Posts tagged #relationships

The Myth of the Cool Girl

"Dip a toe, don't fall in," he warned me.

Stupidly, I dove in head first.


I noticed the change slowly, over time. 

The first time we made loose plans, I had a contingency plan up my sleeve. 

I don't care if he doesn't call. I have something else to do.

When he actually did, I was pleased and surprised. Little pings of excitement traveled up my spine.


I really thought, this time, it's casual. I'm not playing it cool. I am cool. I am the Cool Girl.

Yes, the Cool Girl. That rare creature that can drink a man under the table, that doesn't care if you don't call her back, the one that doesn't ever nag about having the "talk." She just wants to have fun. She's fun. She's the Cool Girl. She does exist, because I am her and she is me.


At first, I remained a safe distance away. Arm's length. Just close enough I could squint and size up this person making a slow steady entrance into my life.

Eventually I caved and moved a little closer, bridging the distance to a side-hug.

Then he surprised me with an intense desire for physical proximity. Same side of booth, one arm around my waist, mouth close to my ear, entire conversations held nose-to-nose kind of close. I tried to remain coy, be the cool girl.

I was also surprised to wake up to forehead kisses, delivered eyes-closed, paired with a huge grin. Unwavering eye contact, under which I blushed and would have to break with a shy, "What?"

To which he would always respond, "Oh nothing. Just you."

To which I would respond with a deeper blush, "Oh."


"I think we're quickly approaching 'The Talk.' I don't know what to do. The thought of having someone, anyone be my boyfriend is absolutely petrifying. I don't think I can do this."

"You'll be fine. It will be totally fine."

"I'm concerned. I'm not ready not ready not ready...but I like where it's going. I don't know what to do."


Side-hug quickly elevates into Bursting With Feelings. I can't hold the words back. But I bite my tongue when the State of the Union inevitably occurs.

"You go first," tears streaming down my face, dreading what is about to happen.

"I'm really falling for you," he says, almost inaudibly, voice cracking.

I burst into a full-on cry as I launch into my self-sabotage speech, "I really like you, but I don't know if we can reconcile all of these issues, I don't know if I can feel good about it."

I proceed to laundry list said issues, attacking every item from a con side of a pro/con list, still crying.

He interrupts me, pulls me in closer than a side hug. Wipes away the tears, reassures me, "We don't have to decide this right now."

Relieved, grateful, I hiccup and pull him in for a kiss.


The 13th time we make loose plans, I don't bother thinking about a back up plan.

He called earlier, "I just want to see you. I'm going to see you!" echoing through my mind.

I let him know I am out the door, on my way. He doesn't pick up, but I assume, so must he, so I'll see him there.

He isn't there. He doesn't show up all night. I spend the evening drinking too much bourbon and catching up with someone I had sworn to erase from my life. I swallow my disappointment. That's what the Cool Girl would do.


"Are we having a fight? Are you mad?"

"I mean, you essentially stood me up. It's common courtesy to let somebody know if you're not going to show up if you make plans. I'm not mad. I know to pick my battles."


We return to neutral. No longer nose-to-nose, but not quite back at arm's length. I wriggle a little further apart, not mad, but hurt, still stinging. A little more guarded, more scared than ever.

He is still all-in. Tunnels through my reservations to pull me in close again. I relent. 

I simultaneously feel myself relaxing into him and feel my fight-or-flight instincts kick in. I'm ruffled, but hooked. Cool Girl be damned.


The 21st time we make loose plans, I am a domestic whirlwind. The house is spotless, snacks are stocked, my mood is high, and I'm prepared for a full evening of Eskimo kisses, blanket snuggles, and unreserved repeated proclamations of "I really like you."

I wait 7 hours. He doesn't show up.

"Where are you?"

"I'm too tired. I'm not coming."

I am slack jawed on the phone, reduced to The Girl Who Laid in Wait for a Man.

"Remember the time when I wasn't mad? I am mad. I want to talk about this. We will probably have a fight."

I say it calmly, evenly, trying not to hiss or spit.

Said fight doesn't happen over the phone, as body language, facial expression, and gestures we both agree are key in communication. I assume we will reconvene in person.


The next evening, I receive a curt text message. Though it's short in length, I can read between the lines.

I always cry at endings.

Posted on April 7, 2014 and filed under Dating.

2013: Amazing Experiences, Incredible People

To all the haters that always say every year, "This year sucked, next one has to be better," I have to disagree. Even a traditionally horrible experience in hindsight, is at the very least interesting, if not totally amazing after the fact. I personally thought 2013 was the best year ever, and life is only getting better all the time.

Top moments of the year, in no specific order:

Getting caught in a torrential downpour in Chicago. There were people streaming down the streets. At the time, it felt like the worst. But if you watch the video, we're all smiling hard.

Hogsmeade at Twilight.

A cheap but effective high: casually wandering Harry Potter World during my birthday, and being escorted to the front of the line for every ride. Because birthday! I haven’t celebrated very hard in years, so being rewarded for being born was so nice! It's an unexpected but always welcome surprise to have strangers try to make your day.

Obviously my second favorite moment.

Watching my sister transform into a beautiful bride, supernaturally calm and unfettered leading up to her special day. Favorite moment, while getting ready: "Can you go steal me some bacon?" She calmly eats several pieces of thick-sliced maple-flavored bacon in her perfect hair and makeup, somehow not mussing either or her dress.

