chosen” people for a reason.

Mazel Tov,

Nicole

**********************

(6)

To _____,

So, by “great listener,” you really mean, “loves the sound of my own voice.”

Good luck with that,

Nicole  

**********************

(7)

To _____

You had me at your Ed Hardy t-shirt.

And then you lost me when — as I was ordering the chocolate mousse cake for dessert — you said Penelope Cruz used to be a “hot hottie” before she had a baby.

But don’t worry. I know it was only your teensy weensy eensy dick talking.

Nicole

**********************

(8)

To _____,

Lovely cologne you wore last night. What was that intoxicating aroma? Cedar Nettles?

Anyway, when you said you were “an adventurous guy who thinks outside the box” — I didn’t know that meant you liked to pee on women during sex.

This is a judgment-free zone, but I myself am more of a separation of church and state kind of gal — if you get my drift.

You should really try OK Cupid,

Nicole

Peeing Calvin

Dear John… or Joe, or Jack, or whatever your name is,

Sorry for the Mailbag Monday delay, folks. I had a dear friend come into town last night and instead of opening up my digital post box to answer your burning questions…

I opened a bottle of Bulleit Bourbon and babbled on about how Walter White of Breaking Bad has done to my moral compass what a Pit Bull does to a peanut butter Kong Stuff’N toy. Thank AND You for that.

kong stuff'nSo, now that I’m back on track, let’s begin:

Dear Nerdy Romantic,

“I started an account with a popular online dating site a few months ago. So far, so… blah! Several dates but no chemistry, at least from where I was sitting. But each time, the man sent me a follow-up email or text to schedule our next date. I never returned the messages, and eventually he (they) got the picture and stopped contacting me. Is this a totally douche bag thing to do?”

Make no mistake: This is NOT the “Just Let Me Know” debate of 2012 all over again. The 2 scenarios couldn’t be more different. Basically, the “JLMK” (trademark pending!) post was about a date that without question knocked the socks off, rumpled the locks on both parties involved. There were 4 eyes smizing, 4 pupils dilating, 4 legs shifting ever closer under 1 table shrinking, 5 hours passing like 5 minutes, and 2 sets of shoulders bobbing from 2 laughs blending into 1 synchronized blissed-out buzz.

What we’re talking about here is the first date dud. No sparks. No chemistry. No connection. The conversation falls flatter than matzah bread, and as you sit there watching the other person’s mouth move up and down, the muffled voice inside your own head cries out:

“Dear God when is this hostage crisis going to end so I can go home, tear off this pair of tummy taming Spanx, slip into my red flannel footsie pajamas, open a family size bag of Pirates Booty, and fall asleep watching ‘Legends of the Fall’ for the 15th time?”

So — is it REALLY necessary to let that person know that said first date was also the last?

To which I say, YES! To not do so is the luxury of likee alone. But I have been the LIKER. Oh yes, I have been the liker. Totally oblivious to the mushroom-cloud-sized-signs that HE is not into me: The incessant shifting in his seat; the regular “Wow! Look at the time” remarks when it was only 1:30… in the afternoon; the sudden emergency-have-to-leave-now- phone call; the snoring…

And yet I still drove home all googly-eyed, humming the Partridge Family’s “I think I Love you,” and wondering if when push comes to shove, will I really stick to my promise to keep my last name.

WHAT I WOULD HAVE GIVEN right then and there for someone to have walked me up that hilltop of delusion and tell me to “look at the bunnies” while putting a cap right in the back of my foolish fantasy.

So now, immediately after any first-date flop, I send an obligatory email: short, simple, straightforward. No room for doubt “Dear John,” for the sake of decency, non-douchebaggery, and future match.KARMA.

Basic template below:

To _____,

Start off with a neutral compliment regarding his/her choice of outfit, restaurant, movie (date activity in general), and/or personal hygiene, etc…

Quick transition into but, however, even still, shockingly I do not see us being romantically compatible. Further explanation is up to you.

(Do NOT suggest being friends. That will only leave the door open to hope. You must kill hope.)

Express luck in his/her future dating endeavors so as re-establish the complete and total massacre of hope.

Sincerely,

Proper name (no nicknames. Too familiar. Gives hope a fighting chance)

The Meetup that spawned a revolution… or, not

Enough was enough. My fear of choking to death all alone in my apartment — only to be found 9 days later after my cat had eaten my face off and the stench of my decomposing body finally forces my next-door neighbor to call 911 — had reached a point where I started cutting my food into tiny, baby-sized bites.

poppycock the cat

Tastes Like Chicken!

I owed it to myself and all social retards like me to create a safe place to come together and revel in all the dorky entertainment we could find. So, I crawled out of my hermit shell and organized the “Nerdy Romantics” Meetup. Here is the survey for qualifying members:

If you can answer YES to the following questions, this Meet Up is for you:

1. Are you single or single-ish (i.e. still claim ‘0’ dependents on your W4) WHILE all of your closest friends have either joined the rat race, moved away, gotten married, and/or squeezed out a litter of rugrats — SO that on the off chance you do, in fact, get together, their minds are preoccupied by thoughts of breast pumps and butt paste AND not the new, hip farm-to-table bistro?

2. Are you newish to the city and find that your coworkers or classmates are not people you’d want to meet in a dark alley behind a convenient store — all the while, the already established circle of friends are about as easy to penetrate as the Heathers?

3. Have you tried event planning sites but find most of them host activities far outside the city and at peak traffic hours during the weekdays?

4. Has your Match Dot-Com Bubble burst?

5. Are you somebody who doesn’t mind going out to a movie or dinner alone, but is finding it harder and harder to appreciate other interests without the company of others? Examples:

  • You can’t feasibly run a three-legged race with your shin tied to a crash-test dummy.
  • Going white-water rafting with just yourself makes for a death-defying uneven weight distribution.
  • And finally, nothing is sadder than getting stuck in mid-air after trying to ride a see-saw solo. Take it from me!

6. Are you someone who prefers backyard bocce ball games to smoke-filled bars – AND — picking apples in North Georgia to picking off squirrels with your sawed off shotgun?

7. Have your past four weekends included watching re-runs of Downton Abbey in search of rare, historically inaccurate idioms?

8. Are you one “Teach Yourself to Crochet” You Tube video away from eating cat food out of the can and reviving your old Angus Macgyver Fan Club?

9. Do you go on “The” Facebook primarily to play Scrabble? Do you still wear “Sneakers”? And, did you use the phrase “Bob’s your uncle” recently in casual conversation?

10. Are you tired of coming to the realization that cutting your cookbook recipes down to accommodate ONE single serving turns Rachel Ray’s tuna casserole into a baboon’s ASS-erole?baboon ass

In less than 2 months, Nerd Rom’s have grown to 225 members. Yet, in the 2 events I actually organized, only 1 other person actually attended, and that was my already-existing friend, who I bribed with free cookies to go.