Finding myself at a happy hour with coworkers I’d never spent time with outside of the office before. Immediately becoming great friends, filling my workdays and social calendar with the most brilliant SnapChats, non-sequitous IMs, and obscure games. 

Seeing Belle & Sebastian again after 7 years, standing in a crush of people against the barricade, in a light drizzle, alone, swooning.

He wasn't really so glum.

Staying at the office until midnight, eating a burrito and drinking beers. While talking to my long-distance crush via headset. While wrapping every piece of furniture in my favorite EVP’s office with tin foil. Favorite favorite: making a giant crane out of foil as the pièce de résistance.

I always win. In this case, my prize was a new favorite friend.

Going to the arcade with a new friend, and running around like hyperactive children. It was just like being on a first date, where we told our friends afterward, "I had the most amazing time! I want to see him again." That night sealed it: he’s now my work husband and greatest confidant.

Wandering down the rabbit hole, staying out till all hours. Following the adventure storyline to the end of each night has led to secret after-hours bars, tours of beautiful homes, all the chicken sausage I could ever consume, Bagel Bites and Wii tournaments in vacant apartments, dogs petted and cats held, in-depth conversations with Uber drivers about the intricacies of the service, and often waking up with my hair in a tangle.

Zooming down the street I live on, super fast on my bike, because all the streets were closed. Feeling confident enough to ride through parts of town I’d never attempted before. Eventually landing on a patio and eating endless pizza and drinking beers with an unlikely, but incredible grouping of my favorite people.

Bi-Rite + Tartine = <3

Walking down 18th St in San Francisco with my younger sister, immediately following a successful half marathon run, eating artisanal ice cream and carrying a tres leches cake she had special ordered for my birthday.

Approached a complete stranger at the best party at SXSW. We danced, we raised our eyebrows at each other when we spotted a girl who had literally lost her shirt, we climbed on stage and danced some more. I never expected to see him again, it was a perfect night. Now we talk every single day.

Running together.

Running alone.

Although I’d been running for several months, with a few races peppered throughout the year, I hit my first runner’s high in September. It coincided with the period of time I was talking to someone new for the first time since being single. I felt like I was floating.

WORST TURNED BEST:

Following a dumbfounding breakup from my then-boyfriend of nearly five years: being swallowed up not by infinite sadness, but engulfed completely by the nuances of all my previously neglected friendships. This year I grew closer than ever to my best friends, reconnected with the most treasured people in my life, and charmed many new ones.

May 2014 bring just as many memories, just as much magic, even more moments to celebrate.

Posted on January 2, 2014 and filed under Dating, Photography, Travel.

Why Are You Single?

This comes up very quickly, especially if a date is going well.

As if singledom implies something is wrong with me, or perhaps I've made some unusual choices to lead me here. I would like to think I have ended up here, almost by accident, but it's quite difficult to explain.

In having this exact conversation, I explained to one especially eligible bachelor, "I am open to all experiences. No particular end goal. It depends on who and what and when and how. I've had serious boyfriends. I've had five year relationships. I've wanted to be married. I've wanted kids. But every situation and relationship is different."

He asked me, "Did you walk away from all of them?"

"No, I always want to make it work."

This response usually results in silence.

Posted on December 29, 2013 and filed under Dating.

One Tragic, One Hot, One Cool: A Grouper Story

After much discussion with my favorite single lady and partner-in-crime on nights out, we decided to sign up for Grouper. Meeting new friends, hanging out with a potential of three righteous dudes, what could go wrong?

Well, I got cold feet leading up to the big day, and to buffer my low (extremely low) expectations for the clowns we would be meeting with, I chose to live-tweet the occasion. I even made a hashtag for the event, so friends could follow along at home.

Most of the best tidbits I shared in the timeline below, but I figure I can help fill in some of the gaps.

The service sends the location for the date the night before. (No other details are offered, making it a truly blind date.) For some reason the options for neighborhoods from which we could choose were limited. Buckhead or Midtown. Neither is really the scene for my lady posse. Of course, when a dive bar in Virginia Highlands was selected, I couldn't help but wince a little.

So the night finally comes, we arrive at said location, and I beeline for the bar. On the way, my girls and I are intercepted by our dates. Two of them. 

One immediately launches into conversation about how recently he is single, and he doesn't know how to meet women (sadly, he truly didn't have any game). The other is hot in a traditional way, but oozes sleaze. I finally ask, "Isn't there a third?"

Our third suitor eventually arrives and is completely disinterested in being there. I keep wondering if the guys even knew each other, and No-Game Dude just found them on the street. We never quite figure that out.

Posted on December 28, 2013 and filed under Dating.

OkStupid

This is a very real thing that happened. I'll tell you about it later.

This is a very real thing that happened. I'll tell you about it later.

So after a long hiatus from the online dating scene, I decided I wanted to venture into the jungle (okay, mess) that is OkCupid. I haven't been active on any kind of dating service since 2005, due to my prolonged participation in serial monogamy. What can I say--I am really good at attracting and keeping boyfriends.

But what this journey has shown me, is that, well, I'm also really good at being single.

I've shared some particularly idiotic tidbits on Tumblr, but you will have the pleasure of reading the full stories right here. That is not to say that I am purely doing this for sport, though I suppose I could.

I'm always open to the possibility that I meet somebody, and worlds collide. Lightning strikes. The stars align. We may have already met, but why ruin a good story?

Posted on December 28, 2013 and filed under Dating.